Video / ESS
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General repair hints

You need the schematics

Actually the "original" Radarscope schematics you can download here as PDF (3.3 MB) are of very bad quality. It seems this is not due to bad scans but to the quality of the schematics as they were published around 1980. I learned this the hard way since i bought original manuals from a shop in the US, only to see that they were as lousy as the pdf above. But if you want to do some serious troubleshooting with a Radarscope boardset you need them all the same. I will make references to them below, and with the aid of a magnifying glass you might even decipher them.

If you have any better ones or want to help redrawing the existing ones please mail me. I am working on this but so far i can only provide a line buffer schematic, you can download it on the video page.

CPU board tests

The following descriptions are for the attract mode of Radarscope. It shows after booting. This is not a stable state, since there are several parts of the attract mode cycling and repeating (demo, title screen, high score screen), but these measurements on a working game give a good overview on what states should be seen or not:

NOP fixture

For testing purposes it is very convenient to have a running boardset in a defined state. Because i wanted to exercise my signature analyzer and get some signatures i used a Z80 hardwired to do NOP instructions.

Use 8 resistors 470 Ohms, bend up the Z80 pins number 7,8,9,10,12,13,14,15 and solder the resistors to these pins. The other end of the resistors is soldered to a common wire which you connect to pin 29 (GND). Then bend up Z80 pins 16 (INT), 17 (NMI) and 25 (BUSREQ) and solder 3 pull-up resistors 5.6K to these. The other end of the resistors is soldered to a common wire which you connect to pin 11 (+ 5 Volts) like this:

z80 nop fixture

When you insert this Z80 into the socket, data bus pins D0 to D7 are all pulled low, which results in a NOP instruction. The Z80 will loop through the entire address range 0000 to ffff endlessly doing NOP's. The external bus request and the interrupts are disabled.

Signature analysis on the CPU board

If you want to know how signature analysis works please read the Atari Signature Analysis Pages. The following signatures were taken with a HP 5004A signature analyzer and the NOP fixture described above.

Signatures for the Z80 CPU:

clock pin 21 (/rd) rising edge
start/stop pin 5 (a15) falling edge
ground tp 1 -

A0 30 UUUU
A1 31 5555
A2 32 CCCC
A3 33 7F7F
A4 34 5H21
A5 35 0AFA
A6 36 UPFH
A7 37 52F8
A8 38 HC89
A10 40 HPP0
A12 2 HAP7
A13 3 3C96
A14 4 3827
A15 5 755U

Signatures for the 5F ROM on the CPU board:

clock 4H, pin 6 (/RFSH input to address decoder 4H) falling edge
start 4H, pin 15 (/CE chip enable of 5F ROM) falling edge
stop 4H, pin 15 (/CE chip enable of 5F ROM) rising edge
ground TP 1 -

D0 9 5HF7
D1 10 8P65
D2 11 FA26
D3 13 4P20
D4 14 C113
D5 15 4C52
D6 16 332P
D7 17 P418

Signatures for the 5G ROM on the CPU board:

clock 4H, pin 6 (/RFSH input to address decoder 4H) falling edge
start 4H, pin 14 (/CE chip enable of 5G ROM) falling edge
stop 4H, pin 14 (/CE chip enable of 5G ROM) rising edge
ground TP 1 -

D0 9 A5PC
D1 10 026U
D2 11 C53F
D3 13 3575
D4 14 8A40
D5 15 899H
D6 16 6H90
D7 17 149F

Signatures for the 5H ROM on the CPU board:

clock 4H, pin 6 (/RFSH input to address decoder 4H) falling edge
start 4H, pin 13 (/CE chip enable of 5H ROM) falling edge
stop 4H, pin 13 (/CE chip enable of 5H ROM) rising edge
ground TP 1 -

D0 9 P10C
D1 10 PC07
D2 11 H5HC
D3 13 6634
D4 14 A0P3
D5 15 213P
D6 16 6UP3
D7 17 6P7H

Signatures for the 5K ROM on the CPU board:

clock 4H, pin 6 (/RFSH input to address decoder 4H) falling edge
start 4H, pin 12 (/CE chip enable of 5K ROM) falling edge
stop 4H, pin 12 (/CE chip enable of 5K ROM) rising edge
ground TP 1 -

D0 9 8HFU
D1 10 1AFA
D2 11 2550
D3 13 19U0
D4 14 9AA5
D5 15 H6AC
D6 16 96F3
D7 17 446F

SOU board tests

On a TRS2-04-SOU board described here only the MB8516 EPROM at Pos. 3I is present for the sound samples.
The SOU board controller is an Intel 8035. It sends the sample data to a digital-to-analog converter DAC-08.
You can test the SOU board using the NOP fixture shown above. By connecting the board to power you can trigger the different sounds shown on my SOU page.

game does not boot to attract mode (part 1)

On power up there is a static screen as shown below. Sound is not present. The left screen side is filled with random upside down characters. The blue background (which is hardware generated) is present. Sprites or parts of sprites can be seen.
The game does not react to coin switch or service button.

game TRS01 does not boot
The CPU board is folded out of the casing, logic tester connected to TP1 (GND) and +5V (right side of capacitor C24 near power plug P8).

checking reset:
At Pos. 3L (7404, Pin 4) LOW directy after power up, then permanently HIGH.
Also TP8 RESET signal stays HIGH and the same at Z80 CPU, pin 26. The reset signal appears to be OK.

checking Z80 CPU:
Pin 5 (address line A15) pulses with approx. 2 Hz
Pin 17 (NMI) sticks HIGH. This is in contrast to the normal state described above, because NMI should go LOW with VBLK (vertical blanking).
Pin 23 BUSAK and Pin 25 BUSRQ are constantly HIGH, there are no DMA transfers taking place.

checking 8257 DMA Controller:
Pin 3 MEMR and Pin 4 MEMW are stuck HIGH. No DMA transfer is possible.

checking EPROMS:
All Chip Enable signals at the EPROMS (each pin 20) are present.

checking RAM:
All Chip Select signals at  the RAMs (each Pin 8) of 6H, 6L, 6J, 6M, 6K, 6N are HIGH. The RAM must be blocked somehow.

Since there are no CS signals for RAM, the address decoding is examined:
The 74LS138 address decoder at position 4K which decodes the RAMs must be enabled by appropriate signals at pins 4, 5 and 6. Since pin 4 is stuck HIGH, the chip will never be enabled. The logic probe on the NOR gate going to this pin shows both missing /RD and /WR signals. These signals go out from the CPU at pin 21 (/RD) and pin 22 (/WR) then are buffered at a buffer (74LS367) at Pos. 6B. On the input side of this buffer both signals are present, while they disappear at the appropriate output pins. After replacing this buffer

game boots into attract mode with garbled screen (part 2)

In this state it is possible to give service credits and to start the game. The left side of the screen looks normal, while the right side is partially garbled with characters. There is no sound.
attract mode error 2
This time the remaining buffers (74LS367) are also checked to make sure if still another bus signal ist faulty. At Pos. 6A there is another 74367 which shows a signal at pin 10 (input) but no defined level at the output (pin 9). This was the outgoing A0 address line to the video board.
Since this time only memory access to the video / text ROMS was disturbed, the game could boot and work to a certain extent.
After replacing this buffer chip the game was working as it should.

Note: The probable cause of these two chips failing was accumulated (and moist) dust, since positions 6A and 6B are just at the edge of the PCB, the spot where the cooling fan in the cabinet is positioned. After several years of operation, accumulated dust began to cake between the IC pins and the parts failed.

example: retrace lines / picture contents missing

ESS P5 connector problem Visible retrace lines while the stars background is still there. (The moiré pattern here is due to my bad picture, not the fault itself.) This can be symptom of a bad connection on the ESS board (check connector P5) of a TRS01 boardset variant.

example: defective ram / picture contents missing

defective ram This is a freezing of the game before it can get to the attract mode, possibly caused by defective ram

cpu does nothing at all

cpu executes nops operations This picture shows a game where the cpu executes NOP's endlessly. Note that the blue to black to blue background and the stars are there! The background and the stars are hardware generated by the video board and not done by software. So this screen should not lead you to believe that the CPU is working at all. The screen shows a (slightly flickering) image of background with an overlay of text screen with random characters. This is the random content of the background video RAM, which has not been initialized (cleared) by the software.

Missing lines in sprites. Line buffer is defective

The pictures below show a problem which seems hard to explain: In every moving (foreground) sprite there are vertical lines missing, whereas all background graphics (text and static elements) are OK.

line buffer not ok line buffer ok
The sprite (here the gun) has missing vertical lines This is how it should look like
line buffer not ok line buffer ok
All objects have the same defects This is how it should look like

What looks like a problem with vertical lines is actually a horizontal problem: The missing lines are due to a defective line buffer. This line buffer is a buffer for a complete horizontal line.

If this seems strange, consider the fact that Radarscope is just vertically oriented: The top down lines are actually the horizontal raster! (See note on the video page) But why are the background graphics unaffected? This is because the two line buffers in Radarscope are used for the sprites (or foreground objects) only. The static background objects (text or graphics) are mixed in by a multiplexer just before the output stage.

Read more about the video display system on the video page. In this particular case the first (of two) line buffers was defective. Both line buffers are on the CLK board. Each is built with two Fujitsu MB7072 ECL RAM's (256 x 4 bit). Buffer 1 is at position 5L and 5M and buffer 2 at 5N and 5P. Since a horizontal line is 256 pixels wide and the sprite data is 6 bits per pixel, 256 x 6 bits are needed. Two MB7072 RAM's in parallel provide 256 x 8 bits. On each RAM, one bit Input / Output is therefore unused.