BRINK electronics has released a replacement for the 6514 and 2114 RAM (IC4 and IC5) used on Zaccaria's 2nd generation games (1B1165, 1B1165/1, and 1B1165/2 CPU boards). This daughterboard design simultaneously replaces both RAM chips, and eliminates the need for a battery or backup capaciltor to maintain RAM contents when the game is turned off.
The top side of the board features a RAMTRON NVRAM chip, which is the heart of the design. The remainder of the board is traces, header pins, and silkscreen. The bottom side of the board has header pins.
The top side silkscreen is a nice touch, neatly marking the board so that installing it correctly should be easy to understand.
BRINK electronics was kind enough to send me a sample of their board for testing and evaluation. I installed it in a 1B1165/1 that I use for testing and development work and first ran the board on my test bench to confirm basic operation.
Installation on the board is a little finicky, because you have to line up all 36 pins across two sockets before pushing the board down to install it. I normally use SIP strips for board repairs, which are easy enough to work with when installing a single 18-pin chip, but were a bit of a challenge to line this board up with. It would be better to use two 18-pin sockets on the board if you are planning to install one of these to replace the RAM. Alternately, simply soldering this board in place for IC4 / IC5 should work nicely as well.
This board is somewhat larger, physically, than the original chips that it replaces, but the combination of a raised design, and the elimination of the battery, leaves plenty of room to install this on a 1B1165. If the battery holder were removed, this board would also fit on a HomePin replacement 1B1165/2 board, offering a forth option for eliminating the original NiCad battery from that design.
Once the RAM was installed, I installed my test ROM set on the board and ran it on my test bench, using my RAM tests to confirm that the replacement RAM works correctly. No problems found here.
I then installed a set of game ROMs (Farfalla), and confirmed that the game's software could clear the operator audits, and install the operator settings. This worked fine as well. After configuring the game with my preferred settings, I confirmed that my board was working on the test bench. No problems found here either.
Last, I installed my board in my Farfalla, and confirmed that game play and audits worked correctly. By this point, I wasn't expecting to find any problems, and I did not.
In summary, BRINK has produced a nice replacement board that eliminates two obsolete chips that are getting more difficult (and expensive) to find, and eliminates the need for a battery or supercap to maintain the audits and settings necessary for the game to function correctly. I have not yet run out of 6515 or 2114 RAM chips here, but when I do, I will probably be ordering batches of these for use on boards I repair for customers.
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