Friday, 22 January 2016

Soundic SD-290 and Coca-Cola Sportstron

This morning i have received the final game cartridge that i was missing for the Hanimex HMG-7900 library (Raging Turtle) so now i have all the games after 7-8 years. I also received a Coca-Cola Sportstron (with the box) that i have brought on Ebay for a very good price.

The seller sold it as "Not Working/for Parts"...well i can tell that he never checked it out because if he had put batteries, he could have heard the "beeps" coming out of the console. Check out the pictures:


That is normal that the video isn't perfectly synchronized as 
there is  slight difference between Japanese and North America
RF signals (but no problem if it is a Video signal).

Near mint condition!

Coca-Cola collectors, drool on this! :p

And if anyone of you get one of these Fuji Electric Coca-Cola TV-Game Sportstron, here's the translation of the control panel label:


Ok, now back to the Hanimex HMG-7900 or rather one of it's clones: the Soundic SD-290. I have made my first attempt to make a Audio/Video mod output and the D779C-300 has very similar pinouts as the other NEC dedicated chips found for the Epoch Cassette Vision games (example: D774C found in the Battle Vader cartridge or Epoch TV Vader game console).

But trying to make a PAL Video output on a NTSC TV/Monitor is not recommended since the Vertical Sync keeps rolling like in this video:


I could have used on of my small PAL/NTSC monitors (see BBC Bridge Companion posts) but i prefer to try a video output on a bigger screen first and then try it out on a small monitor. For now, the A/V mod for a SD-209 is only B&W as i tapped on the "Y" signal (B&W video signal) because PAL colors are pretty tricky to stabilize.

And last, i will post all the scans of each cartridge manuals i have in English for the HMG-7900 since i have three games that i only have French manuals (Météorites, Envahisseurs and Mur de Brique) and some cartridge labels too in the next post. =)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Manuals & BIOS/ROMS for the BBC Bridge Companion

Until the MAME(MESS) driver of the BBCBC (BBC Bridge Companion) is updated with the proper background color:

 From this as MAME 0.169

to this version (MAME 0.1xx?)

I have uploaded on "Archive.org" all the manuals, catalog and other stuffs i have on the BBC Bridge Companion (see "Downloads" section to get the files) so you can know better how to use and play this obscure game system.

Files you can download are: 

* BBC Bridge Companion Operating Manual (must read)
* Play with BBC Bridge Companion (can see part in previous post)
* Tuning in your Bridge Companion sheet (only needed if you have the real game system)
* Bridge Builder Handbook (game manual of the Bridge Builder cartridge)
* Master Play 1 manual (game manual of the Master Play 1 cartridge)

And ROMS/BIOS for the MAME emulator (you will need to rename the "bbcbc-roms.zip" to "bbcbc.zip" and put the ROMS folder in MAME - all the cartridges binaries and the BIOS are in one zip file).

Friday, 8 January 2016

BBC Bridge Companion (MESS has the wrong background color)

Yup, i'm still alive! =)

For starting this new year, my first post of 2016 will be on the Unicard BBC Bridge Companion. Some of you already knows that this obscure game system is already emulated in MAME (MESS is now integrated with MAME) with all released game cartridges dumped.

As i was checking out the emulation, i have notice that, first of all, there is no sounds while playing any of the games. Humm...maybe the driver wasn't still finished even if the status on the driver is "good".I'll come back later on the sound issue. Now for the second thing: as i'm testing all the games, i notice that they display a "beige-type" background color....? "Beige" ? Err...if i remember correctly, the game system produce a "light green/light lime" background color, not beige. But the big problem is that i have sold my Bridge Companion (with an extra game) a year or more ago.

So i have brought another Bridge Companion to see if my memories were true so once i received the game system, i modded it with composite video (i hate those &?*&?& RF switch box!) and tested it on my mini TFT monitor which can display either NTSC or PAL and on my computer with the help of a Adesso AV-200 USB video capture device. And guess what ?

Video capture with Adesso AV-200




That proves that i still have a good memory! (especially when you're getting older, it's conforting to see your memory still sharp). And check out the two videos i've uploaded on Youtube:

(In PAL mode)

(in SECAM mode)

and more proof that it has a light green background (and not beige):


(screenshot picture taken from Ebay UK)




So hoping that in a future version of MESS (ahhh man! MAME!), that the "bbcbc" driver will be corrected with the proper background color. ;)

OK now back to the sound issue. At first i thought that the driver wasn't finished...i was wrong! As a matter of fact, the driver for the sounds is just correct. It turns out that the game system doesn't make any sounds! YES!! I'm not joking! The Bridge Companion doesn't make any sounds at all, not on the TV or with a built-in speaker...zip! nada! NO SOUNDS!! 

What the %*&%/? at Herber LTD thought when they conceived the Bridge Companion ?! Hello! it was 1985! Not 1975! I can accept that some few Pong consoles doesn't make any sounds (hey...it was the beginning) but by 1985 ?!? Now that is so lame!! At least they should have designed a small sound circuit to make one or two beeps. I discovered that when i did the A/V...oups!... Video mod as the composite video enter the Astec UM1233 RF modulator but this particular modulator is intended just to process video signal and output to UHF, and it is not intended for sound(s). So don't waste time to write " Hey! The emulation doesn't work "Dude"! It doesn't make any sounds!".

It's simply that it never will make any sounds....period! So this scratches off the sound issue, but there still the background color issue to correct in a near future. Meanwhile, here's more pictures:

(opening the beast to mod it)

PAL game system on a NTSC TV, that what it does:
Vertical keeps on rolling and no colors.



 EPROM! Great so i can change the EPROM
with other i can burn with the dumped binaries.


EOF! (for now!) =)