WE 32K RAM Card Repair

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lazarusr
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WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Sun Dec 18, 2016 7:53 pm

Back in March, I acquired a Watford Electronics 32K RAM card from another StarDot member via eBay. Unfortunately, when I plugged it into my Beeb it was dead. :(

It looked fairly crusty and when I tried probing it with my DMM, I found, somewhat troublingly, that the continuity result depended on how hard I pressed the probe onto certain pads. I therefore tried reflowing the solder on the pads in question. That was singularly unsuccessful. Indeed the solder seemed to be actively repulsed by the pads in question and was flowing away like the T-1000 in Terminator 2 :shock: I therefore decided that a somewhat bolder solution was required.

I decided to desolder every component from the PCB and then give the PCB a bath in IPA:
WE RAM - 1 (1).jpg

WE RAM - 2 (1).jpg

I then replaced all the passive components with new equivalents and added high quality turned pin sockets for all the ICs (most of which had previously been soldered directly to the board):
WE RAM - 1.jpg

A couple of tracks/pads were beyond repair and these were bypassed with 'mod' wires:
WE RAM - 2.jpg

WE RAM - 3.jpg

I replaced all the ICs, taking the time to test the logic ICs with the test function of my EPROM programmer:
WE RAM - 4.jpg

I made up a new 40 way DIP IDC cable and fitted it into my Beeb:
WE RAM - 6.jpg

And...
WE RAM - 5.jpg

Finally, whilst the board had all the components stripped, I took the time to map out all the tracks and reverse-engineered a schematic:
WE RAM Board.pdf
(32.55 KiB) Downloaded 83 times

Overall, I am rather glad it was DOA, otherwise I wouldn't have had so much fun. :D

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IanS
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby IanS » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:05 pm

Impressive job, Dave obviously taught you well in the art of desoldering.

I'm astounded that you managed to re-use all the old chips.

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Sun Dec 18, 2016 9:17 pm

IanS wrote:Impressive job, Dave obviously taught you well in the art of desoldering.

I'm astounded that you managed to re-use all the old chips.

They mostly desoldered rather easily. I don't think they were particularly well soldered in the first place. I wasn't left with the impression that Watford Electronics made high quality products. But, as an ex-Technomatic boy, I would say that. :lol:

But you are right, I was trained by the Master...

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jgharston
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby jgharston » Mon Dec 19, 2016 1:27 am

lazarusr wrote:
IanS wrote:I'm astounded that you managed to re-use all the old chips.

They mostly desoldered rather easily. I don't think they were particularly well soldered in the first place. I wasn't left with the impression that Watford Electronics made high quality products. But, as an ex-Technomatic boy, I would say that. :lol:

As an ex-WE employee, I'd agree with you. ;)

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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kieranhj
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby kieranhj » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:52 am

Great work Robert. You are turning into quite the hardware chap!
Bitshifters Collective | Retro Code & Demos for BBC Micro & Acorn computers | https://bitshifters.github.io/

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CMcDougall
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby CMcDougall » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:25 pm

Good work.... but card is useless :lol:

least with all now socketed, you can use the chips for something worth while like my 2x 144k rom/ram boards 8)
ImageImageImage

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 5:29 pm

CMcDougall wrote:.... but card is useless :lol:

It isn't useless; I can use it to make "Watford Electronics 32k RAM" appear on my screen. I bet your board can't do that. :)
Also, your board can't give me hours of fun trying to repair and reverse engineer it. :D

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tricky
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby tricky » Mon Dec 19, 2016 6:22 pm

It can also be used to hold three speech samples for my AstroBlaster game of you don't have sideways ram ;)

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trixster
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby trixster » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:05 pm

It also gives you pictures in the Level 9 game Lancelot. That's why I've got one!
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
A4000/040 060 | Atari Falcon 060 | Saturn | PS1 | SNES | CPC6128 | C64 | 3DO | MD

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:32 pm

tricky wrote:It can also be used to hold three speech samples for my AstroBlaster game of you don't have sideways ram ;)

Your comment highlights a problem I have been avoiding for a while. I have sideways RAM... and increasingly many other things. Too many things to put into one Beeb. I really need several Beebs; each configured differently. But I don't have the space, or, more importantly, the marriage, to accommodate them.

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trixster
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby trixster » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:46 pm

lazarusr wrote:
CMcDougall wrote:.... but card is useless :lol:

It isn't useless; I can use it to make "Watford Electronics 32k RAM" appear on my screen. I bet your board can't do that. :)
Also, your board can't give me hours of fun trying to repair and reverse engineer it. :D


How do you get that line to appear on boot? Mine doesn't display anything!
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
A4000/040 060 | Atari Falcon 060 | Saturn | PS1 | SNES | CPC6128 | C64 | 3DO | MD

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1024MAK
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby 1024MAK » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:51 pm

Nice work Robert :D

Even better that you created a schematic diagram =D>

Mark
For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit www.bbcmicro.co.uk NOW!
BeebWiki‬ - for answers to many questions...

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:17 pm

trixster wrote:How do you get that line to appear on boot? Mine doesn't display anything!

It may be a feature of the ROM version. I am using version 2.40. What version are you using?

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trixster
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby trixster » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:23 pm

Ah, that's probably it. I think my Beeb only has 1.20
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
A4000/040 060 | Atari Falcon 060 | Saturn | PS1 | SNES | CPC6128 | C64 | 3DO | MD

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:29 pm

trixster wrote:Ah, that's probably it. I think my Beeb only has 1.20

Just to be clear, I am talking about the WE RAM Board utility ROM (not the standard MOS ROM). What does it say about the RAM board when you enter *HELP?

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:30 pm

1024MAK wrote:Even better that you created a schematic diagram

Surely that should be mandatory when taking any retro-hardware apart. :D

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trixster
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby trixster » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:40 pm

lazarusr wrote:
trixster wrote:Ah, that's probably it. I think my Beeb only has 1.20

Just to be clear, I am talking about the WE RAM Board utility ROM (not the standard MOS ROM). What does it say about the RAM board when you enter *HELP?


Ah yes, sorry, it says it's version 2.40 of the utility rom

The full readout of *HELP is:
Watford Electronics 32K shadow ram 2.40
Bufferon
ram
ramfx
ramstatus

Basic is in rom 14, turbommc rom is in 10 and the WE card rom is in 7 (leaving dnfs in 6 and then adt in 2)
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
A4000/040 060 | Atari Falcon 060 | Saturn | PS1 | SNES | CPC6128 | C64 | 3DO | MD

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1024MAK
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby 1024MAK » Mon Dec 19, 2016 10:42 pm

lazarusr wrote:
1024MAK wrote:Even better that you created a schematic diagram

Surely that should be mandatory when taking any retro-hardware apart. :D

I agree, but not many people do :(

Mark
For a "Complete BBC Games Archive" visit www.bbcmicro.co.uk NOW!
BeebWiki‬ - for answers to many questions...

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lazarusr
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby lazarusr » Mon Dec 19, 2016 11:04 pm

trixster wrote:Ah yes, sorry, it says it's version 2.40 of the utility rom

The full readout of *HELP is:
Watford Electronics 32K shadow ram 2.40
Bufferon
ram
ramfx
ramstatus

Basic is in rom 14, turbommc rom is in 10 and the WE card rom is in 7 (leaving dnfs in 6 and then adt in 2)

Not entirely sure why the line doesn't appear. The manual says this:
32K RAM Card Manual wrote:...if you have a DFS ROM put this in the lowest priority socket and put the RAM Board ROM next to it.

So, try putting the ROMs in this order:

14 - BASIC
10 - ADT
7 - WE card ROM
6 - Turbo MMC
2 - DNFS

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jgharston
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby jgharston » Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:13 am

lazarusr wrote:Not entirely sure why the line doesn't appear. The manual says this:

The WE RAM board displays its message in response to service call 3 - Boot Filing System - as suggested by where it appears in the lines displayed, so if a filing system has caught service call 3 before it gets to any other ROMs, then those other ROMs won't see it.

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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trixster
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby trixster » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:46 pm

Thanks chaps, moving the WE card ROM to 11 worked nicely!
A3020 | A3000 | BBC B + 128K RAM/ROM + 20K Shadow + Pi0 + VideoNuLA
BBC Master Turbo + DC | Atom | A1200 060 | A500 | Jaguar | A420/1
A4000/040 060 | Atari Falcon 060 | Saturn | PS1 | SNES | CPC6128 | C64 | 3DO | MD

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vanekp
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby vanekp » Wed Oct 04, 2017 4:31 pm

Anyone have the 2.40 version of the eprom for this board (or a place where I can down load it) I only seem to have a version 2.00?

Thanks Peter.

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MartinB
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby MartinB » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:04 pm

Here you go... 8)
Attachments
WE 32K Ram 240.zip
(4.88 KiB) Downloaded 8 times

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vanekp
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby vanekp » Wed Oct 04, 2017 5:31 pm

Thanks a lot, appreciate that :D
Peter.

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jgharston
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby jgharston » Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:33 am

Code: Select all

$ bbcbasic
PDP11 BBC BASIC IV Version 0.25
(C) Copyright J.G.Harston 1989,2005-2015
>_

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DutchAcorn
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby DutchAcorn » Thu Oct 05, 2017 4:06 am

vanekp wrote:Anyone have the 2.40 version of the eprom for this board (or a place where I can down load it) I only seem to have a version 2.00?

Thanks Peter.

How is it different from 2.00?
Paul

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jms2
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby jms2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:03 am

I've just spotted this thread - must have missed it for some reason when it first appeared.

I have the same card, and like Robert's mine doesn't work either. It was OK when I first got the machine, but started to become increasingly unreliable. I found I needed to periodically thump the machine to recover from a hang. To fix this I made up a new ribbon cable, but this only seemed to be effective for a short while before the card started misbehaving again.

This thread might just give me the impetus to dust mine off and try to fix it properly. Col's right - the card is useless really. I've only ever "used" it in the sense of switching it off so that games work! But its in a machine that was used for proper work by the previous owner, so it has GXR, Wapping Editor, Pineapple Designer, ViewSheet, WordWise+ etc (all on the WE 12-rom board) and it seemed a shame to de-commission all of that stuff even though it's of no practical value. So I'm keeping this machine as a museum piece.

That said I've pinched the 6502 out of it...

KenLowe
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby KenLowe » Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:14 am

jms2 wrote:Col's right - the card is useless really.

I disagree. As Trixter has already posted, Lancelot and a number of other Level 9 games relied on both shadow and sideways ram to get the full visual experience.

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vanekp
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby vanekp » Thu Oct 05, 2017 7:04 pm

Mine works, only I am not that impressed with it as it keeps disabling other roms in the machine, I put DFS ( for mmc) below it in rom socket 2 and ram board rom in socket 4 and basic in rom socket 15 as per there manual DFS low next up RAM card rom and Basic in highest priority rom 15.
and then it disabled the DFS rom so no filing system, also had it disable me other utility roms like examon (which will not work with the shadow ram board turned on).
It causes more problem then its worth for the extra ram.

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jms2
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Re: WE 32K RAM Card Repair

Postby jms2 » Thu Oct 05, 2017 10:48 pm

KenLowe wrote:
jms2 wrote:Col's right - the card is useless really.

I disagree. As Trixter has already posted, Lancelot and a number of other Level 9 games relied on both shadow and sideways ram to get the full visual experience.

I'm keen to try those out once I have fixed it. :D


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