CDP1802's Computer Space Stuff

I'll never own a real one but hey, the replica is more than cool.

I like B&W arcade games.

I've always had a thing for the dinosaurs when it comes to computers and games. I love the minis of the '60s and '70s. I went out of my way to buy a full-size replica of the Kenbak-1. I voluenteer to go work on some EM pinball machines that a family member owns. Whenever I visit an arcade with a B&W game, I put a few quarters in it.

When it comes to B&W games, Computer Space is definitely a notable one. It's from Syzygy Engineering, the pre-Atari Atari. It's from 1971. It had a really neat fiberglass cabinet. It has graphics drawn out with diodes. It was one of the first commercial arcade games ever made. Is it a bit lame to play these days? I guess. I just don't care, I think it's cool.

I doubt I'll ever own a "real" Computer Space. Boards or the whole cabinet, it would all cost too much. What was the quote from AtariAge, "$60 to $10,100"? No way. But I was browing around the internet. It turns out someone made board clones! A github repo made by pong74ls exists with gerber files for Nutting's single-player Computer Space. Alston on Aussie Arcade took these files and built a working replica. I've got stockpiles of old ICs and I'll gladly buy more. I think this could be a fun project!

This page exists to document my build. If it works, I'll bring it to shows. If it crashes and burns, hopefully someone learns from my mistakes.

06294 - Boards Ordered

I didn't go anywhere fancy for the PCBs. Alston mentioned that they used JLCPCB for theirs. I'm doing the same for mine.

I did pay a little extra for the fancy "features". I screw up enough that chamfered gold fingers seemed like a good idea. Did I really need to? Probably not. At least it's some peace of mind for me.

I had to get five of each board because of minimum order quantities. I guess I'll have four spare board sets. Will I build them up? Probably not. I'll probably just try to rehome them after I know that one set works well.

07014 - Boards Shipped

This isn't "important" to document. That said, it's cool to know how long things take to be made.

These boards are 262.64mm long by 205.1mm wide. Not the biggest boards in the world but definitely sizeable. The order had three different boards of that size - the Sync Star board, the Memory board, and the Motion board. (It also had some VersaTerm PCBs).

The boards went into production at 0919 on the 29th of June, they were shipped at 2143 on the 1st of July. Something about that is just impressive to me.

07024 - Sourcing Components, Part 1

With boards scheduled to be delivered on 0705, just three days away, I figured now's a good time to get to sourcing components.

The first thing I did was go over the BOM to find what's available via Mouser. All capacitors, the inductor, all resistors, and all diodes are ready to buy. That's pretty much what I expected. This means we're at 44/80 components being easily sourceable.

When it comes to transistors, I figure I have two options. The first is using what the BOM calls for. I need 19x 2N3643 (TO-105), 4x 2N3644 (TO-105), 1x 2N2646 (TO-18), and 1x 2N5189 (TO-39). The second is finding some modern substitute. I'll be doing similar to Alston by following the latter option, the 2N3904 and 2N3906 can act more than fine in place of the 2N3643 and 2N3644.

For the ICs, most-everything else is long-gone if I want to stick to the original BOM. Again following Alson, substituting 74LS logic in place of many original non-LS chips seems like the move. It can't be done everywhere, they mentioned that a LS161 on the motion board will cause issues, but getting new ICs should save me a lot of headaches in other places. I can't say I exactly want to spend the money and time on buying and verifying all non-LS logic, doubly not when I've had issues with places like Jameco sending fakes.

The 5.82MHz crystal poses a small issue because it's a value that's just not easily found. Some people are using 5.84MHz crystals, part of me just wants to use a programmable oscillator. What's the right way to go? I guess whatever ends up working.

The last issue I see will be the SPST relay. There are a lot of 5V SPSTs out there but nobody seems to say which one they got that fits the board. I guess I'll just have to figure that out in time

Will this be doable by late-September? Probably, I just need to get ordering parts now. I'm going to go do that.

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Last Update: 07024-1515
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