Asteroids

  • Manufacturer: Atari / F.lli Bertolino
  • Year: 1979

Useful info

  • Cabinet type: Upright
  • Measures (WxHxD): 64,0 x 196,5 x 78,8 cm
  • Working voltage: 220V
  • Maximum consumption: 111,0W 0,655A
  • Technology: Horizontal B/W vector monitor

Asteroids is one of the most famous video games in history. Created by Lyle Rains, designed and programmed by Ed Logg, it consists of control a small triangular spaceship that can move freely in space trying to survive to the asteroids and some enemy spaceships. Once hit, an asteroid, it splits into smaller but deadly parts. The level closes when even the smallest fragment is disintegrated. Subsequent levels increase the difficulty of playing with faster and more asteroids and more frequent enemy spaceships. The game is in black and white vector graphics and in its graphic simplicity is extraordinarily playable and interactive. Last note: it is considered the first video game in history where the player who reached one of the displayed records could save his initials (first three letters); actually it’s not true because an Italian video game implemented it first, but this is another story…

This game was manufactured in Italy in 1980 by the company “F.lli Bertolino” of Turin, concession holder of the Atari for Italy and Europe (although for Europe it was not exclusive). Thecabinet is identical to its US brother and it is in excellent condition.

Love at first sight

2 April 2014

I picked up this cab the first time I visited my favorite German family ūüôā Actually I didn’t make any work in this cabinet, just a minor issue to the PCB after a couple of parties…. ¬†

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids



vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids asteroids08

Inside

2 April 2014

This cabinet was complete so pictures are for reference only.

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

PCB

2 April 2014

Here some pictures of the original PCB

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

Troubleshooting PCB – Wrong letter

2 April 2014
Nov, 11st 2007: the first letter of each line is wrong: 7483 in M5 (vector timer circuit)  

Troubleshooting PCB – Part 1

7 February 2017

I m repairing a spare Astetoids PCB and this is what I see on my scope  

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

Troubleshooting PCB – Part 2

9 February 2017

Checking the counters I found a faulty 74191 in D9. Replacing it I can see something better:

vernimark arcades - Asteroids
but the vectors seem to be “sampled” vertically. After a fast look I found pin 19 and 20 shorted of 74374 in B10 position. This is the situation now:

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

There are 2 problems:

  1. 25% of the screen is not used
  2. all labels are corrupted

the next picture shows better the problems  

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

Troubleshooting PCB – Part 3

10 February 2017

Ok, I spent a bit of time to understand what happened. I could solve the problem number 1, now all the screen is used. I just replaced a 74191 in F9 position. UNMDACY11 was always low.  

vernimark arcades - Asteroids  
Now I’ve one problem only. The game starts, the TEST doesn’t show anything wrong but what I see is very strange. All DIP SWITCHES were in¬†the same position so the language is SPANISH with 2¬†COINS PER 1¬†GAMES. As you can see the problem affects some asteroids (just one on the left ) and the alphanumeric messages. ¬†

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

zoomed “2 FICHAS 1 JUEGO”

vernimark arcades - Asteroids

as you can see the message moves downwards and “ASTEROIDS BY ATARI” is not shown. I’m quite blocked now because I checked all Y circuits from the output to the VECTOR ADDRESS COUNTERS… ROMs have been checked and vector RAMs replaced.

Troubleshooting PCB – Part 4

14 February 2017

Problem solved.

After checking  (as suggested in the VECTORLIST) the Vector Timer Circuit, with a particular attention to 74LS83 ( four-bit adder) at location M, I expanded my research to all the data flow from the ROMs to the XY Position counters. Everything seemed to be ok but paying attention to the scope I could see signal LOAD6  was different from other LOAD* signals. Replacing 74367 at locatio H6 the problem was solved.

 

A new base

26 December 2020

After years I noticed that the base of the game was showing signs of sagging…

vernimark arcades - Atari Asteroids
I used a new panel with plastic profiles and new reels. Then just a bit of vinyl glue and some screws 

That’s all.