[abc80] Super Smartaid Cartridge

Anders Sandahl anders at abc80.net
Sön Apr 14 13:11:08 PDT 2019


Pictures of the boards:

I also locked after strings in the ROM's but couldn't find any. I also
guessed that they swapped some bits around. When I took the pictures I
realized some things:

1. The board with the sticker "smartaid magnum", looks a lot like a
prototype to me. The circuits are not sanded of, it has this handwritten
label, patch cables (well that was common even on released products) and
it has bigger ROM's. One IC also sits on the top on another one.

2. The "magnum" board seams to use the PCB layout from the "super". This 
makes me to suspect that most of the IC's are the same. And those where
not sanded of...

The supersmartaid worked fine last time I tested it (like 15-years ago).
Now I opened it to remove the NiCd battery that normally sits in the hole
of the board. I have never tried the smartaid magnum, I'll try to do that
during the Easter hollidays.

I took one image of the supersmartaid without the socketed IC's so it's
possible to some extent see the traces under them.


>    Hi,     I tried to emulate this in MAME, but there doesn't seem to
> be any ASCII strings in the ROMs.  Could it be that address/data lines
> are swapped around on the PCB for copy protection?  Is it possible to
> get a picture of the PCB?      Sent: Friday, April 05, 2019 at 9:21 PM
>  From: "Anders Sandahl"
>  To: "Mikkel Christensen" , "Peter Bortas"
>  Cc: abc80
>  Subject: Re: [abc80] Super Smartaid Cartridge  Hi,
>  I have a number of different smartaid´s lying on my work bench size
>  forever. I should have answered this earlier to with some of my
>  experiences of those. I have also noticed that all IC's where sanded
> off.
>  I guess that this is some protection against making of copies...
>  Then I had some memory of that I actually dumped some PROM's. So I
> started
>  to look for the files. When I found them I realized that I actually had
>  published them! You can find the dumps in the archive:
>  https://www.abc80.net/archive/luxor/Prom/fw/super-smart-aid/
>  The battery is there since the module contained a real time clock. It
> also
>  have a 2K CMOS RAM that is backed up.
>  When it comes tho the keyboards I have the same experience as Peter.
>  Hope it helps.
>  /Anders
>  > Hi Mikkel,
>  >
>  > On Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 2:46 PM Mikkel Christensen
>  > wrote:
>  >> My name is Mike, i run this small YouTube channel where i restore old
>  >> computers, and currently im workin on an ABC 80!
>  >
>  > Nice videos. As an aside, that keyboard might very well have been
>  > working when the seller sent it. 100% of the Keytronics keyboards of
>  > that generation is deteriorated to the point where they might work
>  > when you take them down from the attic, but the foam doesn't really
>  > stand up to transport. And since it was some discussion of if the
>  > contacts where of the inductive or shorting type: They are inductive.
>  > It might look like they conduct, but unless they have been damaged the
>  > little foil bit that touches the keyboard has a see through isolating
>  > layer at the bottom.
>  >
>  >> Mine has this "Super Smartaid" catridge which is giving some problem,
>  >> se the next 10 seconds of this video for the symptoms:
>  >>
>  >> https://youtu.be/H6KNZi3cBZ8?t=94
>  >>
>  >> I have taken it apart and discovered a leaked battery, which i plan to
>  >> replace and to clean the board this next weekend.
>  >
>  > For a leaking battery damage that looks pretty good. Here's hoping
>  > there's no hidden damage!
>  >
>  >> But i also tried to look around for schematics, rom images or
>  >> information about the circuit in case my beforementioned attempt does
>  >> not work. But it looks like the silkscreen has been sanded of the
>  >> integrated circuits, and i have had no luck whatsoever finding
> anything
>  >> about this cartdrige.
>  >>
>  >> Can any of you lend me a hand?
>  >
>  > Let's see what we can do. You probably know step 0: Put some black
>  > electricians tape over those EPROM windows before they die from
>  > exposure. No Super Smartaid ROMs are listed in Mame, so it would be
>  > great if you could dump them so we can get them emulated and saved for
>  > the future.
>  >
>  > That cartridge seems to be a a number of pretty neat convenience
>  > extensions to Basic, you can find the manual here:
>  > https://www.abc80.net/archive/luxor/ABC80/Owoco-super-smartaid.pdf.
>  > Let me know if you need help with any of the Swedish.
>  >
>  > Those ICs with sanded text is very likely to be dead simple LS74
>  > address decoding stuff. Why anyone would sand them while keeping the
>  > text on the RAM is beyond me. The battery seems to be a backup of
>  > settings, and the manual describes situations where the settings RAM
>  > can get corrupted and make the machine unusable. It has the reset
>  > procedure to fix that described under "RESERVUTGÅNG".
>  >
>  > The manual also says that version 2 (which you have according to the
>  > startup screen) will abort all programs after 8 * Ctrl-C. So that
>  > might also be something to try when you get that strange startup
>  > behavior.
>  >
>  > Best of luck, and keep us updated!
>  >
>  > Regards,
>  > --
>  > Peter Bortas
>  >
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