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Cheap Arduino RAM Tester (CART): Join in!

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Judder View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Cheap Arduino RAM Tester (CART): Join in!
    Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 3:45pm
So Porchy and I have been quietly building (over email and GitHub) an Arduino based RAM tester to test all of the RAM we have in games that aren't supported by current modern day RAM testers such as the MiniPro for example

1. 93422

First up is the 93422 RAM used in Bally / Midway games such as Tron which I wanted to test as I was getting a RAM error from my Primary board set. The tester clears and fills all of the memory and then tests it by reading back to ensure that read and write are working successfully

There's a prototype of the wiring and layout here



And the code to run the tester is on my GitHub account here


2. 4116

Next up is the 4116 RAM used in Williams games such as Defender and Joust (and the lower 16K of the ZX Spectrum)

This is more tricky as the RAM chips required +12V and -5V as well as the standard +5V so I'm using the Vin line on the Arduino combined with a +12V transformer to give the RAM the +12V needed, and a MAX1044 DIP-8 integrated circuit as the voltage converter to take the Arduino's +5V and turn it into the required -5V

This isn't quite finished yet, but when it is it should prove super handy as the 4116 memory is _always_ dying

So feel free to fork the code, have a play around, join in as you fancy and hope it proves useful to others

Alex (Judder) and Jon (Porchy)


Edited by Judder - 26 Jan 2017 at 3:46pm
http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hurray Banana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 4:20pm
great project guys
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote edget2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 4:44pm
Arduino & Raspberry Pi open up so many possibilities for creating your own test equipment. I need to investigate more, shame work takes up so much of my time Angry

Nice Project....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ColinD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 6:30pm
If its of any help, I can share my designspark arduino wing design for the slap tester that can easily be modified to fit saving some time.   Its the power pins that might vary as you are aware.



I'm also working on a 40 pin version to use with the mega (to test a couple of atari customs) not all pins hooked up yet , so this will be very useful and happy to share/helpl..... Just need to work out how to sort the power options on various pins...  Its probably viable to fit some surface mount jumper strips on the top side to jumper in power and ground.



For stand alone operation, you could have a set of dip swiches to set the device to test and have a neo pixel or two for feedback.....

I used one on my latest version of the slap tester and it works well...  it fitted with just a couple of track mods to the pcb which was lucky !!






Edited by ColinD - 26 Jan 2017 at 7:06pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote philmurr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 7:09pm
Excellent combined effort everyone, look forward to having a look at this
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RGP Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 7:21pm
I was just going to say:

GET COLIN ON BOARD!


And there he was!

I want in on this as RAM testing is a pain, you don't want to know how I test certain chips.

There's an all-in-one that was out a couple of years ago on eBay but it couldn't do 4116's.

I'm sure we can bump heads together and refine the voltage supply circuit and take it to another step of auto-assigning pins.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 7:40pm
Awesome everyone and Colin - yes to get the shield schematic would be fantastic please too Big smile

I've also just noticed (funnily when rummaging around in the shed for more memory to test) that it looks like the 93422 is pin compatible with the slightly larger in width PCD5101 which is used on Williams Defender and therefore I would imagine further Williams games

So that's another one covered for free (the Data lines are number 1-4 rather than 0-3 but that should make no difference)

I have a whole two tubes of those to test so that's a winner too if we do like Colin did and put a full width ZIF with slim centre on the testing shield

93422



PCD5101


http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Muppz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2017 at 10:08pm
Interesting project.

How are you guys proving the access times?, I've looked at the code and it just seems to be bit banging without any defined timing (but i'm no expert in Arduino sketches).

Also remember 4116,4164 are dynamic ram so its not just weird voltages you also need to consider providing refresh for data retention testing.

Cheers

Muppz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 10:24am
Originally posted by Muppz Muppz wrote:

How are you guys proving the access times?

Good point

To be honest with you, I looked at it, but decided that the code in the Arduino just isn't fast enough to need it at this point

The data sheet for the 93422 shows the Write Pulse Width to Guarantee Writing as 30ns (nano seconds) in standard format and 25ns in the A format, and 35ns and 45ns access time respectively

We could easily add some timing code to the routines, and it may well be a good thing to do so too so open to suggestions or code contributions, absolutely Clap

[added]Just to add that the smallest timing unit that the Arduino code can natively deal with is a Microsecond and seeing as the updates on the RAM are max 45/1000 of a Microsecond, delaying 1 Microsecond per read / write should definitely be enough if we ever need it[/added]


Edited by Judder - 27 Jan 2017 at 11:12am
http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ColinD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2017 at 7:40pm
I'm not sure how fast the 8 bit cpu's run, yes they clock at 16mhz or so.... but not sure how many clocks are needed per instruction cycle now.  The port writes will take a few instruction cycles anyway, but it is possible to gain direct control of each port to do up to 8 bit parallel reads/writes (although its not recommended for compatibility etc).

You may be able to resfresh portions of the chip and test each I'm no expert...  I've never delved into Dynamic Ram and the refresh is the tricky part as Muppz rightly comments on.

There's no harm bit banging data and addresses setting chip selects and pulsing writes etc (and this is what I did with the slapstic tester)....  You can use a few gates external  to produce short pulses if that's required using a race condition / propagation delay to generate a 'glitch pulse' of suitable length.

It may also be possible to use one of the cheap cpld's available with a faster clock, set to refresh / read write etc and control that with the ardiono.

Static Ram should prove easy enough to test though but not a super high data rates...  it should be enough to find any really bad cells or outputs but might not detect stuff that's on the edge and starting to fail....

To test how fast you can run..... Maybe run a loop to set each output one at a time to 1 (say 8) and then clear them one at a time..... and repeat....  watch one of the lines on a scope of frequency counter and that will give you an idea if max speeds.   

Judder please drop me your email address and I'll send what I've got...  The PCB Factories are on holidays at the moment so might take a while to get some cheap test wings made....  I'm going to try PCBWAY next as a friend is using them and they are fast if you pay for dhl.

Cheers, Col 









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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ColinD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 Feb 2017 at 8:19pm
Going to run a few of these off as need some of these to do some chip tests and diagnostics.....so will have extra's left and will be about £5 or so posted each.....  Will take a Zif socket and some Neo Pixels for fun :-)  

All the pins go to I/O's and you can patch power pins with links if extra supply current is required, but don't try to drive the patched pins !!

It's deliberately cheap and nasty, but that's all you need sometimes to get the job done !





Edited by ColinD - 02 Feb 2017 at 8:35pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 Feb 2017 at 7:30pm
Originally posted by ColinD ColinD wrote:

Going to run a few of these off as need some of these to do some chip tests and diagnostics.....so will have extra's left and will be about £5 or so posted each.....  Will take a Zif socket and some Neo Pixels for fun :-)

Awesome Colin and apologies for the delayed reply!

Count me in for a couple of these and yes as you say if it gets the job done (like it did to test my Tron) then that's often all you need Clap


Edited by Judder - 09 Feb 2017 at 10:48pm
http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ColinD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Feb 2017 at 7:16pm
Happy to help....  Yes they are quick and dirty indeed and don't need to be too elegant for a quick test lash up !!  - We can always improve this if required too with a little help / input to suit  ;-)

Boards arrived.... just under 7 days !! - I had 10 made along with some other parts.

Judder, please send me you address and I'll pop em in the post for you free.

I can spare 4 more of these for the time being.... so £5 each + postage which helps covers the dhl shipping.

I'll order some more in the future if these prove useful.

I hope to recieve the Neo Pixel LED's in the near future... bought 100 of the beasties !!

Thanks, Colin








Edited by ColinD - 14 Feb 2017 at 9:37pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 3:12pm
Excellent Colin!

I can adjust the code to use your new pinouts on the Arduino Mega Shield no problems

I originally wrote it for the fairly limited Arudino Uno and had to squeeze every last available port available to make it work so this should be a breeze Big smile

Jon had implemented bank switching for A and B pin banks in his original sketches so we might be able to gain some speed re-implementing that again

I also have a version of the Robert Floyd Sampling Algorithm implemented which means we can psuedo randomly test all of the address registers in the RAM rather than just the linear March testing at the moment

It's not as good as proper Neighbourhood Pattern Sensitive Fault (NPSF) testing, but we can probably implement that at a later date

Will PM you too about the boards - a very cool offer Thumbs Up


Edited by Judder - 15 Feb 2017 at 3:12pm
http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote david_orton_2000 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 5:00pm
Great work all!!!!
Nice simple RAM tester....excellent!!! :-)

Cheers,
DaveO.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GameOn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 5:05pm
Sounds a great project, I had a load of 4116 RAM chips donated to me so I would love to be able to test them.

Other chips I would like to able to test include the 4164, 2107 and the 2148.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 Feb 2017 at 5:33pm
4164 are very similar to 4116 and in fact most Williams owners (like me) swap out the 4116 which require multi-voltages and upgrade to 4164s

Here's a summary of a number of different approaches people have taken to this, just in case you fancy some reading Big smile


If you want to post up the datasheets for any others you would like to add, and double check they aren't supported by things like the MiniPro, then we can add them to the road map

Also, if anyone wants to have a look at the Floyd Algorithm stuff that's now in the GitHub repo

http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ColinD Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Feb 2017 at 10:58pm
I've got this dumping the Atari Sys1 Syngen Chip outputs, so should be able to compare to the repro soon !!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nes4life Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Feb 2017 at 6:23am
I'd like one if still available please
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Judder Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 May 2017 at 6:15pm
Hi everyone

Excuse the radio silence on this one - Easter and life got in the way but I'm back on it now

Col has done some great work with his shield prototype board and I've started getting mine built today - a few photos of work so far below

Col has included some funky surface mounted lights which I need to add, and Col I'll send you a PM as I need to double check about the surface mounted resistors!

Will updated as I get more progress

Alex




http://www.thedefenderproject.com/
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