VideoBrain Family Computer Model 101 - Semi-Forensic Photo Blowout!

warning: Creating default object from empty value in /home/buckman/public_html/neo/modules/advanced_forum/advanced_forum.module on line 492.
Bill Loguidice's picture

As followers of Armchair Arcade well know, I've been discussing the groundbreaking, but unsuccessful and rare, VideoBrain computer system, which was developed in 1977, for quite some time now, including most recently here, and of course initially here. As you may also know, I've recently combined my two VideoBrain computers into one working franken-unit, and, as a result, had an opportunity to photograph some of the system's more intimate details. What follows below are those photos. In the next Armchair Arcade TV episode, I'm covering Midnight Mutants for the Atari 7800, which will be followed by episodes on Teenage Driver for the Ohio Scientific computer, and coverage of the games and software for the VideoBrain (Midnight Mutants will hit first--I'm not sure which of the other two will follow right after). You'll see in one of the VideoBrain photos below a game variation in the Gladiator game, which, for 1977, might have one of the most impressive in-game special effects I know of for the time. In any case, enjoy these photos, and don't forget to click through any you want to super-size:

The main board, with the top metal shielding removed. The cartridge connector attaches where the two white bars are:
IMG_4711
IMG_4712

The underside of the main board shielding. Note the RF unit in the lower left, which provides an amazingly clear picture:
IMG_4713

The bottom of the plastic case:
IMG_4714
IMG_4715

I'm not sure what function this serves, but this works in conjunction with the main board and is some type of sub-unit that is found on the side of the system (EDIT: Lance Squire suggests it may be the power regulator and fuse panel):
IMG_4717
IMG_4718
IMG_4719
IMG_4720

The side panels (you only need two). Oddly enough, while the main system casing is a slick black, these side panels are a rough brown:
IMG_4721

This is the top underside of the unit. The cartridge port is pictured up top, with the loose cartridge connector with two broken off pins on top of it. Note the four controller ports in the lower left. The separate panel pictured at the very bottom has the power supply connector on the far right, followed by the Channel 3/4 switch and expansion port as you move left:
IMG_4722
IMG_4723
IMG_4724

The top side of the unit, showing the broken keyboard and cartridge door opened, with the green cartridge connector, loose. The separate panel pictured at the very bottom has the power supply connector on the far right, followed by the Channel 3/4 switch and expansion port as you move left:
IMG_4725

The main board with the shielding removed:
IMG_4750

The system box, which you've seen before:
IMG_4734
IMG_4740

The software, expansion unit, and a joystick:
IMG_4735

A closer look at the ultra-rare Expander 1. I will be testing the working condition of this soon with the Money Minder cartridge. If it works, I'll try to have it shipped out to be reverse engineered.
IMG_4736
(note the joystick without the plastic shaft screwed on)
IMG_4737
IMG_4738
The Money Minder cartridge in its large box:
IMG_4739

The working unit, prior to putting the side panels on and tightening all the screws:
IMG_4727
IMG_4728
(note the Gladiator cartridge in the cartridge slot)
IMG_4729
IMG_4730
IMG_4731
IMG_4732
IMG_4733

The working unit, just prior to putting the side panels back on:
IMG_4741
IMG_4742

The side panels are now on:
IMG_4743

With the bottom of the case assembled:
IMG_4744
IMG_4745
IMG_4746

It's alive! (Gladiator is running):
IMG_4747

A close-up of the Gladiator game variation involving spaceships (not actual gladiators like in the main game), with the cool special effect I was referring to (I will of course have direct feed video when I cover this on Armchair Arcade TV):
IMG_4748

The full album is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/loguidice/sets/72157624767088544/with/49106...

My VideoBrain inventory consists of the following, boxed complete:
- VideoBrain Family Computer 101 (including all documentation, two joysticks, power supply and RF adapter)
- Gladiator (EN01)
- Music Teacher 1 (ED01)
- Wordwise 1 (ED03)
- Money Minder (VB-1000)
- Pinball (EN02)

I have the following loose:
- VideoBrain computer (broken, no power supply)
- 1 joystick with missing plastic screw-on shaft
- Expander 1
- Checkers (EN04)
- Checker (EN04)

Comments

Dwight (not verified)
videobrain Expander 1

Hi Bill
Did you ever get a schematic for the Expander 1?
I'm up and running with a VB and I'm looking to tinker with
it some.
Dwight

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Offline
Joined: 12/31/1969
Yes

Dwight wrote:
Hi Bill
Did you ever get a schematic for the Expander 1?
I'm up and running with a VB and I'm looking to tinker with
it some.
Dwight

Shoot me an email, Dwight, and I'll send you what was dumped and documented.

n/a

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.