AY-3-8500

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The AY-3-8500 "Ball & Paddle" integrated circuit was the first in a series of ICs from General Instrument designed for the consumer video game market. These chips were designed to output video to an RF modulator, which would then display the game on a domestic television set. The AY-3-8500 contained six selectable games — tennis (a.k.a. Pong), soccer, squash, practice, and two rifle shooting games. The AY-3-8500 was the 625-line PAL version and the AY-3-8500-1 was the 525-line NTSC version. It was introduced in 1976, Coleco becoming the first customer having been introduced to the IC development by Ralph H. Baer.[1] A minimum number of external components were needed to build a complete system.

AY-3-8500 chip

The AY-3-8500 was the first version. It played seven Pong variations. The video was in black-and-white, although it was possible to colorize the game by using an additional chip, such as the AY-3-8515.

Games[edit]

Six selectable games for one or two players were included:

Game Number of players
Tennis 2
Soccer 2
Squash 2
Practice 1
Rifle game 1 1
Rifle game 2 2

In addition, a seventh undocumented game could be played when none of the previous six was selected: Handicap, a soccer variant where the player on the right has a third paddle. This game was implemented on very few systems.

Usage[edit]

The AY-3-8500 was designed to be powered by six 1.5 V cells (9 V). Its specified operation is at 6...7 V and a maximum of 12 V instead of the 5 V standard for logic. The nominal clock was 2.0 MHz, yielding a 500 ns pixel width. One way to generate such a clock is to divide a 14.31818 MHz 4×colorburst clock by 7, producing 2.04545 MHz. It featured independent video outputs for left player, right player, ball, and playground+counter, that were summed using resistors, allowing designers to use a different luminance for each one. It was housed in a standard 28-pin DIP.

AY-3-8500 pinout.png

Applications[edit]

Some of the dedicated consoles employing the AY-3-8500 (there are at least two hundred different consoles using this chip[2]):

AY-3-8550[edit]

The AY-3-8550 was the next chip released by General Instruments. It featured horizontal player motion, and a composite video output. It was pin compatible with the AY-3-8500. It needed an additional AY-3-8515 chip to output video in color.

Games[edit]

Six selectable games for one or two players were included:

Game Number of players
Tennis 2
Soccer 2
Squash 2
Practice 1
Rifle game 1 1
Rifle game 2 2

Usage[edit]

The AY-3-8550 used the No Connect pins from the AY-3-8500, so it was possible to put an AY-3-8550 on an AY-3-8500 (without horizontal movement), and vice versa.

AY-3-8550 pinout.png

Application[edit]

This is a list of consoles that use this chip:

  • Tele-Spiel ES 2208 Las Vegas

AY-3-8610[edit]

AY-3-8610 chip from 1980

The AY-3-8610 was a major update from General Instruments. It played more games (10),[3] like basketball or hockey, with more graphics quality. It was nicknamed "Superstar" by GI. It was in black and white, although it's possible to add colour by using an additional AY-3-8615 chip.

Before the 8610, had been produced the AY-3-8600. The pin configuration was the same of 8610 but it had ony 8 games; it didn't have the two rifle/target games.

Games[edit]

AY-3-8610 Hockey game
AY-3-8610 Tennis game
AY-3-8610 Gridball game
Hockey, tennis and gridball games on an AY-3-8610 based game cartridge

The 10 selectable games for this chip included:

Game Number of players
Tennis 2
Hockey 2
Soccer 2
Squash 2
Practice 1
Gridball 1
Basketball 2
Basketball practice 1
Two player target 2
Single player target 1

Usage[edit]

The AY-3-8610 featured a completely different pinout. It, too, required an external crystal oscillator. It still has separate video output pins, and the dedicated sync pin is now gone.

AY-3-8610 pinout

The inside of an AY-3-8610 based game cartridge. The console for which this was made accepted other cartridges. However, unlike modern consoles, the game chip, i.e. the core circuitry, was in the cartridge, not in the console.

Application[edit]

This is a list of consoles that use the AY-3-8610:[2]

Some consoles that use the AY-3-8600 chip:[2]

Derivatives[edit]

Atari console Stunt Cycle based on AY-3-8760
chip Year Derived from DIP Console Note
AY-3-8510 1978 AY-3-8500 16 pin Coleco Telstar Colortron Four of six games of 8500 (no rifle/target games), with full colors
AY-3-8512 197? AY-3-8500 16 pin Coleco Telstar Marksman The same of 8500 but with colors
AY-3-8700
AY-3-8710
1978 28 pin[3] Coleco Telstar Combat!
PC-50x
Four combat games with tanks, 2 players
AY-3-8603 1978 PC-50x Car race with vertical view. The car accelerate and the player must avoid collisions. 1 or 2 players
AY-3-8605 1978 PC-50x Three games: a ship must fire torpedos to hit submarines
AY-3-8606 1978 PC-50x 10 breakout games. 1 or 2 players
AY-3-8760
(8765 PAL)
1978 Atari Stunt Cycle
Sears Motocross
PC-50x
Motor-Cycle. Three game levels. A motorbike must jump over different objects (bus, etc.)
AY-3-8607 1978 PC-50x 4 games with an optical rifle. More than one difficult level
AY-3-8750 1978 Superspace. Space battle for two players
  • An equivalent to the AY-3-8500 is the TMS1965NLA manufactured by Texas Instruments.
  • The Soviet K145IK17 has built-in counter, making it possible to use momentary pushbutton instead of multi-position switch to select games. Handicap game is not hidden, it can be chosen among others using this button. Since pushbutton occupies only one pin, this IC has less pins.
  • A competitor was the National Semiconductor MM57105.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.pong-story.com/coleco.htm The Coleco Telstar story
  2. ^ a b c http://www.pong-story.com/mypongs.htm List of first era consoles
  3. ^ a b http://www.pong-story.com/GIMINI1978.pdf Gimini - TV Game Circuits

External links[edit]