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Oliver's Replacement Playchoice BIOS
I recently purchased a Playchoice Track & Field PCB that I found, to my dismay, was missing the RPH05 security chip, rendering the board useless. This isn't the first time something like this happen to me. During a time of extensive NES chip testing, I was less than careful removing and installing the EPROMS chips. Long story short, I damaged the security chips in two Baseball PCBs.
For those who don't know, Playchoice PCBs will not work if either the RPH05 security chip or 2764 menu/ID EPROM chip are missing or damaged - the game won't appear on the menu screen, making it impossible to access the game.
What should you do if something like this happens to you?
Seems like a no-brainer to me.
(Why not replace just the security chip? From what I've learned on the Internet, the chip can't be read or written to by typical burners making replacement not an option. If anyone has had different information, please let me know.)
From what I can tell from the Internet, Oliver Achten wrote a replacement BIOS for the Playchoice motherboard while creating a system to allow NES cartidages to interface with the Playchoice system. (See Kane's Playchoice Tribute site for detailed information.) I'm not sure if Oliver intended for this BIOS to help damaged PCBs, but it works like a charm.
How it Works
What this BIOS does is replace the standard Playchoice game menu with a custom menu that bypasses the built-in game PCB security chips. This means that game PCBs with missing or damaged security and menu chips will work good as new.
Pressing the channel select button randomly rotates through the PCB game channels and automatically loads them.
How to Install
Pros and Cons
As with any solution, there are pros and cons. On the plus side, your broken games will work. You won't have to throw them away.
On the minus side, if you're a Playchoice purist, you won't like not being able to see the menu and game descriptions. In addition, pressing the channel select button randomly selects a game. As far as I can tell, it is not possible to rotate sequentially through the games.
However, if you typically use NES converted games, the menu screen does not accurately reflect the games in your system anyway. You probably have a white board or something else to note the placement of the games, so not seeing the menu might actually make game selection less confusing.
You make the call.
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