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SLICE - A logic probe on steroids!

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    Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 9:10pm
Several forum members know I have been working on a tester for a long time, in fact its 3 years since I first started. It took over 12 months just to find suitable hardware that would be upto the task.
I have also posted the odd screen grab during its development when posting about repairs I have done.

SLICE is a passive system which has advantages in that it requires no circuit mods to be used and tests chips at the frequencies they are meant to be used at. The downside is that good connection needs to be achieved to each pin, so cleaning is sometimes required on especially dirty/corroded chips.

SLICE is not a magic wand but like all test equipment if it is used correctly it can greatly speed up the testing and repair of PCB’s containing TTL logic, ROM and RAM IC’s.

This a list of the current IC's that can be tested:
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS00          Quad NAND Gates (2 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS01          Quad NAND Gates (2 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS02          Quad NOR Gates (2 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS03          Quad NAND Gates (2 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS04          Hex Inverter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS05          Hex Inverter (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS06          Hex Inverter Driver (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS07          Driver (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS08          Quad AND Gates (2 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS09          Quad AND Gates (2 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS10          Triple NAND Gates (3 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS11          Triple AND Gates (3 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS12          Triple NAND Gates (3 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS13          Dual NAND Gates (Schmitt-Trigger) (4 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS14          Hex Inverter (Schmitt-Trigger) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS15          Triple AND Gates (3 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS19          Hex Inverter (Schmitt-Trigger) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS20          Dual NAND Gates (4 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS21          Dual AND Gates (4 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS25          Dual NOR Gates (4 Inputs & Strobe) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS26          Quad NAND Gates (2 Inputs, High Voltage) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS27          Triple NOR Gates (3 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS30          Single NAND Gate (8 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS32          Quad OR Gates (2 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS42          BCD Decimal Decoder (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS46          BCD To 7 Segment Decoder/Driver (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS55          Dual Quad AND Gates to OR Invert Gate (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS74        CLK     Dual D Flip Flops (Positive Edge Triggered) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS75          Quad Latch (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS83          4 Bit Binary Adder With Fast Carry (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS85          4 Bit Magnitude Comparator (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS86          Quad XOR Gates (2 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS90        CLK     Decade Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS92        CLK     Divide By 12 Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS93        CLK     Binary 4 Bit Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS97        CLK     Synchronous 6 Bit Binary Rate Multiplier (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS107        CLK     Dual JK Flip Flop (Negative Edge) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS109        CLK     Dual JK Flip Flop (Negative K, Positive Edge) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS112        CLK     Dual JK Master-Slave Flip Flop (Negative Edge) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS125          Quad Tri-State Buffer (Enable Active Low) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS126          Quad Tri-State Buffer (Enable Active High) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS132          Quad NAND Gates (2 Inputs) (Schmitt Trigger) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS133          Single NAND Gate (13 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS136          Quad XOR Gates (2 Inputs) (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS138          Single 1 of 8 Decoder / Demultiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS139          Dual 1 of 4 Decoder / Demultiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS145          BCD Decimal Decoder (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS147          10 Line to 4 Line Priority Encoder (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS148          8 Line to 3 Line Priority Encoder (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS151          8 Input Multiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS153          Dual 4 Input Multiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS155          Dual 1 of 4 Decoder / Demultiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS156          Dual 1 of 4 Decoder / Demultiplexer (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS157          Quad 2 Input Multiplexer (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS158          Quad 2 Input Multiplexer (Inverted Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS160        CLK     Presettable BCD Decade Counter (Asynchronous Reset) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS161        CLK     Presettable Binary Counter (Asynchronous Reset) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS162        CLK     Presettable BCD Decade Counter (Synchronous Reset) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS163        CLK     Presettable Binary Counter (Synchronous Reset) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS164        CLK     Serial-In Parallel-Out Shift Register (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS166        CLK     8 Bit Shift Register (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS169        CLK     Synchronous 4 Bit Up/Down Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS170          4x4 Register File (Open Collector) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS173        CLK     4 Bit D Type Register (Tri-State) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS174        CLK     Hex D Type Flip Flop (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS175        CLK     Quad D Type Flip Flop (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS190        CLK     Presettable Up/Down BCD/Decade Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS191        CLK     Presettable Up/Down Binary Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS193        CLK     Presettable Up/Down Binary Counter (Up/Down Clocks) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS194        CLK     4 Bit Bidirectional Shift Register (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS196        CLK     Presettable Decade Counter (Divide by 2 and 5) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS197        CLK     Presettable Binary Counter (Divide by 2 and 8) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS240          Octal Buffer (Tri-State) (Inverted Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS241          Octal Buffer (Inverted / Non-Inverted Enables) (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS244          Octal Buffer (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS245          Octal Bus Transceiver (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS251          8 Input Multiplexer (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS253          Dual 4 Input Multiplexer (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS257          Quad 2 Input Multiplexer (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS258          Quad 2 Input Multiplexer (Inverting Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS259          Octal Adressable Latch (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS260          Dual NOR Gates (5 Inputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS273        CLK     Octal D Type Flip Flop (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS279          Quad Set-Reset Latch (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS283          4 Bit Binary Full Adder With Carry (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS293        CLK     4 Bit Binary Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS298        CLK     Quad 2 Input Multiplexer With Storage (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS299        CLK     8 Bit Shift/Storage Register (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS353          Dual 4 Input Multiplexer (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS365          Hex Buffer Dual Common Enable (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS366          Hex Buffer Dual Common Enable (Inverting) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS367          Hex Buffer 4 Bit Plus 2 (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS368          Hex Buffer 4 Bit Plus 2 (Inverting) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS373          Octal Transparent Latch (Tri-State Outputs) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS374        CLK     Octal D Type FLip Flop (Tri-State Outputs) (v2)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS375          4 Bit Bistable Latch (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS377        CLK     Octal D Type FLip Flop (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS378        CLK     Parallel D Register with Common Enable (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS379        CLK     Quad Parallel D Register (With Q and Inverse Q Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS385        CLK     Quad Serial Adders/Subtractors (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS393        CLK     Dual 4 Stage Binary Counter (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS395        CLK     4 Bit Shift Register (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS399        CLK     Quad 2 Port Register (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS669        CLK     Synchronous 4 Bit Up/Down Counter (Low Power) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - 74LS670          4 x 4 Register File (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
TTL (20 Pin) - DP8304B          Octal Bus Transceiver (Tri-State Outputs) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 74LS89          64 Bit RAM (16 x 4) (Open Collector) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 74LS189          64 Bit RAM (16 x 4) (Tri-State) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 74LS201          256 Bit RAM (256 x 1) (Tri-State) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 74LS301          256 Bit RAM (256 x 1, Open Collector) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - IMS1420          4096 x 4 bit Static Ram (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 2102          1024 Bit RAM (1024 x 1, Tri-State) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 2111          256 x 4 bit Static Ram (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 2114          1024 x 4 bit Static Ram (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 2148          1024 x 4 bit Static Ram (Low Power) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - 2149          1024 x 4 bit Static Ram (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - HM2504          256 Bit RAM (256 x 1, Open Collector) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - HM2510          1024 Bit RAM (1024 x 1, Open Collector) (v1)
RAM (20 Pin) - HM2511          1024 Bit RAM (1024 x 1) (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S123          256 bit (32 x 8) PROM (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S129          1024 bit (256 x 4) PROM (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S131          2048 bit (512 x 4) PROM (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S135          2048 bit (256 x 8) PROM (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S137          4096 bit (1024 x 4) PROM (v1)
PROM (20 Pin) - 82S147          4096 bit (512 x 8) PROM (v1)

TTL (24 Pin) - 74LS150          16 Input Multiplexer (v1)
TTL (24 Pin) - 74LS154          4 Line to 16 Line Decoder / Demultiplexer (v1)
RAM (24 Pin) - 2101          1024 Bit RAM (256 x 4, Tri-State) (v1)
RAM (24 Pin) - 6116          2K x 8 SRAM (v1)
RAM (24 Pin) - 6810          128 x 8bit RAM (v1)
RAM (24 Pin) - 93422          1024 Bit RAM (256 x 4) (Tri-State) (v1)
PROM (24 Pin) - 2516          2K x 8 Eprom (v1)
PROM (24 Pin) - 2532          4K x 8 Eprom (v1)
PROM (24 Pin) - 2716          2K x 8 Eprom (v1)
PROM (24 Pin) - 2732          4K x 8 Eprom (v1)

The Good News
SLICE is now at a point where I feel happy to sell it for other people to use.

The BAD News
It's not cheap and will cost £465 including a single 20 pin 0.3" DIP clip.

Update #1
Picture of clip on a Centipede board A9:


Screen grab of SLICE program testing the A9 chip:


Screen grab of SLICE testing a 2114 ram on Centipede:


Screen grab of SLICE performing a Signature test on Centipede:



Update #2
Originally posted by Monstermug Monstermug wrote:

Does it have any circuit protection built-in?  In case you connect it to something with say 12v by mistake. 

Each pin has an external 100ohm precision resistor but this only gives a limited amount of protection. The maker of the FPGA unit states a 6v maximum and I have used it on a device with 7.5 by mistake and didn't cause any damage but I don't recommend using it on anything above 5.5v to be safe.

Originally posted by VectorGlow VectorGlow wrote:

Also, assuming that the pins on the tested chip are clean and making good contact, how is the SLICE regarding false positives/negatives?

Each pin has an Input Divider on it which can have its voltage biased to one of 4 levels. I use this to provide a Float check function which works fairly well for checking you have good pin contact and also in finding broken PCB traces. However, the Float check will not always catch poor contacts. The DIP Clips I use are so called Knife Edge ones, so I frequently rock the clip side to side on an IC with dirty pins to help the clip bite through the dirt.
Slice decode routines are quite strict, so it is very unlikely if not impossible to get a false positive result. Though some IC's have several parameters that can be modified to adjust their maximum timings which if set to crazy values will past most IC's!
The other possibility of course is that some pins have no activity in which case Slice is not able to check them fully. This is where the Cyclic sampling with Averaging turned on comes in as you can set the software to perform multiple cycles while adding the results from each cycle to the display. If this still fails to capture certain pins changing state you can then set one or more triggers on those pins just to be certain in case the cycling just happens to miss their activity.

The FPGA unit I use is a commercial one not made by me. It's not the most expensive one that can be bought but it is also far from the cheapest. It does the job though and it does it very well giving me data at 5ns intervals for upto 300ms, this means upto 60,000,000 data points.

SLICE is not real time, it works on a Sample, Download, Process cycle. The unit connects to a PC using a standard USB port and the PC should be running a version of Windows from XP through to Windows 10.

Edited by GadgetFreak - 06 Jun 2020 at 12:16pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Equites Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 9:25pm
Sounds great Aaron. I would be interested to know how it compares to a ABI Boardmaster 4000 for example.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hurray Banana Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 9:46pm
Great to see this project getting to a release point. will be interested
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Ace` Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 9:49pm
Oh nice it's finally happening, it would be great to see a video of this in action.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TheDaddy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 10:33pm
Be interesting to see pics and vids of this running.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flinnster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Oct 2019 at 11:07pm
Can I get a cerebral upgrade so I can justify spending £450 :)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GadgetFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 12:05am
Originally posted by Equites Equites wrote:

Sounds great Aaron. I would be interested to know how it compares to a ABI Boardmaster 4000 for example.

I've never used one, but from what I know it's an active system that actually drives the IC's to test them which I believes needs you to remove clock signals from the circuit under test.

To use SLICE you run the board up as normal and then use it live on the active pcb. It is a purely passive system that monitors the pins providing useful info and checking if the logic is correct. Much like hooking up 24 logic probes at the same time with intelligent analysis to check the IC is working correctly.

It also calculates clock frequencies on any clock pin, propagation delays on inputs to outputs, can read data that is accessed on ROM/PROM/RAM reads/writes and can also calculate HP style signatures on every pin of an IC at the same time. It does not work in real time. It goes through a collection, download & process cycle so the longest continuous data set is 300ms.
It also has a Project mode which allows you to group settings and results into Projects. This makes it easy to make reference projects of working boards which can then be used for comparing with faulty ones.

Originally posted by Flinnster Flinnster wrote:

Can I get a cerebral upgrade so I can justify spending £450 :)

I don't like the price point either, I would like it to be cheaper, but the hardware isn't cheap. It's reliable and accurate and allows me to get down to a 5ns sample period.

Edited by GadgetFreak - 05 Oct 2019 at 12:10am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flinnster Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 3:25am
Wasn't about the price actually, it was about me understanding what the hell I'm doing with it Big smile


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dj_yt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 7:07am
Will certainly be interested in this when released!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GadgetFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 11:00am
Updated first post with a few pics.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bonehead Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 11:11am
Come along to the Cambridge meet as I’m sure it will be in show here today for you all to see it works and have a go.
Wanted.,Qbert machine working or project.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote porchy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 11:38am
I can confirm it's a stunning bit of kit. Not really used it as much as I wanted at this moment due to free time etc, but when i have used it it's been amazing for me.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Purity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 12:08pm
Looks great.  I'm pretty sure I'd be interested in one
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mitchell Gant Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 12:10pm
Originally posted by porchy porchy wrote:

I can confirm it's a stunning bit of kit. Not really used it as much as I wanted at this moment due to free time etc, but when i have used it it's been amazing for me.

I can say exactly the same thing, amazing kit, wish I could have more time to really use it to its full potential.
Boy, is this a machine!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Monstermug Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 12:14pm
Definitely be interested in this.  Does it have any circuit protection built-in?  In case you connect it to something with say 12v by mistake. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VectorGlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 12:23pm
I'm definitely very interested in this, but can we have more photos of the hardware please? I'd like to see exactly what is included. Seeing the internals would be nice too (not to ascertain the build quality but, as a repairer, I like to see the guts as it were). Big smile

In short, more details required please.

Note: I used to have a 10259A Logic Comparator, but it got on my nerves with have to use different cards and settings for each chip tested. Presumably the SLICE is far easier to setup for each chip?

Also, assuming that the pins on the tested chip are clean and making good contact, how is the SLICE regarding false positives/negatives?



Edited by VectorGlow - 05 Oct 2019 at 12:28pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Nes4life Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 1:18pm
The 'internals' of SLICE is a FPGA. The magic of it is the amazing custom cables, clips and software that Aaron has made.

Hands down the best piece of arcade repair kit I've ever had or seen. Also, Aaron's support and communication has been awesome.

Testing a different chip is as easy as clicking with the mouse. Requires a windows machine or laptop to drive it. I got a £40 compact Dell thing on the forum and that's fine.

I sold my 10259A and HP signature analyzer and haven't missed them!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spectroman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 1:37pm
good news, interested in one
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote philmurr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 1:47pm
As a long-ish time user of Slice I have to agree with all the positive comments being made.

It won't fix boards for you, you still need to have an idea of what you're doing, but it makes fixing them so much simpler.  Also not just arcade boards, I've fixed a couple of drum machines too using it.

Aaron has been open to ideas for new features and has almost added chips on request to the list of what can be tested.  And his support has been excellent.

Really pleased to see it finally released, it is an awesome piece of test kit.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VectorGlow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2019 at 2:07pm
Originally posted by Nes4life Nes4life wrote:

The 'internals' of SLICE is a FPGA. The magic of it is the amazing custom cables, clips and software that Aaron has made.

Hands down the best piece of arcade repair kit I've ever had or seen. Also, Aaron's support and communication has been awesome.

Testing a different chip is as easy as clicking with the mouse. Requires a windows machine or laptop to drive it. I got a £40 compact Dell thing on the forum and that's fine.

I sold my 10259A and HP signature analyzer and haven't missed them!


Thanks for the detailed reply. How does it connect to a PC, via a USB3 port I guess?

It sounds really great but I'd still love to see more photos of it. Smile
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