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I picked up four of these (what I assume are) ROM cartridges for a console, in a Thai second hand market in Bangkok.

None of them have casings:

K-105 and 9503 - Front

K-105 and 9503 - Rear

K-105 and 9507 - Front

K-105 and 9507 - Rear

5458A - Front

5458A - Rear

All four modules

There are three different types, distinguished by the etching on the IC:

  1. ‘K-105’ and ‘9503’
  2. ‘K-105’ and ‘9507’
  3. ‘5458A’

All modules have 23 contacts on both sides.

Both the ‘5458A’ and ‘9507’ have a crystal, which could be 32 kHz, judging by the size of it.

There are two ‘9503’ modules, and neither of which have a crystal - whether this is intentional or not, I don't know. Maybe the crystal was removed, but it would seem to be a coincidence that it was removed from both.

  • What are they?
  • What console, or device, are they for?
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  • I did find some hits for the parts numbers in a Ricoh Copier parts catalog (yumpu.com/en/document/view/25345335/…) but the thing is huge and I cannot search it online and you have to make an account to download the document. Feb 11 at 15:01
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    Opening the document, there is a working online search box in the bottom right of the document page... which brings up nothing at all searching for K-105, 8507, and 5458A. There are four hits... a colour chart and a x20 scope, both for 9503, so totally unrelated I'm afraid. Feb 11 at 15:12
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    According to this site (obscuregamers.com/threads/…) the 5458A is a cloned DSP-1 sometimes used in bootleg SNES cartridges. Feb 11 at 15:42
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    Same image but bigger Feb 11 at 16:01
  • The boards seems to be ok, but the soldering seems unprofesional, of poor quality. The probably didnt have the right tools?
    – Stefan
    Feb 11 at 17:43
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Just some guesses

  • The boards seems to be identical
  • Most definite 8 Bit
  • Looks quite like ROM modules made for large quantity production
  • Bend chip pins indicate savings down to the last sup penny.
  • With 28 pins they're maximum 32 KiB EPROM or 64 KiB ROM
  • If these numbers (9503, 9507) are manufacturing dates (the only identifiable TTL supporting this), then it's rather late for 8 bit machines.
  • Cheap Chinese clones would of Japanese systems would fit that time frame
  • The contour with the main 23 contact looks quite like a Super Famicom/SNES
  • The additional edges (without contacts) visible on bord #3 fit the shape for Super-Famicom

Similarities with SNES cartridges:

  • SNES cartridges have 2x23 connectors
  • SNES cartridges have GND on the leftmost contact on both sides
  • SNES cartridges have VCC on the rightmost contact on both sides
  • SNES cartridges have A14 on the upper 4th contact; A 14 is on Pin 27 of a 256 or 512 KiBit ROM - both clearly connected here
  • SNES cartridges have D0.. D3 on the lower contacts position 6-9 from the right
  • SNES cartridges have D4.. D7 on the upper contacts position 6-9 from the right

Differences from (genuine) SNES:

  • Nintendo only used 32 and36 pin ROMs

So my primary guess would be these are SNES compatible cartridges made as cheap as possible, probably Chinese clones.

Now that crystal puzzles me a bit. While the 74HCT04 may be used as an oscilator - and having the crystal across the first inverter makes it look like, I have no idea whet it is good for without seeing were the output leads to. It might be a good idea to unsolder the chips from one of the boards to capture all traces. This would as well reveal the remaining circuit around ROM and edge connector.

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  • What puzzles me is the fact that clearly through-hole components have been used on the component side, but they seem to have been surface-mounted (i.e. the ROM and TTL ICs have no pins sticking through the PCB). They’re also in bad shape with lots of corrosion.
    – StarCat
    Feb 11 at 7:16
  • @StarCat They seem to be hand-soldered (I can't imagine a process that would be able to handle this weird hybrid of THT and SMD, plus there seems to be lots of flux residue near the pins). My theory is that someone got their hands on cheap THT versions of the ICs by the time they were being phased out in favour of SMD, and then decided it was worthwhile to have the legs of the ICs chopped off and the components surface-mounted by hand. That, or somebody messed up and accidentally routed the traces on the wrong side of the PCB, and then decided to fix it this way instead of redoing the PCBs.:-)
    – TooTea
    Feb 11 at 13:24
  • (The second theory is a joke. The PCB isn't drilled where the pins should be, so it was designed for surface mounting from the start. But then it IS drilled under the real SMD parts…)
    – TooTea
    Feb 11 at 13:26
  • I looked at the pinout as well, and I think you're right. Upvoted.
    – Thomas
    Feb 11 at 16:17
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    @StarCat While these may be hand soldered - or later on screwed with - the technology of bend pins has been used in regular production. It's a cost reduction measure, as it saves drilling a hole per bent pin. There were even special tools to automatic bend pins in shape.
    – Raffzahn
    Feb 11 at 16:33
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So I couldn't find much, but here it is.

The Phillips PC74HCT04P is apparently a TTL Hex Inverter, not sure how much help that is.

I also found this post, which claims that the 5458A is a cloned DSP-1, and that it is used in bootleg SNES cartridges. It has this picture:

BootlegCarts.jpg

For posterity, here is that post's text:

Here are some examples of bootleg carts from back in the day, with cloned CICs

(BootlegCarts.jpg)

The one on the left is a surprisingly good quality bootleg copy of Mario Kart - the board seems to be electrically a 1:1 clone of the SHVC-1K1B board that the real Mario Kart used - the CIC is the chip marked "TEN-E" at the bottom and the chip marked 5458A is a cloned DSP-1.

The board at the top right is a bootleg of Super Street Fighter II - the CIC here is the chip marked "CIVIC 74LS11" - which seems a strange choice since a real 74LS11 (which is a triple 3-input AND gate) is in a 14 pin package and not 16 - it's also using a 16 bit ROM which is why it needs the pair of 'LS257 multiplexers to select which byte to send to the console. Although the board has space for decoupling caps, they haven't been installed.

Both of these are running exact 1:1 copies of the original game ROM.

The final board on the lower right is a good example of a hacked up bootleg - the game is Hudson's J-League Super Soccer '95, but the code has been modified to operate without backup memory - the CIC here is marked "D1 9515" this board also has no decoupling caps and the ROM is a COB type covered with resin (AKA "glob-top").

The clone CICs are exact copies of the originals on a functional level

  • I've removed them from bootleg boards and installed them into original Nintendo boards and they work exactly like the real ones.

So it's a bit sketchy, but it does seem like your cards are probably from old bootleg SNES cartridges. Though they look in pretty bad shape and I wouldn't put them in any machine that I cared about.

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  • 1
    This image might be better. It's from my blog page. I took a screenshot of the image that I found in google search. It's much bigger and a (little) bit more in focus. Actually, I'm not sure, it might be the same. Feb 11 at 16:57
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    @Greenonline OK, I switched to it. It seems about the same resolution, but it is larger. Feb 11 at 17:01
  • OP modules has only 6 edge pins connected on bottom side and 7 edge pins connected on component side (counting only signal traces). DSP-1 uses near all pins. 13 signal pins and ROM ... maybe 1-bit audio sample bank?
    – ufok
    Feb 12 at 7:08
  • @Greenleaf Someone (using Community) has apparently swapped in the high-quality actual image for us. Feb 12 at 14:29

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