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Hard to find documentation in Adobe Acrobat format for various Astrocade items made by Perkins Engineering.

Blue Ram Board 4K Schematic (9-30-1980)[Camera] (TIFF)
Blue Ram Board 4K Schematic (9-30-1980) (TIFF)
4K Blue Ram Schematic (2015)(Ken Lill) (Zip)
4K Blue Ram Schematic

This schematic of the 4K Blue Ram is from the Bob Fabris collection. Its size is 21 3/4" x 16 1/2". That was too large to scan on my flatbed scanner. In order to archive the document, first I took a picture of the whole schematic. The quality of the picture is far too low to read because the image was taken with my camera (at its highest resolution: 180dpi jpg). The picture was taken from about six feet away. This picture is in color and was the only way that I could get a complete picture of the schematic at full-size. To get a readable final document, I scanned the schematic in four sections and then carefully stitched the pages back together by hand-- which took some effort but was worth it as the final TIFF is quite readable; you'll find it useful.

There is also a schematic of the 4K Blue Ram recreated by Ken Lill. He re-created the schematic using "OrCAD" (a schematic capture application by Cadence Design Systems) in February 2015. It took him about 6-8 hours to finish. Ken made some modifications to the original schematic: he kept the electrical exactly the same as it was before, but he did make some physical changes so that it would flow better. It now also fits on a B-Size sheet of paper (11" x 17") not D-Size (22" x 34"). Two pdf versions of the modified schematic are available in the zip archive: a full B size and a letter-size PDF for ease of printing.

16K/32K Blue Ram Preliminary Instructions
16K/32K Blue Ram Preliminary Instructions (Perkins Engineering)

Preliminary instructions for new users of Blue Ram BASIC 1.1 . At the time this one-page was made, there was as yet no comprehensive set of BRB instructions. With only these instructions (which don't even include a list of the new BASIC commands) and no manual for BRB, it would have been very difficult to figure-out how to use the expanded BASIC.
16K/32K Blue Ram Advertisement
16K/32K Blue Ram Advertisement

Two-page advertisement for the 16K/32K Blue Ram(s) and accessories:
  1. 16K Blue Ram ($249.95 or $199.95 in kit form)
  2. 32K Blue Ram ($369.95)
  3. Blue Ram BASIC ($49.95)
  4. Blue Ram Keyboard ($89.95)
  5. Blue Ram Modem/Printer Interface ($99.95)
  6. Blue Ram Operating System - Discontinued.
  7. BSR Controller (19.95)
16K Blue Ram Advertisement (B&W) - 155K
Two-page advertisement for the 16K Blue Ram and accessories:
  1. 16K Blue Ram ($249.95 or $199.95 in kit form)
  2. Blue Ram BASIC ($49.95)
  3. Blue Ram Keyboard ($89.95)
  4. Blue Ram Modem/Printer Interface ($99.95)
  5. Blue Ram Operating System - Discontinued.
  6. BSR Controller (19.95)
Alternate, color versions of this document are also available:
     Blue Ram Advertisement (150 DPI, Blue Ram OS Available) - 447K
     Blue Ram Advertisement (300 DPI, Blue Ram OS Available) - 1.26MB
     Blue Ram Advertisement (150 DPI, Blue Ram OS Sold Out) - 447KB
     Blue Ram Advertisement (300 DPI, Blue Ram OS Sold Out) - 1.26MB
Artillery Duel Roadtest Letter
Artillery Duel Roadtest

Documentation for the preliminary cassette version of Artillery Duel that shipped with some versions of the Blue Ram.

This letter was retyped in about 2001/2002 so that it would take up less room on the BallyAlley website (space was very limited at the time). The retyped version of the letter is also available.

Artillery Duel Roadtest (Retyped)

Artillery Duel Tape Instructions
Artillery Duel Tape Instructions

This letter, sent to Bob Fabris, was included with Artillery Duel on tape. The tape's version of the game matches perfectly, byte-for-byte, against the released version of the game cartridge. The tape was loaded into the Blue RAM's expanded memory and then played as a normal cartridge.

Artillery Duel Tape (Front)

16K DRAM Blue Ram Add-On
Bally Arcade/Astrocade 16K DRAM (Dynamic RAM) Add-On Schematic.
By John Perkins.
Ken Lill Collection.

Ken Lill found this sheet in October 2018 in his personal collection. Ken says: I found this sheet done by John Perkins (Perkins Engineering). It is a 16K DRAM add on. The Blue RAM was a 4-16K or 32K SRAM. There are a lot of differences between the 2 types of RAM. DRAM is what is in the Bally. This scheme is a way to add 16K of memory to the Bally / Astrocade.
Perkins Engineering Bally/Astrocade Hi-Res Schematics
Perkins High-Res Schematics for Bally Arcade.
Perkins Engineering (John Perkins).
Scanned in October 2006.

These are the schematics of the prototype Astrocade that Perkins Engineering modified in 1981 to go into commercial (hi-res) mode. These are probably not 100% complete.

Here are two parts of the announcement from the Arcadian newsletter that talks about the upgrade (it was supposed to be available in kit form; it has never been confirmed to have been available):

1) Announcement from: ARCADIAN, 3, no. 6 (April 15, 1981): 63.

Perkins Hi-Res Board was also received just in time for the show [West Coast Computer Faire, April 3-5, 1981]. This board is the standard Bally Motherboard with a number of ICs added, most by piggy-back technique onto existing chips. Many extra connections are made to make the item "work." When powered up, the picture we normally see filling the screen was reduced to one-fourth the size, and occupied the upper left quadrant of the screen. There were a number of big eyes at the Faire when they saw the tiny type, still 5x7, but much smaller.

A New Item from Perkins Engineering:

We are pleased to announce another engineering breakthrough - high resolution graphics. The "Hi-Rez Add-In" from Perkins Engineering using 39 additional chips to exploit the high resolution capability of the Bally custom chips. The new chips are added to the Bally motherboard in a way which allows the regular case to go back on. A prototype modified board was demonstrated at the computer faire. Here's what you get: Resolution mode is software selectable at low normal for existing programs, medium (160x204, similar to Mattel), and high (320x204, better than Apple). The 39 chips include an EPROM for firmware support of the new modes and 12K of additional memory. The software mode selection allows the individual program to choose its own resolution for full compatibility with existing game cartridges and Bally BASIC. For Blue Ram owners, a tape will be included to provide medium resolution BASIC with four screen colors and 7K programming area. Prices will be in the range of $250 for the kit and $300 wired (you send in your Bally for modification). Availability will be announced in the next issue.

2) Announcement from: ARCADIAN, 3, no. 9 (July 9, 1981): 94.

Hi Res Modification as created by Perkins Engineering - latest word is that the system is available to experimenter-types who can do their own programming. Due to other commitments are the present, Perkins is not available to develop software. So if you want to work on it yourself, and be a real originator, you can buy the kit at $250, or the built up/tested unit at $350 (using your board).
The default download of these schematics is a pdf that uses jpg2000 lossless compression. The original TIFF file is also available.
Blue Ram 32K Add-On Schematic
One page schematic designed by Ken Lill in October 2006. This is a highly readable PDF that Ken uploaded to the Bally Alley Discussion Group on January 24, 2007.
A few notes directly from Ken: "This is all on one page, except the different configurations for different SRAM chips. The page already posted shows memory configurations, but it doesn't show hoe the ~CE connection is connected when multiole chips are commected (E.I.) 8K x8, 16K x 1, etc."
Thanks Ken!
Blue Ram Assembly Instructions
Blue Ram Assembly Instructions

Step-by-step instructions on how to assemble the Blue Ram expansion.
  1. Blue Ram Assembly Instructions (alt. version)- This version, added to on February 12, 2001, has a re-created cover. It says that this is for the 16K Blue Ram, which may be an error.
  2. Blue Ram Diagnostic - This is the Blue Ram Diagnostic (from June 6, 1980) BASIC program listing. It needs after the Blue Ram has been assembled to ensure that the kit was assembled correctly.
A Few Well Aimed POKES
Blue Ram BASIC Corner: A Few Well Aimed POKES.
By Clyde Perkins.
Arcadian 5, no. 12 (Oct. 24, 1983): 179.

This article helps to explain how to use most of the RAM on the 16K and 32K Blue Ram units.

There has been some confusion among owners of 16K and 32K Blue Ram units concerning the use of programming areas in the expanded memory. The original units (1980-81) contained 4K of new memory and, of course, the I/O ports. The extended BASIC cartridge provides 2000-baud taping, and also reserved 996 bytes of RAM for stack, variables and a few registers. When the Blue Ram was redesigned with 16K or 32K of memory, the dedicated area (!6C1D to !6FFF) was maintained for the sake of can compatibility with Blue Ram programs, and it requires a few tricks to "duck" around the area when writing programs larger than 3100 bytes (!6000 to !6C1C). The easiest way to do that is to start your program at !7000 or !8000. Note: The "!" means hexadecimal notation (base 16).

Blue Ram BSR Controller Manual
Blue Ram BSR Controller Manual

The Blue Ram BSR controller is an ultrasonic interface between the Blue Ram and the BSR X-10 home controller system. This combination allows the user to control lamps, overhead lights, and appliances under direction from your Bally Arcade. Up to sixteen "devices" may be controlled and may be anywhere on the common power line.

Blue Ram BSR Controller Driver and Software

Blue Ram Basic Command Functions
A one-page summary of commands for Blue Ram BASIC
Blue Ram Detailed Memory Allocation
     Detailed memory allocation listing.

     In November of 2011 Ken Lill created this "new, corrected, BRB memory sheet."
  1. BRB Detailed Memory Allocation (Updated)
Blue Ram Diagnostic
This is for the diagnostic program that is run on the Blue Ram to make sure that the RAM tests okay. This was important, since the units were usually built at home.
Blue Ram Eprom Burner Changes
How to convert the Blue Ram EPROM burner for larger EPROMs.
Blue Ram Eprom Burner Schematics
The schematics for the Blue Ram EPROM burner.
Blue Ram Keyboard Leaflet 1
Short leaflet for the Blue Ram keyboard.
Blue Ram Keyboard Leaflet 2
Short leaflet for the Blue Ram keyboard (this is a different (but similar) version of the first keyboard leaflet.
Blue Ram Keyboard Owner's Manual (1980) (alt)
Blue Ram Keyboard Owner's Manual

These are directions on how to assemble the Blue Ram Keyboard. Is there enough information here so that a PC keyboard adapter could be created for the Blue Ram? A keyboard driver (see below) is required to use the keyboard with Bally BASIC.
  1. Blue Ram Keyboard Owner's Manual - This is a second version of the owner's manual. It has a different page order and seems to have some other differences too.
  2. Bally BASIC Keyboard Driver - 300-Baud version of the Bally BASIC keyboard driver.
  3. Bally BASIC Keyboard Driver Disassembly - A disassembly of the 300-Baud version of the Bally BASIC keyboard driver.
Blue Ram Leaflet (16k)
Short leaflet for the 16k version of the Blue Ram
Blue Ram Leaflet (32k)
Blue Ram 32k Expansion System owners leaflet.
Blue Ram Letter
Letter regarding the Blue Ram and other Perkins Engineering products.
Blue Ram Modem Interface Owner's Manual (with Optional Printer Port)
Blue Ram Modem Interface Owner's Manual
(with Optional Printer Port)

The manual explains the installation and use of the interface, plus there are eight pages of details assembly instructions (including a parts list).

The manual says that "this Modem Interface is specifically designed to operated with the STAR Modem from Liverpool Data Systems and the Model 800B Printer from BASE2. Do NOT connect other equipment with consulting Perkins engineering. Damage to the Modem Interface may result."

Blue Ram New BASIC Commands
Eleven pages of BR BASIC commands. Some of this is handwritten-- I don't know where this came from.
Blue Ram Notebook
Blue Ram Notebook.
By John Perkins.

This is a 24-page handwritten notebook describing the "Blue Box" to Bob Fabris. This is certainly the earliest, most in-depth description of the Blue Ram expansion unit. There is no date, but I suspect that this notebook was written in about 1979 or 1980.

This is a transcription of the first page of the notebook:

"Bob -

"This notebook is intended to provide you with a glimpse of the potential of our 'Blue Ram' accessory. The full potential is too vast to be adequately treated in a book 10 times the size. This is because the 'Blue Box' provides the Bally Arcade with many of the features of a normal personal computer about which volumes have already been written. What I hope to provide here is a sketch of what the 'Blue Box' can do as well as some sample "experimental" applications."

The notebook provides quite a few details and sketches of how the Blue Ram works and how it was created.
Blue Ram Operations Manual (8-Pages)
Blue Ram Operations Manual

This eight-page document gives a general overview of what the Blue Ram upgrade can do and how to use it. It provides details on the two on-board 8-bit bidirectional I/O ports (including pin diagrams), explains how the switch settings on the unit can set the Blue Ram's RAM to be ROM and then be used as a cartridge. It also includes a section on extended strings, and the Blue Ram Utility (including some of its intrinsic routines).

Here is an alternate, probably earlier, version of the same document:
  1. Blue Ram Operations Manual (4K Unit) - A six-page, alternate version, of the operations manual. It doesn't contain information on extended strings, and the "Blue Ram Utility."
Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System 1.0
Blue Ram Owner's Manual

This is probably the latest version of the Blue Ram Owner's Manual because it covers the 16k and 32K units. This documentation is probably also useful for all other versions of the RAM upgrade. Discussed in the manual are the general features of the Blue Ram unit, including how to operate it and the proper installation procedure (which entails removing the Bally Arcade's "knock-out" on the back of the unit). Also covered is how to use the expansion with Bally and AstroBASIC.

Here is an alternate version of the owner's manual:

16K Owner's Manual - Alternate version of the manual.

Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System 1.0
Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System 1.0

The Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System (1.0) is a machine-code program which runs in the Blue Ram. It is composed of a GOSUB linker and an advanced editor. The GOSUB linker provides all of the linkages necessary to access BASIC subroutines resident in the Blue RAM. These five pages of instructions are for version 1.0 of what was to become Blue Ram BASIC 1.1. The BRB 1.1 cartridge supersedes Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System 1.0.

These docs were originally posted to Bally Alley from a different source. This original version (which appears to be identical) is still available.

Blue Ram - BASIC Operating System 1.0 (2004 Scan)

Blue Ram Products and 16K Circuit Schematic

     A listing of five Blue Ram products. They are Blue Ram RAM Expansion, Keyboard, Blue Ram Operating System 1.0, BSR Controller and the Blue Ram MODEM/Printer Interface.

     There is also a schematic for the "Bus Interface Circuits for 16K RAM Using Intel 2107B Dynamic RAM (or equivalent)."

Blue Ram Schematics
Six pages of schematics for the Blue Ram unit. These are readable, but have been broken into seperate pages that make a complete whole. Five of the seperate pages have been compiled into one 'overview' page.
Blue Ram Snap&Show
Blue Ram Snap&Show memory map.
Blue Ram Super Extended BASIC 1.0
Blue Ram Super Extended BASIC 1.0

This seems to be a preliminary manual for the cassette version of "Blue Ram Super Extended BASIC" (later to become "Blue Ram BASIC 1.1"). This shipped with some versions of the Blue Ram expansion unit. This six-page manual covers "Extended BASIC's" general improvements, gives an overview of the new commands and variables, and how to use some of the others that have been changed from "Bally BASIC." It also explains the eight Mode Flags that are now part of the upper eight bytes of the Note Timer (NT) and gives some sample program statements.

There are two alternate versions of the manual, which each have additional changes from one another; none of the three versions are identical.
  1. Blue Ram Super-Extended BASIC 1.0 (19xx)(Perkins Engineering)(a1) - This alternate version of the "Extended BASIC" manual has a slightly different layout. Some of the information is presented in a different way.
  2. Blue Ram Super-Extended BASIC 1.0 (19xx)(Perkins Engineering)(a2) - Seven pages. There are some hand-written notes, which seem to be corrections to the manual and some additional command examples.
Blue Ram Update Letter (March 1981)
Blue Ram Update Letter (March 1981)

One page letter that has "insights concerning the methods by which the Blue Ram can be used to store BASIC programs."

Blue Ram Utility

The Blue Ram Utility, first released in 1980, is a powerful environment for Z80 machine-code programming on a Bally Arcade/Astrocade with a Blue Ram expansion and extra RAM. The utility was improved with each release over the next couple of years. By 1983, the Blue Ram Utility 3.0 included a full-featured (full-screen) hex editor that utilized a small font, use of a modem, use of an EPROM burner, a disassembler, and the ability to test RAM in the Blue Ram as if it were a cartridge. Other related capabilities made this the best way to program in Z80 machine language on the Bally Arcade!

Though the utility was only officially released on cassette tape, version 3.0 eventually did find its way onto cartridge via homebrew methods in the mid-1980s.
  1. Blue Ram Utility 1.0 (?) Information and Listing - Contains a June 6, 1980 BASIC program listing, one-page of additions to the Blue Ram Utility documentation, and BASIC and Machine Code Segments of the Blue Ram tutorial used in Arcadian, 2.9 (Oct. 7, 1982): 77-79.
  2. Blue Ram Utility 1.0 (?) Instructions - Two-Pages of short instructions.
  3. Blue Ram Utility 2.0 Instructions - Re-typed instructions created on October 15, 2000 from the on-screen documentation included on the backside of the Blue Ram Utility 2.0 tape.
  4. Blue Ram Utility 2.3 - Letter to Bob Fabris from Clyde Perkins dated June 1983, and Blue Ram Instructions.
  5. Blue Ram Utility 3.0 Instructions - Blue Ram instructions retyped from printout byon April 19, 2001.
Copying A Cart Copying an 8K Astrocade Cart to Tape
Using Blue Ram BASIC
By Don Daniels

This routine may be used to copy an 8K cartridge from ROM to tape, load the program back into RAM from tape, and execute the program in extended RAM, all using after Astrovision BASIC at 2000 baud.

Read the following instrucitons for a modern method on how to dump a cartridge digitally using modern tools and a PC.
  1. Cartridge Dumping Guide
INS8154 N-Channel 128x8 Bit RAM I/O Datasheet
This is the I/O chip that the Blue Ram uses.
Keyboard Holder Documentations
This was not made by Perkins Engineering. It holds the Blue Ram keyboard and the Astrocade console.
Perkins Engineering Information sheet
Circa 1982.
Perkins Letter
Announcing the Blue Ram Utility program.
Perkins Engineering Letters
Two different letters and product information sheet.
  1. Letter to "Fellow Arcadian:" January 1982 - An explanation of the Blue Ram expansion unit and Blue Ram BASIC cartridge.
  2. Letter to Jim Fauci: March 26, 1982 - It mentions product information that is enclosed, new 16K static RAM Blue Ram, and current work on "deluxe 65K (dynamic) version that will feature voice, scientific calculator and many surprises. This may be a year or two away."
  3. Letter to Jim Fauci, November 15, 1982 - Letter expresses apology and regrets for lack of better documentation for Extended BASIC. Tries to help with reset problem that Jim is having when editing. Mentions new Blue Ram Utility and some features it will have. Instructions on how to load "Artillery Duel" from AstroBASIC. Comments that "The Add--Under is on 'T-4 months and holding' until Astro is funded."
Perkins Engineering to Jim Fauci, August 6,1982
Letter: Perkins Engineering to Jim Fauci, August 6,1982

Handwritten note by Clyde Perkins regarding delay in Jim's Blue Ram expansion because of update to PCB.

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