HASL for cartridges? (split/OT from: Cheese & Onion)

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mrr19121970
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HASL for cartridges? (split/OT from: Cheese & Onion)

Postby mrr19121970 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:57 am

Looks cool, but HASL cartridge ?

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:28 pm

mrr19121970 wrote:Looks cool, but HASL cartridge ?

Very good point!

There is no indication this cartridge has the right type of plating to ensure it will not cause damage to the cartridge port connector.

Back in the early 80s, companies who produced small volumes of cartridges didn't care too much that they had the right type of plating because the VIC-20 was more or less expected to be completely obsolete within a year or two. Nowadays, the VIC-20 is a prized collector's item which is treated with care to ensure it goes on lasting for many more decades.

Inserting junk in your cartridge port involves the risk of causing a degradation of the connector which may eventually require complex and risky repairs.

Added edit:
I can confirm to all, from the photo of the board available on the online shop, this board is NOT gold plated and WILL cause damage to a VIC-20's cartridge port connector.

All edge connectors should carry ENIG or hard gold plating.
Last edited by eslapion on Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:55 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby beamrider » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:32 pm

Surely the risk is negligible with the amount of "inserting" likely to occur on an enthusiast's Vic-20 these days with megacarts and the like? I think my mega-cart has been in place for the last 5 years.

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Tue Nov 21, 2017 12:33 pm

beamrider wrote:Surely the risk is negligible with the amount of "inserting" likely to occur on an enthusiast's Vic-20 these days with megacarts and the like? I think my mega-cart has been in place for the last 5 years.

I convinced 6502dude to use gold plating. The original Megacart is safe.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Tue Nov 21, 2017 1:28 pm

I can confirm to all, from the photo of the board available on the online shop, this board is NOT gold plated and WILL cause damage to a VIC-20's cartridge port connector.

All edge connectors should carry ENIG or hard gold plating.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby norm8332 » Tue Nov 21, 2017 5:17 pm

eslapion wrote:I can confirm to all, from the photo of the board available on the online shop, this board is NOT gold plated and WILL cause damage to a VIC-20's cartridge port connector.

All edge connectors should carry ENIG or hard gold plating.


I'm open to research or references on the subject if you have links. I'm just wondering what this argument is all about? All of my UMI and machine lang games carts are HASL. I have used these for years without any negative effect except on the carts themselves. The contacts in my original Vic that I bought new in early 1981 are fine. I also use many HASL carts on other consoles and computers. Atari age sells many HASL items.

If you are worried about dissimilar metals then don't leave your cart plugged in for years - if this is even a factor. Just using a cart for the period of time it takes to play a game didn't damage my original Vic or any other machine I have with literally thousands of insertions. HASL is just tin/lead, the same as solder just different proportions.

Please clarify why HASL is a problem.

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby groepaz » Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:20 pm

it wont cause any serious damage... perhaps the contacts corrode a bit (because of the different metals) but thats all (and it can be fixed/cleaned easily). back in the days tons of cartridges existed that didnt have gold plated contacts, and you didnt see machines dying left and right because of them.

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby mrr19121970 » Wed Nov 22, 2017 1:08 am

beamrider wrote:Surely the risk is negligible with the amount of "inserting" likely to occur on an enthusiast's Vic-20 these days with megacarts and the like? I think my mega-cart has been in place for the last 5 years.



Maybe, maybe not... but for this reason only I won't buy it. It is a shame, as I'd like to play it and more importantly support the platform and developer. Let's hope the next batch is done correctly.

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:31 am

groepaz wrote:it wont cause any serious damage... perhaps the contacts corrode a bit (because of the different metals) but thats all (and it can be fixed/cleaned easily). back in the days tons of cartridges existed that didnt have gold plated contacts, and you didnt see machines dying left and right because of them.

I know of absolutely no way of cleaning the cartridge port connector of a VIC-20. I only know how to replace it. The part itself is inexpensive (I sell them for 5 Euros) but the procedure is not easy; removing the metal shield on the underside, desoldering the faulty part then soldering a new one, then putting back the shield.

Back in the days, as I said above, it was expected your VIC-20 would be massively obsolete less than 2 years after purchase and for the vast majority of the 2.5 million units sold, it was. That's why you didn't see cart ports failing left and right. Today, it's a collector's item people want to keep operational for decades.

The damage done to the cart port connector by putting this type of cart in your VIC does take years to accumulate to the point it won't work but you're effectively agreeing to the notion you won't be able to use any cartridges in your VIC-20 within 2 to 5 years. I sure don't.
Last edited by eslapion on Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby beamrider » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:32 am

So is it the case that the only possible damage would be if the cartridge is left plugged in (causing a mild/slow corrosive effect over time) from the different metals?

If this is the case I can sleep easy with the plugging in for the odd session of play a few times a year...

It would be nice to get a statement from @rodhull though..

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 22, 2017 4:42 am

beamrider wrote:So is it the case that the only possible damage would be if the cartridge is left plugged in (causing a mild/slow corrosive effect over time) from the different metals?

If this is the case I can sleep easy with the plugging in for the odd session of play a few times a year...

It's both.

Dissimilar metal contacts create a small electromotive force which tend to cause corrosion over time but the other aspect of the problem is the softness of metals used for PCBs normal conductive layers, in this case, HASL, which is really designed for component soldering, NOT edge connectors.

The very soft metal will erode with every insertion and removal and leave deposits which may eventually cause short circuits or bad contacts if the deposits are also chemically degraded by the effect mentioned above.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby highinfidelity » Wed Nov 22, 2017 6:12 am

Okay. Now, seriously, are you really worried about that?
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby groepaz » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:27 am

I know of absolutely no way of cleaning the cartridge port connector of a VIC-20.

you are surprising in multiple ways, every time. its not rocket science really:
you take a piece of cardboard or wood or plastic or whatever else you have laying around that fits between the contact, wrap a piece of fine grained sand paper around it, and insert and remove it from the port a dozen times or so. then you gently blow into the port to remove the remains and.... voila, shiny clean contacts that will last another few years.

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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby eslapion » Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:43 am

groepaz wrote:you are surprising in multiple ways, every time. its not rocket science really:
you take a piece of cardboard or wood or plastic or whatever else you have laying around that fits between the contact, wrap a piece of fine grained sand paper around it, and insert and remove it from the port a dozen times or so. then you gently blow into the port to remove the remains and.... voila, shiny clean contacts that will last another few years.

You are surprising to me as well, using sandpaper in any female edge connector will grind off the gold plating in it. Also, if you blow on the stuff you grinded, there is no telling where this conductive material will land, possibly causing all sorts of damage inside your VIC.

I don't want my VIC-20 to 'last another few years', it's 36 years old and still kicking and I would very much like it to last another 36 years or more.

If you remove the gold plating from an edge connector, it will start corroding and it's doomed to become useless within less than 5 years.

Added edit:
Just in case you decide to reply the VIC-20 cart port connectors don't have gold plating, please be aware they are still being manufacture. Most of them are of the R644 family from Vector. The more frenquently used is specifically the R644-3F.

Look for 'contact plating' in the datasheet here: http://nebula.wsimg.com/60fad43f053ede6 ... oworigin=1

highinfidelity wrote:Okay. Now, seriously, are you really worried about that?

Yup! I used my PET style keyboard VIC-20 to test all 227 Behr-Bonz cartridges I have sold and the cart port still works like new. That's on top of playing thousands of hours with game cartridges and doing varied stuff which requires RAM expansion. Forgot to mention, I also tested all 50 Ultimate Expanders I sold around 2006-2008.

I can't believe I am confronted with such a lack of knowledge about this elementary stuff.
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Re: New physical cartridge release: Cheese And Onion

Postby Misfit » Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:01 am

Last warning..


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