Braze Technologies
Innovative solutions for the "classic" arcade collector

Popeye    High Score Save Kit

A simple to install high score save kit that permanently remembers the top 5 scores and initials for Popeye. Plus also includes enhanced Free Play with full attract mode screeens.

Installs in minutes! No special wiring or soldering is required. Simply remove the Z80 chip from your Popeye CPU board, insert this Z80 CPU chip into the daughter card (pictured right) and then plug the daughter card into the vacated Z80 socket on the CPU board. Thats it!

High Score Save Kit

Pricing and Availability
Ready to install kits are available today for $45.


Easy Installation. Kit installs in just minutes. No board modifications or special wiring is required.
High Score Save. The top 5 high scores and initials are remembered permanently, long after the game has been powered off. No batteries to replace ever.
Enhanced Free Play. Includes real free play support with full attract mode screens.
Reset High Scores. The top 5 high scores and initials can be reset to the factory default by entering Popeye test mode and following the on-screen instructions.
Improved test mode makes it easy to verify DIP settings. Mini power on self test (POST) diagnoses the HS kit on every powerup.

Popeye High Score Save Kit -- Enhanced Free Play

The original Popeye game has a freeplay DIP setting, however, in that mode, the software simply forced the game to always have 90 credits.

This had the undesired affect of losing the attract mode screens. When the game was not being played as it always showed the ready screen and never showed the other attract mode screens. Not to mention the screen burn-in.

With the Enhanced Free Play provided by this kit, you get all the attract mode screen and features. Additionally the word "FREEPLAY" is displayed on the high score screen as a reminder the game is in free play mode.

To turn on free play, set the coinage DIPs as indicated in the manual.

Popeye    High Score Save Kit -- Installation Guide

Step 0: Turn off power to the game

While it may be possible to install this kit without removing your board from its cabinet, you may find it easier to install the kit if you do remove the board. In that case, pay careful attention (or label), any wire connections as you disconnect your board so that you can correctly rehookup the game PCB afterwards. Take note of which side of the PCB edge connector is facing the parts side of the board and which side faces the solder side, This connector is typically not keyed and can be inadvertantly plugged in backwards - ouch! It is recommended that you label the connector faces with something like "parts side" or "solder side".

Step 1: Locate the CPU board

The Nintendo Popeye boardset consists of two boards (video and CPU). The CPU board is the one with the gold edge connector. See example picture below.
Nintendo Popeye CPU board

Step 2: Remove the Z80-CPU chip

Locate and remove the Z80 chip on the CPU board. Use the above photos to assist in locating it. The Z80-CPU chip is a 40 pin (large) chip, located at 5J located near the center of the board. Remove the chip gently by using a flat head screwdriver to pry it out of its socket from each end. Be careful not to bend any of the pins. If any pins do get inadvertantly bent, you will need to straighten them out before the next step. Needle nose pliers work the best for this.
Z80 Location Z80 Removed
Popeye Z80-CPU location

Step 3: Insert the Z80-CPU into the daughter card

Insert the just removed Z80-CPU chip into the empty 40 pin socket on the High Score Save Kit. Make sure pin-1 is correctly oriented. Pin-1 is marked on the Z80-CPU chip usually by some type of indentation or circle molded into the plastic. The end of the chip with the marking, needs to match up with the socket on the daughter card that also has a marking on the plastic. Pin-1 is also labelled on the kit pcb with a "1".
Pin-1 Identification
Z80 CPU Chip
High Score Daughter Card
Pin-1 Identification

Step 5: Insert the daughter card into the CPU board

Insert the daughter card back into the Z80-CPU socket on the CPU board where the Z80-CPU chip was originally removed from. Again, make sure pin-1 of the Z80/daughter card is oriented to correctly match pin-1 on the CPU board. Use the photos as a guide.

The header on the daughter board has pins that are more heavy duty than the original Z80-CPU pins, thus you will need to press very firmly to get the daughter card to be fully inserted into the original Z80-CPU socket.

HS kit Installed
Popeye With HS kit installed

Step 6: Double check your work

Review the steps and double check that Z80-CPU is properly installed into the daughter card with no bent pins and that it is correctly oriented for pin-1. And that the daughter card is also installed snug into the Z80-CPU socket at 5J with pin-1 matched up.

Step 7: Powerup and game and enjoy!

Reinstall your board into the cabinet if necessary, and then powerup your game. This is a good time to also put the game into test mode and verify the DIP settings.

If the game does not come up, turn power off immediately, double check your work, and read over the trouble shooting section.

Popeye    High Score Save Kit -- Trouble Shooting

A common mistake is not having the daughter card inserted correctly, either hanging over the socket by 1 pin, or in backwards. In this case you will usually just see the powerup garbage on the screen. This garbage is just the random bits that are in the character RAM at powerup, and it indicates the CPU was not able to run.

Another common mistake is for the Z80 CPU to have been inserted incorrectly, either backwards, or possibly with a pin bent that did not insert into the socket properly.

Power On Self Test (POST)

The Popeye high score save kit will perform a very simple powerup selftest of the HS daughter cards on powerup. The results are displayed briefly before transitioning into gameplay mode.
If the powerup selftest fails, a message indicating the failure will be displayed on the screen.

A sample screen showing the failure is shown to the right. If you see this failure, most likely that means that one of the socketted chips on the daughter card is probably lose. Check to make sure the 8 pin dip (the smallest chip) on the HS daughter card is fully inserted into its socket.

Operating Popeye Test Mode

This information is also covered in the standard Nintendo Popeye operational manual.

(1) Entry
While pressing the Service Switch, set the power On/Off Switch to the "ON" position.
(2) Audio Test
You will hear a beep sound
(3) RAM Test
The result of the RAM test will be displayed.
(4) ROM Test
The result of the ROM test will be displayed.
(5) Option Switch Test
(6) Pressing any switch on the Operation Panel during while on the option settings screen will cause a beep sound.

Resetting Popeye High Scores

Following the general test mode operation instructions above to put the game into test mode. (Press and hold the Switch Switch while applying power).

When the "OPTION SWITCH" screen appears follow the instructions at the bottom for resetting the high score table back to the factory default. (press both P1-start and P2-start at the same time).

Once erased, a message indicated the high scores have been reset will appear.

Note the option switch screen also displays more information about the settings than the original Popeye game did. The information in color is added by this kit.

Power cycle the game to return to game play mode. Note: after about 30 seconds, the game will automatically return to game play mode.

The factory default high score table is displayed on the right.

Popeye DIP settings

To aid in setting the DIP switches, the Popeye HS kit enhances the test mode display to show the current DIP switch settings in both numeric and text. The original popeye software only showed the numeric data. The additional DIP information is shown in yellow. Changing the DIPs while in testmode will cause the screen to be immediatly updated to reflect the current settings.

Free Play ON ON ON ON
1-Coin 1-Play off off off off
1-Coin 2-Plays off ON off off
2-Coins 1-Play ON off off off

Num Popeye Difficulty Bonus Music Table  
offoff         Num Popeye 1
ONoff         Num Popeye 2
offON         Num Popeye 3
ONON         Num Popeye 4
   offoff      Game Difficulty Easy (0)
   offON      Game Difficulty (1)
   ONoff      Game Difficulty (2)
   ONON      Game Difficulty Hard (3)
     offoff    Bonus @ 40000 points
     offON    Bonus @ 60000 points
     ONoff    Bonus @ 80000 points
     ONON    No Bonus
        off   No Attract mode music
        ON   Attract mode music
         off Cocktail
         ON Upright