The Bandai Pippin Atmark Floppy Unit PA-82002 is an expansion dock for the Pippin consoles that made it past the prototype stage. It was released on the Japanese market together with the Pippin Atmark in 1996. It is still incredible rare and it took me while to get a hold of one of these units. The functionality is the same that the replica floppy adapter provides and the main reason why I bought it is really the casing. The floppy adapter setup was too unpractical and fragile and I was looking for something sturdier that could stay attached to the console at all times.
This article is mainly about photos and taking it apart. There will be a small section with explanations at the end.
This is a new member of my Pippin collection: The Atmark Wireless Controller Set (BDE-82014 / PA-82014). It has the same functionality of the standard AppleJack controller, except that it is wireless. Three infrared LEDs send the signals to a receiver. The set is advertised as compatible with both Pippin Atmark and Macintosh computers. The latter require a P-ADB to ADB adapter and the AppleJack system extension (not included).
Initially, I was planning to replace the P-ADB connector of my AppleJack controller with an ADB plug (Mini-DIN-4). The remaining P-ADB plug attached to a Mini-DIN-4 socket would then become an ADB adapter dongle. But why would I destroy the cable of my only controller? According to the documentation, which can be found here and here (in a very low resolution, unfortunately), a “Hosiden HGC0492-01-010 or equivalent” connector is needed. And that connector is impossible to find.
To get started, I created a new schematic based on the available documentation:
A floppy disk drive for to the Pippin Atmark is nothing new. In fact, an expansion dock called Pippin Atmark Floppy Unit was released back in the days. These units are incredibly rare and I was never able to get ahold of one of them. Apart from an Apple floppy disk drive with 20-pin ribbon cable, these units contained no additional hardware but a simple X-PCI adapter board. It didn’t take long until Japanese enthusiasts tried to replicate these adapters. When I recently rediscovered my Pippin Atmark PA-82001-S, I also looked around for additional hardware. I found this article about an adapter board that had been finally replicated two years ago. This board can still be ordered from OSH Park.
Earlier this month, I wrote about my Pippin Atmark PA-82001-S Monitoring Unit. Initially, I didn’t plan to do any modifications to this special Pippin model. But then Keith Kaisershot told me that it is possible to feed a long SCSI cable over the metal lips of the case without doing any permanent modification. He also asked me to verify the checksum of the ROM. In this article, I will add external SCSI to my Pippin and also dump the ROM.
Pippin consoles are based on Apple Macintosh PowerPCs. It is only natural that they use serial Apple Desktop Bus devices. There is a major difference though: the proprietary child proof AppleJack (P-ADB) connector. I never bothered to find an adapter dongle and was stuck with a Pippin Atmark AppleJack controller that wasn’t able to reliably register trackball movements anymore. Unfortunately, the ball is held in place by a plastic ring with two tiny holes. There’s probably a tool to open it up which I don’t possess. I decided to open up the whole controller from the back to clean it and also to take pictures. Note the nice red rubber cap that came with my controller.
Back in 2010, I was aiming to own every game console system that used optical media, the Apple Pippin was one of them. I was lucky to obtain a lot of Bandai Pippin Atmark PA-82001 consoles from Japan for a reasonable price. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that one of them was different: It had the model number PA-82001-S, a pre-release ROM and several areas shielded with copper foil tape. No one has documented this model yet on the various Pippin websites. The only trace that I can find on the internet is my unit and another one that has been offered on Yahoo auctions earlier this year. Forum members of Assemblergames assume that this is an FCC model for evaluation / EMC accreditation.
I will call it “Monitoring Unit” because it came with an AP2735-01 KINKA non-E pre-release/monitoring ROM. On this Pippin FANDOM page, it says: “A WORM version of the same [Golden Master] ROM was manufactured in small quantities for market testing of ‘Monitoring’ units.” On the same page and also here it is mentioned that only 500 of these ROMs were released.