Popeye Bootleg PCB

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Dec 182016

I acquired a few untested Popeye Bootleg boards recently and thought I would have a go at repairing them. Most of the boards were missing various bits like capacitors, or crystals, so I replaced all the parts I could obviously see missing and thought I would see how things were from there. What was interesting is that each of the boards was designed and looked slightly different, even thought they were all the same game!

I made up a crude Jamma adapter using the pinout details for a single bootleg Popeye PCB I found on Mikes Arcade and tested each game.

Two of the PCB’s booted but there were issues with sync, and it looked like this on power up:

I found various posts on the internet from people with similar issues, and most had given up trying to get the PCB to sync thinking that it was a board fault.

I started to wonder if the pinout on Mikes Arcade was correct for my PCB, as I had come across other sites listing completely different pinouts, so I went about working out the correct pinout for my PCB and after rewiring my Jamma adaptor I was greeted with the following result:

What is interesting, and seems to be the same for every bootleg Popeye PCB, is that the opening title screen has graphic issues as you can see in the picture. The game plays perfectly, but a bootleg board always has this issue. I checked the game in Mame, and the fault is not there so I’m wondering if it has somehow been fixed in that version??

Anyway, for those that have given up trying to fix a Popeye bootleg, or think they have a PCB with a sync issue, I would suggest looking for different pinouts to see if that’s the problem.

The pinout I used can be seen below. I gave these details to a fellow collector and he found that most of the pinout was correct for his PCB, but he had to swap pins 7 to h for the coin credit, despite it working fine on pin 7 for both my PCB’s!