What is this ram-bly, rom-bly thing?
August 11, 2015 8:37 AM   Subscribe

We ran across this thing in a thrift store and we have no idea what it is. The best we can figure is that it's some sort of eprom/memory chip eraser or programmer. No information at all on the bottom, just a sticker that says, "QC Passed".

The whole unit is about 6 inches wide, 3 inches front to back and 3 inches tall with the plastic-handled case on it.
There was no computer hookup of any kind. We can't remember if there was a power connector, but there was no cord included with the unit at the store. (The power cable off to the right in the photo is a separate item that doesn't go with this unit. You can tell because it's priced separately - the grease pencil X means it's $10.) Unfortunately this is the only photo that we thought to take because we assumed Googling it would be easy, but it turns out that it's not!

It makes sense that it might be an eraser because you'd only need one button per eprom slot, but the unit itself looks cheap and very much unlike most of the other eprom erasers on Google images (and a lot of those are UV-based unlike whatever this thing is). All theories are welcome, let the speculation begin!
posted by i feel possessed to Technology (9 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Those definitely are not DIP sockets for something like EPROMS. If it was an eraser there would also be a large UV lamp over the sockets and an opaque cover to protect you from the light.

The connectors look like they take 10-pin card edge connectors. That plus buttons.... Perhaps it's a box to store multiple video game cartridges and then let you choose a cartridge with the buttons?
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:47 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Apparently 20-pin edge connectors are used internally for card connections in Atari and maybe other arcade video games. Any idea what was inside it? There were no other cables? Maybe it was a multiplexer.
posted by GuyZero at 9:08 AM on August 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: That's a "Cricut Jukebox Cartridge Station". There's a missing (ribbon?) cable that goes from it to a Cricut, and it allows you to change font cartridges in a Cricut paper cutter without plugging and un-plugging. I'm not sure how useful it ended up being in practice.
posted by straw at 9:16 AM on August 11, 2015 [16 favorites]

Best answer: Here's the manual (PDF).
posted by straw at 9:17 AM on August 11, 2015 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for mentioning cartridges, everybody. I had also thought of that, but I had no clue what would be the right size for such small connectors. You are a badass, straw!
posted by i feel possessed at 9:19 AM on August 11, 2015

Nice catch, straw.
posted by JoeZydeco at 10:18 AM on August 11, 2015

(I wrote the firmware for it...)
posted by straw at 10:22 AM on August 11, 2015 [154 favorites]

I love this place.
posted by waxpancake at 10:19 PM on August 11, 2015 [14 favorites]

No kidding. =)
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:53 AM on August 12, 2015

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