this page contains all you didn't know about this game and more besides...

last update July 23, 2004
last update : movie fle now online!

stuff i own relating to Steeplechase:

- Atari-Europe Steeplechase upright machine... Made by Socodimex in Paris, France. (Fitted with astroturf-1 pcb)
- Owners manual (American)
- Spare 'Steeplechase' PCB.


Made by Atari



numbers produced : ????

Designers / Production staff :





click theTAFA logo for a Hi-Res version ]

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Here is what the KLOV says :

Game Description:
[taken from the Atari manual]



screenshots :

(this was taken as working fine on my test rig)


some of these pictures were taken before i had fixed the game pcb,
so the screen may show erratic graphics in places..

you will need THIS codec installed to view this file


tidbits :

The cabinets differ between the USA made machine, and the european made machien as is obvious. The European flyer shown above was issued by the mainland europe Atari Distributer "Lowen Automaten". The European machiens were made in France tho. Apart from a radically different looking cabinet, the other difference is mainly the control panel. The American horse names probably didn't make much sense to non-english speaking folks, so they changed them... they are as follows:

1. Citation
2. Arkle
3. Gun Synd
4. Zigotan
5. Manocman
6. Secretariat



As with most early atari pcbs, you can power this pcbs without the need for a 36vAC supply, simply hook up +5v from a switcher to the +5v OUT on the edge connector. Don't run it for too long like this tho, as the entire board will be pulling power through one little edge connector pad. This output was designed to run the lighted start buttons. If you plan on hooking it up a little more long term, remove the regulator and solder some links to the 5v rail on the pcb, then you can still use the edge connector. If not, a big fat jump lead soldered to the 5v rail wil suffice, but this will reduce the ability to remove the pcb for fixing. (which is, lets face it, inevitable)

PCB pictures :

This is a picture of an 'Astroturf-1' pcb. This is the pcb that was found in my French-made machine. the board is screened with 'Astrotruf-1'. It only plays steeplechase, there was no other game that ran on this hardware, the circuit design is completely steeplechase specific. There are one or two blue trace-wire mods on the pcb, as is common on 70's atari games. This is a Revision [A] pcb, so the first type off the line. The owners manual references a revision [A] pcb, along with noting all of the wire hacks. There are some additional capacitors used on some IC's, read below for details.
This is a picture of a 'Steeplechase' pcb. This is screened with 'Steeplechase' on the pcb, and is a revision [B] pcb. This is the only steeplechase pcb i have ever seen, they are always astroturfs. This pcb has no trace wire mods, and fewer IC/cap mods, obviously the revision B had sorted out the errors on the first run.




screenshot Symptom Solution
missing racetrak, missing start line, missing finish line. BAD 7400 @ A3
horsey number 5 is missing in action.. 9316 @ M3

horsey number 3 is 'out of sync' and garbled

9316 @ P4
The more players that start a race, the quicker the game plays. There are too many picket fences, and some of them are 'transparent' ie the horses do not fall at them. Its impossible to jump them all. The game starts and fences just appear from nowhere instead of scrolling in from the right. BAD 7474 @ C2
No gunshot sound, no crowd sounds, no 'crack' sound of horse hitting a fence. BAD 'NOISE' generator. LM324 @ C10.


PCB modifications:

I found a way to control the speed of the game. The Astroturf-1 pcb that was in the machine when i got it had the following mods on it from the factory:

- IC A2 (9316) had a cap from ground to pin 15. When this was connected, the game was very fast indeed, almost unplayable. When it was removed, it ran at a speed that i can much more get on with. I added a switch that enabled or disabled this mod, I intend to see how people playing it find it, I can increase the difficulty at will..

- There is an extra connector on the edge of the game pcb that has no connector fitted. when you look at the schematics, it says that this is the output connector for the 'TAPE INTERFACE' this tape interface and player appears never to have been fitted to production models. Looking at the schematics and studying the board in my test rig, there are the following signals :

- 20hz
- 5v

from this, we can assume that the designers had intended on using a looped tape player that possibly ran with some commentary? the signals indicate when each horse is in the lead, and when the machine is in the attract mode.

These signals could also be used as a control for a lighted annunciator board, showing by way of lights, just who was in the lead...

There are a few possibilities here, when i get the time and the effort, i intend on adding a voice playback interface for commentary at least..


PCB revision notes :

As can be seen from the table above containing pictures of the pcbs, rev [A] = Astroturf and rev [B] = Steeplechase, although the pcbs are identical in nearly every way.

PCB identifying markings :

Steeplechase A003750 [B] #1576 2138 SC - 774 CANDY