Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Peer Johannsen

Weird Science - Tales from the Vectrex Academy Lab

Vectrex Project Title


Project Status

  • Alpha-release version 1.0


  • Vectrex console RAM analyzer
  • Aimed at detecting faulty hardware RAM circuits

How To Use

  • Run the binary on a real (physical) Vectrex console.
  • If some suspicious RAM behavior is detected, then the RAM address and an error code is displayed on the screen, along with the current value of the cell, and the intended value. Please send in these pieces of information for further analysis.
  • The first binary (ram_checker.bin) will execute one single round of tests. If no errors are detected, then a success message is displayed. The console can be switched off now.
  • The other binary (ram_checker_endless.bin) will continue its checking in an endless loop and thus do a RAM stress test. Nothing will be shown on the screen, unless an error is detected. This binary is intended to find glitch errors in RAM cells, that occur only every once in a while.


  • There is more to checking RAM than simple write-read tests. Those would not suffice.
  • See here for a good introduction.
  • The RAM checker is written entirely in C. It also uses a (very) small portion of the Vectrex RAM, and thus is not yet perfect. Also, a (very) small portion of the BIOS RAM ist not (yet) checked.
  • However, if those RAM cells were faulty, the whole checker would crash, and/or most cartridges would not function normally anyway.
  • This checking behavior will be improved in the next version.


  • Peer Johannsen


Please Note

  • If you download the RAM checker and try it on your machine, it would be great if you let us know. Especially if you let us know about the outcome. Currently, there is not enough data of test-run results on real consoles to assess the reliability of the checker.


  • Downloads are free and for non commercial use only. Use at your own risk.
  • Please respect the copyright and credit the author and the origin of this project.

Latest modification on 05/01/2020, 07:30
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