Tomy Tutor Photographs

Photographs taken of my unit and some of the stuff I have for it. Also, we'll look at how to disassemble your Tutor and examine the goodies inside. Last modify 26 January 2009.
Please contact me first! before using these images!

The Pyuuta Section has even more photographs, specifically of the Japanese line! As for the vapourware peripherals, refer to the Purcell Pamphlet.

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[Thumbnail portrait of the Tutor.]

The Tutor itself. Click the image for a full-size .JPG (87K). The raised printing on the keys is evident by the glare.

You can also see a closeup of the keys (76K).

[Thumbnail of the Tomy complete system.]

A thumbnail of the complete system. Clockwise starting at top left, main unit, Tomy Data Recorder, single joystick and joy controller set.

Click the image for a full-size .JPG (121K).

[Thumbnail of the front of the box.][Thumbnail of the back of the box.]

Here are images of the Tutor's box (click the thumbnails for larger views, 187K and 196K respectively). I've also taken a closer shot of the "witty kids" vignettes (238K) so that you can appreciate some of their totally spontaneous and not a bit written by professional advertising agencies quips on the front.

Interestingly, the Tutor they're using on the rear of the box is a much earlier version as you can see from the hard plastic RT key and the different power switch -- it may be a Grandstand or, more likely, a Pyuuta.

In the "witty kids" picture, an Asian boy states, "Now that I can simulate space flight, NASA's calling daily." The boy's name is Eric Jue (who contacted me out of the blue one day), and still remembers playing with the Tutor; apparently the kids who were photographed got a free computer and some games. Eric says, "I remember playing Traffic Jam and Hyperspace. I thought it was a great system at the time and I was disappointed it never caught on."

[Thumbnail of Tomy peripheral boxes.]

A thumbnail of the boxes for the joy controllers, the "joy stick" [sic] and the Data Recorder.

Click the image for a full-size .JPG (75K).

[Thumbnail of the American Tomy cartridges.]

The complete American Tomy Tutor cartridge series (see details in the Incomplete Catalogue. There were only eleven.

Click the image for a full-size .JPG (140K).

[Thumbnail of the Tomy manual cover.]

A thumbnail of the Tomy Tutor manual. A neat design; it is spiral-bound and designed to sit easel-style so you can program with the book open in front of you. I wish more manuals were like that.

By the way, they reused some of the kids from the front box, with the exception of the very attractive girl on the far right, who was one of my early prepubescent crushes. Ah, geek love.

Click the image for a full-size .JPG (110K).

[Thumbnail of the Tomy ports.]

A thumbnail of the rear ports (a schematic of this is on the Scans page). Purple arrow indicates the power cord to the internal power supply; blue is the I/O port (bolted shut in this model); cyan is the joyport; green is the cassette interface; yellow is the monitor outputs; and red is the RF output.

Click the image for a full-size .JPG (30K).

[Thumbnail of the underside of the Tutor.]

This is the underside of the Tutor with the label and screw access. Click the image for a full-size .JPG (75K), or zoom in on the label (42K).

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Disassembling the Tutor

Ah, but wait! -- are those indeed those tempting screw holes urging you to pierce them with your Phillips-head screwdriver and hungrily reveal the Tutor's innermost secrets? Are you willing to say, "I love my Tomy Tutor so much I want to risk its life by doing totally gratuitous surgery!" Oh, really? Well, a little bit of legal CYA: please note that if you ruin your Tutor trying to pick it apart, I'm not responsible for any damage you do!

Okay, now that that's out of the way, grab your drill, hacksaw and hot glue gun. I'll wait.

[Opening the unit.]

With the screws removed from the back of the unit, very carefully separate the halves, and with gentle but firm traction remove the keyboard ribbon cable. Click the image for a full-size .JPG (64K).

[Thumbnail of the Tutor's exposed Faraday RF shield.

When the unit is correctly opened, the view should resemble the above (click the image for a full-size .JPG, 82K). Be careful of the wires to the power LED; I usually just turn the front of the unit over to the side to avoid having to pull them. If you must disconnect the LED, carefully note how it was originally hooked up, as it only works one way.

Undo the screws of the Faraday cage (there are several at its corners), take the RF shield off and put it aside to expose ...

[Thumbnail of the Tutor motherboard.]

... the Tutor mainboard (click the image for a full-size .JPG, 238K). The thumbnail has several coloured arrows pointing out notable items on the motherboard. The yellow arrow is indicating the 9918ANL VDP video chip (with its VDP RAM below it); the white arrow is indicating the SN76489AN sound chip (the topmost/leftmost chip of the Custom Logic Array); the cyan arrow indicates the power supply off to the side, which we'll come to in a moment, and the purple arrow indicates the power supply's connection to the mainboard. The 9995NL CPU is indicated by the green arrow.

The twin Tutor ROMs are indicated by the red arrows and are discussed in greater detail on the hardware page. Tutor-1 ("ROM 1" in the mock schematic), which also appears in the Pyuuta Mk II, is the ROM closest to the CPU.

[Thumbnail of the Tutor power supply.]

Most distressingly, the power supply (the most frequent cause of failure in Tutors based on my experience with them) is internal. I suppose we should be grateful it's not actually integrated, or we'd be in even bigger trouble.

The above thumbnail (click the image for a full-size .JPG, 70K) indicates the 110V input with the white arrow, and the fuse with cyan. The fuse, as the full size image shows, is a 125V/1.25A rated fuse and looks fairly easy to find. If your Tutor has blown up and its power light won't come on, this would be your first thing to check.

To reassemble the unit, replace the RF shield/Faraday cage and secure it, then connect the keyboard ribbon with correct lead polarity and close the two halves together. Carefully turn the system over and replace the screws. Plug it in and make sure you didn't kill it.

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