Winchester Hardware Setup

From Cheese-E-Pedia
The Control System as seen at Winchester

The Pizza Time Theatre Winchester Hardware Setup was the system used to program the animatronics exclusively at the San Jose, CA (370 S Winchester Blvd) from May 1977 to sometime between 1980 and 1981.

The system was developed by the Cyan Engineering subdivision of Atari (also known as the Grass Valley Team), headed by Larry Emmons and Gary Waters[1]



The main programming computer would be the PDP-11/70, running the Winchester Programmer software for generating programming data. It is unclear if any terminal was used to program the characters, or to make the software itself.

TEAC 4-Track Tape Deck

An unnamed TEAC 4-Track tape deck would be used to record audio and programming signals. The Winchester 4-Track Reel would be the format used for data, where audio, programming signals, and a timecode track would be streamed in real time.

Due to the later SongCode Hardware Setup using a TEAC A-2340 Tape Deck, which seemingly recorded only in the 2-track stereo-mode, it is a possibility that this was a carryover from the Winchester store, giving this unnamed tape deck a likely model.

Live Playback

It is unclear how the system, if at all, connected to the Winchester Control System for controlling the animatronics. Multiple statements about the programming of the Winchester system vaguely imply that all programming was done in a separate room, blind to visual feedback or any sort of live playback system. Statements about the process being "trial and error" and having to "program to the Teac tape player and run through until everything was synchronized"[2] gives rise to the possibility of it being the only programming system out of the company's history that didn't have access to visual programming.