sean: hmm isn't that a 5V only part? 9V could've blown it out. the COP411 at least is 5V only so claims the datasheet. I am going to use the PIC to monitor SK then feed it instructions each time it goes low, and then capture data on the falling edge during capture mode to read the ROM data.
hap: yes that is correct. I just fixed my pinout to say plate 8 is always on. Interestingly when I started dumping these I never thought that they'd just leave some plates on all the time and others tied together but that's what some of the games do.
I received that VFD galaxian 2 today, and desoldered the two CPUs from my adapters (HD38820A28 and A29, the two revs of coleco pac-man) and will solder two more down tonight and dump them.
Also I should be able to test dumping of COP411 and MM78.