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DIY modifications for ColecoVision


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#1 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 22, 2010 10:19 AM

Hi everyone,

I've started this thread to promote some DIY modifications, upgrades, and general repairs, that can be performed on the ColecoVision console and its accessories.

Feel free to post instructions on any modifications that you've done. Links are fine, too, preferably if you've performed the modification yourself, and can provide a little bit of a review to go along with the link. Also feel free to discuss any of the modifications listed here, or suggest ones you'd like to have included.

This is a DIY thread, a place to share and gain knowledge, to enhance the "ColecoVision Experience". Please don't advertise your services in this thread - you can create your own thread(s) for that.

I'll be posting a few instructions fairly soon for BIOS update, controller chip replacement, composite mod, and possibly more. Feel free to "beat me to the punch" on some of these. :)

I think that's it.

Thanks and enjoy,
5-11under

#2 channelmaniac OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 22, 2010 8:33 PM

Hello,

Instructions for installing a Dual BIOS mod and for doing the +5v only memory are on the downloads section of my website.

Feel free to download them and use them if you have your own parts to install.

The dual BIOS is easy to create if you have an EPROM programmer. Simply program the bottom half of a 27128 with the standard BIOS and the upper half with the no-title-delay BIOS then follow the instructions to install it.

#3 DickNixonArisen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 22, 2010 11:00 PM

surely someone has the power switch fix?

#4 channelmaniac OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 23, 2010 9:22 PM

surely someone has the power switch fix?


Yes. Install +5v only memory. Poof. No more relying on the +12v switching cleanly to keep the memory from glitching.

It's not a 100% fix, but it sure is a 90% fix.

#5 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 24, 2010 6:45 AM

Controller chip replacement...

Perform this repair if one or more of your controllers has a “stuck” button/direction, even if a good controller is plugged in, or no controller at all is plugged in. If a number is stuck, then the game may start without giving the options for difficulty level or number of players.

Thanks,
5-11under

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#6 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 24, 2010 12:46 PM

Power switch clean...

Perform this repair if you're getting inconsistent garbage on the screen upon start-up, or other strange, unrepeatable behaviour.

Thanks,
5-11under

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#7 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 24, 2010 2:36 PM

Composite video output...

Perform this modification if you're not happy with the stock RF output, and would like audio and composite video output (yellow, white, and red RCA cables/connectors). It's relatively simple and inexpensive.

Thanks,
5-11under

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#8 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 24, 2010 5:53 PM

Here's five different versions of the ColecoVision BIOS:

1. Original (has the sometimes excruciatingly long ~12 second title screen on Coleco games)
2. Alternate font (I've never tried this version)
3. Intro skip (completely and automatically skips the 12 second title screen)
4. Fire button skip intro - made famous by doubledown (bypasses the 12 second title screen when you press a fire button)
5. Short title screen - my version (about 3 seconds instead of 12 seconds)

Enjoy,
5-11under

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#9 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 24, 2010 6:12 PM

BIOS replacement...

Perform this modification if you'd like a different BIOS than the original, for instance, if you want to shorten, get rid of, or have control of how long the title screen shows up for many of the games.

Thanks,
5-11under

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#10 jblenkle OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 27, 2010 12:18 AM

Good idea, but, ha, ha...for some of us DIY stands for "Destroy it Yourself" !!!


Hi everyone,

I've started this thread to promote some DIY modifications, upgrades, and general repairs, that can be performed on the ColecoVision console and its accessories.

Feel free to post instructions on any modifications that you've done. Links are fine, too, preferably if you've performed the modification yourself, and can provide a little bit of a review to go along with the link. Also feel free to discuss any of the modifications listed here, or suggest ones you'd like to have included.

This is a DIY thread, a place to share and gain knowledge, to enhance the "ColecoVision Experience". Please don't advertise your services in this thread - you can create your own thread(s) for that.

I'll be posting a few instructions fairly soon for BIOS update, controller chip replacement, composite mod, and possibly more. Feel free to "beat me to the punch" on some of these. :)

I think that's it.

Thanks and enjoy,
5-11under



#11 cimerians ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 27, 2010 3:13 PM

Great stuff, thanks a million. :thumbsup:

#12 patbb OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 27, 2010 5:15 PM

Thanks alot.

Do you have something for joysticks?
Cleaning and reparing fire buttons for example.

#13 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 27, 2010 6:19 PM

From here: http://www.atariage....ost__p__1964088

For the Do-it-Yourselfer Here is a guide to Controller Refurbishing

ColecoVision Controller Refurbishing.

You need the following

Soldering Iron
Solder
dielectric grease
De-solder bulb to remove old solder
paper
card stock
fine file or sand paper
small side cutter and needle nose pliers
Multi-meter (audible continuity test is a nice plus)
small utility knife (for removing glue and to aid in stripping wires.
Only 99% isopropyl alcohol ( the 70% stuff has water in it )
and
DeoxIT by http://www.caig.com/

Trying to clean a fire-button without dissembling it is futile.

1. De-solder dissemble and clean rails and slide with 99% isopropyl alcohol to remove old grease and grime.

2. Put a couple drops of Deoxit on the slide and both sides of the rail ( rail is the 3 flat extensions ) and let it sit for about 5 minutes.

3. Take the slide and carefully straddle it on a strip of paper and move it back and forth to remove any corrsion.

4. Clean the corrsion off the rails with a Q-tip.

5. Put the slide back on the rail,apply a nice thin layer of dielectric grease to protect against corrosion and friction.

6. Reassemble

7. Test with a multi-meter using the continuity setting. press button in very slowly and make sure that contact is continuos from the point where it first makes contact and being fully depressed. If the slide is damaged or rail is bent, contact can be intermitant and button is basically worthless.

8. If button tests perfect, solder it back to the controller pcb.

Joystick Contacts:

For the joystick contacts you NEVER want to sand the chrome plated dome, doing so would be begging for problems. The chrome plating makes for excellent contact. Desolder and carefully inspect the domes for cracks. I have seen them with such tiny cracks that unless you delsolder and hold in your fingers and gently bend and twist them, the cracks are not visible.

Contact points be lighthly sanded or filed and a drop of solder be applied and filed flat, then a drop of Deoxit be applied to condition the contact point, domes carefully inspected and replaced if cracked.

Keypad

1. pull keypad out of the socket
2. clean the contact points with DeoxIT and a Q*tip
3. slide a piece of card stock with Deoxit in/out of the keypad socket several times to get grime and corrosion out.

If the keypad doesn't work you may have to separate the layers. The contact points between the layers get corroded occasionally.

For cords and solder points I recommend that wires be cut from pcb and all old solder and glue removed. Then throw away those slide on clips, those things are worthless. Remove any glue on the type of pcb that has the thru holes. Strip and resolder all the wires directly to the controller pcb. No need to put any hot glue on the wires. The grommet protects the wires from being pulled lose from the pcb.

Quick fix for joystick contacts is a strip of paper or poster board with DeoxIT ran back and forth between contact and dome while pushing down on dome. Not really recommended!

If your going to go to all the trouble of trying to recondition a controller, you should go all out so that it continues to work for a long time, not half-way so that 2 weeks later your tearing it a part again.


Hi patbb,

Above is part of a post from Yurkie. I haven't refurbished too many controllers, although I really need to do some more. I've never had to clean or fix a keypad, and I've only cleaned fire buttons with spray contact cleaner, which has worked reasonably well, at least for ones that weren't in too bad shape. Next time I'll take them apart, and see how that goes.

For the joystick contacts, I do pretty much the same as Yurkie. Definitely don't sand the chrome plated domes. The round contacts underneath require light sanding (desolder the chrome domes first). I typically use several hundred grit, ideally wet, to gently "clean" the round contacts. I've never used a file or filled with solder. Clean everything with Q-Tips/Isopropyl Alcohol, then add DeoxIT (follow instructions). I end with dielectric grease in these, too.

It's not rocket surgery, but does require some patience.

Thanks,
5-11under

Edited by 5-11under, Thu May 27, 2010 6:20 PM.


#14 DickNixonArisen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 27, 2010 8:34 PM

I suggest this topic be cleaned and pinned.

#15 patbb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 28, 2010 7:03 AM

thanks, that will be very useful.

#16 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 12, 2010 2:48 PM

Opening the ColecoVision case: http://www.atariage....cv-disassembly/

#17 mamejay OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:55 PM

Hey 5-11under,

I have performed a microswitch joystick mod on one of my bad controllers. I found the tut on youtube. It works great but I cannot use the existing spring so the joystick feels loose. Have you performed a microswitch mod before?
If so what did you use for a spring to keep the joystick firm?

#18 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:15 AM

Hey 5-11under,

I have performed a microswitch joystick mod on one of my bad controllers. I found the tut on youtube. It works great but I cannot use the existing spring so the joystick feels loose. Have you performed a microswitch mod before?
If so what did you use for a spring to keep the joystick firm?

Sorry, I've never done a mod like this before. I don't like the layout of the original controller, so I haven't gone much beyond just cleaning them using the method shown a few posts up. Anyone else?

#19 S1500 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 8:47 AM

For those who can't tell if they have flakey controllers or a bad controller chip, what pins could one hook up to a voltmeter off the controller plug to see what readouts I should get? I have 2 regular + 2 super action controllers, even after a good cleaning, still act weird.

#20 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:44 AM

For those who can't tell if they have flakey controllers or a bad controller chip, what pins could one hook up to a voltmeter off the controller plug to see what readouts I should get? I have 2 regular + 2 super action controllers, even after a good cleaning, still act weird.

I usually use the tester included in the Atarimax USB or SD multicarts... but you need at least some control to get to it. Otherwise I'll use a "Final Test" cartridge that you can find here: http://www.theadamre...ware/index.htm. You could put it as "game" 001 in a USB multicart, and you'd only need a fire button to activate it.

#21 SlowCoder OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 11:46 AM

Opening the ColecoVision case: http://www.atariage....cv-disassembly/

5-11under, thanks for the props! :)

#22 WERY OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 3:30 PM

5-11under: I just downloaded your guide on how to modify a ColecoVision for AV and I would like schematics for the amplifier circuit in that mod so that I can understand the mod completely. Will build it on a tiny board

And just to make sure, it is the NTSC version in the mod? Figures it should be but want to make sure :)

#23 5-11under OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:44 PM

5-11under: I just downloaded your guide on how to modify a ColecoVision for AV and I would like schematics for the amplifier circuit in that mod so that I can understand the mod completely. Will build it on a tiny board

And just to make sure, it is the NTSC version in the mod? Figures it should be but want to make sure :)

The composite mod listed earlier in this thread is the same one benheck has used (except the audio tap, of course, as described). I don't have a schematic, although it would be easy to make. Just follow the connections. The transistor is an NPN transistor: http://www.reprise.c...or_pinouts.asp.
It's meant for NTSC. I think the PAL CV is very different as far as the video output circuitry.

#24 pimpmaul69 ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 25, 2011 11:19 PM

thanks for the composite mod. piece of cake. all parts i have lying around. didnt use the pot. works great. now the atari looks way better than the av mod for the actual atari 2600. (proper colors. didnt have to sacrifice anywhere. even had to reset brightness on tv from the atari mod not being bright enough)

#25 thegamezmaster OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Oct 8, 2011 9:03 AM

Great thread. Great for people that can't afford to pay to have it done! Well done on your instructions too,thanks.




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