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Intellivision trouble shooting


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#1 Intellfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 11:09 AM

Is there a resource on trouble shooting a Intellivision  I am working on a couple of units I think it is a the matrix but not sure . I am using baseball to test the controller  and  most buttons work but wont throw to first base . Is there another good game to test a Intellivision? Thanks Mark



#2 cmart604 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 11:47 AM

Pimpmaul is the resource. :)

#3 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 12:04 PM

Ideally, if you have access to a CC3 or IntelliCart, you could run the MTE-201 test cart (or other test variation if you're on an Intellivision II, etc.). If you have an Ultimate PC adapter, you could hook your controllers to it and test them in jzIntv and one of the controller test apps there, though Ultimate PC doesn't support multiple key presses. (not sure if it supports simultaneous inputs of disc + action, either... haven't tested)

 

Failing any of that, I suppose you could break out the Ohmmeter and painstakingly measure which contacts close for each controller action and write down the patterns you see. Not that I have ever resorted to that sort of thing. :ponder:



#4 Intellfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 12:23 PM

Ideally, if you have access to a CC3 or IntelliCart, you could run the MTE-201 test cart (or other test variation if you're on an Intellivision II, etc.). If you have an Ultimate PC adapter, you could hook your controllers to it and test them in jzIntv and one of the controller test apps there, though Ultimate PC doesn't support multiple key presses. (not sure if it supports simultaneous inputs of disc + action, either... haven't tested)

 

Failing any of that, I suppose you could break out the Ohmmeter and painstakingly measure which contacts close for each controller action and write down the patterns you see. Not that I have ever resorted to that sort of thing. :ponder:

Thanks Steve . I wish I had a MTE cart   i  going to sell a couple of Intellivsions and I want to make they work  I do have a few Matrix circuits that I bought from INTV back in the day . So I thought Baseball would be a good choice to test since you use most buttons and both side buttons and disk . Thanks For your  help Mark



#5 mphokie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 12:28 PM

Ideally, if you have access to a CC3 or IntelliCart, you could run the MTE-201 test cart (or other test variation if you're on an Intellivision II, etc.). If you have an Ultimate PC adapter, you could hook your controllers to it and test them in jzIntv and one of the controller test apps there, though Ultimate PC doesn't support multiple key presses. (not sure if it supports simultaneous inputs of disc + action, either... haven't tested)

 

Failing any of that, I suppose you could break out the Ohmmeter and painstakingly measure which contacts close for each controller action and write down the patterns you see. Not that I have ever resorted to that sort of thing. :ponder:

 

Both of these methods have been helpful for me in the past.

 

Now I need to figure out more in-depth troubleshooting for the 4+ consoles I have that no longer have any video output...



#6 Intellfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 2:07 PM

Ideally, if you have access to a CC3 or IntelliCart, you could run the MTE-201 test cart (or other test variation if you're on an Intellivision II, etc.). If you have an Ultimate PC adapter, you could hook your controllers to it and test them in jzIntv and one of the controller test apps there, though Ultimate PC doesn't support multiple key presses. (not sure if it supports simultaneous inputs of disc + action, either... haven't tested)

 

Failing any of that, I suppose you could break out the Ohmmeter and painstakingly measure which contacts close for each controller action and write down the patterns you see. Not that I have ever resorted to that sort of thing. :ponder:

Steve I have another question for you. I have two Intellivisions they power up but only have a black screen is there something that tends to go bad in the system that cause that? Thanks  Mark



#7 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 2:48 PM

I'm sure someone with true expertise like pimpmaul will chime in eventually. In my personal direct experience, it could be:

 

  • a bad STIC - debugging procedure is to pull a STIC from a known working unit and swap it into the bad one and see if it works
  • cracked connections on the boards
  • bad connection within the RF box mounted on the motherboard
  • bad RF box
  • some other bad component / connection on the motherboard (this is where someone like pimpmaul really stands out!)

The sucky part of all of this of course is cracking open the shielding around the main board.

 

The STIC is typically in a DIP socket, and with a modicum of caution, you can remove it and put it into another unit without damaging anything. It may be that the STIC is directly soldered to the mainboard in some units (Intellivsion II maybe?), which makes that debugging a much greater PITA.

 

But once you've cracked open the unit, I think you can open the RF box to see its guts w/o too much trouble. Plug in your cable that connects to the TV and observe how the center connector of the cable fits. Ensure that it makes contact with the signal connector within the box. Use an Ohmmeter to test continuity from the signal in the RF box to the male end on the other end of the RF cable. If that checks out, then the signal itself is bad, which means it's one of the other problems. If continuity test fails, it could just be fatigue on the connector in the RF box, and bending it back to make solid contact could solve the problem -- but it could also just delay the inevitable, or simply break.

 

The RF modulator swap itself is not too tough, and IIRC they're pretty cheap. I think intvnut even has a supply on hand for a few dollars each. I've done this on a couple units.

 

Your post also reminds me: I think I have 4 or 5 'BSOD' (Black Screen of Death) units to debug, myself.


Edited by intvsteve, Mon Jan 6, 2014 2:51 PM.


#8 Intellfan OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 3:32 PM

Thanks a bunch. Steve



#9 JasonlikesINTV OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 8:34 PM

I have a BSOD Tandyvision. It has been suggested to me that I may have a bad transister somewhere, but I have yet to diagnose or attempt repair.

#10 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 6, 2014 9:09 PM

I think it was a Tandyvision, in fact, that I replaced the RF on. Need to check.



#11 cmart604 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 12:31 AM

Non working Tandys make me sad.

#12 JasonlikesINTV OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 12:45 AM

It's ok. I just build a fort out of my other ones, climb in, and I get happy again. :)

#13 HunterZero OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 4:55 AM

The units still blackscreen after pressing reset? Most units need a prod of the reset button after powering on. Missing voltage due to bad power ribbon, dirty power switch or dirty cart slot contacts are other simple things to check that can cause blackscreen.

For controller issues, try opening the unit and swapping controllers. If the problem moves with the controller it is the matrix or controller cable/plug. If the problem is now with the other controller, check the pin header and suspect probable bad sound chip (the Inty GI AY-3-8914 handles sound and input).

- J

#14 cmart604 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 9:54 AM

It's ok. I just build a fort out of my other ones, climb in, and I get happy again. :)


An excellent plan indeed. :)

#15 bikeguychicago OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 4:18 PM

I have an Intv III that turns on but the picture sometimes becomes distorted after awhile. If i press in toward the middle of the unit, the issue will temporarily go away long enough for me to get a game in but it is not permanent.

 

Based on this, does someone have an idea what's possibly wrong with the unit and about how much one of you fine people would charge to repair it (since I am not exactly handy in repairing electronics).  

 

I can provide screen shots if needed too. Just let me know.

 

Thanks!



#16 intvsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 4:52 PM

I have an Intv III that turns on but the picture sometimes becomes distorted after awhile. If i press in toward the middle of the unit, the issue will temporarily go away long enough for me to get a game in but it is not permanent.

 

Based on this, does someone have an idea what's possibly wrong with the unit and about how much one of you fine people would charge to repair it (since I am not exactly handy in repairing electronics).  

 

I can provide screen shots if needed too. Just let me know.

 

Thanks!

My INTV System III does this, too sometimes. But that's the one where I tore out the ribbon cable connecting to the power supply, broke a trace or two on the main board, and have a really hacky CAT3+DB9 connector trying to keep it all together. I always attributed the trouble to that. Which reminds me... didn't someone post hearabouts where to get that ribbon cable?

 

Perhaps there's a failing ribbon cable from your power to the motherboard?



#17 HunterZero OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jan 7, 2014 7:22 PM

I would say almost certainly a dodgy ribbon cable with intermittent connection problem into the power supply or cracked solder on the power supply. I replaced the ribbon in mine with 2.54mm/0.1" pitch 5 pin connectors with PCB headers and ribbon cable. Power supply end header connector was 90 degrees, the other PCB end was straight. Easy with a wire crimper and basic soldering skills.

- J

#18 tbishop2 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 7, 2019 8:20 PM

OK, so last week, I got an intellivision, 15 games, voice, and manuals/overlays for $50.  BSOD.  So I've researched this page and used all of your troubleshooting guidelines.  Sanded, polished cartridge port, cleaned games, recapped entire system, reseated chips, cleaned switches, checked voltages...broke cable, made new cable.  Finally looked at the miscolored board near the twin transistors.  Replaced them and boom, it works.  



#19 Intymike ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 2:07 AM

OK, so last week, I got an intellivision, 15 games, voice, and manuals/overlays for $50.  BSOD.  So I've researched this page and used all of your troubleshooting guidelines.  Sanded, polished cartridge port, cleaned games, recapped entire system, reseated chips, cleaned switches, checked voltages...broke cable, made new cable.  Finally looked at the miscolored board near the twin transistors.  Replaced them and boom, it works.  

 

 

So, it's basically a new Intellivision now.  :)



#20 IMBerzerk OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 8, 2019 9:46 PM

OK, so last week, I got an intellivision, 15 games, voice, and manuals/overlays for $50.  BSOD.  So I've researched this page and used all of your troubleshooting guidelines.  Sanded, polished cartridge port, cleaned games, recapped entire system, reseated chips, cleaned switches, checked voltages...broke cable, made new cable.  Finally looked at the miscolored board near the twin transistors.  Replaced them and boom, it works.  

 

Many times guys post here (and tons of other forums I am on) wanting the quick fix or direct route to a problem.  Unfortunately, it's never that easy.  Good troubleshooting is exactly what you did.  Do the easy stuff first, then move into the areas that will be $$$ and more time.   You found the problem, fixed it and in the process, cleaned it all up and probably corrected a few potential problems as well.  Great job!  

 

JR






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