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I just passed up an Astrocade - mistake?


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#1 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:37 AM

I brought a 13" crt to test it as seller didn't know how. Connected built in AV to adapter and into RF port. Just got black screen on both Ch 3 & 4. Should I have expected something else? It should go to the built in menu, right?

#2 Tempest OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:52 AM

Yes the Astrocade has a built in game menu

#3 Jess Ragan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 10:58 AM

Does it work with channel two? It's been a really long time since I've had an Astrocade to be honest.

 

But yeah, these machines are notoriously failure prone and the software selection is a little thin besides. It's not a system you HAVE to have in your collection.



#4 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:03 AM

Thanks guys! I've read a good bit about their lack of reliability. It's got the option to switch between 3&4. I tried both and got a "steady" black screen. Clearly it was sending something to the TV just not the menu. The thing is brand new. I think I was the first to ever unwind the power cord. Comes with box and all inserts. I offered $50, but it is just too frivolous an expense to go to the $150 asking price.
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#5 Reaperman ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:20 AM

$150?  holy cow.  Especially for a broken one (aka all of them).

I got my broken one for $35 with a fat stack of games I can't ever play...while typing it, I note that's not a great deal either...


Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:22 AM.


#6 gamecat80 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 3:54 PM

These systems are finicky.  There is a menu that pops up if there is no cart inserted.  Sometimes you have to reset the machine to get it working properly.  Also, make sure the RF cord is still good.  I'd only offer $150 for the box + working unit + controllers.  I think I paid about that much for my working Astrocade (no box) + 20 carts + 4 controllers.



#7 BassGuitari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:01 PM

Black screen = toast. You were wise to pass.



#8 akator OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 4:32 PM

I would buy it for $50 to get the 2 brand new Astrocade controllers.  The Astrocade controllers are amazing and getting hard to find these days.  Then again, I'm one of the few people left on the planet to actually care about those controllers, so even that price is probably overly generous  :D



#9 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 6:10 PM

I believe strongly that the seller will list it on Ebay either as "untested" or "as is" and ask for $150.  When I offered $50, she immediately mentioned Ebay and what she thought she could get there.



#10 Nutsy Doodleheimer OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 8:24 PM

Smart and wise move to pass. I have never played an Astrocade or owned one. I heard they have lots of problems. Mostly overheating issues. $150 for a non working system is absurd. Should be $40.

#11 scobb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 9:19 PM

You're better getting a Hyperspin set-up using XBOX 360 controllers with Astrocade  ;)



#12 Reaperman ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:36 PM

You're better getting a Hyperspin set-up using XBOX 360 controllers with Astrocade  ;)

You really think so?

I mean, my broken one is pretty bad and all, but I'd rather have cancer than AIDS.

 

Software emulation vs. never playing it--who can really say which is worse?

I think that I've had the genuine astrocade experience with mine.  I've held the controller and slotted in the games, at least.

I've touched the woodgrain while frantically switching between channels 2-4 praying for anything resembling a game.  Emulation offers none of that.  There's no way it comes even close to replicating the real astrocade experience.  

 

I honestly forgot if I was trying to be serious or not--to the drinks thread!


Edited by Reaperman, Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:50 PM.


#13 swlovinist OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jul 11, 2015 11:52 PM

Huge Astrocade fan here.  I have been lucky over the years to acquire several working units and even have two working White Montgomery Ward edition models.  The system is usually found dead these days.  I love the controllers for the unique play style.  For the asking price I think that you did good on passing.  I would only buy a system if it was tested in front of me. 



#14 icemanxp300 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 12, 2015 2:29 AM

You really think so?

I mean, my broken one is pretty bad and all, but I'd rather have cancer than AIDS.

 

 

You might want to rethink that one. Nobody dies from aids these days. You take a $.10 pill everyday and live forever. Cancer kills everyone and the treatments are horrible and very ineffective.



#15 darthkur OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 12, 2015 7:05 AM

Sometimes my unit will display a black screen when powered up. By applying slight pressure to the middle of the console, either from the top or bottom, will make the system function properly.



#16 CatPix ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 14, 2015 1:04 PM

This mean you have dry solder joints or one of the chip is not seated properly, IMO.



#17 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 4, 2017 10:48 AM

Going to see another local Astrocade today.  This time it was on Ebay with pictures of it getting to the built in menu and playing Gunfight.  I have insisted on local pickup and won the auction at about $150 - we'll see what happens.



#18 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 4, 2017 1:36 PM

Ahh I see what you did. Used the auction-win as a placeholder while you go check it out.

 

Whatever you look for, be sure the astrocade runs good after it warms up. I keep hearing they're notorious for overheating issues.

 

---EDIT---

 

Back in the day I had two of them. One died so I got another another, and it lasted several years before it got all trashed up and stuff.

 

Don't know where the unreliability comes from, if it's from cheap and early IC manufacturing techniques or if it's from having arcade chips inside a home unit. In arcade cabs the chips usually were down low in the bottom of the cabinet, and used convective cooling. And there was open space around most of them. The home unit has none of those advantages. They're sealed up in that RF cage, and then the plastic housing, and there is no useful convection despite there being vents on the bottom.


Edited by Keatah, Sat Mar 4, 2017 1:45 PM.


#19 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 4, 2017 2:05 PM

You're better getting a Hyperspin set-up using XBOX 360 controllers with Astrocade  ;)

 

That's right. Either that or MAME on the PC. With emulation you will get high-reliability and no intermittent operation or overheating to worry about. And the sound is spot-on.



#20 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 4, 2017 4:48 PM

Just FYI that I contacted the seller before bidding to confirm local pickup was an option. I wouldn't want someone to think I was one of THOSE bidders.

#21 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Mar 4, 2017 6:18 PM

Run the built-in Checkmate game by selecting 0 (zero) players for 30 or 40 games (if you want to be a little pushy, go up to 99). The Astrocade has a screensaver that will turn the screen black after five minutes with no input. Just press the trigger button on the controller, and the test will continue. Look for graphical glitches, stray pixels.

h/t to TMOSteel for this info!

#22 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 3:16 PM

I got it!   Even though it was "local," he was still 45 mins away.  It is actually an Astrovision branded model.  He was a nice guy and had it all set up to test for me when I got there.  The only cart he had was the BASIC cart.  He said he is the original owner and it was his as a kid.  The case is kinda beat up though.

 

I let it play 10 or so games of Checkmate and then he and I played Gunfight.  It was working as he described, so I did the deal.  He had a 5200 out that he said he already sold.  He also had a NES delux set with ROB that he said was already sold.  What wasn't sold was a Telegames (Pong) IV.  We hooked that up and it seemed to have some bad RF interference.  I would have probably made an offer on it, but he had a bunch of stories about playing it with his dad, and I didn't want to give him a "project" price for something that was meaningful.  I told him that if he got it fixed or if he found any more of his Astrocade games to call me.

 

 

I've never really done a deal quite like this.  I waited to pay until I was standing in his house and then sent the PayPal payment from my phone.  No cash exchanged - interesting.

 

 

If anyone has some spare Astrocade carts, please let me know.  I don't care about boxes or label condition.



#23 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 3:54 PM

I have a ton of loose carts. Which ones are you interested in?

#24 wongojack OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 3:59 PM

I have a ton of loose carts. Which ones are you interested in?

I will research and PM you.  Definitely Incredible Wizard and the Defender clone.



#25 boxpressed OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 5, 2017 4:09 PM

I don't have an extra of Cosmic Raiders (Defender clone), but try to get a copy of Solar Conquerer. One of my favorite games of the era. Better yet, get a multicart.




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