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RF Problems? Poor picture quality.


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#26 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:02 PM

I replaced all the caps and added the resistor on the one board and still have the jail bars. And the picture looks way better on the LCD TV than on the CRT TV. Pitfall is horrible on the CRT but playable on the LCD. Donkey Kong is more or less fine on either but probably because of the black background.

 

I'm going to do the composite upgrade maybe this weekend and eliminate the RF altogether. Hopefully that will do the trick.

 

I've been having this issue and have yet to find a solution. Mojoatomic is sending me a cap replacement kit so I'll still go through with it but it looks like that won't solve the problem. The only other thing I can think to try is to purchase a power conditioner. It could be a form of "dirty power" that causes the jailbars but that was suggested to me as a possibility.

 

Also its possible that doing the composite mod won't eliminate the jailbars but actually make them more prominent. 

 

I had a whole thread on this issue and the best guess is that is just the way these 40 year old machines may behave. No concrete solutions were ever found as far as I know. 


Edited by AtariLeaf, Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:06 PM.


#27 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:30 PM

It might if you target the right caps.



#28 mojoatomic OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:48 PM

 

I've been having this issue and have yet to find a solution. Mojoatomic is sending me a cap replacement kit so I'll still go through with it but it looks like that won't solve the problem. The only other thing I can think to try is to purchase a power conditioner. It could be a form of "dirty power" that causes the jailbars but that was suggested to me as a possibility.

 

Also its possible that doing the composite mod won't eliminate the jailbars but actually make them more prominent. 

 

I had a whole thread on this issue and the best guess is that is just the way these 40 year old machines may behave. No concrete solutions were ever found as far as I know. 

 

Can you do a video of the jail bars if you get a chance? Preferably before and after the kit install if possible - I have a few ideas...



#29 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:17 AM

 

Can you do a video of the jail bars if you get a chance? Preferably before and after the kit install if possible - I have a few ideas...

 

I will do that for sure. I'm not sure how well it will show up on camera. I could try using video capture but it doesn't seem to show up in capture. I went through my old youtube videos and I don't see any evidence of the jail bars after it's gone through video editing software and exported to a different format.


Edited by AtariLeaf, Sat Feb 25, 2017 5:22 AM.


#30 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 25, 2017 10:08 PM

I have now replaced all of the capacitors and installed the composite kit after completely removing all of the RF components. It is now working again but I'm still very much disappointed in the results. Some games look decent like Berzerk, Donkey Kong, Asteroids, and even Adventure looks pretty decent in 480i via game mode on my very current Sharp 4k TV. It looks a little better on the newer Sharp than my 10 year old plus Samsung LCD. I don't have a CRT to view it on.

 

Pitfall is terrible! Very fuzzy with lots of ghosting. I just want a nice clear picture like the many guys on YouTube that have upgraded to composite.

 

Question #1 - what else can I do with the Atari to try and clean up the picture? Anything?

 

Question #2 - do I need to buy an upscaler to try and improve my situation?

 

This is very frustrating.  :mad:



#31 Everett1954 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:12 AM

Have you tried a composite or s-video mod?

 

Simple to do and cheap.

 

Why keep putting all this effort into cleaning up an RF signal  that will never be as good as a composite or s-video mod?



#32 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 6:55 AM

Have you tried a composite or s-video mod?

 

Simple to do and cheap.

 

Why keep putting all this effort into cleaning up an RF signal  that will never be as good as a composite or s-video mod?

 

He said he did.

 

 

I have now replaced all of the capacitors and installed the composite kit after completely removing all of the RF components

 



#33 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 7:55 AM

It sounds a lot to me like power line noise or interference from something else radiating RF nearby. What kind of power adapter are you using? Do you have a secont one to try? And is there anything else nearby that might be causing interferences? Is your unit's RF shield installed and is it fastened down securely?

 

Do you have a second 2600 you could use? Some models are certainly noiser than others in terms of RF, but since you've removed the RF modulator, that shouldn't play into the equation. However, it's not out of the question that something is amiss with one of the components and it's radiating noise.



#34 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:03 AM

It sounds a lot to me like power line noise or interference from something else radiating RF nearby. What kind of power adapter are you using? Do you have a secont one to try? And is there anything else nearby that might be causing interferences? Is your unit's RF shield installed and is it fastened down securely?

 

Do you have a second 2600 you could use? Some models are certainly noiser than others in terms of RF, but since you've removed the RF modulator, that shouldn't play into the equation. However, it's not out of the question that something is amiss with one of the components and it's radiating noise.

As I stated, I have 2 units. They both had similar RF issues with the jail bars (vertical blinds) look. One was far worse than the other. The one that was really bad was converted to composite and is far better than it was but when I insert Pitfall the unit with the composite connection doesn't look nearly as good as the one still using the RF. Most other games it is harder to discern.

 

Both units are perfectly playable but I am seeking a clear picture or at least as clear as others are getting via RF or composite. I have 2 power supplies, one is a lighter and large Retro 2600 AC Adapter and the other I bought yesterday is a RoHS AC adapter (much heavier and seemingly a better quality, not that I'm an expert). Both power supplies give the same or at least similar results.

 

Composite Unit

  • I've replaced all the CAPs ... http://atariage.com/...-2600-variants/
  • I've upgraded with gold plated composite with a kit purchased on Ebay
    • Picture still not noticeably clearer. Pitfall is just ugly no matter where I go on the palette
    • And now this unit doesn't power on each time. Most likely cause? Switch? Plug? I guess I can remove and clean the switch since that's the most obvious culprit.
    • So I'm down to picture and power switch issues. I have something to try with the switch. Picture help anyone?
    • Anyone with good experience with an upscaler? Haven't seen many people post YouTube videos of Atari 2600 with a Frameister.

 

RF Unit

  • I still have a CAPs kit to change them out on this one.
  • I don't really want to upgrade this to composite as I'd like to keep one original for the most part.
  • Picture had a lot of ghosting on either the LCD and crappy CRT that only has a coax input.
    • I think my only real option here is to try and buy or create a better RCA cable. In looking on Ebay the sellers of an Atari 2600 RCA cable, they all appear to have the long post at both ends and not the short post that gets plugged into the board. Has anyone found a good source?

 

I appreciate all comments and feedback in my quest to get the best possible picture from both composite and RF.



#35 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 10:28 AM

I think my only real option here is to try and buy or create a better RCA cable. In looking on Ebay the sellers of an Atari 2600 RCA cable, they all appear to have the long post at both ends and not the short post that gets plugged into the board. Has anyone found a good source?

 

When I was replacing a bad/cut RF cable on my Vader, I used a high-quality standard RCA connector RF cable and a cheap low-profile L-connector I bought online (Amazon, I think). The center prong on the male end of the L-connector was still too long for the Atari female connector on the board, so I cut it short with a pair of wire cutters. Cutting it short flattened the prong a bit so I used needlenose pliers to get it back into round, then sanded the ends to remove any small burrs. Worked great.



#36 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:06 AM

 

When I was replacing a bad/cut RF cable on my Vader, I used a high-quality standard RCA connector RF cable and a cheap low-profile L-connector I bought online (Amazon, I think). The center prong on the male end of the L-connector was still too long for the Atari female connector on the board, so I cut it short with a pair of wire cutters. Cutting it short flattened the prong a bit so I used needlenose pliers to get it back into round, then sanded the ends to remove any small burrs. Worked great.

It's starting to look like that is the way to go for my RF issue. I will likely go this route. Thanks for the feedback.

 

The composite is most frustrating at the moment.  :?



#37 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 12:25 PM

As I stated, I have 2 units. They both had similar RF issues with the jail bars (vertical blinds) look. One was far worse than the other. The one that was really bad was converted to composite and is far better than it was but when I insert Pitfall the unit with the composite connection doesn't look nearly as good as the one still using the RF. Most other games it is harder to discern.

 

 

So the jailbars are still there but much less noticeable after the composite mod?



#38 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:18 PM

 

So the jailbars are still there but much less noticeable after the composite mod?

That is correct. They are much better than before the mod. And in some games with a dark background you won't really know unless looking for it. Pitfall is definitely the game that frustrates me the most. It actually is looking far better via RF than composite. I'm not sure if ghosting is the right term but everything appears blurred. The trees for instance aren't solid lines. If I fool with the palette I can get the trunks to appear more solid but the other colors are way off.



#39 mojoatomic OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:39 PM

Maybe the 820ohm resistor doesn't play well with the AV mod? Could try lifting it and see if your color improves



#40 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:17 PM

That is correct. They are much better than before the mod. And in some games with a dark background you won't really know unless looking for it.

 

So would I be way off in assuming that the RF signal is somehow causing jail bar lines? 



#41 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:37 PM

Possible. Although there's still some vertical lines but they are much more faint now. Pretty sure my composite issues are now related to the TV I'm using. It's expensive to upgrade to RBG using a Framemeister though.

#42 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:00 PM

I had the caps replaced but I don't see any real difference in the jailbars. Things look pretty much the same. Colors seem a little more vibrant but I'm not sure if I'm just imagining it but if so, that's a plus. I'm not really one to composite mod as I like my systems as original as possible. I know this goes against my ranting about jailbars since perhaps a composite mod MIGHT fix or lessen it but I'd rather live with it and perhaps try other solutions than do a composite mod.



#43 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 14, 2017 6:13 PM

I'm sorry that the caps replacement didn't work for you. I just can't get happy with the picture via RF or composite. I guess when I was a kid playing my 2600 on a black and white TV I didn't give much thought to the video quality. While I can play on both my composite mod unit and my 2 RF units, I'm going to upgrade one of them to RGB so I can get as perfect of a picture as I can out of it. I just like HD too much now to have to compromise too much.

 

I totally appreciate those that don't want to mod their system but I guess there's those that like to keep their vintage cars as close to original as possible and there are others that make street rods out of them. As long as there are enough to go around.  :)

 

Honestly, I think someone might be able to make some money creating some RF cables for the Atari. I suggest using the best shielded cables available and having the short plug on the one end. It won't be original but you wouldn't need to mod the unit since you could always swap them back.



#44 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:25 AM

Most of the times when interference is coming from outside the VCS it'll be rolling or scrolling or not exactly stable. This is because the outside interference source is usually not at the exact clock speed (of the VCS) nor is it an exact multiple.

 

Furthermore, outside interference tends to have a diagonal pattern, like some of the demos, or BattleZone or Robot Tank's fake static. Maybe even like Cosmic Ark's Starfield for brushed-motor noise.

 

I would guess that your interference pattern/jailbars are not moving? Rock steady? ..then it's likely self-induced noise.



#45 AtariLeaf OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:03 AM

Most of the times when interference is coming from outside the VCS it'll be rolling or scrolling or not exactly stable. This is because the outside interference source is usually not at the exact clock speed (of the VCS) nor is it an exact multiple.

 

Furthermore, outside interference tends to have a diagonal pattern, like some of the demos, or BattleZone or Robot Tank's fake static. Maybe even like Cosmic Ark's Starfield for brushed-motor noise.

 

I would guess that your interference pattern/jailbars are not moving? Rock steady? ..then it's likely self-induced noise.

 

Correct. Very similar, although much fainter, than a top loader NES. 

 

Also when you say self-induced noise, I assume you don't mean when I scream at my 2600 when I lose a game :D



#46 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 9:01 AM

Most of the times when interference is coming from outside the VCS it'll be rolling or scrolling or not exactly stable. This is because the outside interference source is usually not at the exact clock speed (of the VCS) nor is it an exact multiple.

 

Furthermore, outside interference tends to have a diagonal pattern, like some of the demos, or BattleZone or Robot Tank's fake static. Maybe even like Cosmic Ark's Starfield for brushed-motor noise.

 

I would guess that your interference pattern/jailbars are not moving? Rock steady? ..then it's likely self-induced noise.

What do you mean by self induced noise?  :?



#47 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:03 AM

What do you mean by self induced noise?  :?

 

Noise from inside the system - RF radiating from electronic components that aren't properly shielded, typically.



#48 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:16 AM

 

Noise from inside the system - RF radiating from electronic components that aren't properly shielded, typically.

Ahh...makes sense. Hence why an AV should be good for such a thing.  :)



#49 Keatah ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:06 PM

Noise from inside the system - RF radiating from electronic components that aren't properly shielded, typically.

 

Or aged I.C. circuits that generate noise and put that noise on their i/o pins. Which is what is happening here. Trick is to stop that and any resonances that may be induced between two parts' supply rails.



#50 Hank Rearden OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 15, 2017 12:57 PM

 

Or aged I.C. circuits that generate noise and put that noise on their i/o pins. Which is what is happening here. Trick is to stop that and any resonances that may be induced between two parts' supply rails.

Replace the chips?






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