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Composite Mod: Any Help Appreciated


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#1 ED-209 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 8, 2017 11:01 AM

Greetings again everyone,

 

I attempted a composite mod using the simple 2N3904 Transistor and the 2.2k and 3.3k resistors.  I think it went well, until I did more researching.

 

Unfortunately I was using a tutorial that ended up being for a PAL 2600 Vader vs. NTSC Vader (http://mrpjevans.com...the-atari-2600/) and I believe I removed 2 extra components that I shouldn't have and now I am wondering if this is what's causing a not so clear picture.  I believe the 2 components are the R222 (12 K Resistor) and the C209 (47pF capacitor), although I could have sworn it was the same shape as a resistor (like this one from this pic http://vintagegaming...06/IMG_1627.jpg)?  I also watched several videos and some people also removed these components on their NTSC 2600, so again, not sure if this is ok or really matters?  I also made a rookie mistake and just removed and trashed these components and didn't even take a picture, I guess I wasn't thinking that day unfortunately as I am usually good about taking pics and saving everything.

 

Anyway, I do get a better picture than I got with the RF but it just seems a little blurry or washed out.  When it's on Black and White, it looks great, not grainy or anything.  I will post some pics at the end of this post.  I did adjust the color pot to as close as I could comparing it to an emulator on my LCD TV using Pitfall.

 

So I guess my next question is, did I mess up something and should I try to put back the R222 and C209 parts?

 

I also read that to get the best composite video, you should use the mods that tie into the TIA chip, like they have at this website (http://electronicsen...mbled Mods.html).  Are these better and should I just go with this one?  If so, do I then not need to worry about the R222 and C209?

 

Apologies for all the questions as I am lost now and hope the experts here can help.  I am getting a replacement TIA chip as mine has issues with the Player 2 paddle, so not sure if this could also be a cause to the picture quality.

 

Lastly, I also read where some have replaced a few components to produce a better picture (http://atariage.com/...-2600-variants/).  Should I try this as I do have all these components?

 

Thanks again for any and all help and guidance.  Who knows, maybe this is how it should look (I'm hoping but doubt it LOL)?

 

 

 

What my board looks like after the mod:

 

348FDA7A-D00E-4375-8C83-5532F17F4790_zps

 

F3F39A91-45D4-4FA1-9FB4-3DBD4B0F9221_zps

 

 

Pics on my CRT:

 

2E688131-BAAB-4496-ADAE-CB90D173A6AA_zps

 

811B9214-CDD6-4D10-8489-9973DF4D281F_zps

 

FDECD7EA-220A-4EEC-93E8-D7B2C6AA1960_zps

 

Pics on my LCD TV:

 

EE68F2A6-20CB-4CE2-9649-B17900AFA4DF_zps

 

809F0025-A41F-4EE4-8240-89D55340C083_zps

 

B3AFB10F-15C5-4CEE-A988-D913DA04D4E6_zps



#2 ED-209 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 8, 2017 5:12 PM

Ok, partial update...

 

I went to a flea market today and found another Vader 2600 and couldn't believe it was a Revision 16 like mine and this one even had socketed IC chips.  It didn't work and was in rough shape but I mainly got it for parts and to try out the TIA chip (from my other thread).

 

Anyway, I took those two components I took off by mistake and put them back, so now I just have the original composite mod, see pic below.

 

If anyone has any thoughts\feedback\suggestions, just let me know as I'm all ears and not sure if I should replace those few capacitors and voltage regulator (http://atariage.com/...-2600-variants/).

 

Or if I should scrap this composite mod and go for one of these here (http://electronicsen...mbled Mods.html)

 

Thanks again for any and all help.

 

 

Back to Normal:

 

84760532-DABE-4C26-AE4D-582895D505E1_zps



#3 SignGuy81 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 8, 2017 5:33 PM

That tape isn't nescessary.  at first I thought it was heat shrink and wondering why you didn't heat it but then saw the seam and realized it was electrical tape.  No purpose in having that on there no offense but it looks terrible.  If you solder it where it is supposed to go and the insulation doesn't get burnt back it isn't going to touch anything else, but you could always use a dab of hot glue on it instead if you wanted to.

 

EDIT:

 

I originally added another option which I realized I worded wrong or I wasn't thinking clearly so now I'm rewriting it.  I was going to mention another option is that if you were supposed to clip the lead and solder to that(hard to tell by the picture if it was just soldered to the resistor or if it was clipped first) then what you can do(if there is only one trace going to that component hole counting both sides of board) is cut the trace on the board, pull that end of the component up and put the wire in, and shove the component lead back down thru it and solder them together that way.  It serves same purpose as clipping the lead but it gives you something extra to solder to and keeps everything in place.  If there is more than one trace going to that particular point though it might not be a good idea because those traces may need to remain electrically connected and therefore clipping the lead might be the better option but still I wouldn't use electrical tape.


Edited by SignGuy81, Sat Apr 8, 2017 5:57 PM.


#4 ED-209 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 8, 2017 7:44 PM

That tape isn't nescessary.  at first I thought it was heat shrink and wondering why you didn't heat it but then saw the seam and realized it was electrical tape.  No purpose in having that on there no offense but it looks terrible.  If you solder it where it is supposed to go and the insulation doesn't get burnt back it isn't going to touch anything else, but you could always use a dab of hot glue on it instead if you wanted to.

 

EDIT:

 

I originally added another option which I realized I worded wrong or I wasn't thinking clearly so now I'm rewriting it.  I was going to mention another option is that if you were supposed to clip the lead and solder to that(hard to tell by the picture if it was just soldered to the resistor or if it was clipped first) then what you can do(if there is only one trace going to that component hole counting both sides of board) is cut the trace on the board, pull that end of the component up and put the wire in, and shove the component lead back down thru it and solder them together that way.  It serves same purpose as clipping the lead but it gives you something extra to solder to and keeps everything in place.  If there is more than one trace going to that particular point though it might not be a good idea because those traces may need to remain electrically connected and therefore clipping the lead might be the better option but still I wouldn't use electrical tape.

 

 

Thanks for the feedback and I know it looks fugly. 

 

Basically when I got my Atari a week ago, I ordered one of those kits on eBay that comes with a small circuit board and all the necessary components (wire, transistor, resistors and phono plugs).  Then as I started researching and preparing myself for this mod, I saw a few threads and videos showing that all you really needed were composite cables, a transistor and 2 resistors and since I live close to a RadioShack I figured I'd try to do it while I wait and Voila, here we are.

 

I was concerned with the little wire still showing and that it might hit another component, hence the electrical tape.  I can say that this was a learning experience and I obtained a lot of knowledge on how the Atari works as well as how this composite mod works.  I am very OCD and this wasn't my ideal modification.

 

I went ahead and did the cap kit and voltage regulator upgrade that was listed on another thread but once I connected everything back, I wasn't getting any video, so I thought I really FUBAR'd everything but when it was on, I tried moving (in Pitfall) and I got sound and everything seemed to work, except the video and I wasn't even getting any signal as my TV showed no input.  Low and behold the video out wire was disconnected and actually broke off from the transistor right at the very bottom of the transistor and there was no way I was soldering it back.

 

So I guess that leaves me to just wait for the $10 kit I ordered and do it the way it's listed here: (http://vintagegaming...-guide-4switch/)

 

I am hoping that my video issues I listed in this thread are linked to the poor work I did and perhaps the cheap composite cables I used although all the connections were pretty solid from what I could tell.

 

So the only real question I have for anyone is, should I just use this $10 kit or purchase one from here (http://electronicsen...mbled Mods.html) as it seems it is similar to the Ben Heck mod?  I am just wondering if anyone has done or seen these and is there THAT MUCH of a difference.  I know I am never going to get HD from this but just would like a nice clear picture.

 

Thanks again for any and all help.



#5 H454 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 1:47 PM

 

So the only real question I have for anyone is, should I just use this $10 kit or purchase one from here (http://electronicsen...mbled Mods.html) as it seems it is similar to the Ben Heck mod?  I am just wondering if anyone has done or seen these and is there THAT MUCH of a difference.  I know I am never going to get HD from this but just would like a nice clear picture.

 

If you have a tv with S-video input, than Definitely yes!

The em Mod also has on board contrast and brightness. adjustments.



#6 Elizabeth1701 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:41 PM

17021864_1801360263520681_3315468083520466179_n.jpg

 

My basic Composite Mod I install for everyone but I also repair and Recap the units.  I think I made some adjustments to the Rev. 16.  I make adjustments as needed per unit to get the saturation correct.



#7 Osgeld ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:51 PM

I dont think there is anything wrong with what you did, maybe just tolerances of parts used is thowing things off to the outer limits, if you have variable resistors I would use those instead of the 2k / 3k to dial things in a bit more finely 



#8 ED-209 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 15, 2017 5:58 PM

Thanks everyone, I ended up getting one of those mod chips from http://electronicsen...mbled Mods.html and everything looks great, BUT I have one small issue that remains.

 

For some reason, there are horizontal steady scrolling white bars.  It's hard to explain but they just slowly scroll across the screen from top to bottom.  They aren't really white, it's almost like the brightness is higher in these bars that scroll.  I triple checked all the connections and continuity and everything is solid and I also tried adjusting the two Contrast and Brightness pots on the board but nothing gets rid of them, it only seems to minimize them.  

 

If it wasn't for these scrolling things, it would look AMAZING and everything else does, it's clear as a bell and resolved my other issues with the blurring and out of focus areas. 

 

So not sure where to go from here, I emailed the person from the website but haven't heard back and he didn't respond to previous emails earlier this week so not sure why but hope it's just something I'm overlooking as I have a new power supply and am using the gold phono plugs.  I used wires from a LAN cable but really don't think that would cause this as the pics from his installation pages look to use the same kind of wire.

 

Anyway, if anyone knows anything about this type of issue, I would greatly appreciate any help.

 

Thanks again!



#9 Elizabeth1701 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:34 AM

I haven't tried that board yet, they seem to be out of the 7800's and haven't responded on when they will be restocked.  Was the unit properly serviced and recapped? More often then not that step is always skipped, people assume a Mod will solve all the issues with the unit.  A bad solder joint, placement of the Mod board, wire routing can also cause background noise.






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