Jump to content

Photo

2600 "Vader" has bad picture quality with 2 different mods. Any idea why?

2600 mod composite problem picture

34 replies to this topic

#1 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Fri Sep 8, 2017 10:20 PM

As some of you may know, I've been talking about posting a thread with some pics showing the picture quality issues I've been having with my 2600. It has a revision 12 motherboard and I've replaced the caps and voltage regulator. I've tried two different mod boards, both donated by members here. I want to make it clear, the mod boards aren't the issue, since they work extremely well in my 7800. The pictures you are about to see show the difference in picture quality between my modded 2600 and my unmodded Jr. While the picture from the Vader looks out of focus, it isn't. You can still clearly see the name plate on the bottom of the TV frame. I tried to take both pictures from the same distance and angle, but it's not perfect. I also had to shrink the pictures in order to upload them. So, here they are. I'd like to hear thoughts on what might be causing this issue, since I find it hard to use the Harmony Cart with my Vader because the menu is pretty hard to read. It's much worse in person than the pictures would lead you to believe.

The first pic is from the Vader, the second is from the Jr.

 

 2600 mod.JPG

 

 

 

Jr. RF.JPG



#2 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

Thomas Jentzsch

    Thrust, Jammed, SWOOPS!, Boulder Dash, THREE·S, Star Castle

  • 22,783 posts
  • Always left from right here!
  • Location:Düsseldorf, Germany, Europe, Earth

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 1:05 AM

The problem is the picture at the top which is coming from your modded Vader, right? What kind of mod does it have? And what kind of TV is that? A CRT or an LCD?



#3 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Quadrunner

  • 18,722 posts

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 3:00 AM

Both pics are Vizio branded so they're LCD.



#4 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

Thomas Jentzsch

    Thrust, Jammed, SWOOPS!, Boulder Dash, THREE·S, Star Castle

  • 22,783 posts
  • Always left from right here!
  • Location:Düsseldorf, Germany, Europe, Earth

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 3:56 AM

Both pics are Vizio branded so they're LCD.

Ah, I read V1210. :)

 

No clue why your LCD causes such a fuzzy picture on one console. But generally LCDs are problematic with old, analog signals. Often they try to "improve" the picture with some digital processing. This does work well in most cases and even increases their already existing lag which makes games like Kaboom! almost unplayable.

 

You should try to disable all picture processing. Maybe that makes a difference.



#5 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 4:44 AM

The problem is the picture at the top which is coming from your modded Vader, right? What kind of mod does it have? And what kind of TV is that? A CRT or an LCD?

Yes, the top picture shows the problem, the bottom picture is for reference, to show how it looks on another console. I've tried the transistor mod from Atariguy1021 and the one I have installed now is the TI THS7314 mod from Osgeld. Both pictures are on a Vizio LCD HDTV, using the same picture settings. On a CRT, the result is the same, it was just easier to photograph on my Vizio. I didn't take a picture when I had the transistor mod installed in the 2600, but I can tell you it looked worse than the TI THS7314 mod. I have the transistor mod in my 7800 right now and the picture quality is nice and clear. I've tested both mods on my 7800 and they work great.

 

Seeing the screen in person makes a big difference. The photo really doesn't have the same effect. In person it looks really blurry, so your eyes try to adjust and bring it into focus but can't. After a couple of minutes it starts to strain your eyes. It's hard to put it into words, so hopefully that makes sense. :? 

 

EDIT-

The issue is on all my TVs, LCD and CRT. My 7800 with the same mod has a clear picture as does my unmodded Jr. It's only the 2600 that has this issue and it's been the same with both mods.


Edited by RamrodHare, Sat Sep 9, 2017 4:46 AM.


#6 Thomas Jentzsch OFFLINE  

Thomas Jentzsch

    Thrust, Jammed, SWOOPS!, Boulder Dash, THREE·S, Star Castle

  • 22,783 posts
  • Always left from right here!
  • Location:Düsseldorf, Germany, Europe, Earth

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:00 AM

Ok, if the Vader shows the same problem on a CRT, then I am lost. I hope someone else can help you.



#7 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:08 AM

Ok, if the Vader shows the same problem on a CRT, then I am lost. I hope someone else can help you.

I think the only hope I have is to save up and buy a UAV board. Since it bypasses everything and takes the signal straight from the TIA chip, it should solve the problem. I was just hoping there was a simple/cheap solution, but it's not looking like that's going to be the case. :(


Edited by RamrodHare, Sat Sep 9, 2017 5:09 AM.


#8 nanochess OFFLINE  

nanochess

    River Patroller

  • 4,894 posts
  • Coding something good
  • Location:Mexico City

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 6:19 AM

There are two 1n914 diodes coming from TIA I would also check the high speed C210 and C211. A failure of these would blur picture.

I don't have an Atari available right away to check if a direct connection of B&W to composite is possible. I use to do this to check steady and working VDP in Colecovision.

I would open the RF module and clean it with isopropilic alcohol if not sealed.

http://www.robotsand...ari2600_fsm.pdf

#9 Noah98 OFFLINE  

Noah98

    Dragonstomper

  • 562 posts
  • Location:Florida

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 8:02 AM

I bought an av modded vader from a local shop a few years ago, and I have the same issue. Sadly, the only thing that helps is running it through a VCR.

#10 Osgeld OFFLINE  

Osgeld

    River Patroller

  • 4,319 posts
  • Location:Nashville, TN

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 8:53 AM

try removing c215 (I think, refer to picture below I circled it crudely in red with a huge paintbrush) I often replace him with a 68pf that I steal from the RF but if the 150pf cap is getting crappy that will blur it

 

you can leave it completely removed but you will get some interesting effects 

 

disguy.jpg



#11 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 2:42 PM

try removing c215 (I think, refer to picture below I circled it crudely in red with a huge paintbrush) I often replace him with a 68pf that I steal from the RF but if the 150pf cap is getting crappy that will blur it

 

you can leave it completely removed but you will get some interesting effects 

 

attachicon.gifdisguy.jpg

I'll try this tonight and see if it helps.



#12 Swami OFFLINE  

Swami

    Dragonstomper

  • 859 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, MN

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 4:48 PM

I think the only hope I have is to save up and buy a UAV board. Since it bypasses everything and takes the signal straight from the TIA chip, it should solve the problem. I was just hoping there was a simple/cheap solution, but it's not looking like that's going to be the case. :(

 A guy on the board with a lot of experience with this sort of thing told me Vader's are innately problematic when it comes to video mod and doesn't recommend using them for this. This was said in a PM, so didn't mention name in case it is controversial to some folks. Maybe it is best to stick to non-Vader consoles, although if the UAV somehow bypasses the problem it would be interesting to see the results.



#13 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 7:17 PM

 A guy on the board with a lot of experience with this sort of thing told me Vader's are innately problematic when it comes to video mod and doesn't recommend using them for this. This was said in a PM, so didn't mention name in case it is controversial to some folks. Maybe it is best to stick to non-Vader consoles, although if the UAV somehow bypasses the problem it would be interesting to see the results.

It's only a Vader shell, that's why I mentioned it was a revision 12 motherboard. The board came from a 4 switch woody with a busted shell.



#14 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 9:58 PM

try removing c215 (I think, refer to picture below I circled it crudely in red with a huge paintbrush) I often replace him with a 68pf that I steal from the RF but if the 150pf cap is getting crappy that will blur it

 

you can leave it completely removed but you will get some interesting effects 

 

attachicon.gifdisguy.jpg

I  swapped the 150pf with the 68pf I got from the RF modulator on my donor board (good thing I had the extra board, since I desoldered the old modulator and threw it away). I feel like the colors are much brighter now, but the picture is still blurry on my Vizio and there are some distortions in some things. A good example is that the trapped miners on H.E.R.O. now have black vertical stripes on their shirts. The stripes are closer together and don't seem to line up with the "jail bars" on the screen. I'm thinking that the jail bars might be more visible due to the image being a bit sharper and a lot brighter, as for the distortion in the miner's shirts, I have no idea.

 I tested it on my 13 inch CRT to see how it looked. It's not as blurry as it was, so the text in the Harmony cart menu is fairly readable, but it still seems to strain my eyes. I'm not sure why the brightness has cranked up so much. I had to turn the brightness setting on the CRT down as far as it would go to keep the games from being too bright to look at. H.E.R.O. looks decent on a 13 inch screen, the miners shirts still have a tiny bit of distortion, but it's barely noticeable unless you are specifically looking for it. The jail bars are still really visible though. I'm thinking it's just not going to get any better than this. I know it's an issue with this revision 12 board. My motivation to keep working on this 2600 is running out. I may just box it up and come back to it when I have the money to get a UAV board for it.  I appreciate all the help from everyone. :thumbsup:



#15 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Quadrunner

  • 18,722 posts

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:26 PM

The UAV board, that's the digital one, the one that fits in the TIA socket?



#16 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:33 PM

The UAV board, that's the digital one, the one that fits in the TIA socket?

I don't know if there's a version of it that fits in the TIA socket or not. Bryan here on the forums makes it and it's $25. From what I've seen, it wires up to some of the TIA pins and takes the signal straight from it, bypassing all the components that seem to cause issues with the picture.



#17 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Quadrunner

  • 18,722 posts

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:40 PM

Ok, this is different. But it looks to be alright. At least it looks an order of magnitude better than the single transistor mods which are haphazardly designed and "too simple" to do what is needed.



#18 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 10:55 PM

Ok, this is different. But it looks to be alright. At least it looks an order of magnitude better than the single transistor mods which are haphazardly designed and "too simple" to do what is needed.

All the reviews on on the UAV are great and the screenshots look very clear. I'm just not 100% sure I want to sink any more money into this 2600.  If $25 will clear the picture up, it's worth it, but with the price of gas and food going up, I just don't know if I can justify spending that much, when I already have a working Jr. and 7800. The only real reason to fix this Vader is just because it looks nicer than the other two consoles. If I could ever sell off all the extra 2600 games and manuals I have, I'd have more than enough money to fix this Vader! :-D



#19 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Quadrunner

  • 18,722 posts

Posted Sat Sep 9, 2017 11:04 PM

May or may not be worth it. Depends how bad you want a THIRD system to play the same games. Set it aside and see what comes up.

 

I still have 2 Apple III+ consoles. Don't know what to do with them, so I set them aside. In one year's time, if I haven't played with them, out they go.



#20 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:23 AM

May or may not be worth it. Depends how bad you want a THIRD system to play the same games. Set it aside and see what comes up.

 

I still have 2 Apple III+ consoles. Don't know what to do with them, so I set them aside. In one year's time, if I haven't played with them, out they go.

There's something about the look of the 2600 that I like better than the Jr. and the 7800, but I really don't NEED a 3rd system. I went ahead and listed my extra games and manuals in the marketplace. If they sell, then I'll have to look over my bills and expenses and see if it's wise to try and fix this 2600 or to put the money toward more important things. More than likely, I'll just box it up until one of the other consoles kick the bucket.



#21 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

DrVenkman

    River Patroller

  • 2,380 posts
  • Back off, man! I'm a scientist.
  • Location:KMBT

Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 4:53 PM

The UAV board, that's the digital one, the one that fits in the TIA socket?

 

There is no digital AV mod that I'm aware of. The UAV is Bryan's Ultimate Atari Video mod. It can be installed in the 4050 socket in 6-switch systems, 5200's and Atari computers. For use in a 4-switch 2600, a number of individual wires are soldered from TIA directly to the UAV. Lum0, Lum1 and Lum2, Color, and Sync, and +5V and Ground from someplace else on the Atari board. The UAV provides composite, chroma and luma signals, so it can easily do S-video if you want that.

​I have a UAV in one of my Woodies and it's great. I only use Composite though, as I prefer composite on my old consoles.



#22 Keatah ONLINE  

Keatah

    Quadrunner

  • 18,722 posts

Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:14 PM

Maybe you're right. THIS mod, here, http://etim.net.au/2600rgb/

..rebuilds the video signal digitally, internally, and then makes you an RGB output. It does it quite differently than the standard mods you see floating around. In that way it is kinda-sorta-digital.

 

Then I suppose the only other way to do VCS in 100% digital is either through an FPGA console or Software Emulation. Both can, and do, work entirely in the digital sphere with no analog inbetween anything.

 

---

 

Shameless plug for Software Emulation:

If I had the choice, I'd go with SE over FPGA because of compatibility and semi-regular updates. And a "sleeper advantage", the game/cartridge menu selection is really slick. You can easily set it up and categorize-organize your games to where where you can access your favs instantly. Faster than a Harmony cart even!



#23 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Moonsweeper

  • Topic Starter
  • 432 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Sun Sep 10, 2017 11:19 PM

Small update. I decided to try playing some of my carts tonight and they seem to have pretty decent picture quality. It's actually very good on my CRT. I'm starting to feel like maybe this 2600 just doesn't like the Harmony Cart.



#24 RupanIII OFFLINE  

RupanIII

    Moonsweeper

  • 327 posts

Posted Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:34 PM

I have 2 A2600 H6ers , I think rev 8 and rev 13 boards, both are 2 board solutions original parts. I can't get the video out to sync up. 
I see the 2 coils but they just appear to be fixed coils? is there any adjustment for those or is it just the 500k pot? 

I plan to keep RF out and install an Svid mod or RGB mod and do what's necessary to keep the RF, but, for now.... I can't get the RF working. 

I took the RF apart and it seems it should work, they are totally different  RF boards inside by the way, different IC's and everything. 

Thanks for any help, 

Cheers: JW> 



#25 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

DrVenkman

    River Patroller

  • 2,380 posts
  • Back off, man! I'm a scientist.
  • Location:KMBT

Posted Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:34 PM

Small update. I decided to try playing some of my carts tonight and they seem to have pretty decent picture quality. It's actually very good on my CRT. I'm starting to feel like maybe this 2600 just doesn't like the Harmony Cart.

 

You might have a marginal power supply and/or a 7805 voltage regulator in the Vader that's starting to go bad. The Harmony Cart does draw more power than a standard 2K - 8K Atari cartridge.







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: 2600, mod, composite, problem, picture

0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users