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the official Channel F thread!


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#101 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 21, 2019 7:40 PM

The socketed IC:s perhaps need to have their pins polished.

How do I do that?



#102 fred OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:11 PM

I just found a Channel F Model 1 for sale locally. It’s in good condition with a nice box. It’s only $60. My question is, what are the chances of this working? The guy says he doesn’t know how to test it but it did work 30 years ago.

#103 Ashevent OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 11, 2019 7:17 PM

I just found a Channel F Model 1 for sale locally. It’s in good condition with a nice box. It’s only $60. My question is, what are the chances of this working? The guy says he doesn’t know how to test it but it did work 30 years ago.

 

Its been my experience you have a 50/50 shot at best on a model 1. If you get it: Don't bring it from the cold outside and then plug it in and try it, these don't do well with temp changes and best to let it sit.

 

Also, before purchase: really check out the controllers, the springs go bad and you can feel when they are soggy. The joystick should stay in the center when not touched and work being pushed down, pulled up, moved in all 8 directions and twisted.  



#104 fred OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:13 PM

Im officially now a member of the Channel F club! I picked up a boxed system and 2 boxed games for $50. It was an hour and a half round trip but I figured it was worth it at this price. The system was untested. I took my chances and got lucky,it works perfectly. I did notice that sometimes there is a blue line on the screen which goes away if i reinsert the cartridge. Is this normal?

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Edited by fred, Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:02 PM.


#105 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 19, 2019 6:03 AM

Very nice!
I see you're missing a $108 multi-cart in that collection.    ;-)



#106 thevnaguy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 8:08 AM

Very nice!
I see you're missing a $108 multi-cart in that collection.     ;-)

I did a live stream on my channel last night featuring your multicart :)   Now I am wanting a boxed Pac Man :P



#107 TheCoolDave OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 3, 2019 6:59 PM

I hope to be joining this crew this year. This is one of the very few consoles I have never owned or played in my lifetime.

 

I've got my eye open for a good deal...



#108 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:32 AM

Question - does anyone have a list of electrolytic capacitors used with the model 1 Channel F? I'd like to get mine recapped (as I really don't trust 43 year old caps) but no one seems to have an accounting of them online. 

 

It's also got a couple 7805s, right? Those should probably be replaced too if I'm already getting it cracked open.



#109 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 15, 2019 11:54 AM

I wouldn't swap them "for fun" unless proven to be bad, they may work longer than any new ones you put in there (depending on which ones you go for). 

 

It's probably easiest if you open yours up and take values and measurements, there doesn't seem to be a listing with such things for the various board revisions.

 

In the first machine there's one 7805 in TO-3 capsule and a 7812 in a TO-220, I think the later versions have TO-220 on both of them (at least my Luxor VEC does). 
Best thing you can do is probably to check and/or polish the pins of the large socketed IC:s, they're usually black from oxidation. It's possible the sockets themselves needs to be replaced as well as it's difficult to clean them. 



#110 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:20 PM

I know that is the thought process some folks have, but at the same time, when they go bad they could just as soon destroy ICs that aren't easily replaceable like a capacitor. I wouldn't say it's for fun, it's for preventative maintenance, and I'd be surprised if any decent modern caps would have fewer years in them than whatever's left to these 43 year old ones.

 

That said, I do think it might be in order; when I was playing some games yesterday I noticed that over time the picture started getting wavier. Dunno what the cause could be, but if it is an issue with something on the board I'd like to resolve it.



#111 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:47 PM

Well, that's true, getting new chips often requires a second unit - not having damage on the same chips. 

 

Electrolytic caps have different quality and lifespan, so get the best ones you can get and it should be OK, hopefully. As the sizes are a lot smaller nowadays you can go up one or two steps in voltage to get them a little closer to the old ones in size. 

Avoid odd, cheap Chinese "brands" imitating the names of good brands. Why not go for the "first tier" caps here:
https://www.tomshard...101,4193-5.html
Good brand names do have lower quality caps as well, sorting for price is usually a good indicator. I tend to get Panasonic myself mostly - as that's what my supplier usually has in stock. 

 

Waves could indicate a voltage-problem, so in this case I'd probably start off and replace regulator(s) and caps.


Edited by e5frog, Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:53 PM.


#112 ubersaurus OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:18 AM

Sounds good. I haven't cracked it open yet, but when I do I'll make a post here noting what board revision and what cap ratings I'm looking at.

 

On an unrelated note, last October a podcast went up that went over the history of the Channel F and Fairchild's involvement in the video game industry; it's well worth listening to if you're a fan of the machine. http://podcast.theyc...airchild-story/



#113 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:58 PM

OK, who put their Pac-Man cart on eBay?

eBay Auction -- Item Number: 153460700546



#114 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:51 PM

Nice price, must be hoping to solve some economic dilemma.
I know who bought it originally, not that it matters much.
It's one of the few in the later batch that has an instruction booklet.

#115 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun May 5, 2019 1:57 AM

Just noticed: There was a game called Space War on the Channel F. So why later did they make another game and call it "Galactic Space Wars"? It's almost the same title.



#116 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon May 6, 2019 1:12 PM

They didn't have your degree of imagination.   ;-)

Some games had a different name while being developed - and then some marketing genius came up with a new one at release, perhaps that was the case here as well. 

So if Space Wars is within a solar system, Galactic Space Wars within a galaxy then the next one would be... "Intergalactic Space Wars", right?



#117 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 7, 2019 7:32 AM

Well, that's true, getting new chips often requires a second unit - not having damage on the same chips. 

 

Electrolytic caps have different quality and lifespan, so get the best ones you can get and it should be OK, hopefully. As the sizes are a lot smaller nowadays you can go up one or two steps in voltage to get them a little closer to the old ones in size. 

Avoid odd, cheap Chinese "brands" imitating the names of good brands. Why not go for the "first tier" caps here:
https://www.tomshard...101,4193-5.html
Good brand names do have lower quality caps as well, sorting for price is usually a good indicator. I tend to get Panasonic myself mostly - as that's what my supplier usually has in stock. 

 

Waves could indicate a voltage-problem, so in this case I'd probably start off and replace regulator(s) and caps.

 

It's important to note that since the 1970's, tech has evolved enough that many capacitors that were only electrolytics are now available in dry versions; also, several values were available in both types, but electrolytics being cheaper, manufacturers choose electrolytics.

 

Nowaday it's possible to find most caps in dry version, which I highly encourage people to switch for it. Dry capacitors have tighter tolerances (on a random electrolytic cap of the 70's, the accepted shift in value is -20% to + 50%!; on a dry one, the shift value is usually more in a -10%/+10%range) and are way more robust.

 

I have seen 90 years old radios in which the mica capacitors were not only still working, but also had the accepted value of the era.

 

When replacing a capacitor, you should look at the value in X farad, which must be the same (or close, as some 70's caps tented to have very non-standard values). For the value in voltage , it's important no never go below as it would destroy the capacitor, but going over is absolutely okay. Note that in a Channel F, this value shouldn't go over 250 volts in the power supply part and over 50 volts in the proper "console" part - I don't think they used those, but up to the 70's there might have been "paper" capacitor used, which maximum voltage was up to 1000 volts. If you find one of those it's absolutely useless to try to find a 1000 volts one!

 

Using dry capacitors mean that you shouldn't have to worry about capacitors issues anymore. Tho for power supplies it might not be possible to replace all caps with dry ones.



#118 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 15, 2019 3:59 PM

I got a FULLY working Channel F console in the mail today. I am loving it! I just noticed something else: They put the Shooting Gallery game on 2 different cartridges (#1 and #2). I wonder why.



#119 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 15, 2019 4:07 PM

I'm guessing they had spare space and threw in a rerun.   ;-) 
... or perhaps something else was planned but was never finished. 



#120 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 15, 2019 4:46 PM

How to beat Tic-Tac-Toe. Use the fact that the computer blocks your moves to your advantage.

tictactoe1.png tictactoe2.png tictactoe3.png tictactoe4.png



#121 e5frog OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 15, 2019 6:02 PM

Ever since I first played it I have been annoyed that you can't move across the board better with the controller. 
It wouldn't have been too hard to choose one of nine directions with the controller and then push/pull/twist to select - or at least be able to move in any direction. 
... but it's possible they couldn't squeeze it in. 



#122 atari2600land OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 15, 2019 6:21 PM

I actually tried to move the cursor up and down when I first played it. I quickly learned you can only move the cursor left or right. Perhaps if they ran out of room and were managed better, they could have not put Shooting Gallery on the same cartridge. As, as I stated before, it was already going to be on cart #2.



#123 CatPix OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 17, 2019 7:05 AM

It might have been a deliberate choice. Given that the action is made pushing the stick, maybe the developers noticed that occasionnally they would move the cursor and then input their move, making the game frustating, so they decided to only make in move right and left to reduce that effect. Just suggesting ^^






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