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Harmony cart crashing after a few minutes.


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#1 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:20 AM

Hello there, a few months ago I've bought a Harmony cart (SD "classic" version), have been a happy user of it up until last weekend. I was having a gaming session with friends, lots of different consoles on, the 2600 was on for a while with the Harmony but for a while no one was playing, at one point I look at it, the 2600 is "crashed" (vertical colorful lines on screen). It doesn't work again, I try to turn off-on the 2600 and all I get is white squares scrolling on the screen. I just turned it off and was going to check it later.

So start of the week I test it. It works, but after a few minutes of playing, it crashes (always with colorful patterns on screen) and it doesn't turn on again (after it crashes, if I turn the 2600 off-on, all I get is a black screen or the white squares scrolling). If I wait a few seconds and try to turn it on again, it works, but then it crashes pretty quickly. If I leave it off for several minutes and turn it on again, it works for a few minutes, then it crashes again.

At first for some reason I thought the cartridge dust flap was pushing the cartridge out of the console, so I disassembled the cartridge and tried to use just the board direct in the console. No deal, same problem. 

Then I reinstalled the firmware. The reinstall worked finely (no trouble connecting to the Harmony on my PC), but I still got the same problem.

With other game cartridges the console is working fine. Had a long session of Kangaroo on an original cart and zero crashes, so it seems to be an issue with Harmony indeed.

If I had to take a guess, it looks like something is getting overheated on the cart, but after it crashes everything on the cart board is very cold, couldn't find any part of it being hot. On my way to work today I bought a contacts cleaner spray and I'll try to clean the board with it.

Anyone has any other suggestions? Maybe a cold solder? I have a voltimeter and friends who are *very* skilled with a soldering iron :) If someone could give me some directions I'd be very grateful.

Thank you in advance.


Edited by shatterhand, Sat Jan 27, 2018 6:21 AM.


#2 WIZZARD77 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:46 AM

Do you have a different power supply to try. I had a similar problem on my 800xl with the MyIDE II cart. The old power supply was too weak to power the new hardware but worked fine with regular carts.



#3 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:50 AM

I don't , but my power supply indeed is not original and it looks kinda battered up. Though its kinda weird it works for a while, and gets back to work after I leave the harmony off for a while. Still. it's something to try. I'll try to find another power supply.


Edited by shatterhand, Sat Jan 27, 2018 7:50 AM.


#4 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:27 PM

Well, no luck with using the contacts cleaner.

But I still feel something is getting overheated... last week was really hot here where I live but today it's raining so it isn't as hot. I could play for a longer time before the harmony crashed. It is just with the Harmony as I said, other carts work ok.

I'll let it "cool down" (or whatever), then later I'll try with a fan straight on top of it to see if it helps, 

Is there any chance something on the 2600 consoles getting too hot making the Harmony noy work, but other carts working properly? (The power supply is not hot at all and the Harmony cart is even cold).



#5 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:21 PM

Well, it's not overheating. Put a huge fan on front of the 2600, still keeps crashing after some time. 

This is really dissapointing :/ I'll try to get another power supply to see it works.... :( 



#6 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 28, 2018 9:52 AM

Well, I opened up my 2600 console, cleaned it, threw contact-clear spray all over it. It's been on for nearly 3.5 hours now with the Harmony cartridge and no crashes at all.

Maybe the culprit was indeed the console.



#7 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:43 PM

If you haven't replaced the voltage regulator and caps in your 2600, one of those could be the issue. Those parts have a limited lifespan and all are well beyond it. A refurb kit is around $12 from Console5.com and will have all the replacement parts you need. If you can do basic soldering, you should have no problem replacing those parts. If your 2600 has socketed chips, you might try reseating them. The RIOT and TIA chips do go out from time to time, but I'd replace the voltage regulator and caps first. The Harmony takes a bit more power than the old carts, so a failing voltage regulator or power capacitor could cause an issue. I really doubt the problem is the Harmony. The other option would be to buy a cheap working 2600 and try the Harmony in it, if it works fine, then you would know it was your console that was at fault and you would have a working console to use while you troubleshoot and repair the faulty one. :-D



#8 shatterhand OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jan 29, 2018 6:40 AM

I bought my 2600 about 10 months ago (obviously 2nd hand :D). Have no idea if it has gone through any kind of maintenance, but I bet it didn't. Thank you for the tip, I'll look into replace those parts... I bet I can find them cheap around here (I am in Rio de Janeiro - Brazil :D)
 






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