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Can a CRT TV erase your SD card?

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#1 rodge2001 OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:09 PM

I've just recently added an old CRT TV to my gaming setup.  It's been sitting in my garage for years.  It's a mid 80's 19" Zenith Space Command.  It seems to work OK but I'm pretty sure it was dropped at least twice and has two bent corners.  It only has a coaxial input on back so I opted to use a small screw-on coaxial/RF adapter which is then connected to the RF out on my retro consoles. 


My problem is that after a few moments of browsing the Everdrive menu on my NES everything suddenly froze.  I turned my NES off and on only to see Error 50 "SD...ERROR" & Error 52 "FAT...ERROR".  Is it possible that the CRT TV sent some voltage surge backwards to my NES and messed up my SD card?  Luckily I back up my data and I've reformatted and put data back on SD card and will try it tonight.  But I really don't want to hook it up to my CRT TV if it will erase my SD card again or eventually damage it. 


I tried it with my ColecoVision Rally X cartridge and that worked apparently without issue.  But I'm afraid to use my ColecoVision Everdrive cart or even regular game cartridges for that matter in fear of the chips being erased if indeed something is wrong with my CRT TV.  Might the TV be damaged and not safe to use?  Or is it just not a good idea to connect Everdrive cartridges up to CRT TV's due to voltage inconsistencies, voltage surges, grounding issues, etc.? 


I'm probably posting this in too specific of a sub-forum but I only frequent/post here. 

Edited by rodge2001, Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:12 PM.

#2 Keatah OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:26 PM

Yup. The right direction, strength, and pattern of the electric and magnetic fields can mess up those tiny cells in SD cards.


I hear there are issues with some everdrives and the voltage translations. If it's right on the edge of being in spec, putting the whole setup next to a CRT can push it over and make it fail. The magnetic radiation can induce voltages where they shouldn't be. How well is an everdrve shielded? I bet not at all. No faraday cage. There's also static electricity emitted by CRTs, that can zap stuff. And power on/off surges, too, can get in there..


Magnetic fields alone won't erase flash. If they are oscillating they could set up a current that can do stuff. The memory card acts like an antenna & receiver. So.. lots of things going on!

#3 fiddlepaddle OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:11 PM

Possible, but the farther away your SD card is from the TV, the less likely the problem (from THAT device, at least).  Keeping your TV a few feet from your console can go a long way to help minimize potential interference.  I doubt the CRT is sending a damaging signal to your NES through the antenna, though, but I guess its possible.  Could scope it out if you really want to find out.


Anything with an electric motor can also generate a fluctuating magnetic field. 


Definitely keep your SD card contents backed up...they tend to lose their mind sometimes for no apparent reason anyway.

#4 rodge2001 OFFLINE  


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Posted Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:20 PM

Thanks for the feedback.  The CRT TV is isolated and has no console on it or that close to it.  I do however have quite a bit of stuff all plugged in and ready to go at the same time.  It may be just a coincidence and maybe my SD card was due to go screwy regardless of the old CRT TV being connected. 


I've since reformatted the SD card and put my backed-up data back on it and everything works as it should BUT I'm playing it safe from now on in that I will turn on the CRT TV while not connected to anything.  Then I will turn on console and then connect it to back of CRT TV.  This order of operations seems to work fine so far and hasn't caused the original problem to reoccur. 

#5 GarageResearch OFFLINE  


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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:17 PM

No, TV cannot magically erase SD cards. There is a lot of hardware between TV and EEPROM cells in the card. A supposed electric surge can't magically traverse all that hardware and reprogram a cell without burning something else on the way.


So, I would blame it on powering system down while it was writing to the card, OR faulty card, OR power voltage fluctuations affecting a write operation.

Edited by GarageResearch, Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:17 PM.

#6 Keatah OFFLINE  


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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:22 PM


#7 rodge2001 OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:21 PM

I think I isolated the cause. My TV has 5 tiny picture adjustment knobs that I was messing with while game system was on. The culprit seems to be the “color adjustment knob” in that when it is turned too much AKA oversaturation of color the game freezes. If system is turned off immediately it works fine next time but if left on while in that frozen state for too long it seems to corrupt the SD card. I’m afraid to test this on other Everdrives/consoles; not sure if it’s an issue with my NES, my NES Everdrive, or the TV itself. Otherwise I never would need or want the color knob turned up so high anyway because it looks so bad aside from the malfunction.  Not sure if it happens with a regular old single game cartridge. Is that why Nintendo’s RF cable had that gray rectangular box?  As a sort of buffer or protective measure for this sort of surge? 

#8 Jin OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2018 3:32 PM

What a strange problem. I've been using an SD cards in my Wii and Harmony carts less than 12" away from a CRT TV for half a decade and never had any issues with them. I suspect there may be something screwy with your particular setup, as I can't imagine any way adjusting the color saturation could do anything to the console or the flash cart in it. If you suspect the TV is the culprit though I'd recommend looking for a new one on Craigslist. People give away perfectly good CRTs for free on Craigslist all the time. :)

#9 fiddlepaddle OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2018 9:49 PM

Yeah, I'd get another TV if the problem is repeatable.

#10 nick3092 OFFLINE  


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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:09 PM

Is that why Nintendos RF cable had that gray rectangular box?  As a sort of buffer or protective measure for this sort of surge? 

No. That is an automatic RF switch, not a surge protector or buffer. Consoles like the NES that were designed to use them send a small electric charge out of the RF port. That signals the auto RF switch to change over to the game instead of the antenna/cable feed. These automatic switch boxes won't work with older consoles that don't apply a voltage to the RF feed.

You don't actually need a switch box at all. You can directly feed the consoles RF jack into the antenna connector on the TV with an RCA to type F converter. Generally it gives you a better picture that way.

#11 ValkerieSilk OFFLINE  



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Posted Thu Apr 5, 2018 1:14 AM

Pretty much all my storage devices (including my brain) become erased if when changing channels I happen upon a Barbra Streisand movie even for just a brief moment CRT, LCD, OLED, or otherwise.

#12 rodge2001 OFFLINE  


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Posted Fri Apr 27, 2018 1:40 PM

Again thanks for all the feedback and related info.  I guess the problem is the TV itself since this is not the norm with other CRT TV's.  Interestingly while playing Kid Icarus I turned TV off and then on and it warped me to a higher level in the game.  Most other times it just freezes the game and/or garbles the graphics or worse corrupts SD data. 


To summarize, the confirmed color knob issue can be easily avoided if I simply leave it at a moderate level which looks best anyway.  Also now confirmed is separate malfunction when I turn on TV while connected to a powered console.  But this too can be avoided by turning on TV first then connecting to the console.  Reverse that order for powering down and everything should be OK. 

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