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Atari 2600jr video problem

atari 2600 video RF TV

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#1 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 17, 2018 9:09 AM

Hi all,

 

I recently pulled my Atari 2600jr from storage for testing. I only have one cart to play with (Battlezone) and it's not really working.

 

I'm connecting it via RF using the original cable. There is sound but video is very very distorted and from time to time disappears altogether. Basically it's unusable in this state. What could be the culprit?

 

Thanks



#2 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Thu May 17, 2018 10:05 AM

Are you using a coax adapter? If not, do you have one you could try out on a coax-equipped TV set?

If it works with the little RF-coax piece, that would give some additional info.

#3 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 17, 2018 10:11 AM

I forgot to mention I'm in Europe. We don't use coax connectors in TVs.

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#4 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat May 19, 2018 3:21 PM

I forgot to mention I'm in Europe. We don't use coax connectors in TVs.

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You may need a special adapter, try here:

And if you have an RF to COAX adapter slip that onto THIS


https://www.ebay.co....834/bn_18502590
 



#5 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 3:45 AM

I tried several different RF cables and I don't believe that is the problem.

 

Here is a short video showing the problem:

 

I tried manually adjusting the hex-screw for picture quality and it doesn't get any better.



#6 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 9:21 AM

I tried several different RF cables and I don't believe that is the problem.

 

Here is a short video showing the problem:

 

I tried manually adjusting the hex-screw for picture quality and it doesn't get any better.

Once again, see my comment above, your connection is non coaxial so this converts your antenna TO coaxial and then you can get the RF to COAX adapter to fit to THIS one and it should decode the signal, the Antenna input will not decode the signal on it's own as it is not built for it, the 2 adapters you need are pictured below, the top one is in the link, it will convert the antenna input to coaxial, after that you can use the screw on RCA to COAX adapter on it and both together will properly decode the Atari, if you are trying to use an automatic switchbox like a Nintendo has, the 2600 will not have the power needed to trip the automatic switch as it was not designed for it

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#7 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:02 AM

Sorry but what you linked to is just an adapter, it doesn't convert or decode anything.



#8 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:09 AM

Sorry but what you linked to is just an adapter, it doesn't convert or decode anything.

Actually that's where I beg to differ, because if you just plug the Atari itself into the UK antenna connector it will not work point blank, I helped someone else out that had a similar problem because THEY were plugging the RCA cable into the Antenna hookup as well and the TV couldn't read the signal, with the combination of these 2 Adapters it can, I am in the electronics business so I make it my business to know these things



#9 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:21 AM

Your antenna input is like the one seen on this TV panel correct?  The one above the 5 RCA jacks?  If it is and you are trying to direct connect the RCA wire of the Atari into that it will not work, the antenna input is not built for it to receive the signal hence why you barely get a picture.  Using the 2 adapters I showed you TOGETHER will give you the needed picture AND sound, as I said I recommended doing it this way to ANOTHER member and it worked for them because they had a similar problem, if you are trying to utilize a yellow video jack on the back of the TV if it has one, that also will not work.  Sorry to say

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#10 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 10:57 AM

Hi Rich,

 

again, your connector does not convert anything as there is no "coaxial signal". A standard euro antenna cable is coax by definition just with a different connector. In Europe we used the round plug-in connector instead of the screw-on connector that you guys use in the US. While it is true that the screw-on connector produces a much more secure connection, there shouldn't be much of a difference in the signal quality. The reason why it worked in the case of the other forum member could be that he was using a busted cable? Just guessing.

 

The RF out was widely used in the 80s and early 90s on a bazillion computers and consoles. It was a pretty much standard way of connecting stuff to the TV. I don't see why it wouldn't work with the Atari.

 

My guess is that the RF modulator in the Atari is causing the problem or something else. I checked all the solder joints and they look brand sparkling new. Apart from a bit of dust, the PCB is also very clean.

 

Cheers

 

EDIT: the voltage on the big 2200uF 16V capacitor is 10.18V and the voltage regulator outputs 4.91V which should be fine.


Edited by Half-Saint, Tue May 22, 2018 11:39 AM.


#11 x=usr(1536) OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue May 22, 2018 8:11 PM

Adding to Half-Saint's comments above:

The only dedicated 2600 I've owned (I'm not counting the 7800 currently in storage) was an Irish-market, Irish-manufacture 2600jr. It was used in Ireland on a PAL television, and only had RF output - no SCART, S-Video, or composite.  As far as I'm aware, this was the standard model for PAL markets.

 

I believe (though I could be mistaken) that there were SECAM 2600jr models made with SCART output.  However, my understanding is that those models were specific to the French market, where SECAM was the TV standard and SCART connections were required for A/V devices designed to connect to a television.  SECAM and PAL are not directly-compatible, though they are close in spec - a SECAM signal will generally display on a PAL TV, though likely with no colour and distorted sound.

 

As this relates to the original conversation: coax (as mentioned previously) is still used in Europe for free-to-air television.  The European antenna connector (aka the 'Type F', IIRC) connector is a push-on, not screw-on, device as it is in the US.  It is not the same form factor as an RCA connector, and it's difficult to confuse (or mistakenly connect) the two.

 

Having said that: Half-Saint, I suspect that your 2600 is having a hardware issue.  If your TV is still capable of tuning free-to-air broadcasts, it should be able to tune into the 2600's signal.  My guess is that the RF modulator is shot, but first check that the TV can handle analogue RF signals; some newer ones may not be able to.  Given that it looks to be in sync with the 2600, I'm guessing that it can - but Internet diagnoses can sometimes be wrong, especially now that I live in NTSC-land icon_wink.gif



#12 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:00 AM

Hi Rich,

 

again, your connector does not convert anything as there is no "coaxial signal". A standard euro antenna cable is coax by definition just with a different connector. In Europe we used the round plug-in connector instead of the screw-on connector that you guys use in the US. While it is true that the screw-on connector produces a much more secure connection, there shouldn't be much of a difference in the signal quality. The reason why it worked in the case of the other forum member could be that he was using a busted cable? Just guessing.

 

The RF out was widely used in the 80s and early 90s on a bazillion computers and consoles. It was a pretty much standard way of connecting stuff to the TV. I don't see why it wouldn't work with the Atari.

 

My guess is that the RF modulator in the Atari is causing the problem or something else. I checked all the solder joints and they look brand sparkling new. Apart from a bit of dust, the PCB is also very clean.

 

Cheers

 

EDIT: the voltage on the big 2200uF 16V capacitor is 10.18V and the voltage regulator outputs 4.91V which should be fine.

Then connect the Atari up, show me how it is connected and I'll flat out TELL you what the problem IS 



#13 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:09 AM

Adding to Half-Saint's comments above:

The only dedicated 2600 I've owned (I'm not counting the 7800 currently in storage) was an Irish-market, Irish-manufacture 2600jr. It was used in Ireland on a PAL television, and only had RF output - no SCART, S-Video, or composite.  As far as I'm aware, this was the standard model for PAL markets.

 

I believe (though I could be mistaken) that there were SECAM 2600jr models made with SCART output.  However, my understanding is that those models were specific to the French market, where SECAM was the TV standard and SCART connections were required for A/V devices designed to connect to a television.  SECAM and PAL are not directly-compatible, though they are close in spec - a SECAM signal will generally display on a PAL TV, though likely with no colour and distorted sound.

 

As this relates to the original conversation: coax (as mentioned previously) is still used in Europe for free-to-air television.  The European antenna connector (aka the 'Type F', IIRC) connector is a push-on, not screw-on, device as it is in the US.  It is not the same form factor as an RCA connector, and it's difficult to confuse (or mistakenly connect) the two.

 

Having said that: Half-Saint, I suspect that your 2600 is having a hardware issue.  If your TV is still capable of tuning free-to-air broadcasts, it should be able to tune into the 2600's signal.  My guess is that the RF modulator is shot, but first check that the TV can handle analogue RF signals; some newer ones may not be able to.  Given that it looks to be in sync with the 2600, I'm guessing that it can - but Internet diagnoses can sometimes be wrong, especially now that I live in NTSC-land icon_wink.gif

 

Hi Rich,

 

again, your connector does not convert anything as there is no "coaxial signal". A standard euro antenna cable is coax by definition just with a different connector. In Europe we used the round plug-in connector instead of the screw-on connector that you guys use in the US. While it is true that the screw-on connector produces a much more secure connection, there shouldn't be much of a difference in the signal quality. The reason why it worked in the case of the other forum member could be that he was using a busted cable? Just guessing.

 

The RF out was widely used in the 80s and early 90s on a bazillion computers and consoles. It was a pretty much standard way of connecting stuff to the TV. I don't see why it wouldn't work with the Atari.

 

My guess is that the RF modulator in the Atari is causing the problem or something else. I checked all the solder joints and they look brand sparkling new. Apart from a bit of dust, the PCB is also very clean.

 

Cheers

 

EDIT: the voltage on the big 2200uF 16V capacitor is 10.18V and the voltage regulator outputs 4.91V which should be fine.

Ok let me put this to you in a way I KNOW you can understand.......The ATARI has an RCA type plug on the wire, directly pushing IT into the UK based antenna connection WILL NOT WORK PERIOD, it would work about as well as putting a modern music CD on a TURNTABLE and trying to use a NEEDLE to play it.  You asked for help and I gave you exactly and precisely the answer to the problem.  You don't want the TRUTH then DON'T ASK it's that simple and I can't make it any clearer.  Doing it YOUR way makes about as much sense as cutting the RCA plug OFF the wire and then stripping the inner wires and connecting them to screw terminals on a non cable-ready TV, It would NEVER work simply put you CANNOT push an RCA plug into a Belling-Lee connector and expect the Atari to work, the 2 are NOT COMPATIBLE



#14 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:27 AM

Hi Rich,

 

again, your connector does not convert anything as there is no "coaxial signal". A standard euro antenna cable is coax by definition just with a different connector. In Europe we used the round plug-in connector instead of the screw-on connector that you guys use in the US. While it is true that the screw-on connector produces a much more secure connection, there shouldn't be much of a difference in the signal quality. The reason why it worked in the case of the other forum member could be that he was using a busted cable? Just guessing.

 

The RF out was widely used in the 80s and early 90s on a bazillion computers and consoles. It was a pretty much standard way of connecting stuff to the TV. I don't see why it wouldn't work with the Atari.

 

My guess is that the RF modulator in the Atari is causing the problem or something else. I checked all the solder joints and they look brand sparkling new. Apart from a bit of dust, the PCB is also very clean.

 

Cheers

 

EDIT: the voltage on the big 2200uF 16V capacitor is 10.18V and the voltage regulator outputs 4.91V which should be fine.

I am guessing you are pushing the Atari's RF cable into THIS connector, am I right?  If so it will not work because the wire coming off the Atari is is an RCA connector not Belling-Lee and as such is not cross compatible

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  • Bellingleeconnectorjack.jpg


#15 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:43 AM

I know you're just trying to help but there's no need to get upset. I'm refusing to believe what you're saying simply because it doesn't make any sense to me. I also have a background in electronics and computers. The RF modulator in the Atari produces a signal that a TV can pick up as it would pick up a regular TV signal on the antenna. The only difference here is you only get one channel. The connector has nothing to do with it! Just because you add one connector on top of the other, it doesn't change the signal.

 

EDIT: yes, I'm using the exact same connector on TV side as the picture above.

 

Sorry, didn't come out the best but this is the cable I'm using.

 

 

8f5d1f41a99faeea7addfb6cf5e7b34c.jpg

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Edited by Half-Saint, Wed May 23, 2018 3:58 AM.


#16 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:58 AM

That would be the Atari RF cable with the RF Suppressing Torrid on it, I know it well and it's not designed for use with the Belling-Lee connector:
 

Atari 2600 / 2600A / 2600Jr long Upgraded RF cable w/ RF suppressing clamp on Torrid CB101710

I know it well   :)

If you are trying to use the RCA connector in the Belling-Lee antenna input connector it is as I said, it will not work, not because of what you were misconstruing as a need for the signal to be decoded but it's like pushing a square peg into a round hole.  The RCA and Belling-Lee connectors are not, nor have they ever been compatible with each other even Wikipedia backs this up

Text8f5d1f41a99faeea7addfb6cf5e7b34c.jpg

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#17 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 3:59 AM

 

That would be the Atari RF cable with the RF Suppressing Torrid on it, I know it well and it's not designed for use with the Belling-Lee connector:
 

Atari 2600 / 2600A / 2600Jr long Upgraded RF cable w/ RF suppressing clamp on Torrid CB101710

I know it well   :)

 

 

So, why does it have a Belling-Lee connector on the other end from the factory?



#18 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:06 AM

 

So, why does it have a Belling-Lee connector on the other end from the factory?

Actually look close it isn't a Belling-Lee connector it's an enclosed RCA connector with a short pin, not Belling-Lee, I have one in my hands



#19 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:08 AM

 

So, why does it have a Belling-Lee connector on the other end from the factory?

I found this in another thread on here

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#20 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:12 AM

Actually look close it isn't a Belling-Lee connector it's an enclosed RCA connector with a short pin, not Belling-Lee, I have one in my hands

 
No, it's not. An RCA connector does not fit in the antenna jack as the pin is thicker. I just tested the Atari cable with a C64 and it works fine on the same TV. 
425eef9500086ce7c8f32bfc543fd7bf.jpg1608e6b7628b13e1b6ec4e49610d1cff.jpg

Edited by Half-Saint, Wed May 23, 2018 4:14 AM.


#21 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:14 AM

 

No, it's not. An RCA connector does not fit in the antenna jack as the pin is thicker. I just tested the Atari cable with a C64 and it works fine on the same TV. 

Does your Atari have a channel select switch, if so what are the numbers?  Channel select should be the switch to the far right as the front of it is facing you



#22 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:16 AM

Added some pics to the previous post as proof :D

 

Yes, the switch says '2-3' but when set to '2', the TV doesn't pick up anything (should be picked up at 55 MHz). '3' gets picked up at 61 MHz but barely.



#23 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:24 AM

Added some pics to the previous post as proof :D

 

Yes, the switch says '2-3' but when set to '2', the TV doesn't pick up anything (should be picked up at 55 MHz). '3' gets picked up at 61 MHz but barely.

I'm guessing the TV has no channel search function, because powering the unit on with a game in and running a channel scan USUALLY works in the TV has the function



#24 Half-Saint OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:28 AM

Oh no, it has auto search as well as the option to do it manually. It's just not picking up the signal. I'll open up the tuner and see what's up, if I can.



#25 RichG1972 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed May 23, 2018 4:48 AM

Oh no, it has auto search as well as the option to do it manually. It's just not picking up the signal. I'll open up the tuner and see what's up, if I can.

Just on a whim here post the unit's bottom serial number certificate







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