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Blog Entries posted by keilbaca

  1. keilbaca
    Alright! I got my supergun started!
    A special thank you to remowilliams for providing the TMNT board. ^_^

    There's the connector itself. Here comes the board!

    Now, how to give it power... well my weapon of choice is... a Pentium 4 power supply! You can use one of these by doing the following: Ground the green wire, so when you plug it in, it thinks that the power supply is on. When you turn on your computer, it connects these two pins, turns on the power supply, computer works. I then found +5v, +12v and -5v (only on older power supplies), and soldered them to the corresponding wires on the power supply.

    What you are looking at, is a working TMNT. It turns on, the speaker is wired up (All early jamma arcade games are mono). No video driver yet (that alone is $75), but you can hear it yell COWABUNGA when you ground out the coin insert slot (aka simulating inserting a coin).
    What is next, is to make the controller ports, and the controllers. I decided to modify 4 Sega genesis controllers for this project. This way, if I decide to get, X-Men, I can make the appropriate cables for players 3 and 4, and we can use the same controllers. I will be modding the controllers to use direct connections, just like how the arcade likes it. Sega decided to use a microchip to control the board. Unfortunately, we need direct connections. So, the idea is to cut all the traces going to the microchip, then doing the hard wiring myself.
    10/20/09: Player 1 is done being wired up, player 2 is halfway done. Asked Scott for more serial cables for players 3 and 4. I am almost able to afford the video converter. After player 2 is done, I will start hacking controllers. EDIT: Player 2 is done! Hacking controllers is next!

    This is the starting of wiring up player 1. Its pretty simple, trace the pin, twist and solder to the jamma harness.

    Player 1 is done!

    Both players are done!
    10/21/09: Buttons work on the Sega Genesis controller. The wires are just too short, I need to make extensions for everything, then solder those. Its best off that way, because the wires that are soldered to the board now are way too flimsy. I opted to cut the sleeve back more, and then just hot glue the cable to the controller, so it doesn't go anywhere. Controller 1 is done!

    This pic is the wiring job on the controller, to make it to the pinout of the arcade.

    Here's the finished controller! It may look like a normal controller, but its hacked for the arcade.
    I got 3 of the 4 controllers made, and I got all 4 controller ports made. All I need to do is buy the video adapter, make the last controller, then the fun part, making a super nice box for it. Don't wanna have everything being loose every time you play it. ^_^
    03/26/10: All the controllers are now done. I just finished up the last controller. They all look the same that I have photos of, so I didn't bother taking more pics. The first controller I modded had a mushy A button... fixed that too. All it needs now is for my broke ass to gather up $40 and buy the video converter for it, and that shit is done. That is super easy to install, solder 2 wires for power, plug in the video, and play.
    04/05/10: Its done.
  2. keilbaca
    I know people have been wanting a quadrun video, so I managed to get one in, in one video.
    If I played it for literally 10 seconds longer, it would have been rejected by YouTube.

  3. keilbaca
    Same thing, but for the NES. Enjoy!
    The NES is one of the most successful systems to exist. Unfortunately, Nintendo didn't plan to have people still play the NES for this long. I'm here to tell you how to clean the games, get rid of that dreaded blinking screen, and how to clean your controller on the inside so it has the perfect response that it used to have.
    You dusted off your NES, hooked it up, ready to play Contra, turn it on, and you get the dreaded blinking red/blue/greee/whatever color screen, depending on your model. You try blowing into the cartridge, you tried your special, ok lets stick it barely in so it rubs when it closes and see if that works trick, and nothing works anymore. Don't fret, I'm here to the rescue.
    The dreaded blinking screen is due to 3 things. Dirty cartridge, corroded cartridge slot, and the lockout chip.
    Cleaning the Cartridge, and I don't mean blowing in it:
    Its really easy, and its 100x better than blowing, in which I will explain in fixing the cartridge slot.
    There's two ways to do it, don't do number 2 until you refurbish your cartridge slot, and the game still doesn't work.
    1. You need rubbing alcohol and Q-tips. Soak a q-tip with rubbing alcohol, sqeeze it so its not dripping wet. Rub onto both sides of the NES cartridge end, repeat with different q-tips until you get zero dirt on the q-tip. Let dry, test. If it works, you're set, if not, then go to Refurbishing the Cartridge Slot, before going to number 2.
    2. You need, 800 grit sandpaper, and a card of some type. Your way overcharged credit card will do. Take the sandpaper, fold it over the long end of the credit card. Take the corner, hold the sandpaper and the card, and polish the contacts until they are shiny, once you're done, it'll be in the same condition that you got it when you bought it in the 80's.
    Now, you cleaned the cartridge, and you still get the dreaded blinking screen. Well, I know just the thing to fix your NES. Don't worry, there's no way to ruin it, its already broke, right?
    Refurbishing the Cartridge Slot:
    First off: You can go on ebay and get a replacement NES cartridge slot, but the games are very hard to get in and out. If you would like to go this route, buy the cartridge, follow the directions below to open the NES, and when you remove the cartridge slot, just slide the new one in and put it together.
    Tools needed: Phillips screwdriver, credit/debit/best buy/eb games/whatever card, fine sandpaper, don't matter the grit, last resort, jewer's flathead screwdriver.
    This will literally take longer to open the NES than to fix it. You need to unscrew all the screws on the bottom of the NES, 6 in all. Get a cup, there's a lot of screws, and put them in it. Once the screws are out, flip it over, and take the top off. Next, unscrew all the screws for the rf shielding, the piece of metal blocking everything. Once that is removed, remove all the screws connecting the black tray to the motherboard and the cartridge slot, and remove all the screws connecting the motherboard to the case. Don't forget, there are two screws by the rf box in the upper right corner. Once all the screws are out, slide out the black tray that you slide the game in.
    Now, remove the cartridge slot. Its rough to slide out, so don't be afraid to break anything, you can't, unless you snap the motherboard in half. Once the cartridge slot is out, its easy to handle. Take your sandpaper, fold it in half. Now, you are going to sand the contacts that the nes cart goes into, but you are not going to sand it left and right. You're going to sand it, in and out. If the sandpaper goes in and out easy, then fold the sandpaper in half, wrap it around the credit card, and sand it that way. You're going to sand every inch of the inside of the nes slot, several times, in and out, by the skinny end of the credit card. Basically, Nintendo used cheap metal, thinking that people would never still be playing the NES. The metal corrodes in time, by the humidity. You're sanding away the corrosion that is preventing the contact of the NES cartridge.
    Now, put it all back together the same way you tore it apart. When you slide the black tray back into the NES, make sure the bottom lip slides underneath the NES board, or else when you screw it in, its going to be crooked, and the games won't stay down.
    If the games *still* don't work, then your pins got pushed down too far. This is what the jeweler's screwdriver is for. You are going to bend every cartridge pin up very slightly. Due to the NES looking like a VCR to get the whole entertainment center feel, like an old vcr, due to the video game crash, than up and down inserting like the Atari, intellivison, etc, the pins get bent down. Go from one end to the other, bend out the pins on the top part of the connector. This is needed to be done to those people who always used the Game Genie, as the cart thickness is much thicker than the standard NES PCB.
    You should have a working NES by now. But, those controllers are working like crap. Doesn't jump when you want it to, buttons feel sticky, etc. Here's how you fix that.
    Refurbishing your Controller:
    Tools needed: Jeweler's phillips screwdriver, rubbing alcohol, q-tips, old toothbrush.
    Open up the controller with the jeweler's screwdriver. You're now going to basically scrub everything down, the rubber pads, the holes that the d-pads go in, buttons, the internal pads where they make the connections, scrub everything with rubbing alcohol. Let dry, put together. That's it.
    You now have a refurbished NES. Enjoy your old school games again!
  4. keilbaca
    People have wanted it, I am finally posting it. I made a huge guide on how to repair and refurbish your Atari 2600. So, finally, I'm copy/pasting the post, onto here. Enjoy!
    Atari 2600:
    Believe it or not, this beast of a console, very rarely, dies. Its like the annoying brother you kick in the pants, and he still comes back. Anyways, here's some notes to keep your console looking fresh, clean, and working perfect. Don't forget, you need to use either the rf box that comes with the atari, or you can buy an RCA to Coax adapter. An automatic rf switching box will *not* work, the atari signal isn't strong enough.
    Cleaning the cartridges:
    There are several ways to clean the cartridges, if one doesn't work, then go to the next one on the list. I have only ran across one dead board, in which the ROM itself died.
    1. Rubbing Alcohol and Q-Tips.
    Soak the q-tip with rubbing alcohol, squeeze it out, and use it to rub both sides of the cartridge connectors. If its an atari cartridge with the dust cover, you can take a small screwdriver, there are two holes on the left and right side, use a screwdriver, gently push it in, then you can push the dust cover down. Let dry, and play. This will work 80% of the time. If you had your cartridges in a damp, dusty attick, then you may need to resort to #2, if the game does not work.
    2. 2000 Grit Sandpaper
    Its a very fine sandpaper, and when used, it will polish the cart connectors to a perfect shine, with minimum damage to the PCB.
    Fold the sandpaper in half, and use a corner of it to polish the connectors. Take a credit card, EB games card, whatever, and take the folded sandpaper and slide it into the card, where you folded it. Sand with the corner of the card, lightly, until you see shiny connectors. Then, do the other side. If light isn't working, then apply a little bit more pressure. Once the contacts are shiny, it *will* work, unless the ROM chip inside has gone bad, or the atari cartridge slot itself needs to be cleaned. Which, I will cover next.
    Cleaning the Cartridge Slot:
    Cleaning the cartridge slot, is pretty easy for the Atari 2600, and you can actually kill two birds with one stone.
    The easiest way to clean the cart slot, is to do it when you clean a game.
    Clean the cartridge slot with rubbing alcohol as above, but don't let it dry. Insert it into the cart slot, 10 or so times, while the cart is wet with the rubbing alcohol. Clean the cartridge again with rubbing alcohol, repeat 2 more times. The final time, let the atari sit for a bit, as well as the cartridge slot. It should work now.
    Now you're good to go, you flip on the on switch, sit down, ready to play River Raid... but it doesn't come on! Well, several problems can be with this.
    Power Issues:
    Your Atari won't turn on. It can be one of three things, the first one being the biggest curprit.
    1. AC Adapter doesn't work anymore.
    There's two ways to check this, but I would recommend using just number 1, unless you have a multimeter.
    Plug in the AC Adapter in for a few hours. If the adapter gets warm, then its converting AC to DC. If its still cold, then the adapter is broke. You can get a multi voltage AC adapter at radio shack, with multiple jacks, and make sure it has the headphone jack add on.
    The second way is, if you have a multimeter, the tip is hot, behind the line on the jack, is ground. See if you're getting voltage. If not, its dead. If so, then its a different problem. The second most common problem to atari's not working is...
    2. Power jack solder points broke off.
    This is an easy fix, you need a soldering iron. Don't worry about breaking anything, the contacts are *huge*. Unless you literally drag it while the solder joints are hot, across the board, then you're fine. All you're doing is reheating the solder, to rejoin the contact to the pin. Depending on the model, there's either 4 or 8 bolts. Take out all the bolts, and open up the atari case. You will see the board, and the jack. If the jack wobbles, its the solder joints. Flip it over to the back side, and you will see the two joints that the power jack is connected to. Plug in your soldering iron, let it get hot. Go drink a beer, if you are of age, of course. Give it about 5 min or so, then it should be hot. Basically, all you are doing, is holding the soldering iron on the solder joint, until it melts, remove the soldering iron. Do the same with the other really big solder point that's below from it. Basically, over time, the hard solder just cracks. You're removing the crack by refilling it up by remelting the solder.
    If it still doesn't work, there's one more thing you can try.
    3. Power switch solder joints broke.
    Same thing as above, but where the 4 or 6 switches are at, depending on the model, on the underside, you will see six solder points per switch, can't miss them, its a rectangle of 6 square connectors. Those solder points broke off. Same as the power jack, and honestly, if you are having that problem with the power switch, you might as well do it to all the switches. Heat the soldering iron up, melt the solder, once it melts, remove the soldering iron. This also cures up what I am about to explain next.
    Ok, so, now you have power to the Atari. You plug in River Raid, and you want to start your game. You hit select for two players... and nothing happens. All the other switches work. At this point, you have the worlds cursed Atari, but, you can still fix it. Here's how.
    Fixing the Switches:
    1. Clean the switches themselves.
    The easiest way to clean those dirty switches, is to take a Q-Tip, soak it with rubbing alcohol. Once again, take apart the Atari. You will see the switches on the cartridge side of the board. You will see a small gap when you turn the atari on its side, where the switch is. Take the soaked Q-Tip, and squeeze it inside of the gap in the switch. Work the switch up and down 20 or so times, and add more rubbing alcohol. This will also clean jittery buttons. If that does not work...
    2. Switch solder joints work. Follow the above step 3. Power switch solder joints broke.
    Everything is now working, you hit reset, your game is ready to go, you hit the fire button... nothing happens. I know, you're about ready to throw the atari out the window, but its still fixable. It can be two things, 99% sure its the first thing, if not, its the second thing.
    Fixing your joystick:
    The contacts on the joystick, the little pieces of metal that you push down to make a connection, have worn out. They do that, and unfortuately, there isn't a 100% fix, other than buying a new joystick, or finding an Atari Flashback 2, and use those joysticks. I fully recommend doing that, their joysticks are amazing, it feels like the original stick, with the connections like the current consoles, with the rubber contacts.
    1. Rebend the metal contacts.
    This is easier to do than you think. Unscrew the 4 screws on the bottom of the joystick. Open the top up, and you will see the metal contacts. The easiest way to do this, is press down on every metal contact. If you don't get a nice springy feel to it, it needs reshaped. Remove the tape that is around the switch and remove the switch itself. Gently bend the 3 wings, so it has more spring, like the others. Now, on the switch that you removed, the center where it pushes down, goes onto the center dot, while the wings touch the other contacts around it, the ground. Line it up just like that, then take a piece of scotch tape, and tape it down. Might want to use a couple pieces, as its gonna be used a lot. Once all the switches feel the same, put the stick back together, and test it. Adjust accordingly to feel. If that does not work, and when you put in the joystick, if the whole plug feels like its moving, the solder points went on it.
    2. Resolder the joystick pins.
    Its exactly the same as the 3. Power switch solder joints broke, but, smaller contacts, and the 9 pins where the joystick is at.
    Ok, so now you have a fully working Atari 2600... but now it looks like it just got hit by a dust bunny. Every little crack has dust in it, and you want it to look new again. How do you clean it up?
    Cleaning the Atari:
    The easiest way, is to tear it apart, use an old toothbrush, or get one at the dollar store, the coarser, the better, spray down the whole machine, of course the guts taken out, with Windex, and scrub away. Wipe with a damp cloth, let it dry, and put your atari back together.
    You now have a perfect working atari, looks immaculate, runs like a dream... now you pop in my favorite game, Kaboom! You need Paddle controllers to play these, but when you move the paddle controller, it jumps like mad, and you can't control it at all. Here's how to fix it.
    Fixing a Paddle Controller:
    There are two ways to do it, a temporary way, and a pernament way. The temporary way will work when you have some friends over for a quick game, but it will happen again, in about a week. The pernament way will get a set working perfect for another 10 years.
    1. The temporary way
    Unscrew the two screws in the back of the controller, and take off the back. You will see the potentiometer back there, the thingy that turns. You can either use TV tuner spray, like for the old tv's, to fix bad knobs, or when the sound get staticy when you move the knob, or WD-40, the TV Tuner spray preferred. That's it. Spray some in, work it in, turn it on, see if it went away. If not, add more. As I said, this is for a pinch that you need to get your set working only one time. The pernament way is much more involved.
    2. The pernament way
    This takes a bit of time to do, but it will work for another 10 years. You're looking about at a half hour's worth of work, per paddle.
    Tools you need: Pliers, rubbing alcohol, q-tip, screwdriver.
    First, pull off the knob. Don't worry, it comes off, tug. Unscrew the nut you see that is there, so that it is off. Unscrew the two bolts in the back of the controller. Pull out the pot, and look at the stem side, you will see 4 little tabs bent across. You need to pry those open. From there, you can take the pot apart. The pain parts, are the black round strip you see, and the two pieces of metal that bends out, and are almost touching.
    You need to clean both the black strip, and the contacts. BE SURE TO NOT BEND THE CONTACTS. Clean them VERY gently. Make sure that you do not get any cotton onto the contacts. Once that is done, put it together just like how you took it apart, bend the tabs in, put it all together, and play.
    That's it, I covered everything, if you do every single step, you would have completely refurbished an Atari 2600.
  5. keilbaca
    Hello all,
    As I am moving back to PA very soon (and bringing back the composite audio/video mod service), I don't have much more time to work on projects before I leave. I attempted the mod before, but this time, I'm successful.
    I'd like to credit Ben Heckendorn for his fantastic turning a Atari into a portable FAQ, as this guided me in the right direction.
    First I took a 4 switch, cut it into a 4" square.

    From there, I got a 4 pin molex to 3 pin fan adapter, cut the wires. Soldered the 12v to the switch, then split to the input of the 7502 and the color POT. From there, the 5V got soldered on, and I made an access point for the several devices that needed the 5V. I also added my audio/video mod, and fired it up to see if it runs.

    Sure enough it does. Next up the joysticks. I didn't have internet access for a while, so I pointed towards my Field Manual I got that gives me schematics of the 2600 6 switch and 4 switch, as well as troubleshooting and a parts list. From there, I soldered on the joysticks and they worked, playing a quick game of quadrun to test it out.

    As its already working better than my last attempt (the controllers never worked, using a 6 switch board), so from there I proceeded. Installed everything else, difficulty switches, black and white switch, and paddles, and here's the mess.

    That's a fully working atari 2600, running off of a power supply.
    From there, I gutted a non working cd rom drive, and mounted the atari.

    I cut the hole for the top, the thing just needs repainted (that's where I'm at now).

    Being I work swing shift and I have neighbors, sanding is kinda hard to do without a day off, as the people around where I live are quite... bitchy. So, I had fun with the dremel. This is the back of the cd rom plate.

    I painted the faceplate, installed everything but the a/v jacks, I did install them now and its ready to be put together, but I didn't get an updated picture of it. To help cool the 7502, I mounted it upside down, so the 7502 is mounted on the bottom of the cd rom, allowing the cd rom to be basically like a huge heatsink. Its working good so far, worked perfectly for a nice mini marathon of Gremlins and Poo!

    Here's a pic of the atari with the faceplate almost fully installed (as I said, its completely installed now).

    Now, all I have to do is find the time to sand and paint the cd rom case itself and paint the front screws black. Then it should be ready to be mounted for hours of gaming to come. Unfortunately, the shuttle only has one PCI slot, so I went on newegg and I found a USB 2.0 capture device, non MPEG 2 hardware encoding. This allows me to play the 2600, on the pc, through the pc, with no lag.
    Let me know what you think! When this is done, I just might make a 2nd one and sell it on AtariAge... using two cd rom slots instead, one to insert the cartridge, and one exactly like how I have it now.
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