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Robot2600

BW/Color switch not working on Light Sixer

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I recently bought a working Light Sixer and after 4 days the B/W switch went out. It works some of the time, but it can get stuck on B&W very easily. Sometimes it just goes to B/W for no reason. Typically when this happens if I leave it alone for a few days it'll be working but other times it won't. Also the reset switch sometimes does not respond.

 

I have a second light sixer with a burnt out video capacitor on the MB. Would it be possible to use it's switches as parts for my newer system?

 

Could it just be dirty contacts on the new system? Any suggestions? I can't solder to save my life but I feel comfortable opening stuff up, cleaning, and replacing easy parts. I have some friends that might be able to solder for me if that's my only option.

 

I guess the other option would be to replace the "Chicklet" capacitor on the broken atari and hope that fixes it, but I tried to buy the part from Radio Shack a few years ago and just got shrugs.

 

Anyway just throwing this out there looking for advice/suggestions.

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You can easily move the switches from one unit to the other, I've done it myself. I'm not that good at soldering, but found that swapping switches was a piece of cake to do.

 

Before swapping switches, check to see if the solder holding the switch in place cracked as that can cause the switches to act flakey. If that's the case, just touch a hot soldering iron to the solder that cracked in order to reflow/remelt the solder.

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Jameco sells the capacitors. I'll 2nd the checking for cracked solder joints on the color switch. I've seen lots of poor soldering on the later systems.

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I'll jump on the "check for bad solder joint" bandwagon.That switch is single pole-single throw: meaning it has only a single set of contacts.

From a software perspective, a bad hardware connection would make that input read as if the switch were in the off or "open" position. (Same as if the switch were completely removed from the circuit).

 

Since closing the switch ("on") grounds the 6532 input to which the switch is connected (PB3 according to the schematic I looked at), I would assume that the the input is pulled Hi internally. So, if the switch (or solder joint) fails the input will be Hi when you expect it to be low.

 

According to the 2600A schematic on this site, Open = Color. Just throwing that out there in case you want to attempt to check the failure mode in software. If it's failing to B/W when you think it should be color, there's likely something else going on.

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Sounds like a plan. What's the best place to buy a soldering iron. Major retail chains. Home Depot?

Edited by Robot2600

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Depends on if you want a serious one, or just something quick 'n' cheap for a single job. For quick 'n' cheap, Radio Shack will suffice.

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Well if I'm going to buy one I want it to be good. I need all the help I can get. I'll compare Radio Shack and Home Depot this week.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention, yea it's definitely the switch connection or something because even when it will only display black and white a glitched cart I have of Kaboom will still display colored (orange and pink) garbage on the screen.

Edited by Robot2600

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Well if I'm going to buy one I want it to be good. I need all the help I can get. I'll compare Radio Shack and Home Depot this week.

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention, yea it's definitely the switch connection or something because even when it will only display black and white a glitched cart I have of Kaboom will still display colored (orange and pink) garbage on the screen.

Just so you know, that switch doesn't really do anything to the video signal to make it black and white. It's just another input that the software can read. The game code must recognize the "request" and output a different color scheme to effect the "black and white" mode.

 

Some newer/homebrew games use the switch for purposes other than Color/BW.

 

On some games the switch does nothing. So, a broken B&W/Color switch may not behave exactly as you'd expect by it's name.

 

I just tested Kaboom on my Heavy 6'er and in B/W mode everything is shades of gray until you miss a bomb. The explosions are still in color.

Edited by BigO

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Can color only games be played on black and white TVs?

They can be played, but it may not be very easy to see what's going on. What renders as multiple colors on a color TV may render as only slightly (if at all) different shades of gray on a black and white TV.

 

The color signal with not harm the black and white TV. The color broadcast scheme (in the US, anyway) was backward compatible with older black and white TV's.

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Can color only games be played on black and white TVs?

Absolutely! Did it all the time back in the day. The only issue would be if a particular game required you to tell the difference between two colors. For example, on certain levels of Qbert, it could be nearly impossible to distinguish between a cube that you had hopped on and one you had not.

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Absolutely! Did it all the time back in the day. The only issue would be if a particular game required you to tell the difference between two colors. For example, on certain levels of Qbert, it could be nearly impossible to distinguish between a cube that you had hopped on and one you had not.

If that's the case, what purpose does the black and white/color switch on the VCS serve?

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One thing that I've ran into myself, that may be of some help.

 

If you do determine that it is the switch itself that is to blame, you can actually open the switch and check for a bad connection inside. It's fairly delicate work, but as long as you get everything back together correctly, it's easy. Most times, the sliding metal part inside the switch that actually makes the connection just needs to be cleaned and bent back into shape to make a strong connection. You should definitely reflow the solder joints first though, since that is way easier.

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