Jump to content
bah

Astrocade Help

Recommended Posts

Hi all. I have a later Bally Computer system that has started to show signs of a problem. I have owned it for a year but around Christmas it began to change colors after being on for a few minutes. Reds go brown and blues and greens tend to go grey. I have not run it much since this started and I shut it off immediately when I notice it.

 

I have not run it on a carpet or let its vents get blocked. After the first time the symptoms showed up, I checked out the voltages and added heat sinks with thermal grease to the 3 custom ICs. The power supply checks out and the chips are getting the voltages they should. I have also replaced the electrolytic caps, all to no avail.

 

Any advice what to look for? Is there a known problem area that can make the colors go dark? This console still operates and plays when it does this. Also, turning it off for even 30 seconds will bring the colors back.

 

Thanks for reading.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not an Astrocade expert. In lieu of specific knowledge about the machine, maybe a little bit of freeze-spray could help you localize any thermally sensitive parts?

 

Just a short blip of a blast. You don't need frosting forming. Especially if you get it right at the point it starts doing it.

Edited by Keatah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Any advice what to look for? Is there a known problem area that can make the colors go dark? This console still operates and plays when it does this. Also, turning it off for even 30 seconds will bring the colors back.

 

In a thread about a month ago, someone on this forum had an Astrocade with similar problems to you, although he lost all color-- his unit turned B&W-only. He traced this issue down to a bad RF modulator. For details, and where to get a replacement RF modulator for the Astrocade, see this post in the thead:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/250354-one-working-one-to-go/?do=findComment&comment=3489703

 

The RF modulator is only about $5-- but the place where you buy it requires a minimum order of, I think, $14. With shipping, I think the RF modulator would cost about $20 (presuming you bought $9.00 worth of other stuff to get the order filled).

 

Good luck!

 

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Update,

 

Keatah: I had the cooling spray handy, removed the bottom screws but left the cover on and started scribbling no player (demo mode). That crazy thing ran for over 45 minutes with no sign of color fade. After dinner I decided that an actual game may put more stress on some particular chip so I went with Galaxian, then Incredible Wizard, then Space Invaders, etc, etc. No fading in the hour I played. I now have scribbling running in demo mode again and so far it is not glitching even once.

 

I'm happy for now but I know electronics don't heal themselves, so I am sure the problem will return. The one thing I did do was try a small screw driver in the 3 holes of the RF modulator and turned the slugs just slightly in both directions. maybe I tweaked some setting there but I doubt it.

 

Anyway, thanks to both replies above and I think I may even get an RF modulator for a spare at that price.

 

PS how long will the machine run before the screen saving feature kicks in? Over 45 minutes seems long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

how long will the machine run before the screen saving feature kicks in? Over 45 minutes seems long.

The screen is supposed to blank after just 5 minutes. I've quoted this from the original Bally Home Library Computer manual section called "Automatic TV Protection:"

 

"Your HLC is designed with the TV protection circuit. If your unit is left unattended for only five minutes, the Bally HLC will automatically blank the screen and thus present any damage to your television. When you return, all you need to do is press any key and get your screen operational again."

 

I'm pretty sure that the screen blanking is part of the Bally's UPI (User Program Interface), which is built into the 8K ROM. I'm not sure why your screen won't blank after five minutes.

 

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adam,

 

Thanks for the info. Maybe I need to go download the manual and see what else I don't know about this system.

 

If this system stays working long enough, I intend to try a few basic progams. any recommendations?

 

Brent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I noticed when I opened up my one Astrocade unit yesterday that the modulator box did seem to just plug into the main board. Interesting to know it can be replaced. Who knows, maybe that might have saved my first system... Only reason I opened up the one system was the whites on the menu screen would go grey if I bumped the power cord or moved the RF cord. Simply cleaned the power cord plug and the channel switch and that solved that issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this system stays working long enough, I intend to try a few basic progams. any recommendations?

 

Sure, there are plenty of neat BASIC programs that I could recommend. You might as well start out with something fun. The current bonus BASIC game that we're playing in the Astrocade HSC is called Candy Man. That's a good one. Give that a go. Also, most anything by WaveMakers is good. Also worth investigating are programs from Esoterica, L&M Software and Fred Rodney. If you can keep an open mind, then exploring the world of type-in software can be quite rewarding too. Most software from the ARCADIAN has been archived and is available (along with the previously mentioned programs) on BallyAlley.com. Oh, and if you've not listened to any of the music by George Moses, then that can be fun.

 

Adam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...