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CollectorVision Phoenix Release Thread

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In 1984 Coleco started placing snap on ferrite beads on the end of the controller cable to meet the FCC certification requirement for the ADAM computer. Ferrite beads eliminate or reduce EMI/RFI noise. If the noise is coming from the controller or Phoenix, try placing a ferrite bead on the end of the controller cable to see if the problem clears up.

Edited by HDTV1080P

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Another interesting observation is that with the 7 wire "good" controller connected, and monitoring pin 9, I have observed a significant increase in noise when keypad buttons 1, 3, 7, 8 & * are pressed (and not the others).  Seeing as the controller itself has no connection to pin 9 I can only assume that this increase in noise comes from the Phoenix.

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34 minutes ago, HDTV1080P said:

In 1984 Coleco started placing snap on ferrite beads on the end of the controller cable to meet the FCC certification requirement for the ADAM computer. Ferrite beads eliminate or reduce EMI/RFI noise. If the noise is coming from the controller or Phoenix, try placing a ferrite bead on the end of the controller cable to see if the problem clears up.

Happy to give a cable ferrite a go but need advice on what impedance would be recommended.  The ones I see on digi-key range from 43 to 320 Ohm (although the larger the impedance the larger the core).

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12 hours ago, Ikrananka said:

Another interesting observation is that with the 7 wire "good" controller connected, and monitoring pin 9, I have observed a significant increase in noise when keypad buttons 1, 3, 7, 8 & * are pressed (and not the others).  Seeing as the controller itself has no connection to pin 9 I can only assume that this increase in noise comes from the Phoenix.

Buttons 1,3,7,8 and * have exclusively one pin in common. Pin #1. Cross-talk between pins 1 and 9? On the port, the pins are at diagonal opposites. Purple and blue SAC buttons also use pin #1. Although, you said the hash key was causing freezing, so, that is still a mystery. 

 

What division is 5ms? Each block or the whole screen width? If it is full screen width, it looks like a pair of approx. 17 kHz frequency with 1V and 2V p-p amplitudes.

 

http://arcarc.xmission.com/Web Archives/Deathskull (May-2006)/games/tech/cvcont.html

 

Not to add to your burden, but it would be a good reference to see what the noise/voltage patterns are on the ColecoVision console compared to the Phoenix.

 

Also, from this video from Chart45, the peak-to-peak pulse amplitude of quadrature signals to pins 7 and 9 from his homemade "steering" paddle is 2V. It looks like the noise on pins 7 and 9 is as large as the pulse amplitudes for the steering controller and roller controller. It looks like pulse widths could go down to 1ms at least.

 

 

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Hrrmph, this says switching power supplies are 17kHz/33kHz. Can you verify the frequency of the noise?

 

 

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8 hours ago, Ikrananka said:

Happy to give a cable ferrite a go but need advice on what impedance would be recommended.  The ones I see on digi-key range from 43 to 320 Ohm (although the larger the impedance the larger the core).

If you had a existing Coleco controller with a ferrite bead. They are snap on and snap off types. You could try to see if the original Coleco one works. Otherwise you would need a Fluke frequency meter or some type of meter to read the frequency that needs filtered out, then you would get the highest ohm rating ferrite bead that will have a tight fit around the cable.

https://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20Sheets/Laird%20Technologies/Ferrite_EMI_Cable_Cores.pdf

 

https://www.digikey.com/products/en/filters/cable-ferrites/840?FV=183%7C397568%2C654%7C354873%2C1989%7C0%2C-8%7C840&quantity=0&ColumnSort=0&page=1&stock=1&pageSize=25

         

Edited by HDTV1080P

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I also seem to have frequent game crashes from the use of controllers of not original controllers. I have two modified original controllers (balltop, believe done by Yurkie many years ago), two custom made arcade joysticks from doubledown, and the included "snes" pad. When playing for instance Road Fighter (Opcode) everything works fine until I try to steer the car, the game crashes and reboots. There are many games with problems I have encountered. I do have latest core/s installed. Any suggestions or perhaps purchase original controller?

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When talking about "joystick-type" controllers, specifically meaning controllers that don't have spinning components (like the steering module, or the roller controller), if Pin 9 at the controller's cable end is connected to a wire inside it's cable, lock-up issues have been noticed.  In my case I've only noticed it with modern homebrew games...never with original BITD games.  If you have one of my controllers, and it has the AMP brand 9-pin connector, it can be opened up, and you can simply cut Pin 9's wire at the end of the cable jacket, and pull the socket out of the connector and discard it.  Alternatively, I've heard that if you connect/short Pins 7 & 9 internally inside the controller, this can solve the issue too, although I've not tried it.  Also alternatively, a short "extension cable," 9-pin M-to-F, that does not have Pin/wire 9 installed, can be plugged into the Phoenix, then the controller plugged into it, and this will also "disconnect" Pin 9.  If your modified ball-knob hand controllers had say a Sega Genesis controller cable installed, to achieve a straight cord versus the coily cord of the originals...those cables will also have Pin 9 connected...which can cause problems.  Have you ever noticed the problems when using an SNES controller?  

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33 minutes ago, doubledown said:

When talking about "joystick-type" controllers, specifically meaning controllers that don't have spinning components (like the steering module, or the roller controller), if Pin 9 at the controller's cable end is connected to a wire inside it's cable, lock-up issues have been noticed.  In my case I've only noticed it with modern homebrew games...never with original BITD games.  If you have one of my controllers, and it has the AMP brand 9-pin connector, it can be opened up, and you can simply cut Pin 9's wire at the end of the cable jacket, and pull the socket out of the connector and discard it.  Alternatively, I've heard that if you connect/short Pins 7 & 9 internally inside the controller, this can solve the issue too, although I've not tried it.  Also alternatively, a short "extension cable," 9-pin M-to-F, that does not have Pin/wire 9 installed, can be plugged into the Phoenix, then the controller plugged into it, and this will also "disconnect" Pin 9.  If your modified ball-knob hand controllers had say a Sega Genesis controller cable installed, to achieve a straight cord versus the coily cord of the originals...those cables will also have Pin 9 connected...which can cause problems.  Have you ever noticed the problems when using an SNES controller?  

Thank you for your answer. I am probably not the correct person to open up anything and start pulling wires, to insecure about what I am doing to try anything like that :D

 

Well I had the same problem with Road Fighter with all controllers (including the SNES pad from Collectorvision, I believe it is a 8bitdo product or something similar). I don't own a "original/real" SNES controller. I had the same problem with both the rom on SD card as well as the original cartridge from Opcode.  

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On 8/7/2020 at 7:09 PM, doubledown said:

Ok, so I just tested my Roller Controller, and Expansion Module #2 with my Phoenix:

 

With Expansion Module #2:

 

I played Turbo - from the SD card...and I saw no issues.  It played just fine, and just as it should.

 

I played Destructor - from the SD card...and I saw no issues.  It played just fine, and just as it should.

 

With Roller Controller:

 

In Joystick Mode - in the SD card menu, when using controller 1's joystick to navigate through the SD card menu...I would press down once, and that moved me down 1 game in the list.  But then maybe the next time I press down once...it jumped down 3 lines.  Then 1 line, 1 line, then 3 lines again, so on, and so forth.

 

...but when in Roller Mode - this line-jumping phenomenon does not happen...press down once on the controller's joystick, and I move down 1 game in the list, repeatably.

 

Playing Centipede from SD card - in Joystick Mode...I saw no issues.  It played just fine, and just as it should.

 

Playing Armageddon from SD card - in Roller Mode...my on-screen cursor would, every so often...just jump across the screen.  

 

Playing Slither from SD card - in Roller Mode...my on-screen character would, every so often...just jump across the screen.

 

Also remember...I'm wasn't saying this Pin 9 issue I'm looking at is causing "jumping" with a non-joystick controller...I'm seeing the problem of the Phoenix console flat out locking up and emitting a solid steady tone...to where it has to be reset.  Not to say they're not related, but I didn't know anything about this jumping until now...as I hadn't used any type of specialty controller with my Phonenix until tonight.  

I'm certainly not saying it certainly does happen with the  turbo and destructor, but I thought I saw small warps in turbo, but the area being dealt with in one dimension vs two is about 0.5% as big, plus more obstacles around that may prevent warping there, make it more difficult to say yes or no. It would seem odd that it would happen when both controller ports are reading, but not just controller port 1.

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The warping is specific to the Roller Controller and is caused by the power supply to it. Since the controller ports don't have any true power or grounds going through it, there can be a differential between the grounds in the roller controller and the Phoenix. On a Colecovision this can't happen because the roller controller plugs into both the power supply and the CV. If the Phoenix is powered by the expansion port of the phoenix or the ground is connected between the roller controller power and the ground on the Phoenix, then the roller controller will work properly.

 

Turbo has some software "drift" built into the game and isn't related to the actual steering wheel input.

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2 hours ago, Bmack36 said:

The warping is specific to the Roller Controller and is caused by the power supply to it. Since the controller ports don't have any true power or grounds going through it, there can be a differential between the grounds in the roller controller and the Phoenix. On a Colecovision this can't happen because the roller controller plugs into both the power supply and the CV. If the Phoenix is powered by the expansion port of the phoenix or the ground is connected between the roller controller power and the ground on the Phoenix, then the roller controller will work properly.

 

Turbo has some software "drift" built into the game and isn't related to the actual steering wheel input.

Will this fix the pin 9 interference with games using joysticks with a line to pin 9 as well? If not, here is a lazy man's solution that is not much more than a male and female DB9 breakout and can be switched in place.

 https://www.amazon.com/Breakout-Board-Switches-Connectors-Rubber/dp/B07DGJDWYB

 

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11 hours ago, Bmack36 said:

The warping is specific to the Roller Controller and is caused by the power supply to it. Since the controller ports don't have any true power or grounds going through it, there can be a differential between the grounds in the roller controller and the Phoenix. On a Colecovision this can't happen because the roller controller plugs into both the power supply and the CV. If the Phoenix is powered by the expansion port of the phoenix or the ground is connected between the roller controller power and the ground on the Phoenix, then the roller controller will work properly.

 

Turbo has some software "drift" built into the game and isn't related to the actual steering wheel input.

 

I'm guessing you meant to type "if the Roller Controller is powered by the expansion port of the Phoenix"...and if that's the case...is this possible?  Does the Expansion port provide +5V, plus ground, capable of the minimal amperage required to power the Roller Controller, and if so, can you tell us which pins these are?  And alternately, is the keyboard port on the front of the Phoenix, wired as the de-facto PS/2 keyboard standard, wherein Pin 4 is +5V (@275mA) and Pin 3 is the ground...which would also be more than enough to power the Roller Controller (or Driving Module)?

 

8 hours ago, Swami said:

Will this fix the pin 9 interference with games using joysticks with a line to pin 9 as well? If not, here is a lazy man's solution that is not much more than a male and female DB9 breakout and can be switched in place.

 https://www.amazon.com/Breakout-Board-Switches-Connectors-Rubber/dp/B07DGJDWYB

 

 

The info provided by Bmack36 is regarding "spinning controllers" that require power...and not applicable to joystick type controllers that happen to have pin 9 wired/connected within their cable. 

 

That adapter you linked, would work to disconnect Pin 9, and as long as the little bit of length of Pin/wire 9 that is still there, (from the connector to the dip switch that can "break" it's line), doesn't pick up any interference, it could possibly work to alleviate the glitch. 

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6 minutes ago, doubledown said:

 

I'm guessing you meant to type "if the Roller Controller is powered by the expansion port of the Phoenix"...and if that's the case...is this possible?  Does the Expansion port provide +5V, plus ground, capable of the minimal amperage required to power the Roller Controller, and if so, can you tell us which pins these are?  And alternately, is the keyboard port on the front of the Phoenix, wired as the de-facto PS/2 keyboard standard, wherein Pin 4 is +5V (@275mA) and Pin 3 is the ground...which would also be more than enough to power the Roller Controller (or Driving Module)?

 

 

The info provided by Bmack36 is regarding "spinning controllers" that require power...and not applicable to joystick type controllers that happen to have pin 9 wired/connected within their cable. 

 

That adapter you linked, would work to disconnect Pin 9, and as long as the little bit of length of Pin/wire 9 that is still there, (from the connector to the dip switch that can "break" it's line), doesn't pick up any interference, it could possibly work to alleviate the glitch. 

Yes, that is what I meant, and yes it is possible. The power and ground can be pulled from the PS/2 as well.

 

image.thumb.png.d7cc139463ababb43503a1c7b25f847c.pngimage.png.bb6bc610e6b7a78e37f1140875029d38.png778335911_20201015_114223(2).thumb.jpg.0d43522a5f2b2d880cccb8eb482ec857.jpg

 

The issue with Pin 9 and cables with nothing connected to it is a different issue. We are working on resolving that for the next batch.

Edited by Bmack36

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4 minutes ago, Bmack36 said:

Yes, that is what I meant, and yes it is possible

 

image.thumb.png.d7cc139463ababb43503a1c7b25f847c.png

Very interesting...any idea what the maximum safe current draw is for the 5V source at the expansion port?

 

What about "power" at the front keyboard PS/2 port, as an alternative?  

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10 minutes ago, Bmack36 said:

The issue with Pin 9 and cables with nothing connected to it is a different issue. We are working on resolving that for the next batch.

Will there be a fix provided for the first batch?

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Confirmed!

 

dcQ4SU.png

 

So I took a PS/2 cable I had laying around, cut off one end, and wired/crimped the 5V and Ground pins/wires (via the ADAM power pinout) into a 9-pin controller connecter.  Which I then plugged into an ADAM - "Accessory" power adapter, which I then plugged the Roller Controller's power cable into, and voila...it works...perfectly; and this eliminated all 3 of the "issues" I had noticed with previous testing, when using an external power supply, to power the Roller Controller.

 

@Bmack36 - thanks for the technical info!

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 this solution is very good, but unfortunately it will not help everyone (not all have the adam adapter)
I am

interested in the manufacturer’s proposed solution for  this issue for owners of batch 1. 

 

thanks a lot.

 

Edited by alortegac

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Alternately, a similar purposed cable could be made as a direct "PS/2 to Coleco/Roller Controller 4-pin adapter" (requiring no ADAM accessory adapter), but this is just what I had lying around in parts so that I could build it up and test it right now.  Simply cut the cord from a non-working ColecoVision or TI-99 power supply for the 4-pin end, and add a Mini-Din-6 connector to the other end.  It addition to the "issue fixes", it also has the added benefit of negating the requirement for a Coleco power supply to power the Roller Controller...as it can power the Roller Controller directly from the front of Phoenix.  

Edited by doubledown
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1 hour ago, alortegac said:

 this solution is very good, but unfortunately it will not help everyone (not all have the adam adapter)
I am

interested in the manufacturer’s proposed solution for  this issue for owners of batch 1. 

 

thanks a lot.

 

It was stated in their update on the next production batch that they would be trying to develop an adapter solution for people with the first revision, they just wanted to make sure they had isolated the issue because the first time Collectorvision was actually able to see this problem was with the latest sample board they received before making the next batch.

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5 hours ago, doubledown said:

Alternately, a similar purposed cable could be made as a direct "PS/2 to Coleco/Roller Controller 4-pin adapter" (requiring no ADAM accessory adapter), but this is just what I had lying around in parts so that I could build it up and test it right now.  Simply cut the cord from a non-working ColecoVision or TI-99 power supply for the 4-pin end, and add a Mini-Din-6 connector to the other end.  It addition to the "issue fixes", it also has the added benefit of negating the requirement for a Coleco power supply to power the Roller Controller...as it can power the Roller Controller directly from the front of Phoenix.  

One could probably use a ps/2 to usb adapter and the ColUSB adapter, as well. Would likely need a USB-A to USB-C adapter, as well.

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2 hours ago, Swami said:

One could probably use a ps/2 to usb adapter and the ColUSB adapter, as well. Would likely need a USB-A to USB-C adapter, as well.

Doesn't the ColUSB power supply have active electronics inside it?

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2 minutes ago, doubledown said:

Doesn't the ColUSB power supply have active electronics inside it?

It takes 5V from a usb wall adapter. It is a switching power supply, but I've used it to power the Roller Controller. It plugs into the same OG ColecoVision power port as the standard OG ColecoVision power supply and the Roller Controller. I assume the Roller Controller just uses the 5V and ground pin of the power supply. Perhaps a direct connection would be more linear and perhaps that is less noisy than a switching power supply. A bit beyond me there.

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