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CollectorVision Phoenix Release Thread

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1 hour ago, Tursi said:

Why do we expect Genesis controllers to work on the Phoenix? I don't remember that ever being promised...

 

Robb showed a video using one during the sales drive. May have been a slightly different model. So, don’t know that it was promised but it would be nice or indicative of an operational difference between the OG CV port and Phoenix one. 

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Interesting... well, I was curious. But the hardware is /very/ different. The ColecoVision controller ports have a rather complex amount of circuitry attached, while the Phoenix ports pretty much run direct to the FPGA. This is why it was harder to get the roller controllers working reliably than expected -- they way they work on the ColecoVision is anything but intuitive. ;)

 

A standard Atari joystick is about as simple as it gets. There is a ground line, which runs to every button for up/down/left/right/fire. When the button is pressed, a dedicated wire carries ground back to the console, otherwise the line is "floating", neither high nor low. In addition, one line was defined for +5V, to allow smarter joysticks. Pins 7 and 9 are undefined and usually not connected. The Genesis extended this scheme slightly.

 

Here's a comparison of the pinouts:

 

image.png.cdfa4d248bd68e6850ceddfb7ee32315.png

 

I listed the six button alternates, but it's the same for the 3 button controller, except that it only has A and START as alternates. The key to the Genesis pad is the "Select in" line. When it's low, then the base set is checked, and when it's high, the alternate set is checked. Although the Atari scheme leaves pin 7 undefined, most controllers float it low, forcing the pad to return the default keys in absence of anything else, and so acting like an Atari pad.

 

The ColecoVision also extended the scheme, but did so slightly differently. While they also decided to have two modes, they do so with two different select lines, on pins 5 and 8. This allows a purely passive joypad, while the Genesis one needs logic to switch. With the help of diodes to prevent backwards flow through the circuit, one line or the other passes through its relevant switches, and ends up at the return lines on the console. The console hardware makes it impossible to activate both select lines at the same time. Also note how there is neither a +5V nor a GND line.

 

Note how 'Select Joy In' is on the same pin as GND in the Atari/Genesis pinout. This allows the basic directions to resemble the Atari stick. Select Key In is on the same pin as +5v, so on most Atari-compatible joysticks nothing will happen. However, unlike Atari and Genesis sticks, these lines toggle between +5V and Gnd - they are active when Ground, with those diodes preventing issues in the Coleco pad. Resistors limit the current that can be drawn.

The real gotcha happens on pins 7 and 9 - which the ColecoVision uses as roller controller inputs. Particularly 7 is expected, by the Genesis pad, to be an input either high or low. But the Coleco thinks it's an input too, so it ends up floating. The net result of a floating input is semi-random... it may work on some devices, be wrong on others, and flakey on still others, maybe even changing day to day. The other issue is the C button mapped to the Roller controller interrupt on the Coleco. If it goes high, it could crash some games (as we know there are some non-roller-compatible games that don't control that interrupt correctly). If it goes low, though, probably won't do anything.

 

How does all this apply to the Phoenix? Without someone diving into it like we did the roller controller, hard to say. Certainly no harm in filing the bug, but I am not terribly surprised to see it doesn't work perfectly. The Genesis controller expects +5v and Gnd on pins 5 and 8 in order to function correctly. If it can steal that parasitically, then it can function, but that doesn't work on the ColecoVision by anyone's intention. Technically both the Coleco and the Phoenix would, when scanning, be flipping the voltage to the Genesis pad between normal and inverted voltage at whatever rate the game scans at. It's not something I'd recommend, anyway. 

You could build an adapter cable simply enough... pins 1-4 and 6 would be direct. Install diodes on pins 5 and 8 to ensure no reverse voltage gets through (watch polarity). To be even more stable, drop a capacitor across the power lines to supply forward voltage during the reverse phases (on the controller side of the diodes). That'd be as close as you can get, I think.

 

Just my thoughts, anyway. I'm not an analog guy. ;)


 

 

Edited by Tursi

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1 hour ago, Tursi said:

Interesting... well, I was curious. But the hardware is /very/ different. The ColecoVision controller ports have a rather complex amount of circuitry attached, while the Phoenix ports pretty much run direct to the FPGA. This is why it was harder to get the roller controllers working reliably than expected -- they way they work on the ColecoVision is anything but intuitive. ;)

 

A standard Atari joystick is about as simple as it gets. There is a ground line, which runs to every button for up/down/left/right/fire. When the button is pressed, a dedicated wire carries ground back to the console, otherwise the line is "floating", neither high nor low. In addition, one line was defined for +5V, to allow smarter joysticks. Pins 7 and 9 are undefined and usually not connected. The Genesis extended this scheme slightly.

 

Here's a comparison of the pinouts:

 

image.png.cdfa4d248bd68e6850ceddfb7ee32315.png

 

I listed the six button alternates, but it's the same for the 3 button controller, except that it only has A and START as alternates. The key to the Genesis pad is the "Select in" line. When it's low, then the base set is checked, and when it's high, the alternate set is checked. Although the Atari scheme leaves pin 7 undefined, most controllers float it low, forcing the pad to return the default keys in absence of anything else, and so acting like an Atari pad.

 

The ColecoVision also extended the scheme, but did so slightly differently. While they also decided to have two modes, they do so with two different select lines, on pins 5 and 8. This allows a purely passive joypad, while the Genesis one needs logic to switch. With the help of diodes to prevent backwards flow through the circuit, one line or the other passes through its relevant switches, and ends up at the return lines on the console. The console hardware makes it impossible to activate both select lines at the same time. Also note how there is neither a +5V nor a GND line.

 

Note how 'Select Joy In' is on the same pin as GND in the Atari/Genesis pinout. This allows the basic directions to resemble the Atari stick. Select Key In is on the same pin as +5v, so on most Atari-compatible joysticks nothing will happen. However, unlike Atari and Genesis sticks, these lines toggle between +5V and Gnd - they are active when Ground, with those diodes preventing issues in the Coleco pad. Resistors limit the current that can be drawn.

The real gotcha happens on pins 7 and 9 - which the ColecoVision uses as roller controller inputs. Particularly 7 is expected, by the Genesis pad, to be an input either high or low. But the Coleco thinks it's an input too, so it ends up floating. The net result of a floating input is semi-random... it may work on some devices, be wrong on others, and flakey on still others, maybe even changing day to day. The other issue is the C button mapped to the Roller controller interrupt on the Coleco. If it goes high, it could crash some games (as we know there are some non-roller-compatible games that don't control that interrupt correctly). If it goes low, though, probably won't do anything.

 

How does all this apply to the Phoenix? Without someone diving into it like we did the roller controller, hard to say. Certainly no harm in filing the bug, but I am not terribly surprised to see it doesn't work perfectly. The Genesis controller expects +5v and Gnd on pins 5 and 8 in order to function correctly. If it can steal that parasitically, then it can function, but that doesn't work on the ColecoVision by anyone's intention. Technically both the Coleco and the Phoenix would, when scanning, be flipping the voltage to the Genesis pad between normal and inverted voltage at whatever rate the game scans at. It's not something I'd recommend, anyway. 

You could build an adapter cable simply enough... pins 1-4 and 6 would be direct. Install diodes on pins 5 and 8 to ensure no reverse voltage gets through (watch polarity). To be even more stable, drop a capacitor across the power lines to supply forward voltage during the reverse phases (on the controller side of the diodes). That'd be as close as you can get, I think.

 

Just my thoughts, anyway. I'm not an analog guy. ;)


 

 

I was thinking to try not connecting pins 5, 7 and 9 on one of those pass through a with capacities included at all and see what happens. 

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On 5/5/2021 at 4:57 PM, retroillucid said:

We're currently working on a solution to make the Phoenix readily available
 

Count me as interested if there is a 3rd run. 

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Unfortunately, I still don't have a working system. I got in touch with Toby, who had me reach out to their tech (Brian). That was a month ago and I haven't heard back. I even followed up a couple weeks later and still just silence. This is my first time having to deal with customer support through CollectorVision, as I'd never had problems with my previous purchases, but I must say this experience has been pretty poor.

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So is there a power cable for the roller controller that fixes the warping issue that I can buy from someone?

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9 hours ago, mgoode said:

So is there a power cable for the roller controller that fixes the warping issue that I can buy from someone?

Not unless someone has homebrewed one for sale. Collectorvision had a prototype but haven’t seen an update for awhile 

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Does anyone have Astro Invader for the CV from AtariAge?  I just received mine today and can't get it to work on my Phoenix.  I briefly get the title screen if I reset.  It then goes blank and then the title comes back again all glitchy, then goes blank again and stays blank.

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On 7/11/2021 at 11:56 PM, goldenegg said:

Unfortunately, I still don't have a working system. I got in touch with Toby, who had me reach out to their tech (Brian). That was a month ago and I haven't heard back. I even followed up a couple weeks later and still just silence. This is my first time having to deal with customer support through CollectorVision, as I'd never had problems with my previous purchases, but I must say this experience has been pretty poor.

Oh man, that's bad.  You'd think a company run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts would have better customer service than a regular business, not worse.  I always assumed that if any of our Phoenixes went on the blink, Collectorvision would be ready and willing to help.  Still no joy with your non working Phoenix?  I was going to reach out directly to Collectorvision over the issue I have with Astro Invader but you've put me off.    I can only hope that someone in the community can help or Al from AtariAge as I reached out there too.  

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6 hours ago, insertclevernamehere said:

Oh man, that's bad.  You'd think a company run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts would have better customer service than a regular business, not worse.  I always assumed that if any of our Phoenixes went on the blink, Collectorvision would be ready and willing to help.  Still no joy with your non working Phoenix?  I was going to reach out directly to Collectorvision over the issue I have with Astro Invader but you've put me off.    I can only hope that someone in the community can help or Al from AtariAge as I reached out there too.  

I finally heard back and am now being told that the system is not compatible with my TV (Sony 65X930E). I'm pretty much done with it and will be putting it up for sale if anyone wants it.

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2 minutes ago, goldenegg said:

I finally heard back and am now being told that the system is not compatible with my TV (Sony 65X930E). I'm pretty much done with it and will be putting it up for sale if anyone wants it.

Maybe there should be a list of tv's that the console has been tested as working and non working...

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2 hours ago, AtariBrian said:

Maybe there should be a list of tv's that the console has been tested as working and non working...

That would be a good thread, surprised there isn't one.  You can put my LG 86UH9500 model down as one that works with the Phoenix.

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I've been fine with my $99 Best Buy Insignia 720p lcd set. It does have the HDMI power issue but I've posted in these forums about the HDMI switch that solved that problem for me.

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My Phoenix (early release - paid extra $$$) has 'worked' from day 1 (although WITH NO SOUND).  I've read there are fixes - but with '700-900' responses - I don't have the time to find if there is a solution or if my TV is not compatible.  (I think I asked about it in a PM and did not get a reply).

 

I've dealt with Collectorvison from almost day 1... +++

 

Great games...minor problems (8+) (but I have not played all games a lot...)

 

Phoenix somewhat good (5+)...

Why is there not a problems page with solutions on the Collectorvision site or wherever? Instead of a forum here with 800 responses to ALL topics?

No Sound - try this..

No Picture - this monitor... try this (or working on fix)

Something else... go here

 

Seems 'simple' to me.

 

As I have always stated communication is key!

 

"I have a problem" - we will look into it.  And then within a short period of time...

"working on it or this can't be fixed".

 

 

Look I get it... 1000 monitors / flats screens - you CAN'T test them all.  But respond to your customers (AND I'm not saying that Collectorvision doesn't)

 

My 2 cents.

 

 

 

Jeff

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7 hours ago, JEFF31 said:

My Phoenix (early release - paid extra $$$) has 'worked' from day 1 (although WITH NO SOUND).  I've read there are fixes - but with '700-900' responses - I don't have the time to find if there is a solution or if my TV is not compatible.  (I think I asked about it in a PM and did not get a reply).

 

I've dealt with Collectorvison from almost day 1... +++

 

Great games...minor problems (8+) (but I have not played all games a lot...)

 

Phoenix somewhat good (5+)...

Why is there not a problems page with solutions on the Collectorvision site or wherever? Instead of a forum here with 800 responses to ALL topics?

No Sound - try this..

No Picture - this monitor... try this (or working on fix)

Something else... go here

 

Seems 'simple' to me.

 

As I have always stated communication is key!

 

"I have a problem" - we will look into it.  And then within a short period of time...

"working on it or this can't be fixed".

 

 

Look I get it... 1000 monitors / flats screens - you CAN'T test them all.  But respond to your customers (AND I'm not saying that Collectorvision doesn't)

 

My 2 cents.

 

 

 

Jeff

I think a pinned solutions guide would be a good idea. It would help eliminate repeat questions. Invariably, current solutions to the rollerball and TV issues will cost you a moderate amount of money, $15-$65 each, depending on what you need fixed. I know a couple resolution converters have been found that seem to fix most if not all problems with TVs. Apparently, these adapters can adequately detect the HDMI clock that is off by 25MHz, like many TVs can but many cannot, but then sends out an HDMI signal that is the correct 27MHz clock that most or all TVs can detect.

https://www.amazon.com/XD-990-Multi-System-Digital-Audio-Converter/dp/B0062BS09O/?fbclid=IwAR2z7fBI4dcfvaXPH53q1C_VcQTK8GuXDCjCj6aS0QQxwarU-rr3YvPgbUo

 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KVRYWDF/?fbclid=IwAR0geWc1QqsTweWstJHDPtIEA57Uhzt9XTMQyP5jtlGYWmlBCH6LDPAAAO4

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6 hours ago, JEFF31 said:

 

Why is there not a problems page with solutions on the Collectorvision site or wherever? Instead of a forum here with 800 responses to ALL topics?

 

There is a github issues page with exactly what you are looking for. It is linked in the first post and on the Collectorvision Phoenix webpage

https://github.com/CollectorVision/Phoenix-Colecovision/issues

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6 hours ago, Bmack36 said:

There is a github issues page with exactly what you are looking for. It is linked in the first post and on the Collectorvision Phoenix webpage

https://github.com/CollectorVision/Phoenix-Colecovision/issues

Added my issue with Astro Invader to it yesterday.  Hopefully it gets resolved as I no longer have a CV and the Phoenix is the only way I can play the game.  

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32 minutes ago, insertclevernamehere said:

Added my issue with Astro Invader to it yesterday.  Hopefully it gets resolved as I no longer have a CV and the Phoenix is the only way I can play the game.  

unnamed.thumb.jpg.a28e77ffc6a1a86ed8e2df665fec74f4.jpg

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54 minutes ago, insertclevernamehere said:

Added my issue with Astro Invader to it yesterday.  Hopefully it gets resolved as I no longer have a CV and the Phoenix is the only way I can play the game.  

I know the cart is new but did you try cleaning the contacts on the cart? I had to do that once or twice to a brand new homebrew on an original console...

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5 minutes ago, AtariBrian said:

I know the cart is new but did you try cleaning the contacts on the cart? I had to do that once or twice to a brand new homebrew on an original console...

And it works on mine, see post above yours :)

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On 7/18/2021 at 3:22 PM, evg2000 said:

unnamed.thumb.jpg.a28e77ffc6a1a86ed8e2df665fec74f4.jpg

 

23 hours ago, evg2000 said:

And it works on mine, see post above yours :)

Ok, thanks for the info.  I really hope that is the solution.  I will try it tonight.

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