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sixersfan105

VCS Black Screen of Death?

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Help! Tonight when I turned on my VCS, I was greeted with the usual Asteroids-style boot screen, it lets me turn on my controllers (and acknowledges they are on both on the controller and also on the screen - bouncing Bluetooth icon in the lower left goes away and the banner at the top confirms that a controller is connected, but other than that, the screen is black and remains black. It doesn't load my Home Screen or anything. I did switch ISPs today so I have a new Wifi network, and my purpose in turning on my VCS tonight was actually to update the wifi, but there's no way that could have led to this essentially non-responsive VCS, right? All other devices in my house are a-ok.  I tried turning it off and back on again, and even unplugging and plugging it back in after 30-60 seconds but the same symptoms persist. Any suggestions???

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3 hours ago, sixersfan105 said:

Help! Tonight when I turned on my VCS, I was greeted with the usual Asteroids-style boot screen, it lets me turn on my controllers (and acknowledges they are on both on the controller and also on the screen - bouncing Bluetooth icon in the lower left goes away and the banner at the top confirms that a controller is connected, but other than that, the screen is black and remains black. It doesn't load my Home Screen or anything. I did switch ISPs today so I have a new Wifi network, and my purpose in turning on my VCS tonight was actually to update the wifi, but there's no way that could have led to this essentially non-responsive VCS, right? All other devices in my house are a-ok.  I tried turning it off and back on again, and even unplugging and plugging it back in after 30-60 seconds but the same symptoms persist. Any suggestions???

First I've heard of this. When the server issues came up in November there would be a delay in loading, for some people up to several minutes, from the post animation black screen to the login page. The wifi would affect the loading after login maybe, and the store, but shouldn't affect the initial boot. Could your console have overheated somehow? If not then it may be a server issue. I'd give it another go and see if it comes up. If it persists I'd throw a ticket Atari's way. Best of luck.

Edited by Atarick
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1 hour ago, Atarick said:

First I've heard of this. When the server issues came up in November there would be a delay in loading, for some people up to several minutes, from the post animation black screen to the login page. The wifi would affect the loading after login maybe, and the store, but shouldn't affect the initial boot. Could your console have overheated somehow? If not then it may be a server issue. I'd give it another go and see if it comes up. If it persists I'd throw a ticket Atari's way. Best of luck.

I haven't had any server issues before but maybe now it's my time to experience those issues? Truth be told, I haven't given it "several minutes" after power on. Maybe I'll try giving it a while and see if that makes a difference. Will report back! Thanks. 

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5 hours ago, sixersfan105 said:

Help! Tonight when I turned on my VCS, I was greeted with the usual Asteroids-style boot screen, it lets me turn on my controllers (and acknowledges they are on both on the controller and also on the screen - bouncing Bluetooth icon in the lower left goes away and the banner at the top confirms that a controller is connected, but other than that, the screen is black and remains black. It doesn't load my Home Screen or anything. I did switch ISPs today so I have a new Wifi network, and my purpose in turning on my VCS tonight was actually to update the wifi, but there's no way that could have led to this essentially non-responsive VCS, right? All other devices in my house are a-ok.  I tried turning it off and back on again, and even unplugging and plugging it back in after 30-60 seconds but the same symptoms persist. Any suggestions???

You haven’t monkeyed around in the bios settings have you? Be careful with overclocking the RAM and increasing the CPU wattage, it can brick your system.

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19 minutes ago, Djmicklovin said:

You haven’t monkeyed around in the bios settings have you? Be careful with overclocking the RAM and increasing the CPU wattage, it can brick your system.

Nope! It's fully stock. It's been about a month since I last used it, but obviously this shouldn't happen after a month of non-use. Of note, it has been powered off for the past month, not in sleep mode. It's now been 45 minutes of letting it sit at the black screen and still nothing :(

 

Absent any other suggestions, creating a ticket with Atari Support is my next step. 

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44 minutes ago, sixersfan105 said:

Nope! It's fully stock. It's been about a month since I last used it, but obviously this shouldn't happen after a month of non-use. Of note, it has been powered off for the past month, not in sleep mode. It's now been 45 minutes of letting it sit at the black screen and still nothing :(

 

Absent any other suggestions, creating a ticket with Atari Support is my next step. 

Do you happen to have a bootable disk for PC Mode? I think that would help to determine if it is potentially a hardware issue or a problem with AtariOS. I know that there is a process of re-installing AtariOS discussed elsewhere on the forum so if you narrowed the issue down to the OS that might be something worth a try. Of course, that would be a pretty involved step so it probably makes sense to see if Atari Support can offer a simpler thing to try.

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1 minute ago, stirrell said:

Do you happen to have a bootable disk for PC Mode? I think that would help to determine if it is potentially a hardware issue or a problem with AtariOS. I know that there is a process of re-installing AtariOS discussed elsewhere on the forum so if you narrowed the issue down to the OS that might be something worth a try. Of course, that would be a pretty involved step so it probably makes sense to see if Atari Support can offer a simpler thing to try.

I do not! Getting around to PC Mode and installing Windows was on the list of things to do but haven't gotten there yet. Gonna contact support. Thanks.

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There have also been issues with HDMI cables causing a boot issue.  Check your connection and maybe try using a different cable, even if just temporarily.

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@joeatari1 interesting! That's definitely something I hadn't thought of, considering it displays a picture (boot Asteroids sequence) without issue and displays the bluetooth logo in the corner and acknowledges a controller connecting via notification at the top, etc. Wouldn't that rule out a display cable issue?

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You would think, but not necessarily. After the boot screen the VCS switches to Atari OS which may be sending data differently over the HDMI and causing a hang up in the OS.  I have read other reports of this being the case.  May not be your issue but worth a try.

 

Also, are you using 1080P or 4K?  There have been some funky issues with 4K support.

 

Third, have you upgraded the RAM and boosted the clock speed of it prior to booting?  If you have boosted the clock speed beyond spec, this has also caused a black screen.  Put the stock ram back in and re boot the VCS and that should fix it.

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2 hours ago, joeatari1 said:

You would think, but not necessarily. After the boot screen the VCS switches to Atari OS which may be sending data differently over the HDMI and causing a hang up in the OS.  I have read other reports of this being the case.  May not be your issue but worth a try.

Ah ok, agreed it can't hurt to swap the HDMI cable. God knows I have plenty of spares laying around.

2 hours ago, joeatari1 said:

Also, are you using 1080P or 4K?  There have been some funky issues with 4K support.

1080P.

 

2 hours ago, joeatari1 said:

Third, have you upgraded the RAM and boosted the clock speed of it prior to booting?  If you have boosted the clock speed beyond spec, this has also caused a black screen.  Put the stock ram back in and re boot the VCS and that should fix it.

Thanks for checking on this but my VCS is fully stock without any upgrades or modifications.

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Update: So Atari Support got back to me and apparently this is an issue they have seen multiple times! The suggested fix was to flash the unit via either going into boot manager with an attached USB keyboard or manually flash it with an OS image from a USB stick. But I'm pleased to report that neither of those two potential fixes needed to be attempted b/c my VCS booted up normally today! I decided to give it one last try before attempting the suggested fixes and bam - fired right up! Hopefully I'll be good to go from here but at least I have the steps to flash the unit if need be in the future. Thanks, again, for the support offered here.

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I have had a similar problem today, but the cause was a USB multi-card reader I had plugged-in.
The USB card reader (the typical type which supports SD, MMC, Sony, and other flash devices)
was empty, but the system sees a drive as there, but the device never answers, and VCS hangs.
The solution for me was just to disconnect it and reboot.
(Windows also sees multiple devices, which it wants to format, but cannot, as they don't exist.)

I'm not saying this is related to your black screen hang, but it's another option for trouble-shooting.

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