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About this blog

Stories on work done here at the ITC. Some of it might be interesting to some folks.

Entries in this blog

5200 with very odd keypad / fire button issues

I've done a video on something similar to this but here is a rundown on what I was encountering: A 5200 sent in for services had a note stating that top fire button wouldn't work on the console. This is an issue I've run into before and in fact have created a video on it. It can be due to the controller having a broken trace of course on the flex circuit inside it. But... it can also very well be due to a faulty 4052 MUX chip inside the console located at U13 or A13 depending on the age of

Not all consoles are stock that I work on...

As part of a large project I've been working on for over a month now, one of the situations I encounter is when a console is sent in for services that has already had another tech's hands inside it. In most cases, it might be simple repairs like replacing an IC chip or some capacitors. But now and again, I get a console sent to me that I don't always know what to expect. In those cases, there can be undesired surprises waiting for me. Here is a 2600 that I would like to show as an example of wha

A 7800 that would only play 7800 games...?

I'm not going to provide a ton of pics on this one because it just isn't needed. But I had been fighting with a 7800 that I've been servicing for a total of just over 12 hours in trying to figure out why it would only play 7800 games? If you put in a 2600 game, it would only give a black screen and not much else. If I put in my Plus+ cart, I could barely make out the plus cart logo on the screen as it would flicker all over. This told me that the 7800 was in fact switching over to 2600

Quick update on the ITC

Just wanted to give those that might be curious, an idea on part of what my project has been lately that has taken up much of my time as of late. These photos show 13 different 2600s that I recently serviced and installed UAVs into along with all the needed AV jacks installed as required by the client. An no...these do NOT have two sets of audio outputs. The red/white on the left rear next to the 4-pin s-video mini din, is actually separate chroma/luma connections. This is handy for co

Installing a UAV into a heavy sixer

The process to install the UAV into a heavy or light sixer is pretty well known and documented. In summary you basically set the jumpers on the UAV for the 2600 setup and then solder a socket ontop of the 4050 IC chip and header pins into the UAV and plug it into the socket. Job done...  However, there is a caveat to this method that doesn't become apparently until you find yourself moving consoles around a lot. And when I mean moving the consoles, I mean as in them being packed up, stacked

Gamebox Systems GBHD consolizer kit:- Playing Gameboy - Gameboy Advance games on a big screen!

I bought this kit a few months back as a pre-order and had to wait since I wanted a different colored shell. But the kit allows you to use a donor GBA mainboard from a standard GBA and essentially turn it into a small console to play your games on a modern big screen display using an SNES controller. Here are thoughts on this: The small ribbon cable that has to be soldered to the GBA CPU is tricky and requires a lot of patience to get soldered into place. The pitch of the soldering is quite

ITC Temporarily Suspending Services to the Public

So as the title states, I'm temporarily suspending my console services for repairs, refurbs, and upgrades until about the fall timeframe. This is to ensure I have plenty of time to work on a large project that has a strict timeline. Anyone that has already sent their systems to me will still receive their service requests and will take priority to get them done quickly. But for others, I'd rather hold off and have them wait because I'm not comfortable with my client's systems sitting at the ITC

A new 7800 project... nothing major...

PCBs are designed, created, and already shipped headed my way as are a few components for me to populate the boards. I will go into more details once I have my PCBs and have been able to test and check out if my idea works the way I've planned or not. In the meantime, here is a pic of the PCB. If you are familiar with the UAV layout and install process needed for the 7800, then this should be obvious on what it is. While what you see here is rather large, in reality it is only about th

7800 Power woes... And it isn't because of the switch?

A 7800 I worked on over a week ago was sent to me for a 'No Power On' condition. There are many reasons for this and I have found over the years two main issues. First is simply a faulty power supply adapter. Given these things are nearly 40 years old it isn't unreasonable to think that the PSUs are nearing their end of life. In fact I've had another client send back their 7800 when it started to develop power on/off issues and found nothing wrong when they were sent back. Sure enough, it was du

More 2600 Technical Fun - Player 2 shoots constantly

Here is an issue that I've seen before in one form or another and I thought I would talk about it here while working on a earlier era 2600 heavy sixer last night. The system was sent in for refurbishment. In this case that is all the original electrolytic capacitors being replaced out, new DC power jack, new voltage regulator etc. But a problem was reported and confirmed during testing of the console. What was the issue? In this case it was an issue with the player 2 controls. Specifically,

The curse of the Saturn horizontal lines!

This story starts a few years ago when I powered on my model 1 Sega Saturn and played a game for a bit and then powered the console off and back on to switch to a different game. But to my horror I discovered some strange horizontal white lines scrolling upwards on the screen? I powered the console off/on again and the lines were still there only now there were a lot more of them and they were scrolling much faster. Additional power off/on cycles would only cause the lines to change thickness an

The strange case of the 2600 that wouldn't power on properly

This one was quite tricky and I'm still not 100% convinced this was the full cause. However, grab a snack and a drink cause here we go... An older 2600 heavy sixer was sent for just a refurbishment and no upgrades. Basically just replacing out the components that come in a standard console5 refurb kit. But I immediately knew someone was off about this console before I even opened it up due the bulging I could see in the front facia switch section near the left side of the cartridge port?

- ITC - Just how much work is sometimes required when working on previously upgraded consoles...

Here at the Ivory Tower, I get quite a few requests for console services. It might be an actual repair to get a console working back to full factory function or refurbishment of a working condole to ensure it works for another 40+ years into the future. But by and large most of my requests are to enhance a console in some way. Usually through audio/video upgrades etc. But on more rare occasions, I will be sent a system that has already had work done to it either by the original owner or from ano

No video but what an odd 7800 issue?

This might require its own thread but I actually was working on an NTSC 7800 that was eating my lunch most of the weekend. It was sent in for just a basic composite mod installed into it. When I used the diagnostic roms everything was fine with this 7800. But then not long after I got the composite board installed and tested it again, I noticed some odd flashing lines of colors across the screen. It seemed to do this badly on Dungeon Stalker and Ballblazer. In the case of both games, it would fl




Had a pre-modded 7800 sent to me with a UAV that had good s-video but was producing some ugly jail bars in composite. But it was ONLY doing this on 2600 games. I at first suspected something in the wiring of the UAV or the UAV itself and first redid all of that and replaced the UAV. No change. It was then I started to look at things more closely and noticed that this '84 main board all socketed chip board appeared to have a TIA I'd not seen before. The company branding on it is IMP and it had a



7800 - Why didn't this already exist?

Just a quick experiment I worked out last night using some additional logic wired into the 7800 so that remote pause can be a thing if you have a controller that is configured to match.     View the full article



Even working PSUs are ticking timebombs

Not a video to share this time, although in hindsight I should have made one as a quick tech video. But recently I decided I would get some replacement filter caps for use in standard wall wart power supplies like those used with our Atari, Sega, etc. consoles from back in the day. As I have quite a few of them on hand and wanted to test them out I decided to start with a few Sega Genesis power supplies. I decided to look at three different supplies last night. I first checked the voltages from



Complete Roland MT-200 Basic Tutorial and Guide

In this 3 video series, I go over the basics and understanding of the Roland MT-200 sound module. It is an excellent multifunction sound module that can act as both a sequencer and sound module. This means that in addition to being a very nice general MIDI and Sound Canvas sound module, it also has the ability to record MIDI songs from the MIDI in port and save them to diskette to be played back in a standalone fashion later, making it a MIDI Jukebox as well! The first video goes over the basic



Roland MT-200: How to configure, install, and use a GoTEK Floppy Emulator

As some might know by now, I've got an MT-200 that I picked up over a month ago now. Really cool little device from Roland that was originally intended for use in teaching music. But these devices have the ability to play back midi files through built in disk drives that use IBM formatted 3.5 inch disks. They can also be used as sound modules and with modern day computers can still be made to be used with ScummVM and Dosbox for classic gaming. Anyway I was getting frustrated with my disks seemin



BK 1474 O'Scope Introduction

I am only a hobbyist and NOT an electrical engineer. As such I'm sure my terminology and explanations of things will be off or perhaps completely wrong. As such, please let me know in comments on such mistakes as it helps me and all others who might view this video to learn. With that, this is my basic intro to my BK 1474 O'scope that I got some time ago and some ways it can be used. This video is only meant for fun and not as instructional as most of my other videos are. Enjoy! View the f



Intellivision - 2609 - Capacitor Replacement Video

Been doing a few composite AV mods on client intellivisions. Though I would video the process I go through for doing a capacitor replacement. I'm working on trying to get the videos down to be more watchable in smaller amounts of time but perhaps too much compression on time is used in this video?   Big special thanks to Adan Toledo for his permission to feature some of his music from the CollectorVision homebrew release of Sydney Hunter & the Sacred Tribe for the Intellivision!   - Orde



Atari 5200 DC/DC converter.....conversion

Replaced the original 7805 regulators from my atari 5200 recently and installed a pair of DC/DC switching converters in their place. In this video I show the power measurements from the original 7805 and from the DC/DC converters. Next up with be the Intellivision once I get additional parts in. View the full article



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