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Is it normal to feel this way?


Atarileaf
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Strange title I know but I'm having a bit of a crisis of conscience, so to speak, with the collection. Lately I've been more and more trying to repair systems with various degrees of luck. Some success but a lot of failure. Just this morning I'm trying to diagnose a light sixer 2600 that had poor RF and I must have done something to blow a chip because I'm just getting the dreaded black screen now. Nothing works, probably one of the 3 main IC's.

 

I often get stressed at the idea of making a video for youtube because I fear when I turn any of my machines on I'm going to find a problem or it doesn't work at all, which has happened more recently. Hence the reason I've been trying to get into repairing more. It's getting more difficult to convince myself to sit down and actually play because of this hardware failure dread that I'm always experiencing.

 

This dread is one of the big reasons I sold off my Tandy Coco collection and TG-16 collection, among others.

 

The whole thing has caused me quite a degree of stress where I'm not enjoying the hobby anymore and like I did in 2005, it's causing me to consider selling everything off and being done with it. The whole point of this great hobby is to enjoy it but I'm not finding that enjoyment anymore due to hardware failure, which lets be honest is going to be more and more prevalent as time goes on.

 

Is what I'm feeling normal and have others experienced these feelings? I actually start getting depressed when things break down, which I suppose is a sign I'm in too deep with this hobby perhaps. Feedback and suggestions are all quite welcome. Thanks.

Edited by Atarileaf
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Sometimes I feel that way with this site. Every time I log in I've got that sense of dread thinking "What's going to not be working today?". But you know what? It's worth it. Just have to find some balance. Maybe step back a little and focus on the aspects of the hobby that you enjoy most.

 

I think it's normal to feel this way, to an extent. When things cross a threshold of "not being fun anymore" then it's time to examine things and maybe rearrange priorities. But please, don't sell off your entire collection! That's not the answer. Most likely you'll regret having done so later on. These items are treasures and each system and game that you own is super fortunate to have you as an owner, someone who really cares about his collection and wants to preserve everything and keep it running for the future.

 

This has affected my gameplay to an extent. I LOVE the TurboGrafx-16 line of game systems almost as much as I love Atari. TG16, PC Engine, TurboExpress, TurboDuo, etc. are all big in my house. I play my TurboDuo as much as anything. TurboDuo and TurboExpress are both known for two things: being expensive and having capacitor issues. Every time I power one of them on I always hold my breath for a second hoping that I get picture and sound. I always do, fortunately. TurboGrafx stuff is not "junk" in my book, but every year that goes by all of these games and systems get older and more fragile. I do my best to keep them running, and to enjoy the heck out of them.

 

The best way to do that is to keep everything running, keep your hobby at the right spot on the priorities totem pole, and to enjoy these games with family and friends, both in person and in the forums  :wreck-it-ralph:

 

Good luck Atarileaf!

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   I have been drifting away from the retro home gaming stuff myself somewhat and have moved on to playing competitive pinball. I haven't decided to get out of retro gaming it had just taken more of a back seat. That said I discovered on my road trips to find all the various what-nots. I would find in all my time testing the items the working stuff would get put on a shelf and the non-working stuff got the majority of the attention and the enjoyment was getting these things to work.

 

  My skills have improved in the tinkering but still far from what the professionals do in their diagnostic approach. The experiences I have gained have moved onto pinball ownership and fixing of my own machines. I am finding my limits there as well but celebrate  others that find the areas of my limits to be more of a success (painting of all things is one of my weaknesses :P )

 

I had recently just heard of "Makerspaces" https://www.makerspaces.com/what-is-a-makerspace/and may venture down that avenue.

 

So I suppose to answer the question of the title I would say it IS normal to get the blues about the piles of stuff that doesn't work. I still find it interesting to tinker. I haven't measured my success rate as of late on retro systems but know for sure it isn't very high. ( thinking of a couple of identical pong systems that I am not sure are working properly)

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Well try not to get too stressed over it, after all we ARE dealing with some 30+ year old systems now and it is not always easily to pinpoint exactly what the issues are. IC's, solder joints and PSU's have served for many years and prone to failures. That said as well, I turned 50 TODAY and I am definitely at a different place, I always been a tinkerer, one to experiment but I think I am past most of that now, not saying I WONT do anymore of it but I think I like the idea of just enjoying and expanding on areas of my collection that currently work well. I don't think I want to get too much beyond more "creative" type modding like maybe painting a case that has sever yellowing or something, I think anything more serious I just want to phase out and pass on to those who are more likely and better equipped to restore and satisfy people who enjoy repairing more.  

 

Anyway Atarileaf if I may say you brought ME and I am sure many with your retro videos for years, do what makes you happy, just be patient and think it through before doing anything to drastic, you don't owe anyone anything so do what you need to to ensure your enjoyment of the hobby! 

I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

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In addition to what others have stated above...I'd add the following.  Most of these things we play with aren't terribly valuable.  For example, they made MILLIONS of Atari 2600's, and you can find one working for $30.  They do break, and if they aren't fixable, then you have spare parts for the next time or for a friend that needs parts.  I say use em and have fun.  If they break, they break.  Save up if you must and buy a replacement. 

 

That being said, I've been known to sell of the stuff I'm afraid to touch for the reasons you mention.  Example:  Milton Bradley Microvision.  They cost a lot, aren't really that fun, and will almost certainly break at some point.  No fun?  SOLD. 

 

Some expensive stuff I love.  I play it.  Even if it may break.  Vectrex and Virtual Boy are my examples here.  I play them.  I love them.  If they break...well, at least I had fun with them.

 

And more:  Most of the stuff you end up trying to fix is broken to begin with, so don't stress out if you fail in your attempt.  It's OK.  It's replaceable.  You learned for the next time.  Not really related, but it reminds me of CPR training...the first thing they teach you is that a person that's stopped breathing is dead.  Don't be afraid to attempt CPR because you can't do more harm to the person. 

 

We are all friends here.  If you need something, ask.  I try to help in repairs whenever I can, or in providing cheap parts if I have them.  Or even replacement consoles if I know someone is going to keep and play them. 

 

It's ok, too, to take short breaks from the hobby.  But like all things in life, don't let it be due to fear.  Life is too short to worry about "stuff". 

 

And one final little tiny bit of advice -- I always use a surge suppressor with my consoles.  Just a tiny bit of insurance against power spikes. 

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First of all, It's Great To See You Posting Here!

This is one of the friendliest forum sites around.

 

I'm not nervous about most of my older system, except for my Game Gears (which seem to go bad) and my disc based games, due to the potential of disc rot.

 

But overall, I've been pretty lucky.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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I'm loving the advice guys, it's helping for sure. I do think I need to step away from it for a bit and not focus on it so much. Rick, Rob, Justin, you guys have been great and I'm thankful to find good friends online. I'm really liking these forums and am sorry it took me so long to join :)

 

 

First of all, It's Great To See You Posting Here!

This is one of the friendliest forum sites around.

 

 

 

A special THANK YOU to everyone here  :invader: 

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First of all, It's Great To See You Posting Here!

This is one of the friendliest forum sites around.

 

I'm not nervous about most of my older system, except for my Game Gears (which seem to go bad) and my disc based games, due to the potential of disc rot.

 

But overall, I've been pretty lucky.

 

Big fan of your channel BTW. 

 

I'm mostly concerned about Atari's as they're my primary love. It seems I'm having bad luck the last year of so with chips or parts dying like IC's getting fried, ram or other chips on 800XL's going, buttons on 7800 consoles or XEGS's, etc.

 

I'm wondering if it's me who's causing the problem, especially now. My gameroom is carpet, I shuffle around in socks and it's winter with cold dry air. I wonder if I should being wearing an antistatic wrist strap or something when I touch consoles. Maybe that's what happened yesterday when I apparently killed a chip or chips in a six switch I was working on. Maybe I killed it with static electricity. 

 

On a side note, the Keystone Kapers I was using to test the RF picture with is also dead from what happened. A previously working copy absolutely will not work on any other 2600 I've tried it on no matter how much I clean it. I've never heard of a game frying from a console dying but I have no other explanation.

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I wonder if I should being wearing an antistatic wrist strap or something when I touch consoles.

 

Yes! At work I'm right in the middle of producing a small batch of our upcoming product for a customer pilot and you wouldn't believe the issues we're having with static. Even just leaving exposed boards out on a table is a bad idea as the AC is pushing dry air around them. I've had to order special anti-static storage bags to house the boards until the cases arrive.

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I'm wondering if it's me who's causing the problem, especially now. My gameroom is carpet, I shuffle around in socks and it's winter with cold dry air. I wonder if I should being wearing an antistatic wrist strap or something when I touch consoles. Maybe that's what happened yesterday when I apparently killed a chip or chips in a six switch I was working on. Maybe I killed it with static electricity. 

 

This is very likely. The main reason for the multiplexer chips on the 5200 dying as well as the main controller chips for the colecovision controllers dying is due to static. The act of plugging in the controllers, can cause a static discharge from your skin on your fingers to the pins on the controllers. This is why the 4 switch 2600s have that foil tape between the switches and grounded to the RF shielding enclosure. I believe there is also a service bulletin for the 2600 where field repair techs were supposed to install diodes off a controller pin to ground to prevent damage to the TIA via static discharge. It was because of static from people just touching the switches and while plugging in controllers. If you're going to be working on electronics and especially anything older than the past decade, you need to have a static wrist strap that at minimum is attached to the ground on the system you are working on. Ideally you are supposed to be attached to an isolated ground just to make absolutely sure, but yes, if you notice in my videos and especially my latest one, I use a static wrist strap to prevent potential for ESD damage to occur.

Edited by CrossBow

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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Carpet and cold dry temperatures, yeah there is not a day that goes by I am not get strong static shocks, all I can say is I ground myself by touching the wall before I touch anything that matters to me including my wife lol. 

I am Rob aka MaximumRD aka OldSchoolRetroGamer and THIS is my world http://about.me/maximumrd

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Dealing with wonky equipment is certainly a downside of this hobby.

I learned 'tronics at an early age and continued on through college. So it's all second nature. But there are things that formal training doesn't teach you. It's like that in every career. Formal training never ever covered vintage electronics and the special techniques & requirements when working with something 40 years old.

Early on I learned how to correctly discharge static electricity, and exactly what it was, and why we were doing it. This from the Apple manuals that came with my II+ back in the day. Those manuals also taught us to check the power switch before pulling out cards. I only made that mistake once ever in the course of working on thousands of machines.

Other tricky things might be turning on a CRT or power supply that has been sitting for 40+ years. Or repairing intermittent things - the worst kind of repairs.

Point is this hobby will teach newbies and veterans alike new tricks.

 

 

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I can understand the issues here being mentioned. That is why I have so many back up systems. I also have an old Stelladapter I got off of AtariAge years ago that let me use original Joysticks and Paddles on the computer. If all my 2600s blew out tomorrow, I would not sell off my collection as I can emulate the games on the computer. I do not try to emulate a game unless it is freeware or I own an actual copy of the game. I am so thankful for the people who have created emulators for the computers so even if all the hardware does not exist anymore we can still play the games we love.

Also, I am on the third time building my collection. At first I was okay with selling everything, but then later I start missing the games. It has taken a few sell offs for me to learn my lesson and not sell anything.

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