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LeeJ07

My Intellivision Doesn't Seem to Work

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So, I got a box of 11 INTV games in a lot off Ebay that arrived in the mail yesterday, bringing my collection total back up to 23 games. 

Five of the games had no label, so I pulled out my boxed INTV to check the mystery carts out.

I only have an NES RF switch available currently, so I used that to connect the INTV to my HDTV.

Anyway, long story short, not a single one of 23 game carts would display a picture. All I got was a very nice, clear black screen on channel 4, and nothing but static on channel 3.

Is an NES RF switch just not compatible, or is it possible my INTV is busted?

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7 minutes ago, RickR said:

Try cleaning the carts.  Q-tips and alcohol - clean the pins on top and bottom. 

That NES RF adapter requires a strong signal to work, so I would also try something different on that end. 

I did think maybe it the RF switch, so I bought a RF to coax adaptor cord off Ebay to see if that would work.

 

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It is probably the RF switch. Try getting a coax adapter. I think AtariAge sells them for only a couple bucks. Otherwise you can put together a makeshift one with parts from your local hardware store, like I did.

Though my woody had very similar problems when I got it and none of my cartridges worked on it. I opened it up and it was super corroded. Someone spilled Coke or some other dark pop in there many years ago. There was a high-pitched sound on the black screen as well. I scrubbed away at the board with baking soda, alcohol and vinegar for a long time to get all the gunk off. It took a while, but it paid off and my woody works now. That's probably why my dad's cousin had that other Atari 2600, a vader model.

Could you Intellivison perhaps have some corrosion on it?

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Yeap the NES and Sega RF boxes do not usually have the ability to switch on as they don't detect a strong enough signal from the atari consoles. Best to remove those boxes completely from the equation. While it isn't the proper cable, you can at least use any RCA cable in a pinch to at least get something on the screen. Would likely be snowy as all get out and fuzzy but you would at least know if the console is powering on or not.

 

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3 hours ago, HDN said:

It is probably the RF switch. Try getting a coax adapter. I think AtariAge sells them for only a couple bucks. Otherwise you can put together a makeshift one with parts from your local hardware store, like I did.

Though my woody had very similar problems when I got it and none of my cartridges worked on it. I opened it up and it was super corroded. Someone spilled Coke or some other dark pop in there many years ago. There was a high-pitched sound on the black screen as well. I scrubbed away at the board with baking soda, alcohol and vinegar for a long time to get all the gunk off. It took a while, but it paid off and my woody works now. That's probably why my dad's cousin had that other Atari 2600, a vader model.

Could you Intellivison perhaps have some corrosion on it?

Possibly? 

Seems unlikely, though. That thing is CLEAN, at least on the outside. I think it was barely ever used, as evidenced by still having the original box and everything.

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Well, the new RF cable arrived, and I tested it.

I got the clearest, most static-free BLACK screen I've ever seen.

I still could not get a picture from a single one of 23 carts.

I'll get some rubbing alcohol when I'm next in town, but I'm really starting to think this thing is a lemon.

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As CrossBow touched on yes the NES Switchbox are not compatible with Pre-NES consoles like Intellivision, ColecoVision etc. So it is good to get a RF to coaxial cable adapter or even an original type of switchbox where you manual can slide the switch between TV / GAME select. 

So, you unit appears to power on but all you get is a black screen? And you are SURE the TV is receiving a signal, like even though it is a black it still looks different then when powered off? Maybe when you switch on the console you notice a split second of static or something? Just trying to determine it IS actually powering on and sending a signal to TV. 

What about SOUND? Anything at all. 

Last shot, and it's a funny one, at least with my Intellivision II console this is a thing, obviously you are fully inserting the carts the correct way (not sure upside down is even possible) BUT ALSO if it's like mine, I actually find inserting them fully results in no image, in fact they seem to work best when mostly inserted like nearly all the way but not quite, so maybe try at slightly different levels and see if anything at all appears different. Maybe also, before cleaning all the carts go the direct route and try cleaning the console cart slot first? Blowing in of course may be just enough. Other then that and making sure it's powering on and everything including cables are properly connected I am not sure. I assume you have other RF consoles that display fine? Does the Intellivision output allow to select channel 3 or 4?  That's all I got. 

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2 hours ago, MaximumRD said:

Last shot, and it's a funny one, at least with my Intellivision II console this is a thing, obviously you are fully inserting the carts the correct way (not sure upside down is even possible) BUT ALSO if it's like mine, I actually find inserting them fully results in no image, in fact they seem to work best when mostly inserted like nearly all the way but not quite, so maybe try at slightly different levels and see if anything at all appears different. Maybe also, before cleaning all the carts go the direct route and try cleaning the console cart slot first? Blowing in of course may be just enough. Other then that and making sure it's powering on and everything including cables are properly connected I am not sure. I assume you have other RF consoles that display fine? Does the Intellivision output allow to select channel 3 or 4?  That's all I got. 

I actually have found that at least on the original early model 1 units, that you can insert the carts a little further in than the Line on the cart states to. So if you literally just insert the cart in far enough to where the "Insert to this Line" is right at the edge of the cart opening, that should be enough.

Oh...and I've seen this on an Intellivision I serviced several months ago. Turned out to be the 3906 transistors above the CPU I believe that were cooked. In fact it is common to actually see where the board has heated up and turned color due to the heat off those transistors so they do blow out. I think Console5 even includes them as part of the cap kit now since they are a very cheap part and pretty much free to toss into the kits in most cases.

So, that is another possiblity but before going that route, you have to take the top off the thing and take some voltage measurements off the power supply board going into the main board to be sure that the power is at least good.

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7 hours ago, MaximumRD said:

As CrossBow touched on yes the NES Switchbox are not compatible with Pre-NES consoles like Intellivision, ColecoVision etc. So it is good to get a RF to coaxial cable adapter or even an original type of switchbox where you manual can slide the switch between TV / GAME select. 

So, you unit appears to power on but all you get is a black screen? And you are SURE the TV is receiving a signal, like even though it is a black it still looks different then when powered off? Maybe when you switch on the console you notice a split second of static or something? Just trying to determine it IS actually powering on and sending a signal to TV. 

What about SOUND? Anything at all. 

Last shot, and it's a funny one, at least with my Intellivision II console this is a thing, obviously you are fully inserting the carts the correct way (not sure upside down is even possible) BUT ALSO if it's like mine, I actually find inserting them fully results in no image, in fact they seem to work best when mostly inserted like nearly all the way but not quite, so maybe try at slightly different levels and see if anything at all appears different. Maybe also, before cleaning all the carts go the direct route and try cleaning the console cart slot first? Blowing in of course may be just enough. Other then that and making sure it's powering on and everything including cables are properly connected I am not sure. I assume you have other RF consoles that display fine? Does the Intellivision output allow to select channel 3 or 4?  That's all I got. 

It's definitely sending a signal to the TV. When I press the reset button it goes different colors, similar to when I press reset on the 2600.

I can see one, two, or even half the carts just being too dirty to work, but every single one of 23 just seems *incredibly* unlikely.

But yeah, I've tried inserting carts at slight angles. Not fully inserted. Wiggled around while the console is on *and* off, and just nothing.

The cart slot has to be broken somehow.

I'm pretty annoyed because my old INTV just *worked*. At all times. I popped a game in, and it worked, immediately.

But that INTV was destroyed in the fire last year and I seem to have replaced it with a very nice-looking, complete-in-box paperweight that cost me over $40.

Edited by LeeJ07

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Well, now I feel stupid.

It IS a lemon, and apparently I knowingly bought it as such. I don't remember doing that, but anyway.

I just checked the old listing from almost a year ago, and plain as day in the description, the seller says they couldn't get it to work, either.

I have NO IDEA why I'd knowingly purchase a faulty Intellivision. Maybe I just saw the original box and glossed right over the description, I don't know, but I'm definitely stuck with a glorified Mattel-branded paperweight.

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What about using DeoxIT? That gets the leads to the cartridges and maybe the cartridge port to a high sheen. I don't know if that will fix the problem or not. But, It will clean the carts anyway. I wonder if there is a place that repairs old Intellivision sets. There should be. I can name a few possible places, like Dragon's Hoard Gaming in Texas. But, that is what comes to my mind first. Sorry I couldn't be more help here.

Edited by DegasElite

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2 hours ago, HDN said:

I'm sorry, @LeeJ07. It must be very frustrating trying to build up your collection. 

You should try taking it apart, however. You couldn't do any damage.

Are there any known common faults with the pins I should look for? 

I know the power is working, the on/off switch is working, and the RF out is working, too. So the problem has to be the cartridge slot, but all I can find online is dirty pins, and I doubt very seriously it's just dirty pins.

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14 minutes ago, LeeJ07 said:

Are there any known common faults with the pins I should look for? 

I know the power is working, the on/off switch is working, and the RF out is working, too. So the problem has to be the cartridge slot, but all I can find online is dirty pins, and I doubt very seriously it's just dirty pins.

I have never owned or used an INTV before. I know a common problem on NES is that the pins get all whack and bent out of shape from the mechanism. I don't know how it would happen on INTV as there is no "press down" loading mechanism to my knowledge, but maybe it did. Before it was fixed it was near impossible to get anything to work on my NES. I would just get a pink screen (not blinking mind you). Maybe the pins are bent out of shape and not connecting?

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I'm wondering if there's loose wires inside, or maybe the entire cartridge slot needs to be replaced.

But that'll involve soldering, so that's a no-go. I accidentally messed up a 2600 years ago with bad soldering.

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6 minutes ago, LeeJ07 said:

I'm wondering if there's loose wires inside, or maybe the entire cartridge slot needs to be replaced.

But that'll involve soldering, so that's a no-go. I accidentally messed up a 2600 years ago with bad soldering.

It's worth a shot. The worst you could do is make it still not work. If it already doesn't work at all it is worth a shot. You should open it up and take a look at the very least.

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2 hours ago, LeeJ07 said:

I'm wondering if there's loose wires inside, or maybe the entire cartridge slot needs to be replaced.

But that'll involve soldering, so that's a no-go. I accidentally messed up a 2600 years ago with bad soldering.

looks at some youtube videos, see if there is something missing like a ribbon cable ect.  do some voltage checks here & there

http://www.intvfunhouse.com/faq/intv_faq7.php suggests trouble with a power circuit

 

Soldering does take a lot of practice but the biggest thing is to have good equipment .. well one of the things anyways

Practice on what I call "cadavers" stuff you don't really care about. My early work is just terrible. now I'm confident on pinball circuit boards (I haven't got to the surface mount stuff yet so that still scares me)

The equipment I got I asked for as Christmas & Birthday gifts and used them for my hobby, I have repaired other peoples pinball but AS A HOBBY (boy is that ever nerve wracking)

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3 hours ago, chas10e said:

looks at some youtube videos, see if there is something missing like a ribbon cable ect.  do some voltage checks here & there

http://www.intvfunhouse.com/faq/intv_faq7.php suggests trouble with a power circuit

 

Soldering does take a lot of practice but the biggest thing is to have good equipment .. well one of the things anyways

Practice on what I call "cadavers" stuff you don't really care about. My early work is just terrible. now I'm confident on pinball circuit boards (I haven't got to the surface mount stuff yet so that still scares me)

The equipment I got I asked for as Christmas & Birthday gifts and used them for my hobby, I have repaired other peoples pinball but AS A HOBBY (boy is that ever nerve wracking)

Eh, that's all entirely too technical for me, so if it ever gets repaired I'll hire a professional to do it.

But as there is no professional in my area that'll be a long time coming.

In the meantime I'm planning to just buy another, but this time I think I'll get an INTV 2 (even though I much prefer the original model) because shipping for the redesigned version is considerably less insane than for the monster-sized original.

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10 hours ago, LeeJ07 said:

In the meantime I'm planning to just buy another, but this time I think I'll get an INTV 2 (even though I much prefer the original model) because shipping for the redesigned version is considerably less insane than for the monster-sized original.

Totally up to you, but I find the Intelly2 units to be less reliable overall. Their goofy AC output adapter doesn't help that much and increases the complexity of the power supply boards in them.

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11 hours ago, LeeJ07 said:

Eh, that's all entirely too technical for me, so if it ever gets repaired I'll hire a professional to do it.

But as there is no professional in my area that'll be a long time coming.

In the meantime I'm planning to just buy another, but this time I think I'll get an INTV 2 (even though I much prefer the original model) because shipping for the redesigned version is considerably less insane than for the monster-sized original.

Do you feel comfortable enough to at least be able to remove the power board, ribbon cable, and main board assemblies from the case? Though it isn't what I normally advise, but it would be cheaper to send the 'guts' of the system to someone to have them checked out and repaired vs the entire console. The mainboard of the intellivision only takes up half of the entire console space with the power board and transformer only taking up 1/4 of the remaining space. Most of the intellivision model 1 units on the left hand side is empty air space that was designed for the power cord to be tucked into when the system wasn't in use.

 

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