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atarilbc

eBay stories, strategies and finds

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I've been buying and selling on eBay since 1998 and have a lot of stories related to retro gaming. Some of these are good and some are bad. I thought that we could start a thread to share eBay stories (positive and negative), finds and strategies. I'll go first:

 

Buying A Fixer Upper:

 

In the last few years I've been picking up "broken" consoles that are cosmetically clean. Many of these have been advertised as for parts with descriptions "wont power on" or "fuzzy". Several of these consoles have been just fine. A few had minor issues related to the rf cable, power supply, controller, or power jack. Most of these auctions get few bids and I've won them for as little as $5 plus shipping.

 

My best find was a boxed Odyssey 2 with something like 20 boxed games for $15. It just needed a cleaning and a new rf cable. I've also won a Sears Heavy Sixer, a 7800 w/ composite mod, two Woodys and a Vader. Some of these really worked fine or had minor fixes requiring little time and slight soldering skill. My most recent find was a boxed 2600 Jr with paperwork, receipt and protective film intact. The box is beat and the listing indicated that it looked mint but "wouldn't power on". When I got it, I noted that it didnt have an RF cable so I ran out to the garage, grabbed a spare, cleaned the cartridge slot and viola.... there be whales in here.

 

I always look at a few things when browsing "broken" listings:

 

1) Is the described problem a common issue that I recognize and feel confident that I can fix? If so, I'm much more likely to take the plunge.

 

2) Does the seller have multiple listings for retro game consoles? Or do they list a wide range of second hand goods.

 

If they're focused on gaming, I tend to steer clear because they likely have some tech ability and this could be more trouble than its worth. If they sell knick knacks, they very well may not know how to diagnose/troubleshoot the problem. This is usually a go.

 

3) Does the "broken item" come in a lot with other stuff that I'm looking for or could use? If there is a semi-rare title in a lot with a broken console, sometimes the console is just a bonus.

 

4) This one is a free tip: A Jaguar wont power on without contact with a cartridge. If a Jaguar is listed as "wont power on" and there are no games in the lot and an original power supply, it has a good chance of working. If the seller is listing it with games, there might be a real issue.

 

So thats one from me. What are some of your eBay stories, victories, strategies and horrors..???

 

 

 

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ataribc, your advice is excellent; thanks for sharing. 

Sometimes, it's worth the gamble to grab a "broken" or "untested" item with the hopes of fixing it.  After all, unloved consoles need rescue and redemption!  This theme would make an excellent claymation Christmas special, don't you think? 

 

One other piece of advice I'd offer to the group is to look for items in your general region go get cheaper shipping.  For example, I usually win out on auctions based in California just because the shipping to me is lower than buyers further east. 

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Here's another "mechanic's special"; a Vader 4-switch. I got the unit for $4.99 plus shipping. This one was utterly disgusting with layers of dust inside and brown goo on the bottom of the motherboard and tray. I've not come across anything like it but I think someone may have spilled cola in this at some point.

 

Anyway, when I plugged it in I was getting power but the picture was horribly scrambled. The unit had no sound and the switches weren't working. Fastforward through an hour or so of cleaning the motherboard with a soft brush and electronic contact cleaner and she was ready to go. After adusting the color pot and playing two player games for awhile (to test both controller ports) I left this one on in attract mode for about four more hours. I think we can say that another 2600 was saved from the trash heap.

 

Before:

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After:

post-65-0-80382600-1454252368_thumb.jpeg

 

As an aside, this has the best native RF picture I've seen on a Vader. I was planning on modding it but it might not be necessary.

Edited by atarilbc

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I wish my light sixer had a picture that clear.

If your picture has a lot of interference, try replacing the green "chicklet" capacitor (.1uf) and 5v regulator. These usually clear it right up. I also use snap on toroids (also called Ferrite chokes) on the RF cable. This cuts back the noise on a stock RF signal. They are just a dollar or two.

Edited by atarilbc

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Have you done a composite mod yourself on a 2600?  I've been thinking of attempting it myself, but I'm not real sure how difficult it is.

It's funny that you mention it because I just picked up parts yesterday at Fry's Electronics.  When I looked at the modded light sixer I recently fixed, the mod seems VERY simple.  I did some reading and grabbed enough parts for three mods.  I plan on doing them President's day weekend.  Look for it in the hardware subforum. :)

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