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Any way to improve output on a dedicated Pong console?


bikeguychicago
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I struck retro-gaming gold today and found a Sears-branded Hockey Pong (still made by Atari) at Goodwill for $5! Needless to say, it was an easy purchase decision. I figured that even if it didn't work, it would still look cool in the game room.

 

I got it home and briefly hooked it up to find that it console, surprisingly, actually worked! However, the picture from the console was very snowy. I was unable to find a TV selector switch on it so it looks like it only outputs to channel 4. I'm using a standard RF to Coax converter to hook it up to my Sony Trinitron TV. Using the same connector on the same station, my Intellivision looks nearly flawless.

 

My questions are the following: Is there a way to switch the channel input on these devices? If not, is there a way to improve the output coming from the device?

 

 

Thanks!

 

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You can adjust the R/F modulator, which might be off frequency. Try Channel 2 and 3 (not sure 4 was utilized?).

Getting the unit apart will be the first priority, pics will help.

Also, you may have damaged / crimped points in your RF cord that could be contributing to the poor picture. The cable may need to be replaced, but likely a tuning adjustment if you have picture and just interference / stabilization issue. Does the speaker in the unit emit sounds?

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You'll likely want to open the console. Check for good continuity (multimeter, Ω setting, or continuity "beep" test) and make sure the cable itself passes. I had a Video Pinball that had horrible picture, turned out the cable had tons of resistance and must have had internal breaks, etc which rendered it useless. Replaced the RF cable and the system is clear as a bell. YMMV

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So I did a little more investigation and eventually found the channel selector under the battery retainer. It's weird that the switch for changing the channels didn't stick out like it does with every other console (unless the switch is broken). However, i was able to get it switched from channel 4 to channel 3 using a flat blade screwdriver. Channel 3 produced an improved picture over 4. It's not perfect, but for a 40 year-old console (youch) I'm impressed that I got it to work at all.

 

The funny thing is: the original box, in which the game was sitting loose, included a set of C batteries that were new in the cellophane wrap. Each battery has a paper strip covering the positive terminal. I'd never seen that before so I have no idea how old those batteries actually are. On a whim, I installed them all and, what do you know, the console worked!

 

Amazing!

Edited by bikeguychicago
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You'll likely want to open the console. Check for good continuity (multimeter, Ω setting, or continuity "beep" test) and make sure the cable itself passes. I had a Video Pinball that had horrible picture, turned out the cable had tons of resistance and must have had internal breaks, etc which rendered it useless. Replaced the RF cable and the system is clear as a bell. YMMV

you can clean the ends of the RF cable also or try any RCA cable to see if picture improves ....

 

also an old CRT TV might help as well

 

getting inside a console required some ingenuity but made myself an ok tool to do so

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/208849-holt-security-screw-removal-sears-pong-sega-ea-carts/

 

..

 

I think mine came with original batteries as well , but they were installed & all corroded :woozy: :_( :woozy:

Edited by chas10e
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Is the RF cord itself bent badly, cut or frayed? You may have internal issues with the cable, or the RF modulator may require adjustment.

 

Nice that it's working though; make sure you do *not* forget about those 1973 NiCad batteries though, when packing up the unit for storage...

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