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Question about clarity and color via screen HARMONY?


tonyankyfan1
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Greetings guys-

 

I have a question regarding the clarity and lack of color on my TV screen when using my harmony cart w my 2600. Is the color, video supposed to be that dim and unreadable? It is hard to make out words etc. I know my TV is working great, and other atari cart games are perfect, colors are good. It is only when i play with my harmony cart, it all gets dim and unreadable. Can someone please help me out with some 411.

 

Thanks Anthony

 

P.S. Are all Harmony Carts this dim?

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An HDTV? If so, a lot of them have issues with older consoles - especially with the use of flicker, which is required in order to get the Atari to generate a wide enough text display to be useful to show filenames.

 

As an example, this is the flicker as seen in Space Rock's Credits Easter Egg:

post-3056-0-73634600-1447950063_thumb.png

post-3056-0-70388300-1447950067_thumb.png

 

The two frames draw the letters on different lines and are a bit difficult to read. On some HDTVs you'll only see one of those images.

 

When viewed on an older set, or an HDTV that has better backwards compatibility, the two images end up merged to create this much easier to read image:

post-3056-0-49583400-1447950071_thumb.png

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I took a slo-mo video using my new iPhone so you can more easily see the 2 frames that are generated by the Harmony's menu:

post-3056-0-52617300-1447954686_thumb.jpg

 

post-3056-0-09138300-1447954692_thumb.jpg

 

Compare with a photo that shows the "merged" image:

post-3056-0-37989100-1447954681_thumb.jpg

 

 

I notice that the Harmony's menu uses different shapes for the letters for each frame. Space Rocks uses the same shapes, which make it easier to read on displays that only show one frame. I don't know if that could be done for the Harmony as it uses upper and lower case to show the filenames, in Space Rocks I limited myself to just uppercase.

 

Full video:

IMG_6516.m4v.zip

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I took a slo-mo video using my new iPhone so you can more easily see the 2 frames that are generated by the Harmony's menu:

attachicon.gifframe 1.jpg

 

attachicon.gifframe 2.jpg

 

Compare with a photo that shows the "merged" image:

attachicon.gifIMG_6511.jpg

 

 

I notice that the Harmony's menu uses different shapes for the letters for each frame. Space Rocks uses the same shapes, which make it easier to read on displays that only show one frame. I don't know if that could be done for the Harmony as it uses upper and lower case to show the filenames, in Space Rocks I limited myself to just uppercase.

 

Full video:

attachicon.gifIMG_6516.m4v.zip

Hey bud,

 

Firstly- Thanks so much for your help~!!!

Yes, thats pretty much what i get, but a bit blurry and dim. But its amazing how it looks. Weird thing is that, I also have the Atarimax for the colecovision cart and its crystal clear. Do you think the dim and blurryness is due to the cart itself, maybe faulty etc?? Or not.. I dont wanna sent it back to Batari if this is normal. I love the cart and appreciate that guys talen and love for our hobby!!! =)

 

Thanks Anthony

p.S. Im using the harmony cart on a 50 inch HDTV LCD

Edited by tonyankyfan1
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I just want to make sure I'm understanding this right. If you play, say, a real Asteroids cart on your Atari, it is bright and clear, but the same Asteroids game on the Harmony looks dimmer and fuzzier?

 

If so, this could be a power problem (if not the PSU, a capacitor in the Atari) but power problems can manifest themselves as RF interference which could degrade the signal enough to make it dim and fuzzy. Clip-on ferrite cores on the 2600's video cable can eliminate the interference.

 

Here are ebay searches for what I am talking about:

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/ferrite-core-filter

 

I'd look around to see if you have a spare cable (such as a USB cable) with one of these that you can take it off and put on your Atari video cable. I've experimented with these and they work very well at eliminating RF interference on the 2600.

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I just want to make sure I'm understanding this right. If you play, say, a real Asteroids cart on your Atari, it is bright and clear, but the same Asteroids game on the Harmony looks dimmer and fuzzier?

 

If so, this could be a power problem (if not the PSU, a capacitor in the Atari) but power problems can manifest themselves as RF interference which could degrade the signal enough to make it dim and fuzzy. Clip-on ferrite cores on the 2600's video cable can eliminate the interference.

 

Here are ebay searches for what I am talking about:

http://www.ebay.com/bhp/ferrite-core-filter

 

I'd look around to see if you have a spare cable (such as a USB cable) with one of these that you can take it off and put on your Atari video cable. I've experimented with these and they work very well at eliminating RF interference on the 2600.

Hi Batari!!!

Firstly- Just want to say THANK YOU!!!! for taking me back to my childhood with your wonderful creation!! I love it! =)

Secondly to answer your question, YES when you play downloaded games via HARMONY they are dim and blurry compared to the reg CART version. The MENU is also blurry and hard to read, I have to adjust the color, brightness and tint, BIG TIME just to make out the words and sentences. I have a 50 inch LCD HDTV, and my atari 2600 is modded A/V mod. My power supply is new, it is a Retro 2600 Power Supply.

Thanks for the help and advice with the Ferritte core, I will buy one and try this. When you say clip it on video cable, which color on the RCA jacks of the A/V mod would it be???

 

Thansk again, Anthony

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Hi Batari!!!

Firstly- Just want to say THANK YOU!!!! for taking me back to my childhood with your wonderful creation!! I love it! =)

Secondly to answer your question, YES when you play downloaded games via HARMONY they are dim and blurry compared to the reg CART version. The MENU is also blurry and hard to read, I have to adjust the color, brightness and tint, BIG TIME just to make out the words and sentences. I have a 50 inch LCD HDTV, and my atari 2600 is modded A/V mod. My power supply is new, it is a Retro 2600 Power Supply.

Thanks for the help and advice with the Ferritte core, I will buy one and try this. When you say clip it on video cable, which color on the RCA jacks of the A/V mod would it be???

 

Thansk again, Anthony

If you have a video mod for composite and/or S-video, the ferrite core will not help. It will only help if you are using the original RF output on your console.

 

I'd make sure you aren't playing PAL games on your TV. If that's not it, I'd go back to a power problem. Some AV mods suck a LOT of power, and coupled with a Harmony, it can stress a console with aging capacitors.

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If you have a video mod for composite and/or S-video, the ferrite core will not help. It will only help if you are using the original RF output on your console.

 

I'd make sure you aren't playing PAL games on your TV. If that's not it, I'd go back to a power problem. Some AV mods suck a LOT of power, and coupled with a Harmony, it can stress a console with aging capacitors.

Why is the MENU screen so dim & unreadable? You almost have to squint in order to make out the game titles...

 

So if you are saying that my issue is due to a power prb, what should i do?? Buy a 1) new power supply? (The console came w/new retro 2600 supply) Should i buy an Atari Guide Supply unit???

2) swap in new capacitors?

Whatta ya think, Batari?? please share your thoughts w me!!! All is appreciated. =)

 

P.S. I am going to try the harmony cart in my colecovision with the atari 2600 expansion module and see what the outcome is.

Edited by tonyankyfan1
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Why is the MENU screen so dim & unreadable? You almost have to squint in order to make out the game titles...

 

So if you are saying that my issue is due to a power prb, what should i do?? Buy a 1) new power supply? (The console came w/new retro 2600 supply) Should i buy an Atari Guide Supply unit???

2) swap in new capacitors?

Whatta ya think, Batari?? please share your thoughts w me!!! All is appreciated. =)

 

P.S. I am going to try the harmony cart in my colecovision with the atari 2600 expansion module and see what the outcome is.

Sorry for the delay, I was waiting to hear how it worked on the Coleco with expansion module. I suspect it should work just fine but if not, let me know.

 

As for your Atari, you could try a new supply but I'd first open up the console and measure the voltage with a multimeter. You have to measure voltage while the Atari is running and displaying the menu or other screen that exhibits the issue. It is easiest, I think, to probe the appropriate contacts on the 7805 to see what the input and output voltage is.

 

I have a video-modded console somewhere that sucked so much power, it pulled the 9v supply down to 6.5v at the input to the 7805 (minimum spec is around 7.3v). The output was around 4.3v, and although the console did run at that low voltage, I recall that the video was not very good. This was not an Atari-branded supply but one of those universal, adjustable ones, and it just wasn't up to the job.

 

If the supply turns out to be fine, there are two capacitors on the 9v line that could cause issues, though I might expect slightly different problems.

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Sorry for the delay, I was waiting to hear how it worked on the Coleco with expansion module. I suspect it should work just fine but if not, let me know.

 

As for your Atari, you could try a new supply but I'd first open up the console and measure the voltage with a multimeter. You have to measure voltage while the Atari is running and displaying the menu or other screen that exhibits the issue. It is easiest, I think, to probe the appropriate contacts on the 7805 to see what the input and output voltage is.

 

I have a video-modded console somewhere that sucked so much power, it pulled the 9v supply down to 6.5v at the input to the 7805 (minimum spec is around 7.3v). The output was around 4.3v, and although the console did run at that low voltage, I recall that the video was not very good. This was not an Atari-branded supply but one of those universal, adjustable ones, and it just wasn't up to the job.

 

If the supply turns out to be fine, there are two capacitors on the 9v line that could cause issues, though I might expect slightly different problems.

Hey Batari-

 

Sorry for the delay!!! The harmony was crystal clear on the Coleco expansion module/2600, both MENU and gameplay. On the atari 2600, it was less clear both menu/gameplay. I will check voltage and buy a new power supply and see what happens./ Thanks for your attention and help!!!

Thanks Anthony

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm having the same problem with the menu. I have a modified Atari 2600 also(composite, pause and LED mods) Looks like my 37" HDTV has the flicker issue? It's hard to read the menu. One difference though is, my games either on the Harmony or original cart, look pretty close to the same which is not bad?? Though it is clearer and smoother on an unmodified unit. On another note, I noticed I need to tweak my color settings on the modified unit.

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