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Joystick not working


Banquo
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I was given a silver TI-99/4a years ago by a relative, and later a beige model. They were both 100% functional but they were beat up and scratched and looked like garbage so a few weeks ago I decided to sell them both and buy a nice looking one, which I did. Still in the box and looked unused. Today I got some new games in and decided to play it for the first time, and woe upon me the joystick does not work. The jump button does, but directions do not. I did check the alpha lock key, it is in the correct position. I tried a different joystick to no avail, I know for a fact the joysticks are good and they did work fine with my ugly old TI-99s.

 

I'm just sitting here devastated, after all that and finally getting my beautiful TI now I can't play it. I took it apart and looked over the solder joints and checked them all with a meter, couldn't find any problems. Does anyone have any other ideas? Of course I'm sitting here kicking myself for not keeping one of the old ones for parts. I could have easily swapped the motherboards, but no I'm an idiot.

 

I guess I basically got screwed, gotta love eBay. It was listed as fully functional. :(

 

Edit: I was looking at the cartridge port and it looked wet, pulled the connector out and it's just soaked in something oily, I'm guessing the previous owner sprayed half a can of contact cleaner in it. I cleaned it up the best I could, not sure if that could be related or not. Games start up just fine, all the keys work, I just can't get any joysticks to work.

Edited by Banquo
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The alphalock is just blocking the up direction.

 

Did these joysticks work with another TI? I'd lean towards them being the issue first.. Are you using a TI joystick set or an atari joystick? Atari joysticks won't work without buying/building an adapter:

 

136-2.jpg

 

You can test the port by shorting directions to ground..

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The joysticks worked perfectly with the two previous TI-99s that I recently sold. I'm using a Wico TI-99 to Atari joystick adapter and tested with both a 2600 joystick and a TAC-2 joystick. I'll try shorting the direction pins to see if anything happens though.

 

Edit: Well, I put in TI Invaders and shorted pin 7 and 9 and my ship moved to the right as it should. Perhaps I jumped the gun in blaming the TI, and the joysticks should be good because I use them on my 2600, so that leaves the Wico adapter. I just used it not that long ago on my old TI-99, could it have really gone bad somehow? I'll take it apart and have a look.

Edited by Banquo
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I took the adapter apart, didn't see anything obviously wrong. Tested all the diodes and they are good, checked for shorts and didn't find any. So I put it back together and plugged in the 2600 joystick again and...it worked perfectly. I was baffled, but after some more playing around I figured out what happened.

 

The TAC-2 controller was not working, the ground wire that connects to the joystick ball inside had recently broken since I used it not long ago. So that leaves the question of why the 2600 joystick didn't work, and the only conclusion I can come up with is I plugged it into the wrong joystick port. I'm such a doofus. :lol:

 

Anyway thank you very much arcadeshopper for your tip about shorting the pins to test it. If I had not tried that I probably would have given up and sold it. I'm so relieved that everything is ok now and I finally have a great looking TI-99/4A to start collecting for.

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Also, the oily stuff in the cartridge port is actually original. On the silver consoles, TI put a rectangular gelt pad in there, soaked in oil, to lubricate the port and ensure good connections when a cartridge was inserted. Of course, after many cartridges were put into these felts, they picked up little bits of metal and other debris--and began shorting out the connector. Most people either soaked the felt in contact cleaner to eliminate the oil (works for a while but you still have to clean it pretty regularly) or just removed the felt entirely.

 

It is good to see you got your joysticks working! :)

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