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Used ColecoVision, lots of noise, how to fix?


teko
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I searched other threads on this topic, but the situations they describe seem different than what I'm experiencing.

 

I bought a ColecoVision off of eBay and it's very functional (hooked up via RCA/coaxial to a Vizio HDTV), but the picture is consistently covered in a layer of noise. I've tried multiple RCA cables and multiple coax cables, and have cleaned the RCA ports, but nothing seems to change the noisiness of the image; wiggling or adjusting the cables or the cartridges doesn't make it either better or worse. I'm using the adapter that came with it; would that contribute to the snowy image?

 

Any thoughts on how to clean up the picture? It's not unusable, but not great at all.

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First things first... you're not using an old switchbox, right? Those definitely tend to add RF noise to the picture.

 

If you're using an RF adapter instead of a switchbox, you can next try opening the CV, prying off the top of the silver RF box, and adjusting the tiny pot there with a small screwdriver (make a note/picture of the original position first.) That might fix you up.

 

If neither of these work, it may be be a problem with the RF box. I had a CV with the the same issues. It was a MAJOR pain, but I managed to desolder the RF box from the motherboard. One small capacitor seemed to be burned out, so I replaced it and reattached the RF box. Problem solved.

 

Having said that, I don't particularly recommend trying to fix the RF box unless you have a lot of confidence in your soldering and electronic troubleshooting skills. I just got lucky that this worked for me... I could have easily ruined the RF box considering how difficult it was to remove.

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First things first... you're not using an old switchbox, right? Those definitely tend to add RF noise to the picture.

 

 

No, I'm using an RF adapter. It's the one that was attached to the coax cable that was included with the system when it arrived. I'd thought of trying a newer RF adapter as well, as I'm not sure how old this one is. I'll try getting inside the system and see what happens, thanks for the tips.

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You need to use the rf cable that came with the ColecoVision. By that I mean that came in the box with it in 1982. That may or may not be what it came with from eBay.

If you use a regular RCA cable, it will look bad because modern cables have no shielding. You do not want to use an RCA cable or Coax cable.

You need an rf cable from an Atari, Commodore, Intellivision, or something from the 70's or 80's that has the proper shielding in the cable. I posted a picture of one below. If you need to get one from eBay, it doesn't matter which Computer or game console it is meant for, they are all the same.

You should also try to connect it to a CRT TV (if you have one). The problem might be that it doesn't like flat screen TVs.

 

 

 

$T2eC16VHJH8E9qSEWJ-KBQDWJnCB-w~~60_1.JP

 

The best picture you can get on a ColecoVision is by using the cable pictured above with a Coax adapter pictured below.
rca_coax_adapter.jpg

Edited by Hannacek
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You need to use the rf cable that came with the ColecoVision. By that I mean that came in the box with it in 1982. That may or may not be what it came with from eBay.

AH! I think this is the issue.

All it came with from eBay was a coax cable with a coax adaptor screwed onto it, so I used a generic RCA cable (as shown by many YouTube hook-up-your-CV videos).

 

I've ordered a shielded RF Atari cable and will see if that does the trick. Thank you!

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You do not want to use a coax cable, you want the coax adapter. I'm not sure why, but in my experience it only works with the rf cables from the 70's and 80's.

 

 

The Atari RF cable I got from eBay was exactly what I needed. No noise, clear picture, looks fantastic. Such a simple solution, I have no idea what all those "easy ColecoVision hook up!" tutorials on YouTube are talking about with using cheap RCA cables and leftover coax cables. Thank you, you saved my ColecoVision!!

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A lot of youtube videos get things wrong.

 

I think it depends on the specific console, and what type of TV you are using. Not every retro console is as picky as the ColecoVision is to the proper rf cable, but its a good idea to use them even if you can get a decent picture with an shielded cable.

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