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Odyssey 2 Video Issue


MoparManiac
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I have been having a video issue with the Odyssey 2 I recently purchased. I've seen this issue a couple times on the board, but not a real consistent fix. The console turns on, however I do not get the Start Game screen. Basically the screen changes color whenever I shut off and turn on the system. It changes between a black screen, grey, red, and purple. Most of the time the screen will display the black and grey screens, but with certain carts inserted it does the red and purple screen. I never get the screen with blocks that some have reported getting. Has anyone seen this particular issue and found a fix?

I'd also like to get some help on disassembly. The RF shield in the console seems to be soldered closed by 2 flat metal pieces on the side. Can these be cut, or will they have to be resoldered after? One of them appears to be soldered right to the main board, so I'm assuming it's a ground. Once I get the main board exposed I hope to reseat the processors to see if this makes a difference. I've attempted to clean the cartridge connectors but they didn't seem to be that bad.

Thanks for any assistance!

Edited by MoparManiac
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I Am having the same issue with one of my backup units and can't figure it out either.

 

As to the rf shield... You can cut it off as you don't need it... in fact later O2s didn't even have it. Just make sure there is a ground from the board to the rf box.

 

I know that on my unit the problem is not the socketed chips as I put them in a working unit and they work fine. I suppose it could be one of the soldered chips but it don't know how to test them.

 

I am pretty sure it is not the cartridge connector either as I get the same screen whether a game is in or not and on my working units I get the messed up blocky screen without a game in.

 

Good luck and if you do figure it out on please let me know.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This probably isn't a video problem, but something preventing the game code from executing properly. First thing would be to give the cart connector a good cleaning and then check the solder joints on the back. If you have a multi-meter you can also check that you are getting good voltage to the system. Check between pins 20 and 40 on the microprocessor (IC7-8048) and be sure you are getting 5V. If any of the chips are socketed, carefully remove them and re-insert them.

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Thanks for responding! I checked the voltage at the pins you mentioned and I seem to be getting about 4.8v. I have reinserted the chips that were socketed, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I seem to be getting voltage to at least some of the cartridge connectors and they appear to be clean but this also made no difference. From what I can see the solder joints appear to be alright as well. Anywhere to go from there? Should I try resoldering the cartridge connector?

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I just tried one of mine too and got 4.9v so it seems like the power is good. Just in case I took out the power switch and the connections were filthy so I cleaned them up but still black screen.

 

I wonder if there is a short being created somewhere after the 8048 chip. I think next I'll test the continuity between the 8048 and the cart connector and see if anything is amiss.

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After taking it apart this last time, I got the random squares for the first time. This is the first time it's not just been a solid color. I'm not sure if you'd call that progress but it's a change.

I would say that is progress as at least your getting video unlike mine. Press the reset button and see if there are any changes on the screen. I had this happen to one of my older O2s and it turned out to be a bad 8048. The changes can be subtle but I usually look around the "battleship" thing on the left. Let me know what if anything happens.

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Thanks for responding! I checked the voltage at the pins you mentioned and I seem to be getting about 4.8v. I have reinserted the chips that were socketed, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I seem to be getting voltage to at least some of the cartridge connectors and they appear to be clean but this also made no difference. From what I can see the solder joints appear to be alright as well. Anywhere to go from there? Should I try resoldering the cartridge connector?

 

Re-soldering joints would be a good next step. Yes, having a bad RAM chip, or bad processor or video chip could cause this, but I always lean towards the simple things first, dirty connections and bad solder joints.

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Unfortunately I discovered the problem, or at least a part of the problem. There was a loose pin on the cartridge connector that proceeded to fall out when I tried to look at it closer. I had noticed it was slightly looser than the rest when I was cleaning, but I think taking carts in and out working on the machine finished it off. It fell out when I was trying to see if it was still connected to the main board. When looking at the Odyssey from the front, it's the pin all the way at the end on the right side, back row. I think this unit might be done unless I can replace the pin or get a new cartridge connector out of another bad O2. It still responds exactly the same way, colors, squares occasionally, etc.

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Okay, two things here that might give you hope... One of mine was doing the same thing and I moved the pins in the cart connector a little toward the center by wedging a tiny eyeglass screwdriver behind each pin and pushing very carefully. Lo and behold now all games load just fine. So that might be your issue as well.

 

Secondly, if you can't repair the cart connector let me know and I will try to desolder one from my dead board. I will check continuity first so I'm sure it is not broken. I can then send it to you for shipping cost which should be 2 dollars or so or just send me an old video game you dont want. I just sent another AA member a keyboard from the same dead unit.

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Unfortunately I discovered the problem, or at least a part of the problem. There was a loose pin on the cartridge connector that proceeded to fall out when I tried to look at it closer. I had noticed it was slightly looser than the rest when I was cleaning, but I think taking carts in and out working on the machine finished it off. It fell out when I was trying to see if it was still connected to the main board. When looking at the Odyssey from the front, it's the pin all the way at the end on the right side, back row. I think this unit might be done unless I can replace the pin or get a new cartridge connector out of another bad O2. It still responds exactly the same way, colors, squares occasionally, etc.

 

Another worst case option is to swap the bad pin another one on the connector that is not needed. There is at least one signal that is not used by cartridges, but it is used with the voice module.

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Danboris has a point... It is easier and safer to just replace the bad pins than to replace the whole connector. Check continuity on every pin and only replace if not conducting or deformed. I sent you the whole connector but it is very difficult to remove and pads could be damaged in the process to say nothing of the lower pins (two broke while I was desoldering them).

 

It shouldn't be too difficult to extract pins from the connector and you have more than a dozen to choose from. You just have to be careful not to deform the top pins too much but otherwise this should solve the connector issue.

 

I hope to see a pic of KC Munchkin playing on your O2 real soon!

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Well, good news and bad news. Bad news first, the replacement pin did not make a difference. The console is behaving exactly the same as before :(.

The good news was that I was able able to replace the pin with spares from the connector metarog sent me and it is showing good continuity on the new pin as well as all the rest. Some are slightly deformed, but they appear to be good enough to be making a solid connection with the cart. After moving the pins out in the center it goes in much more snugly. I'm going to spend some more time getting them as perfect as possible, but they are somewhat fragile and I'm leery about messing with them too much.

I reseated the chips one more time to be sure. I'm also going to give it one more cleaning, but I'm starting to suspect a problem with one of the soldered chips. So frustrating since the unit turns on and seems to be trying to do something with the changing colors/squares. Might be time to give up on this unit, but I really would like to get it going. Any additional advice would be greatly appreciated, if anyone has more ideas I'm more than happy to continue tinkering to keep one more O2 alive and well.

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Bummer... I'm sure you have done this but make sure those contact pins are clean. Spray alcohol or contact cleaner and use an old toothbrush on them then get an old credit card and wrap some cloth around it and push it in and out.

 

Also make sure all the back pins and all corner pins are contacting on the game carts. The middle front pins don't seem to be used in most games. You can try and rock the game a little towards you when you turn on the O2 and see if that helps.

 

If you get no results let me know and I'll see if any of my dead O2s have good socketed chips. I can then send them to you and you can give that a try.

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I'll give the cleaning method you suggested a go tonight and see how that works, the credit card method is a good idea I hadn't thought about. I've attempted rocking the cartridges and it doesn't seem to make a difference either way whether I'm wiggling them or holding them back or forward to try to make more contact. I'll update again this evening. I'm curious, have you worked anymore on your unit that was showing the same symptoms?

Interestingly, ONE time I fired up the unit with no cartridge in it (since replacing the pin) and I got the messed up blocky screen you referenced getting on your working unit. Alas, I put a cartridge in and still just got the grey/black/colored screens. I do get the squares occasionally with a cartridge in, but this was more of an uneven grid pattern and looked different then what I get with a cartridge in.

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One thing you might also consider on badly worn cartridges with little to no resale value...

 

1) Disassemble the cartridge

2) Removed the cartridge and clean the contacts.

3) Apply a really thin 'skim coat' of solder flux to the cartridge contacts.

4) Apply a thin coat of solder to the contacts.

5) Reassemble and use.

 

What will happen when the cartridge is inserted? The solder will conform to the cartridge connector and make perfect fit and contact.

Depending on frequency of cartridge use (insertions & extractions), this can last from 6 months to a year for normal use. With 'Classic Gear' that get's little use... who knows.

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My bad O2 just gets a black screen no matter what I do. It could be a power issue somewhere so I have to check the whole power rail and see if there are any issues. Not a high priority since I have several working models when I get the itch to play.

 

BTW, I actually have 3 currently non working O2s, 2 CIB perfectly working ones, a test console that works but has connector issues sometimes although not since I moved the pins in and I have several others working models I am going to AV mod and sell on Feebay to fund my O2 collecting.

 

I also did confirm that I have working extras of the two socketed chips just in case you need them.

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