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Coleco Gemini Problem - FIXED! *face-palm*


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Greetings classic gamers! Well, I actually was able to fix my coleco Gemini console tonight.... Yay! And I had to slap my forehead pretty hard when I though of how...

 

Here's the story: So i finally got a hold of a Coleco Gemini from a guy at a local flea market. I know its just a 2600, but its a COLECO 2600! Anyways, it was in amazing condition, but he said that he was unable to get it working. Since I was buying a "non-working" system, I talked him down to $15 and I got 2 gemini controllers as well. I took it home, fired it up and confirmed that it didn't work. I noticed that the screen would flicker when powered, but it just displayed a black screen. I did some standard troubleshooting with my multimeter and found nothing of notice. After a bit of googling without much success, I began to think there was an issue with one of the 3 main chips on the board. Of course the chances of finding a replacement was slim to none, so I just put it aside and moved on.

 

Randomly one day last week I began thinking about the Atari vs. Coleco lawsuit. I remember reading about the expansion module being basically a 2600 and the components were not part of Atari IP. That got me thinking... Would the components from the module be the same ones used in the Gemini? I quickly cracked it open and tada! The same chips in the expansion module as in the Gemini! So after some desoldering and swapping of the chips, the Gemini now lives! Even the controllers worked (with a bit of cleaning).

 

I know that was kinda long winded, but long story short... If you have a Gemini that needs replacement mobo components, a expansion module is a cheap and readily available donor!

 

If this has already been discussed, I apologize in advance since I couldn't find it, but maybe this might help someone out if they're in the same boat I was.

 

P.S. Yes, I am not a big fan of destroying one classic gaming item to save another, but I think most would agree that a $10 expansion module #1 is worth sacrificing to save a Gemini from the trash!

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The same chips in the expansion module as in the Gemini! So after some desoldering and swapping of the chips, the Gemini now lives! Even the controllers worked (with a bit of cleaning).

 

I know that was kinda long winded, but long story short... If you have a Gemini that needs replacement mobo components, a expansion module is a cheap and readily available donor!

 

Were you able to narrow down which chip failed? Or did you just swap all of them? Cool story.

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I am just surprised that someone would pay $15 for a non-working Gemini! What was the original asking price?

 

If memory serves, the last one I bought cost about Cdn$3 (roughly US$2.30), and that included the video cable, power supply, and original switchbox -- much later I found the controllers separately.

 

Neither the Gemini nor the CV Expansion Module are readily found around here, so relative rarity is a toss-up.

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Were you able to narrow down which chip failed? Or did you just swap all of them? Cool story.

I just did a systematic swap of each one until it worked. It ended up being the 40 pin one labeled as "U2" on the board (chip marked as SY6532). I believe that's just a generic "RIOT" chip, like the one on the 2600. I was fairly certain that it would have been the chip that handled the graphics... I was definately surprised.

 

When I removed the chips from the Gemini, I installed ic sockets to allow for easy swaps. I do this to any of the systems I'm repairing to allow for future swaps.

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If memory serves, the last one I bought cost about Cdn$3 (roughly US$2.30), and that included the video cable, power supply, and original switchbox -- much later I found the controllers separately.

 

Wow! That was a freaking steal for a Gemini... EBay prices can be up around $50 for an "untested" one without any accessories. He asked $25 since it came with the controllers, but I justified the price drop by saying that the controllers actually working was a gamble as well. The expansion modules can be anywhere between $5 or $10 in various places around here, since you need to actually own a CV to use it and not too many people here do.

 

More than anything I just wanted to share this since it seemed like many places online didn't have much in the way of repair info for the Gemini.

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Bad chips is not really "face-palm" worthy....

 

I would think "face palm" would be that it didn't work because the power supply was wrong or it was being tested with a bad cartridge. :)

Lol... The face-palm was more of a "why didn't I think of the expansion module sooner?" kind of moment....
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