Modulator problems

Started by loftcat, 18:44, 29 March 09

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loftcat

I plugged my Amstrads in the other day for the first time in a few months and found the picture is jumping around all over the place. I came the conclusion it's my modulator as both my 464 and 6128 were doing the same thing on the same modulator, and I've tested the TV with a Speccy and working fine. Has anyone fixed this sort of problem with their modulator or is it a case of hunting down one on eBay?  :-[
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

Gryzor

May be a stupid question, but did you try fine-tuning your tv, or even looking for the channel anew? I've found that different machines (not only Amstrad ones) are a bit tricky to tune into with different TV sets; for instance, my expensive, top-of-the-line Sony CRT has a hard time tuning into my SAM Coupe, but my Amstrad locks in fine. The exact opposite happens with a very cheap Samsung tv set I've got...

loftcat

It seems to be the modulator... I've plugged the Amstrad into my old style tuning black and white portable - same problem. I had no problem on these tellies in the past. I'm fearing the worst for my modulator :(
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

loftcat

...is there anything easy to check out when these modulators play up, or are they pretty much dead?
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

Gryzor

Well, it could be anything from a wire gone loose to a capacitor needing changing. Try opening it and looking around...

mr_lou

If you don't succeed in fixing it, a work-around could be to use the modulator as a PSU only, and then build yourself a scart cable.

Gryzor

That's a good idea. Scart cables are not hard to make, either, and they give much, much better signal than that sh!tty modulator...

loftcat

Just to update my own post, I bought myself an Amstrad Scart cable from the Sinclair Shop... it's a great solution for me as the power in my MP-2 still works fine, and as a bonus I have a far better picture quality! Woohoo!
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

Gryzor

Good for you :) I've got to say, if you're used to the monitor or a modulator, the SCART image is just a miracle... I still remember the day I plugged mine in, it was like I upgraded my computer! The blue is SO bright! :)

loftcat

Quote from: Gryzor on 19:33, 28 April 09
Good for you :) I've got to say, if you're used to the monitor or a modulator, the SCART image is just a miracle... I still remember the day I plugged mine in, it was like I upgraded my computer! The blue is SO bright! :)

The Scart cable is indeed fantastic... I used to have an Amstrad monitor back in the old days - I almost forgot just how good the screen can look!
I've been busy wiring up an old floppy drive 3.5 drive this week too, it's great having access to PC disks now. I've been meaning to do it for ages (had all the bits) to get a few of my old self written progs off some Amstrad discs.
Next step is to look out for a memory expansion, a mouse interface (can you plug any serial mouse into one of those DK Tronics expansions?) and maybe look into a better way of transferring stuff between my Arnold & PC - CF cards or something.  All good fun! :)
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

Gryzor

At present, 3.5" disks are your best way to transfer files between the two computers... As for the mouse, I think the answer is no, as the wiring is a bit arbitrary - but I might be wrong. You could use a normal PC mouse with Symbiface though :)

ukmarkh

The scart cables don't work with most LCD tv's... so just watch out for that, as for the Modulators, I had one when I were a nipper and those things are a pig on some tv's. Would only ever work on my dads 28" Toshiba, but that was in the living room. I had two portables that would just roll the picture up the screen. You can open up the unit and twist a screw to improve things, but if I were you I'd bin the bloody thing.

I probably shouldn't post this here, but someone mentioned Symbiface II.

I'm struggling with my Symiface II at the moment, currently looking for a 12v DC/Powerpack 500 Oms that'll power the unit instead of a great big blooming PSU. I've managed to source a small box for the unit and would like it to look complete. Anyone got any ideas as to what alternatives I can use that don't take up my whole desk space? 

loftcat

Quote from: Gryzor on 09:46, 29 April 09
At present, 3.5" disks are your best way to transfer files between the two computers... As for the mouse, I think the answer is no, as the wiring is a bit arbitrary - but I might be wrong. You could use a normal PC mouse with Symbiface though :)

Thanks for tip about Symbiface... are these things in production anywhere?
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

loftcat

Quote from: ukmarkh on 15:56, 29 April 09
The scart cables don't work with most LCD tv's... so just watch out for that, as for the Modulators, I had one when I were a nipper and those things are a pig on some tv's. Would only ever work on my dads 28" Toshiba, but that was in the living room. I had two portables that would just roll the picture up the screen. You can open up the unit and twist a screw to improve things, but if I were you I'd bin the bloody thing.
I'm using a CRT to maximise the quality of my retros... I guess you guys are slowly stock piling old CRT TVs??  :D

I have two but feel I ought to find another one, just in case!
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

Cholo

Quote from: ukmarkh on 15:56, 29 April 09
I'm struggling with my Symiface II at the moment, currently looking for a 12v DC/Powerpack 500 Oms that'll power the unit instead of a great big blooming PSU. I've managed to source a small box for the unit and would like it to look complete. Anyone got any ideas as to what alternatives I can use that don't take up my whole desk space?
I was thinking of using one of those dual (or triple) external HDD enclosures or a Raid box to do the the trick. If it can power 2x hdds it can hopefull also power a symbiface and one hdd(or sdd hdd adapter).
Something like a:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/NEWLink-Drive-Print-Server-Function/dp/B001ELK9VE/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1241266157&sr=1-3
But hopefully much cheaper. Dont need one with too many options (like network and printerserver) .. just one that is big enough and can power 2x ide hdds. Lots of cheap dual sata boxes but i donno if they use the same power.


Quote from: loftcat on 01:11, 30 April 09
Thanks for tip about Symbiface... are these things in production anywhere?
Try asking here:
http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/symbos8bit/

If none are left you might wanna wait for for Sf3 instead.

Quote from: loftcat on 01:14, 30 April 09
I'm using a CRT to maximise the quality of my retros... I guess you guys are slowly stock piling old CRT TVs??  :D

I have two but feel I ought to find another one, just in case!
Well, im am getting a bit worried. Only have that one crt tv right now and its used with everything from amiga to arcade, so hope it dosnt die on me. Hope a generic-converter of some sort gets invented soon, as its a bit much expecting that we "burn our bridges" to the older stuff.

loftcat

Quote from: Cholo on 15:20, 02 May 09

If none are left you might wanna wait for for Sf3 instead.
Well, im am getting a bit worried. Only have that one crt tv right now and its used with everything from amiga to arcade, so hope it dosnt die on me. Hope a generic-converter of some sort gets invented soon, as its a bit much expecting that we "burn our bridges" to the older stuff.

I was at a car boot sale on Sunday and spotted loads of crt tvs, so I've decided I have no need to get worried, just yet!

I read up of the Symifaces.. they look a smart piece of kit but my budget doesn't stretch that far at the moment... it'll go on my 'wishlist' !


CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

mr_lou

I'm not worried about lack of CRT's yet either, although I must admit I've been hunting for one for some time now. Maybe because I'm too picky. I want a 14 inch one, and one that doesn't stink up the house with the smell of toasted electronics after 20 minutes of usage.
I bought 3 14 inch CRT's about a year ago, but they all stink when they're turned on, despite that I cleaned them for dust with a compressor. (Cholo might remember I thought it was the TV-modulator he sold me that did this, but it turned out it was infact the TV's). A real shame, especially because the 3 sets are the same model.
I got another two TV's which aren't that useful to me either because they both lack the remote control, which I need to adjust colors and brightness etc.

But there are plenty of used 14 inch TV's for sale in local ads. I just have to get rid of these 5 first before I have room for new ones.  ::) Well.... 5 TV's and one Amiga monitor that has the same issue.  :-\

I prefer a CRT for nostalgic reasons mostly. Even if a LCD would give a better picture, I still prefer the CRT for nostaltic reasons.

ukmarkh

#17
I think CRT's will be available for a least another 10 years... lots of companies still hold parts for them.

My fist ever job was fixing PSU's and Monitors at a company called 'SCH' in 1995. For this reason, I always seem to aquire broken tv's / monitors that people were gonna throw out. The old Toshiba's and Sony's are without question hard as nails, I've a portable Tosh that is just coming up to its 28th b'day.

The main problems are nearly always dry joints, and just need resoldering, then the TV works as good as new. So don't throw those old TV's away... lol

As for the the burning smell, Possibly a loose or dry solder Joint. This heats up and burns the board eventually, this is why you get the smell. Stop using, get a qualified TV repair man to resolder, it'll be easy for him to spot.

Warning! Don't attempt this yourself unless you know exactly what you're doing (you will die otherwise). The high voltage capacitors in a CRT set do not discharge just because you've turned of the set... so be careful.



loftcat

Quote from: ukmarkh on 13:30, 06 May 09

As for the the burning smell, Possibly a loose or dry solder Joint. This heats up and burns the board eventually, this is why you get the smell. Stop using, get a qualified TV repair man to resolder, it'll be easy for him to spot.

Warning! Don't attempt this yourself unless you know exactly what you're doing (you will die otherwise). The high voltage capacitors in a CRT set do not discharge just because you've turned of the set... so be careful.

The problem is TV repair men cost a lot more than old car boot sale CRTs, but there might become a time when it's viable, if there are any engineers left....!
CPC 6128 ¦ NC-100  ¦ GX4000

mr_lou

Well, I've used the local TV-repair man a few times now. Payed him to try to fix an old Phillips G7000, but he couldn't. Next I asked if he might be able to fix a broken C64, but he didn't think so.
I could probably resolder myself, if I knew where I should look. Resoldering the entire board seems tedious though. Would rather try buying another used 14" TV then.
But first I have to get rid of these 5 that's just taking up the space at the moment.

ukmarkh

Doesn't sound like a very good TV repair man to me... unless the tube has gone, everything else is fixable. I could see the problem with not being able to repair a Commodore 64 - difficult to get the parts.

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