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Thread: Problem with Coleco Telstar Arcade

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    Cherry (Level 1) DarthKur's Avatar
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    Default Problem with Coleco Telstar Arcade

    I recently purchased a Coleco Telstar Arcade. Unfortunately it does not produce any video signal other than static. . The proper sounds for each game can be heard emitting from the internal speaker when the device is turned on. I opened the case and confirmed that all three coaxial connections were in place. I didn't observe any broken solder points or components showing obvious damage.
    Has anyone else experienced a similar problem and is there a solution? Any and all assistance is, of coarse, much appreciated.
    The world has moved on and left me behind. Therefore I choose to retreat into the past.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    I can't offer any help, but neither of mine display color as they should. One of mine constantly buzzes. It seems as though they are rather unreliable.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) YoshiM's Avatar
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    Silly question but have you tried a different TV/Computer switch box? I thought I had a couple bad systems but found my switch box was wonky.

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    Cherry (Level 1) DarthKur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PsychedelicShaman View Post
    I can't offer any help, but neither of mine display color as they should. One of mine constantly buzzes. It seems as though they are rather unreliable.
    That's rather depressing news.



    Quote Originally Posted by YoshiM View Post
    Silly question but have you tried a different TV/Computer switch box? I thought I had a couple bad systems but found my switch box was wonky.

    I hooked it up using the switch box I have constantly attached to the TV. I have the 2600 connected right now and it's working fine.
    The world has moved on and left me behind. Therefore I choose to retreat into the past.

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    Pac-Man (Level 10) mailman187666's Avatar
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    sometimes systems just get old I guess and don't always function properly. Have you tried finding a replacement video cable for the system itself? sometimes those will shit the bed, especially if it is the original cable. I'd say it may be worth checking into because then you wouldn't have to go looking for a whole new system.

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    Apple (Level 5) Sweater Fish Deluxe's Avatar
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    I almost always have trouble with pong systems when I first hook them up. No video or snowy video or no audio or glitching graphics or flaky paddles or any number of things. After a good cleaning and some attention to all the important contacts, both inside and out, I can usually get them working fine, though.

    Remember, these things are 30+ years old now and have probably been in storage for 28+ of those years. If it's working at all, I'd say they were actually pretty reliable.

    So give the system a nice massage and rubdown, especially around the RF box (the internal one, not the switchbox, which you already mentioned you know to be working) and the RF connection on the back of the system. And definitely try another RCA cable from the system to the switchbox, like mailman187'um*666 mentioned if you haven't already. Doesn't the Telstar Arcade work by having the Pong/whatever-on-a-chip on a separate cartridge that connects to the main unit which is just an empty shell that sends power and controller signals to the cartridge and receives audio and video back? If so, the symptoms you're getting could even be because of a bad cartridge connection, so take a look there, too.

    Good luck. I bet you'll get it working eventually.


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    Last edited by Sweater Fish Deluxe; 12-12-2007 at 02:14 PM.

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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    I have the exact same problem with mine.

    I asked for advice some months back.

    Not much in there that isn't already in this thread, though. Like yours, mine looked nice and clean inside with no sign of a solder break. I eventually decided it was probably suffering from a deteriorating rca cable. I never did get around to swapping it out with a new one, so my system is still kaput.

    Checking out the cartridge slot is an interesting idea, Sweater Fish. I can't recall if I looked at that or not.

    If you ever get that sucker working, I'd love to hear about it. If I ever get motivated and work on mine again, I'll post about it too.

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    Jessica's Knight / SOFEL Fanboy InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufners View Post
    Like yours, mine looked nice and clean inside with no sign of a solder break.
    Just because you can't easily see one doesn't mean that it's not there, you didn't stop getting help in the Technical and Restoration Society forum, you quit posting repair progress so we all moved on.

    Replace the RF cable with a new one - not a new old one - a new one like a standard RCA (Ye/Wh/Re) one. If that doesn't change anything open her up and begin reflowing solder points, starting around the internal RF box and working your way out from it.
    Contributing Writer, Retrogaming Times Monthly 2004 - 2013
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    Cherry (Level 1)
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    No, no! I never meant to imply that anyone stopped trying to help or abandoned me in my moment of need. I appreciated everyone's input and admit whole heartedly that my own wandering attention span lead to the end of my repair attempts. (As I remember, there was something in the Telstar Arcade that made it kind of frustrating to put back together--after taking it apart twice, I had to step away from it a bit and then never got around to stepping back.)

    Since DarthKur was having the same problem as I did, I thought I'd link up to my old thread to pool resources--not to say boo-hoo, nobody wanted to help me. Quite the contrary. I am thankful to everyone who shared their advice and thoughts.
    Last edited by wufners; 12-12-2007 at 05:17 PM.

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    Jessica's Knight / SOFEL Fanboy InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wufners View Post
    I appreciated everyone's input and admit whole heartedly that my own wandering attention span lead to the end of my repair attempts.
    We have the shortest attention spans of them all over there, which is why if there isn't a post after a couple days we tend to forget about the thread.
    Contributing Writer, Retrogaming Times Monthly 2004 - 2013
    Chief Editor, The Retrogaming Times 2016 - Present *NEW RETROGAMING HOBBYIST NEWSLETTER!*


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    Cherry (Level 1) DarthKur's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the replies. The way the RF cable is set up inside is quite odd. It goes through the console, where it is braced, then it coils around circlet that feels like rock more than anything. Then it plugs into the RF module. Then another cable is plugged into another port right next to it that runs inside for a short length and then plugs into the main board underneath the pong side where the game select, on-off switch, etc are located. Another oddity is the original RF cable, when it initially comes through the console wall, there is a section of it that is stripped to the bare copper wire and a small silver bar is attached to the bare wire which in turn connects to a silver clip which is attached to the base of the console. A grounding method I assume. If I run a normal RF cable in there and simply plug in into RF unit I will be bypassing both the ground and the stone doughnut looking thing. Would this cause potential harm to the system?
    I've included a picture below of the bare section and grounding clip. Sorry for the terrible quality.
    The world has moved on and left me behind. Therefore I choose to retreat into the past.

  12. #12
    Jessica's Knight / SOFEL Fanboy InsaneDavid's Avatar
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    Is the ground part of the jack (the outside) the RF cable plugs into connected to a ground? If so then I wouldn't worry about the little staple that connects it to a ground inline, it was more than likely to help reduce interference. Either way it shouldn't cause any harm to the system to connect a standard composite cable in its place. I would also inspect the connection at the end of the second RF cable, where it is attached to the PCB, there may be a break there.

    Lastly, even though your RF box is working fine, you may want to check out a phono to type F adapter. Check my post in this thread if you don't know what that is.

    Can mod shuffle this over to Technical and Restoration?
    Contributing Writer, Retrogaming Times Monthly 2004 - 2013
    Chief Editor, The Retrogaming Times 2016 - Present *NEW RETROGAMING HOBBYIST NEWSLETTER!*


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