Archive for June, 2019


Rebuilding the past……

Some good luck with reparations ! I won’t bore you with all the details but the Atari XEgs just needed the RF unit tuned. The Colecovision, in my haste to repair the loose connector RF output, I separated several connections between the Mobo and the RF upper board, wasn’t visible until a closer later inspection. These old units don’t take much to upset them. The audio was missing and the color output was off. After tracing the audio output, (while contemplating a chip replacement), I reflowed and resoldered a few connections that had tiny cracks at the solder pads. That brought everything back to normal. Like I said I won’t bore you with the details!

The accessories like joysticks, super controllers , and expansion modules were just pulled apart for a cleaning and lubrication as necessary and game cartridges were checked. Sounds simple but this is over few days at the least working at my leisure.

Bout now a quick climb to the attic retrieved a Vic 20 from ages ago. What did I find? Another problem with the RF converter. Back in the day these games were attached to the television antenna before things like composite video and audio input were available.

The Vic 20 though does have video and audio available if you fashion or buy a cable. The Colecovision will require and modification . The Atari XE system has both available without modification.

BTW to correctly test these you need an ol time CRT TV or tuner. Of course years ago I tossed one in the dumpster during a decluttering thinking I would never need it. But I found a better small screen CRT TV with a ol school tuner AND audio and video inputs. Reasonably priced on eBay , bought and delivered. (13 inch Sanyo ). The vintage video gamers will point out that any conversion to an LCD ,LED widescreen of these vintage machines is a NO NO ! As the conversion process will modify the original pixel size and it isn’t just cool to run vintage equipment without going all the way. Similar to analog sound records though digital amplifiers.

So if your interested in photos and teardowns of the equipment, scroll away. Some will be annotated.

A spectravision controller.

Top trigger fire button.

Disassembled unit

BTW still didn’t work reliably after assembly, the to get out the multimeter.

The coleco supercontroller, nice design all working now , have a baseball cartridge to test them

Joystick, keypad, 4 triggers, and a scroller roller type wheel , what more do you need ? A trackball is a add on module to the base unit.

The standard controller used a joystick and keypad with 2triggers. Coleco like keypads and overlays.

Here’s the roller controller. Used actual roller bearings , quite heavy duty.

Though alot of technical info can be found online, I always (usually) take a pic of the wiring connections

Coleco motherboard, the metal box is the RF modulator.

One of the chips was not fully seated , I left it alone rather than desolder and reseat.

Dishes are done ! BTW those small baskets were an optional purchase for the dishwasher and solve the problem of loosing those small parts in the dishwasher.

Looks like a factory correction.

On the Vic the shift key was broken. After contemplating a glue repair, parts purchased on eBay restored to original. There is a large following online with alot of vintage equipment online that sources schematics and parts even if they are out of production.

Replacement and broken key plunger.

The keyboard was in excellent condition contact wise.

Inside the Vic 20 external RF modulator. Look closely for the corroded connections.

Up and running.

Commodore had basic built in.

Game time!

You can’t have a Colecovision without donkey Kong !

Looping around !

Atari paddle controller s, still need work.

Atari standard joystick controller.

WICO command joystick cleaning.

Atari joystick disassembly.

Connection pic for the WICO

Atari keyboard circuit board

Other eBay POR finds ,(parts or repair)

Another Vic 20 preliminary check working, broken key #4.

Beats pill needs lipo battery ? Multimeter time.

That’s all folks for now ! The decluttering continues with a break for repair and possible flipping back to eBay. A good hobby to make some spare change while cleaning out the stuff ! Alot different than yesteryear, trips to the library for Sam’s photofacts then to the electronics shop for vacuum tubes and transistors (or Radio Shack). Solder, smoke and more research.


Austrian beef stew with paprika and Caraway.

Here’s one from Milk Street. Paprika gives a lot of flavor to dishes, probably not used often enough. Good for the lentils recipe that is now a often cooked dish. I usually just buy Chuck beef. More versatile, can be ground for burgers, meat loaf, used for soups, stir fry etc.

Here we go! Season the beef with paprika. Saute the onions in the butter and salt ,add the Caraway and flour. Add more paprika ,cook then add broth. Add the beef, seasonings. Bring to a boil then cover and place in oven (or microwave oven, low setting) for 2 hours. If you like the beef with a bit of chew, then less time. Remove from oven and cook uncovered for another hour till the beef is tender. (Mine was cooked a lot less time). Add a bit of vinegar and dill. Serve with sour cream, I had a side of broccoli and barley.

A different spin on the common beef stew. Very good!

Here’s the measurements, I divided it to about a fifth.

5 lbs stew beef. ( I would go with lamb !)

6 tablespoons sweet paprika, divided.

2 cups beef broth

1/4 cup tomato paste

4 tablespoons butter

1 large yellow onion

2 tablespoons Caraway seeds

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 tablespoon Hungarian hot paprika

3 Bay leafs

2 tablespoons marjoram

1/4 cup finely chopped dill

1 tablespoon vinegar

Sour cream


Smoking it

Just some chicken and pork. Figured I’d do a bit of BBQ. Made the rub for the season. Didn’t get to make the BBQ sauce so I used sweet baby Ray’s , a bit too sweet for my taste so I just served it on the side.

Let the rub stay on the meat at least overnight

Fire up the coals , get the temperature in the zone

I go heavy on the smoke

Just about done

The coals were still going strong so a few potatoes were smoked after the meat. I used mesquite pellets, I add some that have been soaked in water and some dry to temper the temperature. Also a sprayer bottle of water is used to regulate the temperature of the coals.

The meat is refrigerated so I gave a small supply of smoked meats for meals.



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I find Peapod useful, mostly for meat,chicken and seafood and other perishables. Usually only need to order every 6 months or so.


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