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dongfeng
November 30th, 2003, 12:22 PM
Hi,

I managed to get back home at the weekend, so I rummaged through the attic to dig out my old VIC-20. The poor thing has been unused for about 5 years after a problem occured that made the screen blank. Armed with a new SCART cable that eliminates the need for the TV modulator, I plugged it up.... and it still didn't work. The screen is blank (totally white, although you can see the border, etc on it). From the page that vic user posted to one of my previous post, it looks like the "VIC chip" is faulty :( Are VIC chips available, or is it just worth buying a whole new computer considering they are so cheap? My VIC is in fantastic condition, the case is as white and new as it was stored away after use in a neat carry case it came with. Apparantly my Grandfather was given the computer by his company's supplier for being such a good customer of theirs! :D

I've put some pictures below, I hope you enjoy them :)

White screen :(
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/DSCF0555.JPG

Computer and original manuals (the VIC-20 manual is packed away elsewhere, so the C64 manual has been put there instead - I don't have a C64 BTW, I have no idea why I have the manual...)
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/DSCF0556.JPG

VC-20? It's not a German one! Interesting anyway.
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/DSCF0558.JPG

Carry-case for my VIC complete with moulded plastic internal bit!:
http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/DSCF0559.JPG

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/DSCF0560.JPG

Erik
November 30th, 2003, 12:37 PM
That is a very nice and clean Vic!

You're probably best off looking for another unit you can either use for parts or as a replacement. They are usually very cheap buys on eBay or elsewhere.

Erik

carlsson
December 1st, 2003, 01:36 AM
AFAIK, there is no spare parts unless you find some collector who has scavenged dead machines. However, before looking for spare parts, I would recommend you to open your VIC-20 and check if it is the socketed or surface-mounted (VIC-20CR = cost reduced) version. If the chips are soldered directly to the board, you might as well pick up a completely different VIC-20 instead of transplanting the VIC chip (which also came in a few variations, but which I believe are compatible).

Kaptain Skitzo
December 1st, 2003, 05:49 PM
Actually, with that having a mis-stamped name plate, I'd buy another unit, and swap out the Video chip. even it if meant unsoldering the chip. You definitely want that unit working. I've never seen that before...though it makes me want to check mine to see if they have that stamp.

carlsson
December 2nd, 2003, 11:08 PM
Maybe it wasn't mis-stamped, but only distributed to the wrong market (was this VIC bought in England or somewhere in Asia to begin with?). I'm afraid it is cost-reduced, so if none of the chips inside are spectacular, another option would be to get another VIC-20 and exchange the shell and maybe keyboard.

dongfeng
December 3rd, 2003, 05:45 AM
hi,,

thanks for your comments :D

I think I will do that, swap the case and keyboard with that of a working MK2 VIC, unless of course the inside seem to be something special also or the Vic chip is in a socket and can easily be transplanted - I don't really feel like soldering on the board :) I will investigate again in a couple of weeks time (home for X'mas).

The case is really in as new condition as the computer was never used much. I'm pretty certain it was a UK market machine as my Grandfather was given it by his company wholesaler! I used to have a Hong Kong market VIC 20 which was almost the same except having a steel nameplate and various cantonese markings. My parents either sold/gave/throw it away about 10 years ago though... "it's not necessary to have 2 of it"

On the plus side, I've just got a new 3" disc drive for my Amstrad CPC6128 (actually a spare computer) so that should be working again soon :D

vic20owner
December 15th, 2003, 04:00 PM
Hi,

I managed to get back home at the weekend, so I rummaged through the attic to dig out my old VIC-20. The poor thing has been unused for about 5 years after a problem occured that made the screen blank.

Thats a beautiful vic. Before you give up on it, try opening it up and re-seating the socketed chips. They may jus tbe corroded at the pins causing a poor connection. Next, check the power supply for correct output voltage. If all else fails, pick one up on ebay.

Tom

dongfeng
January 19th, 2004, 03:48 PM
Unfortunately, the computer does not seem to work, even after re-seating the chips :( So I guess it's eBay!

Actually, I'm a little angry as I just missed a working Vic 20 in a Commodore 64 case, computer only, on eBay for 4 :oops: My watch was slow... :cry:

I did find out though, I can change the colour of the screen using the POKE commands, but it only works when I poke for the whole screen to go the same colour (innter and outer).

CP/M User
January 19th, 2004, 06:25 PM
Oh boy,

I'm a bit worried about your DVD player too!

Cheers,
CP/M User.

carlsson
January 19th, 2004, 10:37 PM
I did find out though, I can change the colour of the screen using the POKE commands, but it only works when I poke for the whole screen to go the same colour (innter and outer).
Err.. you mean the following POKEs work:

POKE 36879,8 or 25 or 42 or 59 or 76 or 93 or 110 or 127

but no other combination? Maybe the fault is the VIC never opens the screen, and only displays the border. Compare with a VIC-20 emulator after issuing the following POKEs:

POKE 36864,255 : REM the screen is still there, but on the TV at your right neighbour

POKE 36865,255 : REM ditto, but now your neighbour downstairs is playing Omega Race

POKE 36866,0 : REM oops, zero columns

POKE 36867,0 : REM oops, zero rows

I don't think you can retrieve any display on your VIC-20 using any of the POKEs, but you get the idea how the border colour fills the whole display.

dongfeng
January 26th, 2004, 05:44 AM
Oh boy,

I'm a bit worried about your DVD player too!

Cheers,
CP/M User.

What's wrong with the DVD? :?:

dongfeng
January 26th, 2004, 05:45 AM
I did find out though, I can change the colour of the screen using the POKE commands, but it only works when I poke for the whole screen to go the same colour (innter and outer).
Err.. you mean the following POKEs work:

POKE 36879,8 or 25 or 42 or 59 or 76 or 93 or 110 or 127

but no other combination? Maybe the fault is the VIC never opens the screen, and only displays the border. Compare with a VIC-20 emulator after issuing the following POKEs:

POKE 36864,255 : REM the screen is still there, but on the TV at your right neighbour

POKE 36865,255 : REM ditto, but now your neighbour downstairs is playing Omega Race

POKE 36866,0 : REM oops, zero columns

POKE 36867,0 : REM oops, zero rows

I don't think you can retrieve any display on your VIC-20 using any of the POKEs, but you get the idea how the border colour fills the whole display.

:lol:

Yes, it seems like the screen has vanised just leaving the border . Oh well, I will look for a machine to donate it's main board :)

CP/M User
January 26th, 2004, 01:12 PM
"dongfeng" wrote:

>> Oh boy,

>> I'm a bit worried about your DVD player too!

> What's wrong with the DVD?

Oh well, I just thought that if your DVD is as light
as both of mine then that VCR would eventually
flattern it, but I see you've got something else
sitting between the VCR & DVD (I'm guessing
either a Pay-TV box or a Set Top Box) between it,
so the DVD must be heavier than it looks! :-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

carlsson
January 27th, 2004, 01:38 AM
I see you've got something else sitting between the VCR & DVD (I'm guessing either a Pay-TV box or a Set Top Box) between it, so the DVD must be heavier than it looks!
Maybe it is an Amiga/Commodore CDTV re-fitted with a DVD mechanism and spray painted in silver?

carlsson
January 27th, 2004, 01:42 AM
Oh well, I will look for a machine to donate it's main board
Not so many years ago, it was posted about a place (or Internet site) which still had VIC-20 mainboards in stock. They were not dirt cheap, but not terribly expensive neither. I don't remember if they were fully equipped though, and probably NTSC. But yes, there are plenty of VICs on eBay and similar places, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a working one. Someone on a Swedish auction site a while ago sold a small bunch of VICs with broken keyboards but supposedly otherwise OK. I think the bids were a little too steep for being attractively priced for me.

dongfeng
January 27th, 2004, 01:45 AM
"dongfeng" wrote:

>> Oh boy,

>> I'm a bit worried about your DVD player too!

> What's wrong with the DVD?

Oh well, I just thought that if your DVD is as light
as both of mine then that VCR would eventually
flattern it, but I see you've got something else
sitting between the VCR & DVD (I'm guessing
either a Pay-TV box or a Set Top Box) between it,
so the DVD must be heavier than it looks! :-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Nope it's just the DVD sitting on top of the VCR :shock:
It's fine, been like that for a year so far... he he

dongfeng
January 27th, 2004, 01:47 AM
Oh well, I will look for a machine to donate it's main board
Not so many years ago, it was posted about a place (or Internet site) which still had VIC-20 mainboards in stock. They were not dirt cheap, but not terribly expensive neither. I don't remember if they were fully equipped though, and probably NTSC. But yes, there are plenty of VICs on eBay and similar places, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find a working one. Someone on a Swedish auction site a while ago sold a small bunch of VICs with broken keyboards but supposedly otherwise OK. I think the bids were a little too steep for being attractively priced for me.

That's interesting, although I do think the UK is PAL... a new old stock mainboard would be nice though 8)

CP/M User
January 27th, 2004, 03:13 AM
"dongfeng" wrote:

> That's interesting, although I do think the UK
> is PAL... a new old stock mainboard would be
> nice though 8)

Well it used to be! ;-)

Has NTSC taken over there?

The ol' Oz is still on PAL (even though NTSC has
arrived with some DVDs & DVD Audios!!) :-(

Cheers,
CP/M User.

CP/M User
January 27th, 2004, 03:17 AM
"dongfeng" wrote:

> Nope it's just the DVD sitting on top of the
> VCR 8-|

You mean the VCR don't you?

> It's fine, been like that for a year so far... he he

So far! ;-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

dongfeng
January 27th, 2004, 03:43 AM
"dongfeng" wrote:

> That's interesting, although I do think the UK
> is PAL... a new old stock mainboard would be
> nice though 8)

Well it used to be! ;-)

Has NTSC taken over there?

The ol' Oz is still on PAL (even though NTSC has
arrived with some DVDs & DVD Audios!!) :-(

What do you mean "still on PAL" - it's the better of the two formats! ;)

Yeah, the UK is PAL, I had just woken up when I posted the last reply 8)

dongfeng
January 27th, 2004, 03:44 AM
"dongfeng" wrote:

> Nope it's just the DVD sitting on top of the
> VCR 8-|

You mean the VCR don't you?

> It's fine, been like that for a year so far... he he

So far! ;-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

It's not mine, my DVD player looks like this:
http://www.sharkyextreme.com/img/2003/03/ex_guide/liteon_dvd.jpg

CP/M User
January 27th, 2004, 01:46 PM
"dongfeng" wrote:

>>> That's interesting, although I do think the UK
>>> is PAL... a new old stock mainboard would be
>>> nice though 8)

>> Well it used to be! ;-)

>> Has NTSC taken over there?

>> The ol' Oz is still on PAL (even though NTSC has
>> arrived with some DVDs & DVD Audios!!) :-(

> What do you mean "still on PAL" - it's the better of
> the two formats! ;)

Yeah, but you know TV stations, they might decide
to change the format one day so that you need one
of the newer tellys with NTSC to support them (just
so people have to buy a new telly - just before
Digital comes into full swing & get them into getting
another telly!!).

My telly has 2 types of NTSC support, NTSC 3.58 &
NTSC 4.43. The NTSC 4.43 is an improvement over
the 3.58 (IMO), but I think PAL has also advanced
since it was first introduced.

> Yeah, the UK is PAL, I had just woken up when I
> posted the last reply 8)

And now you'd be just about to go to Bed! ;-)
It's 9:40am here, so I'd put that at being around
11:40pm UK time!

Cheers,
CP/M User.

CP/M User
January 27th, 2004, 01:48 PM
"dongfeng" wrote:

>>> Nope it's just the DVD sitting on top of the
>>> VCR 8-|

>> You mean the VCR don't you?

>>> It's fine, been like that for a year so far... he he

>> So far! ;-)

> It's not mine, my DVD player looks like this:

Interesting then!! ;-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

dongfeng
January 27th, 2004, 02:51 PM
It wouldn't suprise me if the TV companies changed the standard... it's the sort of thing they'd do!!!

There's still a lot of countries using both NTSC and PAL systems... so to change would mean to change half the world... kinda like the right/left-hand-drive car system :D

Just done some research and I've found that there's a third system too - SECAM! http://www.video-conversion.com/formats.htm

Yep, it's 11:47pm over here.. so night night :lol:

CP/M User
January 27th, 2004, 09:29 PM
"dongfeng" wrote:

> It wouldn't suprise me if the TV companies
> changed the standard... it's the sort of thing
> they'd do!!!

Well it hasn't happened here yet, thank god!

> There's still a lot of countries using both
> NTSC and PAL systems... so to change would
> mean to change half the world... kinda like the
> right/left-hand-drive car system :D

There's a price being paid for everybody being
different & this is what has happened.

The way I see it, the manufacturers would love
these changes, as it gives them a reason for
incorporating it into their telly's & charging
extra for it. Fortunately, as the customer, I'm
pleased that the price for tellys has comed
down a lot! ;-)

> Just done some research and I've found that
> there's a "third" system too - SECAM!
> http://www.video-conversion.com/formats.htm

Yes, my bigger telly also supports the SECAM
system, where's my little telly only caters for the
PAL & NTSC 3.58/4.43 systems, so if they start
making SECAM DVDs, I'll be buggered! :-(

> Yep, it's 11:47pm over here.. so night night
> LOL

Actually, the time my posts on this site is
incorrect, I just noticed that it's an hour early
because we are in daylight saving time & are
an hour ahead of that time! :-\

Cheers,
CP/M User.

carlsson
January 27th, 2004, 11:06 PM
Not so many years ago, it was posted about a place (or Internet site) which still had VIC-20 mainboards in stock.
a new old stock mainboard would be nice though
Did you ever open your VIC to determine if the chips were put in sockets or soldered directly to the board? You may want to join the cbm-hackers mailing list, as there are lots of experienced people and also a few with spare parts in case there only is one chip which needs to be replaced.

dongfeng
January 28th, 2004, 04:04 AM
The inside of my VIC20 is pictured in the photo below. The chips marked with red should be the removable ones.

http://www.howard81.co.uk/upload/vcf/vic20/vic_inside.jpg

carlsson
January 28th, 2004, 05:49 AM
The chips marked with red should be the removable ones.
If it is the VIC-I chip which is faulty, it is the one inside the metal box. Maybe you already knew that. Other options could be one of the ROMs, maybe a VIA, RAM or God knows what. Do you have any game cartridges to try, as they would boot immediately and not need a faulty Basic ROM?

I'm not really good at diagnosing this, but have learned from the mentioned cbm-hackers list, which has a web-based archive here:
http://www.softwolves.pp.se/misc/arkiv/cbm-hackers/

You can subscribe by sending
subscribe cbm-hackers to majordomo@cling.gu.se if you already aren't on the list and believe it something for you. Quite technical and mostly strictly on-topic.