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View Full Version : Connecting a VIC 20 to a newer TV



qholmes
February 1st, 2004, 08:17 AM
I am resurrecting my old VIC 20 that i found in an old box from when i was a kid.

What is the easiest way to connect it to a newer tv with a 75 ohm coax input?

Quentin Holmes

dongfeng
February 1st, 2004, 08:20 AM
I bought a SCART adaptor lead from a guy on eBay since my modulator box was broken. Works a treat, except my VIC turned out to be dead anyway :(

vic user
February 1st, 2004, 09:17 AM
I use two, well three methods to connect my vic 20 to my TV:

1) The 5 pin DIN connected to the RF modulator, then to a TV/Game switch box and then use a coxial cable to either my vcr (and then to the TV), or directly to the TV.

2) Use a 5 pin DIN to 4 RCA jacks cable, and then plug in the appropriate jacks to the video IN and audio IN on the TV or VCR or whatever.

mind you, I just started using my vic 20 on a 1701 monitor, and like it a lot.

I am going to use a splitter soon though, so I can send signals to two video devices, in preparation for my light pen, which is about to arrive shortly. I want to use one of the video devices right near my vic 20, with the screen facing up towards the ceiling, and use it like a glorified graphics tablet, via the light pen.

Good luck and have fun!

Chris

CP/M User
February 1st, 2004, 01:19 PM
"qholmes" wrote:

> I am resurrecting my old VIC 20 that i found
> in an old box from when i was a kid.

> What is the easiest way to connect it to a
> newer tv with a 75 ohm coax input?

Just wonderning about what sort of telly you're
referning to?

Cheers,
CP/M User.

qholmes
February 1st, 2004, 02:38 PM
Well, my TV is a Sharp 21" regular TV. About 9 years old i guess. Nothing special.

I bought a 75 to 300 ohm converter to try. It is ment to convert the other way so that someone can put a cable signal into an antena input but i dicided to try it the other way so that i could take the antena signal out of the switch box and put it into the cable antena input.

I think that it worked but i am not sure that my VIC is working.

When i turn it on i get a black screen with a repeating sort of static pattern.

Some times when i turn it on i get a blue background with a seemingly random character set in a box in the foreground. It is definetly the VIC characters.

So does anyone know where i should go from here. When i packed it away years ago i am quite sure it was working fine.

Quentin

qholmes
February 1st, 2004, 03:07 PM
Well, i made some progress. I opened it up and pulled all the chips that were in sockets out and put them in again, in case they had oxidized. Now it boots up almost every time although the picture is a bit noisy in sound and picture. So i am going to do that again with the chips. I don't have any contact cleaner unfortunately.

The next thing is that the cartridges don't work. Any clues on that?

After the chips i might check the connections from the cartridge port to the board.

Quentin

CP/M User
February 1st, 2004, 06:34 PM
"qholmes" wrote:

> Well, my TV is a Sharp 21" regular TV. About 9
> years old i guess. Nothing special.

Oh okay, I thought you might of had a Digital Telly
with all the mod cons.

> I bought a 75 to 300 ohm converter to try. It is
> ment to convert the other way so that someone
> can put a cable signal into an antena input but i
> dicided to try it the other way so that i could
> take the antena signal out of the switch box and
> put it into the cable antena input.

That's unusual, pretty much here, all tellys use a
standard 75 Ohm coaxual cable.

> I think that it worked but i am not sure that my
> VIC is working.

> When i turn it on i get a black screen with a
> repeating sort of static pattern.

> Some times when i turn it on i get a blue
> background with a seemingly random character
> set in a box in the foreground. It is definetly the
> VIC characters.

> So does anyone know where i should go from
> here. When i packed it away years ago i am
> quite sure it was working fine.

Sorry, but I don't know too much about VICs to
know what the trouble is, but I'm sure someone
here could help! :-)

Cheers,
CP/M User.

qholmes
February 1st, 2004, 07:49 PM
Well, yes the TV is 75 ohm but the converter is meant for older TVs i assume.

Any way i took all the chips out again and wiggled the cartridge slot and got the games to work.

I also got rid of the switch box and made a new connector for the cable to the TV and now there isn't much noise left. Still more than i remember but acceptable i guess.

Quentin

carlsson
February 2nd, 2004, 01:02 AM
Good to hear that hardware can be fixed by removing and reseating it. :-) The SCART or RCA solution will give you as sharp picture as possible, much sharper than a RF solution. In theory you can get a DIN to RCA cable and a RCA to SCART adapter if you don't have RCA jacks on your TV. Since the VIC-20 uses mono sound and composite video, you may have to repeat the sound channel onto both left and right if you can't live with sound only through one speaker.

qholmes
February 2nd, 2004, 07:11 AM
Yes, the reseating of the chips was a guess but i have done enough electronics to know that chips in sockets can have troubles after sitting for extended periods of time. Especially when they are going through all four seasons.

Does anyone have the pin out for the Din cable? I could make my own then.

I can't find my main manual that had the schematic in it. It should actually be there but so far nothing.

I did enjoy playing some games that i had. Didn't beat my high score in Gorf yet.

Wrote a little program.

Quentin

vic user
February 2nd, 2004, 07:27 AM
Hi Quentin;

Here are the pinouts:

Audio/Video

|-| +-------+--------------+----------+
| PIN # | TYPE | NOTE |
3 1 +-------+--------------+----------+
5 4 | 1 | +5V REG | 10mA MAX |
2 | 2 | GND | |
| 3 | AUDIO | |
| 4 | VIDEO LOW | |
| 5 | VIDEO HIGH | |
+-------+------------+----------+

I got this from an online source of the programmer's reference.

There are many online sources of manuals and stuff for the vic 20, and if you cannot find something, just post for info, and I am sure someone will help you out.

There are a few, very helpful Commodore saavy people here.

Chris

qholmes
February 2nd, 2004, 07:46 AM
I am not sure if i quite understand the pin out information. The last 3 pins are quite clear though. I might look for some other resources for confirmation.

It appears that there is mono sound on pins 2 and 3 and video on pins 4 and 5. and that is it. I wonder if it is just composite video that i could just plug into my TV video in.

Might ask around.

Does anyone have any more information?

Quentin

carlsson
February 2nd, 2004, 08:38 AM
___ ___
/ v \
( 3 1 )
\ 5 4 /
\__2__/


Pin 1 is +5V - should not be used (drives the RF?)
Pin 2 is ground - required.
Pin 3 is audio out - required if you want sound.
Pin 4 is 50 ohm video out (low?) - normally the one used.
Pin 5 is video out (high?)

So, you should use pins 2, 3 and 4 for a composite + audio cable. I can't remember if this is the view from the computer female or from the cable male.

qholmes
February 2nd, 2004, 08:52 AM
Cool. That makes more sense for sure.

Think that i might just try it. Hopefully i donít' blow anything up in the process.

Thanks a lot.

I will post how i make out.

Quentin

vic user
February 2nd, 2004, 09:41 AM
argh!

i hate things that format stuff after i have cut and pasted it, and the stuff looks fine when i paste it, and then looks like the crap i see in my posting.

mine did look like anders' at one point ;(

Chris

qholmes
February 2nd, 2004, 10:01 AM
Well i am writing this for the second time. Managed to wipe it out by mistake the first time.

I found a post on the web on how to make a cable and it matched the post here. It said to use pin 2 and 4 for video and i assume 2 and 3 for sound so i think that i will give it a try and see what it looks like.

Now i will need more games. Maybe i will have to write my own like i did as a kid. Typing in lines after lines and then jiggle the power cord and lose everything in a split second. AAAAAAAHHHHH.

Quentin

Terry Yager
February 2nd, 2004, 03:44 PM
Good to hear that hardware can be fixed by removing and reseating it. :-)


AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!! My Kaypro's hard drive crashed real hard this morning and wiped half of my directory. I wonder if unplugging it and plugging it back in will restore the lost data? NAH! Prolly not...oh well, I was looking fr an excuse to put a bigger drive in it anyways.

--T

Overcast_32
September 27th, 2006, 11:02 AM
Wow talk about digging up an old thread...

Fitting for an old system I guess.

I did run across a Pin Out

http://www.zimmers.net/cbmpics/cbm/vic/manual-b.html

Also, it's been so long - I'm curious. I just recently bought one of these old VIC20's. I have the RF modulator box with a Female RCA jack on it - from there, just a stndard RCA cord - if I just plug it into the video in on the TV, will it work? I'm thinking it won't because of the audio.

Is there a device made that splits the signals? Sorry, been looking maybe I missed something in the post, but other then just getting one of those old VHF converters, I'm not 100% sure on how to go about plugging this thing up.

ahm
September 27th, 2006, 11:31 AM
I just recently bought one of these old VIC20's. I have the RF modulator box with a Female RCA jack on it - from there, just a stndard RCA cord - if I just plug it into the video in on the TV, will it work?
Probably not. The manual is somewhat misleading. The little box that connects to the TV is just a switch box. The actual RF modulator is inside the computer, which means that the signal is already modulated.

Does your TV have a coaxial "Antenna/Cable" connector? If so, you can probably just go buy an adapter ("F" male to RCA female) for the antenna jack, plug the VIC cable into that and then tune the TV to either channel 3 or 4.

HTH,
Andy

Overcast_32
September 27th, 2006, 11:44 AM
Probably not. The manual is somewhat misleading. The little box that connects to the TV is just a switch box. The actual RF modulator is inside the computer, which means that the signal is already modulated.

Does your TV have a coaxial "Antenna/Cable" connector? If so, you can probably just go buy an adapter ("F" male to RCA female) for the antenna jack, plug the VIC cable into that and then tune the TV to either channel 3 or 4.

HTH,
Andy

ok - think I got it.. .

Yes, it does have the standard Coax input.

This thing: http://www.audio-discounters.com/200-045.html

Right?

I'm thinking.... well - there's a box with the 9 pin that plugs into the VIC20 on one end - and the other end is a box with a Channel 3/4 selector and an RCA female output - it was shipped with just a male/male RCA cable attached - so I could physically plug it into the TV... I'm thinking I may need a RCA Male plug... but for the 2 bucks each, I may well order a couple of each gender, so I have a supply for... whatever I end up fooling around with.

I'm just getting started on revisiting the vintage computers, really - first one.

Are there any devices that would allow a connection to a SVGA monitor? I'm thinking... I could use a PC and TV video card as a 'gateway' to the SVGA monitor, if you will... if I'm not able to find a box that converts a standard PAL signal to VGA... hmm

Sorry to sound so newbish... It's just that when I was using a Commodore, I was pretty young and just plugged it in. Eventually, I got out of computing as I got into the teen years and then met the girl who is my current wife...

At the time, her uncle was a C64 user and it really sparked my interest again - I recall thinking 'wow, look at all this cool stuff'. Then not too long after that, he got his C64 stolen... but luckily for him, the insurance check was fat enough for an Amiga 500... Now that was a machine!!! hehe

I didn't have cash for any of the sysems, so I got me a rent-to-own IBM clone at a screaming 33 Mhz. Ever since, I've been on the Intel CPU platform.

But, I can't resist revisiting the old days, when computers were so cool.... :)

carlsson
September 27th, 2006, 04:33 PM
The actual RF modulator is inside the computer
Wrong. The VIC-20 has an external RF modulator. The Commodore 64 and some subsequent computers has an internal ditto. The Amiga 500 also has an external RF modulator (oh, the wisdom of Commodore) and not until the 1200 (or perhaps 600?) they decided to integrate it again...


there's a box with the 9 pin that plugs into the VIC20 on one end
It is only five pins, but it doesn't matter... What you should do is to connect the antenna cable to the RF output from the box, and then to your TV. In Europe, you would use a cable with a RCA male on one end and a 75 ohm coax male on the other. I don't know if you in the USA use RCA connectors for antenna input, but from what I understand this may be the case? All you US people know better.


Are there any devices that would allow a connection to a SVGA monitor?
Not really. There are some boxes that can convert composite video to a VGA signal, but I don't know how well they work and if they support the Commodore computers which output a composite video signal that is not 100% along with the expected timing, or so I've read. That is why some modern LCD monitors may have a difficulty to display the picture from an old computer/video game, if the monitor refuses to sync to a signal that is not perfect.

briman
January 26th, 2015, 09:42 PM
Hi, I see that you found a solution for the cartridge port, but for everybody else, I clean the cartridge contacts with rubbing alcohol and q-tips. Good to try that before getting too involved. The cartridge contacts can be cleaned in the same manner. Dip the q-tips in a small cap of alcohol, don't be liberal, use as little as can do the job. I'm no pro but I have done this forever.