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The Atari Lynx is the first color LCD game handheld console. It was released in September 1989.

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Console contrast adjusting itself until eventually losing power

Hey there!

I’ve recently started a refurbishment on an Atari Lynx Gen 1, before I powered it on for the first time in my ownership, I replaced the Q11 power MOSFET, The ZD1 Zener Diode, and all the capacitors on the board in order to give it the best chance of working because i know the lynx has a tendency to nuke itself if powered on with bad power components.

After replacing all these parts and trying to power the console on, i get greeted with a black screen, reinserting the cartridge and powercycling the console a random amount of times will finally get the console to play, however, after about 8 minutes I notice that the screens contrast/brightness has adjusted itself without prompting from the wheel, the brightness will adjust via the wheel, but eventually it fades to where the wheel doesn’t do anything, then the game crashes and the console powers off without obvious cause.

This whole process takes about 15 minutes before it powers off on its own. The console wont turn back on unless the batteries are removed and reinserted. Then the cycle repeats itself with the black screen, having to power cycle and mess with the cartridge in order to get it to run again.

The game works fine in my Lynx II and this issue happens in the Lynx I regardless of the game I have inserted.

Im honestly at a loss here and would appreciate any advice or suggestions anyone could provide.

Update (01/13/24)

More information if it helps, after more testing ive found that this issue only happens on battery power.

Ive also found that removing the cartridge while the console is on does not shut the console off like it should. The screen just goes black. Power is run through the cartridge so when the cartridge is removed the entire console should power off.

Super confusing

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Hi @mike2021

Here's a link to the schematics that may help.

A bit hard to use as it has been divided into separate sections, but if the problem only occurs when on battery power only then perhaps check D19 (IN4001) (see lower left corner schematic) as it is not in circuit when the external power is connected but is when on battery only.

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@jayeff Thanks for the suggestion, I’ve replaced D11, D14, D18, D19, and U6 as these parts all came in a kit, unfortunately the problem persists.

So far ive replaced Q11, ZD1, D11, D14, D18, D19, U6, Q13, Q4 and all the capacitors. I’m running out of things on the power rail to replace haha.

Ive timed it, and it takes about 4 minutes and 30 seconds before the system shuts off without prompting.

Any other ideas? Scratching my head here haha

Thanks

-Michael

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@mike2021

Since it only seems to fail when on the battery only, perhaps measure each of the battery cell voltage(s) before inserting them and turning it on and also when it fails and turns off on its own.

Perhaps there's a problem where the batteries are being discharged too quickly which is not evident when there's an external power source connected as its power will be always there at the correct voltage etc.

If the battery voltage has dropped significantly then it may be a matter of chasing the power rails to check if there's a resistive path (to earth?) that is the cause.

Also check the battery holder connections (back of holder) between the cells and to the board. Perhaps a dry joint connection. If there is one, as it heats up due to the higher resistance than a good soldered connection it will drop more voltage which may cause the shutdown to occur.

Other than that perhaps a thermal camera might help to see if anything is getting "hot"

Best that I can think of at this stage.

Cheers.

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Michael Shepard さん、ありがとうございました!
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