Yard Sales and Goodwill: Second Vectrex

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Yard Sales and Goodwill: Second Vectrex

Post by MM007 » Fri Jul 28, 2006 9:48 pm

Today was the kickoff of the yard sale weekend here in my hometown, and I went around to about 30 yeard sales, picking up various things such as:

old Black and White LCD portable TV
Brownie Camera 2A with a patent year of 1916 (don't ask, it was spur-of-the-moment)
1000 sheets of tractor feed printer paper (tractor sides are perforated, can be used normally)
5 speaker surround sound system
and a spare GCE Vectrex.

Unlike the others, the GCE Vectrex came from a the local goodwill. The people who had the yardsale where I got my FIRST Vectrex ($10.00) remembered me (they are my grandparents' neighbors) and told me where to find another one. I bought it for $4.50, but not before testing it and confirming it had controller or interface issues (Directional works, buttons don't). The controller had been opened perviously, I could tell, but it still seemed a good deal. Even if the system's interface was the problem, and even if I couldn't fix it, I'd at least have a second player controller for the first Vectrex.

I took it home and tested my working first Vectrex's controller on the second Vectrex, and it worked perfectly fine. This shows the problem in in the controller, and even if it is not repairable, I should be able to build a replacement. From what I've seen online, the main problem with making a replacement is reproducing the Vectrex analog, which is still operational. All in all, it's been a good day, though I may have to replace the Vectrex' controller IC(assuming it is complex enough to even possess one. Perhaps a ground or a 5V or GND line is loose...).
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Post by Triton » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:25 pm

nice find! all i got was a copy of dragon naturally speaking 5, some scifi paperbacks and a tv with issues (tv free, books 50 cents DNS5 2$) going again tomorrow, hopefully find some good stuff and figure out wtf is the deal with the tv (dont like working on tvs, CRT = scarey)

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Post by wallydawg » Fri Jul 28, 2006 11:39 pm

Forgive my ignorance but what can you tell me about the Vetrex, and all it's (seemingly) awesomeness? I know nothing about it, but it sounds old. :P
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Post by Sword_Gun » Sat Jul 29, 2006 8:45 am

Shouldnt this be moved to my yardsale thread? Eh who cares.

and vectrex is a game system that used "Vectors".
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Post by Triton » Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:38 am

yea its a vector based display game system. didnt do so good today only a few 78 records.

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Post by wallydawg » Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:03 am

Sounds pretty awesome actually. So it has a "Vib-Ribbon" kind of feel?
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Post by Triton » Sat Jul 29, 2006 10:05 am


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Post by MM007 » Sat Jul 29, 2006 1:21 pm

Another part of the awesome factor is that the owners of the technology (It reverted back to them after Milton Bradley dumped it), support open sourcing of their hardware, and have released the schematics. It is essentially as close to a commercial open source as you can get in an old system now, perhaps save 1am7805's Blackbox efforts. Games are still being made, and one can make their own accessories, even.

The screen isn't dissimilar to an osciliscope in operation, if I remember right.

The reason I didn't put this in the yard sale thread was because half my post talked about something that came from goodwill, rather than a yard sale, talked about why I would fix it, and that I planned to give updates as to the progress of the repairs of the unit. I knew this would likely have become a Vectrex thread (and from what I've seen it is well on its way already).

In addition, I've looked at the schematics, and though I have yet to find out how to open the controller, all signs point to a single severed ground, which is possibly a bad solder joint or a broken wire in the cable.
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Post by MM007 » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:46 pm

I finished repairing (actually rebuilding) the controller.

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Since I had to break open the controller instead of opening it normally, I put the rebuilt guts into a PSX controller, since the problem was extensive damage to the internal board's ground trace and not the ground wire.

It is covered with electrical tape because the PSX controller case was covered with bite marks from a baby, and the screws weren't wanting to hold it together. It is CRAMMED full of cable.

To further differentiate it from a PSX controller, as if the 9-pin plug, the lack of START and SELECT, and the electrical tape wasn't enough, I put both of the second R and L buttons in upside down.

Furthermore, the Start and Select Buttons are gone, but the R and L buttons double as secondary 1-4 buttons, the 4 face buttons acting as primaries.

It looks cruddy, I suppose, but it works perfectly, and I saved the analog stick and the components of the circuit. ^^
Last edited by MM007 on Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Metroid fan » Thu Aug 03, 2006 8:54 pm

I like it MM007 I looks so umm black! Which reminds me today I got a Black GBO! It's almost mint, I got it for 1$!

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Post by kidw/32+systems » Fri Aug 04, 2006 9:41 pm

Wish I had a Vectrex :cry: but I got a Genesis 3 for $15 and I didn't have one of those.
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Post by gamemasterAS » Sat Aug 05, 2006 9:51 am

Well speakeing of good deals I convinced a kid to give me a genisis with 41 games to me for free. Also I was goodwilling and got 2 game gears, a nes cleaning cart, and going today because my freind said they hads ome cool game stuff.
Last edited by gamemasterAS on Sun Aug 06, 2006 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by MM007 » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:19 pm

If you want a Vectrex and can't find one by chance(I've only ever SEEN two, and bought them both), then keep an eye on Ebay. I tend to see base systems go for $40-70, $100 if they come with games, but if you're VERY lucky, you may catch one for $20. The prices seem to vary. Also keep in mind that shipping is likely to be fairly high, as it weighs as much as a small TV set.

Still, they all come with an Asteroids clone, Mine Storm, in ROM, so it's not like buying the base system alone is useless.

A Ganesis with 41 games for free is a VERY nice deal!
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Post by Metroid fan » Sat Aug 05, 2006 1:40 pm

kidw/32+systems wrote:Wish I had a Vectrex :cry: but I got a Genesis 3 for $15 and I didn't have one of those.
*cough20$cough* good deal!

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Post by atari2600a » Sat Aug 05, 2006 2:03 pm

MM007 wrote:If you want a Vectrex and can't find one by chance(I've only ever SEEN two, and bought them both), then keep an eye on Ebay. I tend to see base systems go for $40-70, $100 if they come with games, but if you're VERY lucky, you may catch one for $20. The prices seem to vary. Also keep in mind that shipping is likely to be fairly high, as it weighs as much as a small TV set.

Still, they all come with an Asteroids clone, Mine Storm, in ROM, so it's not like buying the base system alone is useless.

A Ganesis with 41 games for free is a VERY nice deal!
...& then there's the matter of if the games have the screen-covers (or whatever they're called)

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