Colecovision!

Performa

Well-known member
For the uninitiated, Colecovision was a 1982 video game console produced by the Connecticut Leather Company "CO-LE-CO" and was a direct competitor to the Atari VCS/2600, Mattel Intellivision, and (kinda) the Magnavox Odyssey 2 video game systems. It's often cited as being more powerful than the others, with more sophisticated graphics. All the same, Coleco didn't survive the 1980's- and the Colecovision was their last true console. There's a whole Wiki article on it HERE for those interested.

As for this system here, it had a few other goodies with it, including these crazy things:



Wikipedia describes these as the "Super Action Controllers" and I'm rather impressed with them. It's like the guard on a pirate's cutlass, and they're surprisingly solid in the hand. Like, if I'd never seen them before and someone said they were for some motion control VR setup, I would have believed it. Four buttons, a number pad, a joystick (not microswitches as far as I can tell, but solid) and a "scroll wheel" that no doubt helps when playing pong round out a wide array of input options for an 8-bit machine. According to Wikipedia, a few games were made with these specifically in mind that use all the buttons, so I did a bit of eBay shopping so we can all give em' a whirl when we're together again. 😃
 
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Performa

Well-known member
Finally, there's this thing. I didn't see it in the seller's photos, but it was in the box when it arrived- Coleco Expansion Module 1. It lets the Colecovision play Atari VCS/2600 games- it's got all the "guts" of a 2600 inside of it.



Apparently Atari wasn't too happy about this when it was new. Can't imagine why... 😏
 

Performa

Well-known member
Tomorrow is Friday, so I'll be taking a jaunt over to Gaming Generations to see what games I might be able to get from them- if memory serves they had a fairly good sized array of them. I'll need at least one cartridge for testing over the weekend.

Excited as I am, testing will have to wait- the system is incredibly dirty, and reeks of cigarette smoke, both of which will need to be remedied before it goes any further. That said, these old systems tend to hold up pretty well- I'd give it a 50/50 that if it were powered up right now, it would take off without a problem. Dirty contacts are the most likely point of failure right now. That and I'm sure all the joysticks could use a tune-up!
 

Performa

Well-known member
How much is that Atari board worth? What a find!
Looks like eBay prices have it between $40-$60, though I do see most are sold as "untested" or "for parts."

I haven't tested this one yet as I'm still working on getting the main system back in shape. I'd expect it'll work though- these old consoles are surprisingly hardy.
 

Performa

Well-known member
Here it was before I put the cover back on. The upper RF shield has a lot of rust on it, so I'm leaving that off until I've had time to tackle that. It shouldn't affect the console at all.

 

Performa

Well-known member
Here's a look inside the Coleco Expansion Module 1- yep, it is basically all the guts of an Atari 2600 in there. That and a lot of dust!

 

Performa

Well-known member
It is ALIVE!



Mad props to @Pezdude for the groovy TV that is way, way easier to get photos of!

As you've probably surmised from the picture, something is definitely amiss within this Colecovision system yet. Everything is a shade of yellow or brown. The controllers "kinda" work, but nowhere near where I want them to be to be actually "usable" for the public. I'm going to work with them to get them back where they need to be, but I have no idea how long that might take as I expect part of the problem is corrosion in the contacts for the joysticks, and some of those parts might need to be recreated from scratch. Worst case, I did find a source for aftermarket controllers, though they're kinda expensive.

The Atari expansion results in a black screen on power up, but again it may just have some bad contacts or something. I'll keep messing with it.

I do see that there's a composite mod for these, and that might be the most practical solution for this machine going forward too.

If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them! More on this to follow soon!
 

Pezdude

Member
It is ALIVE!



Mad props to @Pezdude for the groovy TV that is way, way easier to get photos of!

As you've probably surmised from the picture, something is definitely amiss within this Colecovision system yet. Everything is a shade of yellow or brown. The controllers "kinda" work, but nowhere near where I want them to be to be actually "usable" for the public. I'm going to work with them to get them back where they need to be, but I have no idea how long that might take as I expect part of the problem is corrosion in the contacts for the joysticks, and some of those parts might need to be recreated from scratch. Worst case, I did find a source for aftermarket controllers, though they're kinda expensive.

The Atari expansion results in a black screen on power up, but again it may just have some bad contacts or something. I'll keep messing with it.

I do see that there's a composite mod for these, and that might be the most practical solution for this machine going forward too.

If anyone has any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them! More on this to follow soon!
Glad you are getting some use out of it! Happy to find it a new home 😁
 

Performa

Well-known member
Do the big controllers work?
Not yet. One doesn't do anything, the other doesn't behave "normally" but I don't know much at all about them- they might only work with their games, or might need to be in some sort of special mode.
 

Performa

Well-known member
Update time!

A little over a week ago, I reached out to our friends over at Gaming Generations on the north side about whether they thought they could fix some of the issues and inconsistencies with the Colecovision. They said they'd take a look at it, and that was all I heard until today. Their wizards have (as I understand it) gotten all the serious issues worked out and the system running like new again!

I went this route for two reasons- the first being that my time is finite, and my project load far outweighs what I can ever hope to accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. As this is something they could do, I figured it's money well spent; I've used the time I would have spent on the Colecovision working on other retro tech projects. In a perfect world, with infinite time, I'd certainly rather have worked on it myself, but this made a lot more sense given how busy this summer ahs turned out for me.

Anyway, tL;DR, the Colceovision is now working and will be back in action for future events and whatnot soon!
 
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