Re: Audio problems on VIC-20

From: Francesco Messineo <>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2017 20:23:17 +0200
Message-ID: <>
On Wed, Jul 5, 2017 at 8:03 PM, Ethan Dicks <> wrote:
> Hi, All,
> I set up a retro-gaming event at our hackerspace over the US holiday
> and I brought a couple of VIC-20s (since I hadn't fired them up in a
> while and didn't know if one or both had problems).  Turns out, it's
> good that I did.  One was fine, the other was not.
> The one with the problems - the biggest issue I had, as an example,
> was while playing Gorf from cartridge, the sound cut in and out while
> the game played.  I can easily swap out the 6560 VIC chip in case
> that's where the problem is, but are there any other diagnostic things
> I can do?

The audio signal is buffered with a single transistor
emitter-follower, so you would first check
it (solder joints and the 1uF electrolytic decoupling the DC after the

> Another symptom is the colors weren't quite as "bold" as they were on
> the working VIC-20.  There was still color, but on a no-cartridge
> bootup to BASIC, the border wasn't quite the same color, and when
> playing Gorf, the colors weren't as saturated.  Could be related,
> could be two different problems.

Inside the VIC metal box there's a 10k potentiometer that sets the
video signal level. Again, this signal is then buffered by another
emitter-follower. A DC-blocking electrolytic is placed before the base
input to the emitter follower, so this one might also be dried out and
high  ESR.
Your best friend is an oscilloscope in both cases.

Best regards
Frank IZ8DWF

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Received on 2017-07-05 19:02:28

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