Famicom : Worth buying ?

You can talk about almost anything that you want to on this board.

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:25 am

Next time I see my neighbours (who have an LCD TV of some sort; will need to see if it has a coaxial input jack on it), I'll try the same test on their TV. That'll determine if my Sony contains true magic smoke, or if the secret lies somewhere else.

User avatar
Bregalad
Posts: 7768
Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2004 2:49 pm
Location: Chexbres, VD, Switzerland

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by Bregalad » Mon Nov 12, 2012 5:13 am

I have two RF boxes (the gray things) which I can test with. One is from top-loader NES, and one from my front-loader NES. The one I'm using in the video is from my top-loader NES.
I have at lest 3 or 4 of them, one of them from my NTSC NES, and as far I know they are all strictly identical. The only difference is the antenna connector is slightly different mechanically, but the inside of the RF switch is the exact same, and since I don't use an antenna for TV I could use the "NTSC" or "PAL" one interchangeability (it's probably wrong to call them NTSC or PAL though).

User avatar
rainwarrior
Posts: 7680
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:03 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by rainwarrior » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:33 am

Possibly your Famicom itself has an uncommon revision of its RF output unit? I dunno. I'm a tiny bit disappointed that it doesn't work for me too, but the AV mod is much more useful anyway (and relatively simple to do).

strat
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:08 pm
Location: Missouri

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by strat » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:51 pm

I'm thinking about getting Seirei Densetsu (Little Samson) and a 60-72 pin adapter just because the NA/EU release of that game is ridiculously expensive. The Famicom cart is going for less insane amounts of ebay. Would anyone know if $70-$80 US is reasonable for the Famicom version or is that a swindle?

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:23 pm

BTW, for those considering buying a used Famicom (Bregalad this is for you) -- not the AV Famicom, but the original Famicom -- and assuming the product is known to work and comes with its original AC adapter -- this is how I see it / how my brain works:

The Famicom was released to market (in Asia) in 1983. Most Famicoms I've seen were manufactured between 1983 and 1987, so the hardware is quite old (not that it's broken, it's just old, so keep that in mind). When the Famicom was released in Japan (1983), it sold for 14800 yen. Taking inflation into account using this calculator, and going purely off of the CPI (best choice, IMO, to consider what something would cost today vs. then for this type of product), we can see that 14800 yen then converts into about 17400 yen today. 17400 yen today is equal to US$217.

Given that the product being sold is certainly used, and I personally feel/believe that moderate-to-heavily-used products should result in a 50% price decrease, that would make the "going price" around US$108. So, any price around that, or less, would be a fair/reasonable price for a Famicom today.

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:35 pm

rainwarrior wrote:Possibly your Famicom itself has an uncommon revision of its RF output unit? I dunno. I'm a tiny bit disappointed that it doesn't work for me too, but the AV mod is much more useful anyway (and relatively simple to do).
Well this is going to be fun! :-) I met with my neighbour tonight -- it didn't even occur to me this situation. *laugh* He's an American who does professional Japanese translation for Nikon, and he used to live in Japan (his wife's Japanese, etc.). So guess what his TV is? Yep, Japanese. It's a Sony Bravia KDL-32J5. We're going through trying to figure out how to auto-scan VHF/UHF channels to see if it can find the Famicom when it's powered on. :P So what I'm saying is that using my neighbour's TV might not be a good/legitimate comparison test since it's a 100% native Japanese TV. I am using the NES RF box with it though (I don't have the original Famicom RF box) so I guess we'll see what transpires.

P.S. -- His wife let out a shriek of excitement and yelled out some word in Japanese which meant "nostalgic!" when I brought the Famicom over. I guess she had one as a kid. *laugh* Cute. :-)

User avatar
rainwarrior
Posts: 7680
Joined: Sun Jan 22, 2012 12:03 pm
Location: Canada
Contact:

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by rainwarrior » Tue Nov 13, 2012 10:08 am

I don't know what they "should" go for, but I got my Famicom on eBay with no RF or power adapter for US $35 + $15 shipping (Japan to Canada). It cost me less than my front-loader NES.

User avatar
mikejmoffitt
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by mikejmoffitt » Wed Nov 14, 2012 10:07 am

rainwarrior wrote:I don't know what they "should" go for, but I got my Famicom on eBay with no RF or power adapter for US $35 + $15 shipping (Japan to Canada). It cost me less than my front-loader NES.
I came across pretty much the same deal.

How sure are you that your famicom is stock? If you bought it used, it is possible that someone did soldering funk-music to the RF modulator for use on US NTSC televisions.

As for whether or not the famicom is worth getting, I'd vouch that it totally is. Having stock mapper-audio capabilities is a very nice thing to have, and the famicom is a nice small shape. Mine is AV modded (and internal PSU modded, takes a regular IEC power plug in the back).

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:20 am

mikejmoffitt wrote:How sure are you that your famicom is stock? If you bought it used, it is possible that someone did soldering funk-music to the RF modulator for use on US NTSC televisions.
How is anyone sure? :-) All I can tell you is that I haven't modified jack squat. I don't have a second Famicom (as a comparison model) either. I could get one, sure, but money right now is tight due to not having a job, so buying Famicoms is not high on my priority list (vs., say, food).

I'm still waiting on my neighbour to be around + give me 15 minutes of his time to try and navigate the abysmal horror that is the Bravia's menu system (reminiscent of the PS3 -- ugh). My Famicom's still sitting next door hooked up... Heh.

User avatar
mikejmoffitt
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by mikejmoffitt » Thu Nov 15, 2012 11:35 am

koitsu wrote:
mikejmoffitt wrote:How sure are you that your famicom is stock? If you bought it used, it is possible that someone did soldering funk-music to the RF modulator for use on US NTSC televisions.
How is anyone sure? :-) All I can tell you is that I haven't modified jack squat. I don't have a second Famicom (as a comparison model) either. I could get one, sure, but money right now is tight due to not having a job, so buying Famicoms is not high on my priority list (vs., say, food).

I'm still waiting on my neighbour to be around + give me 15 minutes of his time to try and navigate the abysmal horror that is the Bravia's menu system (reminiscent of the PS3 -- ugh). My Famicom's still sitting next door hooked up... Heh.
Famicoms are delicious!

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:12 pm

koitsu wrote:I'm still waiting on my neighbour to be around + give me 15 minutes of his time to try and navigate the abysmal horror that is the Bravia's menu system (reminiscent of the PS3 -- ugh). My Famicom's still sitting next door hooked up... Heh.
Spent about 30 minutes with my neighbours last night -- managed to find the stupid menu in the Bravia TV that let you auto-scan VHF/UHF channels (the menu was called something like "Terrestrial Analog Scan").

The results are in: my Famicom, hooked up to their TV (see previous post for details + model), using the NES RF box, is found on two channels: 10 and C31. I don't know what "C31" is, but that's what the TV says. The video quality on 10 is quite good (standard RF quality with some very slight vertical banding), while C31 is significantly worse (wavy video, etc.).

My point here is this: my Famicom with the NES RF box works just fine on either a Japanese TV (channel 10 or C31), or a US TV (channel 3 or 4). Don't know what else I can say. The only other thing I could do would be to open up my Famicom and take photos of the insides for someone to compare to their own Famicom, to see if the unit I've had for 15-20 years is indeed somehow modified.

An alternate theory -- maybe there are different revisions of those grey NES RF boxes, despite the model number always being the same (NES-003)? As I said before, I have two of them (one that came with my top-loader NES, and one that came with my front-loader NES), but both are labelled NES-003.

P.S. -- If anyone knows where I could get a replacement slider for the volume adjustment on Controller #2, that would be awesome. Mine's buggered beyond belief (even when slid all the way off, it's usually on, and at max volume. It's obviously worn out/broken/whatever and my current hack involves using scotch tape + cardboard to hold the slider in a very specific position. ;-) )

User avatar
mikejmoffitt
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by mikejmoffitt » Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:38 pm

koitsu wrote:P.S. -- If anyone knows where I could get a replacement slider for the volume adjustment on Controller #2, that would be awesome. Mine's buggered beyond belief (even when slid all the way off, it's usually on, and at max volume. It's obviously worn out/broken/whatever and my current hack involves using scotch tape + cardboard to hold the slider in a very specific position. ;-) )
Try dumping that part of the PCB with Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing it around. Before anything else this is what I do with any sort of potentiometer to clean it out.

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:20 am

mikejmoffitt wrote:
koitsu wrote:P.S. -- If anyone knows where I could get a replacement slider for the volume adjustment on Controller #2, that would be awesome. Mine's buggered beyond belief (even when slid all the way off, it's usually on, and at max volume. It's obviously worn out/broken/whatever and my current hack involves using scotch tape + cardboard to hold the slider in a very specific position. ;-) )
Try dumping that part of the PCB with Isopropyl alcohol and rubbing it around. Before anything else this is what I do with any sort of potentiometer to clean it out.
Thanks for the advice, I'll give this a try. Couple simple questions: 1) By dumping it, do you mean quite literally desoldering the slider/pot and placing the entire part inside of a small glass/jar/bowl of isopropyl alcohol? 2) What percentage isopropyl? I can get my hands on 40%, 70%, and 99% (I have 99% in my bathroom presently).

User avatar
mikejmoffitt
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:43 pm

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by mikejmoffitt » Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:55 pm

I just mean drown it. Pour a lot on it, make sure it really gets in there. Luckily Isopropyl Alcohol has all kinds of capillary actions and likes to find its way into small crevices.

The closest to 100% is best; any will be helpful.

User avatar
koitsu
Posts: 4216
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 9:28 pm
Location: A world gone mad

Re: Famicom : Worth buying ?

Post by koitsu » Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:29 am

mikejmoffitt wrote:I just mean drown it. Pour a lot on it, make sure it really gets in there. Luckily Isopropyl Alcohol has all kinds of capillary actions and likes to find its way into small crevices.

The closest to 100% is best; any will be helpful.
Opened up Controller #2 this morning -- there is no potentiometre involved. That might sound like a surprise, but it's true. Here's what you get (look, a rainwarrior image!):

http://rainwarrior.ca/projects/nes/fc_c2_3.jpg
http://zapp4.staticworld.net/reviews/gr ... com_06.jpg

Also relevant: viewtopic.php?t=8848#p92993

The volume slider piece is just plastic with a piece of metal attached to it. That metal has two "legs" which slide across the two black "strips" you see in the upper left of the PCB. The "strips" are wired individually -- one goes to a leg of a capacitor, and one goes to a pin on some chip. The other leg of the capacitor goes to a trace that goes to one leg of the microphone, and has a resistor in-line (hard to explain in text, I could probably draw it in Paint though).

So as far as what to clean, I'm not sure. The "strips" don't appear to be any more or less tarnished than those in rainwarrior's shots, but I will admit the little metal "legs" look fairly tarnished, so I might let those sit in some isopropyl for a while. The "legs" are incredibly fragile however; I tried bending one just to see if maybe it was pressed down too far or not pulled up far enough and it felt like it was going to break in half. Yay almost-30-year-old hardware...

Edit: Two things:

1. I hooked the unit up to my TV with the 2nd controller open and mucked about with it. The part that appears to be faulty is either the microphone, the resistor (unlikely), or the capacitor (also unlikely). Strangely, if I hold the microphone between my index finger and thumb of my right hand, and then press my left hand's thumb against the two "strips" near the left side (which would be "off"), I can get the microphone noise to basically go away. I think this would explain why in rainwarrior's post there's no microphone on his unit -- almost certainly because yes, the mics appear to go bad and cause all sorts of mayhem.

2. I opened up the Famicom itself and then unscrewed the actual RF box from inside so I could look at it. It does not look like this nor this -- it looks newer than that, but not by much (I found Japanese food in mine, along with god knows what else). I'd take a photo but I already closed the thing up (I can re-open it if need be). Searching Google for "ファミコン ビデオ" turns up a lot of interesting results. Ah, wait a minute: Here we go! Mine is basically the one on the left. Source page, when translated roughly, indicates that the Famicom on the left is "older", i.e. what mine is, while the one on the right (presumably similar to what rainwarrior has) is "newer". So yes, there is a difference between some of the Famicom's video/RF output circuitry, but done officially. Possibly the "newer" models aren't compatible with the method I'm using. *shrug* koitsu's magically old Famicom. ;)

Post Reply