Vectrex Monitor Modification

Discussion of modular and standalone video generating/processing techniques and associated hardware.

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Branko
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Post by Branko » Thu Oct 25, 2018 8:48 am

Kruger wrote:Branko
Hi branko, I just asked friend to make me the mod of the vectrex i found here : http://www.zektor.com/zvg/downloads/vectrex.pdf
but it did'nt worked. We just didn't read correctly the beginning actually i think : "The ZVG can be connected to a Vectrex without any permanent
changes to the Vectrex"

How did you manage to make it work ? If i understand it right I need a svg to connect my modular to the vectrex ? I actually don't know what it is, where to find it or how to build it.

Can you help ? txs a lot
Hey! I just followed the instructions posted here on MuffWiggler and didn't have an issue. I am simply feeding it with audio rate CV. I don't have a ZVG board so I haven't tried anything else.

I used these instructions by the way:

http://users.sussex.ac.uk/~ad207/adweb/ ... od2014.pdf

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:54 am

Branko wrote:
Kruger wrote:Branko
Hi branko, I just asked friend to make me the mod of the vectrex i found here : http://www.zektor.com/zvg/downloads/vectrex.pdf
but it did'nt worked. We just didn't read correctly the beginning actually i think : "The ZVG can be connected to a Vectrex without any permanent
changes to the Vectrex"

How did you manage to make it work ? If i understand it right I need a svg to connect my modular to the vectrex ? I actually don't know what it is, where to find it or how to build it.

Can you help ? txs a lot
Hey! I just followed the instructions posted here on MuffWiggler and didn't have an issue. I am simply feeding it with audio rate CV. I don't have a ZVG board so I haven't tried anything else.

I used these instructions by the way:

http://users.sussex.ac.uk/~ad207/adweb/ ... od2014.pdf
hello,

yes - to clarify - my instructions in the link above should be all you need, as well as three audio signals from a modular or whatever you decide to use.

Those boards that Zektor talks about are long gone and only useful really if you want to do what the Zector thing was designed for anyway.
Follow my instructions to just add three jacks to the X, Y and Z inputs of the Vectrex and you should be fine.

Keep posting your progress!!!

Cheers

Kruger
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thanks sync24 for your quick answer

Post by Kruger » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:23 am

i'll ckeck your link and keep you posted :)

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:22 pm

I did a gig:
[video][/video]

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nangu
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Post by nangu » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:13 am

That was totally badass!

:yay: :sb:

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mudlogger
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Post by mudlogger » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:10 pm

I just got into the Vectrex - totally blown away at the visuals. Videos do not do it justice tbh. Here's my first starter ones.

[video][/video]


[video][/video]


[video][/video]


[video][/video]


[video][/video]

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mckenic
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Post by mckenic » Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:19 pm

Amazing stuff folks! Truly inspiring, thank you for sharing!

Unrelated but - Silly Dave problem someone might be able to help with...
I bought a 2nd Vectrex over here to game on and it arrived with the case in bits. The electronics are A1 and everything works as it should its just the case is a write-off.

If anyone has a case or comes across an electrically dead Vectrex could you please give me a shout?

Cheers folks!
Keep up the great work!

Kruger
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i just managed to make the mod

Post by Kruger » Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:32 pm

I did it :bananaguitar: It's now time to explore and try to control this somehow. What modules/tricks do you use to keep the graphics in the center of the screen ? polarizer ? I think the wires i used to make the mod inside are much too long, could this affect the results ? Is there a maximum voltage value to avoid that could damage the tube or anything ?

Is there a basic patch test i could make (with a specific result to achieve) to be sure everything works fine with my mod ?

cheers

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sync24
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Re: i just managed to make the mod

Post by sync24 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:30 am

Great!

have a dig back through posts in this thread and you'll see talk of modules used... also on the last page of my modification document I mention which modules I use to scale and move shapes around.

The larger the voltage the BIGGER the image, so its more an aesthetic choice.

No one has made a basic test patch as far as I'm aware - probably because no one has the same modules ;-)
Oh, and loooooong cables shouldn't be an issue.

Try sending signals through some kind of attenuverter and you should get an idea what's going on.

And share your results :)
Kruger wrote:I did it :bananaguitar: It's now time to explore and try to control this somehow. What modules/tricks do you use to keep the graphics in the center of the screen ? polarizer ? I think the wires i used to make the mod inside are much too long, could this affect the results ? Is there a maximum voltage value to avoid that could damage the tube or anything ?

Is there a basic patch test i could make (with a specific result to achieve) to be sure everything works fine with my mod ?

cheers

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bitSmasher
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Post by bitSmasher » Sun Nov 18, 2018 6:31 am

Could maybe use the ILDA test, if you have DC-coupled audio interface

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nangu
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Post by nangu » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:17 am

mckenic wrote:I bought a 2nd Vectrex over here to game on and it arrived with the case in bits. The electronics are A1 and everything works as it should its just the case is a write-off.

If anyone has a case or comes across an electrically dead Vectrex could you please give me a shout?
There is another option..

You could rebuild the broken one in a custom plywood box with a camera mount. Maybe even a motorized camera mount that would add crazy perspective stuff to the image as it moves..

Then just use the not-broken one for gaming after undoing the mods..

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mckenic
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Post by mckenic » Sun Nov 18, 2018 12:43 pm

:hail: nangu - Thank you! I would never have thought of that!!!
Great idea!

:tu:

Epignosis567
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Post by Epignosis567 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:55 am

Hi all. I’ve been following this thread and I successfully modded my vectrex, however there is a problem. I have attached a video below. As you can see in the video I can increase and decrease the frequency of the sine oscillator that’s on the X axis and the vectrex display responds normally, however if I decrease the sine oscillator controlling the Y axis the image cuts out at about 600 Hz, Then for some reason I have to increase it back up to 2500 Hz in order to get the image to come on again, and then if I start to decrease it again it cuts out at 600 Hz, rinse repeat. Does anyone have any idea what the problem could be? I’m not sure if it’s related at all but at higher frequencies the vectrex its own high-pitched frequency! Not sure if that’s normal just thought I’d mention it. Thanks!
[video][/video]

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 12:45 pm

Epignosis567 wrote:Hi all. I’ve been following this thread and I successfully modded my vectrex, however there is a problem. I have attached a video below. As you can see in the video I can increase and decrease the frequency of the sine oscillator that’s on the X axis and the vectrex display responds normally, however if I decrease the sine oscillator controlling the Y axis the image cuts out at about 600 Hz, Then for some reason I have to increase it back up to 2500 Hz in order to get the image to come on again, and then if I start to decrease it again it cuts out at 600 Hz, rinse repeat. Does anyone have any idea what the problem could be? I’m not sure if it’s related at all but at higher frequencies the vectrex its own high-pitched frequency! Not sure if that’s normal just thought I’d mention it. Thanks!
[video][/video]
I'm no expert, mainly because I've not bothered actually measuring any frequencies, but if you go to too low a frequency then the 'spot killer' circuit comes in to play and kills the image on the screen.

The spot killer stops you from burning a hole in the phosphor inner coating of the tube - like you often find on old oscilloscopes.

If you disable the spot killer then you can show much lower frequency shapes, otherwise the image drops away and you have to 'hit' the Vectrex with a higher frequency than when you lost the image to get it back again.

I still haven't got round to adding the spot killer mod to my pdf document, but it is worth doing (with an added switch) - but chances of burning a hole in your Vectrex phosphor are high, and I take zero responsibility for that.

Oh, it wasn't me that came up with the spot killer mod, either, so may be that's partly why I've not added it.

Epignosis567
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Post by Epignosis567 » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:17 pm

Thanks but I don’t think that’s what it is. 600 Hz isn’t very slow and it’s happening in the context of really complex patterns anyways, it’s not like I’m trying to display a slow-moving Lfo or anything, I’m talking about complex XY patterns. Any other ideas though?

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:51 pm

Epignosis567 wrote:Thanks but I don’t think that’s what it is. 600 Hz isn’t very slow and it’s happening in the context of really complex patterns anyways, it’s not like I’m trying to display a slow-moving Lfo or anything, I’m talking about complex XY patterns. Any other ideas though?
Ok, I just set things up with a scope attached and the Vectrex dropped its image around 600hz going in to one of the channels.
Then I had to do as I said in my previous post - hit it with a much higher frequency to get the image going again - about 1.9khz

I've performed with my Vectrex plenty of times before I did the spot killer modification and what I have outlined here happened on numerous occasions. It may be that variations in input frequencies lead to different image-loss point... I don't know.

If you care to share your patch set up, maybe there will be something that sparks a thought.

Cheers

Epignosis567
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Post by Epignosis567 » Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:39 am

OK thanks, you might be right. Hit me with the spot killer mod/what the risks are.
Thanks again

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Post by Epignosis567 » Sun Feb 10, 2019 11:58 am

Er, anybody?

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Mon Feb 11, 2019 5:49 am

Epignosis567 wrote:Er, anybody?
Er, sorry, been a bit busy -

So if you do the Spot-Killer mod you will very likely burn a dot in the middle of your Vectrex screen.
I think I am really careful, but it still happened.
It's not major or very obvious, but it is there...

What you need to do is either just bridge two points on the big side mounted board, or wire a switch across them.
I have wired switches on a couple of units now.
I got some quite heavy duty switches, ones that I accidently bought years ago thinking I knew what I was doing but that are rated for mains power. They work fine.

The info comes from two Facebook groups ('Vectrex, XY' and 'Vector monitors The Technical Side') courtesy of Derek Holzer and Fred Konopaska.
And I think the picture there is from Derek.
If you are on fb:


Here's my own pics:
Switch is top-back section of case:
Image
This board is the side-mounted one, you should easily find the two points to bridge near the 39P876 / IP6592 numbers
Image
Inside the Vectrex case so you can see my switch
Image

As Derek has said, he, nor Fred not me take any responsibility for what happens to your Vectrex screen.
It probably will burn a dot in the middle, it's happened to two of mine and I'm over it now.

Epignosis567
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Post by Epignosis567 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 11:05 am

Thanks. Are there any steps I should take to prevent the burning in of the monitor?

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:25 pm

Epignosis567 wrote:Thanks. Are there any steps I should take to prevent the burning in of the monitor?
Seriously? not doing this mod.

At Vector Hack ALL the Vectrex's had burned-in dots.
I've burned in two.
All have switches on so the mod can be enabled/disabled, so you can try and be vigilant and keep switching it off/on as much as poss - like me - but it'll probably happen if you get a bit carried away, or have a gig or something.

Alternatively, get lucky and find an old oscilloscope on ebay with a white phosphor and no graticule.

its a tough game :deadbanana:

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bitSmasher
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Post by bitSmasher » Thu Feb 14, 2019 10:16 pm

What would be a clever way of mimicking the spot-kill function but with lower threshold for frequency? I'm keen to mod mine, but it'd be nice to not burn a hole :despair:
Perhaps via a combination of euro modules... I've not given it much thought yet but it will be something to look in to.

Also, how's this idea:
I want to have output jacks, to take the vectrex X/Y signal in to an audio setup, then pipe it back in.
My plan is to have a set of jacks with parallel connections for output, then a set of switched jacks for input.
So if the Vectrex is only outputting (possibly driving a laser) it'll still display on the screen... if I wanted to input, the switched jacks take care of that.
Please verify / validate :razz:

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sync24
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Post by sync24 » Fri Feb 15, 2019 4:56 am

bitSmasher wrote:What would be a clever way of mimicking the spot-kill function but with lower threshold for frequency? I'm keen to mod mine, but it'd be nice to not burn a hole :despair:
Perhaps via a combination of euro modules... I've not given it much thought yet but it will be something to look in to.
You would be able to mimic the spot-kill function with a real oscilloscope, but with a Vectrex, once you drop below a particular audio frequency the spot-killer circuit drops the image out because the beam is moving too slow. You then need a higher frequency than what caused the loss to get it back.
bitSmasher wrote: Also, how's this idea:
I want to have output jacks, to take the vectrex X/Y signal in to an audio setup, then pipe it back in.
My plan is to have a set of jacks with parallel connections for output, then a set of switched jacks for input.
So if the Vectrex is only outputting (possibly driving a laser) it'll still display on the screen... if I wanted to input, the switched jacks take care of that.
Please verify / validate :razz:
Not sure I follow you here - are you saying you want to take the game x/y output and send that via audio modules?
Benton Bainbridge did this with his Dualing Vectrex - look back at older posts and you can find his video demo.
To accomplish this, it would be a case of hooking up via switching jacks the signals from the game board before they get to the screen driver circuit.
Or if I read what you are saying you want the best of both worlds - are you proposing making up for the lack of low freq response with the Vectrex by controlling a laser?
There's no output in my modification of what you would be sending in to the Vectrex. So you'd be using your parallel signals to drive your laser too. Have you looked at or got a laser and maybe the LZX Cyclops?
Sorry if I am missing something/not following you properly - it's still early :zombie:

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bitSmasher
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Post by bitSmasher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:36 pm

I might've confused things, was rushing a bit when typing the last post.

What I'm proposing, is could a separate circuit be used to mimic the spot-kill function - preferably in Euro format, and with lower frequency threshold so we can still have very slow movement.
So disable spot-kill in the Vectrex, but ensure whatever signal is being sent to it (namely the Z) is processed to prevent burning the screen.

Maybe a pair of Slope Detectors monitoring X and Y signal, that has a gate that goes high when signal is steady (ie, DC or 0V)
Feeding in to a logic (NAND?) which controls a VCA on the Z.
If X and Y are both steady, then Z is switched off.

:despair:
Or I'm just over-thinking, and should just take the easy way and accept that I'll burn the screen...

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bitSmasher
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Post by bitSmasher » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:46 pm

Regarding using the game output - it was BCB's video that inspired me.
My idea is that game output could be taken and paralleled, so driving euro as well as the internal screen.
A second set of switching jacks would be used, if you wanted to drive the screen.
Essentially like a "half normalled" patch bay connection.

Image

Could I expect the Vectrex to drive both internal screen and external modules, without cooking it? Assuming most Euro modules have a high enough input impedance...
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