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Finally bought my first (broken) 3DO (troubleshooting help?)

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:38 am
by dark
I was glancing around at broken FZ-1s as I've been doing for the past couple of weeks, and I noticed that a newly offered one said "Testing Station" rather than Panasonic on the disc drive.

I got it for $50 with the shipping and a goldstar controller included. This would have been outside the range I was hoping for for a normal FZ-1, but if this is an uncommon piece of video game history, I can surely stretch a bit :wink:

From the vague description, the problem seems to be "it doesn't read discs" - which could be caused by any number of issues related to the laser, gears, or the sliding tray among others. At any rate, I'm proud to own it, I can't wait for it to arrive, and I darn well hope I can troubleshoot the problem and fix it up!

I'll take some pics when it arrives :D

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:55 am
by 3DO Experience
The problem may be even easier than you think. The testers have a switch in the back, flip it and the games may work.

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:54 am
by Anonymous
Yeah, could be the debug switch.

Posted: Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:36 pm
by dark
Yeah I was just thinking that after I did a little research on the testing stations last night. That will be the first thing I try at any rate :)

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 4:47 pm
by dark
It came today. It also came with a CIB not for resale copy of Total Eclipse, which wasn't pictured in the auction :)

Unfortunately it has a weird problem. The seller shows it hooked up to a TV displaying the video just fine (open tray graphic). But when I connect it to my TV, I get a black screen with grey fuzzy lines... so obviously there is some weird video problem going on. I can't hear any audio either, but I think the 3DO startup screen does not have any audio? I also don't hear the disc spinning, so there likely is something wrong with the disc drive - setting the switch to encrypted or unencrypted doesn't really make a difference in any of these respects, except when set to unencrypted, a sharp beep noise occurs in the first second of startup.

Hopefully the video issue is just due to a faulty video cable - the seller bunched it up folded in on itself several times - for what its worth, I don't believe it is an actual 3DO video cable either, as it says "dish network" on the cable :lol:

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:42 pm
by dark
Tried a different video cable, tried a different TV, and tried using a nintendo RF unit to plug directly into an old TV.

None of it works.

Which leads me to ask this question - if a 3DO cd rom drive isn't working and you press the power on an FZ-1 ... does any bios logo or anything pop up? Or would a blank grey screen be "normal" in this regard?

The auction had pictures of the 3DO hooked up to a TV displaying the REAL graphic, 3DO logo, and disc tray open graphic - but I don't get any of these graphics on the screen, even for a second. Any ideas?

I should also mention, the red power light goes on, and it sounds like the fan is working, and on startup the green access light turns on for a second (but nothing else, likely b/c of some problem with the cdrom drive). So it's not like the machine is a complete brick, or is having some kind of power problem.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 6:36 pm
by dark
More troubleshooting progress - I opened it up, and there was some kind of black wire from the special testing unit board that was unplugged from a contact. I connected it - but no difference in anything. Although when I took it apart the console apart, the CDrom drive started spinning, so that's a plus :wink:

The black wire I'm talking about, is the one in this picture next to the combined black and red. As you can see it plugs into a contact on the testing board - on my unit it was loose. ... ~60_57.JPG

What the heck is up with this video issue!
I also noticed initially that my 3DO was set up (on the back with the switch) for channel 4, I've switched it between 3 and 4, but havent' seen any difference.

I guess I'll have to take off the shielding around the motherboard/CDunit/video output area and see if there is a leaky cap or something.

Posted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:44 pm
by Trev
Sorry, I really don't know too much about the testing stations (haven't had the pleasure yet) I'm sure one of the more tech savvy members who have this unit can help though. I wish you the best in your efforts.

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:19 pm
by dark
Well, I got a partial refund from the seller. - In the meantime, I think it is a bad capacitor(s). I'll take it apart further to investigate and see if I can spot something really obvious, but replacing all the caps on an FZ-1 is not something I'm very interested in - so I'm probably going to sell this testing station and look for another console.

Since the 3DO is 20 years old now, is it common or usual to have bad caps? Or certain models more prone to bad caps than others?

It seems I'm not the only one who has experienced this exact problem. Although this is the only other record I can find of it. ... =6&t=33707

At least I got a copy of Total Eclipse out of this ;)

Posted: Sun Apr 14, 2013 5:29 pm
by Anonymous
The 3DO's from panasonic are reliable and dependable even today. Not saying they cant break, as everything can and will, but they are reliable machines.

Re: Finally bought my first (broken) 3DO (troubleshooting he

Posted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:34 pm
by retrotech
Hi everyone
i've been given a pal (i presume) fz-1 with this exact problem, and think its worth the effort replacing caps.
Has anyone else had this problem and solve it?
i've ordered the power filter cap and will try that first, but to be honest the board is VERY clean with no smell or visible damaged caps.
My model is the revision without a fan so im thinking a well used 3do without a fan may have more contact/trace problems.
Anyways ill post any updates to this thread but i don't hold out much hope but seeing as it was a freebie and the only cost would be time and parts it is def worth a bash!
If anyone has any updates please please do post!


Posted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:34 am
by retrotech