How can I hook up my Timex-Sinclair 1000 to a modern television?
February 15, 2008 11:51 PM   Subscribe

How can I hook up my Timex-Sinclair 1000 to a modern television?

I've recently acquired a complete Timex-Sinclair 1000 computer, complete with power supply, switch box, and cables.

My grandmother has an old, old RCA XL-100 analog television that barely works (VHF is all staticy with just the regular antenna attached, UHF comes in fine, but it's a faded, washed out image). I hooked the switch box up to the TV, toggled it to computer, plugged in the power and tv cable to the computer unit, and don't see anything. If I toggle the channel switch on the bottom of the TS1k the screen switches from black to static, so this leads me to believe I've a working TS1k, just the TV is bad.

I'd like to know how I can get this working on a modern TV with RCA cabling. Is this possible? If so, what do I need? Hopefully soldering isn't an option, but I can get someone to do it for me if it's required.
posted by missed to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
To get my Atari Pinball to work on my modern TV I needed to hook the switch box (RF Modulator) to one of those two-screws+coax antenna to cable modules. The wires on the RF modulator were hooked up to the screws on the module, which then was plugged into a cable input for the TV. YMMV, and I know this is hard to Google (or at least it was a couple years ago when I went through it).
posted by rhizome at 11:57 PM on February 15, 2008

Are you using a PAL tv or an NTSC tv? What type of modulator does your Timex-Sinclair 1000 use?
posted by bigmusic at 12:57 AM on February 16, 2008

Do you have to use RCA cabling, or does your modern TV have a coax / F port as well? Because if the latter, then rhizome's suggestion should work, assuming your RF Modulator is like the ones I used to have. You just need a "300 ohm antenna to 75 ohm coax transformer," like this one. Connect the RF Modulator's leads to the posts, then plug the coax into your TV. It's $5 at Radio Shack.

If you just have RCA ins on the TV, well, the yellow jack is "Composite Video" aka "CVBS," which is a lot easier to google for than RCA :) I'm not finding anything to cheaply convert from antenna connectors to composite, but an old VCR should do the trick if you've got one lying around.

If this doesn't answer your question, please provide a few more specifics about what jacks are on the tv, and what's coming out of the TS1K.
posted by mumkin at 2:51 AM on February 16, 2008

Response by poster: i did wind up getting it to work on the analog, but with that in slow death, the move to my more newer tv is welcomed.

the RF modulator I had is broken so I ordered a new one, and I also ordered the transformer linked above, as well.

the TS1K uses one RCA video jack, no sound. I have tvs with RCA and coax (NTSC)
posted by missed at 4:55 AM on February 16, 2008

Mumkin has the real science, but as another datapoint I did try to use a newer "automatic" RF modulator from a Nintendo that didn't work. I don't know if the Nintendo modulator is different than the old(er)-school ones, but I got my results when the modulator had one of those "TV -> Game" sliders. FWIW, I was not able to get a yellow-jack composite signal out of the modulator at all.

If you're getting a new TV, the modulator + transformer is janky, but will be the way to go. I don't know if there's a combo version out there, but it sure would be handy in this day and age.
posted by rhizome at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2008

I've never seen the inside of a Timex-Sinclair 1000, but I did get one for Christmas when I was a kid and spent hours programming games that I would play for 5 minutes and then be bored with.

Anyway, I picked up an old Odyssey 2 system last year and had the same problem that you're having and I found this hack that worked just fine. Good luck.
posted by Ohdemah at 10:41 AM on February 16, 2008

Here's the scoop: your TS1000 signal is modulated on channel 3 or 4 (unless it's one of the odd variants that goes to UHF channels... around 29 or so I think).

Anyway, that connects to your game/computer switch box and that (on an ancient 70s/80s era TV) screws on to the antenna terminals of the tv.

What if you don't have antenna terminals? Get the doohickey mumkin mentions. That connects to the cable TV screw-on connector.
posted by jdfan at 12:59 PM on February 16, 2008

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