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Vectrex CRT Warped Display Adjustment

July 30, 2017

A few weeks ago I became the lucky owner of a Vectrex. The previous owner stated that it worked fine and the graphics still looked nice. Unfortunately, when I turned it on, the screen seemed to be a bit warped. The rotation was not correct either, but that isn’t too big of a deal. Issues like these seem common with these systems as they have been around since 1982!

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I obtained the Vectrex Repair manual, as well as a test cart, and began going through and tweaking the logic board pots. Then I started messing with the yoke on the CRT as well as the magnet adjustment tabs.  After rotating it into position, and getting the screen stretched to where I wanted it, I realized that I was going to have to do more than these basic adjustments to help me with the warped image. It actually doesn’t look too bad in my before picture because the image on the CRT is rotated clockwise a bit. When I rotated and sized it properly the bottom right part of the grid was off the screen.

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To bring the bottom right corner back in, I took a broken magnet from the refrigerator and attached it to a wooden skewer. I then moved it around the magnet on the right side of the coil to see if I could get it looking any better. The magnet was too strong the first time I tried it so I broke it in half and reattached it to the skewer. After moving it around a bit more, I found a sweet spot where it looked almost perfect. I hot glued it, along with the skewer, and cut the skewer down afterwards. With these CRTs (and so few adjustments to be made) it is hard to get it spot-on, but I was close enough for the time being.

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I didn’t notice at first, but there is a bit of a bulge in the top right after I hot glued the magnet. You can’t really notice it in games, but I am going to work on it when I do the audio amp bypass mod (future post). The beauty of using hot glue is you can remove it without damaging the coil but it holds it in place perfectly.

Vectrex-Yoke-Adjustment Comparison

Please do not try this at home if you are unsure of what you’re doing. There are very high voltages going through the system that can harm you. Some of these voltages remain in the CRT as well as the capacitors after the system is turned off.

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