Back in December 2012, I found this VR machine on eBay, so while everyone was waiting for the world to end on the 21st, I bought my Virtuality 1000CS unit. Lucky fo me, the gamble paid off, the world did not end and the VR was delivered to me on January 4th 2013.
When the machine arrived, it was on a pallet in the back of a van, I had no clue of its cosmetic or working condition. It was very dirty, as it had been sat in storage for many years. The machine also has a few scratches on it, around the base and on the side `support pods` but all it was just cosmetic, although at this point, I was still unsure if it worked. It took 4 of us to lift it off the van, as it weighs a hefty 120kg.
As for finding out whether it worked or not, I decided to strip it down and give it a clean, before testing. I wanted to do this for a number of reasons: To learn how it was connected together and to be sure that it was all connected correctly before I turned it on for the first time.
When I first turned the VR machine on, it was still in bits, but WOOHOO! It worked first time!!!!! I was over the moon! It was playing the game Dactyl Nightmare.
So, I continued on re-assembling the unit, and once completed, I decided to turn it on again to have my FIRST go on a 1000CS unit; I have only ever played on a SD (Sit-Down) machine.
To my horror and much upset, the LCD`s screens in the Visette had become faulty! The left one was VERY dark, and only just visible, as if the back light had died, and the right screen had a white streak down the middle of it, like a lightning bolt, about 1/4 of the screen width!
I was almost in tears as I thought I had damaged it during the rebuild!
Later, I did find out it was due to the age of the electronics for the LCD screens.
When searching the internet for Virtuality machines, I quickly found that information on them was very scarce, especially for the 1000 series, which this machine is – a 1000CS, so the information I required to repair my VR unit was not available!
So, I started to research information of the possible video output, based on the Amiga 3000 (that’s the computer within).
I eventually found out that it was not the standard of the Amiga, but a converted version of the Amiga output - to the arcade video standard: CGA / RGBVS. (Red-Green-Blue-Video Sync).
I hunted for LCD screens that could be used on a CGA video signal, but nothing could be found that was the size I needed – 3.2 inches diagonal.
Being naïve on the knowledge of arcade video systems of the early 1990`s, I found some CGA to Composite video convertors that I didnt know of at all, and some Composite LCD screens, 3.5inches. Slightly bigger, but they still fit well!
As the LCD screens were in a `nice` enclosure, I stripped them out, and made some brackets to hold them in place within the Visette. I had to build a video conversion unit, which housed the pair of conversion cards, as well as power regulation and cooling. In changing the video signal, I had to re-wire the video loom also.
After several `work in progress` tests, I re-assembled the unit to a fully working system!
It is now stored in my garage and it has been exhibited at 4 events in 2013, with about 5 planned already in 2014!
Each time I transport it somewhere, to make it easier to move about, I strip it right down. As I have done this a few times now, it takes about 20 minutes to strip it, and about the same to re-build, ready for use!
If you want to find out more about the Virtualty 1000CS machine, then please look at the Virtuality – Machines section.
A Video of my Virtuality 1000CS being played at Revival Retro Event 2013 in Wolverhampton, being operated by a colleague.
Please note, the image displayed on the TV is reversed, due to the Expality 2000 (the VR computer) outputs the image in reverse, as there are mirrors in the Visette.