Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Discussion about Modding the XBOX, including hardware and software hacks.
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budyll
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Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by budyll » Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:16 pm

Hi everyone,

I recently dug out my barely ever used original Xbox. I've bought it brand new in 2002 and used it for about few weeks. Anyways, I was able to successfully softmod it (using Krayzie softmod via Hexen disc). Everything works great! It plays copies of my games from HDD etc. but I have one huge issue, namely the video cuts out randomly for about a second and comes back.

I've tried multiple cables, 2 component cables, regular AV cable which I've had for it as well as just bought Xbox HDMI link cable. All of them do that.

Basically, no matter which game do I play, the screen randomly flickers black for about a second and comes back. I live in the UK so I used PAL to NTSC switcher to be able to play games in 480p as PAL is 480i only in pretty much 95% of the titles.

In the beginning I thought that maybe it is the issue with the PAL to NTSC switcher, but even when I revert it (games are then playing in 480i) it still happens.

I'm seriously lost and don't have a clue why is this happening. I can live with it, but you can imagine how annoying it is at the end.
Is there anyone who experienced a similar issue and knows how to resolve it?
PS. Funny thing is, that while I wasn't able to find a similar issue on that matter about the original XBOX while googling it, I noticed that people have had similar problems with X360 and Xbox One.

Thank you in advance for help people. I will really appreciate it :)!

Coldly-Indifferent
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by Coldly-Indifferent » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:03 pm

I've do not remember reading about anything similar to what you've just described. Random video loss is unusual.

A few things I would ask if it the video cut out occurs if you play the game from disc rather than installed to the HDD? Does it just happen during games or at other times too? Are there any mechanical sounds like the HDD spinning down/up again associated with this? What about the front LED, does it flicker or change colour during these episodes?

Whether you play PAL games in PAL60 (480i/60Hz) or with the console set to NTSC at 480p should not make any difference to the video display except as you would expect in terms of picture quality. A fully functional Xbox can display the dash and the games/other things that support higher resolutions at 720p or 1080i. Whatever the resolution it should not randomly freeze the video output.

budyll
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by budyll » Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:47 pm

The led is constantly orange (what I set it to). I don't hear any unusual noises when the drop-out occurs either. It happens when I play from HDD as well as when I play from disc.
I found a topic about it from 5yrs back but the person wasn't able to resolve it: viewtopic.php?t=1471

Coldly-Indifferent
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by Coldly-Indifferent » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:59 pm

I've just skated through that thread. Very interesting, particularly the suggestion that this might be caused by local power surges in your home or close by from other electrical devices turning on/off. I wonder if nearby telecoms equipment might also be a possible cause; I have TV STBs which are severely affected by people using 4G handsets nearby, even the handshake signal cause an interruption in my TV signal. But would something like that affect an Xbox - seems unlikely.

But the electrical surge from other equipment sounds like a plausible explanation and I also know that such things can occur from my own experience but not with a Xbox. I can wake my PC from hibernation/stand-by by turning on a TV anywhere in my home. It doesn't happen with any other electrical device that I have tested.

Unfortunately I have no solution to this; I have power surge protectors on the PC and two of the TVs which cause this problem. Maybe a voltage stabilizer would help but I'm not shelling out just to test that.

My regularly used Xboxes are all similar protected either individually or via built in surge protection multi-gang extension leads used with v1.6, v1.1, v1.2 and v1.4 models I've never suffered a similar problem. BTW they're all PAL region swapped to NTSC, one chipped, the rest softmodded and I've used every cable type: AV RCA Composite, SCART adapters, S-Video, RGB SCART and Component of various make and quality. The only problem I had was one cheap RGB SCART lead that caused mild interference when used with one particular TV.

With this electrical surge suggestion in mind it might be worth keeping a log of when these drop outs occur and see if it matches anything else electrical being switched on/off in your home (fridge/freezer, boilers, cookers, security lighting, other people using TVs etc).

Sorry I can't be more help.

budyll
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by budyll » Thu Jan 17, 2019 5:38 pm

I was able to fix the issue! I disabled the Enigmah (turned NTSC back to PAL), went into the nkpatcher video options and enabled "force progressive scan".

Summarizing, my XBOX region is in my native PAL now, 480p works and looks very, very good on my TV.
It runs NTSC games without any issues as well as long as I know which titles are NTSC and I remember to put auto-region switch to NTSC M when playing them and vice-versa or it starts having that flickering issue again. As soon as I use Enigmah to put it into NTSC mode permanently I start having the issue constantly, no matter which settings in the UnleashX video settings I use.

It only takes a moment to restart XBOX and switch the option in the dashboard when it starts happening, so it isn't as annoying anymore given that I know how to fix it now :).
Thanks for the help and your input anyways. I really appreciate it.
Take care ;)!

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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by Coldly-Indifferent » Fri Jan 18, 2019 1:23 am

That is strange behaviour; I did not know you could use NKPatcher to force progressive scan (480p?) with the Xbox set to PAL. But why switching to NTSC causes the problem described I won't even speculate.

My inclination would be to redo the softmod, perhaps with Rocky5's Softmodding Tools package instead. If ever you want to replace the HDD that would be the time to do it. But if you're happy with it as it is now then leave it be until then.

budyll
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by budyll » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:46 am

My current softmod is Rocky5 (I've used Krayzie for the past week ever since I dug out this Xbox; swapped to Rocky5 2 days back hoping that softmod is the issue). Prior to that I didn't even know about something like nkpatcher.

I'm not much of a techie when it comes to Xbox modding, but if keeping my Xbox as PAL region, using nkpatcher to force progressive scan over PAL and then simply switching options in UnleashX accordingly to the games region fixes the issue, then I'm happy. I'm not the kind of person that would dwell on why something is or isn't working. Important thing to me is that it indeed works :). Thanks again for trying to help ;)!

PS. I assume that nkpatcher forces progressive scan over PAL, as when going into the MS Dashboard the only options under video are the aspect ratios and enabling PAL-60, so less than with Enigmah, yet 480p works :).

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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by Coldly-Indifferent » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:06 pm

We may get lucky and Rocky5 will read this thread and be able to explain more.

budyll
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Re: Random black screen when gaming. Help!

Post by budyll » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:03 pm

Maybe he will, maybe not. Like I said, I'm not really knowledgeable about the whole XBOX modding as I've pretty much only done it due to the YouTube tutorials. As long as what I've done works, I'm happy no questions asked :).

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