Saga of my Atari 2600 Jr continues

As I reported in my last post, the Atari 2600 Jr I recently bought was working ok, but after it sat a while, the power switch got a bit flaky again.  I’m guessing there was some contact cleaner still in it at first that helped make it work right.  But after sitting over night it had become stiff again and I had to fiddle with it a bit to get it to turn on.


So I decided to replace the switch completely,  the 2-3 channel switch is also a bit suspect.  Even though I could just solder a permanent jump for channel 3, I decided to replace it also.  Then came the fun part, trying to find the switches.  So I looked on feebay, no exact match, but a few close ones from China, but I also know the quality of stuff like that is questionable.  So I spent 3 hours looking through the specs of most every slide switch sold on a major parts supplier.  And finally found switches that match both the power and channel switches:)  I just finished ordering them and should have them in a day or two if they send them as fast as they did with my last order of parts for a ham, radio project I was building.


So in a few days I should have the 2600 Jr restored.  I’m debating replacing the old 3.5mm power jack with a more modern coaxial power connector more commonly used today.  Not that the current jack is bad, just that the coaxial design doesn’t short the power supply when it’s plunged in or unpluged from the console.  I don’t have an original power supply for it, so it’s not like I’m cutting of an original plug.  I’m a bit torn between keeping it as original as possible and a bit of an update.   There’s also the fake those power supplies with 3.5mm (1/8 inch) plugs could accidentally be plugged in to an audio jack on a radio or sound card and that could be very bad.  So not having that around might be good.  Also, keep in mind I also plane on do a composite  video output mod to it also in time.  And leave Atari 2600 6-switch (light) un-modded.



A little history

A little history to start off with..  I was in my early teens when the Atari 2600 first came out.  I remember going to Sears and playing whatever they had running on the console in the store, of course that was the Sears version of the 2600.  Eventually, after a lot of begging, my mother bought me an Atari 2600.  I had a hand full of game cartridges, but over time lost interest after getting my first computer, a TRS-80 model 1.  Eventually, the 2600 got sold when I need money, something I always regretted.  By the way, I still have that old TRS-80 and it works fine and looks good.

Fast forward to about a year and a half ago, the need to have an Atari again got to me, and I bought a used 6-switch model that came with 10 games, power supply and game switch:)  I did end up having to take it apart and clean it out.  Lot’s of carpet fiber inside, and the switches were glitchy.  So I cleaned them and greased them and got them working good as new.  And that was enough to make me happy just having it again.  don’t play it a lot, just good to have it around again.

Lately I’ve lost interest in online gaming and virtual 3D world chat rooms that I have been doing in recent years with the ever increasing number of cheaters and twits, so I’ve been getting my Atari itch again, and watched a few videos of other collectors and realized I wanted to to get more into the Atari.  So I found a local store that sold used games and picked up Tron Deadly Discs and Pole Position and had a blast playing them when I got home:)

I also bought a few more games on feebay and picked up a 2600 Jr a few days ago.   The was a fair price, but not a great bargain, but I wanted it since it’s compact and would fit on the table by the couch better then the 6-switch.

Well then I got it home..  The seller said it was working, yada yada..   The switches were making poor contact and stiff, so after seeing a video about cleaning them decided to take it apart and have at it.  Soon as I opened the case I realized the real reason the guy was selling it.. The inside were covered in dried, sticky pop..  The channel switch was un-moveable, power switch hardly worked, voltage regulator section was covered in goo and so on…  So I began the cleaning, and having seen the video on youtube, knew it could take some fairly rough cleaning.

I ended up spraying it with contact cleaner, then soaking the main board in a sink for of dish soap, scrubbed with tooth paste, rinsed with water, flushed with rubbing alcohol, then just blasted with more contact clearing then finely dried in the oven at low temperature.  The case also got a complete cleaning too.



Put back together and tested, it’s working fine now, the switches work right and it runs as it should and looks pretty good to, epically considering how it was abused.  I still have to get it a new power supply, I’m using the one from my 6-switch for now, and another joystick would be good too.

So the plan is now to collect more games at I fine them, both games that are for play and for collecting in general.  Maybe get  another variation of the 2600 if I find a heavy 6 or vader for a decent price.  So that’s my ramblings for for now…



First Post…

Ok, the obligatory first post to make sure this is working…

I created this blog as a place to ramble on about Atari related gaming stuff.  Even though I’m also a ham radio operator, I don’t think too many of the hams I talk to are interested in classic video games, so this will be my outlet.  If people choose to read this or not is up to them.. umm you..  So it’s just a place to blurt out ideas, thoughts and pics..