Before getting my first ‘proper’ computer I remember having a TV console to play games on. If my memory is correct it was a Grandstand 4600, or something similar. Pretty limited, no cartridges, just the in-built games it came with. It still got lots and lots of use. After watching lots of YouTubers restoring retro computers the old Atari 2600 games console frequently comes up, so I decided it was time I tried some of those classic cartridge games.
After chasing a few ‘Woodies’ on eBay I eventually won an Atari 2600 Junior with a ‘well-used’ joystick and a couple of games.
It arrived in very grubby condition and refused to show anything other than a fuzzy black screen 🙁
The first thing to do was a good dunking in a bucket of soapy water. I dismantled the various parts and begin scrubbing (I don’t have any pictures – sorry). It didn’t take long until it was looking as good as new.
I did some ‘probing’ with my multi-meter and oscilloscope and it looked like it was trying to do something, although the 5v line was a bit low. I had read that 2600s rarely fail and when they do it’s usually down to the caps. So without any other obvious faults, I replaced the 7805 with a switched regulator and all of the capacitors. I tested the caps as I took them out and most were okay-ish except the BIG 2200uF cap which was well out of spec.
I put it all back together and guess what…ok – it’s a bit fuzzy still – but it is still Jungle Hunt 🙂
…. I was able to play my first Atari 2600 game.
Even if I do say myself, all cleaned it looks pretty good – almost new. It helped that the metal strip still had the cellophane wrap on it (a 40-year peal in the waiting).
The cartridge slot is still a little ‘dodgy’ – it crashes the game if I wiggle it while it’s on.
Pretty happy with the way it’s turned out, next things to do
- Composite mod
- Clean the cartridge slot to try and make it more stable
To be covered in part 2…… but for now ‘Jungle Hunt’ swing away….. 🙂