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Return of the bling!

Posted by Nathan Strum, 10 March 2018 · 222 views

Video Game Ramblings

A year ago I finally fixed my original Sears 2600. It had kicked the bucket in 2011, and after making do with a donor board for a couple of years, I finally got my original board working again by swapping out the 6507 and RIOT, plus installing Mojoatomic's re-cap kit. So I had my original 2600 (plus a CyberTech S-Video mod) all up and running again!
 
But not quite...
 
One of the first repairs I had to make back when I dusted it off in 2002 for the first time in over a decade, was the Select and Reset switches were broken. So I ordered a set of new ones, and much to my disappointment, they weren't the same. The toggles were aluminum. Mine had always been chrome. I didn't know at the time that the chrome caps were added to refurbished models - I just thought that's how the Sears consoles were supposed to all be. I knew mine was a factory refurb (that's how I was able to afford it), but had never made the connection.
 
Unfortunately, you just can't go out and order replacement chrome caps. Those parts have long-since been exhausted. And an attempt I made to get one of the chrome caps off resulted in mangling it so bad it was unusable. So, I made do with the aluminum ones. But my 2600 never felt... right.
 
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My 2600 - with aluminum switches.
 
When I repaired it a year ago (for what I hoped was the last time), I made one last effort to find chrome switches. Even if it meant finding another refurbished Sears 2600. But no luck. So I figured "Well... maybe someday", and went back to playing the console with the stock aluminum switches.
 
Then, quite recently (probably due to my participating more than usual in the 2600 HSC this year), my Reset switch started misbehaving. At first jiggling it would make it work, but after awhile, it completely failed. So I was going to have to open my 2600 up and replace it anyway. Meanwhile, I swapped my console with a spare Vader, and kept playing.
 
Then, this thread happened. And in it, AtariAger Osgeld responded to me asking about chrome capped switches - and he had some! They were spares - and I could have them for the cost of postage. A quick PayPal later, and I had the switches! Now, it didn't 100% solve my problem, because he had only one momentary switch, and I needed two. But - I was able to get one of my other chrome caps off with minimal fuss, so all I had to do was slide that cap over one of the aluminum ones, and I'd be in business!
 
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Three of my original switches, Osgeld's spares, and my successfully-removed cap.
 
So today I opened up my 2600, and started swapping out the switches.
 
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All prepped for surgery. The nice part about doing a switch swap is that the main part of the 2600 - including my video mod - can stay put.
 
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The bad Reset switch is on the right. Some of the contacts in it are loose and flopping around.
 
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I had to scrape some adhesive out of the cap before it would slide over the switch.
 
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The re-capped Select switch. Since this switch was good, there was no reason to desolder it. The cap is held on with a thin strip of Poster Tape inside.
 
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All desoldered, and ready to have its proper switches restored!
 
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All done! That was fast! (No it wasn't... desoldering took awhile. I need to get one of these.)
 
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Close-up of the chrome switches. Don't they look sweet?
 
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More chrome! Including the re-capped Select and replaced Reset switch.
 
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Felt pads are back in place, and the 2600 is ready to be buttoned-up. Hopefully for the last time for a long while.
 
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I don't actually know what this is. I hit the button on my phone accidentally at some point. But it's kind of a cool abstract art thing, so there you go.
 
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And it's finished!
 
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It's hard to show how good these look in person.
 
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But what's even better, oddly enough, is how they feel. They're smoother than the aluminum ones, and they make my 2600 feel the way it used to, all those years ago!
 
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Before and after.
 
So finally, after multiple surgeries, and many, many years, my 2600 is back! It's got its original switches again, and finally everything works!
 
 
Well... except that it boots to a black screen unless my AtariVox is plugged into the right joystick port. For some reason.
 
Whatever.  :roll:






the chrome switches are IMO better as they dont get eaten up and are 100x easier to polish than the aluminum ones, its just hard to find them (given the odd's) 

 

I also find them on promo 4 switch atari units (that is where those came from, but it had 2 broken off and long gone switches heh) , but that does not mean they were not refurb's that got hot stamped at random 

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It'd be interesting to know the story behind them. Was it something Atari did to identify refurbs or promo units? Were they left over from some other project and just needed to be used up?

 

Anyway - thanks again for the switches! I was told by Best Electronics that using a heat gun might be a way to remove stubborn caps from aluminum switches. I guess if I ever have to replace my Reset switch again, I'll give that a try. :)

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Looks real sharp, nice job!
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Awesome!   Looks Great!

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It'd be interesting to know the story behind them. Was it something Atari did to identify refurbs or promo units? Were they left over from some other project and just needed to be used up?

 

Anyway - thanks again for the switches! I was told by Best Electronics that using a heat gun might be a way to remove stubborn caps from aluminum switches. I guess if I ever have to replace my Reset switch again, I'll give that a try. :)

If I had to guess, I would say it was a cheap and easy way to make used switches look new during the refurb process.  

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I think the Hakko's are well worth the money if you do much desoldering.  I can desolder a 40 pin POKEY in about 5 minutes using my Hakko.

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Mostly promo systems had the chrome switches. Brad at Best Electronics once told me that they used chrome switches on those because of how many people would be touching and using them. Basically, just a way to keep it looking sharp after everyone and their uncle handled it.

My Sears system is a refurb and it doesn't have those, but 2 promo 4sw units I've had in past did. I'd needed a new Reset switch and had asked Brad about the shiny ones.

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speaking of desoldering gun's I am going to eventually pick up a S-993A which is a china hakko look alike for about half the price, one of my buddies has one and its decent enough considering its not going to be used on every project 

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Mostly promo systems had the chrome switches. Brad at Best Electronics once told me that they used chrome switches on those because of how many people would be touching and using them. Basically, just a way to keep it looking sharp after everyone and their uncle handled it.


That makes a lot of sense. It makes me wonder more about my console's previous life before I bought it.
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Very pretty! Thanks for showing the whole process, too. 

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Armor All!

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No Armor All. Q-Tips and monitor cleaning spray. Armor All leaves everything slimy.
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That makes a lot of sense. It makes me wonder more about my console's previous life before I bought it.

 

Sears likely had demo systems as well. They also seemed to have older revisions of the system later than other stores, i.e. selling 6ers when most had 4sw woody consoles. That could be just certain areas and not common. Ellijay was, and is not the most up-to-date place around, lol.

 

I use Countertop Magic on my systems. Nice work, I still run my 1st 2600, a Sears  Sunnyvale refurb L6er. :)

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 Correct about the "not for resale" in store use systems having chrome switches, but Atari also use them to refurbish returned units both 4 switch and very rarely 6 switch. 

 

 I have both a Chrome four switch and a Chrome six switch. 

 

I've never seen Chrome Switches in a Sears Tele-Games machine.

I did want and have a Tele-Games model, but my personal nostalgia means an Atari 6-switch is getting Chrome. 

 

 I just can't decide whether or not to have an RF stock Heavy Sixer with Chrome switches, or a modded Sunnyvale Light 6 Switcher with chrome switches!

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