Things to consider...
[edit - it seems that after a few minutes of the Atari being powered on jittery paddles seem much better (130XE anyway), perhaps some sort of charge/build up is taking place]
0. Testing Fire up Kaboom! set it to paddles and have a quick go, then when you enter your initials if you can select each letter of the alphabet you have a decent set!
Also the 'Hardware Tester' program supports paddles [link to follow]
1. Buying a set from ebay etc, but then you'll need to do step 3 anyway
2. If you use an emulator
(a) Most emulators erm emulate(!) paddles using the mouse. (Details on how to configure Altirra below).
(b) Purchase the 'Stelladaptor' or '2600 Adaptor' to use real atari joysticks and paddles via USB [/i]] Details of the 2600 Adaptor here http://www.atariage....er-usb-adaptor/ and here http://home.comcast....2600-daptor.htm
3. Servicing your paddles
I would say that there are three options, (i) replace the pots, (ii) clean the paddles properly, or (iii) temporarily coat them in something for a short term fix. I went for (ii) and got on reasonably well cleaning out the black gunk
(i) Buy new pots from Best Electronics http://www.best-elec...cx30_paddle.htm
I will buy some at some new pots at some point; if anyone from the UK is ordering from Best Electronics please get in touch and maybe we can save on postage - perhaps post here if you're interested
(ii) Service your paddles
This step by step guide looks excellent and has photos http://www.longhorne...lers#paddle2600
But be aware of this too re Paddle issues with the XE range (perhaps others can comment on this too)
To setup paddle emulation using the mouse in Altirra:
-"Mouse -> Paddle A (port1)"
To activate/deactive them
(or simply press F12 to toggle on/off)
The left mouse button is fire.
Some games e.g. 'Tilter' use both paddles - on Atari800win+4.0 emulator the mouse up down axis is automatically mapped to the 2nd paddle making it ideal for this game - Altirra can be setup for this [will update when sussed this out]
Edited by therealbountybob, Mon Feb 6, 2012 5:04 PM.