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New 2-Port (So Long, Switchbox Blues)


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#1 mikey.shake OFFLINE  

mikey.shake

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Posted Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:33 PM

Hey everyone!

 

Longtime reader, semi-recent convert.  I picked up both a 7800 and 5200 cheap this past year, and while I expected to love the 7800 due to limited childhood experience, it was the 5200 that won my heart.  Almost every game I tried felt like everything I loved about pre-NES console gaming, and I was stunned to discover how much it appealed to me after the bad rap it had.  I got it on a lark being such a fan of the 2600 and the early-'80s era, but I've probably played it more than almost any other console this year.

 

I'm a writer, so I tend to chronicle stuff.  When I got the 5200 (a 4-port), I was having a little trouble with the power supply, but that cleared everything up for a while and everything was retro gaming bliss.

 

Then it turned out that the switchbox I'd gotten was funky.  Blew a chip, then would fritz out.  I planned on doing the power mod, but once I opened it up I saw that a previous owner had modded it for (what others told me) was the 2600-adapter mod.  So I wasn't about to power mod it after that.  I ended up going out, buying some supplies, and building my own power/video I/O box (there's not any real "switch"), and that worked great.

(link)

 

I also found a Competition Pro at a local shop, and that changed almost every problem I was having with the joysticks -- digital control made my favorite games even better.  About as good as I could imagine them.

 

But after that, I started to notice that the console would power itself on at random.  I'd walk into my office and notice the red light on.  Sometimes it took a few days, but it would end up turning on itself.  It didn't seem to affect anything, but I don't like having ANY electronic device juicing up improperly without me knowing about it.  I put it on a power strip with a switch I could turn off when not in use, but the worry was that if THAT was happening, there might be something else detrimental happening in there.  Which has made me hesitant to even use it the past few months.  Which has been a total bummer, since I love even the just the dozen games I have so far.

 

Anyway, the point is that for Xmas, Mrs. Shake went out and found me a replacement.  A 2-port with two working controllers, in great shape, with 12 games included (nothing too fancy, but 6 of them were new to me, and of those, 3 were delightful additions to the collection).  It was a little pricey, but with the bundle being local and from a shop, there was no shipping on this beast, and if there are any problems, I know the place is cool about defective returns.

 

Testing it out, the stock controllers work almost perfectly.  Gentle pressure does the trick.  One fire button on one of them needs a little extra pressure, but I'm sure opening them up and cleaning the contacts will take care of it (I'd also like to see what revision they are.  The joysticks are a slightly looser than the two I already have -- maybe I'll see if I can swap out the boots.

 

Anyway, it's been a dream.  The irritation of dealing with a series of bad switchboxes and someone else's modding and now having two even-cleaner controllers (seriously, I can't imagine they were in much better shape back in the mid-'80s) has lifted the 5200 even one step higher in my book.  Having a digital control option, no A/V worries, and all these great games is just aces.  I love it, and I appreciate all the help over the past year from you fine folks for your direct advice and all the info collected here.

 

Next up is an AtariMax SD cart and a Masterplay clone.  It's going to be a while -- we're buh-roke, so this bundle was the big holiday gift (along with Battletoads and Super Castlevania IV).  I'll probably be inquiring in a few months about the best Masterplay options.

 

And now that I can play the games without having to worry about electrical problems, that 4-port might just be a candidate for some work under the hood way down the road.  Get it composite modded, the standardized power mod, and I'd love to see about getting the 2600-adapter mod on the 4-port UN-modded just to keep things a little tidier.  Anybody have any idea if that's a reasonable dream to have?  Especially if I can drop it off with someone in New England.  

 

Sorry about the wall of text, thanks for reading, and I'll try to post pics soon!



#2 Everett1954 OFFLINE  

Everett1954

    Chopper Commander

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Posted Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:47 AM

I would get a composite /s-video board in that new two port installed by ElectronicSentimentalities  and get the AtariMax Ulitmate SD cartridge.

 

With those two items you will have a great system.



#3 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jan 4, 2017 9:29 PM

I'd replace the little IC next to the power switch on the board in your 4-port. It should be socketed on that one.



#4 mikey.shake OFFLINE  

mikey.shake

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Posted Tue Jan 10, 2017 6:59 AM

I would get a composite /s-video board in that new two port installed by ElectronicSentimentalities  and get the AtariMax Ulitmate SD cartridge.

 

With those two items you will have a great system.

 

 

I'm likely to leave the 2-port alone, since it works great as-is... but that 4-port is increasingly becoming something I plan to tinker with - quite likely with an A/V mod like that.  And the AtariMax is definitely my next purchase, once I re-stock the coffers after the holidays!

 

 

I'd replace the little IC next to the power switch on the board in your 4-port. It should be socketed on that one.

 

 

Oooh, that sounds promising -- thanks, zylon!  You seem to be an expert around these parts on repair matters, so in the interest of learning, I've got to ask... can you explain to me what that chip does, and what might be going on to cause the "power-on without warming" problem?  I've been trying to consider what might be wrong with the console, and because I don't really know anything about circuitry beyond solder-by-numbers, the switch itself was my first instinct.  But you'd likely know better than I would. I was worried my DIY power box might be pumping too much up the line, but that seems a little crazy.

 

Oh, and does anyone know a good place to get one of those chips that's not Best Electronics?  I want to order from them, but need to wait til I've got some dough so I can go ahead and place a big order (refurb controllers and some other 2600 parts I need).  But if I can snag one of these chips for a couple bucks online somewhere on its own in the meantime, I figure it's worth a shot.



#5 zylon OFFLINE  

zylon

    Quadrunner

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Posted Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:12 PM

That IC is just a 4013BE or a flip&flop switch. It splits and sends the power to both the logic and video circuits. Another problem that develops there is small cracks in the solder at the joints of that socket. Some folks pry a little too hard to pop the board up from the pins in the casing.

I have only run into that last issue on consoles that have been worked on.

These IC's are cheap and easy to find. I always keep one around.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...akAAOSw~oFXHCQp


Edited by zylon, Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:17 PM.


#6 mikey.shake OFFLINE  

mikey.shake

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Posted Thu Jan 12, 2017 9:19 AM



That IC is just a 4013BE or a flip&flop switch. It splits and sends the power to both the logic and video circuits. Another problem that develops there is small cracks in the solder at the joints of that socket. Some folks pry a little too hard to pop the board up from the pins in the casing.

I have only run into that last issue on consoles that have been worked on.

These IC's are cheap and easy to find. I always keep one around.

 

http://www.ebay.com/...akAAOSw~oFXHCQp

 

 

Awesome! Thank you, zylon!

 

I'll crack into the 4-port tonight to make sure it's socketed (I can still get it out if it's not, but we both know that's a little more of a pain), but that's a great start for a n00b like me, and I appreciate your help!

 

I meant to post some gut shots of the 2-port the other day, just for anyone who's interested.  I haven't really compared the internals of those of the 4-port, but I noticed a few interesting things about this new 2-port:

 

1) the Rev number is stamped out.  In the photo it looks like it might have been scraped or marked over, but it's clear to the touch that it was hot stamped (or something) down to a smooth crater.  

 

2) there doesn't seem to be a part number etched in -- just "CA0___" without anything after it.  However, this could be common, i haven't been able to determine if my 4-port is like this, but I would have expected to see "CA021374" (if I'm not mistaken on that part number).  Though, I also forgot to check the back of the board, so it could be there, I suppose.  [*sad trombone*]

 

3) The capacitor above the video cable is much smaller than the one in the 4-port -- I assume this is because of the change from the "all-in-one" cable to the separate power and A/V setup.

 

4) Most interestingly (to me), despite the 3/86 date on the casing sticker, the board itself has what I'm guessing to be a Sep. 1983 date stamped on it.  Along with the Atari Corp. serial sticker, this seems to be one of those post-Tramiel "let's slap together whatever parts we still have" consoles.  I was surprised to see that the final date was as late as '86, what with the official discontinuation coming in May of '84.  Of course they'd still sell what they had left after the 5/84 discontinuation, I just never realized that they were still actively producing them.

 

 

Full%20Board.jpg

 

 

REV%20X.jpg

 

Birthday.jpg



#7 Lynxpro OFFLINE  

Lynxpro

    River Patroller

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Posted Sat Feb 4, 2017 2:13 PM

I'm not modding mine until an RGB mod is released. That and Dual POKEY stereo.






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