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Help me pimp out my Vader!


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#1 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

Major_Tom_coming_home

    Chopper Commander

  • 159 posts

Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 5:17 PM

My best friend for the past 35 years recently gave me the actual 2600 Vader we played as kids. Obviously, it still works since as we all know at Atari Age they were made to last :-). Just like almost every other Atari, it was in his garage covered with dust but I busted out the Armor All and now I can see my reflection in it. I have just about every version of the 2600 but this one is 'special' to me and I would like suggestions for pimping it out. I'm planning to replace the original 4 switches with new NOS ones and replace the black material behind them with white. I also want to get it in the best working condition possible so I'm going to vacuum the innards and replace capacitors.  I thought about a video mod, but the ones I have seen look like they were added as an after thought (which of course they were). Does anyone else have other suggestions? If so  I'd like to hear them - thanks.



#2 SignGuy81 OFFLINE  

SignGuy81

    Stargunner

  • 1,478 posts

Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 5:22 PM

Can the switches be gold plated?  I've never seen that done but I think that would help to pimp it out.



#3 RamrodHare OFFLINE  

RamrodHare

    Dragonstomper

  • 584 posts
  • Lost in Time.
  • Location:Greeneville TN, USA

Posted Wed Feb 7, 2018 9:33 PM

Everyone has their own opinion of what looks good and what doesn't. Gold plating the switches sounds nice to me, but it's probably cost prohibitive. I think they are aluminum sleeves over a plastic switch, so you might be able to have them anodized with the color of your choice. Some people have managed to drill a hole in the end of the power switch and put a tiny LED inside it, which I think looks cool, but it weakens the switch. For my Vader, I drilled a small hole next to the power switch and put a color changing RGB LED in it. Now when it's on, the LED changes colors. You could mount an LED inside the case, near the vents and have it shine out through the vents, kind of like accent lighting. Depending on how good your modding skills are, you could also file out the ATARI logo on the front and place some frosted glass or sanded clear plastic behind it, then light it from inside with an LED. I think one of the color changing RGB LEDs would work great for that. One LED doesn't use enough power to need a separate power supply, you just add a resistor to the positive side of the LED and connect it to the 7805 regulator (which you should replace with a new one). You can get a complete refurb kit from console5.com. It comes with all the parts you need to replace, plus a few you don't. It's only around $12 if I remember correctly. Oh, you should also get the Best Electronics, Lifetime Gold PCBs for your joysticks. I'd also recommend new inner handles and rubber boots. I went all out when I redid my joysticks. I even replaced the fire buttons, springs, retaining rings and screws. I basically have brand new joysticks now. you can also buy rebuilt ones from Best Electronics, for about $15-20 than doing it yourself. Oh, if you haven't already, get a Harmony Encore cart. No more switching carts, just load the entire 2600 library onto an SD card and put it in the Harmony, then select the game you want to play from the list. It's the best investment I made for mine. Lastly, if you do an AV mod, don't go cheap. I've had horrible luck getting a cheap board that had decent video quality. Get a UAV board from Bryan here on the forums. It's the best video quality you can get for a decent price and the board looks nice too. Those kind you see on eBay for $10 or so are garbage. The UAV bypasses everything and connects right to the TIA chip, so you get a really clean signal. I think that's about everything I can think of, but if you have questions, feel free to ask. Most of us are pretty helpful. :)


Edited by RamrodHare, Wed Feb 7, 2018 9:35 PM.


#4 Major_Tom_coming_home OFFLINE  

Major_Tom_coming_home

    Chopper Commander

  • Topic Starter
  • 159 posts

Posted Sat Feb 10, 2018 2:07 PM

Thanks much for the ideas, there are some in there I will use. I started collecting Atari well before my friend gave me the vader so I've had my harmony cart for a long time now. The cool thing was that before my friend -gave me his old machine I had every version of the 2600 except for the Vader including the Colecovision and 5200 add-ons and even the Gemini. It must have been meant to be! :-)

Everyone has their own opinion of what looks good and what doesn't. Gold plating the switches sounds nice to me, but it's probably cost prohibitive. I think they are aluminum sleeves over a plastic switch, so you might be able to have them anodized with the color of your choice. Some people have managed to drill a hole in the end of the power switch and put a tiny LED inside it, which I think looks cool, but it weakens the switch. For my Vader, I drilled a small hole next to the power switch and put a color changing RGB LED in it. Now when it's on, the LED changes colors. You could mount an LED inside the case, near the vents and have it shine out through the vents, kind of like accent lighting. Depending on how good your modding skills are, you could also file out the ATARI logo on the front and place some frosted glass or sanded clear plastic behind it, then light it from inside with an LED. I think one of the color changing RGB LEDs would work great for that. One LED doesn't use enough power to need a separate power supply, you just add a resistor to the positive side of the LED and connect it to the 7805 regulator (which you should replace with a new one). You can get a complete refurb kit from console5.com. It comes with all the parts you need to replace, plus a few you don't. It's only around $12 if I remember correctly. Oh, you should also get the Best Electronics, Lifetime Gold PCBs for your joysticks. I'd also recommend new inner handles and rubber boots. I went all out when I redid my joysticks. I even replaced the fire buttons, springs, retaining rings and screws. I basically have brand new joysticks now. you can also buy rebuilt ones from Best Electronics, for about $15-20 than doing it yourself. Oh, if you haven't already, get a Harmony Encore cart. No more switching carts, just load the entire 2600 library onto an SD card and put it in the Harmony, then select the game you want to play from the list. It's the best investment I made for mine. Lastly, if you do an AV mod, don't go cheap. I've had horrible luck getting a cheap board that had decent video quality. Get a UAV board from Bryan here on the forums. It's the best video quality you can get for a decent price and the board looks nice too. Those kind you see on eBay for $10 or so are garbage. The UAV bypasses everything and connects right to the TIA chip, so you get a really clean signal. I think that's about everything I can think of, but if you have questions, feel free to ask. Most of us are pretty helpful. :)






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