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How Would You Rate Reliability of 7800?

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Hello all,

 

Just curious what you all think of the reliability of the 7800 console today?

 

I've personally owned two units.

 

The first would only play 2600 titles. I donated it to a community member who was hunting a 2600 :)

 

Thread detailing my issues below with that console. Seemed to be the Maria chip and/or soldering on that chip.

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/220365-7800-plays-2600-games-not-7800-games/?p=2898378&do=findComment&comment=2898378

 

I've owned a second 7800 console for about 6 months now & notice it has issues with certain 7800 titles (none with 2600), particularly colorful titles like Pole Position & Chop Lifter. The colors get distorted, lines are displayed. Same issue with multiple carts of same game. Cart slot is clean. Centipede & Galaga type color pallets run much better. Maria chip fading likely the culprit?

 

I'm happy to have a mostly working unit & I have the Atari Anthology on PS2 to complement this.

 

I'd likely to eventually get a rock solid unit. How reliable are they out the wild & online from your experience? I'm 0 for 2 lol. Best route to get a reconditioned unit from Best Electronics with warranty?

 

Thanks.

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I have more problems with 7800 systems than any others. Invariably, every show I go to where I setup several 7800s, one of them ends up DOA for one reason or another, even after having tested them before packing everything up for the event! The same happened at the Houston Arcade Expo this weekend as well, and a second system was displaying graphical glitches with some titles as well (I had four 7800s setup). Also, the cases are very brittle, so you need to be extra careful when shipping them or transporting them in any fashion. And, I have more compatibility issues with them than any other systems, which seems to be the issue you are asking about. :)

 

..Al

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I have more problems with 7800 systems than any others. Invariably, every show I go to where I setup several 7800s, one of them ends up DOA for one reason or another, even after having tested them before packing everything up for the event! The same happened at the Houston Arcade Expo this weekend as well, and a second system was displaying graphical glitches with some titles as well (I had four 7800s setup). Also, the cases are very brittle, so you need to be extra careful when shipping them or transporting them in any fashion. And, I have more compatibility issues with them than any other systems, which seems to be the issue you are asking about. :)

 

..Al

Well good to know I'm not alone! Not at your expense :)

 

Same for others here I assume?

 

Al, didn't realize you were in Houston/SETX. I live in the suburbs north of Houston. Let me know next time there's an event :) I have an 8 month old so spare time is limited, but I've been meaning to get involved in the community more locally vs just online.

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Al, didn't realize you were in Houston/SETX. I live in the suburbs north of Houston. Let me know next time there's an event :) I have an 8 month old so spare time is limited, but I've been meaning to get involved in the community more locally vs just online.

It's posted on the front page of AtariAge, and there's a thread about it as well. :D You should definitely try to get out to next year's show, though, since you're in the area. :)

 

..Al

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My Atari 7800 is in fantastic shape and it loads carts up 100% of the time for 7800 games as well as 2600 games.this is the third one I have owned and it is the 1984 model with the expansion interface. My first one arrived damaged cosmetically in the mail and didn't work. Thanks to being packaged in a bubble envelope. (Stupid f&*&s) The second loaded 2600 games great but sometimes the 7800 games didn't pass the bootup bios screen and froze. The third one has been a charm and NO issues. For me it wasn't too bad. It can be a hit or miss. I grade the durability of the system a B+. Hardly any moving parts except for a piece of plastic that can break off and rattle around inside. I heard the Best AV modded systems are great.

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It's posted on the front page of AtariAge, and there's a thread about it as well. :D You should definitely try to get out to next year's show, though, since you're in the area. :)

 

..Al

Done. Will check the events subforum more often!

 

Yeah Retro, that composite modes system from BE looks tempting.

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I bought mine around 1990 or '91, never had any issues with it. It's gotten a reasonable amount of play time over the year, too.

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The 7800 has some weaknesses. Many have been mentioned. The bottom shell seems to be the most fragile. Plus the teeth on the cart guide break often. The power and other switches get tarnished internally and become non responsive. The receptacle for the power cable is a bit fragile. They got a couple power system issues and seem to be more stable with a new voltage regulator. These days whenever I open a 7800 I just put a new regulator in. And the edges of the carts and cart ports tend to need a good cleaning. I think 7800s play more 2600 games which keep the tarnish rubbed off but the extra prongs on 7800 games aren't used as often. That is my theory anyhow.

 

There is also some variation in the build including a timing circuit that is present in some consoles but not others.

 

Overall though, 7800 is a good machine. I rate it more reliable than any Xbox.

 

The 7800 is getting some age on it. It needs a little maintenance to give the best performance.

 

Don't give up on broken ones. Somebody can probably fix it.

 

I have played my red console every day for over a year, sometimes for hours with all kinds of 2600 and 7800 carts and never had a problem.

Edited by SIO2

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A word of caution if you ever want to hard wire the power cable to the board if you have a loose power socket issue. I used another 9V power brick and somehow fried the 7800 using that. Make sure you use a genuine 7800 power adapter.

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A word of caution if you ever want to hard wire the power cable to the board if you have a loose power socket issue. I used another 9V power brick and somehow fried the 7800 using that. Make sure you use a genuine 7800 power adapter.

I wouldn't wire direct to the board anyhow. Before the Atari Guide replacements became available I did put a different socket in one and used another brand of supply. That worked. What you have to watch for is the solder points on the board are very close. Make sure there is no bridge and the flux residue is cleaned away. Make sure polarity is correct and your power supply can take the load and is operating at spec.

 

But these days, just buy the Atari Guide supply. They are pretty well made.

 

In case of loose or broke socket though where it can't be saved, I would add a standard barrel plug receptacle at a remote location and wired to the board then put a barrel plug male on the Atari Guide supply.

Edited by SIO2

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I have several of the Atari Guide 7800 power supplies and they work well. :)

 

..Al

Mine has been plugged in for 18 months still works. The only problem I ever had was the power switch that needed some contact cleaner. Compared to the 5200 coleco and intellivision I would say the 7800 is rock solid.

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Mine has been fine for the 22 years I've owned it- but sometimes the power button needs to be pressed twice to work- probably need to use some of that contact cleaner...

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I've owned 10x 7800 in the last say 5 years. 8 where and I assume still are good to go, the other 2 where a pain in ass with multiple issues from dead voltage regulators to popped caps to RF box problems.

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I've had my 7800 since around 1987 (bought second-hand) and I've only had two issues with it (so far):

 

1. The power button was always a little flaky. You had to kinda squish it around to get it to work. I finally replaced the switch earlier this year. Works great now.

 

2. Pacmanplus' wonderful Pac-Man Collection displays garbled graphics if the system isn't sufficiently warmed up.

 

I feel like I should probably knock on wood, though. :P

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I've had my 7800 since around 1987 (bought second-hand) and I've only had two issues with it (so far):

 

1. The power button was always a little flaky. You had to kinda squish it around to get it to work. I finally replaced the switch earlier this year. Works great now.

 

2. Pacmanplus' wonderful Pac-Man Collection displays garbled graphics if the system isn't sufficiently warmed up.

 

I feel like I should probably knock on wood, though. :P

 

That just reminded me that I also have had some buttons on the console go flakey on a few systems. Not hard to replace.

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I've had my 7800 since around 1987 (bought second-hand) and I've only had two issues with it (so far):

 

1. The power button was always a little flaky. You had to kinda squish it around to get it to work. I finally replaced the switch earlier this year. Works great now.

 

2. Pacmanplus' wonderful Pac-Man Collection displays garbled graphics if the system isn't sufficiently warmed up.

 

I feel like I should probably knock on wood, though. :P

 

.... interesting you say this. I've noticed the probability of graphics issues goes down if the system has been in use for 30 mins or so. I thought I was imagining a correlation. What would cause this?

 

Shawn, did u put those back in circulation? Maybe I got your 2 cursed 7800s :P

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I picked up mine at a thrift store about eight years ago. Power supply was missing, so I bought one from AtariGuide. It has seen its share of abuse -wasn't in the best cosmetic shape when I bought it (scratches and the like, no cracks) and my cats have knocked it off a shelf at least once. Still works 100% and nothing is physically broken either... Solid as a rock. Or an 800.

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I've owned two. My original circa 1988, and my used version circa 1999.

 

Never had an issue with either unit, though I have worn out a joystick, and worn out a power supply by wrapping it up repeatedly (before I knew better).

 

They've been more reliable for me than my NES systems and Dreamcasts. Comparable to SMS and XEGS.

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.... interesting you say this. I've noticed the probability of graphics issues goes down if the system has been in use for 30 mins or so. I thought I was imagining a correlation. What would cause this?

 

Shawn, did u put those back in circulation? Maybe I got your 2 cursed 7800s :P

 

Nope I sent them back to hell where they came from (aka trashed them).

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I've noticed the probability of graphics issues goes down if the system has been in use for 30 mins or so. I thought I was imagining a correlation. What would cause this?

 

I really wish I knew! Garbled graphics were never an issue with my 7800 until I bought Pac-Man Collection. I figured it may have been the cart so I posted about the issue and another user said to try the game after the system had warmed up. It worked so I just left it at that. I've never encountered solid-state electronics that worked better after "warming up". That just seems weird to me.

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Done. Will check the events subforum more often!

 

Yeah Retro, that composite modes system from BE looks tempting.

I have one (Best AV mod) and it's amazing. My 7800 does not have the expansion port but nothing ever used it so no loss. Sadly it seems they're no longer selling 7800s so they may have exhausted their supply. :sad:

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I have owned three 7800s in the past 20 years. It essentially was the first "retro" console that got for my collection, For the most part, I have not had any main issues, but I have experienced the power button a little finicky. The system overall for me has been pretty reliable.

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The only problem i've had with the 7800 are unresponsive power switches. i have to press slightly hard 2-3 times for my 7800's to power up. Other than that, solid reliable system.

Edited by Rik

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I've had my 7800 since around 1987 (bought second-hand) and I've only had two issues with it (so far):

 

1. The power button was always a little flaky. You had to kinda squish it around to get it to work. I finally replaced the switch earlier this year. Works great now.

 

2. Pacmanplus' wonderful Pac-Man Collection displays garbled graphics if the system isn't sufficiently warmed up.

 

I feel like I should probably knock on wood, though. :P

Where did you get the power switch, besides another spare 7800? Would Radio Shack, aka, The Source, here in Canada have those? thanks

Edited by Rik

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