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apersonthingy

Atari 2600 4 switch static.

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I recently bought 3 Ataris (1 fat, 2 newer small ones) for $200, and there is a ton of static. Long story short, I've eliminated every possible thing I could between the solder points for the RF out on the Atari circuit board and the input on my TV, but it still yields static. I've used the RF tuner on the board, reseated everything that can be reseated, and used rubbing alcohol on most external contacts, yet I still get static. The Atari comes with the original power supply, and works flawlessly, just the static. I've tried it on 3 different TVs of 3 different types. (CRT, Projector, and LCD) with the same result on each. There doesn't appear to be any physical damage in any soldering or the board in general, other than some kind of minor liquid stains on the side. Any suggestions?

 

Thanks,

-Will

 

post-56769-0-00606500-1493852016_thumb.jpgpost-56769-0-52052000-1493852027_thumb.jpg

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One or more capacitors are failing. Start with the chicklet cap C241 and see if that eliminates the problem. If not, replace the polystyrene caps near the RF jack on the board.

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One or more capacitors are failing. Start with the chicklet cap C241 and see if that eliminates the problem. If not, replace the polystyrene caps near the RF jack on the board.

I'm new to circuitry, in fact just today as I'm trying to get 4 Ataris to work. Where can I buy a C241 cap?

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I'm new to circuitry, in fact just today as I'm trying to get 4 Ataris to work. Where can I buy a C241 cap?

 

'C241' is the designation of the location on the board for the part. It's silkscreened in white near the component, which is a green plastic-looking part with two legs, mounted vertically on the left side of the board near the flat black component (which is the voltage regulator). I can't recall offhand the specification of this capacitor - it'll be marked on the side in terms of capacitance (measured in farads) and maximum board voltage (probably a 16V part, since the Atari uses 9V stepped down to 5V by the voltage regulator). These are pennies apiece - if you buy the part yourself you'll need to spend several dollars and you'll get 10 or 50 of them or something, which you'll likely never use. You can buy "capacitor kits" put together by people selling them online which have all the small parts you'll need to replace all the parts likely to fail with age. If you want to go that route, you might message a user here named "mojoatomic" - I think he was selling these kits a few weeks ago in a thread here.

 

HOWEVER - if you don't have experience with soldering and electronics, you may want to have someone who knows what they're doing work on the unit for you.

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Seeing as all your Ataris have the exact same problem with RF I would try a different TV if you haven't already. Not saying though that it isn't possible for all of them to have bad RF as they are old machines, but i would try that first to rule out a bad TV or VCR tuner you may have possibly have it hooked into. And $200 for 3 Ataris sounds really high to me. That's over $66 a console. I'm assuming you got them to maybe clean up and repair and make money off of right seeing as you have so many or really just like having one in every room not sure but I feel you paid too much, unless they came with a lot of extras.

 

 

EDIT:

Just realized you mentioned trying it on 3 TVs already, my bad.

 

Are you using the same TV/GAME switch on every Atari(if you aren't using an RF to coax adapter)? If so this could be your culprit. Take it apart and check the switch contacts, if bad just bypass them with wire and solder(then just leave switch slid to game position) and should fix problem if that is what the problem is. I did mine like this then wrapped it in foil tape.

 

I'm not saying the other guy is wrong as that can very well be possibilities just giving you something else to check for seeing as issue with all systems.

Edited by SignGuy81
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Thanks, yes, the Ataris came with about 100 games and all kinds of goodies. I've completely bypassed the switch, literally wiring straight from the solder points on the main board straight into the TV.

 

Edit: I've also used at least 3 different cables.

Edited by apersonthingy

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Thanks, yes, the Ataris came with about 100 games and all kinds of goodies. I've completely bypassed the switch, literally wiring straight from the solder points on the main board straight into the TV.

 

Edit: I've also used at least 3 different cables.

What do you mean by wired up straight from the solder points on the main board? Did you cut your RF cables and soldered to the board. Should be no need to do that. Did you also just try plugging the RF cable in where it goes? If you really want to block out as much interference as possible instead you could drill out a quarter inch hole in the RF box(or widen the top one that is already there) and mount an A/V jack there and cut the trace that leads back out to the main board, but that little bit it travels on the board before the RF jack I don't think would be a big issue. And by 3 different cables do you mean you tried 3 original Atari RF cables or did you instead try an A/V cable set with the yellow, red, and white. The reason I ask is because some of them are cheap and have absolutely no shielding at all, just the center lead with insulation and then the ground outside(not surrounding the inner leads insulation) traveling up inside the outer insulation. Usually the cheap A/V cables like this are very thin and you can tell they are cheap. I just wanted to make sure that wasn't what you were using to test and to see if you meant by 3 cables you meant that you received actual atari RF cables.

Edited by SignGuy81
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Also, a bit off topic, I have 4 because my brother found one on the curb with no cables, games or controllers. I posted an ad on Facebook looking for these parts, and ended up finding a guy willing to sell 3 systems and 100 games for $200 CAD. Thus, I ended up with 4. He says they have been in storage since around 2002, just sitting in his closet.

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The final and supposedly foolproof method I used is cutting an old coax cable, holding the 2 wires of the split end up to the solder points where the rf out is on the board, and plugged it into the TV. This was a last hurrah of sorts for determining whether it was a cable or the console.

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My point being, I don't really see anything else I can do that is external to the main board. I feel like I've eliminated every possible external piece. Just a cable straight from the main board to the TV. Nothing else.

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The final and supposedly foolproof method I used is cutting an old coax cable, holding the 2 wires of the split end up to the solder points where the rf out is on the board, and plugged it into the TV. This was a last hurrah of sorts for determining whether it was a cable or the console.

Okay this is what I'm thinking correct me if I'm wrong. You either don't have 3 original RF cables for the atari or you don't have a GAME/TV switch? So to test them you just use a regular RG59 or RG6 cable with one end cut holding the wires to the solder joints where the RF out is making sure to connect at the right joints? That can be the source of your RF interference right there, holding the wires up to it, and also even if you were doing it in a manner where you aren't touching the wires you still don't have a good, solid connection by doing that. Almost better off using a crappy RCA cable set like I described above, but only if you had an RF to coax adapter or a GAME/TV switch which I don't believe you have either of at the moment.

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I have everything. I tried all of that first. Will post pictures tomorrow.

Just wanted to make sure I had a good understanding of everything you've tried. Sorry if I seemed rude any. It just seems extremely strange to me getting 4 units at once which all have the same exact RF static problem on 3 different TVs, but anything is possible.

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No, not rude at all. Thanks for the help. I agree it's strange to have 4 from 2 different places and all have the same problem. I was surprised. I don't see anything else I could achieve externally. It looks like I'll have to get buy replacement components.

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Hah, that's a couple more than I'll ever need to say the least. I'll probably buy this or get one of the repair kits mentioned above. Thanks for tracking down a good deal for me :)

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My apologies for not taking a look at your pic to start with but at least with the atari you showed the pic of you need to remove the electrolytic capacitor 4.7uF near the RF box. Take some alcohol and a scotch pad and clean the traces around it. Also another tool I use for that is a small drill bit with a hand held holder hobby drill holder, and clean the holes out. The electrolytic cap has started leaking and has eaten away at your board. That is causing problems on that unit.

 

Make sure it is completely clean so it doesn't continue to eat away at the traces. From the looks of them now I can tell that when you put the new cap in you will probably have to bend the leads back and solder them to the traces on the board to get a good connection on the backside. Also don't press it down all the way to the board on the front side so you can also make sure you have good solder flow on that side as well(you may want to solder from that side as well too, the pipes are probably eaten away).

 

 

EDIT:

Go ahead and remove and replace all those electrolytic caps and scrape, scrub traces where needed.

Edited by SignGuy81
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I know you tried other TVs, were they all essentially the same type as in flatpanels? Because on most of my flat panel LCDs, I have to run the autoscan for analog channels while I have the atari on for the TVs to lock in on the atari signal. Even if I just choose the right channel that I know the atari is on like channel 3..etc. I still usually have to do this to get a clearer picture and audio from the RF.

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I know you tried other TVs, were they all essentially the same type as in flatpanels? Because on most of my flat panel LCDs, I have to run the autoscan for analog channels while I have the atari on for the TVs to lock in on the atari signal. Even if I just choose the right channel that I know the atari is on like channel 3..etc. I still usually have to do this to get a clearer picture and audio from the RF.

Just ran an autoscan. Same result.

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Here is the setup I'm currently using as far as cables are concerned.

attachicon.gif20170504_132900.mp4

Just watched your video. You are using a 300ohm to 75ohm balun, running 75ohm cable into the 300ohm input. Can you find an actual RCA to Coax adapter? Or if you have a TV/Game switch could you use it. If that is the same board from the first pic in your post though I believe your main problem is that 4.7uF capacitor because I didn't even see solder joints under it both points were completely black it looked to me from the pic.

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