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New pause board - A better mousetrap?

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Since I was a kid playing my old 2600 I wish I could pause the game every time my mom would push me to do something she deemed more important than playing video games (like there was such a thing!!). Shower, dinner, homework, whatever. All sorts of useless activities which would inevitably force me to start the quest for that new level all over again.

 

Later, the wife took over the pushing task from my mom with renewed energy and the problem would just not go away...

 

Then the blessed Victor Trucco came up with the long needed pause mod for the 2600, but I just couldn't get myself to punch a hole on my old friend to install the pause switch!

 

A while ago I came up with a version of Victor's circuit which had a proximity sensor instead of a physical switch. That worked well for a while, but I had to put a sticker on the console to mark the place where the sensor was installed. Still not exactly what I wanted.

 

Finally, I came up with a different approach: to use the color switch to pause the game. I never really used the color switch so it seemed like a good compromise.

 

So here it is, a pause circuit which does not require any external modification to the console plus a few extras:

 

1. The installation is a bit simpler: there is no need to cut any tracks or remove the pull up resistor from the RDY line.

2. If the console is turned on with the color switch in "B/W", the pause is disabled and you can switch between color and b/w like it was originally intended to.

3. There is already a dedicated line to mute the audio channel, so no need to use an extra diode if you want to mute during pause.

4. It can be easily integrated with composite video mods to black out the screen during pause.

5. It is a lot smaller than the original board :)

 

post-19978-0-92499700-1537860227.jpg

 

I tested it on my old console and it works fine:

 

post-19978-0-50231000-1537860391_thumb.jpg

 

I made a few extra kits, so if anyone is interested, I can sell them for 9.99€ plus shipping from Europe (about 3.70€ for international shipping to any country).

 

If anyone is interested in reselling just pm me and we will figure out a better price.

 

I will work on an installation manual if there is interest.

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Don't know when you were a kid, but in 85 this clone was released with the Pause function in Brazil.

onyx-ju_nior-da-microdigital.jpg

Today is rare and costs around $400 without shipping.

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Don't know when you were a kid, but in 85 this clone was released with the Pause function in Brazil.

 

Yeah, I had a friend who had an Onyx but for whatever strange reason, he would not let me pull it apart to see how the pause circuitry was handled :)

 

Microdigital was still starting with the ZX81 clones when I got my Atari. They only released the Onyx later.

 

If you have a spare one do pm me. I always wanted to have one.

 

Abracos.

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Now you already got it to work well, but this page also show a aprroach to do so based on the Onyx. http://www.victortrucco.com/Atari/AtariPausa/AtariPausa_en

Your price is better though

Yeah, that's where the idea comes from, but that version requires that you install a new switch on the console, which I did not want to do. So I tried to be creative :)
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Yeah, that's where the idea comes from, but that version requires that you install a new switch on the console, which I did not want to do. So I tried to be creative :)

 

Nice.

 

lol Only now I saw you wrote in my language there.

 

So, Abraços to you too. ^^

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Then the blessed Victor Trucco came up with the long needed pause mod for the 2600, but I just couldn't get myself to punch a hole on my old friend to install the pause switch!

 

A while ago I came up with a version of Victor's circuit which had a proximity sensor instead of a physical switch. That worked well for a while, but I had to put a sticker on the console to mark the place where the sensor was installed. Still not exactly what I wanted.

 

 

I used the TV channel switch since my unit no longer puts out RF.

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I used the TV channel switch since my unit no longer puts out RF.

That's actually clever, although I am not sure how much modding it requires on the PCB overall. This version only requires one TIA pin to be disconnected.

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I've been getting some questions on the board's "mute" line (yellow wire).

 

The mute line is fully functional on all boards I shipped. The reason I had not mentioned it in the installation instructions is because initially I had designed it to be used with AV mods.

 

If RF is still used (which is my personal preference btw), the mute can still be used by connecting it directly to pin 13 on the TIA (both PAL and NTSC).

 

The caveat is that the audio will be grounded during pause. In my tests on three consoles (2 PAL and 1 NTSC) this works fine and the line consumes less than 5mA during pause, but I cannot guarantee this will be the case for all versions and reviews, so there is a bit of a "do it at you own risk" associated to it...

 

The consumption can be tested during installation or just leave it on pause for a while and check if the TIA gets hotter before you put the case back together. Shouldn't be the case but that is the safest way to go.

 

During the normal game (i.e. pause off) the line is in high impedance which makes it "invisible" to the TIA.

 

post-19978-0-32205800-1540804439_thumb.jpg

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Wonder if it would work on a 7800 for 2600 games... Or the 2600 "Adapter" for the 5200... Hmmm...

 

This board uses the same principle as all other pause boards for the 2600. It intercepts the RDY line used by the TIA for synchronization with the CPU.

 

According to this post:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/207257-2600-pause-mod-on-a-7800/

 

it will not work out-of-the-box, but it should be possible to find a way to install it and pause the 7800 while in 2600 mode.

 

As for the 2600 adapters (cx55, Intellivision System Changer, ColecoVision Expansion Module 1) they usually are close to a complete 2600 system, so they should be easier to mod...

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