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Teenretrogamer

Atari 5200 One Of A Kind/Prototype?

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Several years ago, I asked around on this site about my Atari 5200.

I bought it several years ago on eBay, assuming that it was the 2 port version. So when it come to my house, I opened up the shipping box to see an Atari 5200 two port box. However, when I opened the box, I was extremely disappointed because it was a four port. But when I looked for the 5200 power/input box, it wasn’t in either box. So in my confusion, I turned the system around, and to my amazement, it had a power input. Now I knew from extensive research that the four ports had no power input, but mine did. Well, after research, and years of no one else saying they have a 5200 like mine, I still have no clue what I have. Hopefully, someone can answer my question of what this 5200 is. Is it a prototype? Is it a one of a kind? I have no clue. Now I have never opened up my 5200, in fear that I will break it, so I have no pics of the inside. But I feel like by the serial number, someone could figure out something about my console.

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Judging from the label on the bottom, your 5200 appears to be one of the later consoles shipped by Atari Corporation.  The 5200 had already been cancelled by Atari Inc. in mid-1984, but after Atari was sold by Warner later that year, the new Atari Corporation continued to liquidate their excess 5200 inventory.  The 5200 consoles and games from that time were put together using whatever components remained on hand: I've seen reports of consoles with two-port boards mounted in four-port cases, and the games mixed and matched earlier print materials with later, lower-quality ones.  This could explain why your four-port console has a power jack like the two-port consoles.  Or, as was suggested earlier, the previous owner may have performed a power mod themselves; with the right parts and skills, this mod is not difficult to do.

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I'd be curious to see the inside because it does state Atari Corp but doesn't have the " * " indicating a modified 4-port for the VCS either. And the normal 4 port doesn't have a spot on the mainboard to install a power jack. But it does have the right cutout for the power jack that was added to the 2 port unit. BTW...I've never seen a lower 5200 shell with only 2 controller port cutouts. Far as I know, all the lower shells are the same minus the square cutout on the back for the 5200 power jack. The front plastic controller cover, covers the other 2 center controller holes on the 2-port 5200 version.

 

So the mainboard on this has to be different from any I've seen. All the 2 ports didn't have spots for installing the additional controller chips to allow 4 ports to be installed into them and I've not see a 4-port main board that allowed for a power jack to be installed there. So yeah, I'm curious to see what it looks like inside. 

Edited by -^Cro§Bow^-
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2 minutes ago, -^Cro§Bow^- said:

I'm curious to see what it looks like inside. 

I'd be curious to see it as well.  The power jack appears to somehow be mounted on its side, which is odd.  That seems to suggest that it was a third-party mod, although I suppose it's possible that it was installed at the factory (perhaps because they didn't have enough RF switchboxes left).

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I noticed the side mounted jack as well. If it was power modded (Very possible) then I'm guessing they epoxied the jack to the case somehow. But what is odd is that the power port jack opening is so precisely cut that either the previous owner or whomever modded it, used a 2 port lower shell or it was factory done and I'd like to see how that power jack was mounted in either case.

 

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I think this was a factory mod. But I would like to see a pic of the board as well. I have heard of someone else with this setup but they had sold it before I could ask them for a picture.

 

Mitch 

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19 hours ago, Mitch said:

I think this was a factory mod. But I would like to see a pic of the board as well. I have heard of someone else with this setup but they had sold it before I could ask them for a picture.

Interesting.  If someone else had the same power mod, done in the same way, that might indicate that this was indeed done at the factory.  I hope we get to see the board; if this is in fact a factory job, then I'd love to know how Atari approached the design of this mod.

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I have a similar 5200. 4 port with a 2 port power supply. I bought it without the box. I didn't suspect it was different until I got home and the second joystick didn't work. I did some trouble shooting and took of the plastic from cover, and Boom! there were four joystick ports. I don't think the guy that sold it to me knew. He listed it as a 2 port, and that's why I bought it, so I won't have to use the power, video box thing, and I wanted to get the 2600 converter. I still never bought a 2600 adapter to test with it though.

 

I posted about it when I got it, a few years ago. Its cool to hear that someone else has stumbled onto a similar system. I think its funny that the previous owner had no idea it was a 4 port.

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5 hours ago, fred said:

I have a similar 5200. 4 port with a 2 port power supply. I bought it without the box. I didn't suspect it was different until I got home and the second joystick didn't work. I did some trouble shooting and took of the plastic from cover, and Boom! there were four joystick ports. I don't think the guy that sold it to me knew. He listed it as a 2 port, and that's why I bought it, so I won't have to use the power, video box thing, and I wanted to get the 2600 converter. I still never bought a 2600 adapter to test with it though.

 

I posted about it when I got it, a few years ago. Its cool to hear that someone else has stumbled onto a similar system. I think its funny that the previous owner had no idea it was a 4 port.

Does the plate come off.  I mean the 2 port cover area.  Or did you have to buy a whole new top cover with 4 port holes.

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Someone a few years ago said it could have been someone’s at Atari, such as a programmer or developer console. But I have no idea. I would have assumed the used the standard console that would have been sold to the consumer.

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3 hours ago, Teenretrogamer said:

Someone a few years ago said it could have been someone’s at Atari, such as a programmer or developer console. But I have no idea. I would have assumed the used the standard console that would have been sold to the consumer.

 

You would need provenance to prove something like that.

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On ‎9‎/‎20‎/‎2019 at 5:26 PM, 0078265317 said:

Does the plate come off.  I mean the 2 port cover area.  Or did you have to buy a whole new top cover with 4 port holes.

The 2 port cover area does come off. It looks like that cover might have been cracked and repaired some point in the past. I think I got a good deal, a 4 port with a 2 port power supply, the best of both worlds.

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Those covers can be removed, but I've not seen one actually get removed that didn't crack the tabs in the top and basically become useless afterwards. Over the years, the 5200 plastic has become more and more brittle. I've seen more of these over the past couple of years that have cracked or completely missing controller port covers than I have intact ones it seems. I personally wouldn't try and replace that cover on an original 5200 today.

 

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59 minutes ago, -^Cro§Bow^- said:

I personally wouldn't try and replace that cover on an original 5200 today.

 

Then how does he get all 4 ports back so he can use them?  Have to take the ports cover off so you can reveal all 4 ports.

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5 minutes ago, 0078265317 said:

Then how does he get all 4 ports back so he can use them?  Have to take the ports cover off so you can reveal all 4 ports.

Crossbow is right about the plastic. I keep the plastic port cover off. I never have 4 people at one time interested in playing a 5200 game 😂 

 

Space Dungeon and Robotron are my favorite 5200 games so I do need the second port from time to time.

Edited by fred

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5 hours ago, fred said:

Crossbow is right about the plastic. I keep the plastic port cover off. I never have 4 people at one time interested in playing a 5200 game 😂 

 

Space Dungeon and Robotron are my favorite 5200 games so I do need the second port from time to time.

But if you leave the cover on then how do you access the second port for space dungeon and robotron?  Because the 4th port was not doing that as you said before.

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2 minutes ago, 0078265317 said:

But if you leave the cover on then how do you access the second port for space dungeon and robotron?  Because the 4th port was not doing that as you said before.

 

I leave the cover off and put it in a safe place so it doesn't break.

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@fred Let me get this straight...

 

You have a 2 port cover that only has the opening for the the extreme left and right ports to show? But in reality it is a 4 port with all 4 ports on it? That couldn't have been factory and was done by someone later and likely the power modification as well. You might also ask Brad at Best if he might not have just the front covers although I'm thinking he doesn't. 

 

@Teenretrogamer you need to remove the 7 screws from the bottom of the console.. 3 along the front edge, 2 in the middle center section and 2 near the upper left and right. The entire top cover just comes right up. That is all that would be needed to see what was done in the power section since that isn't covered by the RF shielding on either model. Also in looking at your pics again. Your 4-port unit is using a 2-port bottom assembly. Again the actual shells are the same, but the RF cord retainer ring is the same as that used on the 2-port units. So again, this could very well have been factory modded on the power and it would be interesting to see exactly how they implemented it.

 

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On 9/18/2019 at 9:01 PM, Teenretrogamer said:

Hopefully, someone can answer my question of what this 5200 is. Is it a prototype? Is it a one of a kind? I have no clue. Now I have never opened up my 5200, in fear that I will break it, so I have no pics of the inside. But I feel like by the serial number, someone could figure out something about my console.

Others have covered where the serial number falls in the production run.  One thing springs to mind, however:

 

Generally speaking, prototype hardware doesn't tend to come in retail packaging or with serial numbers in production ranges.  There are exceptions to this: pre-production runs, lab-use units, early demo / trade show machines, packaging mock-ups, etc. might bend or break that rule - but more often than not it holds true.

 

That said, it's certainly an interesting unit.  If you can get some photos of the internals, that would definitely help with figuring out what it is.

Edited by x=usr(1536)

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