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Atari 400 - Cartridges not 'seating' properly

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I can't get a single cartridge working properly on a newly acquired Atari 400. Specifically, I put a cartridge in the slot, close the lid, boot up, and it boots to the memo pad every time.

 

I pull the game pcb out of the cartridge case and seat it into the slot without the case, close the lid, boot up, and it works!

 

So, something seems needing adjusted within the Atari 400 cartridge slot itself? Anybody see this? Anybody have a way to fix this?

 

Thanks in advance.

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I had the same problem so i cleaned the contacts on the cartridges and in the 400 port and the problem was solved. BTW, some carts can be a VERY tight fit like Imagic Demon Attack on mine, so apply gentle pressure with the tight ones until it is fully seated

Edited by Rik
forgot to add something

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Thanks! I'll open it up, work on cleaning it out with some alcohol, let it dry out and try again I guess. The cartridges just dont seem to 'click in'....

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You may not have to disassemble... with a bright light you should be able to see if crap is in the cart connector slot... a thin implement and a vacuum cleaner should get any clap trap out... if you don't have some thing decent like like long tiny tweezers etc., an old debit/credit card and scissors can create an acceptable implement... careful work will get the fuzz, hair, foam, what have you out without damage to the unit.. sometime an upside down shaking gets it as well...

as to a click... well that's not really a concern... deep, flat, level, even seating of the cartridge is...

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Ages ago I had a 400 that had problems with the cartridge port, it
turned out to be the little DOM sticker Atari put under the lid to the
cart port. Over time the adhesive lost its sticky, and it fell into the
cart port & blocked one or more of the pins.

If you shine a light in there and see the same thing, you can do what
I did: carefully remove the sticker with tweezers, then clean the cart
port by spraying QD or Deoxit [*] in there & inserting/removing a cart
repeatedly.

[*] BITD, I used Radio Shack Color TV Tuner Cleaner. But I doubt that's
still available.

  • Like 1

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check that you have the 2x plastic 'clinkers' protruding up from the cart socket - they act as a release latch for the door on brown carts.

my 400 had a broken one but new ones can be obtained from Best.

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those are the cartridge insertion dust cover door release tabs, they shouldn't be noisy clicking... unless we are doing something very fast and there is some impact or other issues going on, like perhaps dragging rusty slide springs, or springs that have jumped their grooved slot channel...

remove rust and wax the springs in the cartridges, making sure they stay in the groove slots where they belong.

 

Edited by _The Doctor__

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i was unsure of the correct term for them so by 'clinker', i meant 'thingummyjig' or 'jobby' or 'shnecker' etc :)

  • Haha 1

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xrbrevin, that's a cute cat you have!

Edited by Rik

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cheers, he's a cheeky little tinker tho. him and his wife (from next door) are operating a local food-blagging racket and im one of their victims! 😁

yours is a bonny fellow too. in the pic, is he poised for a defensive strike or just intrigued?

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