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mikesk8

Atari 800 (non XL) main power switch

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I was wondering how to avoid using the main Atari power switch to prolong its life; especially if switching a lot of cartridges. I have seen some people keeping their power switches always ON and using power supplies with external switches. Is it a good and viable solution?

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The 800 has the cartridge door interlock switch as well.  Unless you have bypassed it, opening your cartridge door will cut the power.  This was designed as a safety mechanism to prevent you from hot-swapping cartridges.  You can use it to just cut the power instead of using the main power switch when you want to switch carts.

 

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I know that people used to say the switch had a limited life span but I've not seen them failing from regular use in the real world. A heavily used power switch will be worn shiny smooth indicating a heavily used machine.  There's that word again, "heavy."

 

I have a feeling a similar switch is still manufactured today that would work in place but afaik none has been found.

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3 hours ago, Sugarland said:

I have a feeling a similar switch is still manufactured today that would work in place but afaik none has been found.

It looks like it may be the same switch used in the 1050, the following link is for a similar switch. I can't confirm it's compatible without measuring the footprint on the 800 power board, but even if it isn't there's likely another that is.

https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/e-switch/300SP3J1BLKM6QE/EG5794-ND/1803781

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Those switches tend to get a fair bit of free play in them when aged.

They're pretty good quality to begin with and likely there's still off-the-shelf replacements or near matches around.

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6 hours ago, StickJock said:

The 800 has the cartridge door interlock switch as well.  Unless you have bypassed it, opening your cartridge door will cut the power.  This was designed as a safety mechanism to prevent you from hot-swapping cartridges.  You can use it to just cut the power instead of using the main power switch when you want to switch carts.

 

In my Atari the previous owner already disabled the lid power cut. I can use the main one only.

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Thanks for all the answers. I agree we could find a valid replacement on the market (its not like Vectrex one, which is a bit more complex).

However, I would like to get your feedback on switching off the power via external power switch located on the power supply or even earlier on the power strip.

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Using the power strip switch is a fine idea IMO. Don't recommend modding the power supply.

 

BTW it's a very good idea to use a power strip with all A8 power supplies and keep it off when not using the machines. An unattended 35+ year old power supply with live current is not a good idea IMO.

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23 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

Using the power strip switch is a fine idea IMO. Don't recommend modding the power supply.

 

BTW it's a very good idea to use a power strip with all A8 power supplies and keep it off when not using the machines. An unattended 35+ year old power supply with live current is not a good idea IMO.

It is an easy solution; just to switch power on the power strip and keep the main power Atari switch ON. However, I am not sure it electrically its OK :P If yes, it would be a good solution to prolong its life :)

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I see where your coming from, you might only be switching the 800 on/off due to a hang that

a warm start doesn't correct or to swap a cartridge, lots of unwanted switch use.

 

I would be tempted to put an in-line two pole switch on the 9V side of the PSU, only costs a few pounds

 

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4 minutes ago, TGB1718 said:

I see where your coming from, you might only be switching the 800 on/off due to a hang that

a warm start doesn't correct or to swap a cartridge, lots of unwanted switch use.

 

I would be tempted to put an in-line two pole switch on the 9V side of the PSU, only costs a few pounds

 

Indeed, there are a lot of unnecessary switching activities :( and we play the cartridges (original ones). Good idea on the 9V side as I was thinking on 220v one.

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7 minutes ago, mikesk8 said:

Good idea on the 9V side as I was thinking on 220v one.

I always turn the power block off when finished as I have other things (S-Drive, 1050's SIO Splitter) etc. on the same block

so just switching the 9V side makes sense :)

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2 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

I see where your coming from, you might only be switching the 800 on/off due to a hang that

a warm start doesn't correct or to swap a cartridge, lots of unwanted switch use.

 

I would be tempted to put an in-line two pole switch on the 9V side of the PSU, only costs a few pounds

 

Have you maybe seen ready ones on the market (I have been looking now and did not see anything ready made which would fit)?

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9 hours ago, mikesk8 said:

In my Atari the previous owner already disabled the lid power cut. I can use the main one only.

Have you opened it up to see how he disabled it?  It is likely that he just soldered a jumper (or solder blob) across two pins on the lid switch.  If so, it would be easy to undo this to restore the original functionality.

 

If the interrupt switch was removed, you could probably get a new one from Brad @ Best.

 

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2 hours ago, StickJock said:

Have you opened it up to see how he disabled it?  It is likely that he just soldered a jumper (or solder blob) across two pins on the lid switch.  If so, it would be easy to undo this to restore the original functionality.

 

If the interrupt switch was removed, you could probably get a new one from Brad @ Best.

 

Switch is there with a solder blob. It might be possible to clean it. However, my cartridge lid latch is loose (without metal plate) and therefore its difficult to close it :( I would need to fix both power switch and latch to make it work. I will put it on the list :)

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13 minutes ago, mikesk8 said:

Switch is there with a solder blob. It might be possible to clean it. However, my cartridge lid latch is loose (without metal plate) and therefore its difficult to close it :( I would need to fix both power switch and latch to make it work. I will put it on the list :)

You should be able to clean the blob off with some solder wick, or a solder sucker.

 

For your lid latch, do you mean the metal spring on the latch itself?  If the plastic posts are intact, then you should be able to replace the spring (which is just a short length of sheet metal).  Maybe with something else, such as a piece of plastic shim, or a piece of piano wire.  I replaced the spring on a sewing machine knee-lift lever with one made from a length of piano wire that I got from the hardware store.  If the metal spring is missing, however, it is likely that one or both of the plastic posts that hold it in place are missing.  In that case, you will have to get more creative.  You may be able to rebuild the posts - I recently experimented with the superglue + baking soda method of repairing/rebuilding plastic.  It didn't work out for what I needed, but I was amazed at how effective it is.

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Just now, StickJock said:

You should be able to clean the blob off with some solder wick, or a solder sucker.

 

For your lid latch, do you mean the metal spring on the latch itself?  If the plastic posts are intact, then you should be able to replace the spring (which is just a short length of sheet metal).  Maybe with something else, such as a piece of plastic shim, or a piece of piano wire.  I replaced the spring on a sewing machine knee-lift lever with one made from a length of piano wire that I got from the hardware store.  If the metal spring is missing, however, it is likely that one or both of the plastic posts that hold it in place are missing.  In that case, you will have to get more creative.  You may be able to rebuild the posts - I recently experimented with the superglue + baking soda method of repairing/rebuilding plastic.  It didn't work out for what I needed, but I was amazed at how effective it is.

Latch is all ok, but the metal spring is out (I have it in stock). The left post is gone/broken and the right one is still in place. On the left side the previous owner cut thought the plastic wall to use it as a post, but it did not work well. Thats why I removed the metal plate for now; waiting for better solution in the future :) 

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1 minute ago, mikesk8 said:

Latch is all ok, but the metal spring is out (I have it in stock). The left post is gone/broken and the right one is still in place. On the left side the previous owner cut thought the plastic wall to use it as a post, but it did not work well. Thats why I removed the metal plate for now; waiting for better solution in the future :) 

Great!  You have the spring.  Now you just need to rebuild the post.

 

I just took a quick look at the inside of my 800.  I have it taken apart right now as part of an Incognito install.  Instead of trying to rebuild the post itself, I think that you could build an "L" off of the left side piece.  I would recommend making an appropriately sized "L" out of something, like maybe a small piece of metal, or a small piece of plastic that you heated & bent or maybe even an "L" section cut out from some pre-formed plastic piece. Test fit the new "L" to the left flange.  The bottom arm of the "L" should end where the original post was.  Now, glue the new "L" to the side flange & top of the 800 shell.  Let it cure for however long the glue directions recommend.  Then you should be able to remount your latch & metal spring, with the end of the "L" serving the same function as the original post.

 

If you do this, take pics and show the steps & results.  I think that this method could help others who are in the same boat as you.

 

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23 minutes ago, StickJock said:

Great!  You have the spring.  Now you just need to rebuild the post.

 

I just took a quick look at the inside of my 800.  I have it taken apart right now as part of an Incognito install.  Instead of trying to rebuild the post itself, I think that you could build an "L" off of the left side piece.  I would recommend making an appropriately sized "L" out of something, like maybe a small piece of metal, or a small piece of plastic that you heated & bent or maybe even an "L" section cut out from some pre-formed plastic piece. Test fit the new "L" to the left flange.  The bottom arm of the "L" should end where the original post was.  Now, glue the new "L" to the side flange & top of the 800 shell.  Let it cure for however long the glue directions recommend.  Then you should be able to remount your latch & metal spring, with the end of the "L" serving the same function as the original post.

 

If you do this, take pics and show the steps & results.  I think that this method could help others who are in the same boat as you.

 

If I decide at some point to fix it, I will definitely take photos to document all the steps :) Unfortunately, will not have much time to focus on this soon :(

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