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reverendshoebox

Atari 2600 Jr. Plastic Tab Replacement

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Hey, people.

 

So, I have two 2600 Jr. systems with broken plastic tabs and decided to finally try to do something about it.

 

Someone elsewhere in this forum had suggesting using screws, which seemed to work pretty well, but while looking at this, I noticed the two holes on either side of the cartridge slot on he board itself and noted they lined up with the cartridge holes rather well...almost as if by design.

 

Atari-2600-Jr-Motherboard-02.thumb.jpg.235666ac4364639401e159ecdbebf943.jpg

 

First, I broke the remaining bit of plastic off the top casing. 

 

20210210_204949.thumb.jpg.102bf9495a974c2ddc098ff8bd7dbabe.jpg

 

Then I cut two small pieces of plastic from plastic Q-Tips (wooden dowels might have been a better move, but the plastic Q-Tips seemed strong enough for my purposes,) put them in the holes, trimmed them to the proper length, and used black Sugru to secure them in the holes, give them some more stability, and make the color match up. 

 

20210210_204919.thumb.jpg.e0bbf2f470d82c4999589943256cf9a2.jpg

 

Sure enough, after they dried, they went right through the top casing in the right spot and work perfectly with cartridges.  And because they're in the board rather than on a tiny bit of plastic on the case, they're quite secure.

 

20210210_205016.thumb.jpg.a385f7fd490721a2fc20401f318ff01f.jpg

 

20210210_205038.thumb.jpg.a40070dddfe65981438ea7b786bd3a45.jpg

 

Now, you'll see this approach isn't perfect - I made the Sugru a bit too thick, and a bit scraped off when I put the top case on and pushed the new tabs through the top slot.  So that's why you see a bit of white poking through in the photo. And even before that, this is a bit ugly.  So I'm thinking a better solution might be to 3-D print something that fits snugly in the holes and goes through the top slot, or maybe there's another better-fitting solution already out there (suggestions are more than welcome.)  But - and maybe it's out there and I missed it and you're all about to laugh at me - I haven't seen anyone else suggest using these holes for this purpose before.*  So hopefully this helps someone out.  

*Yes, yes, that's what she said.  Carry on.

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I have one junior that was delivered with a broken tab (in the box) so I glued it back in place and been good so far. Not sure how long it will hold.

 

I have another junior with same issue and no tab to replace. I might look into this as well. I have a 3D printer, but have never designed my own files. Maybe this will give me the incentive now. 

 

Great job!

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Remember, you can always "build" plastic back with superglue and baking soda.

 

Put a layer of superglue...

sprinkle baking soda...

repeat as necessary.

 

File when completed. Paint black.

 

 

Edited by keithbk
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On 2/13/2021 at 2:15 PM, keithbk said:

Remember, you can always "build" plastic back with superglue and baking soda.

 

Put a layer of superglue...

sprinkle baking soda...

repeat as necessary.

 

File when completed. Paint black.

 

...Interesting.  This video didn't really show an example of it being done, but I'll have to look into that a bit.

 

 

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On 2/14/2021 at 1:40 PM, reverendshoebox said:

...Interesting.  This video didn't really show an example of it being done, but I'll have to look into that a bit.

 

 

 

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On 2/11/2021 at 8:17 AM, NISMOPC said:

I have one junior that was delivered with a broken tab (in the box) so I glued it back in place and been good so far. Not sure how long it will hold.

What kind of glue did you use? It’s still holding fine?

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On 6/2/2021 at 11:05 AM, hasanc said:

What kind of glue did you use? It’s still holding fine?

I just used Super Glue. I do not use this unit very often if at all - My daily is a 7800 with A/V mod. So I can't comment on how durable it is.

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On 6/2/2021 at 11:05 AM, hasanc said:

What kind of glue did you use? It’s still holding fine?

I super-glued mine (probably dollar tree level stuff) in the 90s or early aughts and one of them is still on it. You only need one.  Also, IIRC, I used a Combat or Pac Man cartridge for the piece.  The early carts all have the same mechanism, just with the pins in different places.  The cart opens the Atari and the Atari opens the cart.

 

The 2600 Jr is the best 2600.  I like the Tele-Games Heavy 6er better, the but the Jr puts out a much better signal, even after cleaning the channel select switch.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, christo930 said:

I super-glued mine (probably dollar tree level stuff) in the 90s or early aughts and one of them is still on it. You only need one.  Also, IIRC, I used a Combat or Pac Man cartridge for the piece.  The early carts all have the same mechanism, just with the pins in different places.  The cart opens the Atari and the Atari opens the cart.

 

The 2600 Jr is the best 2600.  I like the Tele-Games Heavy 6er better, the but the Jr puts out a much better signal, even after cleaning the channel select switch.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

I went with Gorilla super glue to repair this broken tab in my 2600 Jr’s Color/BW sliding button:

 

E166A6AB-9860-40DA-9912-4ED244B0CFCC.thumb.jpeg.b110c3d7a7b6f93fd0bf076dbc03005b.jpeg
 

It was quite challenging (for me) to glue the broken piece back in place using super glue, but I made it:

 

11E176D4-D5CB-48DB-8BDE-B9D8F80A8A19.thumb.jpeg.d9a30ea7e58f9e781dc9cfe4b3fc9ddd.jpeg


Taking a closer look you can see a “hair line” where the pieces were glued together:

 

9AE7B91C-79EC-443A-9A58-0B16ECD6BCDF.thumb.jpeg.df839eebace5c4c2ca3310d2c8af78d8.jpeg
 

The button is now fully functional and it’s nearly impossible to tell it was ever broken:

 

2D94727C-F383-40D8-9A1F-4FD9A1DF7C27.thumb.jpeg.5309a72600d02ac2040eaac05b10057c.jpeg
 

I’m very happy with the results 🙂

Edited by hasanc
Fixed typo
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2 hours ago, hasanc said:

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

I went with Gorilla super glue to repair this broken tab in my 2600 Jr’s Color/BW sliding button:

 

E166A6AB-9860-40DA-9912-4ED244B0CFCC.thumb.jpeg.b110c3d7a7b6f93fd0bf076dbc03005b.jpeg
 

It was quite challenging (for me) to glue the broken piece back in place using super glue, but I made it:

 

11E176D4-D5CB-48DB-8BDE-B9D8F80A8A19.thumb.jpeg.d9a30ea7e58f9e781dc9cfe4b3fc9ddd.jpeg


Taking a closer look you can see a “hair line” where the pieces were glued together:

 

9AE7B91C-79EC-443A-9A58-0B16ECD6BCDF.thumb.jpeg.df839eebace5c4c2ca3310d2c8af78d8.jpeg
 

The button is now fully functional and it’s nearly impossible to tell it was ever broken:

 

2D94727C-F383-40D8-9A1F-4FD9A1DF7C27.thumb.jpeg.5309a72600d02ac2040eaac05b10057c.jpeg
 

I’m very happy with the results 🙂

 

I think the trick with the little cartridge opening tabs lasting is the fact that they receive almost no forces.  I have never found anything to be good for fixing broken plastic other than reinforcement with metal.  Like if you have something long like a handle, I drill it out and then epoxy a length of metal inside the drilled out hole running the length.

Like if the case neatly cracked, I would JB weld a thin piece of aluminum or steel sheet-metal to the inside while the crack is clamped closed because no glue would ever hold it.  I've tried every glue and epoxy known to man. It just doesn't repair well.  Even when there is a very rough and perfectly clean surface, all glues I have tried fail immediately when any pressure is applied.  

Many plastics cannot be welded either. They (certain ones) undergo chemical changes the first time they are melted so that melting them again doesn't produce the same properties.  Also, these types of plastics will be used when tolerating heat is a property the end product needs to have.

 

If my other tab comes off, I am probably going to try your trick of using the Sugru.  I'll cut some small lengths of paper-clip. Heat the paperclip pieces up till they melt into the plastic of the slot and stick up like rebar out of the plastic and then cover the metal pieces with Sugru shaped to the shape of the tabs.  I used to use the paperclip trick to repair plastic hinges on laser printers.

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46 minutes ago, christo930 said:

I think the trick with the little cartridge opening tabs lasting is the fact that they receive almost no forces

Fortunately that’s also my case. There’s no mechanical stress on the sliding button tabs during normal operation, they’re there only to keep the buttons from falling off, so I hope they won’t break again anytime soon.

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