Testcart - Atari 2600



The Testcart is a cartridge that allows you to test Atari 2600 consoles and controllers. When you power up a 2600 with this cartridge inserted, it first displays a test pattern and plays some music to verify that the sound and video are working. It then switches to a screen where the controller switches, joysticks, keyboard controllers and paddles may all be tested.

Includes cartridge and full-color manual.

Author Paul Slocum
Controller Joystick, Paddle, and Keyboard Controllers
Cartridge Size 4K
Label Design Paul Slocum
Konrad Capeller on 08/18/2020 09:55pm
This cart is so well programmed that it highlighted an intermittent RF problem I had with a couple of units I wanted to sell. I could only replicate the problem with one other cart. Point is- I was able to catch a problem before it went out the door and I have the community a bad rep.
Nathan Strum on 12/15/2010 01:37pm
Testcart is a utility cartridge that allows you to check an Atari 2600's various components and controllers to see if they're working properly.

When you plug in the cart, it displays a few colors onscreen so you can make sure your 2600 video circuitry is working, and plays music so you can check the audio. After a few seconds, the screen will change to a display showing the status of various controllers: joysticks, keypads, and paddles; and also the console's various switches. As you flip switches, move controllers, or press buttons, the onscreen display changes accordingly. If something doesn't change, then you know you've got a problem. To troubleshoot a problematic controller you may want to switch ports so you can be sure it's the controller, and not the console. Driving controllers aren't mentioned in the manual, but they are testable in that if you spin them, the joystick up/down indicators will alternate on and off.

Testcart works very well for what it does. If you need to test a number of consoles or controllers, it may well be worth getting. For the casual gamer though, just plugging in a game you already own may work well enough. Support for the Omega Race booster grip, driving controllers, Sega game pads and the AtariVox would be welcomed. It would also be nice if there were more detailed tests available - such as grayscale ramps or a full 2600 color palette so you could better adjust your TV, or the option to test the individual sounds or graphics registers of the 2600.
Chris Alaimo on 04/15/2007 05:25pm
I bought this cart a couple of years ago at CGE. This cart is not only great for diagnosing problems with the console, it is also great for testing various controllers. One of the best features is the color bar generator, which allows for accurate adjustment of A/V and s-video mods. If you do any work on VCS machines yourself, or often buy VCS machines at thrifts and fleas for resale, then this cart is a no-brainer investment.
Brian Banta on 03/23/2003 12:47am
This test cart is great. It starts up with a bar scale with the name of the color listed right on the bars. It's a lot of help if you need to adjust your TV's color so games look the way they should. (or to alert you to problems with your system if they don't show correctly)

After that, you're taken to a screen with indicators to test the left and right controllers, including keypad and paddle controllers.

This cart will even show what position all your switches are in so if you question the settings on your system, this could show if something’s wrong.

And all the while, it has an audio test running. It's a great sounding little tune also, rather than a simple tone or scale.

Over all, this is great for someone interested in repairing their system, and/or controllers and a great deal at $20.

Just be warned, this is not a game, it's for testing your system.
Trenton Ray on 01/25/2003 01:28pm
Have you ever came back from a find with a new Atari, only to find that something is broke? Thankfully, Atari made diagnostic cartridges.. but not many. Don't fret though, because thanks to Paul Slocum, you get all that Atari offered, and more!

With the Testcart, you can easily adjust your color with a color testscreen, including the names of the colors, which makes this task alot easier than trying to make lines go away in color bars (the 7800 diagnostic for example).

Sound gone bad? The testcart will play you a tune so you can check on the sound and verify it is working

Think you have a broken controller? Call on the testcart! You can test controllers in comfort, with an on screen display showing you the current status of your joystick. Stuck in kiddy mode? Could be a bad switch, but yet again, the Testcart saves the day, and lets you see the switches status.

Trying to de-jitter paddles? The testcart makes it easy, with colored bars near the bottom of the screen that you can move, while tweaking the paddles until jitter is all but gone.

If you ever work on broken Atari 2600 or 7800 systems, you NEED this cart. You may not want to lay down the money because this cartridge isn't a game, but it is worth the money. If you really want a game, you can always see who can move their testbar in paddle mode further :)

A great investment, this is something you will call on any time you need to work on a system, it is priceless and a must have. (20 bucks aint too shabby either!)

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