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Everything retro - big and small! Live from Perth, Australia!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Does the Atari 2600 Jr Work?

Surprise, surprise. A little while ago I received the RF cable for a recently acquired 2600. I bought this sucker as untested quite cheaply because I'm a reckless risk taker. Turns out it turned on and tuned to a perfect black screen.
Considering this got quite boring after a while, I decided to commence into a Game Gear style uphill battle to fix it, because there is of course no such thing as a dead console- unless you're a GG bought from a French swap meet anyway.
First off, I decided to crack open the bastard. What I saw inside horrified me:

Suffice to say, this console must of had a hard life.
I don't know what could have caused that much rust. Was someone pouring water down the cartridge slot? The rust certainly does seem to be most frequent around that area. Ah well, I got my tetanus shots.
After looking at it contently for a minute or so intently, I closed it up again and fired it up for the hell of it. Surprisingly this made nil difference, but I guess it was worth a shot. It's pretty much all I did for one of my Famicom's, although I did pull a hell of a lot of sawdust out of that one.
Anyway from there, I armed myself with rubbing alcohol and a toothbrush, opened it back up and started scrubbing the board. Luckily it seems as if nothing had burst open, but there was nearly 30 years worth of corrosion in there for lucky me to clean up. I was particularly worried about that huge 80's capacitor, but it seems okay for now.
I pulled up that train wreak of a metal cover and cleaned under there as well, I feel I did quite a thorough job in the end:

You could eat your dinner off that, if you like the taste rubbing alcohol. 
Did this fix it? Well, no. I guess having it clean is for the better anyway, so I don't feel as if I wasted any time. Also I now sometimes get colourful static when I turn it on. Better than before when it was just black I guess, but of course it gets boring after a while too as you can probably imagine.
So what's next? I've decided tomorrow that I might go and freshen up some solder points as a few are starting to show their age. Couldn't hurt, and you never know, I might fix that key connection that's stopping me from playing Missile Command.


  1. Great to see you cracking out the console modding tools and getting into things!! Good luck on the A2600, I haven't had a lot of experience repairing them, but if there's that much rust on the RF shielding, might be useful to inspect the cart slot in case the pins therein are knackered as well.

  2. True that, I do suspect that the cart slot is the problem.

  3. Black screen ususally boils down to a bad TIA chip... it's the chip responsible for converting everything to something your set can understand and disply... It's the bottom chip in your picture. They are available at best electronics... Good luck

  4. Thanks for the advise Anon! I'll look into it, the only problem is I don't live near any Best Electronics since I'm Australian. There are a few places locally I can check though, so cheers!