Atari Reconditioned 2600A Video Game System! This is the Second Generation Atari 4 Switch 2600A System! All Bests Reconditioned Atari 2600A systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and have New Protective Atari Static switch Strips (which most of the reconditioned Atari 2600A's on the Internet Do Not have or are damaged in the reconditioning process) installed. Each Reconditioned US Atari 2600A System comes with the 2600A Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Upgraded Atari R.F. Cable (better than stock supplied original 2600A RF cable), New Atari Universal Cable Ready TV Switch Box (better than stock supplied 2600 original TV switch box), New Owners Manual and New Atari CX2692 Moon Patrol Cartridge and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released! CB102441 $89.95 Temporally out of stock!
Atari Reconditioned 2600A Darth Vader version (all black) Video Game System! This is the Second / Last Generation Atari 4 Switch 2600A System made! All Bestís Reconditioned Atari 2600A systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released. Each Reconditioned Atari 2600A System comes with the 2600A Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Upgraded Atari R.F. Cable (better than stock supplied 2600A original RF cable), New Atari Universal Cable Ready TV Switch Box (better than stock supplied 2600A original TV switch box), New Owners Manual and New Atari CX2692 Moon Patrol Cartridge! CB103086V $94.95 Temporally out of stock!
Boisy P of LA "I received my Atari 2600 order this weekend." Boisy purchased a Reconditioned Atari 2600 Heavy console with the Composite Video mod. "All I can say is WOW. What a beautiful, clean heavy sixer. It looks like it just came off the factory floor! Thanks for providing this great hardware in fantastic condition. Iím very happy with the system and am glad I got the composite mod."
Atari Reconditioned 2600 Video Game System! This is the Original / First 6 Switch Version 2600 System Atari Made! All Reconditioned 2600 Consoles are Circa Atari 1980 - 1984 Vintage. All Bests Reconditioned Atari 2600/2600A systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released. Each Reconditioned Atari 2600 System comes with the US 2600 Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Upgraded Atari R.F. Cable (better than stock supplied 2600 original RF cable), New Atari Universal Cable Ready TV Switch Box (better than stock supplied 2600 original TV switch box), New Owners Manual and New Atari CX2692 Moon Patrol Cartridge! CB103086 $109.95 Temporally out of stock!
Click here for a short list of New Atari OEM 2600 replacement parts
Click here for a list of Atari Controllers
Best Atari 2600 6 switch fun Information Tip: On the very early Atari 6 switch 2600 consoles (heavy 6er's) internal angled switch board PCB assembly without the TV channel 2 - 3 switch installed, that is mounted on the internal 2600 die casting, on the back side (solder side) you will find one of the very very early Atari Marketing Department Company sayings. You will find the normal Atari Fuji Logo etched in copper, Atari Name below and below the word Atari, "Innovative Leisure". We have been told by very early Atari Employee's, Atari even had Atari T shirts made with this same Atari Logo and Innovative Leisure Trade Mark saying silk screened on Atari Company T shirts.
Best 2nd Atari 2600 6 switch fun Information Tip: On the very early Atari 6 switch 2600 consoles (heavy and light 6er's) internal angled switch board PCB assembly with the TV channel 2 - 3, switch installed, you will find on the solder side Copper foil lettering, "Pro" lettering on the one right side (viewing from the back side of the 6 switch PCB board) by the Difficulty switch pads. Atari Engineering wanted the two 2600 Difficulty switches on the 2600 consoles to be marked Pro and Amateur settings originally. Atari Marking Department wanted to go with Right and Left Difficulty A / B settings. You can look at any Atari 2600 made and you will see which Atari department got their way on the final 2600 Bezel labels. This Pro and Am Atari Difficulty sayings / settings was also used on the Atari very early made products Stunt cycle and the Atari Super Pong Pro Am Ten consoles but was fazed out from use soon after those Atari consoles were made.
Atari Reconditioned Light 2600 Video Game System with Best's 2600 Rev. 3 Composite Video modification installed (see below for more information on the Atari 2600 CV upgrade)! This is the Original / First 6 Switch Version 2600 System Atari Made! All Reconditioned 2600 Consoles are Circa Atari 1980 - 1984 Vintage. All Bests Reconditioned Atari 2600/2600A systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released. Each Reconditioned US Atari 2600 System comes with the 2600 Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Owners Manual and New Atari CX2692 Moon Patrol Cartridge! CB103086CV $135.95 Temporally out of stock!
Tom K. of MN Tom purchased one of Best Reconditioned upgraded Light 2600 6 switch console in May with the Rev. 3 Composite Video out mod. He also exchanged out the two non Atari BP Joysticks for 2 Best CX40 Gold Upgraded Joysticks with Best's lifetime Gold CX40 PCB boards "Thank you so much for the Atari! It arrived a few weeks ago in perfect condition and I have been playing it since. I especially like the upgraded joysticks - they work great!"
Atari Tip: Do not forget to get a New Atari Translucent Dust cover for your Atari 2600 console listed below.
Atari Reconditioned Heavy 2600 Video Game System with Best's 2600 Rev. 3 Composite Video modification installed (see below for more information on the Atari 2600 CV upgrade)! This is the Original / First 6 Switch Heavy (3/8 inch thick bottom case) Version 2600 System Atari Made! All Reconditioned 2600 Heavy Consoles are Circa Atari 1979 - 1982 Vintage. All Bests Reconditioned Atari 2600 systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released 30+ years ago. Each Reconditioned US Atari 2600 System comes with the 2600 Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Owners Manual and New Atari CX2692 Moon Patrol Cartridge! We officially sold out of the Heavy 2600 6 switch consoles a few years ago. Recently we found a small box of Heavy 6 switch Atari Consoles. Very limited supply! CB103086HCV $185.95 Temporally out of stock!
Bart K. of IN "Really enjoying my 2600! The console looks like new!" Bests Reconditioned Atari 2600 6 switch console with the Bests Atari Composite Video modification installed. "I'm soooo pleased."
New in the box Atari 2600Jr. Console with 1
New Atari CX40 Joystick. Comes with US / NTSC 2600 Jr. Console, CX40 Atari Joystick, Upgraded Atari RF cable
(better than stock supplied
2600JR original short RF cable), Atari Universal Cable Ready TV switch box
(better than stock supplied
2600Jr original TV switch box) Atari US 2600 Power Supply and Atari 2600Jr. Owners Manual
and 90 day
3 Atari 2600 Jr's left in stock Only!
Limit one per Customer!
Atari Reconditioned 2600Jr This is last Generation Atari 2600 System Atari made! All Bestís Reconditioned Atari 2600Jr systems are reconditioned with New Atari OEM Factory Replacement Parts and Tested and Burned in, using Atari 2600 Factory Diagnostic Equipment and comes with the same Atari 90 day Warranty as when they were first released. Each Reconditioned US Atari 2600Jr System comes with the 2600Jr Main Console, two New Non Atari brand BP or Pro-Stick Joysticks your choice (Click here to see pictures of the Joysticks), New U.S. 110 Volt Atari 2600 Power Adapter, New Upgraded Atari R.F. Cable (better and longer than stock supplied 2600Jr original RF cable), New Atari Universal Cable Ready TV Switch Box (better than stock supplied 2600A original TV switch box), New Owners Manual, comes with the Atari 90 day Warranty. CB102570-RE $99.95
Chris C. of PA Chris contacted Best Electronics wanting to purchase a reconditioned Atari 2600Jr console. We explained to Chris there is a unadvertised option on the Reconditioned Atari 2600Jr consoles. He could trade in the two non Atari made BP Joysticks for a credit toward any Atari made controller we have in stock. Chris opted for two of the new CX40 Joysticks that have been upgraded with Bests Lifetime CX40 Gold PCB boards. "The package arrived today, I just hooked everything up and itís working great. The console and joysticks look and feel like theyíre brand new, Iíve very pleased with the quality of everything and looking forward to getting back to playing some of the games from my younger days, and maybe a few new ones. It was great doing business with you."
Atari Engineering 2600 Heavy and Light Six switch consoles Composite Video modification.
When Best Electronics helped cleared out all of the Sunnyvale Atari Warehouses over a 10+ year period, one of the additional buildings we bid on and got the rights to remove any Atari Hardware from was the Atari Corp. Main building 1196 Borregas Ave. In this Atari Corp. building was Atari Purchasing, Engineering, Engineering Prototype lab, Sales, Accounting, Marketing, Legal and other Atari departments.
In the Engineering section we came across a single Modified Euro PAL Atari 2600 Light Euro console with a Composite Video mod. installed. It got put into a box and stored onto one of the thousands and thousands of Pallets of Atari goods we put into our San Jose Warehouse over the years. We recently finally broke down one of those Pallets of Atari items from the Atari Corp building and again found that Engineering 2600 console. To us this 2600 Light console looked like an Atari Engineerís modified 2600 Light console with a Composite Video mod installed project.
Items required for this 2600 Composite Video Modification.
General Soldering: 25 Watt Soldering Iron
RF Modulator Unsoldering: 35 Watt Soldering Iron
Needle Nose Pliers
Small Flat blade Screwdriver and Phillips Screwdriver
A good Solder Sucker or a lot of Solder Wick
Hot Melt Glue
Small pencil Flash Light
Recommend Video Test Cartridges Atari Diagnostic Cartridge or Atari 2600 Game cartridges, Missile Command, Space Invaders, Casino, Black Jack or Combat.
The abilty to follow written installation instructions with pictures
This upgrade is so simple no schematics / prints are supplied but is well documented and has many color photos of the upgrade process. You should be able to solder and unsolder components, read resistor color codes, read Signal Diode part numbers and read the silk screen component # locations (Example: R222 location) on the Atari 2600 Motherboard
Optional: Drill and ľ inch drill bit.
About 1 to 2 hours installation time.
21 Page set of Installation instructions with 16 color pictures
All Electronic Components required for this 2600 Composite Video Mod.
Set of 6 ft Composite Video and Audio cables with Gold Plated RCA connectors on the other end already modified cable ends for easy installation onto the 2600 motherboard.
Atari Engineering US 2600 Light and Heavy Composite Video Modification Rev. 3 CB103132 $20.00
Brand New Custom made Atari Dust covers for the Atari 2600 / 2600A Consoles. Finally back in stock after being out of stock of them for the last 8 months. Translucent see thru Atari Dust covers that have a tailored fit with reinforced edging around the base. CB103121 $12.95 ea. Buy 2 or more for the Sale price of $10.00 ea.
For the first time in 28+ years, Brand New Custom made Atari Dust covers for the Atari 2600Jr Consoles. These Translucent see thru Dust covers, have a tailored fit with reinforced edging around the base and Custom tapered fit. CB103123 $12.95
Best Electronics Special Buy!
A lot of the Atari 2600/7800 Game Consoles that were released in Europe came with an Atari 32 in 1 Game Cartridge. Yes! 32 full blown, 2600 Games on one Atari Game Cartridge. Here is a list of the Atari and Atari Licensed PAL 2600 games on this 32 in 1 cartridge: Air-Sea Battle, Ant Party, Basketball, Blackjack, Bowling, Boxing, Video Checkers, Combat, Fishing, Fishing Derby, Flag Capture, Football, Freeway, Freeway Rabbit, Fun with Numbers, Golf, Homerun, Human Cannonball, Laser Blast, Miniature Golf, Outlaw, Othello, Skiing, Sky Diver, Slot Machine, Slot Racers, Space War, Stampede, Surround, Tennis, 3D Tic-Tac-Toe and UFO. 32, Atari Joystick and Paddle 2600 Games with a Total of 281+ Game variations on one Atari made Cartridge. The way you access each different game, is to insert the Atari 32 in 1 cartridge into your 2600 or 7800 console and turn it on for the first 2600 Game, then off and on for the next game and so on.
Since this is a 2600 PAL (50 Hz) version cartridge when you use it on an NTSC/US 2600/7800 system, you may have to adjust the vertical "Hold" adjustment on your Color TV.
32 in 1 Atari 2600 Cartridge$32
Limited supply on some 2600 Titles, some titles only one is in stock, sold on a
first come first serve basis! We suggest when placing orders for 2600 Cartridges,
you always have a 2nd and 3rd choice of the same dollar Value 2600 Game
Cartridge listed, in case your 1st choice has sold out. This allows us to process your
order faster and Not have to issue Credits, Refund checks or try to contact you by phone
us at firstname.lastname@example.org
us at email@example.com
Atari Titles (Boxed)
Real Sport Football, Real Sports Volleyball, Space War, Warlords
Best 2600 Information Tip: Atari 2600 Warlords is one of the Very Very few Atari 2600 games ever made that with an extra set of Atari CX30 Paddles, 4 players can play at the same time! Warlords has 23 different Game Variations. You will find that Warlords is a great Party game. The Atari Arcade division made a Arcade Version machine of Atari Warlords.
Basketball, Battlezone, Berzerk, Brain Games, Circus Atari, Crossbow, Crystal Castles, Defender II, Desert Falcon, Football, Galaxian, Joust, Jungle Hunt, Kangaroo, Midnight Magic, Millipede, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, Pac Man Jr., Pole Position, Real Sports Baseball, Real Sports Boxing, Real Sports Soccer, Real Sports Tennis, Solaris, Sprint Master, Super Baseball, Super Breakout, Super Football, Venture $12 ea. Air Sea Battle, Asteroids, Big Bird Egg Catch, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Mouse Trap, M.S. Pac Man, Off the Wall $15 ea. Cookie Monster Munch, Demons to Diamonds, Doge'em, Donkey Kong Jr., Orthello, Star Raiders no keypad, Sorcerer's Apprentice, Space Invaders $18 ea. Mario Bros (limit one), Secret Quest, TNT BMX Air Master $38 ea. Just like the Atari Arcade Version Atari Road Runner $39.95 ea. Officially sold out (early May of this year) of the one of the very very few Atari made / produced Light Gun games (uses the XE or Best Atari Light Guns) for the 2600 consoles called Atari Sentinel. In a recent clean up of one of our two large Atari warehouses, we found a couple of 6 pack boxes of new in the shrunk wrapped box Atari CX26183 Sentinel games. $45.00 Limit one per customer!
Atari 2600 7800 Mario Bros. Brothers CIB SEALED NOS shrinkwrapped NEW Nintendo. Seller did not specify a returns policy Final wining E-Bay bid (1 bid) as of 04-06-14 $49.99 plus $4.00 shipping
Used Sentinel for the ATARI 2600 with box & Game Manual. 14 day money back, buyer pays return shipping Final winning E-bay bid (8 bids) as of 03-30-14 $51.99 plus $4.12 shipping
Benjamin H. of TX All of the Atari 2600 games I ordered arrived in mint condition and still sealed in their factory laminate, which is quite amazing when you remember how old many of these games are. There's nothing quite like opening a brand new Atari game for the first time and experiencing the excitement of putting a brand new game into your Atari console. I get all kinds of flashbacks from the 80's whenever this happens and it's always such a thrill to receive brand new games from such a great source!
Best 2600 Information Tip: Atari 2600 Space Invaders game has an undocumented feature that the Atari programmer put into this Atari 2600 Game. Normally when you play Atari 2600 Space Invaders, you only get one Missile shot at a time. That Space Invaders Missile shot must go off the top of the TV screen before you can shot another missile up. If you hold down the 2600, 2600A or 2600JR Reset switch / Button when you first turn on your Atari 2600 console with the Space Invaders cartridge installed, you will now find that you can fire a second Missile before the first Missile goes off the TV screen. If you just turn off and turn on your Atari 2600 console, this undocumented Space Invaders hidden feature goes away!
Non Atari Titles (Boxed)
Space Attack $9.95 Ice Hockey, Sea Hawk, Star Voyager, Task Force $12.95 ea. Burger Time, Commando, Cruise Missile, Dark Caverns, GI Joe: Cobra Strike, Karate, Tutankham $15 ea. Pete Rose Baseball, Skiing, Skateboarding $20 ea. Cross Force, TomCat F14 $25 ea. Demon Attack, Frogger $29.95 ea. Enduro, Reactor, River Raid I, Spiderman $39.95 ea. River Raid II $45 Double Dragon, Pitfall II, Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back $49.95 ea.
Atari Loose Cartridges(No Instructions)
Battle, Asteroids, Berzerk, Circus Atari, Combat, Defender, Dodg'em, ET, Football,
Hunt, Home Run, Human Cannonball, Indy 500, Missile Command, Moon Patrol, Mouse Trap, Night Driver, Othello, Pac Man, Phoenix, Outlaw,
Sky Diver, Solaris, Space Attack, Space
War, Street Racer, Super Breakout, Surround, Vanguard, Venture, Warlords, Yar's Revenge All at $5 ea.
3D Tic Tac Toe, Basketball, Brain Games, Breakout, Blackjack, Canyon Bomber, Casino, Codebreaker, Crystal Castles, Desert Falcon, Galaxian, Golf, Human Cannonball, Kangaroo, Pele's Soccer / Championship Soccer, Pole Position, Real Sports Baseball, Real Sports Boxing, Real Sports Football, Real Sports Soccer, Real Sports Tennis, Real Sports Volleyball, Solaris, Sorcerer's Apprentice (glue stained end labels), Super Baseball, Super Football, Sword Quest Fireworld, Video Pinball $6 ea. Battlezone, Bowling, Championship Soccer, Hangman, Hunt & Score, Ms. Pac Man, Mouse Trap, Star Raiders $7 ea. Big Birds Egg Catch (glue stained end labels), Centipede, Demons to Diamonds, Donkey Kong Jr., Haunted House, Maze Craze, M.S. Pac Man, Mouse Trap, Skydiver, Space Invaders, Video Olympics (with Atari Pong game) $9.95 ea. Basic Math, Basic Programming, Backgammon, Flag Capture, Hangman, Miniature Golf, Star Ship, Slot Machine, Superman, Video Chess $12 ea. Flag Capture $14.95
Other Atari Titles(Cartridge only / May have different factory label or no label, No Instructions)
These Atari Game cartridges are built up (hand assembled) from our Atari inventory of 30,000 to 50,000 2600 Atari Game I.C.s we have in stock. Many of these older Classic 2600 Titles are Virtually Impossible to find nowadays by 2600 Collectors.
Adventure, Alpha Beam Ernie, Backgammon, Basketball, Bowling, Concentration, Golf, Haunted House, Math Grand Prix, Maze Craze, Phoenix, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Slot Racers, Star Ship, Stellar Trak (Sears release), 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, Superman, Sword Quest Earthworld, Video Chess, Video Pinball, Volleyball All at $10 ea.
Text Version Instructions for above hand assembled 2600 cartridges (except titles in Green) $2 ea.
PAL Versions Battlezone, Centipede,Chess, Jungle Hunt, Kangaroo, M.S. Pac Man, Pole Position, Raider of the Lost Ark, R S Tennis, Space Invaders $10 ea.
New 2600 Service! Some 313 different Text Version (typed) Game Instructions for
2600 Cartridges are Now Available, E-Mail
us at firstname.lastname@example.org Titles $3 ea.
Best Electronics buy's out one of the largest Collection of 2600 Cartridges we have Ever seen! One of our Atari Dealers decided to retire after 16+ years Selling (and Collecting) Atari 2600 Games at his Local Store and Flea markets in his area! Many of the 3,100+ Atari and Non Atari titles we bought, we have only heard about in the last 31+ years in business, But have Never seen! Because most of the loose 2600 Game cartridges on this list were out in the Sun for years (6 to 15), just about all of the cartridge Labels on the 2600 cartridges are in Good to Fair and Poor Shape (noted with a (G)(F)(P) after the title), some even maybe missing the end labels! All of these Atari 2600 Collector Series Game Cartridges work and are Perfect for the Atari 2600 Collector who wants to fill in his 2600 Collection with the missing Cartridges you have been Searching for Years and Years and could Not seem to find at a Reasonable Price! When ordering any of these Special Buy 2600 Cartridges, Please put the (F) or (P) past the Game Title with the price, this will help us to differentiate between our standard 2600 inventory and this Special Buy Group.
Atari/Sears Titles (Loose)
Alpha Beam with Ernie(F), Circus Atari(P), Demons to Diamonds (F to P), Berzerk(P), Home Run Baseball(P), Vanguard(P) $3 ea. Crystal Castles(P), Sears Defender(P), Human Cannonball (F to P), Kangaroo), Missle Command(P), Math Grand Prix(P), Star Raiders(P), Sears Target Fun(P) $4 ea. Real Sports Boxing(P), Maze Craze(P), 3-D Tac-Tic-Toe(P) $5 ea. Street Racer $9.95 Sears Baseball(P) $12
Absolute (Loose) Titlematch(P) $10 Super Skateboarding(P) $12
Activision (Loose) (All Carts have adhesive spots showing thru the label, faded to very faded or Missing end labels) Barnstorming(P), Dragster(P), Enduro(P), Freeway(P), Ice Hockey(P), Laser Blast(F to P), Kaboom(F to G), Skiing(P), Stampede(P), Starmaster(F to G), Tennis(P) $4 ea. Checkers(F to G), Sking(F to G), Sky Jinks(P), Spider Fighter(P), Chopper Command(P), Robot Tank)(P), Grand Prix(P) $6 ea.
Apollo (Loose) Final Approach(P), Infiltrate(P), Lost Luggage(P), Shark Attack(P), Space Chase(P) $6ea.
CBS Electronics/Video (Loose) Blue Print(P), Solar Fox(P), Tunnel Runner(P) $6ea.
20th Century Fox (Loose) Mash(P) $6 ea.
Coleco (Loose) Donkey Kong(F to P) $4 Carnival(P), Mouse Trap, Venture(P), Donkey Kong Junior(G) $6 ea. Zaxxon(P) $20
Date Age (Loose) Journey Escape(P to G) $6
Epyx (Loose) Winter Games(P) $10 ea.
IMagic (Loose) Cosmic Ark(F), Riddle of the Sphinx(F), Star Voyager(F) $4 ea. Fire Fighter(F), Trick Shot(F) $6 ea. Demon Attack(F), Atlantis(F), Dragon Fire(F) $10 ea.
Mattel / M Network (Loose) Space Attack(F to P), Super Challenge Baseball(P), SuperChallenge Football(P) $4 ea Astroblast(F to P), Lock n' Chase(P) $5 each Adventures of Tron (F to G), Air Raiders(F to G), Armor Ambush(F), International Soccer(F to G), Lock and Chase(F to G), Tron Deadly Disks(F to G) $8 each
Mythicon (loose) FireFly(P) $6
Parker Bros. (Loose) Qbert(P), Reactor(P to G) $4 ea. GI Joe(P),The Empire Strikes Back(P) , Tutankham(P to F) $6 ea. Spiderman(1/2 label) $7ea
SpectraVision (Loose) Gangsteralley(P) $8
U.S. Games / Vidtac (Loose) Space Jockey(F to G) $6 Commando Raid(G), Entombed(P), Sneak in Peek(F to G), Word Zapper(F to G) $7 ea. Gopher(F to G), Name This Game(F, No top label), Towering Inferno(F to G) $10 ea.
Best Atari Tech Tip: Faulty Game Cartridges?
How you can salvage questionable Atari Game Cartridges.
Over the years we have had a lot of inquires, phone calls and E-Mails from Atari Owners saying they are having problems with their Atari Game system or Atari Computer system and their Game Cartridges. This Best Tech tip is based on 20+ years of experience with Game Cartridge problems and thousands of responses to Atari Cartridge Owners.
Typical Comments / Symptoms:
We put the Atari Game Cartridge into our Atari console and when we turn it on we get a black screen only.
The Atari Game Cartridge seems to work fine, but when we touch the Game Cartridge (or slightly move the console) the game stops, glitches or locks up.
The Atari Game Cartridge seems to play fine until a certain time has passes, we reach a certain level or point in the game and the game stops, glitches or locks up.
Most of our Atari Game Cartridges work fine but some seem to have problems.
We put in the Atari Game Cartridge and get funny Screen Colors (Solid screen Colors or distorted Screen displays) or funny Sounds out only.
All of the above Atari Cartridge problems can be caused by many different reasons on an Atari consoles and Computers. Some of them are:
Dirty Cartridge Edge card connectors within the Atari Game Cartridge.
Dirty Cartridge female connector within the Atari Console or Computer.
Damaged (bent), Worn out, Corroded or Dirty Cartridge female connectors on the consoles.
Bad Game ROM (Chip) inside the Cartridge.
Bad Cartridge Printed Circuit board inside the Atari Cartridge.
This Best Atari Tech Tip will explain how the average person can try to fix Atari Cartridge problems with common Items, Tools and Supplies most households have. The Skill level to try to fix these Atari Game Cartridge problems is Basic and Most people should be able to correct these problems.
History and General Information
Atari 2600, 5200 and 7800 Game Cartridges and Many Atari Computer Cartridges are anywhere from 15 to 20+ years old now. The 2600 Series Game cartridge are some of the Oldest ones made!
All of the Atari and other manufactures Game Cartridges of this era contain a small Printed Circuit Board with a Game chip (ROM, Read Only Memory Chip) Soldered into this small Printed Circuit board. To Interface this Atari Game Cartridge chip / board inside the Game Cartridge to the outside world (connect it up to the Atari Console) all of these small printed Game internal Circuit boards have little fingers or small plated contact areas (top and bottom sides of the printed circuit board) along one end of the internal printed Circuit board.
Some 20+ years ago, the Printed Circuit board industry was relatively new. The mass produced Printed Circuit board industry went thru a big Learning curve. Early Atari and other third party Game Cartridge manufactures first used Tin Plated (sliver looking) edge card fingers. These Tin plated fingers were found to cause Major problems with the Game cartridges and other computer applications Atari and manufactures found out latter.
The Major problem with these Tin plated contacts, was they would Oxidize or Corrode very easily and not allow proper contact between the Game Cartridge and mating female connector inside the Atari Console. Thus causing the Game Cartridge to fail or eventually go bad.
Old Atari Techs knew about this problem and would use a pencil eraser tip to rub / clean this oxidized contacts when they went bad. Another Trick / Technique Atari and other 3 party manufactures used to try and fix this problem was to coat the Tin plated (and some gold plated contacts too) contacts / edge card connectors with a conductive protective Grease. This fix seemed to work for a little while but end up turning into a 15 to 20 year old Ticking Time Boom! Using these early version Atari Game Cartridges, this Conductive Grease was spread to Game Cartridge mating female connectors and other Game Cartridges that people had in their Atari collection. We have found these Conductive Greases, would attract Dust, Dirt and other foreign materials to these game cartridge Tin and Gold plated contacts. In a good percentage of cases, this 10 to 20 year old Conductive Grease and Foreign Materials mixture would turn into a solid Non Conducting (sometimes a Very hard) coating, which the normal self-wiping gold contacts of the Mating female Game cartridge connector inside the Atari console could not clean off the Game cartridge internal PCB edge card fingers, when it was inserted into the console.
When Atari and other third party Manufactures switched over to Gold Plated edge card connectors Most of the above Oxidizing and Corrosion problems went away or it seemed to.
Atari made Game Cartridges with Gold plated contacts seem to be very well manufactured. But some manufactures like Parker Bros, Activision and others have had some other problems with their gold plated game cartridge edge card connectors over the years. It seems that during the Gold Plating process, that some of the chemicals required for the Gold plating process would be absorbed by the printed circuit boards themselves. Years and years latter, many of these harsh / acid type of plating chemicals would leach out of the printed circuit boards onto the Gold edge card contacts, forming a solid and sometimes a Very hard coating over the Gold contacts. This coating is usually Green, Tan or Black / Brown in color.
We have seen this leaching out problem show up in Brand New (20+ year ago) factory shrunk wrapped sealed New Parker Bros and Activision game cartridges!
Now if you used your Atari Game Cartridges all of the time for the last 20+ years, the normal inserting and removing of Game cartridge from your Atari console would wipe off these coatings before they could harden. But if you have a 12 to 20+ year old Game Cartridge that has not been used for years, there is a Very good chance the Gold / Tin plated contacts have some type of Coating / Corrosion on them.
White paper towels
Isopropyl Alcohol (rubbing Alcohol)
Small Paper Clip or small straight blade screwdriver
Acetone cleaner (fingernail Polish remover)
Small amount of fine Steal Wool, # 0 or # 00 grade (Second choice, a 3M Scotch Bright pot / pan cleaning pad)
Small Magnifying Glass
Small fine pencil type art paint brush or used Toothbrush
Skill Level Required:
Time Required Per Cartridge:
3 to 10 Minutes, first time
The following cleaning procedures should NOT be done on days / locations where high Static discharges (Example: Walk across a room and get zapped when you touch a door knob) can occur. If you walk across a rug or room where there is high Static electricity, you can short this built up static electricity charge in your body across the Game cartridge Gold Edge card connectors when you touch them to clean them and blow up the Game ROM inside the Game Cartridge!
First there are two basic Atari or third party manufactured Game cartridge styles. Oneís with exposed (you can see inside the game cartridge) edge card Gold or tin plated contacts and others that have hidden (sliding in collapsing protective plastic panel) Contacts. Most of the older type of Atari made Game Cartridges have this sliding protective dust cover Mechanism. To defeat this Atari protective dust mechanism, first turn the game cartridge end you normally insert into the game console toward you. Inside Atari game cartridge end you will see three thin rectangular closed slots. One short slot, one long slot one in the middle and another short slot on the other end. The long rectangular slot is where the internal Game Cartridge edge card connector / fingers comes out when this dust control panel collapses into the game cartridge. The other two smaller rectangular slots are part of the game cartridge internal Dust cover mechanism and when activated, cause the sliding dust cover panel to collapse into the Atari Game Cartridge.
Insert a small paper clip or small straight blade screwdriver blade into either the left or right small thin rectangular openings on the end of the game cartridge. With a little light pressure, push in the paper clip into either one of the small left or right rectangular slots until you see the long thin rectangular opening in the middle, open up. With a little applied pressure, push on the whole black internal plastic panel with the three rectangular slots and you will find that this sliding plastic panel with collapse into the game cartridge, thus exposing the gold or tin edge card connectors on the internal Game ROM PCB board. During the edge card cleaning processes below, you can keep a finger (or small Screwdriver) inside the cartridge to prevent this sliding protective dust cover panel from snapping / popping closed or hold pressure on the outside of the top and bottom of the game cartridge cases over the collapsed dust cover Mechanism panel.
First / Easy Clean Method
Get a white paper towel and soak a small end of it in Isopropyl rubbing alcohol. Clean (wipe or scrub hard) the top and bottom sides of the gold plated contacts with the rubbing alcohol soaked paper towel with a small finger tip. Try to clean all of the exposed Gold / Tin plated finger surface areas, especially along the front edge of this PCB board were the gold contacts touch the mating female Game console connector. As you are cleaning the Gold plated fingers/contacts, you should see a green, tan or black residue come off onto the white paper towel. Keep cleaning / scrubbing (changing and resoaking clean sections of the paper towel) the top and bottom Gold contacts until nothing comes off onto the white paper towel. If the Gold contacts look very clean with no residue left on them, then Test the game Cartridge you just cleaned. If your cleaned Game Cartridge now works fine then stop at this first cleaning procedure. If you can still see residue left on the Gold plating or still have Cartridge problems, then proceed to the next level cleaning process below.
Second Clean Method
Using a new white paper towel, put a Very Very small amount of Acetone (Finger nail paint remover) on the paper towel and VERY VERY carefully clean the Gold / Tin plated Contacts top and bottom. BUT do not get the Acetone on the black / brown plastic game cartridge inside the case. If the Acetone comes in contact with black / brown plastic game cartridge, in most cases it will melt or damage the black / brown plastic cartridge case.
After you have carefully cleaned the Gold contacts with the Acetone and nothing more comes off onto the paper towels, before you insert the cleaned cartridge into the Atari console to test it, wash / clean the gold contacts one or more times with a separate clean paper towel soaked with alcohol to clean off any Acetone residue. Again retest the Cleaned Game Cartridge.
Third / Final Clean Method
If you are still having cartridge problems after the Acetone cleaning then as a Last Resort, next try cleaning the Top and Bottom Gold / Tin Contacts with a fine #0 or #00 Steel wool. This is best done with the Gold or Tin edge card side of the game cartridge facing the ground or over a trash container. (Note: It is possible to sand off the thin Gold / Tin Plating (expose the Copper plating under the plating) on the Game Cartridge contacts with enough sanding / cleaning with Steel wool. So you should only use light pressure when cleaning with Steel wool and only sand / clean with a couple of light passes only). After you have cleaned the Gold / Tin contacts with the Steel wool, try to blow / brush / wipe out any fine Steel wool hairs that break off during the cleaning / sanding operation and drop into the inside of the Game cartridge. Also make sure all of the loose fine hairs of the Steel wool are completely removed from the Gold / Tin Contacts on the Game cartridge before you insert them into the console. A final wipe of the gold contacts with a clean paper towel soaked with alcohol would be a good idea (inspect the white paper towel, if you find strands of Steal wool on the paper towel, keep cleaning with clean sections of the alcohol soaked paper towel until no Steel wool strands show up). If all of the Steel wool strands are not removed from the Gold / Tin plated Contacts or surrounding areas inside the cartridge, you may find that any Steel wool strands left, eventually may short across the Gold / Tin edge card connectors and damage the Atari console or short out the Game ROM inside the cartridge when it is powered up.
Retest your cleaned Game Cartridge.
third and final cleaning method for a single Atari Game cartridges does not
work, but the other cleaned ones do work fine, then consider that Cartridge ROM
chip or PCB board inside bad.
If you still have Cartridge problems with all of your Cleaned Game Cartridges, you can also use a small magnifying glass and inspect the Mating female connector on the Atari console for dirty, damaged contacts or foreign materials inside the connector. Most of the Atari consoles mating female cartridge connectors have the same type of sliding internal plastic panel protecting the female connector. Use the same paper clip method for opening up the protective sliding inner plastic panel as above with the game cartridge instructions above. If you have a very tiny pencil tip paintbrush or old toothbrush, you can also try to clean the mating female cartridge connector with alcohol on the Atari game console. Make sure you blow / dry out any Alcohol that has collected inside the bottom of the Female game cartridge connector and on the Gold plated contacts on the Game Console / Computer BEFORE you insert a cleaned Game Cartridge and power up. The Acetone and Steel wool cleaning on the Female console connector is not recommend because of the size of the mating small connector opening and the close proximity of the black plastic casing around the Female mating game cartridge connector.
If the Mating female Cartridge connector looks clean, then the problem may not be a female cartridge connector / Game Cartridge Edge card connector problem, but an electronic internal problem within the Atari console.
Also remember that just cleaning one questionable / troublesome Game Cartridge in all of the old game cartridges that work OK, is not a good Idea. The other Old working game cartridges in your collection may still transfer dirt, old Grease or foreign materials to other cleaned Plated edge card connectors Via the Mating female console connector, thus setting the stage for other old working Game Cartridges to go bad. So it is best to always clean all of your Old game cartridge PCB edges at the same time.
Best Electronics in the Atari business since February 1, 1984.
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