Hi all, found this forum, read a few posts and had to join. This is only the second Atari forum I've participated in last ones were BBS's, so it's been awhile
I started out in the early days as an Atari authorized service center tech and repaired/refurbished more consoles than you could shake a stick at. Looks like Atari never left and I've still played it all of these years.
I'm an IT admin now, but I started out as a lowly bench tech. If you were good, they called you a "gunslinger" back then - which seems kind of silly, but it was considered high praise at the time. It was a name reserved for the high end guys who took care of the issues no body else had any luck with, or the ones that were considered to difficult for field personal. Not necessarily related to Atari, just in general.
We took contracts with any manufacturer who needed depot style repair where we could get decent money and secure a steady parts chain and factory level service material. I've professionally repaired everything from Bang & Olufsen, Macintosh (not the computer), Apple (the computer), Commodore, Nakamichi, Data South, Unisys, Daisy Tech, Atari (many models), Marantz and more. Nothing was thrown away back then - if it was of quality & had value, it was all repaired. The Atari was no exception - the 2600's were extremely well made units, and made to be repaired. Actually... they were made to be repaired by folks who knew how to use o-scopes and logic probes. The manuals are geared to flow chart troubleshooting , but the real repair happened at the end of a scope probe. The flow charts were for the new guys and ones destined for field repair.
Anyway, a friend asked me to do a repair on a 2600, so I got into the loft looking for a few parts and would up finding all of my service gear, parts and manuals that I had packed away for who knows why (but I'm glad I did) - and it turns out... I can still repair them like nobody's business.