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jmjustin6

5200 problem? please help

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Hi guys, interesting stuff here.  Got my first 5200 last summer and love it.  I've heard this about the controllers - it seems weird to me that they go bad from disuse - why is this?  And which parts go bad - the buttons only, or the stick as well?

Usually just the buttons.  I think the little conductive pad on the rubber portion of the button corrodes/oxidizes. 

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Usually just the buttons.  I think the little conductive pad on the rubber portion of the button corrodes/oxidizes. 

 

It also leaves its oxidation on the flex circuit contact points.  Even when not used.  The 5200 sends a constant 5-volt signal to the controller when it is used and it is not regulated.  Should the machine get a sudden spike in electricity guess where it sends it?  Yep...the controller will take the blunt of it.  Seriously...monitor the voltage coming into the controllers sometime...you might be surprised at what you find.

 

I love my 5200, don't get me wrong, but after what all I've heard about the 5200's history, and from personal experiences as of late, I do wonder how the controllers manage to work at all sometimes.  Atari tried to get it right but never did.  Faulty controllers and fixing them are going to be part of owning a 5200 as much as I hate to say that because the console is really good in my opinion.  I really wish Atari could have some way to fix the controller issues because I love the analog controls of the system...it's unique.

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It also leaves its oxidation on the flex circuit contact points. Even when not used. The 5200 sends a constant 5-volt signal to the controller when it is used and it is not regulated. Should the machine get a sudden spike in electricity guess where it sends it? Yep...the controller will take the blunt of it. Seriously...monitor the voltage coming into the controllers sometime...you might be surprised at what you find.

So would it fix the problem if after im done playing i just unplug the controller?

Edited by jmjustin6

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So would it fix the problem if after im done playing i just unplug the controller?

 

Hmm.  Interesting question.  I leave mine plugged in for a few days.  I guess my statement was misleading.  The power is only there when the machine is on.  Otherwise the controller is not getting any electricity.  

 

One thing I would not do is wrap the cord around the controller and store it in the controller storage area on the console anymore.  These controllers are over 30 years old, the cords are old as well and can be very brittle from age and environmental elements.  The wires inside the cables to the controllers are very thin and can snap without any warnings or signs.  It sucks, too, because 5200 parts are harder to come by compared to other Atari consoles including computers.  It might help to loosely coil up the cord and place the controller inside a Ziploc baggie but that is just something I've seen some collector's do.  I keep one controller connected at all times.  Then again mine gets used daily too.

 

Others here might have suggestions better than mine that you can use to keep those controllers working.  For heaven's sake, though, please don't let it go for months without playing it if even for 5 minutes or you may find all that hard work to get the controllers going again has to be done again.  The 5200 is not a system that was meant to be left along for long periods of time.  Use it daily, weekly, or bi-weekly...whatever time you can afford.  

 

OK...maybe I am over exaggerating a bit but be sure to play a game once in a while to keep everything in tip-top working condition.  You have a very nice 5200 sitting there and I really hope that you get to experience the entertainment value the 5200 really has that the bad reps have neglected to mention.

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