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Sears Video Arcade 2 Project


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Another RickR project:


I purchased an "as-is" Sears Video Arcade II on Ebay for a pretty low price, but it was advertised "As-is", and "powers on but the screen is fickry" (exact words from the ad).


It arrived today.  Very dirty.  I'm taking some before shots.




This thing has 4 joystick ports!  What the???  I wonder why?




And take a look at the end of the video cable.  No wonder it was "fickry"!  No RF adapter...just the RF cord spliced to an 75/300 ohm converter.




Another thing, missing power adapter.  This uses a different connector than the 2600.  I looked it up on-line...9V, 1 amp.  So I got a power adapter and connector out of my parts bins and spliced them together.  Don't worry, I'll solder and heat-shrink once I know it works.  The power lights do come on now!




Next step is to open it up and replace the RF cable.  Then we'll know if it works. 



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Opened it up...lots of dust bunnies.




Side note:  I'm also working on a broken 7800 that Greenween donated to give to jmjustin6 (if I can fix it).  Look very closely at this picture...the cases are essentially the same.  Jmjustin, I'm working on your machine too!




And while the case takes a bath, I checked to see if the board worked with a new RF cable.  YES.  It does!






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This thing has 4 joystick ports!  What the???  I wonder why?


So here's the deal with the 4 joystick ports: One of the big selling features of the system, as far as being a 2600-compatible system goes, is the really cool all-in-one joysticks which integrate the paddle controllers into the joystick stalks. These joysticks work a bit differently from the regular 2600 joysticks, and you press the button on the 2800 console to select between "Joystick" and "Paddle". Because these controllers are all-in-one and different from the norm, playing a 4-player game like Warlords means having 4 of these 2800 Joysticks, each with its own controller port.


Remember, the 2800 was intended to dominate the Japanese market when it was designed, and they weren't initially thinking about American compatibility issues for Sears. The expectation was that Atari's official entrance into Japan would for the most part dominate the Japanese market. The 2800 joystick would be the officially released Atari joystick for Japan, and there weren't a ton of classic 2600 joysticks and paddle controllers floating around. So if you wanted to play a 4-player game, you'd just buy some extra 2800 joysticks at your local Japanese Atari dealer and you were set to go.



More info on the Atari 2800 from this very awesome site:





Thanks for sharing the link Rick!! I think that page is a pretty decent one-stop-shop for Atari 2800 knowledge  ^_^

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Will the Gemini joystick/paddle controller work on this console?

I just tried, and the answer is no.  The button works, but the knob does nothing.  I'm not sure if there's a trick to it or not, but I tried in both "joystick" and "paddle" mode. 


Ironically, I also can't get the paddles to work on my Gemini.  There, the knob works, but not the button.  I think I need what the manual refers to as a "wye" cable, but don't have that. 

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I just shed a tear.  That is a beautiful piece of hardware, RickR.  


I'm not sure about a PAL Arcade II unit but there are some things you could check.  Try it on another channel with the same games and see if that helps or makes a difference.  You might try checking the RF modulator as well (inside the unit).  It might need replacing (which might be causing the rolling in Space Invaders).  If you have spares you might try another RF modulator to see what that does.  

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