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Replacement Channel selector switch ?


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We have a Light Sixer whose channel selector button came off inside the unit. I opened up the case and looked at the plastic switch. There was no metal on it anywhere. I snapped it back on and it moves normally, but nothing happens when the console is on.

I suspect a small piece of metal or something also fell out and has been lost? Something that would make contact with the soldered places...?

Can anyone provide pictures of what it *should* look like (bottom side of the plastic switch), etc.? Is it possible to buy a replacement switch?

Thank you!

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Welcome to the Forums @Dougmeister!! It's great to have you join us!


7 hours ago, Dougmeister said:

Is it possible to buy a replacement switch?

Yes it is! It should be straight forward enough that somebody with basic soldering experience should be able to replace a switch on the Atari 2600.


Best Electronics offers them here: 


Console5 offers them here, but are currently sold out: 


Here are some photos and instructions for repairing your Atari 2600 switches:

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There is excellent info and pictures here:  https://vintagegamingandmore.com/atari-switch-repair/

You can buy replacement switches from Best Electronics.  But it's easier to remove one from a broken donor board.  I know they don't show the channel switch directly, but the switch parts are the same.  There should be a little metal piece that goes between the plastic switch and the contacts. 

If you cannot find a replacement switch, I would consider simply soldering in a jumper cable.  The console would always use channel 3 (or 4), but honestly, how often does anyone actually use that switch?

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As it is just plastic, it is the same switch design that is used in the Intellivision. You carefully lift the tabs on the side and pull upwards. There was originally a metal spring clip inside that connected between the metal contact pads. In on position it would set it to one channel, and for the other the other channel. So you need to see if you can find that small metal leaf spring contact that was inside it. It kinda looks like a small metal clip in the shape of a trapezoid that is missing one side and about 1cm in length.

If you can't find it, then as was also suggested. You can short out two of the pads along one side to see which one gives you channel three and then just solder a jumper onto them. 

Remember that original Heavy 6's didn't even have a channel select switch and were wired for channel 3 permanently back then.


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3 minutes ago, Dougmeister said:

It currently works on Channel 2 (for some strange reason).

Will soldering a permanent connection to channel 3 hurt the potential future resale value, and if so, how much?

RE:  Resale value:  I doubt it will impact the resale value.  First of all, they aren't worth a lot to begin with.  As long as you can show that it works, you'll get top value if you sell.  Many sales are done "as-is" or "untested", and that's what really would hurt your value. 

This is all only my opinion of course. 


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Agreed, regarding the resale value. Anyone that is going to use it on RF is likely to use it on channel 3 regardless. After all, they are going to most likely use a CRT for that purpose and as there aren't any old analog channels around for most of us, much less using Channel 3. I don't see that as an issue. Like @RickR stated, showing that it is a working console is much more important. But the switches aren't that hard to get either. I might even have one I can remove from a donor light sixer. Even the difficulty switches and channel switches from 4 switch units would likely work although they wouldn't stand as tall off the board so it would be trickier to access the switch. 

You would have to stick a small screwdriver or something into the opening to actually move it for instance. But you have to do that already right?



Edited by CrossBow
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2 hours ago, Dougmeister said:

It currently works on Channel 2 (for some strange reason).

Will soldering a permanent connection to channel 3 hurt the potential future resale value, and if so, how much

That switch has RS on it.  I wonder if that switch has been replaced before because the last time I saw that logo was on a switch from Radio Shack 🤔 but that was decades ago.

And I was wrong.  I had a 2600 board here that works on channel 2 without a switch.  I forgot I had soldered two solder joints together.  So somewhere around that switch a connection is being made for it to be working on channel 2.  I would double check around that switch for those metal pieces because if they are there and should decide to move you could risk shorting something else out on you VCS.

That switch, however, is a common switch...nothing special or proprietary.  If you have a local electronic parts store pay them a visit and take that board with you to show them so they can help you.  I already checked my pulled parts stock and I don't have any more or I'd send you a replacement.

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14 hours ago, Dougmeister said:

Here is a pic of the switch. Does anyone have any tips on how to get the plastic switch *off* again? I'd rather not break it, even though I'm going to probably replace it.






i responded to this, and it did not show up. sorry.

i am out of the switches, best should have them.

be very careful desoldering and resoldering, these boards are old now, and can separate very easy. the solder and traces can get so old, its like crystal.





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Likely just the cost of shipping it is all. Provided you are in the US. I've got a sixer switchboard that is a parts unit but would have to check if it has the channel select switch on it or not. If it is the same as the switches they used later on, then that is NO problem as I've got several at the ready I can quickly remove from spare 7800 boards and other 4siwtcher parts boards laying around.


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