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Atari Light Sixer Repair


LeeJ07

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Hey guys, as I've mentioned a few times before, I have a Light Sixer with very heavy RF interference.

As you can see in the image, the screen is horribly fuzzy, and all game sounds are completely drowned out by static.

I've taken it apart numerous times, and tried cleaning it, but no matter what I've tried, the interference only gets worse, not better. Does anyone have ANY ideas? I feel like I've tried everything.

post-434-0-21810300-1437165404_thumb.jpg

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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I should add that the right difficulty switch, game select, and game reset switch all interfere with the picture quality, too.

Tapping the right side of the console affects the screen, too. I don't know what to make of it.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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I have concluded this Light Sixer is just a lemon, and will be junked accordingly.

 

I hope I can find a working one someday, but this one I have now is just impossible to fix. I still do not know the cause of the problem, and I doubt I ever will. Clearly, though, it just a faulty Atari 2600.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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isn't there some type of "knob" or "screw" on the motherboard that adjusts this problem??? I know I read an article awhile back about this same issue.....now I can't find the link..........

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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I have concluded this Light Sixer is just a lemon, and will be junked accordingly.

 

I hope I can find a working one someday, but this one I have now is just impossible to fix. I still do not know the cause of the problem, and I doubt I ever will. Clearly, though, it just a faulty Atari 2600.

try this.... goto this webpage https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Atari+2600+Teardown/3541

....then goto step 9 - red dot/blue square "RF modulator" - use a hex/allen wrench and adjust that

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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I have concluded this Light Sixer is just a lemon, and will be junked accordingly.

don't trash it!

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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In retrospect, the RF modulator does seem to be the issue.

Cleaning the ribbon wires did fix the problem of the left three switches interfering with the picture, though.

 

Is it possible that the modulator could have loose solder points or something? When I apply pressure to it, the picture clears up immediately, but as soon as I move my hand, the signal messes up again.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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Is it possible that the modulator could have loose solder points or something? When I apply pressure to it, the picture clears up immediately, but as soon as I move my hand, the signal messes up again.

its possible.....i don't know much about that though

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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I'm going to guess no.  As an example, push down on the board NEXT to the RF modulator.  Does it still clear up?  That indicates it's the ribbon cable. 

 

One thing I can suggest, and it's only luck if this works, is to take a piece of tape, and tape the ribbon cable down as much as you can.  Run the tape back to front, taping it down to the board.  The key is to improve the connection between the cable and the connector.  The tape might give it just enough pressure to make a better connection. 

The field service manual says that mylar cable should be replaced with a wired cable.  And that is difficult to do. 

 

4 switch 2600's and Jr.'s don't have the separate board, and don't have this issue. 

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Indeed, pushing on the entire right side of the board clears up the picture. Tapping the board does it, too. Even the slightest bump affects the screen.

 

I'll try the tape suggestion.

I've been trying to find pics online to compare my board to others, but I cannot find many.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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I'm coming to the conclusion that the only real fix will be replacing the affected part entirely. I'll never be able to do it, and I imagine paying for it to be done by an expert will cost more than the system is worth.

 

Sadly, I can only conclude that it will never be properly repaired. Thanks for all the suggestions, though. I think I'll keep it around for a conversation piece, at the very least.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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Sadly, you are probably right.  It's a known failure point, and Atari fixed it by using a wiring harness instead in later 6 switch models. 

 

The last suggestion I have is to take a piece of foam...maybe 1/4" thick and a couple inches long, and tape it to the right side of the board.  Put the cover back on.  The idea being that the cover will push down on the foam, which apply a small amount of pressure to the right side of the board and fix the issue.  You might have to play around with where to put the foam.  But it's a cheap and easy thing to try.  Once you get it working, screw the cover back on and NEVER open it again!  I know it's a pretty low-brow fix, but sure beats throwing the thing out. 

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Thanks, Rick! As a matter of fact, I had been trying to work out if I could find some way to hold the board in a position where it works, but I couldn't think of anything. Foam sounds ideal.

I really don't wanna give up on it, because when it works, baby, it's got the most gorgeously clear picture I have ever seen from a VCS. No snow, no lines, not even static. I'm talking crystal clear. It blows the reception from my Four Switcher out of the water. The Four Switcher ALWAYS has the worst static with games like Pac-Man. It even butchered the music from Ms. Pac-Man earlier.

 

If I could just get the Light Sixer to always work properly, it would be perfect.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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I never thought of that. I should try it. The 4 switch always had static with certain games, Pac-Man being the worst, but it really went crazy earlier when I popped in Ms. Pac-Man, a game that never had static in the past. It was awful, the game music sounded horrific.

 

The poor 4 switch is also unusable, alas. I damaged it ages ago with a botched repair attempt. The left controller port went bad, and I was assured online that a soldering repair would be simple and easy, even for a beginner like myself.

 

Big mistake. I botched the repair badly, and I swore off attempting to finish the fix myself ever again. I keep hoping to get it it fixed at some point. I even have a replacement port for it. But I refuse to try again.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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Rick's idea didn't work, so I am done. I've had it. It is completely unfixable.

 

I may pay someone to fix it in the future, but right now, I'm giving up. Again, thanks for all the suggestions, but I think I'll just buy another VCS, instead.

"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

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Rick's idea didn't work, so I am done. I've had it. It is completely unfixable.

 

I may pay someone to fix it in the future, but right now, I'm giving up. Again, thanks for all the suggestions, but I think I'll just buy another VCS, instead.

prob your best bet............

Brian Matherne - owner/curator of "The MOST comprehensive list of Atari VCS/2600 homebrews ever compiled." http://tiny.cc/Atari2600Homebrew

author of "The Atari 2600 Homebrew Companion" book series available on Amazon! www.amazon.com/author/brianmatherne

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