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About this blog

Mostly Atari-related projects, and other ramblings. Home of the Artie the Atari comic strip.

Entries in this blog

Meet the new boss... same as the old boss

Every year around this time I blog about...   Wait, is "blog" a verb? (Checks...)   Okay. It is. Every year around this time, I write a blog entry about the annual student film screenings at the college where I work (CalArts). I'd been editing those shows for almost 30 years.   Or rather, I edited the shows for each year, and had been doing that once a year for almost 30 years. I hadn't been editing the same shows over and over again for 30 years. That would

One more four the road

This is going to be a lot shorter than the last couple of projects. You can pick out details from those blog entries if you need to install a UAV mod of your own, but I'm not going to go over it all in detail again here - much of it is the same.   One last console to mod, and no repairs needed! This time - a four-switcher. Or as I like to call 'em, a four-banger: Somehow, I don't think my console nicknames are catching on. 4x4? Foursider? No?   Anyway... here's its

2600 Chewnyor Fixit & Mod kit - pt. 3

Time to cut stuff up! Choppity-chop!   And yes... this part is non-reversible. But the cables have to exit the Jr. somewhere. There aren't many places to do this, unless you repurpose the RF jack, or remove the RF modulator and the channel 2-3 switch. Neither is happening here, so I need to cut a hole. Because of how I routed the cables and the location of the mods, I decided the space between the channel 2-3 switch and the corner post of the case was the best spot.   So I me

2600 Chewnyor Fixit & Mod kit - pt. 2

So, it's time to throw a UAV mod into this 2600 Jr.   As far as installing mods, this isn't exactly my first rodeo. But it is my first time installing a mod into a Jr., and it's my first time installing a UAV mod into a 2600.   When I installed a UAV mod in John's 7800, I had the advantage of using an auxiliary board from -^CrossBow^- that served as both an audio board and a mount for the UAV. This made installation pretty simple.   For the Jr., though, the UAV inst

2600 Chewnyor Fixit & Mod kit - pt. 1

So, remember how Sean Connery would pronounce "Junior" whenever he was talking to Harrison Ford in "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade"?   Well, there you go! I'll be repairing and adding a UAV mod to John Champeau's 2600 "Chewnyor".     Let's take a look at this crusty, disgusting thing, shall we? In all fairness to John, he thinks he picked it up like this either as part of an eBay lot or from a yard sale. It looks like it had been buried in a yard...     It'

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 7

A friend and I decided to check out a place the other night that reportedly had classic arcade games: Let's Play Cafe in Monroe, WA. Admission was $20 and everything was set to free-play. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of actual classic arcade games they had there - most of which actually worked!   I played: Joust, Defender, Robotron: 2084 (all three part of a Williams multi-game cabinet), Qix (which had a slightly wonky joystick), Gorf (very reassuring to see that we nailed

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 6

Get comfy! These next two entries are going to be a bit on the long side.   There's some saying in some profession or something somewhere where they say something like, "the first rule of whatever is to do no harm". Or something.   This poor 7800 has been through enough grief without incurring any more damage. But as they say, "You can't break any eggs without making an omelette". Or something.   As I was cleaning up the case of the 7800, I decided to try to polish

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 5

Well, this blog entry just about ended very differently.   But it's all-good now.   So close to the finish line... just a couple more things to do after this. But first, here's where we're at now.   When we last left this poor, abused 7800, I was about to install a UAV mod, using one of -^CrossBow^-'s 7800 UAV Mount Boards.    First - I need to install the wires (or a header, but in this case, wires). I soldered the first one, then held each successive wire in place

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 4

So... the 7800 isn't back to "working" yet, although I have made some progress. In the sense that "I've spent more money on it" and "I took it more apart".   Let's look at the pretty pictures! Here are some fresh parts from Mouser: I may not use the RCA jacks... I'm more inclined to use the short "pigtail" type cables I used on my own 2600 as well as John's. You just plug them into your monitor's (or AV system's) cables using barrel connectors, saving wear-and-tear on 40-year

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 3

When we last left the 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup™, alex_79 helpfully suggested: We'll get back to the transistors in a minute. Meanwhile, I decided to rip out the HDMI "mod" as a first step, because: 1) It's horrible, and 2) I did find a short between ground and the composite video output that I traced back to that mess. I didn't take pics of the process, suffice to say it involved cutting wires, desoldering and re-soldering, chewing through a glued-down HDMI connector with side-cutters, a

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 2

So when we last left "John's" 7800 , I still needed to test the audio, and look into the joystick problem.   To hear audio on my Sony monitor, I have to munge any stereo signals together into mono (each input has only a single audio connector). Since this 7800 has a stereo mod (or two audio outputs anyway), I needed such an adapter. My other two inputs on the monitor already have adapter cables plugged into them that I made, but now I'm using the third input, and I want to minimize ca

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum in 7800 repair

The 7800 Mod Mess Mixup Fixup - pt. 1

The 7800 really needs a nickname. The 2600 has several: Heavy Sixer, Vader, Jr., etc.   The 5200 is... uh... the Boat Anchor? Well, we'll go with that for now. But the 7800? As far as I know, it never got a nickname.   So I'm going to bestow one upon it: The Wedge.   It's cool. It's hip. It's trendy. And I'm sure that nothing ever nicknamed The Wedge ever had any bad connotations whatsoever.     Anyway, it's time to 7800-up my blog with my next fixit proje

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum in 7800 repair

Doin' the Hacky POKEY

Some time ago, I was planning to order a Concerto cart for my 7800.   I didn't have a POKEY to install in it, but figured I'd either order one from Best, or wait until the HOKEY was available to order the Concerto.   Around that same time, James mangled the daylights out of a POKEY, trying to remove it from a poor, unsuspecting Ballblazer cart. I offered to attempt to fix it, if he wanted to send it to me. So he did, presuming it to be DOA anyway (he subsequently bought a rep

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum in 7800 repair

The Switcher-Fixer-upper

As I was getting my 2600 setup set back up, I ran into another issue.   I used an old Pelican S-Video switch to connect my 2600 (along with other S-Video components like my LaserDisc player and Dreamcast) to my HDTV. Well, I no longer have the HDTV, and the LaserDisc player and Dreamcast are likely to stay in storage for the foreseeable future, but I wanted to re-use the switch with my Sony PVM-14M2U monitor so I wouldn't have to keep swapping cables.   And while it sti

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum in 2600 repair

The Sixer-Fixer-upper: Revisited

So, remember when I foolishly wrote this? I guess two years counts as "some longevity".   Because yesterday, after recently moving back to Seattle*, I finally unpacked my 2600, hooked it up for the first time, and got this:     Looks suspiciously like the pics in that other blog post, doesn't it? (I'm assuming you clicked on the link. If you didn't... how do you know I'm not lying? Or maybe there's something really spectacularly awesome you're missing o

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum in 2600 repair

As normal as it gets

For the past two years, our annual student film screenings for the Character Animation Program at CalArts haven't happened. At least not in person. (For those reading this in the inevitable, distant, dystopian FUTURE and may have no knowledge of what happened in 2020 - this was due to a worldwide outbreak of e-coli brought about by some undercooked Chicken McNuggets at McDonald's. For those who don't know what Chicken McNuggets were, they were "extra parts" genetically engineered and grafted ont

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum

Real racing action!

Did I mention I bought a PS4?   Years ago. I don't actually recall when.   Oh wait, here's an email receipt from Best Buy...   11/18/18. Must've been a Black Friday sale.   $199. Was that a good price? I'm guessing it must've been. I don't buy new consoles unless I can get them cheap.   I bought it in order to... uh... why did I buy it again? Oh, right. To play Carmageddon. Remember the PC (and Mac) game from the late 90's where you smashed up op

Nathan Strum

Nathan Strum

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