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Questions about my 2600


Dreamcast Gamer
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On Christmas Eve, I bought a 1980 4 switch Atari VCS. The controllers seem to be damaged (fire button barely works, joystick only sensitive in one direction and hardly works in another,) but I'm wondering if my system may have other problems. On my TV (not just one) I get a black bar on the right side of my screen. It doesn't seem to affect gameplay, but is this a sign that my 2600 is dying? Also, is it normal for when you hit the reset switch that you see some weird pixels show up for a split second? Thanks.

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8 pixel wide black bars on the left, like the ones in this screenshot of Air-Sea Battle, are normal. They're a side effect of repositioning the players(sprites in modern nomenclature). The Atari only has 2 players, so midscreen repositioning is frequently used.

s_AirSeaBattle_1.png

 

Activision games hide the bars by doing a reposition on ever single scanline. You won't notice that on your TV, though you will in emulation:

s_RiverRaid_1.png

 

No other controllers to try? You can use a Genesis game pad, button B is the same as Fire on the Atari.

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Is that the controller that doesn't work?

 

Open up the Atari and take a look at controller ports. It's possible the solder has cracked over time as that is a stress point on the board (all the plugging and unplugging of controllers). If that happened then heat up a soldering iron, then touch the solder long enough to melt it. Once it cools the crack will be gone. Also check the solder on the power adapter socket, that can crack as well.

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Is that the controller that doesn't work?

 

Open up the Atari and take a look at controller ports. It's possible the solder has cracked over time as that is a stress point on the board (all the plugging and unplugging of controllers). If that happened then heat up a soldering iron, then touch the solder long enough to melt it. Once it cools the crack will be gone. Also check the solder on the power adapter socket, that can crack as well.

The Genesis controllers work fine. The joysticks are inconsistent, even on my Sega Geneis, so it can't be the Atari.

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I seem to get static when a vacuum is on or my PC is accessing the internet. I'm assuming this is normal.

 

Pretty much. That's RF interference. If you are handy with a soldering iron or know someone who is, you could modify the console for composite video. That would remove the RF interference.

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