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Will replacing these chips BREAK my 5200?


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I've got a working 5200 (yes!!). I have several of the socketed chips (memory, ANTIC, GTIA, etc.) loose in unknown working condition. Will popping them into my working 5200 possibly cause any damage to the other components in the system? I thought I could test each of those loose chips.

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Should work ok! I would unplug the power adapter each time so you don't accidentally turn it on while swapping chips.


Do one at a time and make sure all surfaces are grounded so static doesn't ruin a good chip.


I had a bad pokey chip in my 5200 once, playing Galaxian. When I first started playing the players ship moved fast/slow both left and right.


But after a few minutes it would move fast/slow one direction and only slow in the other! Star Raiders did the same thing. I use a sharpie to put a "G" for good on the working chips!

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Whether the system boots or not is an obvious indication of a replaced chip's functionality. However, I've read (as SoundGammon stated above) that your system can boot yet have problems with certain games caused by certain faulty socketed chips.


These are the games I currently own: Berzerk, Galaxian, Pac-Man, Pole Position, River Raid, Space Invaders, Super Breakout.


What should I look for when booting each game when determining if a chip has faults? For example, if the POKEY is bad, do ships in Space Invaders move strangely? If a memory chip is bad, is Pac-Man a garbled mess of pixels? These are just fictional examples, but I think you get the point.

Edited by dino999
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For me the most common issues was that the system would either lock up on the atari logo, or the game would start up and then lock up. Only a few times I can recall there being garbled graphics but it was usually due to dirty/bad contacts on the cartridge port and or cartridge itself.


The Pokey going bad would likely be picked up by odd sounds and wonky controls since Pokey handles that.


I think the worst thing to try and discover is bad, is when you have one or more of the small multiplexer ICs go bad on the controller ports. For years, I used my current 5200 thinking there wasn't any problems. Then one day I finally decide to try and play Wizard of Wor, and it was then that I discovered that the chip between the 3rd and forth player ports was faulty. The problem was that I couldn't get the controller to work in one direction, and I believe the pause and or resets weren't working. And I only confirmed it once I plugged a known working controller in and then did some research.


Funny now that I think about. I remember when I found out about this, it was also when I realized that essentially, Atari just swapped the addressing between the player 2 and player 4 ports in the BIOS when they did the 2 port models. Because when you examine them side by side on the MB, the traces are essentially intact between port 2 as related to port 4 between them. Additionally, the port 2 controller ICs are in the same places as the 4 port unit. Amazing any games with 2 player options really worked on the 2 port.

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