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Experienced with the others - filling gaps in my knowledge


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Hi All,


I'm a long time AA member, grew up with 2600 and have complete Lynx and Jag collections.


Somehow I skipped the 7800 but have been gradually getting into it over the past 2 years.


I wonder if I could pester you to fill some gaps in my knowledge?


I have an S-video mod on my PAL unit and 17 titles so far. I also have 2 proline controllers, the telegames rapid fire controller and 2 7800 joypads. Oh and a dust cover! My unit is boxed with instructions.


From there on from a collecting point of view :-

  • I see a lot of homebrews in the AA store are NTSC - is there a region mod for my unit?
  • What would I gain from the Expansion module - if it's even out?
  • And the SD card? does this have a release date?
  • Anything else I should know?

Many thanks in advance.

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The consoles have different BIOS in them for starters. NTSC 7800 has a security check on cartridges also, whereas PAL does not, so you can't run a PAL 7800 game on an NTSC 7800. Also the PAL 7800 has Asteroids built in, the NTSC 7800 does not.


To answer the question, yes I have both PAL and NTSC 7800 consoles here.

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Yes. Running NTSC 7800 games on a PAL 7800 has one of three outcomes: minor graphical glitching that does not impact gameplay (eg. Ms Pacman); major graphical glitching that seriously impacts gameplay (eg. Touchdown Football); game crashes at some point and thus can't be play (eg. Robotron, Summer Games, Winter Games sadly, basically, many of the 7800 US exclusives).

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There may be interest in a older thread that goes into details listing NTSC games and the outcome under a PAL console.


Interesting note for Summer/Winter Games: "MUST press select as soon as game boots up".


Noteworthy too, there is a "Euro OS upgrade" for NTSC consoles.


It removes the encryption check/rainbow splash screen. Additionally, Asteroids is build-in and runs perfectly with no cart inserted. It is stated to allow you to play (some) Atari 7800 PAL games. I've only tested Commando PAL, and it crashes at the introduction text screen.


The OS upgrade is available through Best Electronics. One of my consoles was upgraded with it along with their composite video mod. Their description of, and what is included in, the OS upgrade is in the spoiler below.


It is listed as: Atari 7800 US Consoles OS Upgrade Kit CB102669 $17.95



It includes:

-8 page Installation Instructions with 9 color photos
-New 7800 OS chip
-Jumper wire
-New 7800 28 pin OS I.C. Socket
-New Interface I.C.
-A New set of shorter 7800 Case screws.


Atari Engineering released two versions of the Atari 7800 Operating System chips. The US version has the known 7800 boot up / delay screen with the Atari Logo / color bars, before the inserted Atari 7800 game cartridge screen appears.


The Euro 7800 OS chip / 7800 Euro Consoles have a build in Atari 7800 Asteroids game (turn on your 7800 with no game cartridge inserted and 7800 Asteroids would be the default game) and will instantly start any 7800 game (no more Atari 7800 Logo delay screen) when a 7800 game cartridge was installed.


Both versions of the Atari 7800 OS chips both instantly start up all 2600 Game Cartridges. This Atari Euro 7800 upgrade chip will also allow you to play more of the Atari 7800 PAL Games that will not normally / properly run on the NTSC / US version Atari 7800 consoles.


When Best Electronics cleared out Atari Engineering department we found several Atari Engineering samples of US 7800 consoles modified with a Universal PAL / US upgrade version 7800 OS chip.


This Atari Engineering Enhanced / Hybrid / Universal Atari 7800 OS Upgrade chip can be installed in any US / NTSC 7800 console and will give you the same above upgraded features as Atari Euro version 7800 consoles produced. To Install / Upgrade in a US 7800 console, requires some soldering, additional I.C. chip, trace cutting and an extra wire jumper added to a US 7800 Motherboard.


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