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Atari 2600 power supply


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Hello fellow forum members!


I have a 2600 vader with the original co16353 power supply. This supply supposedly outputs 9v 500 ma, but testing with a multimeter displays 14.8v !!!!


The console works fine and doesnt get hot or anything weird, So is the high voltage gonna kill the system? Should i get a truly 9v power supply???


Thanks for reading and your kind responses.

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ChildOfCV is correct, that type of cheap power supply are designed that way.

So that the manufactures can use a small, cheap transformer they choose one that outputs both more voltage then required and less current. Consequently as the transformers output power is fixed, when more than the rated current is take from the transformer by the 2600 the output voltage drops accordingly, thus the voltage reads higher than the specified voltage off load (no current taken) and about the specified (9V) voltage on load.


You could get another 9V supply to replace it but unless you get one that is specified as having a regulated (or stabilised) 9V output which will read 9V both off and on load the chances are that any other 9V power supply you get will be doing exactly the same thing.


To clarify this point...

2 hours ago, ChildOfCv said:

Probably less with the tiny heat sink that they mount it to, but definitely more than 14.8V.

Electrical power generates heat, how much Power (heat) the regulator can take is dependant upon how quickly the heat can be taken away from the regualtor. The smaller the heatsink, the less quickly the heat can be taken away and so the regulator heats up faster. When it gets too hot internal protection circuity will place it into thermal shutdown until it cools, lowering the output voltage to 1 or 2 volts.


Power = Volts x Current, as the 2600 requires a certain amount of current to operate,  so the higher the input voltage the more the regulator will heat up both raising the chances of the regulator going into thermal shutdown as the heat generated exceeds the capacity of the heatsink to get rid of it and the speed with which it takes to heat up to that point.

Thus, it is this balance that effectively limits the input voltage to less than the 35V maximum the regulator can take if you want the 2600 to run for any length of time before the regulator overheats and shuts down, if you were to put 35V in the regulator would probably shut down in a matter of minutes as you would be putting almost 4 times the normal amount of power through it.   


Edited by Stephen Moss
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