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PCB Upgrades from Older Revisions to Newer Revisions?


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Good day, I have what some may consider a stupid question, but I'm going to ask it anyway. My level of circuitry knowledge is basic, so I'm not sure how difficult if even possible the following would be. Can older boards be upgraded to resemble the circuitry of newer boards? And what I mean by that is adding or fixing components that later revisions accomplished. For example for Revision 16 (on the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atari_2600_hardware) states "Revisions 16 and up contain the model differences described above; they also include a timer chip (A205) added to the reset circuitry of the MPU chip. This chip eliminates the problem of power-on reset failures." Was the reset failure caused by a recent revision before 16 or was it always prevalent? I know the PCBs have different layouts from the early versions to later versions, but basically should be the same.


I decided to join the club and get myself an Atari again. I had once owned a Vader, but stupidly sold it (curse my younger self). Tomorrow, I'm about to purchase a lot that contains 2 light sixers and a 4-switch CX2600-A. One is listed as "for parts", but not sure which console it is. I've also been seeing sales listings where VCS's had their PCBs tested and capacitors replaced.


All I want to do is ensure that I can prolong the life of my units. I want to have one for sure that will last at least 35 years (when I'm 80) or longer.


Also my deepest apologies, if this kind of question has been asked several times before and I happen to yet make another post about it. :P


Thank you for your time and answers.



Edited by Arno1978
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14 hours ago, Arno1978 said:

Can older boards be upgraded to resemble the circuitry of newer boards? And what I mean by that is adding or fixing components that later revisions accomplished.

The question you may want to be asking is, "is there any advantage to hacking an older board into a newer one?"


Realistically, the easiest way to accomplish what you're proposing is to swap a newer board into an older machine.  Thing is, it's not clear what the gain would be.  Not every revision was necessarily an improvement in longevity or usability, and not all of the changes that were made could be applied to an older board without significant modification.


Is there something in particular that you're concerned about?  2600 PCBs (the earlier ones in particular) tend to be pretty robust, and age-related issues are generally fairly easily taken care of.

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I have friend in electronics who could test the board and even replace some of the aging components. So my thought was, if he can do that, then perhaps add to the boards what they did in later revisions. Like when they added a timer chip, or made it so one of the lines can't go above 5v. I wasn't sure if there were any physical glitches or gotchas in the older designs that could occasionally affect gameplay or affect the circuitry over time. But, if not that big of a deal and these boards certainly are robust, then maybe just a check up and tuning (if necessary) is all these units need.


Thank you very much for your response. 🙂

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