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Atari 2600 power supply not working

Discussion in 'Troubleshooting and Repair' started by Yeah Boi, Dec 3, 2018.

  1. Yeah Boi

    Yeah Boi

    43
    2
    Mar 24, 2018
    Hi people!

    My friend lended me his original Atari 2600 to repair, and I noticed the power supply was the culprit. But how can I repair this? I checked the cable, but everything is alright, as it was when working. If it is in the transformer, how can I get in when there are no screws?
     
  2. dave9

    dave9

    670
    153
    Mar 5, 2017
    It depends which way you want to tackle this.

    Way 1: Substitute a different PSU with the same voltages and at least as much current per voltage. You may need to reverse engineer the original PSU a little if you can't find a pinout for the connector to determine which voltages are on which pins. If you need to reverse engineer the original then you may have to force the casing open but can do so more destructively than way 2.

    Way 2: Brick PSU like these do need a little finesse to open and have them intact enough to close and keep safely closed but it is possible. You get it open as intact as possible, diagnose and repair then close it up again.

    Generally what I do is put them in a bench vise, or pole clamps if too big for my vise to put tension on one side till you see it start to bulge outward a little.

    At that point you take your favorite chisel-like tool and a hammer to beat it down into the seam to split it apart. Try to determine which half of the shell has itself overlapping the other half so you can tap the chisel down towards the direction that will split it favorably and most intact.

    Once you get the seam open in an area, work it open on that side, then take the case out and rotate it 90 degrees in your vise or clamp and proceed to do the same to the next side of the casing until it is open.

    When it comes time to put it back together (if you opt for repair instead of replace), a multipurpose acrylic/polycarb cement should work, or usually PCV cement, or if you must you can use model airplane glue, rubber cement or whatever and also put a couple nylon wire ties around it so there is more than one way it's held shut, and that will help clamp it together while the adhesive dries, or you can again use a vise or clamps that you used to pop it open, to hold it together during drying.
     
  3. kellys_eye

    kellys_eye

    4,286
    1,145
    Jun 25, 2010
    Replacement power supplier for that device are all over eBay at around $10.

    Hardly worth the effort.
     
    WyluliWolf likes this.
  4. Yeah Boi

    Yeah Boi

    43
    2
    Mar 24, 2018
    Thank both of you! And I did not know the power supply was cheap. Of course I did not check, thinking it was expensive like the original Sega power supplies... Well whatever solution I take, there is another problem: while playing yesterday, everything was going fine, then it sort of crashed, the video went bad, then all black, and I could not boot the game anymore. The game connector wasn't the problem, nor the console one, since both of them have been cleaned. I saw nothing suspicious when I soldered the points, so what would it be? I will send a picture if necessary.
     
  5. dave9

    dave9

    670
    153
    Mar 5, 2017
    ^ Pop the console open and look around. Given its age, I'd look at the capacitors first, but of course any burn market, cracks in the PCB or solder joints, and then whip out a multimeter and probe around. Just as a sanity check I'd try a different game cart first.

    Sometimes I'll pop open PSU just to see what went wrong. Back then they were probably unregulated and it's the thermal fuse in the transformer, or a power surge took out a diode(s). However some of the modern replacements may be low quality switching PSU, especially if a generic brand.

    More recent PSU are usually switchmode with the failure being a burst output filter capacitor. Sometimes it's like clockwork to get about 5 years 24/7 service before failure. Being sealed they run hot and use mediocre quality caps. I'll put a top shelf cap(s) in, and drill some vent holes in the casing. I don't have little kids running around that might stick metal objects in anything with a hole so it's not a problem putting the holes in.

    I expect the repaired PSUs to last longer than a new one would, at a fraction of the cost, and minimal downtime because I have stock of popular cap sizes that fit things like wall wart PSU, monitors, computer PSU, etc. Granted if it's a popular PSU form factor like 12V/1A and 5.5mm barrel connector, I have spares to use then when the failed one is repaired it's put into the spares pile.
     
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