Frustrated by the results of my slightly unsuccesful Atari 2600 video mod, I ended up buying a RetroKidz composite / S-video mod from (the nowadays ceased) 8-bit Domain webshop shortly after. The specs available there stated that this mod had been tested to work on both PAL and NTSC systems, so it seemed like a hassle-free solution.. Not that it proved out one, really. If you have a PAL system and this mod installed, you should definitely read on!
A small break from all the DIYing, here’s my Atari 2600 entry ‘Smells Like TIA Spirit’ from Breakpoint 2006:
In overall the compo was once again pretty C64-heavy, but there were also single entries for Spectrum ZX, Amiga 500 and Atari STE. My tune placed 7th with 209 points whereas the winner, Reed’s C64 tune ‘R.E.E.D.’ got 309 points. You can download a zip archive of the binary + mp3 files from here. Check out Whimsey’s Z26 if you wish to run the binary on Linux or Windows. If you wish to check out my earlier posts related to this Atari 2600 entry, click here.
After a bit of side-tracking with other projects, it was about time to finally tackle this console. I want to release a Atari 2600 tune for the executable music compo at Breakpoint 2006 so I need to have the hardware ready by then. Specifically, video and audio out mods are needed.
After looking around a bit, I came across Nathan Strumm’s excellent Atari 2600 video mod comparison page and decided to implement the mod mentioned from atariage.com. As for the audio, I wanted to have the two channels of TIA mono/stereo selectable. This is where Rob Mitchell’s page came in handy. As the video mod makes the RF circuit useless I figured I can remove it altogether and mod the RF switch to be used for the mono/stereo selection. The pics:
Why the Scart socket? Well, I have a switcher and plenty of fully coupled Scart cables so figured I’ll use this one instead. The resistor attached on pin 16 (tied to ground on pin 18) is used to signal the television (or whatever the receiver) that a composite signal is fed instead of RGB.
As for the quality of this mod? Bollocks. I’m only getting a really faint distorted signal, so it definitely needs some inspection. However, as the audio bit is in order I’m going to delay it to a later date and assume it’ll be enough for demonstration purposes at Breakpoint 2006.
Yet another case of projects that have been stuck to my head for quite some time, I decided to take a step towards Paul Slocum’s awesome Sequencer Kit for the Atari 2600. In order to run the software on real hardware, I needed to make a cart for EPROMs. Given how old this console is (first introduced in 1977), it’s not like the cart is anything complex. So, with the help of some schematics and pictures from the net I drew up a schematic and a board layout and etched/assembled the cart.
I also have a couple of second-hand Atari 2600’s waiting, next up it’s time to modify them a bit.