2600RGB - Video upgrade kit for the Atari 2600
A couple of screen shot photographs can be downloaded
This is a modification board for the Atari 2600 which adds audio/video
outputs to this console which has only a modulated RF output available
normally. It improves the picture quality and makes it easier to connect
to modern TV sets that no longer have an analog tuner.
It works in a similar manner to my NESRGB board. That is, it sits between
the CPU and TIA (the name of the Atari graphics chip) and stores the data
which meant to be written to the TIA palette registers. The TIA is fed
with dummy colours instead. The various luma outputs from the TIA, in
addition to the colour data stored is then used to create a RGB version of
the original video signal. Essentially, the board creates the RGB video
signal by bypassing the colour generation logic in the TIA. The video
timing is unchanged.
With an extra button installed into the joystick, the user can control the
Select and Reset switches, as well as change the palette and pause the
console. These extra features are optional, but recommended as it removes
the need to sit next to the console (within reach of the reset switch)
The board may be installed into all models of Atari 2600. The 2600jr model
installation is much more difficult than the others because the reduced
height of the console makes it impossible to install directly over the TIA
spot on the motherboard.
- RGB, S-Video, and Composite Video outputs
- Audio output
- Six different colour palettes (three NTSC, three PAL) to choose
from. The palette may be selected with and extra button installed on
either the console or on the controller.
- Switches between PAL and NTSC palettes automatically by detecting
50/60 Hz output.
- Palettes may be modified by the user (requires a serial EEPROM
- Supplied with a switching power supply board, audio/video
connectors, push-button switch, and other assorted bits that may be
required for installation.
- If the extra button is installed on the controller, it can be used
to activate Select and Reset remotely, as well as change the palette.
- Easy installation if the TIA is already in a socket.
How to use
The extra button mounted on the joystick can activate three functions.
- Extra + Up = Select
- Extra + Down = Reset
- Extra + Fire = Palette switch.
The palette switch may also be a second button mounted on the Atari.
The palette switch performs different functions depending on how long
you hold the button down.
- < 0.4s = Pause toggle. A
quick tap of the button will pause/unpause the console. Because this
is a hardware pause of the CPU, the video signal will cut out while
the console is paused.
- < 2.5s = Select next palette.
- < 10s = Select palette #1.
- < 20s = Automatic PAL/NTSC game
detect toggle. Enabled by default. This will allow only the
selection of PAL palettes for PAL games and NTSC palettes for NTSC
games. It uses the refresh rate to determine the game type. This
should be disabled to play PAL60 homebrew games with correct colours.
- < 30s = Pause toggle.
Disabled by default. The pause feature may be annoying for some people
so it is disabled by default.
- Hold the palette switch while powering on the console to
enable/disable the 2600RGB board. When disabled, the original RF
output will work as usual.
Six switch Atari 2600
Four switch Atari 2600
Atari 2600jr (soon)
Download the wiring diagram. See the
installation guides for specific details.
Where to buy
Buy from etim
online shop (Australia/International), etim
US distributor section (United States).
For questions and comments please email.
18/7/2015 - Page created.
1/8/2015 - Added four switch guide, how to use, and availability.
25/9/2015 - Added six switch guide, palette switch detail.