Guide for installing the 2600RGB into a Four Switch Atari 2600.

Tools and materials required:

Click on the pictures to make them bigger.

The kit contains the following parts.
  • 40p dual wipe IC socket
  • 40p round pin IC socket 
  • serial EEPROM programmed with palette data
  • 8p socket for serial EEPROM
  • 7 wire ribbon cable 350mm
  • 3.5mm audio socket
  • 8p mini-DIN socket with pin label board for RGB video
  • 4p mini-DIN socket with pin label board for S-video (not used in this guide)
  • pair of 20p square pin strip
  • mini panel mount pushbutton
  • power supply board
  • 3p right angle pin header for power supply
  • diode board and 2 diodes
  • 2600RGB board
  • additional capacitor for power supply (not pictured)

In addition to the above,

  • yellow 100nF plastic capacitor (not used)
  • electrolytic capacitor
  • 3.3k resistor (not used)

Open the Atari, take out the motherboard and place on the operating table. It might be a good idea to take those four little foam discs off the switches at this point so they don't fall off and get lost.

Untwist the metal tabs an take off the metal shield plates above and below the motherboard.

Identify the TIA. The PAL version is labelled CO11903 and the NTSC version CO104444.

Hold the 2600RGB board above the TIA like so. The purpose is to find all the tall components that might get in the way of mounting the the 2600 board.

I've circled all the tall components in magenta. Two transistors to the left, a crystal, a big orange coil, and another transistor behind it.

Out with crystal, out with big orange. The transistors just need to be pushed out of the way.

I've put the two tall components back in, but mounted horizontally. Some extra wire was used for the leg extensions. You may leave off the orange coil if you don't care to keep the original RF output functional.

Look, the TIA chip is in socket. That's convenient! Note the orientation of the TIA. On my board it is facing a different direction to the other chips. For reference, you may use the silkscreen on the board, but not the socket (sometimes sockets are installed backwards).

If your TIA is soldered to the board you will need to desolder it. Install the dual wipe IC socket in its position.

It's time to prepare the 2600RGB board!

Insert the pin strip into the bottom of the 2600RGB board as shown. Solder only one pin on each. Adjust each strip so it is straight and perpendicular to the PCB. Once it looks good solder all the other pins.

Strip the insulation from the seven wire ribbon cable. Tin the wires with solder and do the same to the pads labelled EXTRA on the 2600RGB board. Solder the wires by holding the ribbon in place and applying pressure with the soldering iron tip, one at a time.

Solder on the 40p round pin IC socket for the TIA and 8p socket for the programmed serial EEPROM.

Solder the jumpers if required. Their functions are:
  • JP1 open for TTL sync / closed for 75 ohm sync (recommended).
  • JP2 close for French SECAM consoles only.
  • JP3 Y-trap filter frequency. Open for PAL consoles, closed for NTSC consoles. The affects composite video output only.

Put the EEPROM in the socket. You may need to trim the legs of the 8p socket otherwise they bump into the big annoying orange coil, which is now mounted horizontally.

Insert the TIA into the round pin socket on the 2600RGB board. But first, look at the legs on the TIA chip you have removed. Do the legs stick out a bit like the one in the left of the photograph? If so bend them in a bit using a flat surface so it's more like the one to the right. This makes it easier to insert into the round pin IC socket.

Stick the 2600RGB board into the TIA socket on the motherboard. It's tight fit and may require some force. This is good, it won't fall out.

Wire the audio and video connections. See the wiring diagram for more details. Power is supplied to the 2600RGB through the TIA socket. The 5V pad is for generating SCART switching signals only.

Cut the ribbon cable to length and wire it to the left controller port according to the wiring diagram.

The pin listing for the Extra connector is,
  1. Reset (switch)
  2. Select (switch)
  3. Right (left joystick)
  4. Left (left joystick)
  5. Down (left joystick)
  6. Fire (left joystick)
  7. Up (left joystick)

For reference.

Cut a hole in the metal shield for the wires to escape. File the sharp edges so you don't cut yourself (or the wires).

Now it's time to install the switching power regulator!

Find the linear 7805 three terminal regulator and remove it from the motherboard. Clean the solder out of the holes with a solder sucker.

Insert the 3p right angle pin header into the regulator holes as shown, bent part into the motherboard. Align the short end of the header with the pads on the switching regulator and solder them into position (don't solder to the motherboard yet).

Make sure the area is clean and dirt free. Remove the plastic which covers the sticky adhesive on the back of the switching regulator. Stick it to the motherboard and solder the pins.

The pins of the switching regulator are labelled I for input, G for ground, O for output. After you have stuck and soldered it in place, I recommend testing the ground connection with a multimeter. Measure the resistance between a ground point (such as the large copper plane beneath the regulator) and the G pad to check it is close to 0 ohms.

If it is not connected please solder again. The Atari may be damaged if it is powered on and the regulator is not connected properly.

An extra capacitor is required to reduce radiated noise. Install the supplied 220u electrolytic capacitor between the Input and Ground pins of the switching regulator. The negative leg (marked with a stripe) is connected to ground.

Drill two holes in the rear of the plastic shell for the audio and video connectors. The 3.5mm socket requires a 6mm hole and the 8p mini-DIN socket requires a 12mm hole.

The holes must be drilled with a step drill bit (shown to the right). Do not use a twist drill bit (shown left) as it may crack the plastic.

The shell for the Atari is about 3.3mm thick, which is too thick to mount the audio socket directly. The trick is to use a large twist drill bit (about 10mm or so) to remove some of the plastic from the inside of the shell. Do this by hand.

Now the 3.5mm audio socket will fit.

Mount the audio socket and glue the mini-DIN socket in with two part epoxy.

Once the epoxy has cured, you can solder the pin label board in place.

Put the console back together. Don't forget the little foam pieces around the switches.

Now to install the extra button on the controller. When pressed, it will assert the left and right joystick signals simultaneously. The Extra button is pressed while performing another action. This normally impossible combination of signals is detected by the 2600RGB board.

Extra + Up = Select.
Extra + Down = Reset.
Extra + Fire = Palette switch.

Drill a 5mm hole (twist drill bit is fine) to in the joystick and mount the pushbutton in a convenient spot. Solder the two diodes to the diode board and install according to the wiring diagram. You can mount the diode board with double sided tape or similar.

There are five pads on the diode board. Button, Ground, Ground, Left, Right. Solder the pushbutton between the button an ground terminals. Then solder the ground, left, and right terminals to the joystick board. You can identify the ground connection easily because it's the only one that connects to all the switches. The left and right points should be obvious from looking at the board layout.

Change Log
1/8/2015 - Page Created.
30/11/2016 - Added note that there are some parts included with the kit which are unused for this model.