Atari 2600:General Troubleshooting

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This page serves as a list of common issues with Atari 2600 units. This page originated as a distilled version of the tips found at the bottom of this page by mojoatomic on the forums.

Degraded Image Quality

  • Inspect the joints of the CPU, TIA, and RIOT chips and reflow pins if needed. Cold or cracked joints here will give you a degraded picture, even if the unit is functioning.
  • Flow new solder on the connector for the RF unit (3 or 5 pin).
  • If you have jailbars, see the Atari 2600:Jailbar Fix page.

Controller Issues

  • Reflow ALL pins on the joystick ports and switches.

Issues with Switches

  • Disassemble and clean or use contact cleaner on all switches. There were 2 types of switches used for channel select and difficulty - one is easy to take apart and clean, the other it is easier to replace.
  • For 6-switch units, Reflow solder on the cables connecting the switchboard and motherboard. They flex and move every time the unit is moved.