Atari 5200

I was successfully able to mod an Atari 5200, 4 port, original console.  It was quite a challenge, but what I did discover is there are not many resources out there for modding the 5200.  Below is a schematic of the circuit that worked for me:

A PDF of the same document:  5200_video_out.

PDF of Rev B, with RCA and S-Video Jacks:  5200_video_out_rev_B

For the mod I did, I went with composite out, but you can just as easily do S-Video out.  This schematic is a mashup of http://www.gamesx.com/wiki/doku.php?id=av:5200_s-video_mod and http://atariage.com/forums/topic/193474-better-atari-5200-s-video-mod/

This version of the 5200 video out differs in one respect, I replaced the fixed 2K Ohm resistor on the Chroma line and replaced it with a 10K, 20 turn potentiometer.  I found I was able to adjust this pot until noise was more or less eliminated from the composite video.  It may not be needed with S-Video.  Another adjustment is on the 5200 board.  There is a large potentiometer in the lower right quadrant that is the color adjust.  I loaded up Ballblazer and adjusted the colors to what I thought looked most accurate.

The connection points are as follows:

Thanks Atari Age!

A/V Port Mounted on expansion port cover.

Ballblazer. Color adjusted and you can see how clean the signal is over composite.

Composite output board, before mounting.

Closeup of A/V board.

My next project is to reverse engineer the 5200 controller to allow for the use of modern potentiometer based control sticks.

Stay tuned!

My Konix RCP

About a year ago, a con man by the name of Mike Kennedy was selling the idea of the Retro VGS (Video Game System), which later morphed into the Coleco Chameleon. It was all fun and games until the New York Toy Fair, then the gig was up.  It did get me thinking:  I have made quite a few retrofit systems, like the Genesis, Lynx, and even a Game.com, what would I do with a blank slate design for a retro arcade/home console system?  My inspiration was the ill fated Konix Multisystem.  The Konix was supposed to way ahead of its time, and like my Konix, the system and controller would be one unit.

My criteria:

  • True arcade style controller, meant to fit adult sized hands.
  • Portable, battery powered, 4+ hours battery life.
  • No screen, HDMI output only, similar to ‘plug and play’ system in a controller.
  • Rugged construction, able to stand up to hours of play.
  • Ability to play single button games, such as early 8 bit, right handed.
  • Based on Raspberry Pi/RetroPie.
  • Have at least 2 available USB ports for other controllers.

So, behold, my Konix RCP (Retro Computing Platform):


Pretty isn’t it? Since this is a clean sheet design, I didn’t have to worry about trashing a repairable system, or finding space in a tiny system.  The enclosure is 8x6x2″ ABS with aluminium ends.  This gives it a slightly retro, but very clean look, reminds me of the old Atari 7800 and 2600 jr.  I purchased 2 sets of joysticks, one black, one red, so I could mix and match colors, and it allowed me to make a second controller.

Inside is nothing too special:

It is a Raspberry Pi, a USB joystick controller, cell phone charger, a couple of port extenders, on/off switch. and the physical joystick and buttons.  It is similar to my RetroGenesis, except for the fact this is a new design and it is portable, without a screen.


As you can see, the front has all of the needed ports, HDMI, 2 USB, “B” charge port and Internal Pi/Joystick toggle.  In joystick mode, you can plug into the “B” style usb port and use the system as a joysticks and charge the internal battery. When toggled to Internal Pi mode, RetroPie boots up and the system is a full emulation system with about 17,000 games loaded.

The back, which faces the user, has three buttons. The left, red, button is a dedicated escape key while playing arcade games. The black ones are start/select, or coin 1 and player 1 start.

As a personal preference of mine, I added a fire button to allow for right handed play of single player games, like for the 2600 or many older arcade games, including my favorite, Super Pacman.

I am happy to report that my brother and I played this system for over 4 hours on one charge and finished Cadillacs and Dinosaurs for the arcade using this system without a hiccup.

If you would like the button and system layout, here is the an Autocad/Draftsight 2013 drawing of the layout. Konix_RCP in 1:1 PDF format.

Repair Services

For anyone interested, I am accepting repair work for Atari, Sega, and NEC classic systems.

Example of my work, featured on Classic Game Room:

Services offered:

Sega Game Gear repairs/modifications:

Level 1: Replacement of all capacitors, including power and sound board:  $75

Level 2: Replacement of all capacitors, upgrade to LED backlighting:  $95

Level 3: Replace all capacitors, upgrade to LED backlighting, new glass screen cover:  $110

Level 4:  “The Works”  Replace all capacitors, upgrade to LED backlighting, new glass screen cover, add AV out mod:  $200

Options:  Replace missing battery covers:  $ 15 for a set.

If you would like your system serviced, you can email me: retro at cyberphreak.com

I am also working on pricing for capacitor replacement for the Sega Genesis 1 and 2, with optional component output(!).

If you have a special request, please e-mail me or leave a comment.

Welcome Retro Hackers

lynx
This site is to document the retro gaming consoles I am working on.  The first console is in an Atari Lynx.  The second console will be built into a Tiger Game.com portable gaming system.    At their core is a Raspberry Pi running Retropi.  Welcome, but, be warned, the homebrew hacked systems that I am creating require soldering to new and existing circuit boards.  If you don’t like to solder, this is not the build for you.  I will detail the parts that I use, where to get them, and provide schematics of the modifications made.  I will also detail the tools you will need.  I am sure you could modify these hacks to not use solder, but soldered connections take up a lot less space, which is at a premium with the portable retro gaming systems detailed here.  There are a lot of portable game systems out there based on 3d printed cases, or the Atari Lynx 2, or the Sega Game Gear.  I am creating this site since what I am building is unique, as far as I can tell.

As a little background, I am an electronics engineer by trade, which explains all the solder.  Growing up, my first video game was the Atari 2600.  This was followed by an Atari 800XL computer, an Atari 7800, Sega Master System, and the Atari Lynx, versions 1 and 2, and Nintendo Gameboy.  The Lynx was years ahead of its time, with a color screen, stereo sound, and powerful, dedicated graphics processor.  Performance wise, it was comparable to the Sega Genesis and more advanced than the Super Nintendo, all in a portable format.  So, when my parents were clearing out the basement and asked if I wanted the original Lynx back, I said yes.  Sadly, the unit was dead, and I was not willing to troubleshoot the system for hours to figure out what was wrong.  Luckily, I have two Atari Lynx 2 units, so this was a perfect system to play with.  I love the games I grew up with it, and it would be great to be able to play them all on the go.  The Lynx 1 project turned out so well my younger brother asked if I could build a system for him as well.

He was able to scope out a little know portable system from 1997, the Tiger Electronics Game.com, pronounced game com.  It has a horrible screen, but a great button layout and a nice, blocky design, which allows for extra room to work with.