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A.J.

Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

A.J. Franzman's Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications


These instructions assume that you have some basic electronics knowledge including component identification and value interpretation, ability to read schematic diagrams and construct circuits from them, have all appropriate tools and materials, and have skill at soldering and unsoldering components. These modifications have been developed and tested using a 4-switch Atari Video Computer System console with woodgrain front panel. The mainboards used were Rev. 14; other versions may have components in different locations and even some entirely different components. These modifications are only for use on NTSC television standard consoles (North America, Japan, and a few other locales). Use these instructions at your own risk. Each step begins with a general overview, followed (where appropriate) by the specific instructions needed to accomplish it. The instructions in the "SIMPLE" column are easiest for electronics novices, and easiest to reverse if someone later wanted to restore the console to original stock configuration. The "EXPERT" instructions make the greatest changes to the circuit board and involve removal of several components, which may create enough space to be useful for adding or relocating other circuitry, as one might wish to do when building a handheld Atari 2600 console. There is no need to follow only the "simple" or only the "expert" instructions; for each numbered step, you may choose whichever version you prefer. Steps marked "OPT" are optional; any or all of them can be omitted or completed as you desire. As used here, the word "disconnect" can mean either to cut a components lead(s), or to simply melt the solder using a soldering iron and pull the lead(s) out of the circuit board hole(s). In either case, the component and lead(s) should be positioned such that no accidental contact to the circuit can take place at the original connection point or anywhere else. Where the word "unsolder" is used, the component lead must not be cut because either the component, or the circuit connection point, must be connected to a new part of the circuit. COMPONENTS NEEDED1 or 2 small pieces of perfboard for assembly of circuits, with or without solder pads as desired Transistor, NPN general purpose: 2N3904 (similar NPN types OK) Capacitor, ceramic disc: 10nF (usually marked "103", possibly with a suffix letter) {optional Potentiometer, trimpot: 100k} Resistors, 1/4 watt 5% carbon film (power, tolerance & type not critical): 10, 2 @ 75, 8.2k, 10k. {optional additional 10k, 22k, 220k, ~400k} Mainboard before modification

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2014/01/20 10:15 PM

A.J. Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

Step

SIMPLE

EXPERT

Disconnect the audio mixer circuitry. Removing this oscillator helps to keep the sound and video outputs clean, while slightly reducing the total power load of the system. Disconnect the right-hand leads of R207 (18k) and Remove the following 9 components from the board: R208 (9.1k). Disconnect any 2 leads of Q201 or C206, C207, C209, L201, L202, Q201, R207, R208, remove it from the board entirely if thats easier (if R209. you dont want to lose it, you could remove it, bend one lead sideways, then reattach it by just the bent lead). Disconnect the lower lead of R209 (1.8k).

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A.J. Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

Disconnect the RF modulator circuitry. As before, removing this eliminates another possible source of A/V signal interference and reduces the units power consumption a bit more. Begin by removing the channel 2/3 selector switch. If you have a small soldering iron, this can be accomplished by heating the pins at one end and the middle simultaneously and pulling that end out a bit, then repeating on the other end & middle and continuing to go back and forth like this until the switch comes free. Step 2a, photo

Disconnect the 3rd and 4th pins of the RF modulators 5-pin header. These pins are rather stiff, Remove the RF modulator assembly from the board. so unsoldering (if you dont want to cut them) will Step 2b, expert, pictorial require a good small pair of pliers.

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A.J. Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

Build the Composite Video Amplifier on a separate piece of perfboard. See schematic below. Connection points: +5V is available in many locations, the bottom end of C213 was convenient for me. Ground is also available in many locations, the top end of C213 may be a good place for you to get it. Video signal comes from the top end of C215 - connect a wire from there to "Video In" on the amplifier. Video output comes from the location indicated on the amplifier schematic and connects to the center conductor of your RCA video output jack or cable. Audio output comes from the top end of C208 (opposite from the junction of C208 and R206) on the main board and connects directly to the center conductor of your RCA audio output jack or cable. Dont forget to ground the "shields" (outer conductors or terminals) of the RCA jacks or cables!

Add the horizontal blanking signal. This may improve picture stability and/or color saturation in some cases. OPT Add the 10k and 220k resistors indicated as "Optional" on the Composite Video Amplifier schematic A above. If your mainboard has an 820 resistor between the 6th and 9th pins from the lower left of IC A201 (TIA/Stella, part no. CO10444 - check the bottom of the board too), disconnect either lead or remove the resistor. Add a wire to connect the blanking signal from IC A201 pin 6 to the point indicated as "Blank" on the schematic of the Composite Video Amplifier. Change a video signal attenuator into just a chroma attenuator. This may improve image sharpness in some cases. Unsolder and remove R222 (15k) and C215 (150pF). The board position for C215 should have 2 sets of holes, this is to allow for the 2 different styles of capacitors that were used. If your video signal wire came off with the capacitor, disconnect the wire from the capacitor and solder the wire back into the topmost of the 4 holes at the original C215 location. Insert one lead of the resistor removed from the R222 location OPT shallowly into the second hole from the bottom edge of the board in the C215 position - you want to have B just enough lead protruding on the bottom of the board to solder securely. Now take the other end of this 15k resistor and stretch it up diagonally to the top end of R210 (6.8k) and solder it there, avoiding short-circuiting to the upper lead of capacitor C211, which it will need to reach over or around. Solder the 150pF capacitor that was removed from the C215 position across the top of the 15k resistor that you just moved.

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A.J. Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

Replace the 2600s chroma phase adjust pot (color tint control) with one offering more precise adjustment, and not requiring a separate unregulated supply voltage. This option is intended more for people hacking their Ataris into portables. The original chroma phase pot, R213 (500k; the only potentiometer on the board), is wired to a couple of diodes and a resistor and thence to the 2600s *unregulated* DC supply (~ +9VDC) and ground, with output going to TIA pin 10. A little research reveals that the specified voltage level at TIA pin 10 is only 4.23 volts. In other words, theres no need for the pot to be powered from the +9V supply! (Which is a big pain to people making portables that run from lower voltages). Unsolder R213 from the board. Build the Chroma Pot Replacement on a separate piece of perfboard. See schematic below. Connect the ~ 400k resistor to ground (if youre keeping the full original board, you can connect to ground at the lower left hole where R213 was.) Connect the 22k resistor to +5V (you can get +5V from the right end of diode CR201, which BTW is no longer needed and can be removed). Now connect the "wiper" or center terminal of the new pot to the circuit track leading to IC A201 pin 10 (if keeping the full circuit board this is at the upper right hole where R213 was.) Now to set the color control to roughly the correct level, insert a cartridge and power on the unit (for this step, you do not need to connect a TV or video monitor). Connect a voltmeter between circuit ground, such as the silver box around the central area of the board, and IC A201 pin 10. Adjust the new pot until this reads as close as you like to 4.23 volts. This should be very easy to get right on the money with this circuit, whereas if you tried it with the original pot it would be touchy and difficult. You can now connect a TV to the unit and tweak the color OPT a bit to your liking if desired; I use Pitfall! and adjust so the green background between the tree trunks is C not too yellowish or blueish, and maximize the contrast between that and Pitfall Harrys shirt color. If you have the Color Bar Generator or other appropriate diagnostic cart you could use that instead.

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A.J. Franzmans Atari VCS Composite Video Modifications

http://mysite.verizon.net/res0fab4/files/VideoMod.htm

Have you installed this mod in any of your consoles (or attempted to)? Has it worked well for you? Please send me feedback:

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