Atari Video Computer System with MOS Technology 6507 CPU running at 1.19 MHz.

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Why does my Atari show a blank screen when turned on?

Why does my Atari show a blank screen when I turn it on? The problem may be a worn out power switch. A bad connection. The cause was repeated testing of different games. The console is about 27 years old.

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There are many things that will cause this... Bad connection from the cartridge to the unit. There is a dust cover on all atari branded games that can be pushed back when u put something into the holes on the sides of the bottom of the cartridge that will allow you to push the dust cover back. It can also be just age. The roms will eventually lose their programming. It could be capacitors in the unit or power supply causing excessive noise making the unit lock up. It will take investigating but should be doable by anyone with a little knowledge. at lease the parts are old enough to work on. Not to small to do anything to. You also have to consider the fact that digital tuners will not work with these old rf based devices like the atari. There are devices that can convert them to a/v rca. Old cable boxes with a/v jacks are what most use.

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Start by cleaning the cartridge slot AND any the game that you are trying to play. This is to make sure that the contacts are not dirty. If the screen is still blank, verify that the channel is set properly on the TV. Power on the system a few times and see if the game is briefly shown before going blank. This could indicate a faulty power switch, usually cold solder joints, or a failing voltage regulator. If neither of these work, the TIA chip has possibly gone bad, and it is very common with these systems. The TIA chip is what controls the video output. There is no fix for a bad TIA chip other than to replace it or buy a new Atari. These are custom chips, no generic is available.

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It could be the RF module. Another solution could also be necessary to make adjustment of the contacts which hosts the game cartridge. Clean and adjust.

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Although the power supply on the 2600 is one of the most rugged ever built, banging any power adapter around usually causes it to fail. Test the power supply with a meter to see if its even putting out the right power.

Next, be sure you're using an RF in on your tv. If not buy an rf to composite adapter (likewise there's modding info on the net on how to convert your atari output permenantly).

Most likely cause though is the power switch itself. The switches are known for becoming "loose" over time. Look at the question about the broken switch and tighten/clean the power on/off switch.

While you're in there, locate the wire that goes out to your tv. It's a simple RCA wire plugged into the board next to the metal casing. Try subbing it out for a different rca wire.

Jiggle the wire where it connects to the tv. perhaps the push-on connector is loose. If you're still using the old switch box, then open that and clean it as well. They are also notorious for getting dirty over time.

Make sure there's nothing inside the cartridge slot keeping them from seating correctly.

Make sure slot pins and cart pins are clean.

Make sure you're on channel 2 or 3 (or is it 3 and 4, I forget). Make sure the channel selector switch is on one channel or the other, and not stuck half way in between.

Check all other switches for shorts.

If all else fails you've probably [like R5-D4 in Star Wars) "got a bad motivator unit", and should probably look for a new 2600. Before you throw yours out though, borrow someone elses and swap parts, see what works and what doesn't.

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