The LaST Upgrade Part 38 - 2600 JR SWITCH UPGRADE

Feb 23, 2018 - Last updated January 18, 2024


The 2600 JR push switches have always annoyed me. So I started to look into solutions to add proper clicky switches like mice etc normally have.

So whats the problem ?


Basically the push switches on top are terrible... The "spring" is just some soft foam which over time compresses and seems to give the impression the switch is not operating or always stuck down :(


The switches are basically this flex strip...


So one PCB I designed pushes into the top plastic section...


Where there will be a small microswitch, similar to the types which are used on mice.. Basically proper clicky switches!

There was huge problems finding a small enough switch as there is only basically 2.6 mm height between the plastic case and the bottom of the switch cover itself.. So after a lot of mathematical guesswork.. I went for a 0.6mm thick PCB which with the height of the switch should *just* fit..

There will actually be 2 PCBs as there is obviously 2 switches.. The next problem is the PCBs are on the top of the case and the contacts need to be on the bottom..

Thankfully there is some small slits where some header pins can poke through the bottom of the plastic case and these will be linked to the second longer PCB which basically replaces the Flex strap. The problem is linking the now solid Flex strap to the motherboard :-\

Without using wires, which would probably be easier for assembly and disassembly of the thing, I went with long header pins.. These should basically slot into place between the long PCB and the motherboard when the case lid is pushed on.. The problem is that the motherboard header does not seem to be straight or fixed into place very well. So this will probably need glueing to hold it vertically. Otherwise when the case lid is pushed on it will miss the motherboard headers.

Obviously this is a lot easier strap as it is flexible and easily disconnected. In one respect it will be easier to use wires, this is more work and not easily removable. So the header pins is the next logical step. I did look into Flex PCBs but the price is just silly money.

So this setup is the initial prototype to see if it will all physically fit together as I envisioned in my head :)

Then once PCB's arrived.. checking they physically fit...


First header strips soldered into place.. Notice they must not stick up the PCB at all otherwise it will get in the way of the plastic switch button..


The pins are then trimmed...


The next header strip soldered into place..


Notice the red arrow on the image.. The pins must push down flush with the plastic..

When the console is pushed back together, the header pins will push on top of the socket on the motherboard.. You will need a little bit of force to push the black spacer further down the pins. This is why it is important to have the pins flush with the plastic as there will be some force on them, and if the pins do not flush against the plastic it could snap the PCB..

It is all tested and working thankfully :) I do need to make some small tweaks to the PCB as the alignment of the header pins pushing into the motherboard socket or not as good as they could be. But I am happy I now have proper clicky switches :)


Jonathan Whiteside Has been kind enough to test the kit out on his 2600.. and he ran into a few issues..

While he has the same 2600 as me, the plastic is different in the switch area..


There are some plastic "bumps" in the top edge of the plastic :shrug: So I have revised the switch PCB so it has the cut outs.

Secondly.. Atari seemed to have used a different connector.. mine are all black and located 2mm to the right. Jon's 2600 has a white connector which is further to the left..


So I have added in a second row on the bridge PCB so it will align correctly to both connector locations.. So onto getting the 3rd revision boards made next...


These kits are avalaible in my store at the time of typing.

I am however happy that I now have proper clicky switches in my 2600 JR :)

Forum thread can be found here