How does an Atari VCS work?
How does the power supply work?
The wall warts that we all know and hate serves a very important function - it takes the current running through our homes and converts it into something that smaller devices can handle.
I'll use US standards, though the principles are exactly the same where 230-240 volt current is used.
Most US wall outlets carry 110-120 volts, 15 amperes, at 50-60 Hz AC (Alternating Current) - which means that 15 amperes of electricity will actually reverse flow 50-60 times per second with a pressure of 110-120 volts.
And what most electronic devices need is 12 or fewer volts, generally at 1 or less amperes DC (Direct Current) - which is normally equivalent to several batteries connected together.
The magic is performed by a combination of capacitors, rectifiers, resistors, and transformers (which are neither Autobots nor Decepticons - :) )
The power supply takes the AC and turns it into DC by clever arrangement of rectifiers and capacitors.
The power supply then knocks down the voltage and amperage to the desired levels with combinations of transformers and resistors.
The process normally gives off heat, which is why it's good to have the power supply away from the device (wall warts), or have it well cooled (desktop computers).
The resulting current is accepted by the device, in this case, the VCS console, and it then has the right amount of power to do what it needs!
Look at another section of how an Atari 2600 works:
Comments? Questions? Answers? Email me!