2600 CE - Handheld Atari VCS Home

What is the 2600 CE Project?
The making of the case.
The making of the guts.
The making of the guts.
Current status of the project.
Game of the Week.
Frequently Asked Questions.
Files of interest.
Links to other sites of interest.
About me.

How does an Atari VCS work?

Atari VCS beauty shot from product catalog

A simple question, and probably the best place to start.

Let's take a look at the basics of an Atari system:

  • Atari 2600 console - processes controller input and cartridge instructions to create video and audio which are output to the TV
  • Atari power cable - takes household current (120 Volts, 50-60Hz AC in the US) and transforms it into 9 Volt DC, roughly equivalent to a 9 Volt battery.
  • Controllers (joysticks, paddles, keyboard controllers, etc...) - Transform human movement into signals the console can understand.
  • RF cable and switch box - Sends the signal from the console to the TV's tuner as if it were a broadcast channel
  • Television - The only way to see and hear what the console is producing
  • Cartridges - Contain programs that are "run" by the console, which in turn, determine the sights and sounds generated by the Atari.

I said the basics, didn't I?

Click on any of the above links to go further in depth on that component - this was going to be a one-pager, but there's just too much for a single page...

These pages are in progress right now, so there won't be pictures for a day or so, and not all pages may be complete.

Comments? Questions? Answers? Email me!