PREPARING THE STELL ADAPTOR 2600 CONTROLLER-TO-USB INTERFACES

Adding the Stell adaptor support into our Atari 2600 case mod will allow us to plug the original Atari controllers into the back of the 2600. just like in the old days, and use them with emulators running on the PC. It adds another point of authenticity to the case mod. Two Stell adaptor units are required: one for Player 1 and one for Player 2.

a. Pry open the Stell adaptor. To prepare the Stell adaptor. you first need to remove the external plastic housing. You can do this using a small flathead jeweler’s screwdriver to simply separate the two halves at the denoted latch points.

b. Remove the Stell adaptor circuitry from its shell. When the device is opened, you can discard the plastic housing. You’ll be left with a single circuit board, as shown.

c. Desolder the DB9 connector from the Stell adaptor. To conserve space inside the Atari case, we will replace the DB9 connectors with nine discrete wires. Later on in the project, those wires will be soldered directly to the pads of the original Atari’s DB9 joystick connectors on the control panel. First, remove the DB9 connector from the Stell adaptor circuit board.

d. Modify the Stell adaptor with wire connections. Next, using nine 8-inch lengths of 22-26AWG wire, solder the wires into the DB9 pads on the Stell adaptor circuit board. If you have one available, use a DB9 joystick extension cable with the ends cut off. which has nine wires in a sheath.

Two simple modifications to the iTunes PW70 ATX power supply module are required to prepare it for the case mod.

a. Gather the iTunes PW70 ATX power supply module and DC converter.

b. Remove the 12VDC power supply input connector from the PW70. The black-and-white pair of wires on the PW70 serves as the 12VDC power supply input to the module. If a connector is provided with your module, cut it off as close to the connector as possible. Later on in the project, the white (+12VDC input) and black wires will be soldered directly to the power supply jack that is mounted to the control panel.

c. Remove the red-and-black two-wire connector from the PW70.

The PW70 module also comes with a connector (the 2-pin connector with red and black leads) that provides +5VDC for optional user applications. Since this connector isn’t needed in the project, it can be removed.

The red and black wires to cut are on the lower-right corner of the module’s circuit board, as shown. Cut the leads off as close to the circuit board as possible (or de solder the red and black connections from the board) and put it aside for now. The 2-pin connector fits perfectly on the front panel (F PANEL) header on the PC motherboard, so the connector and wires will be reused for our Power On/Off switch later on.

Due to the lack of vertical clearance in the Atari housing, the ATX power connector on the motherboard needs to be modified so it will fit properly within the housing.

A modified ATX power extension cable will be used to extend the power from the iTunes PW70 power supply module onto the motherboard. This modification prevents us from taking advantage of the «cable less» solution of the PW70 (which is designed to plug directly into the ATX power connector on the motherboard), but it’s all in the name of hacking!

WARNING: HARDWARE HARM. Be careful when removing the ATX power connector from the M motherboard. The motherboard contains dozens of tiny, densely packed components. Any stress on the board could cause parts to come loose or become damaged. Also, take care not to scratch or damage any PCB traces.

a. Remove the ATX power connector. First, completely remove the plastic ATX power connector from the motherboard (denoted as ATXPWR on the silk screen). By removing the connector, you’ll gain approximately half an inch of vertical clearance.

b. Remove the male connector from the ATX extension cable. This is the side that looks the same as the connector mounted on the PW70 power supply module. Each of the 20 wires will be soldered to the bottom of the Mini-ITX motherboard, giving the necessary vertical clearance on the top of the motherboard.

c. Strip insulation from the wires.

This section is the messiest and most time consuming, but when you’re done, you’ll have an Atari 2600 case waiting with open arms and ready to be stuffed full of PC components.

12a. Remove the plastic tabs. This photograph shows the Atari 2600 bottom housing with arrows pointing to the seven areas where plastic needs to be removed. Removing the unnecessary plastic will give us more space inside the case so we can fit all the parts inside.

Using the Dremel tool and cutting wheel, remove the two large recessed screw holes/struts located near the back of the case. When you remove these pieces, there will be two oval holes going out through the bottom of the case. Next, remove the two thin posts located in front of those struts and the lone post on the right edge of the case. Also, remove the wire stress relief post on the upper-right side of the case. Remove only the top two plastic ovals. The bottom cylinder should be left in place because it will act as the hard drive support later on.

a. Prepare the case to hold the motherboard and the CD-ROM drive. Since the CD-ROM drive will be sitting below the motherboard, it’s the first thing that needs to be mounted. The CD-ROM drive will be situated facing the front of the case, so it will open straight toward you.

b. Carefully Dremel out the marked area. It is easiest to do this from the inside of the case, slightly within your marked rectangle. Then use a small file to flatten out the sides right up to the edges of the markings.

c. Mark the motherboard location on the back of the Atari 2600 bottom housing. Place the motherboard inside the bottom housing and use a permanent marker to outline the rectangular area of the connector panel that will need to be removed from the back of the case. Be sure that the CD-ROM drive is sitting in place first, because the motherboard will be sitting on top of it and will be lifted slightly off the bottom of the case.

d. Once again, carefully Dremel out the marked area, as explained in step 12c.

Finally, cut a slot in the left support post (see arrow), which will enable the motherboard to slide all the way. flush with the back of the case, making the connectors easier to access once the case is closed.

e. Drill locations for motherboard mounting holes. To mount the mother-board to the bottom of the Atari case, you need to drill three holes (see arrows). The diameter of the holes will vary depending on the diameter of your standoffs and screws. I used a 4% drill bit for the 6-32 size hardware.

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