Help & Troubleshooting

This section covers frequently asked questions about the projects in the book and also contains fixes for errors in the book’s drawing, if any are found. The FAQ’s and problems are sorted by chapters as listed below. This list will be updated as questions come in. To submit a question or request help not covered in the book’s troubleshooting sections click here. Thank you!



Chapter 4: Figures 4-7 and 4-8 have hard-to-see labeling:

The callouts (highlighted portions) on these pictures telling you where to de-solder are kind of hard to make out. Click a link below to download better color versions:

Figure 4-7 Figure 4-8

Main change: Improved highlighting of what to desolder



2-a: Labeling mistake in Chapter 7 Figure 7-19:

The book displays an incomplete picture for Figure 7-19 which is missing some labeling. Click here to download my original version which contains the complete numerical and alphabetical labels.

Main change: Addition of labels B and F-I.



4-a: Part number for Shift Registers from Digi-Key

In the SNES chapters (all 3 of them) it suggests using the 4021 shift register from a NES controller to build a SNES controller. Specifically you need 2 of them. Thing is, this ends up wasting 2 Nintendo controllers which aren’t always easy to find. The solution is to simply order replacement shift registers from an online vendor. I like Digi-Key as everyone knows.

Anyway the Digi-Key part # is 296-2040-5-ND. You’ll need (2) for a SNES project, but they are dirt cheap.

See the thing is, I had a very tight schedule when writing the book. Something like 4 months to design 8 projects, build them AND write about it. Therefore I didn’t have time to experiment with new stuff (like new video mods or different shift registers) I only had time to do what I already knew would work. Hopefully these pages can help bring some of that up to speed.



10-a: New and improved composite video mod for the Atari 2600

NOTE: Now includes update for different model Atari 2600 4-switch boards.

I came up with this as I was working on a new project. Gives a cleaner picture with less interference. Also isolates the sound circuit from the video.

Click here to visit the “how to” page for it.

Main change: Better!



10-b: Easy way to bypass the “Stupid 8-DIP IC” found on some model Atari 2600 4-switch boards.

In the book I suggest hacking the 8-DIP IC off the board, or cutting a small section. That’s all well and good but since then I’ve found you can “remake” that circuit using only a capacitor and resistor.

Click here to visit the “how to” page for it.

Main change: Easier!


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