VCSp Rev 5.1’s starting to roll off “the line”

Well I’ve finally started getting the first batch of VCSp Rev 5.1’s made. These are the finalized versions compared to the prototypes shown about a month ago. They include more features and actual PCB’s designed by myself for the support circuits.

And Todd Frye so loved the world he programmed his only begotten game for it
One of the first production-style VCSp Rev 5.1 to be built (not including the prototypes)

For more information and photos see the rest of this article. If you’d like to buy one of these please shoot me an email. Cost is $350+trade of an Atari 2600 4-switch. I’ve got to build the first batch of about 10 orders first, but it’s good to keep adding people to the list.


Hollywood will probably make a
The Rev 5.1, in paddle mode. Break blocks like a pro.

With this unit I’ve tried to address some of the common questions I get over the years. For starters, yes it does include a paddle controller. You use the disc on the left and the lower red trigger. However you cannot connect a second paddle controller because of the way they were originally wired. (Paddles 1 and 2 both plugged into the Player 1 jack).



On that note, a big thing missing from the ’05 Phoenix was a Player 2 port. This unit has one, as well as a simple auxiliary power input jack. Use a lower power adapter, such as that from a cel phone, and be sure it outputs 5 volts and has the center pole negative, outer shell positive. If you need to build your own it’s not very hard to do, just switch the wiring if need be. Old external ZIP drive power supplies were actualy exactly 5 volts and work well if you put a new plug on the end.


Here's your switches

Yet another ever-popular request is to have both left and right difficulty switches. Ask and ye shall receive, for here they are. Before anyone asks about a black & white switch to play Space Shuttle, sorry. This unit is tightly packed and there just isn’t any more room. The 5.1 is just a hair over 1″ thick, which is pretty cool considering for many years my Atari portables were 1.75-2″ thick!


Also on this unit is a very standard volume knob. Not a killer feature or anything, but a lot more subtle than what I had on the Phoenix. There is no headphone jack however, again because of a lack of room. Sorry about that. You could always rig one in.


Here’s the back of the unit with the battery doors pulled off. These are simply things that just slide in over the batteries and work fine. Battery doors are and have always been a pain to “micro manufacture” and these are about the easiest solution I’ve found yet. Also note the hole below the 2nd battery from the left. This leads to a potentiometer which is the tint adjust for the screen. Pre-set should be fine but depending on the brand and power of your batteries (or wall adapter) it might need adjusting.


And finally the guts. Your standard 4″ x 4″ square hacked up Atari 2600 (all original hardware folks!) plus on the left and right you can see the new circuit boards I had made especially for this model. They contain all the controls, video amp, paddle knob, switches, speakers and circuitry. Very efficient compared to anything I’ve designed for an Atari in the past.

So there it is – an overview of my Atari VCSp Rev 5.1. Unlike most of my projects (such as, ahem, the Xbox 360 laptop) I am more than happy to take orders for this device and build them for people. Planning on up to 60, since that’s how many PCB’s I ordered. So send me an email if you’d like to talk about getting an order going. Also if you’d like me to sign the back of it or anything be sure to remind me of that when I send you the final “it’s done and ready to ship” email.

Please note however that I am not selling kits for this, that’s what my book is for. Thanks!

21 thoughts on “VCSp Rev 5.1’s starting to roll off “the line””

  1. You should sell just the PCB’s for this as a separate purchase. I would buy those in a SECOND!

    Just a thought!

  2. These are great! Perhaps you could make a player 2 controller that has it’s own screen for head-to-head video battles? Or, maybe you could use a second one linked to the first in a sort of “passive mode” as a 2nd player controller? Regardless…you’re the man!

  3. Also, just another quick thought, but I opened some old NES cartridges to clean the contacts and was shocked at how much empty space was inside. I assume it’s the same deal with the 2600 cartridges. Perhaps you could fabricate smaller cases for the cartridge guts to increase portability? Maybe you could cram 5 or so game guts into a single cartridge? Maybe a switch on the cartridge could select the game?
    I’m just an idea guy with no electronics skills, BTW, so this may not be possible, although I don’t see why not.

  4. Hi there – I have tried to contact Ben as I am wanting to purchase the VCSp Rev 5.1, however, I have yet to receive a reply. Does anyone know if Ben is replying to e-mails? Thanks :o) John

  5. i love the look of the 5.1 it looks like it has no atari in its code (computer blood) i plan on making my own atari hand held thx to your book

  6. Yo man you are a genius. I want to know what you are smoking lol. I have like 3 atari’s and I am working on this right now. I think I might start doing this stuff since I have so much free time.

  7. hi i sent you a email asking you were do i need to go in your formmat so i can find the right info on desoldring becase i cant read very well to were i had a probum findding some thing now i sent you about 3 emails in diffemnt days and no replys im not sure if you got it or just notanwsering i wood like a answer im very very in need of wanting the info i look on others but i thank you are more in to this and i need the help im not asking much pls reply

  8. I wish i could get hands on one for my 16TH birthday in a month, i love this, i have a bunch of my old computer components lying around and a soldering iron, better get to work, Thanks a TON Benjamin!

    Now i can try to ignite a revolution for people respecting game-play and fun over gigagraphics, i already got a group of people to enjoy Pong on my old Coleco Telstar. (once again im only just turning 16 and im a kid who loves old computers and technology)

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