The Atari 7800 has a complex and large motherboard which makes it difficult to portablize. Looking at some old schematics that I found on Atari Age. Once Video modded most of the support circuitry for the RF module which cuts the board down significantly.
Finished the Layout of the case and control scheme. I will probably need to tweak it later to make it a bit more comfortable but this will do for now.
The overall case size came out to 5.75″x6.75″x2″ (LxWxH). This is the smallest portable I have designed so far (and it is starting out as the largest console!).
Just the case layout. Instead of using a traditional D-pad I decided to use a multi-directional 4-way switch which is just a fancy term for an Arcade Joystick that is really small. The one I am using for this project is 1/2″ wide and 1/4″ tall, perfect for portables.
The front panels are made out of stainless steel and the sides are acrylic with the insides painted black. Yes I know, not wood. Decided to mix it up a bit on this one.
This is how I plan to cut the 7800 mainboard. After the video mod the entire upper left part is useless. The cart slot will be relocated and the power circuit in the upper right will have to be recreated. In the middle the board will be folded and attached with ribbon cable.
Ahh the Atari 2600. Beautiful, majestic, and erm ancient? Codenamed “Stella”, it was one of the first home consoles to feature a CPU. This enabled the 2600 to basically do anything the game programmer wanted it to do. Also, It was one of the first to feature a cartridge based system for games.
As always heres a sketch of the Atarip design I drew up.
I decided to get a little fancy this time and do all the designing in Lightwave instead of using Sketch-up. Surprisingly It took roughly the same time to finish the design. Also, Lightwave’s wireframe rendering looks much more professional than Sketch-up’s.
This time around I decided to use a 3″ LCD instead of the usual 5″ PSone screen because it enabled me to shrink the size of the portable to about half of what my NESp is. The 8 AA batteries should give it a decent battery life to. There is going to be a built in paddle controller on the left side as well.
I tried to make this portable look as much like the original Atari 2600 as possible. Wood Grain and brushed-chrome switches are a key features to this design.
Drew up this Adobe Illustrator Layout of the case design for the Atari. The gird is set in 1/8″ increments so it is easier to hand make. Plus I can print the design out in real size and test out the control layout before cutting. There is a slight design change from the Lightwave renders and the Layout. I added another switch so I can have the reset switch identical to the select switch.
Updated the render of the case to include the extra switch. To be honest, I am kinda liking the crazy layout of this portable. Starting to look more like an old time radio of something along those lines. I also redid the wood textures like I did with the NESp V2.
Here is a view of the portable like it you where actually playing it. The Cart does not get in the way and even acts like a sun visor keeping the glare off your screen (cough* design feature).