wolfgang ziegler

„make stuff and blog about it“

The Atari 2600 Composite Video Mod

June 14, 2024

A few months ago, I blogged about adding the composite video mod to an Atari 2600 Junior. These instructions are for the original Atari VCS (later just called Atari 2600). The process is similar and I bought and used the same mod kit for it. Here are the details.

The Atari 2600 - "Darth Vader"

Opening the Case

The case is held together by 4 screws in the back. Simply remove them and the case opens easily. You can then disconnect the antenna cable and lift the board out of the case.

Opening the Atari 2600 case

Removing the RF Shielding

Similar to the 2600 Junior, there's an RF shielding case around the processor and chips. Use a pair of pliers to loosen the clamps and remove the shielding.

Removing the RF shielding

Removing Components

First, we need to get rid of the RF modulator box (at the bottom right of the mainboard) and the vertical circuit board to the left of it. Use a soldering iron or (even better) an unsoldering tool for that.

The RF box before removal

This is how it looks like after you removed those.

The RF box removed

As a next step, we have to remove three electronic components, two resistors (R207, R209) and on transistor (Q201). The image below shows the - now empty - spots on the mainboard.

The removed electronic components

Installing the RFA Connectors

A good spot for the RFA (cinch) connectors is the long side of the case facing away from you. I drilled the wholes, put the connectors in place and wired them up. Ground (black) connects to all 3 RCAs. Video (yellow) connects to the yellow connector and Audio (white) connects to both the red and the yellow connector.

The RCA connectors attached to the case and wired up

Connecting the RCA Module

Now it's time to install the mod kit circuit board (RCA module). First, I soldered some wires to the board (make sure to leave those long enough for later maintenance). This is the color-coding I used.


Pin Color
VIN red
Video yellow
GND black


Pin Color
Video yellow
GND black

Note: Audio (white) is just pass-through, so I soldered ot directly to the RFA connectors (see below). You can route it via this board as well though, if you prefer.

The wired up composite mod circuit board

Then connect VIN, Video and GND to the mainboard where you unsoldered the vertical RF circuit board before. GND goes to pin 1, VIN to pin 3 and Video to pin 4.

Connecting mod board and mainboard

For Audio, connect (solder together) the two components left to the empty spot where R209 was and solder the white wire to this joint. The other end of the wire goes directly to the RFA connector.

Finally, the output pins of the mod board must be connected to the RFA connectors.

Closing it Back Up

Make sure to fix the mod kit board and the cables into place (I used hot glue) and close the box back up.

Time to play some Atari! 🤩

Playing Ms. Pac Man on the modded Atari