I started out adding a cartridge port to an Atari Flashback 2 of my own. I didn’t really have any intention of doing much more related to the Flashback. Eventually a friend asked me if I would be willing to modify their flashback, so I did, then another and another.
My first mod used a cartridge guide and slot connector from a broken light sixer that I had laying around, I’ve got a more than reasonable number of Atari 2600’s laying around my “lab”. My first modification followed the tutorial I found online (here). Curt Vendel offered this tutorial up to the community as a starting point.
While I found this site to be great as a basic modification tutorial, I wasn’t really happy with the outcome. While functional, my modification didn’t look that great. The cartridge mount was kind of sloppy and blocked the view of the switch panel. I decided to do another mod and see if I could get the cartridge to slide in to the front, or maybe the side. I was able to lowly notch a hole into the front large enough to fit a cartridge and I did manage to epoxy a left over Atari 2600 cartridge port and card edge connector. This modification was certainly a step in the right direction, it still didn’t look as good as I wanted it to.
I had coincidentally taken up 3D printing as a hobby at this time and realized that I could make a much better mod by designing and 3D printing a cartridge guide and card edge slot. By designing and building my own, I wouldn’t need to locate broken/salvage Atari 2600’s. In my opinion, 2600’s should NEVER be used for salvage. If at all possible, they should be repaired and returned to the world to live out useful lives. By designing and printing my own parts I could eliminate the need for using real Atari 2600’s.
I have now modified and sold many Flashback 2’s. I have improved my design over time and increased my skill at cutting the plastic on the flashback case so that I can make a fairly good looking mod. The ultimate goal for me is that do the modification in a way that makes the mod look like Atari built it that way.
After modding numerous Flashback 2’s I’ve come to realize that over time the company made changes to the design. I’ve identified at least 4 board revisions at this time, including at lease one counterfeit board. The flashback 2 has now become more than a system I like to modify, it’s become a system that I’m striving to learn everything I can about and make what I discover easily available to those of us who care.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy the information I gather!