What follows is a guide on how to modify the AtGames Atari Flashback 9 and 9 Gold (HDMI versions only) to use standard Atari-style paddle controllers. Without this modification, only Flashback 9-specific paddles may be used. Note that this guide is provided solely as a reference and all responsibility falls on the person performing the modifications, with any such modifications voiding all warranties. In other words, you perform these actions at your own risk, so make sure you know what you’re doing and know the potential risks.
This unofficial guide is provided as-is with no guarantee of any kind (I am not the author). No typos or other possible errors have been corrected and the information that follows is subject to change without further notice.
The following will guide the user to perform some hardware changes needed for the Atari Flashback 9 products to work with Atari paddles.
Note this guide assumes you are familiar with soldering electronics, DO NOT PROCEED IF YOU ARE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THE TOOLS.
Before you start…
Please have the following ready before moving onto the next section
- Soldering iron
- Philips screwdriver
- Small pliers
- 4x 510K 1% 0402 SMD resistors
1. Unscrew all the screws from the bottom of the unit.
2. Disconnect the ribbon cables from the PCB boards (pull in the direction of the yellow arrow).
3. Disconnect the second ribbon cable from the PCB board by flipping the black notch indicated by the yellow arrow away from the PCB.
4. Disconnect more screws from the case to remove the PCB board from the unit.
It should look like this once removed:
5. Heat the soldering iron and replace the resistors R103 to R106 on the schematics with the new 510K ones.
6. Follow steps 1-4 to reconnect all the cables and put the unit back together. Your device is now ready for the standard Atari-style paddle controllers.
For those without the technical skills to do the mod, an Atari Flashback X trade-up program is expected to be implemented soon.
Do you know the value of the four resisters you removed? We know that 510kOhms are spec’ed to replace them, but a (possibly) easier mod would be to add another resistor in parallel; i.e. on top of the existing ones. We know:
1/510kOhms = 1/r + 1/R where r is the existing resistance and R is the one we’d need to double up with it. If we have a little more information, it would make for a simpler mod.
This is not my mod. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details on resistor values.
They replied. It was a stock response that didn’t deal with the request at all
There is always an auto response to know it was received.
They have responded to my response, and basically said “Ask on Atari Age, or the person who posted the mod” which is what I did in the first place…
Guess I will just crack the thing open and look for myself
I checked with them and they’re investigating and will let you know the value.
I did a youtube video about the Flashback 9 paddle issues about a year ago. I was considering the paddle mod, but I don’t want to mess up any of my vintage Atari paddles. This mod seems much more appealing, as it actually fixes the unit. Do you know for certain that the Flashback X has fixed this problem? And I’m wondering where you heard about the Flashback X tradeup program…
I can solder and de-solder, and I was thinking about making a video following the instructions given, but if folks are more likely to trade up than mod, then it might not be worthwhile to place my Mouser order for the resisters, and create such a video.
The Flashback X uses original paddles like the Flashback 8 and prior models. The Flashback 9 to X trade-up program was suggested as a possibility by AtGames, but has not yet been implemented. It’s best to request it directly.
OK, had an answer from AT Games Support, saying the resistors on the PCB are 1KOhm by default. So, it might be possible to just solder the 510KOhm SMB resistors on top:
1/1 + 1/X = 1/510, puts X at ~509 (so basically 510)
Adding a resistor on top is going to be a lot easier than removing one and adding another. Of course, it will change the total resistance by a small amount, but as they are 1% variable anyway, it shouldn’t make much difference. I will have a go and report back.
Forget that. Maths was wrong 🙁
Looks like you will have to remove the resistor. I’d misread the ones to replace it with as 510 Ohms, not 510 KOhms
Are the original Flashback 9 resistors in serial?
When looking at the pinout there are only two pins, that are for the paddles. I’m thinking one for each paddle.
I was going to do a mod of putting a single resistor for each pin between two dp9’s.
That sound easier than soldering SMD resistors!
Putting the resistors in series externally seems like an easier solution – if the standard ones are 1kΩ and we need 510kΩ (although the suggestion is that that doesn’t quite cover the full range, so got with something like 430kΩ) can’t we just put a 430kΩ one in series on a short extension cable (the 1kΩ internally would have a negligible effect, I think)?
Sorry — I’m not an electronics person, if that’s nonsense! Has anyone tried this?
Does anybody know if there’s any lag like there is with the Flashback 8?
I just did this mod today, using 510k resistors. The paddle stops shy of the left edge. Gah!
Anyway, as this is a difficult process (I think I invented several new swears), I would suggest going with 430k or even 390k.
After measuring the resistors taken out, which are 5.1k, it appears that the engineers went with a straight scaling for the replacement: 5.1k are designed to work with 10k pots in the paddles, therefore they are suggesting 510k for the standard 1M pots. This doesn’t quite work, so drop that resistance from 510k — judging by where the ‘left’ (high resistance) position runs out, my estimate is drop to 430k. [Series is 510k, 470k, 430k, 390k … 470k may do it, but go for 430k I reckon.]
Jerome – Does the 430k resistor work?
Did you ever implement the trade program?
They did not.