Classic Atari Volume Control

Classic Atari Volume Control

by Bob Roberts

The Atari volume pot has generated many an email over the years & for the past year it has been working steadily towards the top ten of all time. The number one question among them is, "Can I use one of the $1 to $2 pots on your Pot Page in place of the Atari pot?". Then following up with do you stock it... why don't you stock it... where can I get it... why is it soooo costly... why don't other games need this expensive pot & so on & so forth.

Let's start with the easy one of why we don't stock this or any of the specialized pots for steering, throttles & etc. It's simply the cost of them averaging $25 apiece you can tie up a bundle of money in a hurry if you try to stock all of them & it's a long term investment best left to the big companies.

Can you use a $1/$2 pot in place of it?

No! Trimmer pots like that typically are from 1/8 watt to 3/4 watt & will not handle that output. How about a volume pot like the ones William's uses? No... even the 1 & 2 watt pots are not good enough for this circuit. The Atari pot is 12.5 watts & the reason that you need a beefy one like that is because it is tied directly to the amplified audio output rather than a part of the preamp circuit.

As I remember, most of the game titles shipped without a knob on the shaft... there may have been 1 or 2 that shipped with knobs, but I can't be certain. In any event, once the pots had been on the streets a while here in our climate they would sometimes bind up in one position & trying to turn the shaft by hand was futile. Your fingers would just slip prompting some techs to pull out their pliers... often times ruining the pot. After I ran into a few of the broken ones I ordered in the black knobs as pic'd above. They helped to keep them free by rocking them back & forth fast, periodically. This always kept the wiper free, as well as, cleaning the contact surface.

Due to the many requests we have decided to keep a few of these on hand for your convenience. They are listed on the Parts Page at $25. We also have some of the knobs left at $4 each if needed.

Happy Gaming...