How to Hook Up an Atari 2600




About: I've been with Instructables for almost 5 years.. If you have any questions please feel free to send me a message. Have a great day!

If you are new to the Atari 2600 or VCS, and don't know how to connect it to your modern TV, I will be showing you how to do just that. Also included in this Instructable will be how to do other things on your Atari 2600 or VCS. NOTE: I am NOT responsible in ANY way shape or form if in the event that your Atari 2600 or VCS, gets damaged in the process of being connected to your TV. Also, to save time I will refer to the Atari VCS as the Atari 2600.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: What You Will Need.

included in the things you will need are obviously...

1. An Atari 2600, it does not matter which console variation you have. For the Atari 2600 junior you will need an RCA cable. Older models of the Atari 2600 have the RF cables hardwired onto the console.

2. An RF to coax adapter. This is the thing that you plug the wire coming out of the Atari Into. there are some different models out there that you can not use. I will specify those in the next step. Above are some RF adapters you can use. In the last picture is an RF adapter I made from A coax cable and an RCA cable. It took 5 minutes to make. There is an Instructable on how to make this in my Instructable collection.

3. you will also need an Atari 2600 AC adapter. You can find them on eBay.

Step 2: Stuff You Don't Need.

Besides killer dust bunnies, there is some stuff you can't use to hook up your Atari 2600 to the TV. Namely, automatic RF adapters. Automatic RF adapters use A certain voltage from the RF source to activate the Full TV picture with little to no static. Confused? Basically if you use one of the RF adapters above, or ones similar to these, what you see on the TV screen will be A bunch of static with a faint picture, if your lucky. By the way, an easy way to tell if you have an automatic RF adapter is to see if there are no switches or buttons on the side. If there are none, you have an automatic RF adapter.

Step 3: Time to Plug Every Thing In!

First off, if you have an Atari 2600 that has A long hardwired cord coming out of the back, you have an older version of the system. However, if there is A blackish-brown female type connector on the back far left to plug an RCA cable into, you have an Atari 2600 JR. Go ahead and plug that RCA into that jack.

Now take the RF adapter and connect it to the cord coming out of your Atari 2600. Now connect the other end of the RF adapter into A TV that supports A coax connection. Also, you want to take the AC adapter and plug the end that looks like part of headphones into the back of your Atari 2600. Plug the other end into A wall socket.

WARNING: Never touch the end of the AC adapter that looks like part of headphones. Doing so can result in electrocution. After all of that just plug in the Atari 2600 controller to the back of the console. Don't have an Atari 2600 controller? you can use a Sega Genesis controller. Use the B button to fire.

Step 4: Finally...

Insert your favorite game and relive video games of the 70s. Also, feel free to ask any questions! : )

Step 5: Update!

I forgot to mention that on the back of your Atari, there is A switch that says channel 2-3. Just make sure that what the channel switch says corresponds to the channel on your TV. If you for instance have the Atari on channel 3, but your TV is on channel 2, you won't be able to play your Atari.

Be the First to Share


    • Instrument Contest

      Instrument Contest
    • Make it Glow Contest

      Make it Glow Contest
    • STEM Contest

      STEM Contest

    4 Discussions


    Reply 3 years ago

    So you don't have to get this part.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Actually, you do not have to use an interference filter. I mentioned in this Instructable that there would be an Instructable on how to make an RF adapter. You can look in my profile for this new Instructable since I do not know how to post A link. Below is A real unedited picture of my Atari being displayed using this RF adapter with no interference whatsoever. I hope this was helpful.


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you I guess I missed that.