Atar-E WALL-E Atari 2600 Portable / Case Mod
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So, I wanted to do another Atari 2600 mod. This would be my second. My first one was the Atari Hero, an Atari 2600 that you play like a guitar. But, I needed something awesome to house my Atari.
Something portable, but it didn’t have to be tiny. But what? I would know it when I saw it. So I waited. And watched. Then one day I saw this Wall-E Learning laptop at a thrift store. It was fate. Wall-E…Atari. Kismet.
It would be known as Atar-E.
The first thing I had to do was tear it apart. This thing was all about teaching kids math and words and stuff. Video Games are more fun! So I tore it apart and got to work.
Much of the credit for this mod goes to the almighty Ben Heck and Bacteria. The tips I found on Bacteria’s site especially really saved me a lot of headaches. Here we see it all coming together. This mod was going to be all about design and I decided early on that I wanted to incorporate as many pieces of actual Atari woodgrain and grill as I could. AND I wanted a clean design that didn’t have screw heads showing from the outside. This wasn’t without its challenges. I tore that Keyboard area off first thing. In it’s place I wanted the Atari woodgrain and grill, along with the D-Pad and fire button, so that you could still close that bottom hinge when there was no cartridge inserted. Here you see the beginnings of wiring everything up before it went into the case.
A nicely cut piece of Atari woodgrain if I do say so myself. Bacteria had a great tip for using an NES D-pad that saved a lot of time. You can see it mounted underneath.
I’m not going to go into super detail about this build, but I will say that putting the Atari together and wiring it was the easy part. The most time consuming part was the fabrication of the actual Atari woodgrain and grill pieces. But it’s deceptive. That’s all on the inside. On the outside, it still just looks like Wall-E.
Figuring out what to do with the battery pack is always a challenge. In this case, I figured that Wall-E would look cute with a little backpack, so I cut open a project box and just like that, he has a battery pack on his back.
Reset button and on/off switch.
The finished project from a few angles. I got rid of that ugly child-friendly graphic and replaced it with a scene from the movie. One that includes EVE. You might notice that the paddle controller is mounted on the chest too, in the upper left.
Close up of the control board.
It was a great project and I learned a lot. A few details still need a bit of tweaking, but after I am done, I will likely list it for sale in our Online Toy Shop. So make sure you check back there often. Hopefully I can get to it quickly, but it may take a few weeks since I am pretty busy right now. Let me know what you think in the comments.
This was mostly all done with a dremel, some screwdrivers and a soldering iron. A dab of glue here and there too. I’m pretty proud of the end result. Everyone is making portables(and this one is pretty portable at 10 inches tall), but I think it’s more fun to mod existing toys and make them cooler. So what if it isn’t the smallest system out there.