Atari Trak-Ball cleanup

Whilst visiting the chaps and their new premises at the Retro Computer Museum the other week I was rummaging around some of their packing boxes and moving various items on to shelves when I came across this rather poorly looking Atari Trak-Ball.


Atari Trackball_www

On the outside it looked practically brand new but the the ball motion was incredibaly rough and you could hear the rollers groaningg. We tried it on an Atari 800XL we had set up and it barely functioned.

I’ve always wanted to have a play around with one of these because A) Trackballs are cool and B) I just love these big ass chunky Atari Trakball units. I’d love to have one of those monster Atari 5200 trackball units.

I brought it back with me, took it to work and thought i’d have an initial looksee during lunch break today.


trakball_clean (Custom) (2)

All the crud inside has been blow out  with a can of compressed air. It looked like is had been living in a desert.

The ball looked in pretty good shape but two of the three rollers needed a bit of work with my dremel and a polishing bit to remove some of the rust that had formed.

The roller bearings were also very noisy despite being behind rubber shields so i treated them to a spot of WD40. They’re running so much smoother and quieter now.
The last thing I did before putting it back together again was to adjust the left fire button contact as it was missing the circuit board a little.

Sadly I don’t have an Atari 800xl myself but I do know that these units work on the Atari 2600 in trakball mode and a copy of the hacked version of Missile command.

I’ll have it set up for test run when I get home this evening.






2 responses to “Atari Trak-Ball cleanup

  1. Cool, i remember a friend of mine at school had one, oh the memories!
    Keep us posted Stiggy 🙂


  2. Ah, so the trakball was Atari. I have a distinct memory of writing some code on a C64 to read a Trakball in order to create alien flight patterns. The results were jerkier than expected, so there was a whole load of manual editing in a hex editor to smooth the movement. Not the greatest of cost / benefit ratios. Unfortunately, there were no alternatives available at the time!

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