I recently picked up a pair of Atari 2600 paddle controllers for use with my Atari Flashback 6. The Amazon store said in the product description that they had been "tested." However, they are barely responsive, and when they do respond control is quite jittery.

My plan is to open them up and see if there is anything obviously broken or dirty. Has anyone encountered this before? Is it possible to fix these?

  • 3
    re: "tested". Did they say whether the paddles had passed the tests? ;-) Jul 17 '20 at 11:06

So I loosely followed the instructions on this site: Atari Paddle Repair (Cleaning Jittery Paddles)

Once I had disassembled the "pot" and exposed the metal ring, I could see that the contact points were caked in 35 years of black gunk. Using a Q-tip and a light amount of rubbing alcohol, I was able to clean the contact points, being careful not to leave any fuzz from the Q-tip.

During reassembly, I made sure that the contact points (prongs) were bent as close to their original angle as I could get them. Once I had the "pot" back together, I also did a check for range of motion, and everything felt good.

I completed reassembly, and they now work good as new! Or, at least as close as I can remember what "new" paddle controllers felt like. Breakout and Super Breakout are now playable!


(This is years after you solved it but just for completion...)

An inelegant method that doesn't involve taking a pot' apart is to spray switch cleaner (e.g. Servisol) into the pot's insides then turn the pot's knob back and forward to the limits a lot, say 10 times.

Do that a few times and they're much better, often good as new. Goodness knows how many hi-fi volume/tone controls I fixed doing that in the 80s/90s but it left a lot of people happy with their rejuvenated stereos.

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