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SpectraView 1 and 2 - info


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#1 nosty OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:02 PM

Do you remember this topic?
http://www.atariage....howtopic=145037

Someone bought unknown ultra rare SpectraView 1 cartridge for $536!

But he didn't make it to work so seller gave him a refund and SpectraView 1 is relisted now:
http://tiny.pl/3b5s

I investigate this cartridge producer.
I found that Canadian company Compu-Cable Systems still exists but is renamed to Display Systems International, Inc. (DSI).
So I sent email with kindly questions about their Atari products. And I received an answer from DSI president and Spectraview designer - Dale Lemke!
He told me that all DSI Atari documentation and stuff (cartridges, prototypes, PCB, eproms, manuals, source code, etc.) is lost years ago :( Pity.
But Dale sent me comprehensive info about Spectraview cartridges.

I described this story here (in Polish, sorry):
http://www.atarionli...?...&ct=nowinki

This is an essence: the original letter from Dale Lemke (with my few comments):

Yes, sorry, very busy. Currently at a trade show in Orlando. I have compiled some of the information that I can remember about the SpectraView products. We do not have any old cartridges left, or any schematics, etc. All we have is what I can remember and have documented below.

Dale Lemke started DEL Compu-Cable Systems in December 1983. The company developed it's first product based on the Atari 800XL, called the SpectraView I. This product was developed for the cable TV industry to be used as a information channel, such as community events, public service announcements and elementary advertising channels. The SpectraView I allowed the user to create "pagesĒ of information with colored backgrounds. These pages could either scroll up, or could be set to change according to preset display times. You could also create a horizontal crawl line that would display at the bottom of the screen. An interface was developed that allowed a Heathkit Weather Station to be connected to the Atari 800XL through the joystick ports. The user could then display local weather information including temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction. All information that was entered, could be saved onto a single 5 1/4 inch floppy diskette. That way if the system lost power, it would restart itself, reload all the information and begin to display itís pages of information. The Atari 800XL had excellent composite video output, which made it perfect for the cable TV industry. You could also use a Graphics Tablet with a stylus [1] to create pictures. Those pictures could be saved on the same 5 1/4 floppy diskette and then those pictures could be scheduled to display between the pages.

The creation of the SpectraView I was no small feat. The program was written entirely in 6502 machine language assembly code. The source code was stored entirely on twelve 5 1/4 inch floppy diskettes. When changes were made to modules, all effected modules had to be recompiled and then all the object code had to be loaded into memory. That memory then had to be burned onto EPROMS. The entire program was 22K in size, but had to be made to fit into an 8K cartridge space. A bank switching cartridge was developed. This cartridge had four 4K spaces on it (two 8K EPROMS). One 4K space was always resident in memory, and the other three 4K spaces could be switched in or out, one at a time [2]. This got 16K of the program into the Atari, but 6K still needed to be dealt with. The final solution was to remove the BASIC language chip, which took up 8K space. To begin with, the basic chips were removed from the Atari 800XL and a socket was put in itís place, where the final 8K EPROM was placed [3]. This was a great deal of careful work, and it was later discovered that we did not need to remove the BASIC chip. In fact all that was necessary, was to clip the power lead to the BASIC chip, and then piggyback solder the EPROM on top of the BASIC Chip. A couple of jumper wires were also required to finish the installation of the EPROM over the top of the BASIC chip. If you turned on the modified Atari 800XL without the SpectraView I cartridge plugged in, there was a small program that would display horizontally scrolling colored lines, which would mean the computer was OK and the EPROM chip was installed correctly over the top of the BASIC chip [4]. Once you plugged in the SpectraView I cartridge, the entire system would work as an information display system.

DEL Compu-Cable Systems second product was to trim down the SpectraView I software and to remove some of the features, so that the program would fit into 16K. This second product, called the SpectraView II, did not required a modified Atari 800XL computer. Therefore you could buy the cartridge only, and purchase an Atari computer separately. The Graphics Tablet did not have anyway to type text onto the pictures that you would draw [5]. Therefore, the Graphics Tablet cartridge was de-compiled and it was found that there was enough blank space on the cartridge so that software could be added to allow a user to type text over pictures. Typing software was developed, again in 6502 assembly language, and a new EPROM was burnt, and then soldered over the top of the Graphics Tablet chip.

The first SpectraView I system was sold to a small cable company in Zainesville, Ohio in 1984. The SpectraView I and SpectraView II were sold over the course of 1984 till about 1991 or 1992. If I remember correctly, (and I probably donít), but I think the SpecrtraView retailed for about $2000 US and the SpectraView II cartridge retailed for about $900 US. An exact count was never kept, but at one point, it was estimated that DEL Compu-Cable Systems sold a total of about 4000 SpectraView I and SpectraView II. Since then DEL Compu-Cable Systems was re-organized and became Display Systems International, Inc. in 1991. During the years, other platforms and programs were developed for the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga. Ultimately, DSI has been developing software for the IBM PC under windows. DSI started with a program for Windows 3.1 and continued with versions for Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Thanks for your interest and I hope this helps you.
Dale Lemke
President
Display Systems International, Inc.


[1] I suppose Dale mention Atari CX-77 Touch Tablet.
[2] It must be memory banking simmilar to Supercartridge by OSS ("Action!", "BASIC XL", etc.). Compare to http://www.retrobits.../osscarts.shtml
[3] This method sounds strange today but not in 1983...
[4] If you put SpectraView 1 in regular (unmodified) Arari 800XL you also can see only these raibnow bars.
[5] I suppose it means "Atari Artist" cartridge.

Edited by nosty, Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:07 PM.


#2 R4ngerM4n OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Jul 1, 2009 3:22 AM

Thanks for the info!

Wow, $2000! This must have been the most expensive cart of all!

Edited by R4ngerM4n, Wed Jul 1, 2009 3:23 AM.


#3 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013 6:00 PM

I used to help out DSI doing repairs on Indus drives, 800XL's and 130XE's and such. I had all the Spectraview stuff, but, it has been such a long time.

If I get the chance, I will visit my old house and search for floppy disks and EPROMs. I highly doubt I will find anything, but it's worth a try.

The Spec-1 and Spec-2 carts use 2 2764 EPROMs on an OSS cart bank switch board, same as BASIC-XL.

Cart plastics are the same, made by Solakian Mold Co. Fresno, CA. and are the same as Steve uses for his Flash Carts.

#4 ryanr256 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:13 PM

I used to help out DSI doing repairs on Indus drives, 800XL's and 130XE's and such. I had all the Spectraview stuff, but, it has been such a long time.

If I get the chance, I will visit my old house and search for floppy disks and EPROMs. I highly doubt I will find anything, but it's worth a try.

The Spec-1 and Spec-2 carts use 2 2764 EPROMs on an OSS cart bank switch board, same as BASIC-XL.

Cart plastics are the same, made by Solakian Mold Co. Fresno, CA. and are the same as Steve uses for his Flash Carts.


Here's the conversation about the cart I found in my collection:

http://atariage.com/...spectraview-ii/


-Bob

Edited by ryanr256, Thu Jun 27, 2013 8:16 PM.


#5 Faicuai OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:16 PM

WOW!

Talk about a MAJOR, 4-years-old, necro-bump here... although very interesting...

...I sort of had a deja-vu while looking at Spectraview's functional scope... Isn't this product aiming at the same goal of Spectraview's?:

http://www.atarimani...000_s12922.html

The above also comes in a cart-format, and uses external storage for dynamic expansion... but can't say much beyond that.

#6 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013 9:26 PM

WOW!

Talk about a MAJOR, 4-years-old, necro-bump here... although very interesting...

...I sort of had a deja-vu while looking at Spectraview's functional scope... Isn't this product aiming at the same goal of Spectraview's?:

http://www.atarimani...000_s12922.html

The above also comes in a cart-format, and uses external storage for dynamic expansion... but can't say much beyond that.

When I was a kid, my local cable company used that on it's info channel. I remember in 1985, getting a tour of the facility, and noticing the banks of Atari 800XLs they had.

#7 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jun 27, 2013 11:36 PM

Anyone who has one, Let's try to dump the EPROMs of these.

Spec-1 uses a standard OSS style cart, but it REQUIRES the BASIC chip onboard to be replaces with a custom EPROM.

Spec-2 is just an OSS cart with two 2764 EPROMs in it with the Spec-2 software. NO internal mods necessary.

I will look everywhere I can to find these files, but I don't have much hope of finding them.

If I do find them, I have a really nice old Sunrise Z-1000b Programmer that will easily burn the EPROMs. I also have an empty OSS cart board here somewhere, although those should be available from the usual sources, cart plastics too.

-K

#8 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 5, 2013 10:51 PM

Bump!

 

I hope someone can find these ROMs to dump!

 

You will *NOT* destroy the cart to open it.  It is pop-apart, just like an orange BASIC-XL or MAC/65 cart.

 

Anyone near Pittsburgh, PA please contact me.  I will bring my EPROM programmer to you to read and dump the ROMs in the cart.

 

Note: I AM still looking and asking everywhere locally, including my buddy (whose nickname IS Buddy) who also worked for the company.

 

-K



#9 Island2Live OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 4, 2014 4:55 AM

Hello folks,

the following is probably a bit OT ... but, well ...

I've stumbled upon this thread because I am desperately in search of plastic shells/cases to be used as a cartridge case for the Atari 800 series. So one company still seem to produce the shells today (I've found this company name several times):

Solakian Mold Co.
1567 S Adler Ave.
Fresno, CA
Tel.: 93727-5102
http://www.solakian.com/ (not used by company)

Can someone tell me about this cartridge case? Who uses it? Any hint is appreciated!

Kind regards,
Henrik (Island2Live)

#10 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 7, 2014 12:41 AM

I'm afraid the Solakian mold co. is gone. Steve Tucker uses the exact same shells for his carts. Try atarimax.com, or email classics@atarimax.com
Those plastics fit the orange OSS carts, as well as SpectraView.
Good luck. Please report back here if you have any success with Steve.

#11 Island2Live OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:07 PM

Thank you very much! :) I will try.

Kind regards,
Henrik (Island2Live)



#12 atari8warez OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Apr 26, 2014 1:08 PM

How much do you guys think these Spectraview II cartridges be worth. I've seen some on eBay as part of an Atari lot.



#13 atari8warez OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 8, 2014 10:07 AM

Well, I ended up winning the bid on the above and got two Spectraview 2 cartridges (in working condition) plus two Info/Soft 7000 cartridges (also in working condition). All other hardware were also in perfect shape except one 130XE that needs new RAM.


Edited by atari8warez, Thu May 8, 2014 10:07 AM.


#14 AtariGeezer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 8, 2014 5:25 PM

Well, I ended up winning the bid on the above and got two Spectraview 2 cartridges (in working condition) plus two Info/Soft 7000 cartridges (also in working condition). All other hardware were also in perfect shape except one 130XE that needs new RAM.

Cool, I saw that, but it was $165 shipping to California - so I had to pass :)



#15 atari8warez OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 8, 2014 9:11 PM

Cool, I saw that, but it was $165 shipping to California - so I had to pass :)

 

Yeah, that's what i normally do with US based sellers, this time though i was lucky it was a Canadian seller  :-D, still the shipping was over $50 Cdn, the package was nearly 64 lbs and items were packed extremely well...



#16 AtariGeezer OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 8, 2014 9:43 PM

If Chris hasn't asked yet,  feel like selling your spare SpectraView II and Info/Soft 7000 carts ?



#17 BillC OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu May 8, 2014 9:51 PM

 

Yeah, that's what i normally do with US based sellers, this time though i was lucky it was a Canadian seller  :-D, still the shipping was over $50 Cdn, the package was nearly 64 lbs and items were packed extremely well...

That's still not too bad a price for shipping 64lbs 2850 miles, shipping to me would have been US $34.32 for only 420 miles.



#18 atari8warez OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 9, 2014 7:42 AM

If Chris hasn't asked yet,  feel like selling your spare SpectraView II and Info/Soft 7000 carts ?

 

LOL, people get to know each other well in this forum....  I will save a copy of each for myself and I have not decided what to do with the dups yet, One thing I will do however is to try and get the max info possible on those two cartridges. I have seen/read some stuff on Info/Soft 3000/5000 but not seen anything about 7000. I have better info on Spectraview mainly thanks to related threads on Atariage. If I decide to sell/trade the spares i will let interested parties know.



#19 atari8warez OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 9, 2014 7:49 AM

That's still not too bad a price for shipping 64lbs 2850 miles, shipping to me would have been US $34.32 for only 420 miles.

 

I agree, seen similar shipping costs for items that weight much less, so I couldn't complain. Figured If I sell the hardware (130XEs and 1050s) I can more than recover the shipping cost, so not a bad deal after all.  When I've seen the shipping costs to US I said "I really have a chance on this one". Did you by the way bid on that auction?



#20 BillC OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri May 9, 2014 8:33 AM

 

I agree, seen similar shipping costs for items that weight much less, so I couldn't complain. Figured If I sell the hardware (130XEs and 1050s) I can more than recover the shipping cost, so not a bad deal after all.  When I've seen the shipping costs to US I said "I really have a chance on this one". Did you by the way bid on that auction?

No, I didn't see this auction before it ended, I looked it up afterwards.



#21 jcbstein OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:32 AM

What would a copy of the Instruction Manual for this cartridge be worth?



#22 AtariGeezer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 29, 2015 1:13 PM

What would a copy of the Instruction Manual for this cartridge be worth?

Which cartridge ???



#23 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 29, 2015 3:42 PM

If you have either one, a scanned .pdf would be much appreciated.



#24 jcbstein OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:12 PM

I was referring to the  SpectraView II Instruction Manual.  



#25 AtariGeezer OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 29, 2015 5:28 PM

I was referring to the  SpectraView II Instruction Manual.  

If you were the lucky winner of this eBay Auction -- Item Number: 131604443487,  then I'll 2nd what Kyle said :)

As for price, it's a good question.  I'd buy it just to scan it if you don't want to...






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