Jump to content

Photo

Mattel Aquarius owners - Roll call!


92 replies to this topic

#1 revolutionika OFFLINE  

revolutionika

    Quadrunner

  • 9,366 posts
  • Location:GA

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:03 PM

If you own an Aquarius Computer, say so in here. Let's see just how small or large this community actually is. Since oldatarian says it isnt a viable community!

(btw, i LOL'd at his video :D )



* i own an aquarius

#2 evg2000 OFFLINE  

evg2000

    Dragonstomper

  • 865 posts
  • Location:N. Cal

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:38 PM

I own a couple

#3 Chuck D. Head OFFLINE  

Chuck D. Head

    River Patroller

  • 3,123 posts
  • Mod Mod Mod
  • Location:Woodland, WA

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:04 PM

I have one coming my way thanks to TopDog and I am very excited!!! Morgan

#4 Tempest ONLINE  

Tempest

    Your snarky overlord

  • 22,181 posts
  • Location:ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:06 PM

I have a complete boxed US collection. :)

Tempest

#5 cmart604 OFFLINE  

cmart604

    Quadrunner

  • 6,891 posts
  • Location:Vancouver

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:07 PM

I just got my first one about a month ago. Paid $62 for a CIB System, Data Recorder, Printer, Mini Expander, 16K Memory Cart, Astrosmash, AD&D Tarmin, BioRhythms, File Form and Snafu. Seemed like a pretty good starter pack. Already ordered and paid Jay for the multi-cart! Posted Image

#6 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 6,625 posts
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:28 PM

I have: six Aquarius computers and five Mini-Expanders (which include one of each from a Computer & Game System "family pack"), two 4K RAM modules that have been upgraded to 32K, a Program Recorder and a thermal printer, about half a case of new Night Stalker cartridges, and boxed copies of the more common released titles ... and a couple of multi-carts, at varying stages of maturity. :)

Actually, I think only a small percentage of Aquarius owners are AtariAge members, so we shouldn't judge the size of the Aquarius community from this thread alone. There are a lot more Aquarius owners on the Aquarius newsgroup, which has (I think) about a hundred active members. I've also spoken with several owners who aren't members of either community.

#7 JamesD OFFLINE  

JamesD

    River Patroller

  • 4,494 posts

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:30 PM

I have a complete system, I should sell it.

#8 swlovinist OFFLINE  

swlovinist

    Stargunner

  • 1,430 posts
  • I heart videogames!
  • Location:anywhere that is dry

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:51 PM

I have two boxed systems and five games, among some other stuff I will have to dig out someday. I traded my beloved Burgertime to a friend. I cant wait for the multicart.

#9 nathanallan OFFLINE  

nathanallan

    Quadrunner

  • 5,579 posts
  • Location:El Paso, TX

Posted Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:20 PM

I have one! Not complete or anything, but it's here and works.

#10 BassGuitari ONLINE  

BassGuitari

    River Patroller

  • 2,788 posts
  • Remember how bright the future used to look?
  • Location:Milwaukee, WI

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:08 AM

Here!

I got my CIB Aquarius "Computer & Video Game System" with Mini Expander/Controllers, Snafu, Astrosmash, AD&D, and Tron: Deadly Discs...everything with all manuals and overlays...for $30 on Craigslist earlier this summer. The seller also had Space Fury and Miner 2049er for Colecovision, which she threw in for free. Not a bad deal, I'd say. :)

#11 Jay Silverheels OFFLINE  

Jay Silverheels

    Moonsweeper

  • 367 posts
  • Location:Washington D.C.

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 3:57 AM

Aquarius owner, here.

I have too much Aquarius gear. I've been nasty-grammed before for sounding like a braggart, so I offer my humble summary ;-) :

Basically, I have just about everything ever released for the Aquarius anywhere in the world, and many things that never made it to production. Way too much of all of it. The only released item I lack is Zero-In.

The rarest items in my collection are:

4-Color Printer (x2)
Quick Disk Drive
1541 interface board prototype
Aquarius II (x2)
VideoText modems (several)
Shark! prototype
Aquarius Modem (x6)
Pre-Closeout Family Pack (Called "Com-Pac" which included: Cpu, Mini, Data Rec, Printer)
A Few Closeout family packs
Melody Chase
Chess
Space Speller
Extended Basic
Kiosk POS Demo Cart
Many Cassette titles (Though I don't specifically collect tapes, I do like to have the cassette jacket inserts, when I come across them)
Few issues of the Aquarius User Magazine

#12 schuwalker OFFLINE  

schuwalker

    Dragonstomper

  • 529 posts
  • Location:A Void

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:52 AM

Add me to the list!!
Still need boxed Chess, Melody Chase and BT to complete the U.S. collection don't think I'll go the tape game route.....

#13 schuwalker OFFLINE  

schuwalker

    Dragonstomper

  • 529 posts
  • Location:A Void

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:54 AM

I have a complete boxed US collection. :)

Tempest


Tempest, you got Melody Chase and Chess? VERY Nice!!!!!!

#14 Tempest ONLINE  

Tempest

    Your snarky overlord

  • 22,181 posts
  • Location:ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:31 AM


I have a complete boxed US collection. :)

Tempest


Tempest, you got Melody Chase and Chess? VERY Nice!!!!!!

No, I don't think either of those were released in the US. I'm missing those two, Zero In, Extended Basic, and Space Speller.

Tempest

#15 marcfrick2112 OFFLINE  

marcfrick2112

    Moonsweeper

  • 292 posts
  • Location:Milwaukee, WI

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:33 AM

Got 2 Aquarius Family Packs here, 1 16K and 1 32K RAM module, all of the common games, and FileForm. Tho, I didn't think to save the boxes, I do have all the manuals, catalogs, etc. (I had to save 'em, I was actually Programming on my Aquarius ;) )

JayBird3rd: You can upgrade Aq RAM modules? Cool! :cool: I know you have a lot going on now (understatement) but I imagine a few ppl. would like a full 32K.... I guess some might find that statement funny, but I have always had a love for the Aquarius...

#16 ed1475 OFFLINE  

ed1475

    Dragonstomper

  • 536 posts
  • Location:Twin Cities, Minnesota

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:51 AM

I own 2 Aquarius computers and 1 mini-expander. Five cartridges and 1 tape.

Edited by ed1475, Sun Oct 24, 2010 11:54 AM.


#17 Jay Silverheels OFFLINE  

Jay Silverheels

    Moonsweeper

  • 367 posts
  • Location:Washington D.C.

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 4:54 PM

Got 2 Aquarius Family Packs here, 1 16K and 1 32K RAM module, all of the common games, and FileForm. Tho, I didn't think to save the boxes, I do have all the manuals, catalogs, etc. (I had to save 'em, I was actually Programming on my Aquarius ;) )

JayBird3rd: You can upgrade Aq RAM modules? Cool! :cool: I know you have a lot going on now (understatement) but I imagine a few ppl. would like a full 32K.... I guess some might find that statement funny, but I have always had a love for the Aquarius...


32k ram, that's a big one, due to the rareness!

Thanks for reminding me about my 32k cart. My 1541 board also had an on-board 32k ram, so that was helpful.

Since the 32k ram board cost $89.99 in 1985, it was considered expensive. You wouldn't want to write a 32k program to sell to people, because so few users would have 32k.

The only other benefit would be letting you have a much larger work space in FileForm, FinForm, Extended Basic, or Logo.

#18 Jay Silverheels OFFLINE  

Jay Silverheels

    Moonsweeper

  • 367 posts
  • Location:Washington D.C.

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:03 PM



I have a complete boxed US collection. :)

Tempest


Tempest, you got Melody Chase and Chess? VERY Nice!!!!!!

No, I don't think either of those were released in the US. I'm missing those two, Zero In, Extended Basic, and Space Speller.

Tempest


Well, probably not ever in a retail store. However, the post-Mattel Radofin copies of the entire line (including the titles you mentioned) were sold via mail order by a few distributors in the U.S.

When I contacted what remained of Mattel Electronics in 1984 or so, they sent me an order sheet listing their remaining stock, plus a brochures from two different distributors of Radofin's new runs. The first brochure was from Crimac Inc. of Redwood City, CA. The second was from Bentley Industries of Los Angeles, CA. (both were not sent at the same time, as I contacted Mattel a lot as an Aquarius obsessed kid.) In fact, my avatar is a picture from the Bentley brochure. At the Yahoo User Group, we archived some brochures from at least one other U.S. mail-order distributor of Radofin's Aquarius line.

Edited by Jay Silverheels, Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:04 PM.


#19 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 6,625 posts
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:14 PM

32k ram, that's a big one, due to the rareness!

Thanks for reminding me about my 32k cart. My 1541 board also had an on-board 32k ram, so that was helpful.

Since the 32k ram board cost $89.99 in 1985, it was considered expensive. You wouldn't want to write a 32k program to sell to people, because so few users would have 32k.

The only other benefit would be letting you have a much larger work space in FileForm, FinForm, Extended Basic, or Logo.

I suspect having the full 32K will be useful for new homebrews, too. ;)

Was the 32K cartridge ever a released product, or was it a prototype? I've seen conflicting accounts of this. The cartridge is so big because they were limited to 2K RAM chips at the time, so they had to use two large circuit boards covered with surface-mounted 6116 RAMs, sandwiched together. Nowadays, you can build an equivalent design using one 32K SRAM and one logic chip for less than $5. After I get the multi-cart finished, I'm going to document my procedure for upgrading the original 4K module to 32K using this design.

Speaking of which ... I haven't tested this yet, but I added a "hidden bonus" to my new cartridge board design: I took the opportunity to pull a few extra signals from the cartridge port which will make it possible to piggyback a 32K RAM on top of the cartridge ROM. This would allow you to have all the multi-cart software and a full 32K of extra RAM in a single cartridge, without requiring a Mini-Expander. I don't know if I'll offer that modification myself, but I'll document it for anyone who would like to try it with their own cartridges.

#20 the-topdog OFFLINE  

the-topdog

    Stargunner

  • 1,724 posts
  • Location:Washington State, USA

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:23 PM

I have six Mattel Aquarius' (Well 5 as of yesterday when I shipped one out to a fellow AAer) and miscellaneous accessories such as printers and mini expanders.


I have built a user contributed Aquarius serial number database over on my website yesterday as a tool for the Aqaurius community to track production quantities and locations of surviving units. I encourage everyone here to add their units to the database do we can get as accurate cross section of data as we can. If I missed any equipment in the list, just let me know and I can add it in 2 seconds.

#21 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 6,625 posts
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:24 PM

I have six Mattel Aquarius' (Well 5 as of yesterday when I shipped one out to a fellow AAer) and miscellaneous accessories such as printers and mini expanders.

I have built a user contributed Aquarius serial number database over on my website yesterday as a tool for the Aqaurius community to track production quantities and locations of surviving units. I encourage everyone here to add their units to the database do we can get as accurate cross section of data as we can. If I missed any equipment in the list, just let me know and I can add it in 2 seconds.

Wow, thanks for doing that! Most of my stuff is in storage, but I'll add it as soon as I can get it unboxed.

#22 Jay Silverheels OFFLINE  

Jay Silverheels

    Moonsweeper

  • 367 posts
  • Location:Washington D.C.

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:40 PM

I suspect having the full 32K will be useful for new homebrews, too. ;)


Oh, quite right. I meant at the time it was sold. Now, every Aq user should have 32k. I hate to send us on a tangent, but Mattel claimed the Aquarius was expandable to 52k. From discussions on the Yahoo group, I gathered that means it would take up the cart rom address space. I.e. you can't have 52k of ram AND a rom cart running simultaneously. Can you confirm my understanding?

Was the 32K cartridge ever a released product, or was it a prototype? I've seen conflicting accounts of this. The cartridge is so big because they were limited to 2K RAM chips at the time, so they had to use two large circuit boards covered with surface-mounted 6116 RAMs, sandwiched together. Nowadays, you can build an equivalent design using one 32K SRAM and one logic chip for less than $5. After I get the multi-cart finished, I'm going to document my procedure for upgrading the original 4K module to 32K using this design.


Yes, the 32K cart was a released product. Mine is still in its "retail" box. They were sold by the mail-order distributors I mentioned. Interestingly, by the time Mattel dropped the line and Radofin continued, the 4k cart disappeared. They only offered the 16K and 32K carts. The 4K to 32K retrofit will be great!


Speaking of which ... I haven't tested this yet, but I added a "hidden bonus" to my new cartridge board design: I took the opportunity to pull a few extra signals from the cartridge port which will make it possible to piggyback a 32K RAM on top of the cartridge ROM. This would allow you to have all the multi-cart software and a full 32K of extra RAM in a single cartridge, without requiring a Mini-Expander. I don't know if I'll offer that modification myself, but I'll document it for anyone who would like to try it with their own cartridges.


That would be great, but I personally wouldn't risk my multi-cart experimenting. Your technical feat given its due credit (it's great finally having a hardware guy interested in the Aquarius; James' awesome emulator pretty much took us as far as it could on the software side), I personally think all Aquarius users need to get a Mini-Expander. They'll be missing out on joypad usage, and many sounds/songs without it.

#23 Jay Silverheels OFFLINE  

Jay Silverheels

    Moonsweeper

  • 367 posts
  • Location:Washington D.C.

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 5:58 PM

I have six Mattel Aquarius' (Well 5 as of yesterday when I shipped one out to a fellow AAer) and miscellaneous accessories such as printers and mini expanders.


I have built a user contributed Aquarius serial number database over on my website yesterday as a tool for the Aqaurius community to track production quantities and locations of surviving units. I encourage everyone here to add their units to the database do we can get as accurate cross section of data as we can. If I missed any equipment in the list, just let me know and I can add it in 2 seconds.


That's great! It's going to be fun to see how this evolves.

As a side note, you may need M/R flags for all the Mattel released hardware: Cpu, Mini, Thermal Printer, Data recorder.

Here is a roster of my collection as it was more than ten years ago:

http://www.retro-zon...estockpile.html

Thanks for setting this up. I can start adding the items from the linked list, but I shutter to dig through the boxes and parse out the stuff that has gathered in the decade since. :-o

#24 the-topdog OFFLINE  

the-topdog

    Stargunner

  • 1,724 posts
  • Location:Washington State, USA

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:00 PM

I have one of Jay's 32k memory cartridge prototypes... it is awesome of course! I made some basic labels for it. I also decided to pretty up the evaluation prototype of Jay's multi-cart with a shell and label.

Attached Thumbnails

  • mattel-aqaurius-32k-memory-eval-proto.jpg
  • mattel-aqaurius-multi-cart-eval-proto.jpg


#25 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

jaybird3rd

    Quadrunner

  • 6,625 posts
  • Location:806.4616.0110

Posted Sun Oct 24, 2010 6:11 PM

Oh, quite right. I meant at the time it was sold. Now, every Aq user should have 32k. I hate to send us on a tangent, but Mattel claimed the Aquarius was expandable to 52k. From discussions on the Yahoo group, I gathered that means it would take up the cart rom address space. I.e. you can't have 52k of ram AND a rom cart running simultaneously. Can you confirm my understanding?

Ah, understood. Yes, putting 16K of RAM in the cartridge space would indeed give you 52K: 16K in the cartridge space, 32K in the RAM space, and 4K onboard. It is possible to have RAM "underneath" the cartridge ROM (I know Atari computers do this when the built-in BASIC is enabled), but in order to access it, you'd need a way to disable and re-enable the ROM in software. I don't know of any way to do this on the Aquarius, and if you really need more than 32K, you could just as easily use a bankswitched RAM nowadays (although the software would have to be specifically designed to support it).


Yes, the 32K cart was a released product. Mine is still in its "retail" box. They were sold by the mail-order distributors I mentioned. Interestingly, by the time Mattel dropped the line and Radofin continued, the 4k cart disappeared. They only offered the 16K and 32K carts. The 4K to 32K retrofit will be great!

Thanks for the clarification. I'll definitely document the 4K-to-32K upgrade. It's really quite simple; the hardest part is getting rid of the old chips and the damned RF shield that Radofin welded onto the board.


That would be great, but I personally wouldn't risk my multi-cart experimenting. Your technical feat given its due credit (it's great finally having a hardware guy interested in the Aquarius; James' awesome emulator pretty much took us as far as it could on the software side), I personally think all Aquarius users need to get a Mini-Expander. They'll be missing out on joypad usage, and many sounds/songs without it.

The Aquarius really should never have been sold without the Mini-Expander; it's a seriously crippled system without it. It's somewhat unique to have two cartridge ports available instead of just one, especially since they're more like fully-featured expansion slots than the usual cartridge ports. You can put almost any kind of peripheral you can imagine (flash card adapters, etc) into that "Memory" slot, and still have the "Program" slot available for cartridge software. I do know that, if it wasn't for the Mini-Expander, I probably wouldn't have given the Aquarius a second look.

I also tend to agree about keeping the ROM and RAM separate. My original concept for the board included onboard RAM as a standard feature. I very quickly got rid of it because of a lack of space, but thinking about it later, I realize that it's "cleaner" to keep the RAM as a separate option, which can be upgraded or replaced individually. However, if you know for a certainty that the Mini-Expander will never be an option, at least now there's a way to squeeze in some extra RAM without it.

I didn't mean to derail this thread ...




0 user(s) are browsing this forum

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users