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Fixing Atari 600 XL Keyboard (= key remains on)

keyboard 600 xl 800 xl

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#1 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 25, 2019 11:29 AM

So today I bought an Atari 600 XL computer from an Exchange store and hooked it all up to my TV. It works, but upon boot-up I get a wall of = signs that will not stop typing. I am able to run the tests upon boot up just fine - memory and sound both passed. But with the keyboard test, the = key remains down and I get a long, drawn-out tone which I cannot stop. Pressing the = key many times does not free it from its permanently activated state.

 

So before I take it apart to fix it, I looked up a repair video on someone fixing an 800XL keyboard - 

 

Before I dismantle mine and look at it, I want to know two things - 

 

1. Is this repair process in the video identical for a 600 XL, in terms of how things are put together?

2. Has anyone else had this issue, and can it be fixed with just a simple contact cleaning?

 

Thanks!



#2 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:10 PM

The keyboard in a 600XL is unlikely to be the same model keyboard featured in that video. It's probably going to be an AWC or Alps type with mechanical switches, and if so, it's likely one of the switches is stuck or broken.

 

This video shows simple repairs to some XL keyboards of various types:

 



#3 manterola OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:27 PM

First try identifying your keyboard:

http://atariage.com/...board-variants/

 

Some clues without opening the case are the shape of the "o" and the "q", the Control and arrow keys (full or outlined) , and the stairs"ness" of the keys. Then you will know if there are switches involved or if it is a Mylar version.



#4 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:33 AM

First try identifying your keyboard:

http://atariage.com/...board-variants/

 

Some clues without opening the case are the shape of the "o" and the "q", the Control and arrow keys (full or outlined) , and the stairs"ness" of the keys. Then you will know if there are switches involved or if it is a Mylar version.

 

Thanks! This has been extremely helpful. Unfortunately it appears I am stuck with the Mylar keyboard, but at least repairing or replacing the Mylar is easy to do. Thank you!



#5 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:48 AM

 

Unfortunately it appears I am stuck with the Mylar keyboard, but at least repairing or replacing the Mylar is easy to do.

 

Out of interest, is the 600XL motherboard branded 'Chelco'?



#6 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:31 AM

 

Out of interest, is the 600XL motherboard branded 'Chelco'?

I'm not sure; I have yet to take it apart. Are there different motherboard brandings depending on the type of computer I have?



#7 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2019 8:30 AM

I'm curious because of the Stackpole (metal backplate, Mylar) keyboard in the machine. Many (most?) 600XLs shipped with AWC or Alps keyboards with mechanical switches on a PCB, but since 800XLs with Chelco motherboards commonly have Stackpole keyboards, I'm wondering if the same is true of the (relatively uncommon) Chelco 600XLs.

 

I think the Chelco boards are the only ones with conspicuous non-Atari branding on the PCB; you'll find the name up near the SIO connectors, IIRC, if it's there. You'll also see a circular orange 'Burn-in Passed' sticker if it's a Chelco board.



#8 manterola OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2019 1:50 PM

In my experience I have never seen a Chelco motherboard but tons of Stackpole keyboards. The Ataris 800XL I have seen are mostly "chileans", but in reality are NTSC made in Taiwan latest months of 1983 with part or all ICs soldered (no sockets or few sockets). They are easy to identify by the BIG round "O" and "Q". In ebay there are several 600xl with similar keycaps so I suspect are also Stackpole keyboards. The only 600xl I have seen in person I got it in USA and it has the type 2 keyboard with outlined "Control" key and full socketed.



#9 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:01 PM

Stackpole keyboards are not the preserve of Chelco 800XLs (and I didn't mean to suggest they are), but I have not personally come across many (or any) 600XLs with Stackpole keyboards here in the UK. Indeed, every 600XL which I own or which has been through my hands (and they were all PAL) has had an AWC or Alps keyboard. One unusual 600XL had an AWC keyboard equipped with Cherry switches.



#10 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2019 7:49 AM

I'll have to get back to you on that! I plan on dismantling my 600XL within the next couple weeks once spring break rolls around. At least the lack of keyboard functionality hasn't impeded my ability to game at all; I've been indulging in Donkey Kong as of late.

 

Though on the subject of keyboards and Mylar, I did want to mention that the column of silver option keys are a bit finicky (though now, after a bit of messing around, they appear to function much better once the springs loosened up).. Does the Mylar connect with those as well, or are they wired separately?



#11 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2019 7:51 AM

Yes: the Mylar connects with the console keys as well. The console key panel screws on separately and it can be quite fiddly to install and screw into place without all the springs falling out. :)



#12 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 1, 2019 8:33 AM

I'll keep that in mind! At least my predicament isn't hard to fix. If all else fails I think I'll buy a replacement Mylar from Best Electronics. 



#13 Sinjinhawke OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 12:42 PM

Curious to see if you can fix this. My 600xl has the same issue but with the ‘H’ key. It was working fine but then my power supply failed. I got a replacement power supply and computer works again but now I have the repeating key. I’m worried this is a symptom of damage caused by the failed power supply. So yes I can play cartridge games like donkey Kong but not Star Raiders since it requires the keyboard.

#14 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 1:36 PM

Disconnect the keyboard and see if there still seems to be a key stuck,  If not the keyboard is probably the problem.

 

There are two CD4051 chips near the keyboard connector.  Try swapping them and see if the symptoms stay the same or change.  One of them could have gotten damaged by the power supply. 

 

Also see if it is still registering a stuck key while you have both of these chips and the keyboard removed.

 

Process of elimination to track down where the problem lies.



#15 manterola OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 5, 2019 1:46 PM

I am fixing a very beaten 800XL with stackpole keyboard and I disassembled the keyboard with all those 14 little screws. Many little springs fell and it was a mess. Finally the problem was, a cut trace close to the motherboard connector, also one contact in the motherboard connector not very strong. But when I re assembled the Mylar with the metallic part and the keys with the springs, I have several problem: first the K key did not worked... so 14 screws out and then in.. then the "*" got always pressed, so 14 screws out in then In.

Finally, I affixed  the metallic piece keyboard in the upper part of the Atari case, but then the ribbon part it got too short:

I cut the ribbon mylar (about 3 or 4 cm) to get rid of the damaged trace, big mistake, now I cannot close the case. Before cutting the ribbon I tried to fixed with conductive paint and it was just a big mess. I just 

 

In summary, dialing with the mylar and  the spings  and all those screws is not easy and requires PATIENCE. For me now, I 'll wait for new mylars for Stackpole get available or,  to fit some kind of ribbon extender.



#16 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:49 AM

 

Out of interest, is the 600XL motherboard branded 'Chelco'?

My 600XL is currently sitting in pieces as of this moment; my motherboard is a Chelco, P/N:150600008, REV 8A, copyright date of 1983.



#17 flashjazzcat ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 8:54 AM

My 600XL is currently sitting in pieces as of this moment; my motherboard is a Chelco, P/N:150600008, REV 8A, copyright date of 1983.

 

Many thanks. This tallies handily with my expectations. :)



#18 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:01 AM

So right now I have disconnected the keyboard from the motherboard and have it separated from the computer (see attached images). Now I have tried getting they keys off the Mylar, but it seems to be stuck. On the underside, there's 18 tiny screws, which I'm assuming I have to remove? The video I'm following (at the start of this thread) makes no mention of these screws, but does make a mention of the small black posts. I was under the assumption that those three posts were the only things holding the keys against the Mylar, but I just wanted to double check and see if all these screws need to be removed.

Attached Thumbnails

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#19 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 9:04 AM

I am fixing a very beaten 800XL with stackpole keyboard and I disassembled the keyboard with all those 14 little screws. Many little springs fell and it was a mess. Finally the problem was, a cut trace close to the motherboard connector, also one contact in the motherboard connector not very strong. But when I re assembled the Mylar with the metallic part and the keys with the springs, I have several problem: first the K key did not worked... so 14 screws out and then in.. then the "*" got always pressed, so 14 screws out in then In.

Finally, I affixed  the metallic piece keyboard in the upper part of the Atari case, but then the ribbon part it got too short:

I cut the ribbon mylar (about 3 or 4 cm) to get rid of the damaged trace, big mistake, now I cannot close the case. Before cutting the ribbon I tried to fixed with conductive paint and it was just a big mess. I just 

 

In summary, dialing with the mylar and  the spings  and all those screws is not easy and requires PATIENCE. For me now, I 'll wait for new mylars for Stackpole get available or,  to fit some kind of ribbon extender.

 

I wish I had seen this post before making my update lol. But sheesh, all these screws do have to be removed? 



#20 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 10:43 AM

So a quick update - I removed the screws and took off the menu keys before removing the Mylar (as well as the plastic hole sheet between the Mylar) and cleaning the inside and outside with rubbing alcohol. I put everything back together with a bit of effort and gave the keyboard a test, and it works! The only keys I'm not getting a response from are J, K, L, ;, right arrow, and left arrow. Oddly enough, the Caps key at the end of that row works, but the Control key in the same row on the other side does not get a response, even in the keyboard test screen. But I also managed to fix the Help button as well during the cleaning process. 

 

I think what I'll do is disassemble it again and give the middle row extra attention, especially where those unresponsive keys are at. If it works, it works, if not, I'm at least satisfied I solved the stuck key issue. Hopefully I don't create more issues by doing everything all over again! But I think at some point I'll replace the Mylar, since it probably won't last too much longer regardless.

 

Thanks you all for your help, I've learned quite a lot since I bought this machine. 



#21 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:05 PM

KeyBoard.png

 

 



#22 manterola OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:10 PM

Don't need to disassemble yet. Check continuity or inspect the 5th connection in the keyboard connector.
Ctrl should not be working either.
If everything ok. Probably it is a cut trace in the mylar.

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  • 2131361811_20190310140640.jpg


#23 pollyisagoodbird OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2019 12:30 PM

It is these right here. How would I go about diagnosing it properly?

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  • Capture.PNG






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