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DataQue's Atari 130XEC and 1600XLE Computers?

Atari 8-Bit Prototypes 130XEC 1600XLE

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#1 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 12:15 PM

I recently was given a large collection of Atari items.  There were many catalogs in it, including a 6-page DataQue Software "Product Information Release #91.06.03."  There is some pretty neat (and hard to believe) information about some two Atari-compatible computers it it.  Here is a picture of the first page of the "catalog:"

 

DataQue Software Products for Atari 8-Bit (1991 06 03)_01.jpg

 

I've also scanned and uploaded the full 6-page catalog to archive.org, here:

 

https://archive.org/...itComputers1991

 

I've dictated, using Dragon, the descriptions of these two Atari computers:

 

130XEC: An Atari 130XE computer on a PC card!  This will allow you to have all the fun and utility of an 8-bit system hidden in your PC.  Using a special MSDOS interface, you're 8-bit applications can use the PC video and other peripherals, in addition to normal 8-bit devices.  It may even be possible to run an 8-bit process as a task using Windows 3.0!  The 'XEC' will be designed with a high degree of compatibility with the original XL/XE line.  Connections will be provided for two joystick ports, cartridge port, audio/video monitor output, SIO connector, and of course normal 80x88 PC card edge.

 

1600XLE: The Ultimate 8-bit machine... with a blazing 'no wait state" 8MHz 65C816 processor on a 'baby AT' size motherboard, nothing will come close to the performance of this machine.  A custom interface chip will allow PC interface cards to be used on the Atari 8-slot backplane.  This motherboard will fit into most PC style cases, and will run Atari 8-bit applications which make no illegal entry points into the OS, or use direct screen access.  This monster would be for the power users only, not the casual game player!  Using normal PC peripherals would keep costs down, and allow maximum expandability.

 

Has anyone ever heard of this company before?  A search of the Internet associates someone named Chuck Steinman with some DataQue products.  What's the story of these, very-probably, unreleased hardware items?  Were prototypes of these computers ever made, or was this just an idea that never even reached prototype stage?  What about the other products in this catalog; were they released?

 

Adam



#2 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:57 PM

Steinman's claim to fame was releasing the Turbo-816 65816 card for the XL/XE computers. You pulled the 6502 out and plugged in a ribbon cable head that went to the card. There was an edge connector on the cpu card to allow connecting expansion boards. I have 3, 4 ? of the cards, they make up for 256K of linear 65816 memory. The cpu runs at the stock clock speed, there is no acceleration like Rapidus. He also release an OS rom to go with the card, that allows for native 65816 operations.

 

As a private job for me, he designed and built a prototype 80 column board, that he called the MV80. I still have it here, and it works, has a nice, crisp display. I just found his doc for it the other week, explaining the registers, I'll have to see if I can find it again and post it.

 

After a few years after the T816, Steinman seems to have disappeared. I found an arrest record for him from 2009, but I still haven't located him. I don't recall ever hearing about those custom machines from him. Interesting find.

 

Edit: Oh yes, he also released the Maze of Agdagon, a multiplayer game that used the Gamelink? Multilink? system of hooking machines together, like a mini-lan. Never tried it myself, but I think it was pretty popular.


Edited by Alfred, Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:59 PM.


#3 CharlieChaplin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 1:59 PM

Never heard about the 130XEC or the 1600XLE, but Agdagon or better Maze of Agdagon was released. There is a demo fileversion 1.0 for one player/one computer and a (fully?) playable fileversion 1.01 and 1.02 for up to 8 (or 16?) players / 8 computers with the gamelink-2 network, better known as multilink here in Europe. Dataque sold the hardware for the older gamelink-1 (via joystick-ports) and the newer gamelink-2 (via SIO-ports) networking programs. Not sure, how Jiri Bernasek (Bewesoft) found out how that gamelink-2 stuff and hardware works, but he wrote several articles about it, wrote several programs for it (Multi-Dash, Multi-Race, Multi-Worms and a network-module that could be used for new programs) and also made some sourcecode available. Today we have 2 or 3 games for gamelink-1 and 6 games for gamelink-2/multilink network.

 

http://a8.fandal.cz/...p?files_id=2364

http://a8.fandal.cz/...utt_details_x=x

 

Would not be surprised (with Chuck Steinman's Pokey background - stereo Pokey/Gumby), if they also created and sold the Midi hardware, but as said before, never heard anything about the 130XEC or 1600XLE hardware. Afaik, Dataque was Chuck Steinman and Jeff Potter (Apacview, Degasview, ILBMview, Jview, etc.), but could be wrong here.


Edited by CharlieChaplin, Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:04 PM.


#4 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:05 PM


Would not be surprised (with Chuck Steinman's Pokey background - stereo Pokey/Gumby), if they also created and sold the Midi hardware, but as said before, never heard anything about the 130XEC or 1600XLE hardware. Afaik, Dataque was Chuck Steinman and Jeff Potter (Apacview, Degasview, ILBMview, Jview, etc.), but could be wrong here.

 

That's right, I forgot he did the Stereo Pokey thing.



#5 Mathy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 17, 2019 2:19 PM

Hello guys

 

I might even have exchanged some mail, back in the days (when I had no money to buy nice stuff).  The MIDI stuff I can't remember, but the 130XEC and the 1600XLE do ring a bell.

 

BTW Jiri Bernasek's files that CharlieChaplin mentions can be found here on my special stuff page.  (You'll have to scroll through some multijoy stuff)

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy



#6 ballyalley OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:12 AM

Thanks for all of the information that everyone posted here.  I love running into topics like this one which seem to be under most people's Atari radar.  Another fun place to find unusual, often-forgotten, news is to read disk-based "magazines."

 

Adam



#7 ivop OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:51 AM

Hmm, a MIDI Cart. That would be interesting as it frees up SIO. Did it ever materialize?



#8 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 11:05 AM

Here is the spec sheet Chuck from DataQue sent me on the MV80 80 column card he made for me. We never produced it because of course it has the same problem all other PBI devices have: there can be only one.

Attached Files

  • Attached File  MV80.DOC   7.51KB   28 downloads


#9 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:02 PM

Here is the spec sheet Chuck from DataQue sent me on the MV80 80 column card he made for me. We never produced it because of course it has the same problem all other PBI devices have: there can be only one.

You mean due to physical limitations right?  I thought the OS provided PBI IDs for devices 0-7?



#10 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:09 PM

I use the MIO right alongside SIDE carts' hard drive without problems.... if the PBI device has pass thru and complies with the specifications, it shouldn't be an issue....


Edited by _The Doctor__, Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:10 PM.


#11 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:32 PM

I use the MIO right alongside SIDE carts' hard drive without problems.... if the PBI device has pass thru and complies with the specifications, it shouldn't be an issue....


Yeah, but nobody did a passthrough, you could have a mio or you could have a Black Box and nothing else. I sure wasn’t going to give up my Black Box, not even for 80 columns.

#12 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 2:33 PM

You mean due to physical limitations right?  I thought the OS provided PBI IDs for devices 0-7?


Yes, it’s the physical problem, not the os.

#13 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:26 PM

some memory upgrades were made or produced w/ eci/cart top slots on top and rear. I forget what else but some other items had the same sort of thing...

 

While I love my black box, it uses all the pbi... it would need some slight fixing up to be fully compliant, but I did have a thought about making a cable to occupy the XL ribbon connector on the the Black Box with the cable wired and ending in the standard XL card edge pbi or eci/cart connection... :)  I didn't follow thru on it when I realized the BB didn't allow for other PBI id's like the MIO.

 

I used the Black Box as my daily driver back then,  used the mio and the atr8000 for starship... bb was what tyrant used on PD... and I did the same later on...

 

I wonder if your video card would play nice with the MIO, as it does have the pass thru connector inside the box...of course the video card would need adaption and a way to set pbi id....

 

Just talking out loud I guess... but it does sound nice to putz around


Edited by _The Doctor__, Tue Mar 19, 2019 4:28 PM.


#14 Mathy OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 6:40 PM

Hello guys

 

Problem is, neither MIO nor BlackBox use the PBI like Atari intended it to be used.  But ICD planned an 80 column board for the MIO and Bob Puff told me, it would be possible to hook extra cards into the system just like the FloppyBoard.  (But he had no plans to do so himself)  So hooking in an 80 column board would be possible.

 

What also would be possible is to make the BlackBox free up the bus when it wasn't accessed.

 

And Bob thought that if software for the BB didn't use the other ID's (The BB with all the extras uses 5 ID's max), it should be possible to use the remaining IDs for other stuff.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy



#15 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 7:19 PM


And Bob thought that if software for the BB didn't use the other ID's (The BB with all the extras uses 5 ID's max), it should be possible to use the remaining IDs for other stuff.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

Five ? What am I missing: P:, R: D: and ??



#16 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 19, 2019 8:37 PM

As far as I understand, the problem is caused by lack of proper decoding so the BB hogs up all possible IDs.



#17 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:11 AM

 
Afaik, Dataque was Chuck Steinman and Jeff Potter (Apacview, Degasview, ILBMview, Jview, etc.), but could be wrong here.


Hmmm, I don’t think Potter was part of DataQue. He and Chuck may have talked a lot, like Puff and I did, but in all the conversations I had with Steinman, Potter’s name never came up, as in ways like “well I get Jeff to test this or that.” Pretty sure Chuck was a one-person operation.

#18 CharlieChaplin OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:39 PM

Hmmm, "Maze of Agdagon" was by Dataque and the manuals mention both Chuck Steinman and Harry, errrm, Jeff Potter...  attached the demo version 1.0 + shareware docs here...

 

The start of the docs say "Maze of Agdagon... by the Agda group...", but in the Agdagon documentation you get a shareware registration note and an adress to register which says write to Dataque, Chuck Steinman, Jeff Potter (they even included an easy response letter which starts with "Dear Chuck, Jeff,...")

Attached Files


Edited by CharlieChaplin, Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:47 PM.


#19 doctor_x OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Mar 29, 2019 3:48 PM

this is an amazing find.. love it... the maze game is pretty nice for 1991 especially being multiplayer... thanks for sharing!







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