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Ian Primus

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About Ian Primus

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    New York
  • Interests
    Atari, old computers, electronics.

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  1. Does anyone have an archive of this somewhere? I've been searching, and I can't find a mirror. Thanks! -Ian
  2. Well, the Commodore is already pretty darn dirt cheap. They sold more C64's than any other model of computer. Seriously - it's a world record that's not likely to be broken, since modern machines change models every month or so. Most of us that collect old computers have them stacked up like cord-wood. It's a bit of a joke, actually - the C64 is the Combat cartridge of computer collecting. I would point you in the direction of the Apple II line - the Apple IIe, specifically. It's cheap, available, reliable, and very, very well documented. The disk drives are very fast, and it's super easy to connect it to a modern computer through the Super Serial Card and transfer disk images - no need to buy expensive modern peripherals with flash cards (although they are available). There are a lot of classic games - they're different though, the graphics and sound you're used to from the Commodore aren't there, but the platform has lots of original titles that are fun to play. It's also a hacker's dream, because it's so expandable and flexible. With 80 column text on a monochrome monitor, you can use it as a terminal and do pretty much anything from it's fantastic keyboard. The Apple IIe is such an improvement over the C64 in terms of loading times, clear text, build quality, expandability and rock solid reliability, that it's rather hard to go back to the C64 after using the Apple II for a while. But, then again, it's a holy war that's been going on for years - Apple vs. Commodore. I like both platforms, but... I love the Apple II. -Ian
  3. The signals are digital, you are correct. There is only 4k of addressable space because one of the address lines is used for chip enable. There is no clock line because the cartridge is a simple ROM device and nothing more. You set the address lines and read from the data lines. -Ian
  4. I love this game. This is definitely one of my favorite 2600 games. Many years ago, unable to find a physical copy of the game, I made one: http://www.atariage....ttach_id=124352 And I still hope one day to run across it. You'd think eventually it would turn up, but it's been a tough one to find. In any event, it's an awesome game, and I really recommend that everyone play it. I know I've spent many, many hours playing it. And, you know, if you run across an extra copy, let me know -Ian
  5. I'm just getting back to the wonderful world of Atari myself. Been focusing on other hobbies the last few years, but never really stopped playing Atari - just kinda stopped looking for stuff since I had most of it already So, I missed the introduction of things like the Harmony - the only thing available at the time was the Cuttle Cart, and it was expensive. Personally, I find it fun to collect the real games, but, the Harmony is probably fun too. I found though, that the problem with having hundreds of games is that you tend to get impatient and keep switching games without spending any real time with one, and that's a hard habit to get out of. Sounds like you need a power supply and an RF adapter for your 2600, and some games. The power supply is really easy, you just need to find any 9v DC power supply (500ma or more preferred) and solder an 1/8" mono headphone plug onto it (tip positive). The voltage doesn't even matter too much either, since the supply is unregulated, but 9v is so common. Anything 7 - 12v is perfectly safe to use. For the RF, go to Radio Shack or similar and get an RCA to F connector adapter. Replaces the switchbox entirely and connects the RCA cable coming out of the Atari directly to the screw-on cable connection on the back of the television. Lots less interference with this too, the picture will look a lot better. Welcome back to Atari! -Ian
  6. Haha. Pretty much. One time someone managed to get me to rewire a motorcycle. When asked, I pointed out that I know *nothing* of motorcycles, I don't even know how to ride one. He managed to convince me that hey, it was just wiring, like in anything else... Yeah - never again. That was a royal PITA. Trying to get all those wires threaded through the chassis, secured so they won't catch on anything, all joints weatherproofed, etc. Ugh. And yeah, he never calls me or wants to do anything... unless something of his is broken. Don't hear from him for months, then "Hey, my TV won't turn on"... yes, really. (Bad capacitors on the LV power supply, yes, I fixed it, no, I don't know why). -Ian
  7. My reputation precedes me frequently too. I'm not only into retro games, I also collect old computers. More than once I've had random co-workers approach me offering old hardware... Other problem - I also *fix* things. So that reputation seems to precede me more often than not, being asked by random people to repair game consoles, computers, televisions, arcade games, etc. Usually I enjoy fixing things, but it does get a little old. Some people just want to be friends long enough for me to fix their stuff, and that's very annoying. -Ian
  8. Title says it all - looking for Bally Astrocade cartridges, controllers, parts, and consoles (even broken ones). Thanks! -Ian
  9. What he means by "DIY" is that he's providing the schematics and everything for you, and that's how you get a mod now that he's not selling it. Many years ago, when he first came out with the mod, he also provided the schematics - and I just built my own from scratch (too lazy to wait for boards in the mail, etc). It's not a complicated circuit, the only annoying thing is that one of the components is only available as a surface mount 8 pin package, so some experience soldering itty bitty stuff is recommended -Ian
  10. 5.18v from the regulator is too high, really. It should be right on the money, it's a fixed linear regulator. Now, the chips in the Atari should still work at that voltage, but it still points to a problem. Also, check the solder joints at the clock crystal - if it breaks free, the CPU won't run, and neither will the TIA. You have tried both channels, right? The switch on the back can set it to channel 2 or 3, and sometimes it breaks, and the thing still outputs on channel 2 when it's set to channel 3, etc. -Ian
  11. The bottom chip is the TIA. There are three main chips in the Atari - the RIOT, the CPU, and the TIA (top to bottom). The RIOT contains the system RAM, the interface for the joysticks, and the system timer. The CPU is the main processor, and the TIA handles the graphics. Your problem is one of those annoying ones that's hard to diagnose without a working Atari to swap chips with - the black screen means that something is seriously not right. It could be a dead CPU, or it could be a dead TIA, etc. Normally, you should be able to turn on the Atari with no cartridge and get "humming bars" - vertical colored lines and an annoying tone, that's different every time. Is one of the chips getting abnormally hot? Feel them with your fingers, right in the center while it's on. One chip getting super hot will be a dead giveaway. -Ian
  12. This isn't a simple "adapter" that you are looking for. A VGA monitor signal is fundementally very, very different from a TV signal - and for good reason. If you are looking for a simple, passive components sort of adapter, you CAN actually do it. But... you won't get color, and you need special software to trick the video card into outputting a signal at a low resolution and a low sync frequency that the TV can actually display. There are numerous standalone converter boxes that can do the conversion for you, and give you color, and require no software. But they're pretty expensive, because they are complicated devices. The cheapest solution is to just get yourself a video card that can output composite video. For a few bucks, you can get an older GeForce card with TV-out. They work quite well. But no matter what kind of adapter/video card you have, you're going to be limited to 640x480, or some weird interpolated higher resolution that will come out blurry. A TV set just plain can't display high resolution anything, unless it's HD, in which case, it would already have VGA or HDMI input that you could connect to. -Ian
  13. You probably blew up more than the 7805. IIRC, the original Famicom uses DC, not AC (like the NES), and the Atari 810 used AC as well. You likely toasted the filter caps/etc in the power regulator circuit. Are you getting 5v output from the 7805? -Ian
  14. Should not be hard to repair. Simply desolder and remove the old socket, and replace it. Clean the legs of the TIA to remove the corrosion, and plug it into the new socket. -Ian
  15. If you're referring to the liberal sprinkling of ceramic capacitors - then no. It's pointless to replace them unless they are faulty/smashed. They'e very reliable, and in this application, they're only used to filter noise from the circuits. Value is not particularly important. Mounting ceramics above the board is standard practice, if you were to mash them all the way down to the board, every one of them would be cracked. The cracks are undesireable because they can allow moisture from the air to contaminate the inside of the cap... but once again, in this application, it doesn't really matter. -Ian
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