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About ACML

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  1. I joke with my wife to be thankful and that this is what a nerd's mid-life crisis looks like. After all, I could be wanting a Harley or worse. I've had two periods of Atari enthusiasm. The initial starting with my 400 in 1981 and that lasted until the early 90's. The PC had amassed enough cool things that my 8-bit couldn't and the price was affordable enough for me to ditch my Atari's and I was a full time PC guy. My stuff sat in boxes until 2004, when a cross country move was the straw that made me join eBay and sell it all. Anything that didn't boot right up, went into the landfill. Boy, that was a lot of premium hardware. Fast forward to 2010 and for some reason unknown to me, I get the bug again. Started out with emulation, bought a 1200XL and a Sdrive NUXX. Not exactly sure what happened after that, its all a blur. I now have amassed a staggering inventory, enough so, that I can't possibly justify the quantities on hand. The cycle of buy, fix, sell, see something better, repeat. This second period is about to hit 10 years. I'm content that I've quenched my thirst to acquire stuff and now its a time of reflection. I've been slowing selling off things I don't need or have too many of. I still have five mint condition 1200XLs. Again, more than I can possibly use in my lifetime, but there it is. Back to the question: I guess it's 30% nostalgia, 40% enjoyable hobby and 30% admiration to a technology and product line that had a big affect on my life. I'm convinced I would be doing somewhere else, doing God knows what, if I hadn't stumbled onto the Atari home computer in 1981. It may have been a better path or worse, I'll never know. It sure would have been different. I am very content with how it turned out, so I think it currently holds my attention because is was so influential. I'm about to turn 56 and I find myself reflecting on things in my life that made an impact. My family does not understand my hobby and I feel a bit sorry for them and only hope that they find something, whatever it is, that brings them real joy. Obviously, my family is the real source of my joy, but as a hobby, there are things that bring joy that is just icing on the cake. How long will this second wave last? I guess I'll get bored of it some day, but this time, I wont' sell the lot on eBay. I'll maintain a cooling off period before I do something like that again.
  2. Thanks. It should have been obvious since they all end in "3". What I've noticed are 3 types of PCB finishes. One is a lighter green with a shiny finish. One is a darker green with a dull finish (no shine). The third is a dark green with a shiny finish. Were they all made in the same factory, but different batches? Odd that they have different finishes with such a short production run. My hunch is that Atari had three different suppliers fabricate the main boards with the expectation of these being initial runs. Thinking they were are going to sell 100,000's (as this was supposed to be a new launch of their new flagship machine), they could then down select the best supplier?? If so, these suppliers had every incentive to ensure high quality for their first batch.
  3. I've seen 1200XL main boards with 153 Rev A, 253 Rev A, 133 Rev A stickers on them. Is the three digit prefix just a supplier number and they are all the same (Rev A) or are there differences between them? If so, is one type more preferred than others?
  4. Ah yes, I forgot there was the low wattage 9VAC supply BITD. I'm was thinking exclusively of the 31VA version of the C017945. That now makes sense. Thanks.
  5. The fuse on the 9VAC power supply blows because the 400/800 had a short and blew the fuse. The issue is not with the 9VAC power supply. I've only lost the 9VAC brick to 400 PWR boards that went bad. Are you saying the 9VAC brick goes bad on its own? Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you are implying.
  6. After reading through this thread again, I pulled out my five fully assembled 1200XLs and the three spare main boards (total of 8 examples). I wanted to, one exercise the caps and two, verify they were all still "Code 1" (USAF slang for no write ups - ready for next mission). All eight have the ClearPic 2002 modification and duel OS (800XL & Omniview) using the RF channel 3-4 switch re-purposed as the OS selector. Every one of them fires right up, passes memory test and were indeed Code 1. 37+ years and not an issue. That just blows my mind. What other tech item can you point to that has a reliability like that? Like I mentioned earlier, I've had dozens of 1200XLs come in and out and every one was just as reliable. Can't say that for the 400s and 800s I've owned. If you are an Atari aficionado, and if you're reading this, you probably are, you have to get one of these machines.
  7. I've had more 1200XLs pass my way than any other and have yet to find a bad solder joint. Yes the stock video sucks (chroma not even hooked up to monitor jack??), but we're talking about reliability here. The stock video begs for the ClearPic 2002 mod, but it is still rock solid reliable. As to everything on one board, that to me is a plus. No flexing on main board when other cards are inserted. No unnecessary ribbon cables and such. The PCB itself is of excellent quality. It has heft (stiffness and rigidity) plus durable high quality traces. There is nothing cheap about it. Again, this thing was meant to sell at $899. I've had issues with the 400 and 800. I love the beige originals, but they are not more reliable than the 1200XL. I've owned a number of 800XLs as well BITD and I can't say I had any trouble with them and I modded them a lot. I never owned an XE. The stuff I had was good quality, but the 1200XL after 35+ years is amazingly reliable.
  8. When we're referencing the XL line, there are two tiers here that are getting blended together. The Atari 1200XL is a different animal in the quality department than the 600XL and 800XL. To me, and I've had many machines through my hands, the 1200XL is hands down the best quality made Atari 8-bit. 400s seem to have issues with the PWR board and usually blow the fuse in the 9VAC brick. 800s have issues with OS board and card edge oxidation. The 1200XL has a chronic issue with the mylar, but it can be remedied easily. You don't need a new part, just fix the existing part. Aside from that, the build quality of the 1200XL is amazing. One board made of a high quality PCB, sockets and solid hefty case. The keyboard fits a computer meant to sell for $899. The 1200XL was built when the sales price was still high, so the materials chosen reflect that. The 600XL and 800XL were built to compete with the C-64. Atari quickly understood that they couldn't continue to build the 1200XL and be relevant in 1983. Atari thought so highly of the 1200XL industrial design, it was the basis for the future flagship 1400XL and 1450XLD. They look like bigger 1200XLs with same lines and keyboard.
  9. My beef with the Commodore 64 is that in the zeal to achieve market share, they forced the industry (home computers) to significantly lower their material standards and it was a race to the bottom. Don't get me wrong, the C-64 was cheap enough to be affordable to almost anyone. That in itself was a great achievement. For the price, the C-64 was an amazing value. That's why it sold 17 million units. No one could compete in the "first home computer" market when Commodore was selling a C-64 for $300. The quest for market share as two edges. It made it insanely affordable, but cheapened the hardware to a fault. For the 1980's, the intended lifespan of the C-64 was a few years and they were of sufficient quality to get you to the 90's when you bought a PC clone. Atari on the other hand started out making computer with very high reliability as evidenced by 35+ year old hardware that works like it did in 1981. I do believe commodore set out to out do the 800. Atari was crucial to me in that at the right time 1981, only the Atari 400 was affordable to me. Had there been no 400 in 1981, I would have eventually bought a computer, but much later and I do believe getting an Atari 400 in high school had some significant effect on where I went in my career. Atari had the opportunity to be the machine that sold 17 million, but Sam Tramiel got there because he knew the market and was ruthless in business. There was a lot of fun stuff just around the corner (circa 1984) that we were all waiting on (1400XL and 1450XLD). The C-64 insured these new machines we dreamed of would never happen. Yes Warner cancelled these new machines before they sold Atari to Trameil, but a different owner have brought them back?
  10. I'll have to check later, but I did notice that when the splitter is powered by the external 5 VDC adapter, the 5 VDC pin on the SIO to computer is isolated from the other four SIO powered pins (6 or 10, I forget which is 5 VDC and which is ground). Which I think is good. That way the external 5 VDC has no path back to the computer through the SIO.
  11. I purchased the dedicated 5VDC unit off Amazon for $6.99 or $11.99 for 2. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0719GY29M/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1 This one is a winner. They are 5.27 VDC without load and dropped to 5.17 VDC with a SIO2SD connected. They have a 5.5mm x 2.1 mm barrel which works fine even though Lotharek calls out a 5.0xx x 2.1mm. It's nearly impossible to find 5.0mm barrels and 5.5mm is everywhere.
  12. Thanks. I just assumed it had to be a 5.0 x 2.1, but I had a 2.5 x 5.5 and it fit. That's great news as 5.5 is very common.
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