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About SIO99

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    Chopper Commander

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    London, UK
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  1. The internal diagnostic memory checks seem to have passed every time. The results are the same as on my 65XE. One thing I don't understand is that this is represented by two lines of 16 squares, followed by a line of 8 squares. If a RAM chip became faulty, then how would I identify it? I read something about piggy backing RAM, but I'm not sure I understand this. One change is that, instead of the screen just flashing red, it now stays red for much longer. I've stopped using the 800XL for the moment and will now open up the case, examine it, post and take pics in the hope that there's some sign what's wrong. BTW, as for my electronics skills at the moment, I've just managed to work out how to take readings which tell me the values of resistors, because the colour codes are difficult to read. I'm trying to build a dimmer switch circuit on a breadboard. This means I couldn't do any more complicated repairs to the 800XL.
  2. Something's happened today which may shed more light on the problems. A few times, the Atari 800XL has powered up with a dark green screen instead of dark blue. Once it changed from green to the usual dark blue all by itself and another time when I pressed RESET it rebooted with the usual dark blue screen. I also got a weird effect while playing the game Mr. M, which is in the Homesoft ATR disk collection. This was that when the player character was going up the screen, it left a trail behind it, which was later erased by going down the screen along this trail. It even happened on the title screen before I pressed the fire button to start. What could cause this? BTW, the inverse key now seems to be working OK. I hope to open up the 800XL soon, take some pics and post them on here.
  3. Does anyone know when Silica Shop closed down? I've just done a search and couldn't find a date. I think it was in the early to mid 1990s. I feel I must point out that Silica Shop was in London Borough of Bexley, not Kent, although the Postcode system has never been updated. I should know, because I lived in that area! As for the lack of pics, I've been thinking about three kinds of technology in two stories. I read a story in a magazine such as "Tales to Astonish", "Astounding Stories", or "Creepy Worlds" where a man bought an old camera, set the lens to 2.0 but found the pictures he got didn't look like what he thought he'd taken. He found out that the number was actually 20 and he'd taken a picture of what was there 20 years previously. He later managed to take pics of himself as a boy and even managed to travel back in time by superimposing a recent picture of himself onto the picture of 20 years before. That's a bit far fetched, though. Something similar also happened in an early episode of Red Dwarf. I also saw something similar done in the series "Continuum", but they were only going back to the night before. I'm looking forward to machines which can produce pictures from brainwaves of memories. Silica Shop was near the corner of Hatherley Road and the High Street. I've actually found a pic of the opposite corner of Hatherley Road dated 1982, when I think Silica Shop was there. So near, but so far! I now plan to try and do some artwork showing what Silica Shop was like. Look forward to that!
  4. I haven't got any pics, but I remember it well. I grew up in that area and often walked past the shop, even before first going in. I remember requesting and hearing a demo of the Atari 800XL sound facilities and I know there was lots of Atari 8 bit related stuff in the shop, such as copies of Antic magazine on the shelves. I never noticed anything about warez going on. They also sold various other computers, including the Acorn Electron, probably all the popular ones, and some that hardly anyone else sold. I bought various items from there, as well as trying out computers, but they didn't like you to try or test them out for too long. I remember typing a few listings into an Amstrad CPC464, before an assistant claimed to have "accidentally" turned it off by pressing the monitor switch while standing behind the computer! I'd be surprised if there wasn't an article about it somewhere. The local paper was called The Sidcup Times, and the free distribution paper was The News Shopper, so they may have published something about it. I remember seeing a Silica Shop ad in a local paper advertising the Spectravideo 328 in 1984 or later. It said that the Spectravideo 328 was "fairly new to the UK" and that any buyers could join their Spectravideo users' or owners' club. I was upset by this, because that computer had been made obsolete by the MSX standard, which had also been adopted by Spectravideo. If there are absolutely no photos available, I could try doing some artwork showing what it was like.
  5. Thanks for your suggestions! I haven't opened the case and I've never checked under an Atari metal shield before. I'll try this in the near future.
  6. I'm trying to prevent it from going bang in the first place. After a few months, I've now got an A8 computer with a SELECT key that works, so I can play Star Raiders, and Realsports Football (in regulation time). It's also a computer which was nearly my first computer, but my 65XE wasn't.
  7. There are custom made replacement power supplies now on eBay, such as http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/330883848120?_trksid=p5197.c0.m619 and http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/330882589411?ssPageName=STRK:MESINDXX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1436.l2649 (both by the same seller). One possible fault is some of the RAM chips, which are the same type as used by some other computers, so these may be easier to replace than the Atari custom chips. The type of chips are 4164 or 41256. More details in the topic http://www.atariage.com/forums/topic/186470-atari-800xl-memory-faulty/ .
  8. Today I had a delivery of an Atari 800XL from eBay. I got it for a really low price because it was described as "For parts or not working" and "No cables, so sold as spares". I plugged in the power supply I already had, which may have come from another 800XL, and it worked first time, booting up to the BASIC Ready prompt. I carried out various tests, including the self diagnostic (which seemed to pass on all counts), plugged in a game cartridge and ran it, as well as connecting my SIO2SD unit, booting from there and running various software from ATR files, including BASIC programs I'd written myself. Some potential problems I noticed are as follows. The on/off rocker switch feels very stiff compared to my 65XE, so I have to press a lot harder to turn it on. The screen sometimes flashes red, but then quickly clears and boots up. The Atari/inverse video key doesn't work all the time, but that's obviously not as serious as the other two faults. I see that someone has uploaded an 800XL service manual, but obviously there will be a lot in it and it may be too technical for me. I hope someone on here can advise me about the potential problems above.
  9. I should remind you all that I usually use an Atari 65XE with an SIO MicroSD device. I haven't used an A8 emulator for several months now, but I may use one soon, because not all the programs from the Homesoft collection are compatible with it. In particular, there are "Turbovision" or "Turboversion" ATR files with a rainbow background which cause the 65XE to lock up. I'm still thinking about buying an Atari 800XL as well.
  10. I've met some Slovak women who I thought were amazing, as well as some Czech women, but I haven't met any Slovenian women, so I don't know what to think.
  11. Oh dear! I can't edit my last message, but I've just read a previous message by Gury that says the quiz is in Slovenian, not Slovakian. This could change everything.
  12. I can't believe that TMR has forgotten how to use his favourite command POKE! I've used POKE 82 various times since buying an Atari 65XE last May. Anyway, so far I've run all the games from that menu disk ATR file, but I haven't yet seen the listings themselves, because the BREAK key had no effect. I hope to read the listings soon on an emulator, or by compiling all the BASIC programs into an ATR file with no boot loader menu. I couldn't really play "Keep on Koastin' " and had problems running the skiing game, but eventually managed it. I loved the Slovakian quiz program and have been getting high scores on it. If I can do it, then that proves anyone can do it! I think that Gury should write some more detailed learn Slovakian programs. I hope to meet up with some more Slovakian women after learning the vocabulary.
  13. I've downloaded and run the games which came as ATR files, but I don't know what to do with the games which came as BAS files. I mean I need a program to compile them onto an ATR. I read something about this in the past, but now I don't know where it is. Can someone post a link to a converter program?
  14. Thanks, this certainly explains me a lot! As you've guessed, I've got the XC12 data recorder. It looks like I'm going to be doing quite a bit of writing and typing to copy my programs from cassette to SD card! Obviously, Atari knew what they were doing when they put 2 SIO connectors on the 1010 data recorder. Jack Tramiel has got more to answer for than I thought! I wonder how much money per XC12 this saved him? I can only imagine how many Atari XE buyers this has frustrated in the past. I've got lots of short BASIC programs I typed in and saved, some from listings and others I made up myself. I was working on a game which is a few K long, so that's the one which will give me the most trouble. I could cut out some of the work by getting an Atari compatible printer. Perhaps I could use an SIO2PC cable to transfer these BASIC programs to a PC, but that would also involve disconnecting the XC12 and connecting an SIO2PC cable with the 65XE powered on, which may cause damage. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
  15. I've now got my SIO2SD Micro device doing just about everything I want it to! Unfortunately, I never owned an A8 before May this year, so I didn't understand any version of Atari DOS. After some time only running the Homesoft games compilations, I've finally got various versions of DOS up and running! To do this, you get dropped at the BASIC Ready prompt, then type DOS. Unfortunately, it seems these are all third party DOS systems, though. On Sunday, December 23, I finally wrote some DOS files to a blank disk ATR file, then managed to write a short BASIC print loop to write my name all over the screen, then I managed to save it to disk with SAVE "D1:filename.BAS". I don't know if or how I can transfer any BASIC programs I saved to cassette onto this device, though. If I loaded a program, then unplugged the tape drive and plugged in the SIO2SD, then I think this would either damage the device or just not be recognised. Pressing RESET usually doesn't delete a BASIC program from RAM, but I think that the SIO2SD TURBO bootloader would delete the program. I don*t know how to install the SIO2SD internally. Unfortunately, the files come up in the order I saved them to the SD card, not in alphabetical order. I also still wonder what the ESC and SHIFT keys are for.
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