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bfollowell

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Everything posted by bfollowell

  1. Yeah, I'm not necessarily worried about having the "protection" of the interlock, but more concerned about having a unit that's as complete as I can get it. Even when I get a plunger, I'll probably still defeat the switch so I can open the door without the 400 powering down. I just want the unit complete. I'm planning to order an interlock plunger from Brad at Best tomorrow, as well as a replacement speaker and a couple of other odds & ends. I had a 600XL that came in last fall with a partially working keyboard and it wound up having a bad CD4051, so that was an initial thought on this one as well. Thanks for your help in my keyboard matrix primer thread. Now that I'm certain how those work, it'll be fairly easy to pull the old Fluke out when I get up tomorrow afternoon and check out those troublesome keys. At least it should help me narrow it down to keyboard or not. I've downloaded some good manuals for the 400 and one, a Sears 400 repair manual of all things, listed the 3 screw sizes used, so I'll pick those up at Home Depot this weekend. Then I'll need to see if I can figure out a good way to repair that broken screw mount. Once I get that repaired and a full set of screws in it, that should help tighten things up considerably.
  2. It definitely does, and it confirms the way that I'd kind of gotten into my head that it must work. Thank you for your detailed explanation and for confirming my suspicions.
  3. I've been troubleshooting a keyboard issue with an Atari 400 I was recently gifted. I quickly realized that, as much as I've learned about our beloved 8-bit Ataris over the past few years, I know nothing whatsoever about keyboard matrices or how to test/troubleshoot a keyboard electrically. It's a matrix, not like each switch/contact has a pair of wires coming down where I can check for continuity upon a keypress. How, exactly, do you checkout a keyboard for a troublesome key, or a set of troublesome keys? I have a schematic for the 400 keyboard, but I really don't have any idea what I'm looking at or how to interpret it. Both sides of the contact seem to be common with other, but different keys. I think I have an idea in my head how it may work, but I'd much rather hear that from someone more knowledgeable. I thought about posting this in the 600/800XL Keyboard variants thread, but that's for a different machine's keyboards, and it's more about the different styles, not about how they work, and I hate to muddy that thread. I figure the XL and 400/800 style keyboards operate in a similar manner, even if they are different under the hood. I also figure that I can't be the only person that could find this information useful, so I'm hoping this thread will help someone in the future. So, while some specific 400 keyboard information would certainly be appreciated, I guess I'm looking for more of a general keyboard matrix primer. Thanks to anyone that can help or point me in the direction of useful links.
  4. I thought the same exact thing. I'm certain the case is brittle, so I don't want to do much, but I may break out the Dremel and the files and see if I can at least level out the hole and smooth it a little bit.
  5. I was gifted an old, 1979 Atari 400. It definitely needs a lot of work and TLC. She's pretty dirty and needs a good bath. One of the bottome case screws is missing and there were only two internal screws in place. There's some bodge wire going from the power board up through the interlock switch plunger hole in the aluminum shield preventing me from removing the shield, so I'll have to remove it first. The internal speaker is missing and one of the screw mounts inside is broken. More of the keyboard doesn't work than does. I had to fix down the interlock switch as there is no plunger any longer. It has some sort of composite video/audio mod terminating in RCA jacks mounted and soldered to the power board going through a hacked out square hole in the back where the old channel selector switch used to be. They're pretty loose and will probably go eventually in favor of one of TF_HH's Super Color CPU cards. As you can see, I have my work cut out for me this winter, but it should be fun and rewarding. I never really thought I wanted a 400, but once this one just sort of fell into my lap, I've gotten really excited about it. I was hoping to peek & poke around in Basic and find out what version of OS it has and whether it has a CTIA or a GTIA but with most of the keyboard not working, that's really not an option just yet. I guess I can check out the graphics chip visually, once I get the shield off. The keys that are working on the keyboard are: Spacebar, X through M ,./ Left & Right Shift, Ctrl S through L ; + Everything else appears completely dead. Is there a keyboard matrix legend available anywhere or is it the same as the XL machines? I haven't had any luck finding one so far. I'm assuming the 400 uses 4051s to control keyboard input as well, so I'll need to check those out as well. It could be that the keyboard itself is just fine. Anyway, wish me luck with my new project and I welcome any advice and suggestions. I've never had any experience with the 400, and my last experience with any 400/800 was my original 800 that died in 1986.
  6. Oh, I've registered and I use the that version. I didn't mean to imply that it should be there for free download for everyone, but is it really out of the question, as a paid, registered user, to expect an occasional blurb on the APE page saying, Just Out, APE version 3.0.15? You never see that though. That's what I was trying to get at. Why should registered users that paid good money for a program have to email Steve to find out if an update is available? I'm not suggesting that he email all the registered users personally and tell us that a new version is available, but would it really be that hard to post a note somewhere on his site to let us know? It's just a little strange way of doing things. That being said, it sounds like it's high time I email Steve and ask about an update of APE and ProSystem. EDIT And now I have to go back and eat my words! I went to the AtariMax site to grab Steve's email address so I could check in on the most recent version of APE/ProSystem, and what did I see? Yep, you guessed it. Right there at the bottom of the download section, Registered Users: Version 3.0.13 is Available. e-Mail for Upgrade! Has that always been there and I've just missed it?! Well, I have to eat my words now. It looks like Steve does a great job of telling us when a new version is available, assuming you actually look for it.
  7. Well, I guess that kind of proves my point. If you can't find any information on the web site, how in the world are you supposed to know about updates?! It seems really weird to expect your customers to email you every year or so to ask you if an update is available and may I get a copy? Why is it a big secret? Don't get me wrong. Steve is a great guy and a class act, no doubt, but responding to emails and getting info out about software updates are definitely two areas that could use major improvement.
  8. Well, I didn't have a whole lot of time to dig into my new 400, but enough to know it's going to need a little work. It wouldn't power on initially. It's missing the internal speaker and the lever for the interlock switch. I taped that down so I could check things out and it powered on and went to Memo Pad, so it does that much. Man! Has it ever been a long time since I've seen that screen live. I don't have any cartridges handy so, knowing I have all three revisions of Basic on my Ultimate Cart, I inserted that, thinking I'd try some Peeks & Pokes to see whether this is a CTIA machine and which version of OS it has. Unfortunately, those carts are a few directory levels deep and I needed to press the E key, which apparently doesn't work. Some keys do, a few don't. I'll have to investigate that a little further later. Even if I'd been able to load a Basic cart image, I still can't type Peek or Poke without an E, so that avenue is kind of dead to me for now. I thought about removing the shield, but there's a wire running up from the main board, through the interlock switch hole, and connecting to the power board, so I can't take the cover off without first removing that, and I really don't have the time to play with it today. Also, those audio/video connections soldered onto the back are pretty loose, so I'm certain I'm going to want to remove the original composite mod and turn to a Super Color CPU Card eventually. Oh, and I almost forgot. It only has about 1/4 of the original screws and one of the standoffs/screw mounts inside the case is broken, so everything is really loose and floppy. Anyway, 400 keyboards are bound to be getting more and more rare, so even if there's nothing major wrong with this one, I think I'm still going to go ahead and order a replacement. If nothing else, it'll be good to have a backup. I need to order a complete interlock switch assembly and an internal speaker as well, so it looks like I'll be calling Brad at Best Electronics soon. Anyway, after I get things going a little better, I'll post back with details.
  9. MT RAM is definitely used in a lot more machines than just a 65XE. I think it was used a lot in all XL/XE machines. I have at least one 800XL with MT RAM.
  10. Is there no one selling these in the U.S.? I know Marlin sells Ultimate Carts through his Brewing Academy. I thought that Gavin was selling AVG Cart through his Vintage Computer Center, but I can't seem to find them on his site. I could've sworn there was someone selling them on this side of the pond, but now that I look, I can't seem to find them anywhere.
  11. I’m pretty sure they’ve both been out for a while now.
  12. Here's some more pictures of my 400, including the imprint. It looks like it says 9 49 6845. Depending on how the composite mod looks, I may remove that and put in a Super Color CPU Card. That is a pretty non-invasive, easy to remove upgrade. The same goes for TF_HH's 48/52K RAM Card if it still only has 16k. Both of those are easy ways to upgrade it, but still leaving it easy to get back to stock if I wish. She definitely needs a good and thorough cleaning and I may try to find something to patch that whole in front of the spacebar, so that it's not quite so noticeable.
  13. Thanks for the info! That’s cool to have such an early machine! I really can’t tell you much about it yet. I plan to clean and restore it as much as I can over the winter, but won’t have a chance to do much with it for at least a couple of weeks. It didn’t come with a power supply. I know I could use one from my 1050, but it’s packed away at the moment and I don’t feel like digging for it just now. I ordered an original 400/800 PSU that should be here Monday. I’ll test out the basics after that arrives. I’ll let you guys know what I find out.
  14. Well, mine wound up being a different 400, so the person that gifted me mine must have another one from the one he posted here earlier. It's pretty dirty and has a fairly small hole, possibly drilled, but I think it's chipped, at the very edge of the top case and the keyboard, under the spacebar about at the lower left corner of the M key. Oh, and the hatchet job for a composite video/audio mod in the back of the case. I have an authentic power supply coming Monday and then she just needs a good, deep cleaning. My new 400's serial number is hand-written, 9496845 and I guess the WW012/018 is what you guys are calling the date code. Is there anyone here that can help me interpret it? Thanks guys!
  15. Better yet, just use the link tool and make the text say crazy auction.
  16. I wanted to keep mine as close to stock as I could, so I soldered my socket on top of the CD4050 and only removed the channel switch, but not the modulator. That way the RF modulator still works, albeit only on one channel; 3 I think. It's really only an academic consideration, not a practical one, as I can't imagine I'll ever really use it again.
  17. I just pull mine from the monitor port. Of course, I removed the channel selector switch and added the monitor port when I upgraded the video with a UAV. There were only a couple of wires I had to solder. I can't recall if audio was being pulled from somewhere else on the board, or if it was just coming from the monitor port traces/pads that are still on the motherboard underneath the channel selector switch. You do realize that everything for the monitor port, except for the actual monitor port; traces, pads, everything, are actually still on the NTSC 600XL motherboard, underneath the channel selector switch, right? I'll try to check my documentation later and confirm. EDIT: I found this. Hopefully, Marlin won't mind me posting it here for your reference. If you don't like that spot for some reason, I guess you could follow that trace back to another spot or component further back and patch it in there.
  18. I missed that last comment. Is it OK to have both? Sure, but to be completely honest, it's a complete waste of money. The AVG cart can do everything that the Ultimate Cart can do, and much more. There is absolutely nothing that the Ultimate Cart can do that the AVG Cart can't. And this is coming from a proud Ultimate Cart owner. I love mine. When I bought it almost three years ago, it was, hands down, the best multi-cart out there. It emulated more cartridge types than any other multi-cart and was much better in that respect than the AVG Cart, which came out a year or so after I bought my UC. Step forward 2+ years though and there has been almost zero development or improvement with the UC and almost non-stop development with the AVG Cart. It has by far surpassed the Ultimate Cart in terms of features and the number of cartridge types that it will emulate. My UC still does exactly what I need to it to do, and with @flashjazzcat's menu system, I love it, but if I were going to buy a multi-cart anytime from about a year ago on, there's no way I would've considered anything other than the AVG Cart. It's cheaper to boot. In my opinion, the only thing the UC has over the AVG is a much nicer, better looking menu system, but that's more aesthetics than actual function.
  19. I'm pretty sure The Ultimate Cart will run rom files, but I'm not sure about the AVG Cart. Either way, it isn't a good idea to run rom files anyway. Even if it works, the cart is making it's best guess as to what cartridge type the rom file is, and it may not always guess correctly. A car file is just a rom file with a few extra byte header telling the multi-cart/emulator/whatever, what type of cartridge the rom file is from and how to use it. There are plenty of places to download proper car versions of pretty much every 8-bit cart ever made. You can also easily make them yourself from your rom files using a simple html tool. You select what cartridge type the rom file is from a list and then it adds the correct header information and saves is as a car file. I'd have to look for that utility to tell you where to get it, as I don't recall now where I got it. Honestly though, your best bet is to just download Mr Robots Cartridge Collection from here. There may be a few rom files in there, but if there are, there are very few. Almost all of these are proper car files, and that's really what you should be using with an Ultimate Cart or an AVG Cart. As far as converting atr or cas files to xex, I'm not sure. I think it can be done, but I'm not sure how. I'm fairly certain you can't make a rom or car file out of them because they didn't come from a cartridge. I've seen some pretty wild things on here though, so I could be wrong about that. Good luck Ray.
  20. Luckily, they look like a pretty easy card to put together. Of course, anything seems easy after assembling a 1088XEL or XLD motherboard! I look forward to watching the progress.
  21. Beautiful machine. I hope to get mine cleaned up and looking this good, other than the hacked up hole in the back of the case, of course. I thought I'd heard rumors of a 400 Incognito under development, and I've been Googling for info, but haven't had a lot of luck. I checked Lotharek's site too, thinking that would be the logical place to find info but, unless I missed it, there isn't anything there either. I did see a page for Incognito 2 under development, but there was no info at all, so I'm not sure if that's it or not. Do you have any links for info on the 400 Incognito, or is there just no info out there yet, other than the fact that it's development was announced? Thanks.
  22. I'll have to keep that in mind. I'm sure there are far more games than I remember that use artifacting, but I don't recall seeing it all that much in the games I typically played. Also, I don't use CRT monitors or TVs, so it's kind of a moot point either way.
  23. It's not from ebay, and I didn't buy it, but I'll be receiving an Atari 400 this weekend. I never even thought I wanted one, but this one was gifted to me completely free. I didn't even pay for shipping. Now that it's on the way, I'm super excited about it. I was told that it works, and from the looks of the hatchet job on the back of the case, it looks to be composite video/audio modded. I'll probably clean it up really well and replace the composite mod with a Super Color CPU Card and install a 48/52K RAM Card and that'll probably be it.
  24. I have a 400 coming that should be delivered Saturday afternoon or Monday. I hadn't really thought that I wanted one, but then this one just sort of fell into my lap, and now that it has, I'm super excited about it. I just made a stray comment on a thread about not being able to pickup a free one because it was too far away and a super-nice fellow AA member just offered to send me one. How could I refuse? My first computer was an 800 and I moved on to an 800XL in college, which I still have, but I only ever ran across one 400 out in the wild. A high school friend had one. I love the look of the keyboard and that retro-70s-futuristic look it has. It looks sort of like something you'd see on a base in the Aliens universe. I'm excited to get it and add its serial number to the growing list here. The fellow AA member who gave it to me sent me some pictures. I'm pretty sure he said that it worked well, but that it was just in OK shape and he thought it was composite modded. From the pictures, the keyboard looks to be in pretty good shape. All in all, it's just a little dirty. It needs a really good deep cleaning and hopefully not a whole lot more. The rear picture did show two RCA jacks showing through a square hole in the back of the case. It looks like someone enlarged the original RF cable hole for their composite mod. I'm assuming the second RCA jack is an audio output. It's not the best case mod I've seen, but I guess it could've been a lot worse and, luckily, it's on the rear. If it's working well, I'll probably just clean it up really well and possibly install @tf_hh's Super Color CPU Card and 48/52k RAM Card. EDIT: Actually, when I look back through this thread, I see that the member I'm getting it from already added one about three years ago. I'm assuming it is the same one I'm getting, but maybe not. Thanks again @adamchevy!
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