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Found 2 results

  1. At the end of the last post I briefly mentioned you could create a Luma only cable and s-video for the Atari 8-bits. This works on any 8-bit where the Chroma & Luma are split out in the 5-pin DIN connector for the video & audio. There are some 8-bits that Atari elected NOT to separate out the Luma & Chroma unfortunately; 800XL made before August 1984, 1200XL and most 600XLs. All these computers had a single pin for just the composite connection only. There are ways to modify these computers to include chroma/luma but they all require modifying the motherboard in some form or fashion so I won't go into them here. Here is the video/audio pin-out for the Atari 8-bits. To create a luma only video cable for sharp B/W 80 column video on a composite monitor: pin 1 > video composite + on monitor pin 3 > audio + on monitor pin 2 > split to composite video - & audio - on monitor what you would do is swap the luma cable for the standard color video cable when you wanted that sharp 80 column look. This works on any un-modified Atari with the luma/chroma pins set on or modified Atari with the luma/chroma fix. If you are lucky enough to still have an s-video monitor you can create an s-video cable that can give you 80 column & color. s-video pinout. Again, you will need an Atari 8-bit where the luma & chroma pins are set on. To create an S-video cable: Atari pin1 > s-video pin 3 Atari pin 5 > s-video pin 4 Atari pin 2 > s-video pins 1 & 2 sound is separate line from Atari pin 3 & 2. If it turns out the 80-column text isn't quite sharp enough just attach Atari lines 1 & 2 which be just luma, no color. Now I haven't tested the luma only cable personally but I talked to people who have and it worked for them. As always, this is just my suggestion. I am in no way responsible for any damage you may do to your Atari. (I don't see how you could harm our Atari making these cables but where there's a will there's a way). There you have it. Have fun.
  2. As it currently stands there are two ways to get that sweet 80 column text on the Atari 8-bit computers. First way is to get a hold of a XEP80 (currently rarer than hen's teeth). The XEP80 was an odd beast created by Atari that attached to the joystick port of the Atari and then attached to a monochrome monitor. This little device gave true, and very clear, monochrome 80 column text when ran with the appropriate software. Downside was you had to have two monitors to make it work properly; one attached to the XEP80 and another attached to the standard video port of the Atari. (Nice article from the atarimuseum on the XEP80) Another way is by using GRAPHICS 8 and a 4 character wide font. This may not be ‘true’ 80 column text but properly used could be very effective with caveats. It works fairly well on an unmodified Atari IF you have a B&W TV or, even better, a monochrome monitor. A color TV, LCD TV/monitor or even some composite monitors, not so good due to artifacting effect inherent to the Atari. The above screen was created on an LCD TV using the BASIC program Easy80 easy80.zip from Antic magazine. Easy 80 creates an 80 column text for BASIC programs using GRAPHICS 8. Note the color bleeding of the artifacting. Readable, but not that great. On old style color CRT TVs the bleeding effect could be even worse. One way to clean up the artifacting effect is purchase a video board like the Sophia or VBXE. These boards produce sharp VGA screens but must be installed inside the Atari and are a bit expensive. You could also use a S-video cable with your XE or properly modified XL. S-video creates a sharper image than just the standard Atari composite but finding a new TV/monitor that still supports S-video is getting extremely rare. But you can still find S-video cables for the Atari throughout the internet for sale. If you have a XE or XL modified for S-video and an S-video TV i would recommend getting one of these cables as it is a bit sharper than composite only and can support 80-column. Or you could go the way I did. Little background. The US 600XL only comes with an RF connection. It’s a good RF video signal, as RF signals go, but it’s still RF with all the inherent problems of interference and just plan poor video quality. So after looking around at all the options that I could afford, I choose the UAV board to replace the RF. (Here is my post on installing the UAV.) While installing my new UAV chip in my 600XL I once forgot to hook up the color line and what I got was very clear mono B&W. Below, The line is supposed to be connected to the screw connector at the top to supply the color signal to the UAV. Not attached gives a B/W screen and if you are still in the process of installing the UAV and didn’t notice the disconnected line can scare the bajibious out of you. Well if you read over my post on installing the UAV you’ll see it got installed OK and all was right with the world. But that got me thinking, what would using the above Easy80 column look like if I disconnected that line. Would it clear up the screen and show a sharp Atari 4 pixel wide font 80 column text in all it’s glory? Well, yes. What I had stumbled upon was Luma only display, a well worn technique used by Atarians since, forever. Screen graphics with intensity only data and no color data. Perfect for 80 column text! IDEA! What if I put a switch on the back of the computer to turn off color line when I wanted sharp 80 column text. Inside modification where I bypass the line to a switch. The switch is on the right where the channel select switch once was. Down is color and up is B/W. Works well with my composite connection on my LCD TV (see other UAV install post why I settled on composite.) Now I’ve been told you can do the same thing by creating a Luma cable for the XL and XE. What you do is create a cable using pin 2 (ground) with pin 3 (sound) for sound and pin 4 (luma) with ground to video. Don't use the composite or chorma lines. I’ve tested this with ‘THE LAST WORD’ word processor which is an 80 column word processor and it looks great but it doesn’t work with Atari Writer 80 as that requires an XEP80 to work. So there you have it, simple 80 column for the Atari. easy80.zip
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