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Paul Westphal

XEGS Observations / Comments / Questions

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I just got my first XEGS ( $42 Ebay " untested " special ). This thing is bigger than I expected. It is currently sitting next to my 130xe without the keyboard and it is bigger. I wish it was smaller. The color pot was acting up so I sprayed it with WD40 and turned it back and forth MANY times. It took a long time but I think it stabilized where it should be now. The spring loaded buttons are a trip and are the same design as the Jaguar power button - and work well - but what's up with the easter egg colors? I couldn't get the IndusGT to load on it until I plugged in a basic cart - Must have to have a keyboard plugged in - weird. I'm gonna have to bump up the ram to meet my 130xe though ( is it hard?) Some games and demos have different colors and weird artifacting which is probably common. Right now I am using the RF and it looks ok, but are there any recommended cables I should use? In the end, I think it's quirky cool and looks great with my red MYIdeII lit up. I think I'm going to restore some more if I can find them at a cheap price. post-31298-0-15238900-1397198205_thumb.jpg

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The XEGS is interesting in that it has two ROMs which are switched somewhere at the keyboard jack. With the keyboard connected, the XEGS boots to BASIC; without it, it boots to Missile Command (as you know). As you've figured out, you can still use computer peripherals (disk, tape, etc) without the keyboard, you just need a BASIC cartridge.

As far as the Easter Candy buttons go, they're in season. :-D

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The XEGS manual says you can still boot from disk even without the keyboard, no external cartridge needed - you have to press Option during power-on to boot with internal BASIC being disabled, or Select to boot with BASIC being enabled.

Edited by Kr0tki
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Ultimate 1 Meg is one Ram upgrade option. XEGS doesn't have the EMMU or space for it, so homebrew upgrades aren't so easy as per later 65XE.

Possibly Lotharek has another cheaper modern day upgrade - XEGS isn't really the most popular or easy machine to add lots of stuff to.

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I like the XEGS. It's one of the less expensive models, still fairly easy to acquire, and is the easiest to get into for those who are only interested in playing the games. The pastel buttons don't especially bother me; the only thing about it that I would change is the placement of the keyboard and controller ports, both of which are at an odd angle and somewhat inconvenient. Front-mounted controller ports, like those of the 400/800, might have been better. The inside is roomy enough for simple upgrades (I have a homemade internal MyIDE in mine), but most games don't need any more than the stock 64K of RAM. Unlike the earlier models, the A/V output uses standard composite connectors, so you don't even need a special cable; just get a yellow/white RCA cable and plug right into your TV.

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Just a note here for those who wish to restore old Atari computers...

 

DO NOT EVER USE WD 40 ON THOSE SYSTEMS....WD40 will discolor any plastic it comes in contact with and over time gets gummy and will collect dust...and make it into sandpaper...instead use electrical contact cleaner if you need to clean and free up pots..best thing about electrical contact cleaner is that it evaporates and leaves no residue. Look for the one that is "green" friendly..that has no harsh chemicals in it.

 

Just a thought for all you collectors out there.

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Thanks for the tip. I will have to get some green contact cleaner. I have noticed that there is a 'pop' when sound channel 1 engages. Will using the composite cable help this? I will get some good long cables today and hopefully win my bid of $24 for a keyboard. I like the xegs so much I bid on another one.

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I've found on much of my old gear, the RF port gets corrosion and crap resulting in poorer than expected signal.

 

Use the RCA on the XEGS, no reason not to. The cables come with like everything and cost maybe a few bucks, I've got so many spares when I get something new I just leave them in the box.

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Hello guys

 

I found my XEGS easier to expend (by 1MB) then my other computers. Read all about it here. There's no kit and no guarantee that it works on yours. Here's a bigger version of the schematic. (OK, found a description, but it's neither checked nor complete AFAIK)

 

If I'll ever pick up the project again, I'll replace the DRAMs with SRAMs.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Completely useless response from me, but i want to let you know that I am a huge fan of the xegs. It's one of my favorite atari computers and those colors are absolutely cool.

 

My 5 year old daughter agrees with me :) yes we have spent some time together with the xegs and it was so much fun.

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Main gripe is utter lack of PBI port.

I'm pretty sure all the signals are available but no actual port.

 

For the rest I agree that the keyboard/joystick ports weird angles are .... meh ... also what's up with that short cord for the keyboard.

 

 

I don't think the consolization really works, quite a few games work without keyboard but modern solutions to load them not so much.

Booting ATR from U1MB + Side2 requires keyboard ..... so it is really a computer with a corded keyboard [at which point the compact design of its sibling is likely better].

 

Your mileage may vary but in the end I don't recollect modern times in which I didn't plug the keyboard. One thing or another it's always better to have a keyboard available (be it soft reset of U1MB, or loading ATRs or needing to use a different memory scheme [rare but...]).

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Hello phoenixdownita

 

MPD (math pack disable) is missing.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Edited by Mathy

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I'd love to see many more disk-based (and tape-based) games reworked to run from XE-style bankswitched cartridges. That was one of the wonderful new developments that came with the release of the XEGS: games that required the capacity of the floppy disk when they were first released (such as Lode Runner) were re-issued by Atari in cartridge format, because by 1987, bankswitched ROMs had become large enough. Nowadays, many more games could be converted in the same way, even games that spanned several disks. I plan to try my hand at a few conversions myself, because it seems like a cleaner solution than a modified OS and an IDE interface that tries to masquerade as a floppy drive.

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I'd love to see many more disk-based (and tape-based) games reworked to run from XE-style bankswitched cartridges. That was one of the wonderful new developments that came with the release of the XEGS: games that required the capacity of the floppy disk when they were first released (such as Lode Runner) were re-issued by Atari in cartridge format, because by 1987, bankswitched ROMs had become large enough. Nowadays, many more games could be converted in the same way, even games that spanned several disks. I plan to try my hand at a few conversions myself, because it seems like a cleaner solution than a modified OS and an IDE interface that tries to masquerade as a floppy drive.

 

A lot of disk based games, including multi-disk games, have been made to work from Atarimax carts, as well as to Megacart and Switchable XEGS format.

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I like the xegs so much I bid on another one.

And so it begins.

 

Those funny colored buttons are actually tribbles.

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I just got my first XEGS ( $42 Ebay " untested " special ). This thing is bigger than I expected. It is currently sitting next to my 130xe without the keyboard and it is bigger. I wish it was smaller. The color pot was acting up so I sprayed it with WD40 and turned it back and forth MANY times. It took a long time but I think it stabilized where it should be now. The spring loaded buttons are a trip and are the same design as the Jaguar power button - and work well - but what's up with the easter egg colors? I couldn't get the IndusGT to load on it until I plugged in a basic cart - Must have to have a keyboard plugged in - weird. I'm gonna have to bump up the ram to meet my 130xe though ( is it hard?) Some games and demos have different colors and weird artifacting which is probably common. Right now I am using the RF and it looks ok, but are there any recommended cables I should use? In the end, I think it's quirky cool and looks great with my red MYIdeII lit up. I think I'm going to restore some more if I can find them at a cheap price. XEGS1.JPG

Theres a guy on ebay from canada that makes excellent monitor to svid cables.

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The XEGS was a good idea... If only Atari had made it more futuristic-looking (which is funny since it was based on 8 year old technology.)

 

Man, I need to dig out mine and play some games!

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Main gripe is utter lack of PBI port.

I'm pretty sure all the signals are available but no actual port.

 

No Signals at all either. No ECI or PBI signaling are available. AFAIK, it's in the MMU, the XEGS uses a different MMU than the rest of the XE line, and doesn't have the PCI circuitry. I've looked into swapping it out for an XE version, but it would take a *lot* of soldiering, hackery, and butchery.

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The signals are all there but adding the port would be more trouble than it's worth.

 

The MMU is unique because it's the only machine that uses a single 32K ROM, plus has the Basic/game option for $A000.

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Hello Rybags

 

 

The signals are all there

 

 

No, MPD is missing.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Edited by Mathy

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Every time I look at my keyboardless XEGS, I think of how we need (a) some sort of simple SIO networking so I can (b) stick in a SIDE cartridge and use it as a server and therefore need © some sort of Atari VNC sotware...

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The color pot seems to have stabilized (blue may be green at first but goes blue), but that weird pop when voice #1 starts is there, and the sound is muffled compared to my 130xe with Best's monitor cable. But for $42, it works, and Mario Bros. looks great in it. I know the XE carts are cheap compared to the originals, but the grey case / blue label combo is pretty sweet. It's nice to know you can get a new motherboard for them for $50. I will keep running it until I'm sure the bugs are out of the color pot, then go back to my 130xe.

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Every time I look at my keyboardless XEGS, I think of how we need (a) some sort of simple SIO networking so I can (b) stick in a SIDE cartridge and use it as a server and therefore need © some sort of Atari VNC sotware...

Possibly a SIO2PC type system could be devised. With minimal hardware (just a cable) an Atari could act as a SIO2PC host.

With some sort of switching/multiplexing, it could act as a hub to multiple clients.

My line of thinking there is something like connect the COMMAND line of each client to a joystick port, then have some sort of multiplexing arrangement where the data in/out can be routed to one of several destinations.

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