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Atari 800XL Time Capsule: Rambo XL

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Recently I brought "the one that started it all" out of storage: the 800XL my dad bought for our family as a Christmas gift when I was 6. I wanted to clean up the video and add chroma, so I opened the case for the first time in probably almost 30 years. I was also curious to see the Rambo XL upgrade my dad installed to increase the memory to 256K.

 

My dad was a member of the Madison (WI) Area Atari User's Group, or MAAUG. Having heard that "more memory is good," we decided to install the upgrade, which we purchased from the user's group. I think we thought that the existing programs we had would automagically run faster or better once the additional memory was in. The reality was that, years later, I dug out an old MAAUG newsletter and realized that unless you wrote your own software, had a program specifically written to take advantage of the 130XE's extra memory, or used a special DOS to set up a ramdisk, that memory was just sitting there idle. Other than using the ramdisk to save a few BASIC programs I was typing in (I was amazed at the speed), I never really used it. I'm hoping to change that now :-D

 

Upon opening the case, the upgrade in all its glory was revealed! My dad has excellent soldering skills, but he told me he was terribly afraid that he would hook it all up and find out that he had bricked the computer. Some of the MAAUG members held "soldering parties" to install the upgrade and test it out. I'm sure my dad was greatly relieved when everything worked.

 

I have attached a picture of the upgrade. Luckily we had a socketed motherboard, so soldering the pins on the PIA was easier. If I can find the newsletter that details the upgrade, I'll post that here too.

 

One other "time capsule" find. At some point a year or two after we got the computer, I had the stomach flu and threw up all over the keyboard! :_( Undaunted, my dad disassembled the computer, took out the keyboard, and washed it. It's still working today! After I opened the case, I noticed some discoloring that could only have come from this incident. :) Memories...

 

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My dad was a member of the Madison (WI) Area Atari User's Group, or MAAUG.

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Some of the MAAUG members held "soldering parties" to install the upgrade and test it out. I'm sure my dad was greatly relieved when everything worked.

I was a member of MAAUG too.

I was in the soldering workshop some evening of year 1984 (don't recall details due to age). I had a memory upgrade for my 2 Atari 800XL computers (256 and 512K).

I had no experience of soldering at all at that time. What I remember is that the workshop continued until late night. Unfortunately, I lost the name of the participates and all my Atari related hardware and (most software).

You brought good memories although might be barely remembered.

 

Madai

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@ClausB thanks for the link!

 

@Madi that's awesome! I think the 512K upgrade was called "Terminator XL." I love the 80s :) I wonder if you knew my dad through the user group? His name is Walter.

 

No newsletter yet, but my dad came for a visit and brought some treasure: a disk file full of MAAUG game and utility disks!

 

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Hope I can figure out how to convert these to ATR images with my SIO2SD.

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Wabash disks are some of the worst for reliability, so don't get your hopes up.

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