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ckrtech

8-bit Atari Haul - Atari 800(48k), 1200XL with Oddities

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Hey all -

 

I had a great opportunity to pick up some Atari 8-bit stuff last weekend for really cheap at a convention. I scored an Atari 800 (48k) with what appears to be the original shipping box (including foam inserts for the side of the machine), a 1200XL that seems to be heavily modified, and external keyboard for the 1200XL (keep reading...), 5 floppy disk drives (goodness), a sealed Donkey Kong, and a few other odds and ends. I was lucky to get all of this, and my only experience with 8-bit Atari computers was with games via the XEGS about a decade ago. I happily dug out Centipede, Megamania, and some others to fire up the 800. Gorgeous. That system has been cleaned and is waiting reassembly after everything is dry.

 

Now then - this 1200XL. Several things about this guy. First of all, there is a DB-25 port on the front left side to connect an external keyboard. The bottom of the machine denotes the following mods in Sharpie - "FEHR Video Mod+" and "320k Mod - Lawless."

 

Included was what looks to be a homemade external keyboard of sorts. It is a rather industrial-looking keyboard from somewhere (where?) that has been screwed into the bottom shell of a 600XL. It is so...weird. I chatted a lot with the seller about various things, but I didn't ask about the keyboard. Now I am intrigued. The 6 key is taped on with that green tape.

 

The post-it on the 1200XL states "External keyboard does not work. video issues"

 

I have been around the block many times with soldering, modding, etc., with numerous gaming systems. I have no experience or knowledge of what is out there as far as Atari 8-bit computer mods. So I look forward to cracking this 1200XL and keyboard open to see what the heck is going on. I plan to do it as soon as I get the 800 put back together and off the workbench.

 

Can you guys offer any knowledge or opinions on this stuff - Where does that keyboard come from? What are your thoughts on the 1200XL mods that were mentioned? Apparently the video mod is having issues - so I have to either fix it or reverse it/change it for another mod. I know the built-in keyboard for the 1200XL tends to have issues, but I would prefer to just fix it (I saw a method for that in one of the threads here) than mess with this external thing - nevertheless, it sure it weird/interesting.

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That's one weird looking 1200, can't imagine why he wanted to add a PC style KB to the 1200, I'd bet its because there's a click feedback from the switch ie a micro switch rather than the old membrane. If he's like me he loves the sound of them and it plays right in to the TRON type keyboard noises.....Well that's what I like, he could have done it for a reason other than that.

 

The 320K mod I would be sure is a memory upgrade, the video mod...Pass

 

Looks like it was attacked by a mad scientist :)

 

But very interesting bit of kit and unique, congrats..

 

Paul...

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The external keyboard looks like a 1200XL keyboard mounted in a 600XL case. Probably wired point-to-point into the 1200XL.

 

Both keyboards will need to be re-built at some point. Use the replacement mylar from Best - there should be a thread on it somewhere around here. You can replace the broken key stem at the same time.

 

Bob

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Oh hey I saw that at PRGE last weekend. Almost considered buying it but it probably wouldn't have fit in my suitcase so I passed. I remember rebuilding the keyboard on the 1200XL I had years ago but I don't quite remember how I did it. Pretty sure it involved white-out and tape though.

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Thanks for the replies, guys. The 800 is put back together and working. Looks like I will be diving into the 1200XL/keyboard next.

 

Hope you had fun at PRGE, ApolloBoy. Maybe I will see you there next year! White-out and tape? Nice.

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