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NEW CX-77 Atari Touch Tablets at BEST

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It was 1984 when Atari introduced us to their CX-77 Touch Tablet, which at the time was pretty amazing. Or at least I thought so ;) . And when first introduced, it could be bought as a bundled package consisting of the CX-77 touch tablet, a stylus, the Atari Artist cartridge, and a formatted DOS 2.0s 5.25" floppy system disk, all for the price of $89.95.

 

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So after stumbling across an AtariArtist.xex file the other day, I loaded it up and what I saw looked pretty cool, although I couldn't do diddly squat without the touch tablet. So being curious as to what the 1984 experience would have been like, I set off on a mission to find one of these on eBay. But every single one I came across was either pretty beat up, or in the case of one being sold as Brand New, they wanted way too much money for it in my opinion.

 

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Next I decided to do a search at BEST Electronics to see if they perhaps had a reconditioned one for a more reasonable price. My search quickly led me to a page about joysticks, paddles, light guns, and low and behold a blurb about Brad having sourced some NOS CX-77's that had been stored away in an old warehouse in Holland. Apparently he had bought every one that they had, and was offering them for sale on the BEST website. But before I got too excited, I took note of the original copyright date on his website page, which was 2002 (although it also stated: This page Last modified: January 12, 2018) LINK. The price was being advertised at $49.95, which seemed too good to be true.

 

So I contacted Brad and asked him if he still had any of these left, and if so, how much were they going for now.

 

And here was the price break-down he emailed me...

1 New Atari CX77 boxed Touch Tablet U$D 49.95

CA Sales Tax U$D 4.31
Shipping to CA 95407 U$D 7.80
-----------------
Total U$D 62.06

 

Wow I thought, that sure beats the pants off of the new one being sold on eBay :-o . So I bought one :) .

 

And here's it being un-boxed and tested.

 

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The tablet and the program work very well together, and as I used it for a bit, I was also impressed with the fact that the pen position on the tablet was relative to it's position on screen. Not having used one of these before, I had previously thought that it was going to be more like a mouse, and not really positionally accurate.

 

I really feel like this was a great deal, and well worth the money. Also it was the first time in over 30 years that I got to open a brand new sealed Atari product, which kind of took me back in time :) .

 

- Michael

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I own 2 I bought off of ebay about a year ago, sold together in the same auction for $30. nothing but the tablets and styluses. After disassembly, cleaning, and re-assembly, both work fine, except for the button on one of the stylus, but it does the same thing as the on or both buttons on the tablet anyway, so not a real big deal. But I love it. it also works with several other Atari art programs, like Rambrandt for one, but many others too. Atari Artist is a great place to start though, and then you can save it and load it into Rambrandt or another art program and add DLI's for more color that Atari Artist doesn't allow. I do the same thing with Diamond Paint and an ST mouse when I use it.

 

I actually was going to buy a new one from Best, until I caught the auction. I owned one about a decade ago too, with the AtariArtist cartridge, that one was sold in a lot when I needed money.

 

But I may break down an buy a NOS like you from Best still...

Edited by Gunstar
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You ship that Dutch property back to The Netherlands (Holland is incorrect....sorry) right now sir ! :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

 

I used one BITD but never actually owned one. It was neat. I think there might be better software to use with it....can't think of a name.....and of course there was the Koala Pad in those days :)

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Oh and I think you'll have a better "feel" when you remove that extra plastic on top. AFAIK that is only needed if you are "overdrawing" (don't know the English word) an existing drawing that you would stick under it....

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I own 2 I bought off of ebay about a year ago, sold together in the same auction for $30. nothing but the tablets and styluses. After disassembly, cleaning, and re-assembly, both work fine, except for the button on one of the stylus, but it does the same thing as the on or both buttons on the tablet anyway, so not a real big deal. But I love it. it also works with several other Atari art programs, like Rambrandt for one, but many others too. Atari Artist is a great place to start though, and then you can save it and load it into Rambrandt or another art program and add DLI's for more color that Atari Artist doesn't allow. I do the same thing with Diamond Paint and an ST mouse when I use it.

 

I actually was going to buy a new one from Best, until I caught the auction. I owned one about a decade ago too, with the AtariArtist cartridge, that one was sold in a lot when I needed money.

 

But I may break down an buy a NOS like you from Best still...

 

Wow $30 for two of them is really a great price!

 

Unlike you, this is the first digitizing device I've ever owned (not counting my Android tablets). For some odd reason I never bought one of these back in the A8 era, although I do remember seeing them, and was even thinking about getting one at the time.

 

 

You ship that Dutch property back to The Netherlands (Holland is incorrect....sorry) right now sir ! :grin: :grin: :grin: :grin:

 

I used one BITD but never actually owned one. It was neat. I think there might be better software to use with it....can't think of a name.....and of course there was the Koala Pad in those days :)

 

Opps... Netherlands it is (better tell Brad to correct that as well ;) ). You were too late, Brad bought them all and took them out of your country before someone realized their mistake :-D .

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Rcvd one in a huge lot I purchased off ebay a few months ago. Is in great shape and even came with AtariArtist cartridge.

 

Worked perfectly but the protective cover saw better days.

 

Best Electronics also sells replacement protective sleeves!! Bought one from Brad.

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I got one of these for Christmas in 1984, as I recall. I had a ball with it as an aspiring teenage computer artist. In fact, that CX-77 is the only piece of my original 8-bit hardware I've managed to hold onto over the years. I found it in a box of random stuff my Mom had put away after I moved out when she finally cleaned up the leftovers in my old bedroom. She gave me the box 25 or more years ago and I promptly forgot about it. It moved around with me from place to place until the summer of 2014 when I found it while looking for something else. Inside were 40-something of my original 5-1/4" floppy disks from BITD (maybe half of what I had at the time) and my old Touch Tablet. Alas, AtariArtist (nor any of my other 8-bit carts) was not in there with it, but I soon got an SIO2PC device and tracked down a bootable AtariArtist file. I also found a disk with some of my drawings from those days. :)

 

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I'd still like to grab an AtariArtist cart someday. A NIB CX-77 would be fun as well, but it's way down my list of collecting/restoring/building priorities.

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My two tablets came with one plastic overlay, and while it's in one piece, it's more a frosted look at this point rather than transparent. I haven't been using it, but then I haven't been using the tablet much yet either. I was planning on getting some of my own plastic sheeting and use the old overlay as a template. Below is the one I'm using and the overlay.

post-149-0-97035900-1516233791_thumb.jpg

Edited by Gunstar
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I have a Koala Pad; how do the two compare?

I had the Koala Pad back in the 80's, long before I got my first Atari Touch Tablet. The Koala was good, but the Atari tablet has a larger area and seems to me, if memory serves, Atari's is 1.5x-2x the size.and it seems to be more precise, the button on the stylus is nice, and I prefer the Atari Artist software over Koala Artist, which, IIRC, is just a version of Micro Illustrator. Though Atari Artist seems to be very similar to both, I much prefer it's menu and color selector. But then, many other art programs are Koala Pad compatible too, along with Atari's tablet. But since most 3rd party software that support K-Pad and A-Tablet, has separate selections for each, they must be different enough that each other's software probably won't work on the other. Though this is a guess, I've never checked that I recall.

Edited by Gunstar
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I learned to draw on a CX-77. I still remember the feeling of the tip of that stylus as it bumped over the wires under the tablet surface. Tablet technology has come a long way, my current tablet is an entirely different beast!

 

That clear plastic cover is supposed to be on all the time, its like a screen protector for your phone, stops the tablet getting trashed. It was liftable so you could put art under it to trace, not so you could remove it.

 

I'm amazed that these are still available new and I will be ordering one from best as a gift for my 1088XEL

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I got one of these for Christmas in 1984, as I recall. I had a ball with it as an aspiring teenage computer artist. In fact, that CX-77 is the only piece of my original 8-bit hardware I've managed to hold onto over the years. I found it in a box of random stuff my Mom had put away after I moved out when she finally cleaned up the leftovers in my old bedroom. She gave me the box 25 or more years ago and I promptly forgot about it. It moved around with me from place to place until the summer of 2014 when I found it while looking for something else. Inside were 40-something of my original 5-1/4" floppy disks from BITD (maybe half of what I had at the time) and my old Touch Tablet. Alas, AtariArtist (nor any of my other 8-bit carts) was not in there with it, but I soon got an SIO2PC device and tracked down a bootable AtariArtist file. I also found a disk with some of my drawings from those days. :)

 

attachicon.gif800_TouchTablet.jpg

 

I'd still like to grab an AtariArtist cart someday. A NIB CX-77 would be fun as well, but it's way down my list of collecting/restoring/building priorities.

 

Very nice pic DrV :thumbsup: .

 

That must have taken quite a bit of time to create.

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I remember the first tablet I saw was on an Apple in 1984-ish at a magnet school for the arts. It was big and fairly heavy. And it was pretty darned inaccurate. But it was neat to draw on a surface and have the same thing appear as pixels.

 

I bought my first CX77 tablet new in the US about 1990 and it did not come with the plug-in stylus. The place told me there was a reliability problem with them and they included a glorified plastic stick instead.

 

The second came used from Ebay a few years ago, and it does have the plug-in stylus.

 

Tablet input is an easy thing to do in Atari programs. It's read like paddle controllers, so it is very cheap overhead. It is great for productivity and utilities, because pointing to things is instant, rather than tediously moving a cursor with a joystick. Another great thing about the tablet is that most emulators can treat the PC mouse as the tablet allowing an Atari program to have a mouse-like interface without the overhead of polling real mouse hardware.

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I just got one off eBay, but haven't tried it yet. Was wondering if anyone has thought of using some of that plastic polish to clean up the overlay and tablet (the one I have looks like someone furiously was scribbling on it). I may try it out and see if it helps at all.

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I really enjoyed my CX77 BITD... so much so that I modified my 130XE to allow it to be plugged in to the second joystick port. Great times. Bought a second one on eBay last year as a backup. My collection is getting out of hand...

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I would also like to point out that PLATOTerm supports the Koala Pad and Atari Touch Tablet devices for pointer interaction on IRATA.ONLINE. :)

 

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-Thom

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why drag mouse? touch pad is screen relative position aligned... just touch where you think it should be and make pointer jump to it...then drag for fine point accuracy....

Edited by _The Doctor__
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I would also like to point out that PLATOTerm supports the Koala Pad and Atari Touch Tablet devices for pointer interaction on IRATA.ONLINE. :)

 

attachicon.gifatari_koala_pad.gif

 

-Thom

I need to set this up, what's the requirements for getting online? I have an SIO2BT that I think now has networking support? Also an 850, that I don't think I've ever used...

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why drag mouse? touch pad is screen relative position aligned... just touch where you think it should be and make pointer jump to it...then drag for fine point accuracy....

It's so much better than a mouse, it makes me wonder why mouses were ever invented, and why I wanted graphic and utility software for the A8 with mouse compatibility. When Atari's decades-ahead-of-it's-time Touch Tablet was there all along. I don't know why I didn't like it more back in the day (though I had a Koala then, which isn't as good).

 

It did take me a while to get used to not trying to drag the stylus/cursor from mouse habit, but once I did, I prefer using it with desktops like Diamond or Atos immensely too, and I won't use a graphic art program unless it supports the Atari Touch-Tablet. It's pretty much just like using a stylus with my modern phone or tablet, once you practice and get the hand-eye-coordination down since you aren't directly touching the screen.

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I bought one of these - just so I can have the thrill of opening a new Atari thing for Christmas and feel like I'm back in 1984.

 

With shipping to Canada and exchange, it ends up more than double the price - and I'll probably get screwed by customs, but what the hell - it's Christmas. (at least that's the earliest I'll receive it, thanks to insanely slow shipping and possible postal strike delays)

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My two tablets came with one plastic overlay, and while it's in one piece, it's more a frosted look at this point rather than transparent. I haven't been using it, but then I haven't been using the tablet much yet either. I was planning on getting some of my own plastic sheeting and use the old overlay as a template. Below is the one I'm using and the overlay.

Brad at Best sells these replacements individually. Can't recall how much they were, but I contacted him last year and ordered two.

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