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Level42

Just showing off my beloved 600XL, and there IS enough space ;)

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Finally I "finished" my 600XL.....

Finished is always a "big" word....as it probably never is, but it is what I wanted it to be right now :)

 

I was happy to finally find a 600XL with the "correct" keyboard a few years ago. It was also in like-new condition....not a scratch... I did do some light retrobrighting which made it look like brand new.

Now here is the inside.

Removed the RF modulator of course.

Installed:

- Sophia (RGB)

- AntiX Prototype

- U1MB

- Stereo Pokey controlled by U1MB

I have to thank Jon for the idea of using changing and using the BASIC socket for U1MB, and also for using a DIN connector for the video and stereo audio out.
However, following a suggestion from Fred_M I chose to install a mini DIN socket instead of a full size one. I had hoped that the size of the hole for the RF output would be large enough to not have to mod it, but it turned out that to fully insert the connector I had to make the hole slightly larger...but not as much as with a regular sized DIN.

I found out that Sega's Megadrive II had the perfect pin out as I required it: RGB video incl. control signal and Stereo sound. This made it possible to buy a ready-made video cable of high quality, which are not available ready-made with the larger 13 pin DIN connector.

Instead of Jon's idea of drilling a lot of holes and removing the copper, which is very nice and almost factory like-but also a lot of work, I decided to glue the socket upside down to the PCB and solder the wires from the top.

Sadly, the high-quality cable I ordered had a lot of extra components which are not required for the Sophia RGB output (in fact, I believe they are not required for the Sega either...but then I'm no expert on those). Luckily that seller used a nice little PCB inside the SCART connector so it was relatively easy to remove those caps and resistors and bypass them with a piece of wire.....but it kinda defeated the idea of buying a "run of the mill" cable and not having to mod it......but it still is a very high quality cable with all signals separately shielded.

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Edited by Level42
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This is the picture it produces on my Bang & Olufsen MX8000 CRT TV.

 

It is absolutely brilliant and so is the sound (the TV has active high quality speakers).

As always, it is VERY hard to take a picture of a CRT that give a good idea of how it looks. Trust me when I say it looks even better in reality.....(Pics taken with lousy Samsung phone camera).

 

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Very nice. Excellent choice of upgrades, and a tiny desktop footprint as well!

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That is a thing of beauty! And thank you for the first peek at your AntiX board. Cannot wait to buy one of those.

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I always loved the smallness factor of the 600XL, and yours is packed with all of the essential goodies. Looks great :thumbsup: .

 

At some point can you post a picture of the AnticX board all by itself?

 

And if there is a topic with the pic and more info, can you please post a link.

 

Thanks :)

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Quite lovely. That video output looks amazing too.

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Thanks for the kind words guys !

Yes, like _The Doctor_ says, if you install a U1MB it is required to first upgrade the "base"memory to 64k. In fact that was the frist upgrade I did :) I wish I had known it was this easy to upgrade BITD instead of spending 149 old fashioned Dutch guilders on a 1064....but then again....I lacked to skill to do any decent soldering back then.

 

Michael, I hope to open the official AntiX thread soon.... :D

Yes the 600XL was my first computer ever, which seem to have burnt a bit of a sweet-spot for it in my brain :) and I totally love the compactness.....Back then I always though, how can they pack all this amazing technology in something that is almost only a keyboard...LOL.... also, with the metal keyboard, it feels really heavy for such a little machine. This makes it feel quality and the keyboard is IMHO very very good....it also makes sure the machines stays in it's spot while typing ;)

It's a bit of a struggle to fit everything of course. Totally stole Jon's idea of that position for the U1MB which works nicely....it's not in entirely straight but this is due to my lack of mechanical skills. On the other hand, it provides a bit of room for the 2 wires to be run under it and the left IDC connector to the cartridge port. For the 600XL it is actually good to have the IDC connectors "flat" like it comes from Lotharek.

 

My choice of upgrades is based on wanting to run the newer games and demos and I simply love the sound of well programmed stereo POKEY music.... hearing Yoomp! from the B&O television (the stereo effect is amazing from that TV) is enough reason to get a stereo POKEY, but I'm a bit sad to see some newer games not support it....(hah, easy for me to say, I don't program them)....(I don't mean arcade conversions like Bosconian and Time Pilot because these were mono in their original arcade version and definitely should stay that way....both are AMAZING conversions by the way....It is sad that Bosconian is such an unknown game, both in arcade machine and any conversions).

 

With the mods I chose, I wanted to still stick to "original" as much as possible but yet be able to run newer software. Stereo POKEY has been around since the mid 90's or so, and memory extensions have been around from about day 1 I think, so the U1MB was only a logical choice. The fact that U1MB offers SO much more in combination with Jon's firmware makes it IMHO the mod that everyone should have. But I fail to see the use of VBXE. Although very nice technologically, I think it strays too much from being the classic machine we all love. If I want higher res graphics, I have my ST's and of course the modern computer and consoles. The A8 simply lacks the power to really support the higher-res graphics too, so it was easy to not go for that.....oh and it would have made installing AntiX impossible.

Ever since I played Donkey Kong on a NTSC machine I wanted to have that game-speed....but having two machines plus monitors/TV is simply not very practical....this was the start of the idea to have two ANTICs in one machine and switch between them....

 

It was also my goal to have as few external mods as possible. From the early days I saw people put ugly silvery switches with hand-written labels and poorly drilled in LED's on the top of the case and the looks of that simply disgusted me...I thought it was an attack on the beautiful design of the XL series.... ;D

The only thing I had to do was enlarge the RF output hole a bit....but I may have to install that switch for AntiX too because AntiX is really a pretty dumb little board that doesn't seem to want to be controlled by U1MB 100%....O well, Ill find a switch that can be hidden very well somewhere ;)

Edited by Level42

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Quite lovely. That video output looks amazing too.

It is simply unbelievable nice. Simius really did a stellar job on Sophia.

 

I have been buying a number of TV sets lately to do a comparison between them and see what I like best.

 

In the classic gaming world, those who live in Europe either seem to go with Sony (expensive PVM's or BVM's if possible) or the B&O's.

I've never been much of a Sony or Trinitron man for several reasons, but I did pick a Trinitron TV up yesterday to make a fair comparison.

I have also owned a PVM for a short while, so I know how these look.

 

I hope to make a video to show them and talk about all their pro's and cons.

 

So far I bought:

B&O MX4000 (have had this for a couple of years now)

B&O MX7000

B&O MX4200

B&O MX8000

Sony KV-25R1D

 

The MX4000 and MX7000 are essentially the same TVs with the 7000 having a larger tube and better speakers.

 

The MX4200 and MX8000 are the follow ups of the 4000 and 7000 (B&O couldn't use 5000 apparently, since there already was a MX5000, by the way this is the model to look for if you're in the US, it seems the 5000 and 5500 were sold there, but I don't think they are availble in the quantities we see them over here at the moment....(you can pick and choose, and they are cheap).

 

In the end I want to keep a "smaller" TV and a larger one.The other ones will go again :D

 

The pictures shown are from the MX8000.

 

I'll open a separate thread about those TVs when I've finished the video.

Edited by Level42

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Just wanted to say thanks for this write-up. I am just starting down the path of refurb'ing a 600xl and I keep coming back to this. I never owned an Atari growing up, but the more I read of the specs and architecture, I think this could be my go-to retro machine going forward.

 

I keep digging for info on the system and things like the Ultimate Cartridge. I never realized how flexible the cartridge memory addressing system is - it's pretty impressive compared to other systems of its time.

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