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Falter

Early Atari 800?

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About 20 years ago my favourite local computer haunt closed down. They had a museum of old computers and one of them was this Atari 800, which I picked up for free with a bunch of other stuff on the promise of giving it a good home. I'm a pretty serious collector and have about 200 machines, but this one for some reason just escaped my attention for all those years and sat on the shelf. Just didn't have an interest in firing it up.. it was missing the power supply.

 

Anyway last year I finally got a power supply and briefly had it working. I think it has possibly a cold solder problem or something... initially I was able to make it work by applying downward pressure on the ROM/RAM cards... now nothing works.. just white screen.

 

Anyway I took it apart to inspect and see what I can find, and as I was comparing it to other machines for reference, I noticed mine is a bit different. For example, it has a handwritten serial only... no machine printed one. It has the earlier CTIA chip, and none of the ICs date later than the 30th week of 1979. The power board doesn't have the silkscreening in white.. it's all in black, and if I'm reading the date correctly it was made or something in July of 79. It also has a handwritten number in marker in the 300s, and the Revision is a number rather than a letter like Rev A, B, etc. as I've seen on other 800 power boards.

 

I'm wondering, is this a really early one? I'm trying to figure out exactly what serial number it is. The handwritten sticker suggests it could be maybe 442 or 4420 depending on whether that last digit is a O or a C.. t doesn't look like it was ever a complete circle so maybe C?... where there are what appear to be serials on the boards they're all in the low 100s.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nBexbJMgRF-XGxzPhgGjNhTjaWnP7ITM?usp=sharing

Edited by Falter
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You might find this post interesting:

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242227-calling-all-800s/page-1?hl=+800%20+serial

 

Assuming the serial number is 949 4420, that would mean your 800 was made in the 49th week of 1979, making it a very early model indeed (and one of the oldest on the serial number list linked above). The CTIA and IC dates would seem to confirm the manufacture date. Nice find!

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I think you definitely have a very early 800. In the third photo (mainboard) you can see that the keyboard connector is the female type where the 800 keyboard would have male pins from the ribbon cable like the 400. Dead giveaway that its a very early production 800. Always heard of these, but until now, never actually seen one. Nice Find!

 

Are the card edges on the OS, CPU and memory boards gold plated or silver? The dark green cartridge slot is also unusual.

Edited by ACML

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Thank you! I seem to be on a roll lately... in addition to this I scored a low serial (#336) Osborne that has a prototype-derivative motherboard in it rather than the normal one. Can't believe I let this 800 sit collecting dust this long.

 

Yes the card edges are silver. One of the ram carts has ceramic 4116s rather than plastic 5290s.

 

The date coding (ie. 949 = 49th week of 1979)... how was it established that that was what those numbers meant? Does that come from somewhere authoritative? Reason I ask is I have been following 800 serials on ebay and they are all over the place.. doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they are set up. Like this one that appears to be an early unit like mine but has a stamped number in the hundreds of thousands: https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F123673782612

Edited by Falter

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The date code was the last three digits, usually set a part from the 5 or 6 digit serial number. The silver colored card edges are also very early production. Can you tell me the three COxxxxx numbers on the OS ROMs? My guess is that you have an OS rev A which predates the ubiquitous OS rev B that is on 98% of all 400 and 800s.

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ROMs are:

 

C19074 - CO14599A - 7937E

C58023 - C012399B - 7939E

R3280-11 - C012499A - 7944

 

The board itself has silver fingers and is 'Rev 4'

 

Only one problem. I actually removed them from the board while I was cleaning it... now I forget which order they go in!

Edited by Falter

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Do you have a pic of the Atari logo + text on the cartridge door?

Some promo material show a 2-tone logo rather than the common outline.

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Looks like you have the earliest Rev A OS

 

400/800 OS Rev. A NTSC CO12499A, CO14599A, CO12399B

 

I think two are 28 pin and one is 24 pin ???? Can't remember. If you get just a solid color screen (i.e. all green or all red), you probably have them reversed.

 

The CPU should be a 6502B, not a 6502C SALLY.

 

Sure adds up to a very early production 800

1) Hi Tek keyboard ribbon with male pins and female mainboard connector.

2) Silver colored card edges instead of gold plated.

3) OS Rev A chips

4) CTIA instead of GTIA. 400s in 1981 still had CTIA, but the point is an early one would surely have a CTIA.

5) Manufacture date of 1979.

 

That is definitely a collector's 800.

Edited by ACML
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I regret the actual logo fell off - I don't know if it was ever there when I had it. I have a grainy picture of the machine from 5 years ago and it looks like it's not there so probably it's been like that since i have it. Strangely you can see the actual outlines of the logo in the glue (?).

 

Anywhere here's the spot along with the Atari 800 script: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZEjFhaDQfYtayPozkivsXboNuJwolly3/view?usp=sharing

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About 20 years ago my favourite local computer haunt closed down. They had a museum of old computers and one of them was this Atari 800, which I picked up for free with a bunch of other stuff on the promise of giving it a good home. I'm a pretty serious collector and have about 200 machines, but this one for some reason just escaped my attention for all those years and sat on the shelf. Just didn't have an interest in firing it up.. it was missing the power supply.

 

Anyway last year I finally got a power supply and briefly had it working. I think it has possibly a cold solder problem or something... initially I was able to make it work by applying downward pressure on the ROM/RAM cards... now nothing works.. just white screen.

 

Anyway I took it apart to inspect and see what I can find, and as I was comparing it to other machines for reference, I noticed mine is a bit different. For example, it has a handwritten serial only... no machine printed one. It has the earlier CTIA chip, and none of the ICs date later than the 30th week of 1979. The power board doesn't have the silkscreening in white.. it's all in black, and if I'm reading the date correctly it was made or something in July of 79. It also has a handwritten number in marker in the 300s, and the Revision is a number rather than a letter like Rev A, B, etc. as I've seen on other 800 power boards.

 

I'm wondering, is this a really early one? I'm trying to figure out exactly what serial number it is. The handwritten sticker suggests it could be maybe 442 or 4420 depending on whether that last digit is a O or a C.. t doesn't look like it was ever a complete circle so maybe C?... where there are what appear to be serials on the boards they're all in the low 100s.

 

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1nBexbJMgRF-XGxzPhgGjNhTjaWnP7ITM?usp=sharing

Definitely a very early production unit, I saw 7/79 on the power board and the hand written serial first part - 949 means 1979 - 49th week, so its a 1979 release unit. The CPU board is show early date codes on the chips as well. The green cartridge connector is definitely non-standard. You have a nice unit there. (two thumbs up!)

Edited by Curt Vendel

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I regret the actual logo fell off - I don't know if it was ever there when I had it. I have a grainy picture of the machine from 5 years ago and it looks like it's not there so probably it's been like that since i have it. Strangely you can see the actual outlines of the logo in the glue (?).

 

Anywhere here's the spot along with the Atari 800 script: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZEjFhaDQfYtayPozkivsXboNuJwolly3/view?usp=sharing

B&C Sells the Atari logo labels.

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Do you have a pic of the Atari logo + text on the cartridge door?

Some promo material show a 2-tone logo rather than the common outline.

Those were pre-production units.

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Does anyone know the proper ROM order on the board?

 

All I get at present is a solid whitish coloured screen when I power up. I have a second, newer ROM board here that I bought to test with and it doesn't work either.. but again I may have, not knowing what I was messing with, messed with the chips.

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Actually I think I have it right.. unless it's different for the A ROMs... A401 A403 A402 respectively is: 14599A, 12499A, 12399B?

 

Unfortunately that'll mean I've got some other issue going on here.

Edited by Falter

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Have you reseated all the ICs in their sockets?

 

I added your number to the serial number thread linked above. Follow it and its sister thread about 400s to see how we deduced the date codes.

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