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spookt

Help Identifying a Mod

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Hi Folks

 

Picked up a nice little bundle of mixed bits and bobs from eBay which arrived today. Havent had a lot of time to look at them but amongst it was a 65XE with no case screws (top case loose) and an LED hanging out off the side on two wires.

 

Popped the lid off and found an expansion board inside. Without looking at my reference manual it looks like its in the MMU socket and the MMU is onboard with some 74LS logic and two chips which have had their IDs removed. The LED is connected to the underside of the mod board. There is a row of jumpers along the back and Im guessing that the case was loose to allow easy access to these.

 

Pics:

 

post-14167-0-03606000-1559342094_thumb.jpeg

post-14167-0-89693400-1559342138_thumb.jpeg

post-14167-0-24957400-1559342177_thumb.jpeg

 

Anyone recognise this one? No ID or text anywhere on the PCB.

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Not recognizable here other than the misplaced MMU part.

And the sanded off numbers of logic chips.

Those were shared by the The Impossible by Bob Puff at

CSS at one time.

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/254384-css-the-impossible/

 

I'll suggest it's a home rolled attempt at one, and of

course can't possibly know if the software for it would

work for yours, even if it were one.

 

Sanded off numbers on the logic chips are not such a

problem these days. Almost all of the 40 dollar eprom

programmers have a TTL chip detect option to them where

you drop in the mystery chip and it is sent various states

and by changes on other pins, it's type is detected, then

verified and proven. Nothing more than a mouse click and

wait for the answer.

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Does the 65XE work?

I had time to plug it in briefly. It booted to a READY prompt. I might have more time to play today.

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It may and I only say MAY be Computerhouse MOD that my friends Dave Tuttle and Mike Morgan invented and were supposed to be selling via Computethouse but actually got ripped off. Sadly I've not spoken to Dave and Mike in 30yrs so I can't confirm, I did have an beta product but it got lost around the same time with my gear.

 

It was named something 'like' the impossible, it could do save states, dump the whole mem, customise the OS and various other very clever things..

 

Been trying to find the advert for it in Atari User I think, was under the ComputerHouse name ran by a guy called John (can't remember the guys last name..)

 

Again, I could and most likely wrong on your mod but its a real outside possibility..

 

Must try and find Dave or Mike on Facebook..

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Hi Folks

 

Picked up a nice little bundle of mixed bits and bobs from eBay which arrived today. Havent had a lot of time to look at them but amongst it was a 65XE with no case screws (top case loose) and an LED hanging out off the side on two wires.

 

Popped the lid off and found an expansion board inside. Without looking at my reference manual it looks like its in the MMU socket and the MMU is onboard with some 74LS logic and two chips which have had their IDs removed. The LED is connected to the underside of the mod board. There is a row of jumpers along the back and Im guessing that the case was loose to allow easy access to these.

 

Pics:

 

attachicon.gifC85C2FC0-F807-4045-9256-7F25DC65BB73.jpeg

attachicon.gifDCBA48C0-7332-4DB5-B517-357912E08112.jpeg

attachicon.gif80FE6E2C-FE3F-455C-A34D-396ED9265B90.jpeg

 

Anyone recognise this one? No ID or text anywhere on the PCB.

 

 

if it is "the impossible" - then it looks a little "home made/clone-ish"

 

i saw this 800xl on ebay the other day with one fitted. Bruce (myatari) was selling it, and sold for $199.

 

it appears to be a two-board system and listed as "the Impossible by CSS"

 

post-39567-0-43926700-1559381555.jpgpost-39567-0-36129700-1559381569.jpgpost-39567-0-01048600-1559381582.jpgpost-39567-0-02991100-1559381594.jpg

 

.

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A little more inspection reveals partial chip numbers on the two sanded ICs. It looks like the top chip could be an LS74HC74 and the other an LS74HC00.

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having thought about this, i'm thinking the item i saw on ebay post #6 - may well be a home-made clone. a lot of same-colour cabling is a good indicator of this, as retailer version usually have different colour cables for ease of following instructions.

 

also, both of my original 1050 IS Plates are the same colour as the top post - that colour board must've been common for in manufacturing for retail at that time.

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The PCB board stock is the same stuff we used to sell, same style, thickness and colour once copper been etched off., the tracks are self etched by user. using the standard set of decals people like my lot maplin used to sell, cheaply made whatever the board is, home made as you say.

 

God knows what it is but deffo a one off or one at a time made board..Track tinning is pretty poor..

 

The board you show Brenski is a more mass produced jobbie, thinner fibre glass etc..And nice tracked..

Edited by Mclaneinc

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I don't know, The holes being so consistently off center doesn't seem homemade. Materials and construction, including the sanding of the chips, are very similar to the original Omnimon boards for the 400/800. Almost seems like a memory expansion that never got completely installed.

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what hiding under the pcb, any different or stacked chip/eprom etc?

looks familiar

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Looking how low it is to the other chips nearby I'd imagine there's nothing but joints on the other side.

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Nope, the bottom is pretty blank. Ill post a picture later. I did a brief test and booted a floppy yesterday. Some activity on the LED which looks to be across two of the MMU pins (and may be a later addition). In that test the XE acted normally.

 

I have noticed it takes a very long time in power off to get a cold reset. Otherwise there are no boot farts, just straight to ready when you flick the switch.

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Where does the partially obscured black wire go?

 

The black wire runs to pin 21 of the PIA.

 

 

to clarify, all stock chips on the Atari's PCB?

 

 

Yep top and bottom side of the XE PCB look completely stock other than the sockets installed for this mod, and all other chips are stock too.

 

The LED is across pins 9 and 11 of the MMU by the looks of things and definitely looks like a later addition.

Edited by spookt

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Reached out to the seller today but he tells me that this was a loft find and he doesn't know anything about it :(

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Looks like this is in fact the ComputerHouse OS Controller Card:

 

attachicon.gif9C9980C3-3B29-4086-BE17-86276D6E51BB.jpeg

 

Currently following up a couple of leads on the software for it.

 

Heres a review from a while back: https://www.atarimax.com/freenet/freenet_material/5.8-BitComputersSupportArea/10.ProductReviews/showarticle.php?61

the two versions of the controller card are worth reproduction, and who knows maybe a re imaging with some updates. Could you think of such a nice upgrade for so little cabbage?

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Looks like this is in fact the ComputerHouse OS Controller Card:

 

attachicon.gif9C9980C3-3B29-4086-BE17-86276D6E51BB.jpeg

 

Currently following up a couple of leads on the software for it.

 

Heres a review from a while back: https://www.atarimax.com/freenet/freenet_material/5.8-BitComputersSupportArea/10.ProductReviews/showarticle.php?61

Someone asked on Facebook about one of these today. I used to have one back in the day but it's long gone. I hunted out the disks and managed to extract images from three of the six I have.

 

The Master Utility Disk, 80 Column Emulator and Ultramon disk images are in the attached zip file.

 

Unfortunately, the Ultraload Collector's disk, Superdump Toolkit and Cupid Printer Handler disks look damaged on the magnetic surface and I don't want to risk damaging them.

 

Geoffpost-41887-155994667667_thumb.jpgComputerHouseControllerCard_Master_80Col_Ultramon.zip

 

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

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The very best thing you could do is get them to a preservationist with full kryo/scp hardware and skills.

If they are failing or damaged they are worth next to nothing once the failure is complete. The value is in the art and skillful exploration of coding for/with the hardware as all of this was emerging.

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Oh I'd love to get these disks, I had an early beta of that controller card a LONG time ago, my link to it was that the two guys who made it were called Dave Tuttle and Mike Morgan, Dave was the hardware guy and Mike the software master. Mike was also known as The Mole during the Atari era as he hacked all the EA titles and more. I worked for a short time with Dave as he was a Maplin Manager initially before going to work for Detail Dynamics who made things like audience interaction devices for TV game shows etc.

 

I also knew Mike well, use to nip around to his flat in Hammersmith just to watch him hack stuff.

 

They took the controller to Computerhouse as Jon from Computerhouse was a friend and customer at the time, in fact he's where I had my ST for one whole day from. Dave and Mike agreed on a deal with Computerhouse but never saw a penny hence the board just went away. Turns out Computerhouse was not so honest towards Mike and Dave.

 

So with that in mind I'd love the software again, I only had the copies from Dave that went with a beta board, if only as a nice memory. Dave and Mike were really nice blokes whose careers went from strength to strength, Mikes a medical one, Dave's still I believe with Detail Dynamics. I think it was their first and last dabble in the Atari market, only to be ripped off. Dave is also where I got my multi OS rom stack from back then..Took him 5 mins to create...

 

Dave if he could be got hold of would be a real good interview.....Him and Mike knew the OS backwards and from what I saw the controller do, it was an amazing bit of kit..Sadly I never had it installed as I had an Omnimon / Others OS's in there...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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This is a really interesting thread for me, not least because I have the Controller Card in my 130XE and just posted on FB seeing if anyone had the controller software (my disk is literally rotten and I haven't been able to access the card for decades). I'm looking forward to firing it up later. I was about 14 when I had it installed, spent a long time on the phone with the guy from Computerhouse back in the day, he was really helpful and I met him one time at an Atari show. Unaware of the back story of course. It was a great product and I spent many happy hours mucking around with it.

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The very best thing you could do is get them to a preservationist with full kryo/scp hardware and skills.

If they are failing or damaged they are worth next to nothing once the failure is complete. The value is in the art and skillful exploration of coding for/with the hardware as all of this was emerging.

Ideally that's what I'd like to do to try to preserve the data, is there anyone (possibly in the UK, purely for postage reasons) who has the hardware and skills to rescue them and would be willing to take on the task?

 

Maybe someone else will chime in with a working set of disks? There must be other copies out there somewhere.

 

I no longer have the board so the disks are just sitting here, gradually rotting away. If I can get them to someone who can preserve the contents or whatever, I'm happy to pass them on. (Unless they're worth an absolute fortune like an Apple I or something, lol)

 

Maybe one day Altirra will be able to emulate the hardware, that would be fun.

 

Geoff

 

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3003 using Tapatalk

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