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ivop

AtariLab clone?

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The title says it all. Would anybody be interested in a clone of the AtariLab PCB?

 

If you look here (scroll down a little for the AtariLab device) you can see it's an extremely simple design. Due to this thread and the fact we used an AtariLab for ease of connecting devices (signal generator, scope and an 80's "dashboard" of some type of car, and hence sank 9V into the PIA by accident), it appeared to us that a clone would be nice to have. We opened up one, and saw the same "fixed" traces as you can see on the first link. Apparently Atari had made a whole lot of faulty PCBs and had to fix them manually afterwards :)

 

So, any interest in recreated PCBs (without the mistakes :) ) ?

 

Edited by ivop
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If you made the thermal and light modules as well, I'd be interested. 

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I have several of these boards laying around somewhere. I bought them surplus many years ago and used the enclosures and cables for something else.

 

I don't recall them having "corrections" on them. I also don't recall them having a college name on them as in the linked images. I'll have to take a look next time I'm in that storage area.


I've wondered if they had an overlay but hadn't seen one until looking at the OP's link.

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1 hour ago, Mr Robot said:

If you made the thermal and light modules as well, I'd be interested. 

 

The AtariLab I encountered during these experiments a few weeks ago also had the thermal sensor. We even used it instead of a paddle to drive the "dashboard" for a while. That was fun.

As for the Light Module, I googled for it and I only found the manual of the cartridge, and no schematic of the sensor. But I'm fairly sure it's just a light dependent resistor. But, of which value?

 

39 minutes ago, BigO said:

I have several of these boards laying around somewhere. I bought them surplus many years ago and used the enclosures and cables for something else.

 

I don't recall them having "corrections" on them. I also don't recall them having a college name on them as in the linked images. I'll have to take a look next time I'm in that storage area.


I've wondered if they had an overlay but hadn't seen one until looking at the OP's link.

It would be interesting to see a different PCB. Or perhaps they didn't have the fixes applied yet?

 

 

Edited by ivop
typos etc

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I dug out one of my boards.

 

It does have the same copyright info. But where the board in the link is marked "01-M8325", mine is marked "01-M8325-01" and where the linked board is marked "CH5", mine is marked "CH5 94V-0"

 

I'll post a picture shortly. It looks like I marked it up with a Sharpie to trace which color wire went where.

 

(Aside: I know that I used one of the cables to fix/mod a WICO trackball controller and another to build a custom Vectrex controller from a NES controller. I think I used another to build a mod to let me play 2600 games with a 5200 trak-ball controller. I think I paid $1.00 each for the units. I vaguely recall posting something on AtariAge trying to figure out what they were).

 

 

20190708_150342.jpg

 

Looks to be a pretty significant revision.

20190708_160042.jpg

Edited by BigO
Added pics

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49 minutes ago, BigO said:

Looks to be a pretty significant revision.

Yep, it surely does. Seems all the previous bugs are fixed. Here the sharpie markings are the colors of the cable (Br, W, Bl, Gr, Y, Bk, R, O) and the eight cinch connectors are marked A-H.

 

Could you also make a photo of the other side?

 

 

Edit: BTW this Dickinson College?

 

Edited by ivop

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24 minutes ago, ivop said:

Could you also make a photo of the other side?

As you wish. (More of my handwriting on this side. If meaningful, I could probably dig up a board that doesn't have my handwritten additions.)

 

24 minutes ago, ivop said:

Edit: BTW this Dickinson College?

Maybe this will help: http://archives.dickinson.edu/artifacts/atari-lab-computer-start-kit-c1980

Digging through the site a little bit, they say they're in Carlisle, Pennsylvania which matches the State and City of your Wikipedia linked Dickinson College. So, I'd say yes.

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3 hours ago, ivop said:

As for the Light Module, I googled for it and I only found the manual of the cartridge, and no schematic of the sensor. But I'm fairly sure it's just a light dependent resistor. But, of which value?

The Atari paddle has a 0 to 1 Megohm potentiometer so that doesn't narrow down the options very much.

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24 minutes ago, BigO said:

As you wish. (More of my handwriting on this side. If meaningful, I could probably dig up a board that doesn't have my handwritten additions.)

 

Maybe this will help: http://archives.dickinson.edu/artifacts/atari-lab-computer-start-kit-c1980

Digging through the site a little bit, they say they're in Carlisle, Pennsylvania which matches the State and City of your Wikipedia linked Dickinson College. So, I'd say yes.

Yeah, after a while I noticed the dickenson.edu link at the wikipedia page. Thank you for digging up that archive link! To everybody, be sure to read the letter of donation :)

 

Edit: oh, just now I see you added the top side photo to your previous post. Curious why the top side says:

 

A   E

B   F

C   G

D   H

 

and the bottom side (flipped around the x-axis)

 

A   B

C   D

E   F

G   H

 

 

 

Edited by ivop

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I wouldn't put much faith in those markings. I may have marked them at different times for different reasons after acquiring different information.

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Oh, apparently I missed the part where you said you made those markings yourself :)

 

On the linked image, the markings might also be made after it was sold.

At the top, from left to right it says: 5 (scratched)2 4 8 3 6 1 7 9

PA/PB is paddle A/B

JL/JR is joystick Left/Right

JFor/JRev is joystick Forward/Reverse

just in case somebody wonders..... :)

 

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I don't think that is necessary. The fact that your PCB is a different revision is already very interesting!

 

But the schematic has already been reversed:

 

atarilab.png

 

It doesn't look like that has changed. Five resistors, an LED and eight cinch connectors.

Edited by ivop

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There is no shortage of the interfaces or the modules/sensors, MyAtari (B&C Computervisions) is always selling them, in extra, non-complete form on eBay. As well as the complete sets, NIB. I've bought both sets and a couple extras interfaces myself from them. I'm using them for my own version of the Armitron project (with a modern robot arm) from Analog magazines issues 44 and 45, July & Aug. '86. And have some other projects in mind too. They are best used with the 400/800 since you can have 4 plugged in at once. I really don't see the need to make clones. 

Also, I opened the Interfaces up, because I changed the two power plugs to one power and one for the fire button, since it was the only pin NOT used on them. I also added power switches to them, which I need for some of the projects I intend to use them with. And, of course, when I opened them, both the one that came with the Starter Set and the extras, all had been re-worked with jumper wires and cut traces on the PCB from errors in design/manufacturing. I reworked them a bit myself too, of course.

 

I have a thread I did on Atari Sector about it all here (of course you'll probably have to join to see the thread): http://atari.boards.net/thread/3011/experimenting-atarilab-interface-intended

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Interface-Temp-Probes-Atari-800-XL-XE-get-2-Xtra/130888382790?hash=item1e798e3946:g:skwAAOxy~iJQ~X~g

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Interface-Light-Source-Light-Sensor-Atari-800-XL-XE/140954304592?hash=item20d1880050:m:mbz3kEqptGekDnmm8UB2DjA

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Temperature-Probes-2-each-Atari-800-XL-XE/140954304580?hash=item20d1880044:g:44QAAMXQgJRRACiU

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Temperature-Starter-Kit-W-Cart-NIB-Atari-800-XL-XE/130887512785?hash=item1e7980f2d1:g:slQAAOxy~iJQ~X~g

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Temperature-Starter-Kit-W-Cart-NIB-Atari-800-XL-XE/130887512785?hash=item1e7980f2d1:g:slQAAOxy~iJQ~X~g

Edited by Gunstar

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Thanks. I wasn't aware that plenty of AtariLabs are still available. Price seems reasonable, although $58,= shipping is a bit steep :)

 

Nevertheless, this thread revealed there are at least two different PCB revisions. Perhaps I'll draw something in KiCad anyway and have a pack of 10 PCBs made in China, just for fun.

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Yes, that's steep for shipping, I guess because you are over seas...but if you can have someone in the U.S order it for you and re-ship, I know it could be cheaper.

 

I just noticed the last two links are the same, I meant to post this one:

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lab-Light-Module-W-Cartridge-New-Atari-NIB-800-XL-XE/140966936238?hash=item20d248beae:g:g6wAAOxy~iJRACiV

 

Although looking closer, it looks as if stock is getting low now. They show only 5 available of the starter kit and light module kit, and 8 & 5 left on the "extra" sets of interfaces...

 

Edited by Gunstar

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I just ordered another for myself, before MyAtari does run out. Though I suspect Best Electronics still has some too, at least the complete sets.

 

Still though, there may be enough to go around for those few of us interested. I have all I need.

 

It would be pretty simple to make some with bread boards though if I found I needed more, I don't foresee that I'd need more than four though, unless for some reason I need all four for my 800 and then more for my XL's all at the same time...it would be quite the project to come up with too need so many. I only need three for the robot arm project at this point, and that's only for initial experimentation, after that I can wire up joystick cables for the long term and free up the interfaces for other uses.

Edited by Gunstar

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Hello guys

 

At this years H.A.T.Z., luckybuck tested his AtariLab sets.  To say I was not impressed by the software that came with it would be an understatement.  Maybe somebody could have a look at it.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Edited by Mathy
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2 hours ago, Mathy said:

Hello guys

 

At this years H.A.T.Z., luckybuck tested his AtariLab sets.  To say I was not impressed by the software that came with it would be an understatement.  Maybe somebody could have a look at it.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

Indeed, the software that came with it is unimpressive and underwhelming. Obviously made for grade-schooler mentality. I stated as much in the thread I started on Atari Sector about on-going projects with the interfaces. But the interfaces have a thousand and one uses that can go far beyond the sensors and software made for it. I would imagine that if Atari 8-bits had been more of a success and Atarilab products more of a success, that more advanced kits would have emerged. But I don't require that, all I need are the interfaces and I can think of lots of advanced projects to use them for, and already have plans for several advanced projects. And obviously better software could be made to make better use of the interfaces and sensor modules, as well as more DIY sensor modules beyond light and temperature. I plan to write some myself, as I learn programming.

Don't judge the simple, yet extraordinary interfaces based on the two programs and a few sensors made for them! I've already started modifying mine for other uses with projects I have in mind. I added power switches to them, and made one of the redundant +5V inputs to work as the missing "fire-button" input as well. If I need to plug more than one thing into +5V all I have to do is use an RCA splitter(s) and of course more than one interface, depending on the project. The interfaces make it much easier to use the controller ports on an experimental and prototype basis, instead of wiring up directly to the ports. In fact, I plan on making a similar interface for the SIO port too! With daisy-chaining possible!

Edited by Gunstar
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So - let's say some of us old farts get together, and brainstorm better interfaces using the same basic setup.  What could be possible uses for this?

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This old fart has already been brainstorming and coming up with ideas. Just the fact it's an INTERFACE, started my brain racing as to all the things I can interface too with it!Most of which I'd use the interfaces for experimentation and prototyping, and eventually replace the interface(s) with real controller plugs for my projects, the interfaces just make it easy to start without a bunch of loose wires or hacked controller cables. I'm just not getting into details in this thread, I've got an ongoing thread about it on Atari Sector. Why there? I'm a moderator and it's a different type of site that works better for an on-going projects thread I can make a sticky thread always at the top.

Edited by Gunstar

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