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Lardo Boffin

Importing USA 800 to the UK

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Hi all

I really want to buy an Atari 800 (not XL - I have one of those) but over in the UK they tend to be really expensive. Looking at the prices they can go for in the USA I suspect it may be cheaper to buy one over there and then pay shipping and import duties than buy one over here (unless I happen to get really lucky). 

What would be involved in getting a USA Atari 800 to work in the UK? I am assuming the two major factors would be PSU and video output with the latter probably being the bigger problem?

Any advice appreciated!

Thanks!

Lardo

 

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I think you will find BOOT sales, Yard sales, flea markets, garage sales, local thrift, adverts, community boards (posted paper bits at some locations selling stuff), etc. a far better cheaper and gratifying experience... after that estate sales etc... be willing to barter with the folk on those silly electronic pay bay sites.... never hurts to send them messages before bidding. sometimes they will agree to lower the price at a certain time of day and you click quick to get it or they send you an offer in the sites message system and you accept. done deal.

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2 hours ago, Lardo Boffin said:

Hi all

I really want to buy an Atari 800 (not XL - I have one of those) but over in the UK they tend to be really expensive. Looking at the prices they can go for in the USA I suspect it may be cheaper to buy one over there and then pay shipping and import duties than buy one over here (unless I happen to get really lucky). 

What would be involved in getting a USA Atari 800 to work in the UK? I am assuming the two major factors would be PSU and video output with the latter probably being the bigger problem?

Any advice appreciated!

Thanks!

Lardo

 

 

Both are issues for sure. You can replace the CPU board in the computer with PAL versions, which will give you the PAL ANTIC and GTIA. I believe (but don't have my disassembly pics handy to confirm) that system clock is on the main board. That will need to be changed out - you might also need to change some of the adjacent circuitry or board jumpers but I don't know for sure.  Someone like @flashjazzcat would know for sure.

 

Power should be pretty easy - the 400/800/1200XL/1050 all use simple 9VAC transformer so assuming you get one for the right input voltage and the right connector size, you should be good to go.

 

Now, shipping ... to pack the machine safely, and not have it arrive with the case in several dozen pieces, will likely be very expensive. The cases on these machines have a lot of open space, which means they can flex. Further, the plastics are old and tend to be brittle. I'm sure you could get one shipped safely but I personally would want to risk it. Others may have different experience or opinions about that aspect, however. 

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I ordered an 800 from eBay and it arrived literally in pieces. The shipper failed to secure the power brick in the box. It became a projectile battering ram when they rough handled the package.

 

Make SURE it is packed SECURELY. That's the best advice I can give you.

 

It may be cheaper to find a monitor that can handle NTSC rather than changing CPU card and crystal [on motherboard]. I would explore both options.

 

I agree with Dr. V. @flashjazzcat is very helpful.

 

Good luck. I hope you eventually find an Incognito for it. :)

 

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I‘d second an NTSC compatible monitor as the easiest choice. Tf_hh sells the SCCC that will turn your 800 into PAL with a single quartz changed on the mainboard. PAL CPU cards are also cheap on EBay.com. You‘ll need a PAL ANTIC/GTIA in any case. 

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Posted (edited)

I have got several NTSC Atari's in my collection in the UK.
Simplest thing is to find an NTSC compatable TV, I have an old Sony Trinitron CRT  that does an excellent job. I also had a reaaly old 19" LCD non brand TV that did a brilliant job too. More modern LCD's seem to have more problems with the out of spec signal from the atari's

I am in the process of using the SCCC on my NTSC 400, not sure if I am going to convert it to PAL though.

 

In the past I have also had a hybrid machine with a PAL ANTIC in an NTSC 1200xl, so I could play the PAL only demos such as NEUMAN :D

Make sure that if you do buy one, that it is really well packed and they do not include the power brick. One that I bought had been wrapped in 3 sheets of newspaper and had the power brick loose in the box. It acted like a wrecking ball, what a sad way for an 800 to die.

As others have said , a 9v ac power supply is all that is needed, I think 2 amps minimum 
 

Steve Tucker @atarimax is a great seller and I bought a couple of 1200xl's from him years ago, he may be a good place to start

 

Also, you may well be hit for import duty, so factor this in to any purchase, sometimes by the time you have paid shipping and duty it's not such a cheap option, it was great 10 years ago when the exchange rate was two to one, now the £ is worth jack schit 
A sympathetic seller that may put a lower value on it may help ;)
 

Edited by mimo
update

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13 hours ago, Lardo Boffin said:

I really want to buy an Atari 800 (not XL - I have one of those) but over in the UK they tend to be really expensive. Looking at the prices they can go for in the USA I suspect it may be cheaper to buy one over there and then pay shipping and import duties than buy one over here (unless I happen to get really lucky). 

What would be involved in getting a USA Atari 800 to work in the UK? I am assuming the two major factors would be PSU and video output with the latter probably being the bigger problem?

 

As some people already mentioned here, I would think very intensive about purchasing such big parts from private people at eBay or Craigslist n the U.S. - my personal balance is 12:3 - 15 parcels overall in the last 25 years ordered from private sellers at eBay USA, only three of them reached me in a safe & sound condition. Some seller have only put the parts, power supply etc. loose in the box - without using any styrofoam, newspaper or similar to protect! No joke. Even when I PLEASE the seller to pack good before... also it´s not safe to take offers using the Pitney Bowes service, because they didn´t inspect what the customer sent (Pitney Bowes serves the "ebay international shipping program" for U.S. customers).

 

WHEN you decide to order something, only pay using Paypal, official payment using eBay checkout. When parcel arrives you, open the box with a witness and capture the open process by video - let the witness make this video by a smartphone, that´s enough. This helps dramatically to get your money back from eBay´s buyer protection, specially when the seller did horrible bad packaging...

 

Technically you need to change the whole CPU board (you need PAL ANTIC and GTIA chips and the PAL color clock generator on the PAL CPU PCB) or my Super Colour CPU Card (SCCC). A new system crystal is also needed. This one for PAL is very special and can only purchased from BEST Electronics or MyAtari. Purchasers of my SCCC can get the special PAL system clock crystal for a bargain. At last you can change also the operating system - but it´s not mandatory. You can use the 800 also with NTSC ROMs for O.S., some trouble only may appear when loading tapes from datasette or printing to SIO attached printers. But in real life... no problems.

 

 

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Thanks all! All info greatly appreciated. 

I think on reflection then with the risk and additional cost of converting from NTSC to PAL (or buying an appropriate TV) I may as well save up and buy one over in the UK. 

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Posted (edited)

PSU is a non-issue: see this thread for a perfect aftermarket replacement:

As for PAL/NTSC: in the realm of the XL/XE, PAL tends to be more versatile simply because it runs more European games and demos, but since this is an 800 anyway (and this incompatible with a large amount of XL/XE software), I'm not sure if PAL is especially advantageous. And I'm yet to run into an LCD TV/Monitor from the last 10-15 years which couldn't handle an NTSC Atari s-video signal. Certainly I've been pretty selective when it comes to monitors, but NTSC compatibility wasn't initially a consideration: it just turned out eventually that they all handled NTSC OK. My daily-driver work-bench monitor is a ten year old LG M227WD (NOT WD-PZ, since that lacks s-video in), and it handles everything perfectly.

 

Edited by flashjazzcat
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I think that is a wise choice....The costs and possible damage make it a risk unless you know of the seller and they are good at what they do but then the shipping, import duty and extra work to get a PAL setup (unless you use a NTSC capable TV) and a new PSU...All adds up...

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I don't see a lot of point in getting an NTSC machine other than running American developed games at their intended speed.

 

An alternative could be to just plug an NTSC Antic into a PAL Atari - the speed would be almost the same, the biggest issue would be whether your monitor handles PAL video colourburst at near 60 Hz frame rate.

 

I guess if you were to go to the expense, you may as well go for a 1200XL (I know you said "want 800") but I'd recommend 1200XL and a multi OS selector solution either Ultimate 1 Meg or AtariMax 32in1 OS.

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Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, Rybags said:

I don't see a lot of point in getting an NTSC machine other than running American developed games at their intended speed.

 

An alternative could be to just plug an NTSC Antic into a PAL Atari - the speed would be almost the same, the biggest issue would be whether your monitor handles PAL video colourburst at near 60 Hz frame rate.

 

I guess if you were to go to the expense, you may as well go for a 1200XL (I know you said "want 800") but I'd recommend 1200XL and a multi OS selector solution either Ultimate 1 Meg or AtariMax 32in1 OS.

1200XL's are selling for much more than 800's in the states right now. about a year or two ago their prices started sky-rocketing as they have become in demand and they are far more rare. They simply used to be cheaper because they didn't have a good reputation and therefore weren't in demand. People have been learning how great they are and how easy it is to "fix" some issues like +5V SIO, new OS, internal BASIC, chroma video connect, etc. I was lucky because I learned the truth about the 1200XL and the over-blown faults and failings of the machine back in the early 2000's and made the switch when I bought my first two for $25.😁

Edited by Gunstar

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4 hours ago, Lardo Boffin said:

I think on reflection then with the risk and additional cost of converting from NTSC to PAL (or buying an appropriate TV) I may as well save up and buy one over in the UK. 

 

You can watch all eBay and similar platforms in whole Europe 😃 - except some few ones offered in France they all are PAL machines. There are only some minor differences in the PAL sub-system (PAL-I, PAL-B/G etc.pp.)., but these affects only when using the RF modulator. For example, if you got a german Atari 800 using PAL B/G, then you´ve no sound (but picture) using antenna input at older british television devices. The modern one detects all sub-systems of PAL as NTSC, too.

 

Last week I saw a good looking Atari 800 with disk drive, 10 carts and many software on tape for 120 Euros in Italy...

 

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The 1200XL is an interesting idea that I may well pursue at some point but it’s one if those ‘I want an 800’ moments. 😁

I really wanted one as a kid - one of my mates parents had one and it was very cool. 

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You have a greater chance of obtaining a reasonably priced, fully working PAL 800 by networking on these forums, Facebook Atari groups, etc, than solely by scanning eBay for inflated 'Super Rare!' items. :)

 

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