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ACML

Atari 1200XL Club (a rare bunch)

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Using current totals from this forum's 1200XL Club, there are 389 units in the database.  If you accept that 110,000 were made, then 99.646% of the units produced are not accounted for.  Certainly there are more out there in the wild than 389, but how many are left that escaped the landfill?  At any given time, you can see 2-3 for sale on eBay, so new finds will continue to happen, but for how much longer?  Estate sales and thrift stores will continue to add small amounts,  but as every year passes, the likelihood that non-Atarians will identify these as junk and decide to just add another to the landfill.  Things that still amaze me about the 1200XL;

 

1)  To date, having dozens run through my hands, I've only seen one that was not serviceable. I've been able to revive every keyboard (100%) by removing the damn 1/4" x 2" piece of tape (oxidizes) and repaint the 9 fingers using BARE conductive paint.  Never had to replace a VLSI chip or a capacitor for that matter.  Outstanding build quality.  

 

2)  No one seems to have a plausible explanation as to why Atari left of the Chroma signal on the monitor jack.  The stock composite video is poor, but by applying Bob Woolley's ClearPic 2002, the video is awesome.  What's really perplexing is that the original 800 video was so good, why drop the ball on the new flagship machine?

 

Slightly off topic:

 

Now look at the C-64.  Some estimate that anywhere from 17 to 22 million were made, so given simple statistics, there should be hundreds of C-64s on eBay at any given time.  Why is this not the case?  Where did they all go?  My theory ties into build quality.  I think millions of C-64s are/were unserviceable to the extent that the owner just chucked them into the garbage.  Back to my point on the 1200XL's build quality.  So if Atari had not made the 1200XL of quality components and a very nice main board, just think how many fewer there would be today for us to enjoy. 

 

       

Edited by ACML

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I think the Atari build quality was fantastic.  I've bought 8 machines this summer:

 

1. 2X 800

2. 1X 400

3. 2X 800XL

4. 3X 1200XL 

 

I've had to replace two DRAM chips on one of the 800s (I think one of the chips was my fault, but the other was DOA), both of the keyboard mux/demux chips on one of the 800XLs (they were DOA), and of course all three of the 1200XLs needed the keyboard mylar repair you mentioned.  These particular machines were made between 1982 and 1984, so are 37 to 35 years old and are still working like the champions they are.  I've also bought two 810 and two 1050 disk drives.  All four drives work perfectly after clean up and lubrication.

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One could look at it as Pre and Post Tramiel build quality. Basically, by late 1984, quality was going down (general cost cutting), and 1985 was bad. I'm sure others might disagree with this generalization. I'm sure there are, for example, 1050's made in late 1985 that are just as good those made in early 84, but I think that has more to do with the original design specifications, and where the device was being built.

 

As for where is everything, I have wondered that myself.  And I've mostly come to the conclusion, landfill or buried in a box.  Commodore way outsold Atari, and even here in Commodore Land Pennsylvania, USA I find less Commodore gear than I do most other brands.

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I should think that there are still some boxed up units in attics or basements around the US, some of the Ebay items come from estate sales. Even if it means higher prices, I'd hope for fewer "vintage" items to be dumped as people are more likely to check Ebay prices before dumping. 

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13 hours ago, ACML said:

2)  No one seems to have a plausible explanation as to why Atari left of the Chroma signal on the monitor jack.  The stock composite video is poor, but by applying Bob Woolley's ClearPic 2002, the video is awesome.  What's really perplexing is that the original 800 video was so good, why drop the ball on the new flagship machine?

       

 

Because many of the original 400/800 designers did not work on the 1200XL? Genuinely asking. Was the 1200XL rushed to market? Seems so, in order to stay competitive. Atari was losing massive amounts of money by late '82. They couldn't afford to wait to work out all the bugs is my guess.

 

edit: OMG ctrl-z for undo on THIS forum and lost my entire post!

 

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I have my original 800, and my original 130xe from back in the day.  Over time I've acquired a bunch of 800xl's, many more 130xe's, and a couple of 400's.  But I only have one 1200xl.  For the most part,  the 1200xl works great, and other than the usual keyboard ribbon/connector mess that I fixed when I got it, it has no issues...except for one very annoying thing...  The video intermittently (but very frequently, like,  always) does this hiccup thing. I don't know the right way to describe it.  But it does it all the time and doesn't matter what video output I use,  it is always there.  I also can't find anything it seems related to (tried all video out options,  different cables, with cartridge,  without cartridge,  with sio connected and without,  with joystick plugged in and without,  etc.). It just always does it. 

 

I'd REALLY LIKE TO FIX THIS because I really like the 1200xl but it's just too annoying to use it this way, so I never do. 

 

This is a bad description I am sure,  so I need to take a video of it and post the behavior.   

 

Any clues what that could be? 

 

-Eric

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Always liked the build quality and styling of the XL range of computers and peripherals

Now let's look at the crappy C64 range it's piss poor

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I’ve got three 1200XL machines, but only one here handy at home. The other two are buried deep in storage. A few days ago was the first time I had ever even plugged in and turned on. I thought the video output quality was bad on my 800XL machines. I’ve read for years, err decades now, about the keyboard issues. Sure enough, about 1/4 aren’t functioning. 
 

The 1200XL is my favorite Atari 8 bit from a looks perspective. I hope to do some mild upgrades (keyboard repair, Ultimate 1MB, clearer video output of one flavor or another, SIO 5V). 
 

I’ve got a bunch of C64s, but haven’t messed with them in more than a decade. I did unearth a couple of 128s this summer. I’m going to set it up this autumn or winter at my cabin, along with the 1200XL, CoCo 3, and similar

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I do think it's a combination of few factors - C64s running hotter and needing heatsinks to survive into their old age, nasty power supplies like ingots, and sheer volume available that makes people less careful/caring for them. Buying "untested" Ataris vs C64s on eBay there is a MUCH bigger chance that the C64 is dead than any given 8-bit Atari...

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10 hours ago, tschak909 said:

My daily driver with a U1MB. It needs video circuit love..m4f81b8498a421d9f6bc33e298b78120d.jpg

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
 

 

That is SOOO sweet.....Great parenting there...Lovely little girl too...Well done that family..

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23 hours ago, ACML said:

 

2)  No one seems to have a plausible explanation as to why Atari left of the Chroma signal on the monitor jack.  The stock composite video is poor, but by applying Bob Woolley's ClearPic 2002, the video is awesome.  What's really perplexing is that the original 800 video was so good, why drop the ball on the new flagship machine?

I don't think there is any great mystery. From my experience, doing the Supervideo 2.1 (unique 1200XL version), they left the chroma signal unconnected at the last minute because they totally botched the 1200XL's unique chroma-boost circuit and decided to just bypass it in the end. SV 2.1 is the only video upgrade for the 1200XL that fixes as uses that botched circuit instead of bypassing it like all the others. It's the reason I highly recommend SV 2.1 for the 1200XL instead of any other video upgrade, including new ones on boards; because when the chroma boost circuit is fixed to work right, nothing else gives as sharp and rich of color on any other Atari. I wouldn't have my 1200XL with any other video upgrade, and it's far better than 800's great video too.

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On 9/30/2019 at 3:34 AM, Mrarkus said:

I do think it's a combination of few factors - C64s running hotter and needing heatsinks to survive into their old age, nasty power supplies like ingots, and sheer volume available that makes people less careful/caring for them. Buying "untested" Ataris vs C64s on eBay there is a MUCH bigger chance that the C64 is dead than any given 8-bit Atari...

I know of a stereo store that also sold C64 BITD. Quality was so bad that they would do burn-in testing before putting them out for sale, sometimes 75%+ of a shipment would be dead after overnight testing. This saved them having to deal with a lot of returns/customer complaints.

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On 10/15/2019 at 4:32 PM, BillC said:

I know of a stereo store that also sold C64 BITD. Quality was so bad that they would do burn-in testing before putting them out for sale, sometimes 75%+ of a shipment would be dead after overnight testing. This saved them having to deal with a lot of returns/customer complaints.

Is this why they sold so many?  Because people had to buy 2 or 3 each to get them to work right?

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9 hours ago, leech said:

Is this why they sold so many?  Because people had to buy 2 or 3 each to get them to work right?

It's a safe guess that the answer is yes that poor design and build quality contributed to higher sales figures. My C64 friends at the time told me stories like how a blown fuse would render the computer useless to those not knowing it even had one.

 

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3 hours ago, Sugarland said:

It's a safe guess that the answer is yes that poor design and build quality contributed to higher sales figures. My C64 friends at the time told me stories like how a blown fuse would render the computer useless to those not knowing it even had one.

 

My friend who had one, he had some wire hooked up to ground it or something, can't remember the details, also the load times were so terrible without a fast load cart...

Anyhow, I have joined the 1200XL club!  Same friend had found one at a thrift store way back when, but had gotten rid of it sadly when he had to move out of his parents house.  I will have to ask him again what he did with it, I think he pawned it rather than binning it.

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