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ApolloBoy

“Computer Orthoptics” 65XE variation

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Recently while browsing eBay I came across this odd “Computer Orthoptics”-branded 65XE, which I have never seen before and a search turned up nothing but the eBay listing I found.


So out of curiosity I wound up buying it! I think it’s most likely just a regular 65XE with a different badge, but I will be doing a teardown just to see if there’s anything different. My guess is that this was paired with special software for eye care providers to use with patients...

 

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Just curious where did you find this listed? Did it turn up with a Atari computer search?

 

And then I wonder if it had a more reasonable price than if it were a standard marked 65XE, since people might not have recognized it as such like you did.

 

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I was just looking around for A8 games by searching “Atari computer” and this was one of the results. I got it for $85 shipped so not much more than the typical going price for a 65XE.

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Yeah, I found the same thing.  I almost ordered it because A) I don't have a 65XE, and B) thought it was odd.  Did it come with any software?  Wonder if it has any custom bios or anything.  Pretty weird.

Reminds me of the Jag shell that was made into a Dental thing.

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2 minutes ago, leech said:

Yeah, I found the same thing.  I almost ordered it because A) I don't have a 65XE, and B) thought it was odd.  Did it come with any software?  Wonder if it has any custom bios or anything.  Pretty weird.

Reminds me of the Jag shell that was made into a Dental thing.

No software unfortunately, just the computer by itself. Like I said, I’m pretty sure it’s a standard 65XE but I’m not ruling out the possibility it’s got a custom OS. I’m kind of hoping to be pleasantly surprised!

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I had seen this as well.... and I believe it is a stock computer and it was coupled with software for doing certain optical tests for patients.

I'm guessing they just put a sticker over part of that Atari sticker.... and that is probably the extent of the difference between it and a stock one.

Let us all know if you find out otherwise.

 

First time I'd seen one of these too.  While I have several model Ataris, I'm not on a quest to own one of each time, so I wasn't in the bidding 🙂

 

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Speaking of strange XE computers, and not to derail this conversation, but does anyone remember what the black XE's were used for?  I can't remember if it was for TV/Video character scrolling or something else, but I know there is a strangely named company that used black plastic XE's for something.

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4 minutes ago, kheller2 said:

Speaking of strange XE computers, and not to derail this conversation, but does anyone remember what the black XE's were used for?  I can't remember if it was for TV/Video character scrolling or something else, but I know there is a strangely named company that used black plastic XE's for something.

I'd love a black XE. 

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Wouldn’t you know it, I just got an email back from the president of Home Therapy Systems, which I assume is Computer Orthoptics’ parent company. He told me that they did not have a partnership with Atari, so it sounds like they simply only purchased them from Atari. 
 

What really got me is that he mentioned that these 65XEs were modified with a jumper so that their software would only work on their modified computers, not on a stock 65XE. 
 

This news has me even more interested in doing a teardown and seeing where this jumper is.

 

EDIT: Thinking about this more, I’m wondering if their software came on cartridge or disk. I suppose the teardown might help reveal the answer to that...

Edited by ApolloBoy
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XE's are easy - 4 screws, 6 ish shield tabs. And you're in. Look forward to seeing what's inside, but highly likely not much hehe.

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Okey doke, this thing finally arrived in the mail today and I just got through doing my teardown and testing. Here are my observations along with some pics...

 

First thing I noticed was of course the "Computer Orthoptics" badge. Looking closer, it confirmed what I've suspected in that it's simply a sticker slapped over the standard 65XE badge. Obviously I didn't peel it back to see if that was the case, and plus the sticker is actually nicely printed. I also noticed a piece of masking tape on the side with the serial number handwritten on it. I'm guessing this was done by whatever office previously owned it, and I've also let this be since it's distinctive. The whole machine is in very nice physical shape, with practically no yellowing and only a thin layer of dust over everything.

 

Internally this appeared to be a plain jane 65XE, no modifications that I could see. That is, until I took the motherboard out and noticed a small piece of wire hand-soldered between two pins on the GTIA. I'm positive this is the jumper that was mentioned in that email, and it appears to be soldered between 5V and T2 (pins 3 and 10) on the GTIA. IIRC, the T2 input is only used on the 400 and 800 since those machines have four controller ports and hence this pin would normally be unused on the XL/XE machines. My guess is that the special cartridges that came with this check to see if T2 is tied to 5V, and if not, they won't boot. Very interesting.

 

I tested it with a few cartridges and my 1050, and it appears to be working perfectly. The keyboard and RAM check out as well. No special BIOS either so it boots straight to BASIC and can go to the self-test like any other 65XE. I didn't take any pictures of me testing it because well, you get the idea.

 

Also this appears to have been manufactured in early 1985, I thought the 65XE wasn't released in North America until 1986? Hm...

 

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Edited by ApolloBoy
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Very nice, kind of regret not pulling the trigger on it.

Is there any differences at all between a 130XE and a 65XE except the RAM?  It is one of the few I do not own (another one being a 1200XL, which I should get one...)

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10 minutes ago, leech said:

Is there any differences at all between a 130XE and a 65XE except the RAM?

Yes, one. This is first version of 65XE - no ECI port. As in my first 65XE, also from Taiwan.

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Ah.  You would think it would have just been cheaper for Atair to make them all exactly the same, just with different memory amounts included. 

Then again, the 8 bits had a wide variety of keyboards too.  Pretty sure the two 800s I have use different key caps even.  Much like with your XE, I just said 'let's see what random mods are done here...' to the 1200XL that was on eBay.  Looks like it has a PBI already in it for one, and some mystery switch.

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10 hours ago, Nezgar said:

Looks like a bone-stock 65XE inside to me.

It pretty much is, the only internal difference I see is that jumper wire between pins 3 and 10 on the GTIA.

 

I also recently cleaned this up and completely disassembled the keyboard which was surprisingly filthy with weird gunk in some of the keys. Aside from a few scuffs here and there it looks great now, I’ll see if I can post a couple pics later.

Edited by ApolloBoy

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1 minute ago, ApolloBoy said:

It pretty much is, the only internal difference I see is that jumper wire between pins 3 and 10 on the GTIA.

Ah right. So that sends Vcc to T2, making it register as if the 3rd joystick trigger is pressed all the time. There is no port for Joystick 3 & 4 on XL/XE's, so it shouldn't affect most software - so the software designed for this probably has a protection checks for that to prevent it from running on a stock Atari...

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1 minute ago, Nezgar said:

Ah right. So that sends Vcc to T2, making it register as if the 3rd joystick trigger is pressed all the time. There is no port for Joystick 3 & 4 on XL/XE's, so it shouldn't affect most software - so the software designed for this probably has a protection checks for that to prevent it from running on a stock Atari...

That was exactly my thought too. I’d really like to get ahold of at least one of the carts it originally came with...

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