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LordVaderUK

Atari 800xl - bargain or steer clear?!

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Hi all,

Brand new to the forum, thinking of getting myself an Atari 8 bit to add to my collection of retro computing stuff (all Acorn so far...)

I’ve found an Atari 800XL on sale for £30. It comes with no cables or power supply, and is sold as not working - when connected up it apparently just gives a blank screen.

Does this sound like something that’s easily fixed, or are there a million things that could be the problem. I guess really I’m asking whether I should take a punt for £30 or run for the hills?!

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Posted (edited)

welcomes!
if no-one has been inside butchering things, the most common causes of blank screen include bad RAM, OS ROM or MMU

RAM chips can be bought, OS ROM and MMU can be burnt using an EPROM programmer.

 

display cables can be home-made and for power, the 800XL uses 5v 1a so many people use a USB source - there is a thread on here that goes into further detail

Edited by xrbrevin
typo

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Personally, if it was my first foray into a new system, I would rather get something that comes with everything you need to start in, especially a power supply (non-ingot in this situation), but also some carts, or tape player & tapes, disk drive or disks. It's easy to get enticed by these diamond in the rough fix-me-ups, but it can lead to buyer remorse.

 

But also you could be the type that will follow through and get it going! So, tough to give advice. Good luck!

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Posted (edited)

30.00 for a non worker is a bit steep especially if it comes with nothing, you don't mention any shipping cost, if its included that's better but as others have said you would be much better getting both a working machine and all the cables and PSU as inc shipping they will probably set you back 30.00 more (depending on the PSU size and weight). As for fixing it, as has been said, depends on if its just been found dead or had a novice inside trying to fix it..

 

I'd use caution with this one..

 

Btw, welcome to the forum, we all like to help..

 

Paul.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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I'd say if you don't know the workings of the system steer clear.

 

That's not because I want it ( I don't), it's because you'll be on your own and no matter how well meaning the advice you get from here, you do not have the experience to think on your feet with an Atari yet.

 

Always best to pay a little more for your first system so you can get familiar with what you have.

 

Remember most folks on this forum would have started with a working system first.

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for all we know, he could be an electrical engineer..!

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He's Lord Vader, he has electricity coming from his finger tips!

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Would love an 800XL project, only ever had one given to me years ago (1990's) not working and I skipped it 😭

never thought I would be back into it again, poor decision.

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Posted (edited)

Regret is a self torture you don't need.....What is done, is done unless you have a Delorean and know Doc Brown..

Edited by Mclaneinc

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Wow look at all the replies, thank you. I posted the same question on another Atari forum, which shall remain nameless, a week ago and got no replies at all. I’m staying here in future!

 

I am no electrical whizz and my soldering skills could definitely do with an application of the Force, so I think I’ll steer clear of this particular 800XL then.

 

Right now - understandably - there aren’t many on offer on eBay and the ones that are available are silly money. Unless anyone on here has a spare one they’re willing to sell to a newbie like me...? 🤔 

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If its made in Hong Kong the chips are socketed, which means easy repairs. If it’s made in Taiwan, the chips are probably partially or fully soldered to the motherboard, which is more work to repair.

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Was, not now.....I'm gone in to hoarder mode again :)

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I'd give you £30 for it if you don't manage to get it working 

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Posted (edited)

I’d try and negot down the price a bit but they are easily fixable if they have not been previously opened up and monkeyed with by the previous owner. Usually just needs a modern new power supply and replacement of a few ICs. What usually happens is the original power supply fails and someone plugs it in which overpowers the unit frying the RAM, OS, etc.  If it has a socketed motherboard you are in luck and it’s quick and easy. Non-socketed, if you know how to desolder and solder and have some basic tools and electronics knowledge also relatively easy quick fix usually . A8 parts/components can still be sourced and purchased new online and usually shipped within a week. The nice thing about the early Ataris is that they are made well and are non-miniaturized electronics so they are still accessible and serviceable by laymen non-engineers. I’d say grab it for parts at the very least. That’s why you have offers here for it already. Everyone who has a working A8, also has some parts machines. ;)

Edited by YSG2020
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Just wait for a better one, they appear all the time. You should be able to get an unboxed working unit for £40-50 ish depending on condition.

 

You should post something on the Marketplace wanted thread, lots of people are sat on multiple spares

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