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I believe from a biz sense, selling a keyboard extension cable is smart. Go to modern PS4 or XBOX store and observe the accessories. That is their gravy.

 

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Atari didn't sell the extension cable... Many people wanted one!

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9 hours ago, Sugarland said:

I believe from a biz sense, selling a keyboard extension cable is smart. Go to modern PS4 or XBOX store and observe the accessories. That is their gravy.

 

maxresdefault.jpg

 

Atari didn't sell the extension cable... Many people wanted one!

They were available within months of release of the system, though: I believe that Best Electronics sold them at the time. Before the XEGS became a modder's system, though, it just didn't offer enough for daily use and I never got around to getting one.

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3 hours ago, davidcalgary29 said:

They were available within months of release of the system, though: I believe that Best Electronics sold them at the time. Before the XEGS became a modder's system, though, it just didn't offer enough for daily use and I never got around to getting one.

 

Oh yes it can use a standard DB-15 PC game port extension cable that was likely available at the time. Still an Atari one would have sold well.

 

Same here already had a 130XE and 800XL and had just bought an Amiga 500. The thought of getting another A8 at that time was unthinkable. I saw many commercials for it and cringed a bit, face palming at FS II included. Now if they had included MULE or Ballblazer or Fractalus then that would have been awesome. However I should have reconsidered once the price dropped but never saw one in a store nor did I look.

 

 Currently have two. Got one a couple years ago from B&C and then got another that popped up on craigslist real cheap with the nice joystick and lightgun which I did not have. The latter xegs mostly works but sometimes it hangs on the blue screen on power on. Any ideas anyone?? What causes intermittent blue screen hang at power on? When it happens, power cycling it brings it back to life. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Sugarland said:

sometimes it hangs on the blue screen on power on. Any ideas anyone?? What causes intermittent blue screen hang at power on? When it happens, power cycling it brings it back to life. 

With mine that can happen too and I've often thought that there was some latching in the boot up process not triggering at power up, (caused by something like a spike that you would see if you turn an 8 bit on/off too quick). I have one where the power switch feels a bit more clunky (like there's not already enough clunk), so I'm of the opinion the on/off contact mechanism may not be contacting sufficiently.

 

6 hours ago, davidcalgary29 said:

though, it just didn't offer enough for daily use and I never got around to getting one.

It's horses for courses, back in the day it was my modded XL.  I now use a PC, so my 8 bits are for games.

 

2 hours ago, Sugarland said:

face palming at FS II included.

I was happy with my FS2 cart, instant loading for such a huge piece of code, and it was not some cheap offering.  (A cart release of MULE would have been impressive actually, that on a four port XEGS at launch).

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5 hours ago, Voxel said:

I was happy with my FS2 cart, instant loading for such a huge piece of code, and it was not some cheap offering.  (A cart release of MULE would have been impressive actually, that on a four port XEGS at launch).

Impressive in its day -- and yeah, nice to have disk titles on those XEGS carts -- but not a good launch title. Something with more mass appeal would have been more sensible. Flight Simulator II is more of a niche title. Not everybody is interested to learn all the controls (not that they're so difficult, but still...), and be patient while flying through miles and miles of practically nothing. It'd put most people to sleep...

 

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9 hours ago, Sugarland said:

Oh yes it can use a standard DB-15 PC game port extension cable that was likely available at the time. Still an Atari one would have sold well.

I noticed something when looking closely at the connector end. There are two slotted holes on the keyboard end that are designed to be caught by two nubs on the unit side connection (hopefully I got that in the right order). This was designed to lock in the cable, since the typical D-SUB thumbscrews and posts are missing. Does the PC game port extension cable incorporate something like that? Or for that matter did the official one that BEST used to sell have that locking system?

 

I thought it pretty ingenious, and something that would have been a welcome addition to the PCs back in the day.

 

Another thing I noticed was that the quality of the 'gold' XEGS motherboard is very good, and I had no problems with pads lifting when de-soldering chips. And although I can't speak for any other variations of the XEGS PCB, the stock composite video coming out of my gold motherboard appears to be superior to the composite on any other XL or XE system. And when installing a UAV, you will enjoy very clean (no jail bars) S-Video as well. It looks like who ever designed the PCB, did an excellent job of ground planing and isolating the digital circuits from the analog ones. When looking closely at the pads, each one is actually a teardrop shape, which probably explains the ease with which I was able to extract the chips without lifting the pads in the process.

 

Not real gold, but a goldish-brown color XEGS PCB

1405861022_XEGS-PCB-Brown-Bot.jpg.e1b1ab6d3ae129e92934c3e353357baf.jpg

 

BTW, for those that want an interesting twist on their XEGS, here's a link to a ROM file that can be burned into a 27C256 EPROM giving you Altirra Basic (faster than stock), Assembler/Editor in place of missile command game, and Hiassoft's Fast SIO routines which give you blindingly fast SIO2PC transfers.

 

Hint: Click on the arrow in the blue box at the upper right corner.

 

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3 minutes ago, mytek said:

I noticed something when looking closely at the connector end. There are two slotted holes on the keyboard end that are designed to be caught by two nubs on the unit side connection (hopefully I got that in the right order). This was designed to lock in the cable, since the typical D-SUB thumbscrews and posts are missing. Does the PC game port extension cable incorporate something like that? Or for that matter did the official one that BEST used to sell have that locking system?

This is the one I used to have. I can't recall if the side that plugged into the XEGS locked or not (maybe), but it certainly was a solid connection and never came loose.

 

939010697_extensioncable.thumb.jpg.b3a789b96ae49831dc42ac0ac6f922fd.jpg

 

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On 5/6/2020 at 12:20 PM, mytek said:

Its even nicer now, having been redesigned for a more compact and secure outcome.

TK-II-GS_installed1.JPG

TK-II-GS LINK

Another idea for using a PC keyboard with an XEGS would be to make the converter board without either connector, install it in the keyboard itself, and run a DA-15 cable out of the keyboard instead of the PS/2 cable. It'd be more work, but would be a pretty slick and transparent solution.

 

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43 minutes ago, MrFish said:

Impressive in its day -- and yeah, nice to have disk titles on those XEGS carts -- but not a good launch title. Something with more mass appeal would have been more sensible. Flight Simulator II is more of a niche title. Not everybody is interested to learn all the controls (not that they're so difficult, but still...), and be patient while flying through miles and miles of practically nothing. It'd put most people to sleep...

 

FS2 was one of those games where the magazine write-up made it sound exciting, so I bought the disk version.   Yeah you learn realistic flight controls which is coo, but yikes!  There's almost no scenery!   You see a wireframe that is supposed to be the Sears tower or Hancock building in Chicago and not much else, plus it ran at like 2fps.   Even Rescue on Fractalus with all its mountains had a better frame rate than that.

 

Hard to believe that would be the pack-in for a game system.    It's a sim, not a game!

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There's been a sudden uptick in interest in the 8-bit everyone supposedly hated.  I have always admired it.  Just wish I had picked up a new one when they came out fresh.  I missed their launch.  It must have been one of those periods where my interest in Atari faded.  It does that every so often, but I have never taken down my setup (much to my wife's chagrin).

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I recently interviewed a guy who worked on solen XEGS games. I was interviewing him for other reasons but I always pick up any video game history I can when talking to people. I'll publish what he said about it in some form.

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16 minutes ago, Gazimaluke said:

I recently interviewed a guy who worked on solen XEGS games. I was interviewing him for other reasons but I always pick up any video game history I can when talking to people. I'll publish what he said about it in some form.

That'd be great! Atari really put out some great games for the A8 line in 1987-89, and the efforts got better and better until they shuttered the Lombard division. I really just wish they had given the A8 a proper sendoff by releasing MIDIMaze as a boxed game.

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This is a great topic.. love the pics.. never knew about the gold mobo. I have two XEGS. One is PRISTINE with keyboard although as someone else said, the power key is kinda clunky feeling. The other one is almost in as good of shape - but it will not power on. I have not taken it apart to look for simpleton problems as I am ZERO good with electronics at the board level - but I suppose I should so I could have one modded and one unmodded XEGS. 

 

Hmmm. Or one heavily modded and one lightly modded. :)

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I just got a light gun and this topic came up when I was searching on how to calibrate it, as it basically only works at point blank range on the Atari SC1435 I have my VBXE'd 130XE connected to...

 

But now I'm going to have to look again at my XEGS to see if it does have a gold plated motherboard!  Wasn't paying attention to the bottom last time I cracked it open.  I also was thinking of putting in a U1MB, and perhaps the VBXE as well..., though I'd hate to have to modify the case.  And also now I'd like to find an extension for the keyboard, as for sure that hing is too stubby.  Isn't the 5200 controller also the same DB15 cable and something for that would work?

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On 5/7/2020 at 1:14 PM, davidcalgary29 said:

I don't know about that anymore. I think that the XEGS is the most stylish thing that Atari Corp. sold, and a refreshing change from the greige boringness of the XE/ST line. 

I second that thought.  Love the XEGS, colored buttons especially.

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3 hours ago, leech said:

Isn't the 5200 controller also the same DB15 cable and something for that would work?

It should work, that's what I use for my XEGS keyboard. Because of that, the XEGS is my A8 of choice for the living room since I can sit back on the couch and still have the keyboard handy.

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First post on Atari Age :) I had a 2600 and a VIC20 back in the day but got rid of them in the late 80's as I graduated college. I've had another 2600 for about 15 years stashed in a closet and bring it out every few years to see if it still works. I started playing with vintage Computers when the Pandemic hit. I got several Commodore variants and have been enjoying cleaning and restoring them. I also ended up with a working 800XL and a 1050 drive and have only mildly tinkered with it as most of my time as been on the Commodores.

 

I took my kids by a Video Game store over the weekend and spotted an XEGS in a cabinet for sale. It was complete with Keyboard, Lightgun, Grey Joystick, and both original cartridges. I did't know what it was. I researched the crap out of it when I got home and decided I 'needed' it :) I went back and tested it in the store and it worked. Its in good shape but very dirty. I need to take it apart and clean it. I also need to build another power supply as I won't trust the brick-of-death. I'll get an SD based storage device. I also want S-Video as it is SO good on the Commodores compared to Composite. The light Gun also needs some repro stickers made. 

 

Here it is currently in my office. I'll post back when I get it all cleaned up and working properly :) 

 

Scott

IMG_1655.jpg

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@mgas Congrats on the find! Nice that all the main components were still together. Even the grey joystick. Which power supply do you have? It is highly likely not to be one to worry about. Regardless, it's easy to build a power supply for Atari XL's and XE's just use a single 5V supply, so many phone chargers and router power supplies can be repurposed with by adapting the requisite DIN power connector.

 

Just NEVER EVER connect a C64 PSU to the Atari - it will fry most of the RAM, and if you're really unlucky other main IC's as well...

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I'm  not sure which model it is. I left it at work. I made one for my 800XL from a Raspberry Pi wall wart. It was a 5v 2A one I had. I was going to just order another one from Amazon and change the plug since the Atari only needs the 5V. I trust the modern switching one more than the old brick.

 

I've modified 3 Commodore bricks to have the power monitor/protector inline (Ray Carlsen design). I like seeing the current and voltage at a glance so I may make one for the XE but doubt it will get enough use to really justify it. I'm out of the old Futaba chargers I made the others from so I'll have to model and 3D print one if I do. More work....  :)

IMG_1657.jpg

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3 minutes ago, mgas said:

I'm  not sure which model it is. I left it at work. I made one for my 800XL from a Raspberry Pi wall wart. It was a 5v 2A one I had. I was going to just order another one from Amazon and change the plug since the Atari only needs the 5V. I trust the modern switching one more than the old brick.

 

I've modified 3 Commodore bricks to have the power monitor/protector inline (Ray Carlsen design). I like seeing the current and voltage at a glance so I may make one for the XE but doubt it will get enough use to really justify it. I'm out of the old Futaba chargers I made the others from so I'll have to model and 3D print one if I do. More work....  :)

IMG_1657.jpg

I bought one of these, I like it.  https://www.ebay.com/itm/224068469040

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11 hours ago, mgas said:

I also ended up with a working 800XL and a 1050 drive and have only mildly tinkered with it as most of my time as been on the Commodores.

 

I took my kids by a Video Game store over the weekend and spotted an XEGS in a cabinet for sale. It was complete with Keyboard, Lightgun, Grey Joystick, and both original cartridges. I did't know what it was. I researched the crap out of it when I got home and decided I 'needed' it :) I went back and tested it in the store and it worked. Its in good shape but very dirty. I need to take it apart and clean it. I also need to build another power supply as I won't trust the brick-of-death. I'll get an SD based storage device. I also want S-Video as it is SO good on the Commodores compared to Composite. The light Gun also needs some repro stickers made. 

 

IMG_1655.jpg

 

Congrats on the find!! Looks like a great setup.  Apparently the light gun doesn't work with LCD screens, only CRT's. The grey joysticks are rare. Dawn dish detergent and a sponge are gentle and clean the cases very well. The XEGS has a somewhat smaller cart slot than other A8's and you will find that modern (21st century) carts that use C64 cart shells will not fit well and will visibly scuff/scratch the sides of the cart slot. 🙁  A short cart extender would be nice but I don't know of one for uprights, only a long one for the 1200XL. The 800XL's are very nice. You'll find the XL easier to mod since they are much more likely to have socketed ic's and many are fully socketed. The 1050 is a great drive.

 

Here is a tutorial on how to use them:

 

 

 

 

Edited by Sugarland

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3 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

 

 The XEGS has a somewhat smaller cart slot than other A8's and you will find that modern carts that use C64 cart shells will not fit well and will visibly scuff/scratch the sides of the cart slot. 🙁  

 


 

 

 

 

There are some other cartridge extenders out there that might well work on the XEGS. And this problem is really limited to a few modern (ie. 21st century) homebrews, and not Atari's own cartridges or the vast number of third-party carts that were made for the system. :)

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:44 AM, MrFish said:

This is the one I used to have. I can't recall if the side that plugged into the XEGS locked or not (maybe), but it certainly was a solid connection and never came loose.

 

939010697_extensioncable.thumb.jpg.b3a789b96ae49831dc42ac0ac6f922fd.jpg

 

That's also a 5200 controller extension cord as well I currently use one with Big Sexy herself, so now I can use mine with the keyboard of the XEGS once I pick one up!!! Nice!!!

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Just fixed my other XEGS that has sat on a shelf collecting dust for 5 years, I didn't want to have to try and desolder anything on these fragile boards with the crappy equipment I have.
I was really surprised to find that the CPU and ANTIC were already socketed. Tested the CPU on my working XEGS and it was faulty. Replaced with a new CPU I had on hand and it's working!
Probably the easiest fix I've ever done. There were no signs of this one ever being opened up, the twist tags were unmolested and no flux or crappy solder on the board.

I just need to find a keyboard or build a TK II as I now have two working XEGS's and no keyboard 🙄

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