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StickJock

Just got my Incognito in. Noob question:

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So I just got my Incognito in, so Lotharek must be shipping!  WooHoo!

 

I was all excited thinking that I have a new project to do this weekend, but then I realized that I haven't received my CF to SDmicro adapter yet.  I know, I should have ordered it from Lotharek at the same time, but at the time I was still planning on using a CF card.  It was when I realized that I didn't have a reader that I decided to go with the adapter.

 

Anyway, is it worthwhile to go ahead and install the Incognito (it looks so cute compared to the original Personality Card!) before I have any media to use on it?  Would I still be able to use the 800 effectively? 

 

I got the retro-bug and I have recently been going hybrid-old-school - I have been booting SpartaDos 1.something (1986 version from when I got my US Doubler - the one that works on the 800) from an SDMax, and have been using the 1982 disk based version of Mac/65 to do some coding on the 800.  I assume that I would still be able to do this with a media-less Incognito?  Even better would be to boot to SpartaDos on the Incognito and use a RAMdisk for my development like I used to do in the 80s on my 320XE, saving files off to the SDMax.  I suppose that I could just use the 320XE for development like I did BitD, but there is just something about the 800....  Besides, I've been meaning to take the 320 apart and put the pieces out in the sun to de-yellow.  The case doesn't really show any yellowing, but several of the keys are severely yellowed!

 

I would also need to snag a button off of some random scrap PCB as I didn't think to order one.  I guess just I assumed that the button, LED & wires shown in the installation guide came with it, even though there is no mention of them on the description page.  Totally my fault.

 

But anyway, back to the topic at hand:  Should I go ahead and install the Incognito this weekend, or wait for my adapter to arrive (from AliExpress...)? 

 

 

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My opinion is: it depends.

 

If you intend to do the "canonical" ATR swap button installation and modify the power board to add and HDD activity LED and turn the existing translucent light pipe into an LED, it might be more efficient to do it all at once. The 800 is kind of a beast to disassemble for the installation, and if you later take the whole thing apart to do the power board mod, you're almost doubling the total time spent.

 

On the other hand, if you want to experiment with SpartaDOS X, multiple OS ROMs, expanded memory, etc., there's no harm in doing what you can do now and then finalizing things later. 

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If I were to do it this weekend, I would scavenge a button from something else.  I've got LEDs, although the ones that are less than 40 years old are mostly 3mm.  But what color should I use? 

Of the newer LEDs, I have red, green, yellow, blue  & white.  I also have some 3mm bi-color LEDs in Red/Green.  Both common anode & common cathode. 

 

I could replace both LEDs on the board with a bi-color red/green LED so that both are lit red all the time with power (so it looks even more OEM and not unbalanced).  The green pins would be lifted & connected to the wire.  I think this mod would mean that there is no trace cutting needed on the power board.  Hmm....  I would have to do a test to see what they look like with both colors lit up at the same time.  I currently have one on my SDMax connected to the Rx & Tx lines, so they blink red on writes & green on reads.  Unfortunately, since even reads have to be prefaced by a write to the Uno (it's Rx/Tx to the device, not to the "disk"), reading the virtual disk still has a bunch of quick red blips in a mostly green state.  Anyway, it's an idea that may appeal to those who don't like the thought of cutting traces on the power board.

 

But then again, if I understand correctly, I really couldn't test out the ATR button functionality without media on the Incognito, right?

 

 

Edited by StickJock

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I used new smaller LEDs, red for power and green for HDD. However, there's a caveat - I discovered that the Incognito was not able to drive the HDD LED, maybe because I used a green one and the forward voltage was too high. However, thanks to a tip I saw from the Atari 8-bit Computers group on Facebook, I removed the tiny SMD HDD LED on the Incognito itself and now my newly-installed green LED works perfectly. 

 

As for the button, I have dozen of the appropriate little momentary contact switches around from various Arduino projects and building 5200 thumbstick controllers, which my business partner and I were doing last winter. So I took one of those to use for the ATR swap switch.  

 

If I was anxious to get going, I'd just order a Sandisk CF card and reader from Amazon. In fact, I did order the card I'm using in mine, though I had a few older CF card readers around the house that work fine.

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9 minutes ago, Sugarland said:

The LED's and tunnel are beautiful and perfect as stock. Machine is worth more that way too.

If the canonical button mod is done properly and you stick with dual red LEDs, the machine looks stock aside from the light conductor sitting about 1mm taller in the tunnel. I'm having a hard time believing that an 800 with Incognito and a well-executed ATR button mod is worth less money than a stock machine to most enthusiasts.

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the reason why the button light tunnel mod is so cool, is that it restores button function (though not the same function) to the 800 that was intended in the first place. It's part of why the mod is so cool, and for the most part reversible if you want to yank your incognito.

 

I suppose if there were a museum quality Atari involved it would be hermetically sealed and untouched in any way. If a person were to add the network serial / printer I/O board back on the left side... would that make the computer worth less? I should think it would be worth more... It's subjective. Some people would pay more for both to be on their Atari...

Edited by _The Doctor__
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8 hours ago, Sugarland said:

The LED's and tunnel are beautiful and perfect as stock. Machine is worth more that way too. 

 

Well, If we start off from actual SALES on eBay (my personal or those I have tracked along), numbers and buying-patters seem to support you.

 

As soon as you can show your unit is in essentially clean / unaltered condition, you pretty much get most of the attention (and even more with higher prices, up to a point, where price-elasticity pretty ends). One of the primary reasons is that these "custom" installs usually never follow any standard of quality, and it is a lottery as to what you will get, at the end of the day. In the same token, if you sell an upgrade, and you can show it was very well installed (clean, / thorough or easily reversible), you may also get plenty of attention for it.

 

But one thing that 99% of the folks out there seem to miss, is that, when performing these upgrades, it is of strategic value to reduce or eliminate unnecessary dependance on other (non-upgrade-related) system components. That is, if you enable your .ATR switch button by making it part of the Power-Board on the 800 (which is a prime candidate for substitution over time / use), once you have to remove the board, there goes your .ATR button too, and you will have to do it all over again, on the new board.

 

In any case, and as we have already seen before, it is simply a matter of preference, and how much of a frequent / real user of the HW you are.. Some people do really care about the intrinsic value of the HW, and others will never sell it.

Edited by Faicuai
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I finally got my microSD to CF adapter, and am ready to install my Incognito.  And now I have another issue - I don't have a 3-pin connector to plug into P6.  I found a 4-pin connector of the right pitch (from a CPU fan), but it won't fit next to the 6-pin connector on P5.  It is too thick.

 

Can someone recommend a place to get one cheap & fast?  Maybe Amazon?

 

Thanks!

 

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57 minutes ago, StickJock said:

I finally got my microSD to CF adapter, and am ready to install my Incognito.  And now I have another issue - I don't have a 3-pin connector to plug into P6.  I found a 4-pin connector of the right pitch (from a CPU fan), but it won't fit next to the 6-pin connector on P5.  It is too thick.

 

Can someone recommend a place to get one cheap & fast?  Maybe Amazon?

 

Thanks!

 

You can probably just bend the header pins enough to plug both connectors in.

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6 hours ago, StickJock said:

I finally got my microSD to CF adapter, and am ready to install my Incognito.  And now I have another issue - I don't have a 3-pin connector to plug into P6.  I found a 4-pin connector of the right pitch (from a CPU fan), but it won't fit next to the 6-pin connector on P5.  It is too thick.

 

Can someone recommend a place to get one cheap & fast?  Maybe Amazon?

 

Thanks!

 

Are you comfortable making Dupont connectors yourself? If so, a kit like this will allow you to make male and female connectors with from 1 to about 6 pins. You will also need a crimp tool

 

If you’re not comfortable making connectors, you can instead buy a set of pre-made wires with various combos of male and female connectors. You simply peel away however many conductors you need for the wire bundle you’re making. 

 

 

 

 

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