Jump to content
IGNORED

R.I.P my Atari 800 XL Computer, 1983-2015.


Recommended Posts

First of all, this vintage computer has been in my family ever since 1983. It was a great entertainer in the 80's, even in this modern day to a few. I continued playing it as it was officially handed over to me last year from my father, who was the owner of the computer as a gift before he moved away. I cherished this gift, and I played it everyday. Today, I played my final cassette game with my family about guessing the states and capitals in the United States. We had great fun, and we got most of them right. Laughter and fun was in the room. This Atari 800 XL computer, as I have said before, was in my family as a great console since 1983. As you may know, these vintage/retro consoles are becoming hard to find, as prices on sites such as eBay are getting higher because of this. After the cassette program was taken out after much fun, we put in the killer application for the Atari 8-Bit computers, which was a game called Star Raiders. This cartridge has been used many times before, as I can easily believe it is the most played out of my collection. We, the five of us, took one turn playing the game as we virtually went through space and fought off space attackers. After everyone had their turn, the cartridge was taken out, after more fun and the laughter previously shared at States and Capitals. Another game cartridge was inserted into the console, which was Donkey Kong Junior (which is quite a hard game). Instead of seeing the game screen, I saw a "Self-Test". In confusion, we didn't know what to do. Then, I decided to see the Memory Test. After a test, I turned it back off and turned it back on with worry on my face. Still the same test. Instead of loading it's built-in BASIC (computing language on the Atari), we still saw the same screen. We repeated the process three times more, and yet there was nothing different except the same screen.


The computer was pronounced "dead" at 10:22 PM. There was nothing we could do. Why, you may ask. The simplest answer I can give you is that: We are not computer nerds, and we know nothing about this old technology. It was quiet as the lights were still on. Everybody else left the room, said their goodnight, and went to bed. I stayed in the room. For me, it was sorrowful as I had enjoyed playing it for years (I played it before it was actually mine) and the fun had stayed the same. For twenty-seven years, my Atari 800 XL did it's job in business and entertainment. The simple games such as Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, Defender, etc. had kept me coming to the single-buttoned joystick controller to play more games. Sometimes, it was the only gaming source I had. But it did me well, even though most would call it primitive. It may have been, but it was a unique system and a step forward in computer-technology. Right now, you may be thinking that I am a computer addict, but I am not. As I have said at the beginning of this paragraph, I am not a computer nerd nor am I a geek, but I can say nothing but to face reality and the fact that things get old, even ourselves as human beings, as well. I loved this old computer, and I even loved creating beautiful programs with the built-in Atari BASIC. Sadly and unfortunately, there were games that I had never tried before, such as a battle-simulation floppy disk which was called "The Battle of Antietam". It is very rare, and it is sad to think that I have never played it. I should've, but the only reason why is because I didn't have a certain cable to connect my Atari 1050 Disk Drive to the computer itself.


When the word "Atari" comes to mind, you may think of old, primitive, and retro video games. Probably the first console that will come to mind when you hear the word is the Atari 2600, because it was massively popular in the home in the early 80's. I think of the computer I had cherished, which was the Atari 800 XL, which was the most-sold of the Atari 8-Bit line, which had been in competition with the most-sold computer of all time, which was the Commodore 64 with over 17,000,000 sold. But when I hear "Atari" I think of a revolution in the video game industry and stepped up video games to the complicated entertainment of the new generation. It is because of Atari along with other companies such as Commodore and Apple that we have these great games in our home. In the early and mid-80's, it really couldn't get better than what Atari or Nintendo did. And that computer is an everlasting artifact of a revolution in the computer and the video game industry. Too bad a great company had to fall in the 90's, the decade just after Atari's terrific and well done success. My Atari 800 XL computer, which had been at work for twenty-seven years is now gone. But it's exterior appearance is still here, as well as it's memory (not the computer memory anymore) it has given us. It was a sad night because of this, but I must go on with those memories it has given me and my family since 1983. Even though I didn't grow up with this, it is still one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given. And what is better now is the memories it gave me. It was fun while it lasted. I try to remain cheerful, but my sadness is nearly crushing it down. I am happy it even happened and it still worked to this day, but it is sad to see it go. This computer made me into the person I am today. This experience was great.


...Tears flow into my eyes as I type this, yet I wish not to weep.

---

In review, my Atari 800 XL vintage home computer stopped working today after 27 years.


(Sorry it's so long!!)


:(

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

if it's going to self-test - then it is repairable. I understand that you'll not consider it "the same machine" if you have to replace parts...but at it's heart it will still be the same Atari 800XL.....

 

btw - you undersell the time you've had the machine 1983-2015 + 32 years (not 27 years)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Two sets of words, one, they are never gone as long as you remember them, this is how I think of my mother who died in 2001...She's still in my thoughts so she's still with me..

 

The other being that 'old tech' has its great advantages, ie its often very simple to repair and a bonus is that many many XL's are socketed so it really can be a simple as advice, ordering a chip and pushing it in and bingo the XL is back in the game.

 

And even better for you there's all these really nice tech people her on AtariAge who can help you analyse the exact fault and tell you how easy it is to fix.

 

Your XL is not gone, its merely resting...

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great run for an old machine!

 

But as the others say, it's probably repaired fairly easily. If the self-test screen appears and the tests run, you can probably narrow down the problem(s) pretty quickly. My guess is it's going to be something like a bad OS ROM (which would explain the fact that it won't boot to BASIC), or perhaps a low block of RAM, maybe both. Run the tests, post a photo of the screen and description of what you see/hear. People here will be able to help. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And while you're on here, make sure you don't have an ingot power supply! I doubt it's the cause of the problem if you do, usually when they fail they REALLY break the machine...

 

But anyway, the ingot power supplies are known to fail in such a way that they usually take out the computer with it, to a totally nonfunctioning state, not even selftest. So if you have one, get a new PSU.

 

Anyone have a link to a picture for the OP?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No, but I'll try that tomorrow. I forgot to mention there is one person in my family (not me) who is good at old and modern technology.

Thanks for that obvious advice. I can't believe I never thought about that...

Yeah, I mean at least you're getting a self test screen. My original 800xl had the black screen of death (and an ingot power supply). I just ordered a few 256k drams off ebay, popped them in to place and the old girl was back to life. Someone should be able to fix one that is working as much as yours is. May just need Life-Flight. Just gots to hang on!!!!!!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

UPDATE:

 

I tried to locate some errors or problems today. After awhile of constant attempts of revival, I got a different screen. It loaded back to the built-in BASIC screen as if it were brand new. I was pretty sure it was repairable. Thanks for the support you gave; you guys are wonderful. Still going on in perfect condition - even after 27 years of use. :)

 

And yes, Keatah, it resurrected and I will have a repair party (by myself, of course)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good to hear that it works again. To make sure it keeps working, you may want to carefully open it up and push down on all socketed chips to make certain they are not loose. Sometimes time, heating/cooling cycles, and vibration can cause them to lift in their sockets. Pushing them down can also wipe clean oxidation that may have formed on the pins.

 

Pay particular attention to the MMU C061618 and the RAMs.

 

Also, if I read correctly, you are missing the SIO cable to your disk drive. They are easily available from B&C, Best, and other sources. Disk software opens up many new possibilities. There are memory upgrades, hard drives, other items too numerous to mention...

 

Keep learning about what your Atari can do, and you'll be amazed.

 

:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since you have an INGOT power supply you should stop using it and get a replacement, at least check the output voltage(should be around 5.0V, max 5.25V), these tend to fail over-voltage and damage chips. I had one fail in the late 80s and it was around 8.5V, this blew the 41256 RAM chips(ICD RamboXL upgrade).

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I ended up with some power supplies a while back, but have not tested them yet. My late friend did test them years back when he put them away, so they are probably still good. I think there are one or two 'ingots' in the group, so those will be disposed of properly. Any ideas on what are the best supplies to use? Also, I was going to suggest pressing on the chips to resocket them as well, but someone already beat me to it. Sometimes it's amazing how they work loose.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...