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XEGS Basic keeps locking up?

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Hi all,


I am extremely new to Atari 8-bits. I just received a XEGS from B&C yesterday, hooked it up last night, and everything seemed fine. Today, I started messing around in Atari Basic that comes included when one attaches a keyboard. I was running through some of the exercises in the XEGS keyboard manual, and for the first half hour, everything was going great. I stepped away from the XEGS for about 10 minutes to attend to something, and when I came back, the XEGS was cycling through different colors, which I assume is a screen saver of some sort.


Anyway, after that, the Basic on the XEGS kept glitching (as in showing characters/symbols on the screen I did not input) and then outright locking up with no sound, no cursor, and no way to clear the screen. I have to turn the power on and off to reset the Basic on the XEGS, and then it works for a few minutes but then starts the same problems again. I did the self test and both ROM rectangles turn "green," all 48 of the RAM squares are "green," and Missile Command plays fine. Right now, I have turned off the XEGS, unplugged the keyboard, and unplugged the AC Adaptor from the wall. Any thoughts on what is going on with my Basic? B&C has a 90 day warranty, but I was curious if this is common, or if I need to send back to Bruce? Any ideas of troubleshooting appreciated!

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It's either the rom, or one of the smaller support chips. Basic accesses the first part of the ram, so it may still be that. Open it up and pull out the mobo and request another one with socketed ram. He knows the XEGS have faulty ( MT ) ram. The other known problem is the start, select...switches go out sooner than they should. You may want to look into getting the XE touch keyboard mod from best electronics if you plan on using it often.

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Yes the coloured screen thing is a built-in screensaver :)


No idea what's broken, but typically when fixing things you need to determine which part is blown and the de-solder and replace it.

If you don't diagnose, you'll end up guessing and possibly replacing every part until you find the one that's damaged.

Trouble with the XEGS consoles is that most chips are not socketed, so you have your work cut out for you desoldering the chips first, in order to solder sockets in.


If you're new to Atari, and you've just picked up some old second hand kit - then Best Electronics should be your first port of call.

Aside from a few things, B.E. seems to have all the spare parts you could want.


Second port of call should be Lotharek if you're thinking of modding the Atari or using modern devices on it.

Chances are, to fix the XEGS, you'll need to mod it anyway.

If it is the ROM chip or MMU that's busted, installing an Ultimate 1MB memory card should fix the problem :) in addition to making the XEGS a LOT more powerful.

If not, I'm sure somebody who has done the upgrade will have their old XEGS OS ROM and MMU to sell.

If you use the keyboard a lot, the Best Electronics can sell you a brand new XE keyboard if you want, as well as Best Touch rubber cups that make the keyboard better to type on, and replacement Mylar in case any of the keys are not working.


If it's RAM, you can get replacement parts from around the web - or perhaps ripping them out of an old Commodore 64C (heh!).

Yes, the MT brand RAM has a bad habit of dying. I fixed an second hand Apple IIe that had 4 of those ICs blown on it.

Edited by Neo-Rio
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After ten minutes or so they all start shifting various colors about as a screen saver, it's called ATTRACT mode and not really an issue. Pressing a key restarts the timer.


Very little to be done fixing a completely soldered in machine such as yours but one thing that may be done is to piggyback onto your current clock IC, U9 which is a 74LS08 AND logic chip with a newly purchased 74HCT08 AND chip. You just pinch the legs on the new one and press fit it down onto the one you already have and give it go then. If the issue is resolved then you might want to solder it's legs onto the old or even remove the weak one from the motherboard, but this last part isn't really necessary.


Sucks that it happened so quickly for you, but that's really old hardware there and stuff does happen. If you can get some relief from the seller then by all means do that. No it's not common at all, what is common is that they work day in and day out and never go sideways. Yet on occasion something like this does happen, since it's so new to you I would see what B&C will do for you first. It puts this issue all on him, but he's better equipped to fix it anyway. Contact them first by email perhaps and see what/how they want go about resolving the 90 day warranty, each company will want it done their way.

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Thanks for the input, guys. Sounds like my best option is to contact Bruce at B&C to see what he would like for me to do. Yes, on his eBay listing for the XEGS, he offers a 90 warranty on it. Thankfully! I do not feel comfortable opening it up and poking through it, so I will wind up having to send it back to him. Man, and I was just getting started! :)

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