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Problem with Beloved Atari 800

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Hi - I'm new to the forum. I live in England. I have had my Atari 800 since 1981 and its worked flawlessly. Until now.


It is recently developed a problem - there is a system crash a few seconds after boot. This happens whether there is a cartridge in left slot (e.g. BASIC, game) or none (i.e. Memo Pad). In Memo mode, the screen initializes and then - accompanied by the keyboard beep - characters appears on the screen before it crashes. I believe the keyboard beep is significant - does it point to a problem with the keyboard? If so, how do I diagnose and fix?


I appreciate any help or pointers to other resources. Thank you.

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Does it sound like the C: loading beep as if you held start down?


If so, I would say OS ROM corruption. Not stuck start button because that wouldn't explain the extraneous characters you describe.


Remove and replace the chips on the Personality Module (10K ROM). That will help wipe any built up oxide from the pins and sockets. You should also ensure that the contacts on the bottom of the card are shiny and clean. If not clean, gently use pencil eraser to shine them.

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May as well do the edge connectors as well - use contact cleaner or isopropyl alcohol, wipe on the contacts then wipe off with lint free cloth. Then apply some and insert/remove into it's slot a couple of times to get the internal contacts on the slot.

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