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Raven
December 10th, 2009, 05:01 AM
I know absolutely nothing about any Atari machine besides the 2600, 5200, and 7800. I have only ever used a 2600. I have an Atari 800XL with no cables, no carts, no nothing. What exactly is this (I'm aware it's more of a "computer" than a console, and I think there's a disk drive attachment one can get), and what do I need to get it functional?

I've actually had this laying around for a while, but my lack of parts for it has kept experimenting prohibited - perhaps I can buy what I need after xmas.

ahm
December 10th, 2009, 05:59 AM
It's an 8-bit computer (6502 CPU) with built-in BASIC.

At a minimum, you need a power supply "and a cable to connect it to your TV.
The RCA jack on the computer puts out RF (not composite video) so you connect it to your TV's antenna jack.
I use a long video cable, RCA male on both ends and an adapter ("F" to RCA female Radio Shack part #278-255).

Have fun.

carlsson
December 10th, 2009, 06:26 AM
Here is the Atari 8-bit FAQ, last updated February 2009:
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/atari-8-bit/faq/

It should answer a lot of your questions including those you yet didn't think of asking. For example you are quite lucky that the Atari 800XL only requires 5V DC, about 1.5A is a good figure. It means you have plenty of options to hack together your own power supply unless you can find an original one at a decent price. Just look up the pinout and steal 5V + ground from an old IBM PC power supply or similar you may have around.

Raven
December 10th, 2009, 07:41 AM
It's an 8-bit computer (6502 CPU) with built-in BASIC.

At a minimum, you need a power supply "and a cable to connect it to your TV.
The RCA jack on the computer puts out RF (not composite video) so you connect it to your TV's antenna jack.
I use a long video cable, RCA male on both ends and an adapter ("F" to RCA female Radio Shack part #278-255).

Have fun.

Ah that makes sense, I should be able to rig up a simple adapter to test if it works with just the stuff sitting around.

As for a PSU, can you give me the specs on it (nvm, read next post)? It uses the same connector as a C64 PSU, any chance it's compatible?

carlsson
December 10th, 2009, 08:18 AM
No, despite both use a DIN style connector they are not compatible. Actually the C64 has 5V and ground on two of its pins, but you would need to look up which is which. Besides it also has a 9V AC line you probably don't want to feed your Atari.

Although the Atari 800XL uses a 7-pin DIN, I think a 5-pin connector should work just as well as the voltage and ground are duplicated on the pins. Perhaps the laws of electricity limits how much current you can pull through each wire which is why you would need 5V on several parallel pins instead of just one. Then again the mentioned C64 can draw 5V 1.5A through just one wire, while an Atari seems to require 2-3 wires to do the same?

Raven
December 10th, 2009, 08:29 AM
No, despite both use a DIN style connector they are not compatible. Actually the C64 has 5V and ground on two of its pins, but you would need to look up which is which. Besides it also has a 9V AC line you probably don't want to feed your Atari.

Although the Atari 800XL uses a 7-pin DIN, I think a 5-pin connector should work just as well as the voltage and ground are duplicated on the pins. Perhaps the laws of electricity limits how much current you can pull through each wire which is why you would need 5V on several parallel pins instead of just one. Then again the mentioned C64 can draw 5V 1.5A through just one wire, while an Atari seems to require 2-3 wires to do the same?

Even if, you can split the wires provided (if my electronics knowledge serves me) that the amperage on each line isn't too high for the one input line that you're splitting to handle.

Since it's 5v, maybe I'll feel adventurous and power it via USB or something. :P

NathanAllan
December 10th, 2009, 09:22 AM
HA, usb doesn't have the amperage for it, but that sure would be neat.

Do NOT use the C= power supply, it will fry that little Atari, happened to lots of people before. Easiest (cheapest) is to use an unused PC power supply, you can get the pinout from pinouts.ru, great site.

When you need carts I have a few extras of a couple-few titles, happy to trade.

Another great thing you'd might consider is a usb programmable flash cart, they're for sale from atarimax.com (though the built-in collector will want the carts). I still want an atarimax cart.

Have fun!

Nathan

AB Positive
December 18th, 2009, 08:13 AM
I'm new here - nathanallan got me here from AtariAge...

But the 800XL is my favorite in the A8 line - lots of socketed chips, easier (relatively) to upgrade... good times. As for what it 'is' - think of an Atari 5200 only with more power and easier to work with. :)

Disk drives are great but where nathan showed you above, you can also get what's called a SIO2PC adapter. Basically, plug it into the serial or USB port of your choice, run the APE software that's also on the site and any disk image you can find gets loaded to the A8 at 3X speed.

If you go that route - look up the game Alternate Reality: The City for the atari 800, you'll thank me later.

NathanAllan
December 18th, 2009, 08:34 AM
Glad to have you here :) vintage-computer a a great place and forum, lots of very smart people here. I can honestly say I got my early education here and (now gone) obsoletecomputermuseum.

A fun game is Basketball. Well, I like it. Fun little cart based game, grea tto have to kill time. Imho Atari Writer would be a must-have. Hey, it's common and you can write letters if you have a printer.

AB Positive
December 18th, 2009, 08:36 AM
If it's got fun... it's gotta be better than Baseball :D

barythrin
December 18th, 2009, 09:01 AM
Maybe it's just the 800 not the 800xl but I thought it didn't have basic built-in? So for my 800 the first thing I had to do was go find a basic cart for it.

Probably the main peripherals would be joysticks, floppy drive, and/or tape drive. Kinda depends what you end up finding for it game format wise or what you'd like to use. There's also assembly cartridges for it for programming 6502 assembly.

They're fun systems. I wasted a lot of time trying to see if I could debug a cartridge or dump it to tape/floppy. Never figured it out myself although I'm sure it's possible.

AB Positive
December 18th, 2009, 09:21 AM
800 = BIG box, no BASIC built in and 4 joystick ports at the front of the machine. It's also more Cream colored than anything.

800XL = Smaller, flatter, only one cart-slot, only two joystick ports on the side, and a mostly Black-with-Cream color scheme. Oh - and BASIC built in, of course. :)