New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

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seastalker
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New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby seastalker » Sun May 15, 2016 5:33 pm

Hello all! I got a steal on an untested "As-is" 800xl. I bought a German made mobile phone type power supply (looks MUCH better than the orig. 80's brick) and the XL power light came on! Waiting on a Scart cable and Panlong HDMI adapter to test if the XL fully works, and with the best video output. OK, a XRGB-mini AND lucking out this XL can do RGB would be the best.

The XL was to be converted to a USB keyboard (and maybe use with a MIST FPGA) but not if it works. If I see a BSOL (blue screen of LIFE, haha) and the word 'Ready' then I sure will be. :) Getting software files onto it is the next step, then upgrades. The choices seem to be:

1. using a PC as a 1050 disk drive via a SIO-to-USB - This looks clunky and requires more electrical power.
2. SIO-to-SD - Pricey and user interface looks less convenient.
3. A Flash-Cart solution with SD - This seems the best from the standpoint of aesthetics, electric power, cost, and simplicity.

Which one is the latest and greatest? I've seen the Side 2 Cart, Atari Max, and a really impressive YT video for The!Cart. I like the google-like search feature of the latter. Some carts seem to also have extra RAM built in which I'm guessing negates the need for ram hardware modding?

Lastly- devices for the parallel interface look like mostly unneeded fluff for me. As for SIO, I don't plan on getting a burn printer, and a 1050 disk drive would be moot unless I housed a mini PC in its case for file transfer. So correct me if I'm wrong, but the whole 800xl experience can be replicated just by loading software off a flash cart? If so, what modding is left for making the best XL? Stereo sound? RAM? Better RGB video?

It'd be awesome for Lotharek or someone to find a way to make a parallel or SIO adapter that was plug and play to make the Atari 800xl connect as a USB or wireless keyboard. Is that technically possible?

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby Atari030 » Sun May 15, 2016 11:32 pm

SIO to USB/serial is easy. I have a server set up that does the job for that, ferrying files between SD etc, etc sounds like a PITA to me. Basically you are just talking about emulating a disk drive, or multiples there of. So, it comes down to what is convenient for you.

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby Mindthreat » Mon May 16, 2016 10:55 am

Yep, indeed SIO2USB is the way to go! Have a quick lookup on Google for Lotharek SIO2PC Atari
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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby seastalker » Mon May 16, 2016 3:49 pm

Thanks for the input! I'm heavily researching this. I'm familiar with Lotharek's site from MIST interest. Without trying any option yet firsthand, would not th SD cart solution be easiest for the reasons Atari030 mention of ferrying files? Is that the same ferrying but on a cart rather than SD?

If anyone is experienced with many of these devices, would a noobs tutorial or youtube video about how to play xl games on a real xl be a possible thread or sticky? Forgive me if one already exists- I'm no lazy researcher but haven't found one. Ideally would be a feature comparison of all the latest or most popular after-market gear, which are outdated or no longer available for direct purchase in 2016, and what you can or cannot do with each, compatibility, etc. This tutorial would greatly help with which solution or combination (say cart and SIOtoUSB) is best for the user.
It would be handy to know which file format works easiest with most devices (XEX vs ATR) and suggestions to file converting.

If anyone does this, I will be happy to test for software compatibility of whichever setup I go with. I also have some exclusive homebrew games and demos that were made in the mid-80s I am hoping to share with the community.

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby TXG/MNX » Mon May 16, 2016 5:40 pm

There is was Ultimate cartridge with SD you can find tech details on Atariage.

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby Atari030 » Mon May 16, 2016 11:30 pm

Using SD cards is effectively sneakernet. SIO2USB is effectively networking. You can map up to 8 drives and IIRC you can even set shared folders as well as use the P:R handler. I haven't used it much lately, but am slowly working back into it.

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby seastalker » Tue May 17, 2016 3:09 am

Thanks I did see the Ultimate Cart but seems like I must find one on auction sites or sale/trade lists. Keeping an eye on them. I'll figure the best setup eventually. For now, I took some pics to share! The uploader is barking an "error parsing server response" yellow triangle so it may be my next post. Perhaps I am too new a member.

Here's what's inside for those interested in variation differences:
I have a "type IV" keyboard. Mobo seems to have parts from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Mexico.. this one has been around.

TOP: An ink stamp looking marking topside by the joystick port differs in number from the embossed on the bottom. Top: OT364 over A061854 with what looks like a faded "C" before the A and then clearly an odd "Rev. ("

BOTTOM: "800XL - CO61851 REV C - Made in Hong Kong - APC K368 KALEX 2584"

Top: My 8 "chippy things" in a row (U9-U13) on the left are from Japan. The look socketed but I call them chippy things so obviously I am no expert. I have 4 long chippy things lining the bottom with one above the right one. The third is from Mexico mixed in with Japanese ones. That one above the right (closest to the keyboard ribbon insert) has two white wires I don't see in 800XL pictures. They go from there (one says 'L12'] to metal dots near U5 and U4. There is also a strange piece of yellow tape near the PBI where a corner is UNDER the cart slot. It looks pointless.

Do these details imply that someone made mods or upgrades to it? I can't test it for a few weeks, other than that it powers up.
The RF looks removable or socketed by metal grasps. The RF shielding certainly shows signs of age and rust or oxidation.

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby bugs » Tue May 17, 2016 3:49 am

If it is a Hong Kong motherboard then the chips are likely socketed. Thumbs up!. Makes it easy to add mods and toys.
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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby TXG/MNX » Tue May 17, 2016 5:21 am

Yep but the sockets Atari used where of low quality ...

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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby seastalker » Tue May 17, 2016 1:56 pm

Ok pics are now working! :) Notice the difference in numbering on the top and bottom of the board. Also, what are the two wires? Does that confirm the prior owner did some tweaking? Also I'm happy I have no C56 (not pictured).
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seastalker
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Re: New Member - Got Atari 800xl - Now What? Best Flashcart?

Postby seastalker » Thu May 19, 2016 5:08 pm

I'm really curious as to what those two wires do since them seem not to be stock. Anyone?


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