Atari 8 Bit

Quite a lot has happened since my last post. The world has gone into utter craziness with the global pandemic. I got the kit I mentioned in my previous post, more on that in a bit. And I have gone full bore Atari 8 bit crazy!

The pandemic has kept me working from home, mostly, and I’ve been busy with that. So not a lot of time to work on much. My youngest son moved out of my house, so I’ve been spending time doing a minor rehab in his bedroom, so hopefully, by next week, it will become my new office. I have also bought and set up a ton of old Atari 8 bit equipment (more than I should have really).


I started with a deal on eBay for an ‘untested’ 130XE and 1050 drive. When I got that unit, I found it’s RAM, MMU, or possibly the Freddie chip in it was defective. I purchased a new motherboard for it, from Best Electronics because I jacked up the traces while trying to desolder the MMU on that board. I need to get a proper desoldering tool.

In the meantime, I found excellent deals on two other Atari 8 Bit machines. The first was an Atari 800XL, which I bought, and this will become my main 8-Bit machine. I also picked up another 130XE extraordinarily cheap – I plan to clean it up and try to sell that one. So right now, I am sitting on three Atari 8-bit machines where I didn’t have a single one a month ago.

I also installed the Ultimate 1MB in the 800, Ultimate Atari Video (though I am planning to replace this with a Sophia Board). Also, I got an SDRIVE Max, Ultimate Cartridge, SIO splitter, and an SIO to PC USB adapter for ResqpeQT. I intend to use this new gear to teach myself 6502 assembly language, as I mentioned in the previous post.

Speaking of the previous post, I received the kits for the clock and 6502 breadboard computer from Ben Eater – but I have barely started that project. I ran into an issue with the clock. I see only about 2.5V off of the output pin of my 555 timers vs. high 3V values in Ben’s videos. I intend to troubleshoot this and figure out the issue before moving on with the rest of the project. So not a lot to report there. But hopefully soon.

In any case, I wanted to post a short update. I hope anyone who happens across this is staying safe and healthy. Hopefully will have real progress to share soon on these.