1. Not old. Vintage. :)

It's all about me :)

Discussion in 'The Welcome Wagon' started by cykurtz, Mar 30, 2024.

  1. by cykurtz
    cykurtz

    cykurtz Galley Slave

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    Hi, all. Cy Kurtz again. I thought you might like to know a bit about me.

    I discovered your group when I googled atari and setcolor.

    My first computer was a programmable calculator. Well, it wasn't mine - it belonged to my high school - but I soon became the 'go to guy' for that beast. It was so big it had to be wheeled around on its own special cart. Probably weighed 100 lbs! That was in 1977.

    I bought a Timex-Sinclair 1000(with the 2K memory expansion!) as soon as I could put the money together and had a great time with it. When I joined the army after college, suddenly I had money of my own! I bought an Atari 800, and then an 800xl. I bought the peripherals, 410 tape drive, 1050 disk drive, 1020 plotter, and of course, a 1030 modem. I recall spending hours playing games, programming, and calling BBSs all over the place. I even ran a BBS for a couple of years. It was great fun!

    When the first IBM clones came out. Well, I should say when the second-hand IBM clones came out I jumped on that bandwagon and my beloved 8bits began collecting dust. They sat in a closet for years and somehow got thrown away. I motored on with my second-hand IBM clone(s) riding the linux wave, and doing some programming in html, css, and javascript.

    Well, I spent 31 years fixing other people's stuff, first as a copier repairman, and then as a chemical operator. When I retired in 2019, I began to fix things around the house. I looked around one day and everything was fixed!

    A few years ago, a man from across town was throwing away his 8bit stash and asked if I wanted it. Whee! I now have:

    Atari 800(works but keyboard needs work)
    Atari 800xl(works great!)
    Atari 130xe(bad ram .. thinking about replacing the ram chips)
    Atari 410 tape drive(don't know if it works)
    3 each Atari 1050 disk drive(one working, two not)
    Atari 850 interface(don't know if it works)
    Commodore C64(seems to work)
    Commodore 1541(?) disk drive(seems to work)
    Assorted power supplies, cables, and joysticks
    about .. idunno .. about 100 floppy disks(some good, some not)

    So, going forward, I just bought a fujinet. I'm loving that. I'm writing some simple programs in atari basic. I wonder if anyone has any advice on replacing the ram chips on my 130xe. I've seen that some people, when they replace the ram chips, put in different ram chips turning a 130xe into a 320xe? Also, what is the best solder for small computers?

    That's it. You might now know more about me than you ever wanted to. Thanks again, to the group for letting me hang out with you for a bit.
     
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  2. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    Hi there Cy, you are most welcome..I'm not far off retirement age myself..My first computer was a ZX80 from Sinclair Research, later I went on to a Vic 20 and then Atari 800..Without giving you the whole story, the Atari became my hobby, my hobby and sub jobs writing reviews, getting stuff published etc etc..Lets just say that I have been around computers for a very long time, doing many things. What part of the States are you from (just general area). On here are people from all over the world.
     
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  3. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Hi there, Cy.

    Fascinating story - especially the calculator in a buggy! Sounds like quite a behemoth and my 1st one had little red LEDs which glowed at night so you could make up words such as SHELL OIL and then amaze yer mates with just how "powerful" your £9.99 machine really was! :)

    [​IMG] This kinda thing but making up words after inverting the display... hours of fun... who am I kidding?!?

    Loved all your first loves / old machines and your CV seems pretty impressive too, fella - there aint a lot you aint fixed at one time or another!

    Richie might well be able to send some tips/advice on the 130XE RAM chips and the solder query.

    Sincerely, it's very nice to hear from a new boy on the block - you are most welcome CY and we hope to hear more.

    As Paul mentioned, we're only a small group but by gad, the passion, knowledge and enthusiasm on ere... if you could bottle it, you would probably end-up blowing the bloke next door's toupee off with the fizzing energy and exuberance which sometimes spills out all over and Paul ends up having to clear it all up... :)

    Joking - some right good stories, hints, tips, collections, memories and a fair few repairs, restorations and hybrids/mods going on here too - our dear pal Matt has just suffered a close family bereavement so he's understandably taking time out right now but he's always creating something wonderful from old tech and making it beautiful, relevant and amazing once more...

    The one thing that unites us is definitely a lurve for Atari and also, really, anything vintage/retro micro from the golden years of our youths and helping one another out/being a sounding board for ideas and if we can pass on / sell at a reduced rate some parts and pieces which make someone else's day, then you bet we aim to assist wherever we can.

    Cheers, buddy and a Happy Easter to all the Atari Owner gang.

    Andy
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2024
  4. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    Here's the little beauty I had as a kid, as Andy says, you could do the old SHELL OI, HELLO and a few others. That model had a bug where if you pressed a certain set of buttons it suddenly started counting up from zero. It's wasn't meant to do anything like a timer or the like..Just a nice bug. Made me very popular with fellow nerds in school, but it also became a thing that people tried to steal, so I stopped taking it to school.

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. by cykurtz
    cykurtz

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    Hi, again. I hope you're all doing well. My keyboard swap is still working fine. I am glad to have the 'f' and 'j' bumps for touch typing. I did discover(and correct) a bent pin(!) on my pokey chip.

    I've been doing some programming in atari basic. I've released chalenge.bas(math puzzle), mmind.bas(mastermind), and sq.bas(a simple word find puzzle). I still(!) don't have a way to move files from my 800xl to my modern pc but I am active(via fujinet) on Southern AMIS. AMIS XE, The Basement, and Nitelite bbses so you can find those programs there.

    I bought a whole bunch of electronic components and I've been kludging together a few projects. Yesterday I found and elegoo arduino uno R in a junk drawer and I'm wondering what I can do with that.

    Also, I have hundreds of old chips, many of them no longer made. I am about half way through cataloging them and hope to have a list soon.

    I hope to go to the Atlanta Ham Fest Saturday.

    Question: My Atari 130xe shows almost all memory is bad. I wonder if I should just replace all of those memory chips or do something else. I've heard I can just as easily make it an Atari 320xe. Are there 1M options?
     
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  6. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    What brand of chips are they, there's one brand that Commodore used a lot, that always goes bad..Also, do you have a Ultimate 1MB installed in that machine, if yes it shows ram as being bad because of its own ram conflicting..

    PS, MT ram is the ram I was speaking about...

    Richie on here might have more info about possible red herring ram faults, ie another component causing it to show bad ram.

    Easiest test is powering up the machine, give it a min and touch the ram chips (earth strapped of course) and see if there's one or more chips that are extremely hot..Normally, they are the duds..
     
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  7. by cykurtz
    cykurtz

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    I don't see any mods, but It'll try the temp test. Thanks!
     
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  8. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Good to see you back, Cykurtz.
    I thought we had lost you to a Texas Instruments DX990 closedown/fire sale but the rumours have been scotched!
    LOL - sincerely, we enjoy your take on mods, programming and you've a large stock of chips too?? Where have you been all my life, fella?! :)
    No, honestly, we love the interaction on here and guys like Paul, Al, Matt (when he's better) and Richie have plenty of hints, tips and pointers/guidance so all being well your 130XE should be heading back to full fitness soon with some replacement working RAM in place of the bad mem modules.
    My grandad was an avid HAM radio addict... we miss him as he would have become a computer whizz kid too.
    Enjoy your trip to the Atlanta Ham Fest Saturday, fella.
    Maybe do us a short summary/report/take a few pics if you get the chance/urge?!
    Best wishes, bud.
     
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  9. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    Never tried HAM radio, nearest I got was CB radio, that lasted 2 full days before I hated it. As a young man I had seen all the US films like Convoy and Smokie and the Bandit, where CB was fun and a fun look at the American way of life in those times. The reality in the UK was that it was used by lonely old people looking in some cases to cop off with one another. It wasn't all like that, but it was enough to poor water on my imagination of the great US good time.

    Now the HAM people were way more serious, but I could not be bothered to do the exam..
     
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  10. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    My pleasure, IF you see any MT ram chips then it's good practice to replace them even if they are working as they WILL fail at some point. Also, good practice to install sockets for all the ram, just to make any further swaps easy, since ram is often a common issue.

    I'm sure you know all this, but never hurts to mention it. Careful on the old traces, they are a little prone to lifting on the older PCB, normally Atari's are pretty solid tho, C64's on the other hand :) (Not a pop at C64's, I own both)
     
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  11. by cykurtz
    cykurtz

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    I have a C64 also, with a floppy drive, but I haven't done anything with it .. yet
     
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  12. by Andy Barr
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    Why do I get the feeling that you and that C64... will soon jointly be in action, fella?! :)
    Yeah, another great machine just like the Atari 800/800XL/130XE classics - they all have their strengths and a few weaknesses but when you take it all into consideration, they're all GREAT machines and with a floppy you'll no doubt have some damn cool old fab disks to try out too, Cykurtz?
     
  13. by nysavant
    nysavant

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    That was the big difference between growing up in the 8bit era over here in the UK Cy. Floppy drives were really expensive here so tape was king despite the long and unreliable loading times. Is it the old Commodore 1541 drive you have? Now that was a monster!
     
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  14. by Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine
    Paul "Mclaneinc" Irvine

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    Tell me, I used to take one down to a certain London shop to copy disks, they weigh a ton. I own a MKII drive which is nice and light. Even it's psu is light..
     
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