My new 130XE

Any 8bit repairs, images, cool things, upgrades etc.
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IngoQ
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My new 130XE

Post by IngoQ » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:05 am

Two weeks ago I was able to score a 130XE on ebay for under 60 EUR.

This one is special to me, since it was my first ever (real) computer (not counting my Kosmos CP1). I was around 9 or 10 I believe, barely started learning english in school. I got my computer completely naked, only with power supply and english language manual, no tape no disk no software. So I connected it, took the manual and started figuring out BASIC. Great times :)

Now I already have an Atari 800XL in my collection, since I always liked that case style very much. This machine is heavily modded, with an VBXE (enhanced graphics and RGB output), Ultimate 1MB (memory expansion, ROM-selector, etc.), Dual Pokey (Stereo-8 Channel) and SIDE2 (CF-Reader with HDD-Support), so it already is everything you would need from an 8-Bit machine.

So I decided to leave my 130XE more or less stock, with only improvements in video output. I decided to go with the new Sophia Rev. C, which supplies DVI output but otherwise let's the video capabilities more or less unchanged. You can even plug in SVideo or composite and still have the original, unchanged video signals.

The 130XE was advertised as "untested", which usually means it's broken. I took the risk, since I figured I could repair pretty much any fault. But to my surprise the machine was completely operational only lacking its power supply, which is no big deal.

But of course it was dirty and yellowed:
case - before.jpg
case - before.jpg (213.46 KiB) Viewed 915 times
So I gave it my usual treatment, starting with taking apart everything, including removing the keycaps and putting them in the dishwasher. Of course I removed the labels before that, the paper label on the bottom would not have survived otherwise.

After this I applied cream peroxide - otherwise known as RetroBrights - and put it in the sunlight. I tried a different approach this time: Usually I wrap the parts in clingfilm and put them under UV light. This time I took a box, wrapped it with tin foil, put the parts in and some water for humidity. I put a sheet of glas on top and watched what happens. I hoped, the evaporing water would prevent the cream from drying out, but I guess the box was too big. That's how it looked like:
retrobrighting.jpg
retrobrighting.jpg (386.59 KiB) Viewed 915 times
But apparently having the cream dry out is not a huge issue, after roughly two hours the result looked like this:
case - after.jpg
case - after.jpg (176.73 KiB) Viewed 915 times
Of course I am very pleased with it, it looks almost new! Of course, if you look closely, you can still see some shadows, where the stickers have been. But I can live with that.

So time for the Sophia upgrade: It is actually quite simple, the only challenge is socketing the GTIA if it not already socketed. Then you plug the Sophia board in the socket, the original chip on top of it and that's basically it. In addition I removed the HF modulator, since I did not want to have a DVI connector hanging out and needed some space for it. Sadly I still seem not be capable of making truely rectangular cut outs, but well it is the rear ;) This is the result:
board with sophia.jpg
board with sophia.jpg (326.46 KiB) Viewed 915 times
case with dvi.jpg
case with dvi.jpg (212.05 KiB) Viewed 915 times
And I am really impressed by the picture quality, have a look:
screenshot.jpg
screenshot.jpg (222.42 KiB) Viewed 915 times
...and doesn't it look nice next to its bigger grandson? :-D
family.jpg
family.jpg (136.13 KiB) Viewed 915 times
Ingo :geek:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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rubber_jonnie
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Re: My new 130XE

Post by rubber_jonnie » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:55 am

Very nice indeed :)

I have a 65XE that I've owned since new, somehow I've managed to cart it round with me wherever I went, and didn't succumb to the urge to sell it.

I did this MOD: http://blog.3b2.sk/igi/file.axd?file=20 ... XE+1.0.pdf to improve the video output as the modulator on UK XEs was absolutely appalling, and it now gives a really clear picture.

However, you've made me want to also install Sophia, do you have a link to where I can buy one from, as I'm struggling to find it, thanks.
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ape Warp mod, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg) + Gotek, 1040STFM + Vortex ATOnce + Gotek, 1040STF long button floppy, 4160 STE with Gotek and ROM switcher, 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher and CosmosEx, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by atari030 » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:45 am

Nice bit of 8-bit love. I still have my original 800XL and 1050, a few other 8-bits now, all modded.

Svideo on my 130XE is pretty nice.

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by IngoQ » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:29 pm

rubber_jonnie wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:55 am
However, you've made me want to also install Sophia, do you have a link to where I can buy one from, as I'm struggling to find it, thanks.
It isn't available in a shop, but you can PM Simius at Atari Age and ask for one, it is around 66 EUR. There is also a RGB Variant, and you have to decide on the output resolution you want, since it is hard coded in the image.

http://atariage.com/forums/user/26134-simius/

Here are the related threads:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/258702 ... a-in-cpld/

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/274004 ... dvi-board/
Ingo :geek:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by IngoQ » Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:37 pm

atari030 wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:45 am
Svideo on my 130XE is pretty nice.
The Svideo on my 800XL was okay, much better than on the 130XE. I use a Framemeister to upscale it, and the result was nice. But the quality of the VBXE RGB output was even better and I was curious about the additional features. So the 800XL is pretty much becoming my mod-the-hell-out-of-it machine, and I leave the 130XE like it is, besides Sophia. I have a 1050 if I need a physical floppy but will probably stick to the SIO2SD most of the time, since it is so damn convenient ;) Of course, if a nice XF551 crosses my path, I might not be able to resist ;)

Recently I gave the Rapidus some thought, which is a CPLD implementation of an 65816 with 20MHz. A major speed boost of course, and can be switched off to have 6502 compatibility (it uses the orginal CPU then). But there is pretty much no use for it, so I am not yet there.
Ingo :geek:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by rubber_jonnie » Sun Sep 23, 2018 1:35 pm

IngoQ wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 12:29 pm
rubber_jonnie wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:55 am
However, you've made me want to also install Sophia, do you have a link to where I can buy one from, as I'm struggling to find it, thanks.
It isn't available in a shop, but you can PM Simius at Atari Age and ask for one, it is around 66 EUR. There is also a RGB Variant, and you have to decide on the output resolution you want, since it is hard coded in the image.
Awesome, thanks :)
Collector of old Atari things:
800XL + Ape Warp mod, 2x 1010 cassette, 1050 + Happy mod, 65XE (128k) & XC12, SIO2SD, 2600jr, 7800 and Lynx II
Atari 520ST (1Meg) + Gotek, 1040STFM + Vortex ATOnce + Gotek, 1040STF long button floppy, 4160 STE with Gotek and ROM switcher, 4160STE with 32Mhz booster, ROM switcher and CosmosEx, not to mention various bare ST boards for testing including a PAK 68/2 :)
Plus the rest..
Amiga stuff, Mac stuff, Sinclair stuff etc...
www.electronicnothingness.co.uk

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by atari030 » Mon Sep 24, 2018 11:36 pm

I have a 130XE I am resurrecting - slowly, Antonia will probably be the next step. RGB would be nice, but with the 17" LCD I have svideo is more than good enough. However, if I ever hook one to my 75" HDMI will be a must.

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IngoQ
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Re: My new 130XE

Post by IngoQ » Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:53 am

75"... one Atari pixel will probably have the size of a lego brick :-P

I am sticking to my 19" NEC Multisync. I recently discovered, that the panel is 50Hz capable, so no more jerky scrolling :)
Ingo :geek:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by vattari » Mon Dec 03, 2018 11:29 pm

A few months on, how are you finding the Sophia DVI, Ingo? I've used mine for a time, and while it's super sharp image can't be denied, I'm finding I like to switch back to the RGB solution for all its minor fuzziness (it's as if the digital display has far exceeded what the 8-bit should look like. Still - nice to look down from the screen and see it's an 800XL putting at the dispaly).

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Re: My new 130XE

Post by IngoQ » Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:49 pm

Since I have two machines (the other beeing a 800XL) I am not using it as much. I do like the sharpness, but the results of a VBXE together with a Framemeister are just as good. In addition, the Framemeister gives me the option to have scanlines, which really gives a much better feeling overall and is closer to what the programmers intended it to look like.

At the end of the day it is a matter of taste I guess. And if you use your machine for software development mainly, the Sophia might be the better choice.
Ingo :geek:

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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