The Atari 800 XE Laptop: Round 2.5 - "This Ain't Over"


  First we shove in the screen. It's an 8" TFT active matrix one that originally had a TV tuner, CompactFlash picture viewer (how useful) and some other crap. I compacted it down to just a PCB and the glass for use in this project. There's a lot of ribbon cable between the main board and the glass so I could position things with relative ease.

From these humble roots...

  Next I installed the speakers from the TV along with the screen controls (the 4 main buttons at least) and shockingly enough - a headphone jack. It's the thing on the left with all the wires. For some reason that won't be understood until the end of time I rarely put headphone jacks in my projects. Figured I should shake things up a bit with this one.

Slightly less humble roots

  Below you see the motherboard of the Atari XEGS and how it attaches to the main laptop. The power and audio/video connections go through some heat shrink tubing. There's also a port to plug in for attaching the joysticks and a final plug to connect the keyboard (upper left, the green thing)

This is what electronics looked like inside before they invented PCB's

  Here's a view under the motherboard as it's plopped into the main case. Quite a maze of wires.

The maw of hell

  The motherboard laid flat, along with the joystick ports.

Starting to look more normal

  Higher view of previous. Note the gap on the left, this is where the battery pack goes.

Even moreso

  Closer view of this opening. You can see the wires on the right snaking around the board, these are for the joystick controls.

Watch out for the keyboard wires!

   Here's the battery pack shown in the unit, along with the door to cover it. These Ni-MH rechargeables were from the original TV. Felt pads were added so you can slide this thing across your new marble countertops with confidence.


  And now here's some more photos of the finished unit:

Atari Inside
I made a raised brushed aluminum Atari logo for the top of the unit. Looks pretty slick!

I wish I had time to play some Atari this winter, brings back old memories
Good old DOS. Man this thing is hard to photograph with all the black surfaces and silver chrome. I feel for people shooting the PS3.

Doubles as solar hot dog cooker
The back of the unit. We see the wires between the halves, the CompactFlash slot, power slot and the DB25 used as an thin SIO port.

The cartridge is almost as thick as the laptop!
The cartridge breakout box plugs in below the CompactFlash slot. Also shown is the SIO adapter attached, so you can use the SIO2PC cable or a real disk drive if you have one of the 3 working ones left.

Again with the solar hot dog cooker
End view of the unit.

Atari 800 - 27 Years and Still Kickin'
The unit sitting on my crappy workbench. I need to get a few more projects crossed off the list so I can clean up the darn thing.

  There you have it, stories and pics from my latest computer laptop project. I guess now I should branch out and try some other systems after giving the old '800 a couple whacks. What can I say, I'm biased for it! Still, I think it's time to move on. But... to what? Stay tuned!

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