Most people who own an
Atari computer have experienced the famous `Atari lock- up' bug where
the keyboard will cease to allow you to type anything even if you
press system reset. Usually it occurs when deleting a line or part of
a line near the beginning of a program. All you can do is switch off
and start again.
The 400 and 800 models
do it but what about the XL range? I tried a 600XL out in a store last
Christmas and the same thing happened. Nevertheless I traded in my 400
for a 600XL elsewhere and Atari promised me that the new range did not
have the lock up problem, but my local Service Centre tells me that
the new range is just as bad and my machine is just as bad. In fact I
have a program that I can make two alterations to and it will lock up
It seems unbelievable
that a company like Atari could continue to make a product with a
fault for over four years and then launch a new model with the same
problem. I have phoned Atari but they still insist that I am wrong and
yet even their own Independent Service Centre disagree!
* There are still
some bugs in the XL but Atari insist that the original lockup problem,
which was a bug in BASIC, was cured. There were however several
(thousand?) 600XL's released just before last Christmas that had a
faulty chip causing a very similar lock-up problem. This became known
as the `maths pack lock-up' and Atari exchanged all machines that had
the fault. It could be that your machine is one of these. There again
it could be that the bug is still in BASIC for Atari have now
released, in the States, a Revision C BASIC on cartridge for the XL
series. Owners in America can get a copy by quoting their serial
number and sending $15 to the Customer Relations department. Wouldn't
it be nice if Atari UK made this available but seeing as we
never saw the Revision B Operating
System or the Revision B BASIC there seems little hope.
HOUSE OF SECRETS
Thanks for publishing
my program House of Secrets. I even had someone phone who had typed it
in successfully to compliment me on what a good program it is!!
The reason for writing is
that several people had problems in fitting in some of the long lines
such as 318. The answer is to POKE 82,0 before typing and leave out
all spaces between the commands or numbers, e.g. line 318 would look
like 318ONX GOSUB350,400 etc.
You can also abbreviate
commands with the exception of ON GOSUB or ON GOTO which produce
I think these hints are
worth mentioning as they are useful tips on their own.
is also one line in the program which ends in quotes and will not go
in even with all these tricks. The answer is to leave off the final
quotes, they will be inserted automatically when you LIST or RUN the
Dear PAGE 6,
The following points may
be of interest in reply to Roy Lynch's letter in issue 10 concerning
It is possible to complete
a full eight lap race on the Atari GP circuit as we have done it
dozens of times registering a top score so far of 113,200 in an
overall time of 460.59 seconds. The technique is simply to slow down
as and when necessary (very frustrating) with a view to keeping the
`Bonus Time' counter below 39 seconds up to lap 5 and under 34 seconds
on lap 5 and above as you cross the line.
The time mentioned
above was achieved with the aid of what we call 'the Boost', a
situation where your speed goes over and beyond the standard maximum
of 195 mph and something that seems to occur randomly during game play
on Atari GP level. We have recorded speeds up to 233 mph with the aid
of this feature in qualifying laps. We would be very interested to
learn of anyone else who has come across this and what speeds they
We have also noticed
that it is just possible to squeeze between a car and a signboard when
overtaking on the outside on a bend but we have also come across a
slight bug in the program in that if you go onto the grass around the
inside of bend 3, the front end of a 'mystery car' shoots in at the
bottom right of the screen for about 1½ seconds.
This superb game has
given us hours and hours of interest and excitement. If you have not
already bought it, do so!
Duffield and Christopher Barlow,
I am just getting into
Adventures and found issue 10 excellent. I also like the new listing
format, MUCH easier to read.
Readers who do not have
paddles might be interested in the following modification to SPINNER:
POKE 705,A:POKE 706,B:POKE 707,C: A=PEEK(706): B=PEEK(707):
FOR D=0 TO SP
IF PEEK(53279)=3 THEN SP=SP-1
IF PEEK(53279)=5 THEN SP=SP+1
IF SP<0 THEN SP=0
IF SP>20 THEN SP=20
NEXT D:POKE 77,0
IF PEEK(53279)=6 THEN F=F+2:B=0:C=0:POKE 708,F:IF F>252 THEN F=0
IF PEEK(53279)=6 THEN F=F+2:A=F:B=0:C=0:POKE 708,F:IF F>252 THEN
This enables you to
change the speed by using the OPTION and SELECT keys.
I recently had two
problems with my 800 which other readers may experience and if they
are handy with a soldering iron and a screwdriver they can easily save
themselves a lot of money on repairs.
The first fault was an
intermittent loss of power which came back on a random basis when you
fiddled with the cables, the on/off switch and the lid. The problem
was a faulty microswitch on the lid which is easily accessed by
removing the top of the computer. The switch is a push fit plus three
solder joints. It cost me £26 to have this repaired at a Service
Centre but a microswitch costs only 92p!
The second fault was a
computer lock-up, again on a random basis, followed by the screen
going bright yellow or dark red. The only way to regain control was to
push the BASIC cartridge in and then gently withdraw it as turning the
computer off and on had no effect. The problem was a loose chip. All
you have to do is to unscrew about 14 screws and pull two connectors,
lightly push all the IC's into their sockets and then put the computer
back together again. Just remember which order you took it apart!
do-it-yourself repairs are not recommended if the unit is still under
warranty but why pay someone else to just push a few chips back into
I recently had a
problem on my 400 which may have occurred on other users machines and
the solution, being very simple, may help others.
After I had typed in a
program, I LISTed it okay but when I came to run it all sorts of nasty
things happened so I LISTed it again to find that the listing
had turned into a load of garbage with REM statements and lines which
made no sense at all. I corrected the lines and re-ran it but the same
thing happened. I took the machine to a Service Centre who kept it for
a week and then told me that diagnostic tests revealed nothing wrong
with the computer. I asked if it could be the BASIC cartridge so the
engineer had a look. He pushed a small screwdriver into the bottom of
the cartridge to enable the guard to be moved back to reveal the
contacts which were absolutely filthy. The remedy was to use a good
quality pencil eraser and rub gently along the contacts until they
shone like new again. This cured the problem which has never occurred
* 800 owners should also
do this on their Rampacks and OS board to cure any similar problems.
Often just removing and reseating the boards or BASIC cartridge cures
all sorts of strange