Custom Electronic Design
Thank you very much for the prototype. For your information, it is
functioning as we had hoped. In this regard, we would like to
for what we consider to be a great product.
This is the first time we have received a package that really works
first time out!!
The PCB you built for us has worked flawlessly from the time we got it.
I thought you might want to hear someone that has no complaint. The
product that you developed for us definitely the best and at the best
piece. It has been running bugfree for the last 11 moths now.
Congratulations and thanks.
If ever you need a reference I would be glad to sing your praises!
The consulting service, schematics, PCB layout, prototype was
excellent. The assembly-line is purring like a kitten.
Keep up the good work.
I am helping a corporate client of mine upgrade their plant. The PCB
you developed for us is a featured component of this upgrade as it
is with almost all of my corporates clients.
Your services have been a staple in my recommendations to my clients
for many years. Thank you all the assistance you have given me with
any technical problems.
Will be in touch if need be.
Your custom electronic design service is practical
and functional, and has provided products of necessity to our
The team at ElectraSoft
has also provided us with excellent services
in terms of troubleshooting and guidance. I highly recommend their
consulting and electronic design and services.
Thank you ElectraSoft.
Keep it up.
Custom Electronic Design Articles 1-281-499-8246
will help with your electronic project any way you need
from start to finish. Schematic, Prototype, Computer Program,
ANTIC MAGAZINE VOL. 5, NO. 7 / NOVEMBER 1986 / PAGE 42
XL Color Boost
By Jon Krahmer - inventor and consultant at ElectraSoft
This is a simple hardware rewiring enhancement for improving color on
the Atari 800XL computer. You'll need to solder one wire and one
inexpensive capacitor. XL Color Boost requires a video monitor that has
separate inputs for video, audio, and color--such as certain Commodore,
NEC and Hitachi models. It will not work with a color television set.
As with any hardware modification, opening up your Atari voids the
With the arrival of the Atari 800XL, I had at last found an affordable
computer. I expected it to be better than my old 800 model, due to
Atari's additional years of experience at making computers.
But when I got my 800XL home and hooked it up, I soon encountered a
problem that I call "color smear." For example, in the Donkey Kong game,
the blue snapper jaws had a blue smear on the right edge and a green
tinge on the left. The blue scoreboard had a similar problem. There was
also a "busy" look in the background.
I was using a 19-inch color television as a monitor, and I thought that
the problem must be in the high frequency tuner or the IF circuitry. In
search of a cure, I tried out several monitors. Each monitor eliminated
the busy background, but the green tinge and blue shadow remained. I
concluded that the problem was computer.
I have been involved in electronics most of my life and I design and
build instruments. For my next project, I set out to improve the color
of the 800XL.
I wrote a letter to Atari asking for the 800XL schematics. A reply came
informing me that these schematics were confidential. I ended up
spending about one week tracing the circuitry with my voltmeter and
osciloscope before finding a cure for color smear.
.01uf Capacitor -- Figure 1
The video monitor jack on the back of the 800XL is a 5-pin DIN
connector. According to my information, these pins are supposed to
provide ground, audio, composite sink, composite video, and composite
chrome (color). However, I did not find that to be the case.
Instead I found ground, audio, a complete composite for picture and
color and a composite with everything but color. One pin had no
When I finally isolated the chrome, it became apparent that there was
a very simple fix. All I needed to do was solder one end of a .01
microfarad disk capacitor to the composite chrome (color information)
and the other end to the unused pin of the monitor jack. You should be
able to find this kind of capacitor for under $1 at most electronics
After the simple soldering was completed, I tried out my machine and
PRESTO! No more color smear. But let me make an important point. This
modification works only with monitors that have separate inputs for
video, audio, and color--such as Commodore, NEC and Hitachi models.
(As with any hardware modification project printed in Antic, we must
remind you that if you open your Atari, you void whatever warranty
coverage you may still have left on your computer. ANTIC ED)
Be sure to observe the way that parts fit together before you remove
anything! Remember that you will have to reassemble your XL afterward.
Begin by removing the six screws from the bottom of your XL computer.
Set the computer upright and carefully lift the keyboard (top half of
the computer) about three inches. At this time, carefully note where
the keyboard plugs into the bottom half of the computer. Unplug the
keyboard by grasping both edges of the clear plastic ribbon connector
and pulling slowly upward.
Remove the two retaining screws that hold the chassis (circuit board)
into the bottom shell. Carefully work the chassis from the bottom
shell. Remove the screws that hold together the circuit board and the
metal shielding plates.
Cut a length of thin insulated wire about six inches long. Strip 1/16
of an inch from each end. Solder one end to Point B. (See Figure 1.)
This is the connection to the monitor jack, as shown in the diagram.
Now take a .01 microfarad disk capacitor and cut the leads to 1/8 of
an inch in length. Solder one lead to Point A, which is where you'll
see the R64 and R97 connections labelled on the main board. Solder the
free capacitor lead to the free end of the wire. Put a piece of black
electrical tape over and under this connection. When you reassemble
your XL, route the wire so that it will not be pinched when you
tighten the screws.
If you have any doubts about your ability to do this project
successfully, I strongly suggest that you take your Atari 800XL and
this article to a qualified electronics technician.
Jon Krahmer is an electronics consultant from Vista, California.