If you do not know what these acronyms refer to, please read the article "NTSC/PAL/SECAM/PERITEL" in the knowledge base first.

The computer

Although it was produced in limited quantity for a few months only, the Atari 1200XL is common in the USA. Still, it remains much more difficult to acquire for European collectors like me.

Atari 1200XL Top


Atari 1200XL Keyboard, left

Keyboard, left

Atari 1200XL Keyboard, right

Keyboard, right

Atari 1200XL Rear


Atari 1200XL Left side

Left side

Atari 1200XL Joystick connectors close-up

Joystick connectors close-up

Atari 1200XL Right side

Right side

Atari 1200XL Bottom


Nowadays, I am still amazed by the timeless modern look of the XL series. An Atari XL (800XL) was recently included in a French auction of 2.000 objects with iconic design, ranging from Dieter Rams (for Braun) to Le Corbusier (who was credited for a radio set).

Made in

I am very lucky — for a European Atari collector — to own several 1200XL, including a model made in the USA and another model made in Taiwan.

Atari 1200XL Made in USA

Made in USA, 163 is manufacturing date in WWY format: Week 16 of (198)3 = Apr 1983.

Atari 1200XL Made in Taiwan

Made in Taiwan, 143 is manufacturing date in WWY format: Week 14 of (198)3 = Apr 1983.

The connectors

Atari 1200XL Rear close-up #1

Rear close-up #1

Atari 1200XL Rear close-up #2

Rear close-up #2

The superb Atari logo on boot up

For me it was not a waste of time, but a demonstration of power. I regret that this boot screen has been removed from subsequent versions of the OS.
For the video: Altirra emulator, Atari 800XL, OS ver. 2, PAL, running the 1200XL rainbow boot screen code.


The new embedded "Self-Test" program

The "Self-Test" which will be an integral part of the OS on all subsequent machines appeared with the Atari 1200XL. Note that the keyboard test allows you to test the function keys F1 to F4 (introduced with the 1200XL). These keys will be physically removed from the 600XL and 800XL onwards but the "Self-Test" keyboard test will not be updated immediately, offering to test keys that no longer existed...
The memory test is particularly long. Skip to 4:35 to see the rest.
For the video: Altirra emulator, Atari 1200XL, NTSC, running the "Self-Test".

If the Atari BASIC is loaded in memory (1200XL, with Atari BASIC cartridge), the "Self-Test" will offer to test only 40 KiB of RAM.
If the Atari BASIC is not loaded in memory (1200XL, no cartridge; all other XE/XE, "Option" key pressed at boot time), the "Self-Test" will offer to test 48 KiB of RAM.


PEEK identification

Using "PEEK" commands in BASIC to find out about the OS, Basic and NTSC/PAL versions.

Atari 1200XL PEEKs to important addresses

PEEKs to important addresses

For your information, the results are:
PEEK(53268) = 15 [NTSC]
PEEK(65528) = 191 [Not a 400/800]
PEEK(65527) = 10 [XL OS Rev. A, 1982-10-26, 1200XL (most)]
PEEK(43234) = 162 [Atari BASIC Rev. A, in external cartridge]