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INCOGNITO Install: A "collector's" perspective...

INCOGNITO Installation Clean Atari 800

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#1 Faicuai OFFLINE  

Faicuai

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Posted Mon May 27, 2013 12:20 PM

...After LOTS of thought (and very little time left for my "toys"), I finally went through Incognito's installation and corresponding "test-driving".

If you have been lately "tormented" about tinkering with your 800's internals / integrity, plus also being constantly reminded of its compatibility shortcomings (considering most recent and coolest games / apps), while also being drawn to the fuss and buzz of INCOGNITO, well, this post may be for you.

Here are some key points of Incognito that struck my attention, right from the get-go:

PIX1-IMG_0212-web.jpg

  • Incgonito appears with a clean and well-organized layout (even "stylish" with its white-color outift).
  • The materials, soldering and craftmanship seems pretty much in line with my (x2) Ultimate1MB boards (just fine).
  • It replaces four separate PCB/boards, and a total of (3x12) + (1x6) + 1 = FORTY-THREE (43) discrete components / chips (!)
  • It frees up TONS of space on the 800's expansion bay/tray... like if someone had already planned how to use that PBI-connector integral to Incognito, in the future. ;-)
  • Once installed, it is very easy to access, not just for Compact-Flash card updates, but for on-board clock-battery replacement & FLASH-memory extraction / programming.
  • It just runs cool. Gone is stock-cards's heat radiation (especially during memory intensive games like Stealth, etc.). I also noticed the 800's right-side running cooler, too (maybe less DC-power drawn, but I have not measured it, though). This may also translate into a more DURABLE and RELIABLE operation, in the forseeable future.
  • It seems designed and built with sense of pride & quality (THANKS, Candle!)... And, YES, it is made in Poland... 8-)
Now, moving onto the installation timing and process (initial dissasembly notes at the end). Note that this guide is just the summary of my own experience and recollection, trying to get this job done as simply and cleanly as I could:

I. Main MoBo/BackPlane work:
  • Incgonito installs by simply routing and soldering six (6) signal-sampling connections and two (2) jumpers, connecting a ribbon-cable to an existing socket, inserting your card and re-assembling the system. Such connections are FULLY reversible (no trace of them could be left, provided a a good soldering station). They are non-invasive, and pretty much safe.
  • If you are building your own cable-connector (for Incognito's sampled signals), proceed by first preparing Incognito-side connector (x6 for system control and x1 for SIDE Image Switch). I normally use wiring AS THICK AS POSSIBLE (in an act of desperation, I had to purchase these in RadioShack, only finding three colors). This step could take 15-30mins, especially if you desire top-grade soldering, joints between cable and connector pins (provided by Candle) and "click" latching of the pins to actual connection plug (also provided by Candle). However, If you decide to purchase an assembled set (they seem readily available in Ebay, etc.), you can SKIP THIS STEP.
  • Next, proceed to carefully bundle, cut and solder cabling to signal points, as well as installing cable-jumpers. You could temporarily place plastic-tray and Incognico back in place, to determine precise cables routing. Cut cables only when reaching sample-points. Because of how the expansion-bay Plastic Tray is built (and the points where it makes contact on the top-surface of the MoBo), I decided to implement all changes UNDERNEATH the back-plane, which allowed a safer and cleaner routing of main cable-bundle, away from expansion-bay:
  • PIX2-IMG_0106-web.jpg PIX3-IMG_0108-web.jpg PIX4-IMG_0110-web.jpg
  • If you decide to proceed in the above fashion, soldering will be easy-as-pie (with a FINE-tip @ 300-325 C). It takes approx. 2-3 secs per solder-point (they are big/generous). Please, note specific soldering points and lead ANGLE chosen in CPU/Chipset board. Also note that my CPU-board revision is the latest / most-recent.
  • At this point you may proceed with Cart-voltage resistors (RD4 & RD5) removal/upgrade, as well as R189 removal/upgrade (existing 75Ohm to be replaced by 200-220 Ohm). This latter will help you recover 16-shades of Luma's (Y) top-brightness scale, because it is massively overdriven as it is).
  • PIX5-IMG_0123-web.jpg
II. Incognito Ribbon / Cabling Routing:
  • Now proceed with sanding of bottom-section of expansion-bay, as well as proper installation and routing of Incognito/BackPlane main MoBo ribbon (takes about 5-20 minutes, depending on how quickly and finely you can sand). Notice that signal-cabling bundle can be routed without any changes / mods. to expansion-bay tray. Also, note that (in my unit) there was NOT enough clearance and flex-tolerance at the base of the tray to let the ribbon pass without excessive pressure. if you have it on yours, please, SKIP THIS STEP:
  • PIX7-IMG_0112-web.jpg
  • Remove corresponding IC on MoBo (second from left-to-right, in-between cart slots), and proceed to route and bend main ribbon EXACTLY as shown (which will protect it from Incognito's sharp solder-through pins in both the left and center areas), as well as serving as a natural insulator / separation between Incognito and the massive outer-shield (connected to ground!). Always track position of ribbon's pin #1 (colored-edge):
  • PIX8-IMG_0116-web.jpg
  • Proceed to install expansion-bay tray, Incognito, CPU/Chipset Board, re-attach bottom shield-plate + pins (now pushed from the bottom, and those you hopefully set aside on a safe place), slide back TOP Shield-assembly (while CAREFULLY GUIDING main-ribbon between Incognito and shield-wall) and prepare for final assembly. Note that expansion bay should appear clean and free of any cabling/ribbon slack:
  • PIX9-IMG_0115-web.jpg PIX10-IMG_0117-web.jpg PIX11-IMG_0119-web.jpg PIX14-IMG_0127-web.jpg
III. Final assembly:
  • Proceed with integration of main-assembly with Power-Board. Notice placement and routing of SIDE-Switch cable OUT of Shield-case and around speaker/keyboard, as well as exact location of SIDE-Switch, in bottom-panel (will be invisible from the top-view of the system). Also note grounding-point of SIDE-switch lead (solder ground-terminal to it, and insert plate/shield screw through it, as shown:
  • PIX15-IMG_0128-web.jpg PIX17-IMG_0195-web.jpg PIX18-IMG_0198-web.jpg
  • Proceed with final re-assembly of case (by GENTLY and CAREFULLY rotating ALL five screws). NO NEED to brutally torque them, as they are affixed to 30+ years-old plastic guides. Notice final arrangement on Expansion-Bay, cable plug/connectors placement and original/OEM board spacer/guide being re-used to fully protect/guide Incognito. It is time now to install battery and chosen CF-Card (I mostly use SanDisk), and finally affix expansion bay's top cover.
  • PIX19-IMG_0197-web.jpg PIX20-IMG_0204-web.jpg PIX22-IMG_0132-web.jpg
  • You are now ready to enjoy one of PCWorld's finest computers ever made (http://www.pcworld.c...ime.html?page=5), to its full potential:
  • PIX21-IMG_0145-web.jpg
ENJOY!


GENERAL BACKGROUND / INSTALLATION NOTES:

I. Minimum Installation Materials / Tools (for a clean, high-quality and FULLY reversible install):
  • Everything that Candle sent you in his little bags.
  • A temp. controlled soldering tool/station, with *fine* tip, + solder extractor +solder/resin
  • Any narrow & stiff (moderately) "sanding" tool. A Dremel would yield *best and quickest* results.
  • A set of Phillips screwdrivers, plus thin pin/push-rods (no driver on the tip).
  • Seven (7) 20"-long wire-cuts (>-= 3 different colors) + wire cutter, if (like me) you build your connectors. Include a small ground-terminal for SIDE-cart ground wire.
  • A small 1/4" push-switch + DRILL (if you do not like the idea of cutting traces in any board, like me).
  • Thermal-sleeves (optional, for nicely routing/bundling your cabling).
  • 2x(1.8K to 2.2K Ohm, Cart. Voltage) resistors and 1x(220 Ohm) resistor.
II. Initial Dissassambly notes (please, skip if you have already done this before):

1. Main dissassambly will take approx. 10mins, by simply:
  • Removing top-cover of expansion bay and ALL cards,
  • Removing five "black-anodized" screws on the outside,
  • Disconnecting keyboard ribbon by pushing it back gently and removing top-assembly with keyboard + speaker,
  • Removing three more black screws detaching main boards assemby,
  • Removing ~9-10 screws to remove bottom shield.
  • DO NOT force/trip your screw-driver on ANY black-screw (to protect original / sleek-looking OEM finish).
2. Once there, and after de-coupling power-board from main board/backplane, proceed to:
  • Turn main board upside, remove top-shield casing,
  • Remove plastic-board/cart tray from underneath (by locating latches between main board and back-shield,
  • Push central pressure pins (on round-white retainers) OUT and down firmly, with thin pin/push rods (four in total). ***DO NOT LOSE*** these pins.
3. Once main MoBo/Backplane is out, remove CPU/Chipset board, and set aside safely.


III. Incognito FLASH rom-IMAGE Update:

1. I will be soon posting a "nuts-and-bolts" package with several key upgrades of stock Icognito's ROM image, for anyone to update via external PLCC/Flash burner.

#2 wood_jl OFFLINE  

wood_jl

    Quadrunner

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Posted Thu May 30, 2013 10:02 PM

Wow. Nice job, Faicuai. While I'm still chicken to try mine, this is of great value!

#3 bandit OFFLINE  

bandit

    Chopper Commander

  • 177 posts
  • Location:Central Point , Oregon 97502

Posted Sun Jun 2, 2013 8:18 AM

Nice job, your install pictures will help some of the guys that has not installed there's yet.

wood_jl , you will not regret installing , My 800 was on shelf 26 years, now the XL is on the shelf.

#4 Faicuai OFFLINE  

Faicuai

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Posted Fri Jun 7, 2013 9:39 PM

PART II (UDPATE): Correcting and Flashing Incognito's ROM Image.


First of all, thanks for everyone's comments. For those (few) who may still be on a fence, all I can say is that the rewards far outweigh the modest installation requirements.

As soon as I fired-up Incgonito and ran some basic tests, I quickly noticed the presence of patched XL-roms (Candle already explained why), as well as the fact that no high-speed math code was ever present on OS-A & OS-B fast-chip/math versions. A dump and binary-compare of these ROM slots quickly revealed that were just copies of each other, which prompted me to try to restore these ROMs to their original shape, and take advantage of Icognito's ability to flash-and-update its large 512K Flash-ROM.

Thanks to Jay's MUST-HAVE ROM builder utility (http://www.fiftyonef...ator/Dwnld.html), as well as other SW-tools, I was able to patch binary-correct copies of OS/A and OS/B ROMs (NTSC) with Newell's fast-math code, as well as correct and re-label all XL-ROM versions (your Self-Test routines will now run as intended, and {XL Fast/IO OS} in second slot was dropped in favor of a {XL Fast-math/FP OS} version).


After all said-and-done, you will have two (2) ways to update your Incognito:

1. Option 1: Load / run attached .ATR image (Attached File  Incognito-TOTAL-RevA.atr   719.64KB   173 downloads), as created with Jay's latest ROM-builder (I tested it from my SD-card NUXX drive, with SDX enabled in Incognito's main-menu, while booting with SELECT-key pressed + "C", and worked like a charm). This .ATR-based flash also has latest PBI-BIOS code that I could find, as well. It will take quite a while (around ~5mins, or so) for the flash to get through, but you will be able to run it without ever opening the Atari.

2. Option 2: Remove the Expansion Bay's top-lid, pull-out Incognito and extract its Flash-ROM chip (mine is a SST 39SF040, you will need PLCC extractor tool, which is ~U.S. $2.50), and program flash-rom on dedicated Flasher, by loading attached 512K ROM image ( Attached File  Incognito-TOTAL-RevA.bin   512KB   175 downloads). Depending on your flasher of choice, this process may flash your rom a lot faster than Option 1.


Even though the latter was the route I took before Jay came out with latest ROM-builder and built-in SW flasher, It may be a good idea to always have a dedicated flasher, preferably with JTAG interface support too, so you can a) re-program the on-board XILINX, if needed, and/or b) if Option-1 above experiences a catastrophic-failure (SIO/transfer error, faulty SIO cable, loss of power, loss of drive, etc.). Here's the unit I am using (still on the consumer/prosumer side, but very effective and very easy to configure and operate):


PIX23-IMG_0227-web.jpg PIX24-IMG_0228-web.jpg


Enjoy!

#5 Android8675 OFFLINE  

Android8675

    Moonsweeper

  • 423 posts
  • Incognito'N
  • Location:Prunedale, CA, USA

Posted Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:11 PM

First problem i had post install was figuring out how to get the incog menu to come up on demand, for those who are still unsure, you hold Atari Logo and tap System Reset. Forget what the other shortcuts are.

#6 Frankie OFFLINE  

Frankie

    Moonsweeper

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  • Location:St. Augustine, FL

Posted Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:23 PM

What's the key combo to start up with the side loader?

#7 adam242 OFFLINE  

adam242

    Dragonstomper

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Posted Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:54 PM

What's the key combo to start up with the side loader?


Press L at the Incognito main menu.

#8 bandit OFFLINE  

bandit

    Chopper Commander

  • 177 posts
  • Location:Central Point , Oregon 97502

Posted Fri Jun 14, 2013 11:05 AM

I updated incognito with your build, a few things changed as far as software goes, the self test does work at correct speed.

Have you tried bounty bob strikes back? cartridge version, all different file versions? runs to left of screen, no control. I wonder if there's a fix ?

Anyway, nice build.

#9 Faicuai OFFLINE  

Faicuai

    Dragonstomper

  • Topic Starter
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  • Location:Florida, U.S.A.

Posted Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:04 PM

I updated incognito with your build, a few things changed as far as software goes, the self test does work at correct speed.

Have you tried bounty bob strikes back? cartridge version, all different file versions? runs to left of screen, no control. I wonder if there's a fix ?

Anyway, nice build.


Nice you got going this ROM-build...

I tried Bounty-Bob and there does not seem to be a config. or loading approach that will make it work (not even in Ultimate, not even my Nuxx drive, as far as I tried yesterday night).

I also found issues with Joust! (executable) and Goonies (ATR from Fandal). These load/work on Incognito, without issues, from my SD Nuxx Drive. I believe some .XEX or .ATR titles, after being stripped or tweaked out of their original format / protection, still remain heavily dependent on SIO (Koronis Rift in .ATR format is yet another example). I am not sure to what extent they may fully work with SIDE I/O regime.

Let me know what specific "changes" you have seen. I do notice, however, that the 1088K/Q-Meg/SDX=off/SIDE=on settings work pretty well for most game / demos. There are some .XEX cases where SIDE must be turned off, in order to load them via SIDE loader (sounds "confuzing", but the reality is that SIDE loader for .XEXs will still be there even if SIDE-HW is turned off on BIOS screen).

Let me know...

Edited by Faicuai, Sat Jun 15, 2013 1:10 PM.


#10 Android8675 OFFLINE  

Android8675

    Moonsweeper

  • 423 posts
  • Incognito'N
  • Location:Prunedale, CA, USA

Posted Tue Sep 10, 2013 12:55 PM

  • At this point you may proceed with Cart-voltage resistors (RD4 & RD5) removal/upgrade, as well as R189 removal/upgrade (existing 75Ohm to be replaced by 200-220 Ohm). This latter will help you recover 16-shades of Luma's (Y) top-brightness scale, because it is massively overdriven as it is).
  • attachicon.gifPIX5-IMG_0123-web.jpg

 

Hey, any chance I could get you to go over this bit? I was thinking this weekend I'd do the resistor replacement/upgrades to my 800, don't want to accidentally take out the wrong resistor, or whatever. On the RD4/5 resistor what's better being closer to 1.8k or 2.2k ohm, or doesn't matter?

 

Also on the SIDE switch, which pin does that switch connect too on the 3 pin header? Finally I assume the other two pins are for a status LED?



#11 Faicuai OFFLINE  

Faicuai

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  • Location:Florida, U.S.A.

Posted Wed Sep 11, 2013 11:49 PM

 

Hey, any chance I could get you to go over this bit? I was thinking this weekend I'd do the resistor replacement/upgrades to my 800, don't want to accidentally take out the wrong resistor, or whatever. On the RD4/5 resistor what's better being closer to 1.8k or 2.2k ohm, or doesn't matter?

 

Also on the SIDE switch, which pin does that switch connect too on the 3 pin header? Finally I assume the other two pins are for a status LED?

 

Howdy! Apologies for such long delay... Just swamped at work. Here we go:

 

  1. I did my resistors with 2.2k replacements. Works perfectly (some folks believe this may not be that critical, at all, but I felt I did not want to be the first damaging a cartridge or some other system component).
  2. The SIDE flip/switch pin is the FIRST pin of the three-pin-header, facing to the center / inner area of Incognito (see image 15 above, please).
  3. This pin will need to go to a switch's contact, and its other contact goes to ground, anywhere else on the system. (see image 13, for my chosen ground-point).

Enjoy!



#12 Protestari OFFLINE  

Protestari

    Dragonstomper

  • 514 posts
  • Location:Toronto Canada

Posted Fri Feb 5, 2016 12:23 PM

Hello, I am having a friend assist with the soldering and installation of my Ingonito Board.

However can someone kindly explain to me what I need to do in reference to the flash cart.

Is it simply used like the SD cart in my Harmony Encore Cart or do you have to prepare it with special files/folders/programs etc.

I am not technically inclined so regular laymen explanation would be appreciated and thanks.







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