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About silentsolace

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    Space Invader
  1. Semi happy ending! I was poking at my dead TI and I noticed something that I didn't notice earlier. The -5V line was reporting +5mV rather than -5V. I tested the other lines and everything checked out for the other powers - could this be my culprit? Could my power board of blown? Well, I pulled out the prior TI and pulled its power board. Unfortunately the power board was apparently of an older vintage because it wouldn't work with the motherboard's connector without some conversion. However, I was able to use it to test and sanity check my finding. Yes, -5V. I definitely lost my -5V line which could be the cause of my lament. So I opened up the third TI and checked out it's power board, and fortune smiled upon me. It's compatible and fully functional. I now have 1 TI back in business, and if I can get a hold of another power board I can get two in working order. (Apologies for potato quality) I took much of the advice given here to heart and I was able to re-assemble and put the TI back in working order!
  2. I may take advantage of that once my pessimism subsides and the need for reminders of my hubris is past. I said black screen and tone, but the f18a does bring up the waiting for init screen most of the time when it's in so that may actually be an encouraging sign. At the very least it may be worthwhile to know if it's salvageable. This. My niggling inner voice knew it was stupid and probably a bridge too far when I was pulling out the soldering iron, but I was upset and impatient with the new problem and was bent on getting results. My only successful electronic repair work/modding has involved electrical taping wires to fix broken connections or bypass. Not in any way secure but it has worked. In retrospect I maybe should of tried something of that nature to verify the fix before pulling the iron. Yep. I think my mistake is I didn't loosen it enough. I recall loosening slightly with a small screwdriver on both sides and it didn't want to give, so rather than loosening more I pulled harder and the thing popped, flipped, and stabbed my finger with its pins and bent a few off. I learned the lesson and haven't had a problem with any other of the removable chips since. The keyboard ribbon cable didn't surprise me and doesn't really upset me. When I opened it up the first time I noticed it was super brittle, and I disconnected it while pulling from the connector and only noticed it had come away when I went to reconnect it. As I have learned. I have two guesses. 1. When I was swapping between F18A and original VDP trying various diagnostic steps, I suspect the last time I inserted it into the old TI it didn't slide in cleanly and instead pin20 bent and snapped off. Or 2. When I pull the PCB off my fist instinct is to immediately flip it to make sure I didn't bend or damage anything, I may of started flipping too soon which caught pin 20 and snapped it off. In short, instead of the kid gloves I used on the initial install I was getting kind of cavalier handling the PCB. Expensive, upsetting, and embarrassing mistakes to be sure. At this point I'm more worried about my touch of death. If I pull out the last TI and its motherboard, and even if I do successfully install the F18A again. Will it end up breaking on me within the month? I don't think I was inflicting any collateral damage (a laughable claim based on my earlier story, I am sure), but everything in these things is so old it's hard to say. If there were someone or somewhere I could send my TIs to be repaired I might be willing to spring on it simply to salvage something from this disaster and ensure success. However, my niggling doubts say that vintage computing is not a profit making enterprise and there are probably precious few who can make any substantial opinion as to the ongoing viability of a 36 year computer after an internal modification. At the moment I'm kind of trying to stay away from the TIs for a while to try and clear my head and let go of my guilt. I did bust out my little tester and verified that the power is good and it seems getting to the CPU okay. One document I found says I should check my clock signals but I'm not 100% on what I'm looking for and my multimeter is a rather cheap and limited one so it may not have the range to accurately measure for the clock.
  3. I've got two TIs with the same ailment. Black screen on power on with the unending tone. Both occurred in relation to an F18A mod (but I would guess the F18A is not the cause) and I was wondering if anyone had some brilliant advice that could save the day, or advice in avoiding future tragedy. Story Time - Not for the faint of heart, you have been warned. Beginning this year I got the urge to start playing with my TI-99/4A again, my TI had been sitting idle and collecting dust for a few years ever since it's TV went away. It was a stock TI, no expansions apart from the speech; and I was really interested in improving it to explore the community offerings. I read about this fabulous modification called the F18A that completely overhauled the TI's video out. It didn't seem too difficult, so I ordered one as soon as they came available and waited patiently. After a time I received the magic F18A and dutifully opened my TI, removed the VDP, and installed the F18A. I then dremeled some holes for the VGA cable and snaked it to the back of my console. Shield, attach, close up, power on, total victory! Everything seemed to work without complaint and I was playing Tunnels of Doom on my computer monitor the same evening. What followed were some good times, a month or so of vintage happiness. It was not to last. A few weeks ago I powered on my TI so I could continue one of my latest Quests for the King. Black screen, blaring tone. As near as I can tell this was a spontaneous failure as nothing had changed - the system hadn't been opened since the F18A and it had powered on fine the evening before; no new expansions or cable changes. The internet informed me this dreaded error could mean virtually anything wrong with the system. I opened the system and did the only diagnostic steps I could handle. I replaced the original VDP and tried to power on. Nothing. Tried putting the F18A back and powering on. Nothing. I started re-seating the GROMs and clock chip. As I gently pried and lifted the first GROM it suddenly flipped 180 and attacked me, impaling my poor finger. I quickly deduced the reason, I had snapped off two of the pins. Disaster. Nonetheless, I carried on to see if any change in the system state could be discerned from the re-seating. The TI was unmoved by my efforts and continued with the black screen and harsh tone. As I was working with the TI motherboard, and under unremembered circumstances. I took hold of the keyboard ribbon cable to attach to the motherboard and instead had it come away in my fingers. Catastrophe. The keyboard ribbon cable had sheared off from the solder points on the keyboard. I sadly realized that my efforts had probably already killed my patient, I honestly am not equipped or knowledgeable enough for computer surgery, and should no longer indulge in this pointless torture. I resolved to visit eBay and order another TI. A scan of ebay revealed that TIs generally would cost $50 after shipping. I decided to go ahead and order a lot of 2 that were both claimed to be working but were missing some accessories (only 1 power supply and no RF) and one was missing keycaps. I bid, I won, and I waited. Yesterday the TIs have arrived. I verified that they were indeed functional as stock units (although the busted keycap one seemed to have some video issues). I set about opening the better of the pair to transplant my F18A. Unscrew, open, unshield, pry. Everything proceeding smoothly I gently pried up the F18A from it's old host and I let out a cry of genuine anguish. One of the pins was gone (nothing else bent or damaged that I saw, just cruel fate), the F18A had been wounded in this latest action. What follows is my descent into pure madness and unmitigated stupidity. Faced with the missing pin, and desiring to install the F18A in the fresh patient IMMEDIATELY, I resolved to solder a replacement pin to the F18A board. Now some background, in years past some fool gifted me a inexpensive soldering iron as they knew my interest in vintage computing and thought I would find the tool useful. This tool would become a murder (of my poor TI) weapon. I have no training or formal education, and my past successful efforts with the tool have been only to solder wires together. A pin isn't that much different from a wire though? Of course not. So I cut a pin from a bit of discarded electronics I had laying around and proceeded to attempt to solder it to the board. What followed was an hour of trembling hands, cursing, fiddling, and jabbing a hot iron at the little board to try and get the pin to stick and not be crooked. Each passable attempt ended in failure, resulting in a black screen (but accompanied by the TI's lovely startup chirp). These efforts were interspersed with periodic sanity checks with the original VDP which I would insert to verify that I had not inflicted fatal injury. This continued until finally a measure of success. Video, but not that which brings joy, but a hideous abomination that shrivels the soul. The system powered on, but showed a title screen that was corrupted. The colors were wrong, the characters were garbled. Further desperate action improved nothing: from garbled screen, to blank blue screen, to black screen, to F18A ready screen, to garbled screen; round and round till I resolved myself and admitted defeat. However, the drama still had one final cruel twist of fate. I placed another F18A order and replaced the original VDP. Only this time instead of the grainy title screen I was greeted by doom's horrible screech. Black screen, blaring tone. Panic. I tried replacing the F18A. Black screen, blaring tone. Re-seat all the socketed chips. Black screen, blaring tone. Swap power supplies. Black screen, blaring tone. To my shame it seems I have killed another patient. Now I confess my eyes have shifted to my last misshapen TI to perhaps harvest its organs to fuel my mad designs. One potential slight glimmer of growth, I have decided to err on the side of wisdom and solicit my betters, and prevail upon their wisdom to see if there is any way I may undo this horror, or at least advice that I may prevent another one. Well? What say you? TL;DR - I am an idiot. Due to botched install+repair I'm soliciting help/advice in fixing my TIs. Black screens, blaring tones.
  4. For those who are interested, I finally resolved this issue. The problem? Bad floppy cable. I obtained a SF354 to use that came complete with power and fresh cable. In testing the fresh cable worked with the SF354 and the Golden Image enclosure and the floppy formatted without any errors. So far everything is operating with a clean bill of health.
  5. YAGRS sold me a small lot of 22 NES and SNES games. The negotiations proceeded quickly and YAGRS followed up immediately and shipped the games quickly. YAGRS also kept me informed through the process and provided me with a tracking number.
  6. I might take you up on this, I live in Michigan. I've tried taking stuff to a local place I found willing to do this kind of thing, but they are still holding my Atari 7800 hostage after 3 months trying to do the s-video mod. Everytime I call or visit they say it should be done next week. Not at all reassuring so I'm not taking anything else there. I'm going to give this system serious testing first, and if I can locate a floppy drive reasonably priced so I can be sure that will be even better.
  7. These are basically my worst fears, that the problem is actually in the ST; damage to the chip/port/capacitors for whatever reason. I already checked, and unfortunately the WD1772 is not socketed on my ST, which means swapping it is not likely with my experience and available tools (no soldering iron, etc.) Also my electronics knowledge is only rudimentary. I can poke around with my multimeter but beyond checking for continuity and voltage I'm not going to get very far. I'm keeping an eye out for another external floppy drive so I have a point of comparison, but I don't want to drop a lot of money on one. I was also thinking of acquiring an HxC floppy emulator, but they're kind of pricey and I would have to build an enclosure and interface for it since this enclosure may not be compatible or trustworthy.
  8. These are both early STm / ST machines. Power supply is external (I have just the one, and I'm using it for testing both), and unfortunately I have only the one (external) floppy drive which is why this behavior is annoying, as I can't really do anything with the system(s) without it. Thanks for the info regarding the desktop wait, I wasn't sure if that was normal or not. I know the memory is being detected, as it's reported by sysinfo. Since my floppy is now partially working, are there any programs that I could use to test the memory (like memtest86 on PC) to avoid further disassembly? I'm planning a full tear down and investigation of the second ST. It worked briefly when I first set it up, so I'm thinking (hoping) that this is just a loose chip issue of some sort and the thing didn't spontaneously combust the second I touched it.
  9. To share the latest, I was able to obtain a second ST and tested the floppy drive. The results could not confuse me more. The floppy drive connected to the ST, it started up with the same issues I mentioned previously, when no disk is present it takes a long time to boot. I tested it with a disk and the system did not crash when I tried to access the floppy. I then tried to format a disk - Disk drive grinded up all 80 tracks and then the system hanged - locked up solid. I reset it and the system is dead, white screen only, does not reach the GEM desktop. Bad Luck? Caused by the floppy? Lose chips? So anyway, I pull back the first ST, the one with the memory upgrade. I connect the floppy and start it up. Goes to desktop after a minute, I put a disk in and restart it. And it comes right up. That's new. I try to open the floppy and the window pops open. I put the disk in my PC and copy some programs over. They come up fine on the ST. It's actually working now!? So, my second ST remains inert regardless of whether or not the floppy is plugged in. My first ST seems to be sort of working, I am not messing with it for fear I'd break it again. The only things that were done was I tried connecting it to another computer, and when the test format botched I grabbed a second disk to test with (one I tested with previously and had the same issues).
  10. I'm interested in obtaining a working Atari ST (any model). I'm trying to diagnose a problem with another ST system and I would like a second system to provide reference. I'd be fine with a system rough around the edges (missing keys or the like) as long as all the ports work and the thing boots to GEM. It can be without a power adapter as long as it's known working. I'm also interested in an Atari ST External Floppy drive SF354 or SF314. More interested in the SF314 than SF354. Needs to be working and come with power adapter and floppy drive cable. Also looking for a working Atari ST mouse. I have a small list of lesser wants, if anyone is willing to part with these things for the right price. Atari 1050 floppy drive w/ power and sio cords. Working please. Atari 5200 and Intellivision - I've had my eyes out for both of these consoles. Low priority but would consider a decent offer. TI-99/4A Tape Recorder - If anyone has an extra one they want to get rid of. Atari ST TOS roms (Rainbow 1.4) - six chip version
  11. The board is an 1987 V2 eesieST Aerco Solderless Ram board. I was hoping someone could offer useful information regarding it before I blindly start yanking it out of there. It's hooked in a few places so I don't know if I need to remove the whole thing or if something as easy as disconnecting the cables will shut it off. I would hate to fry this thing because I didn't know any better. The red wire is a real head scratcher. It is connected to a few other things which connects up into the modulator so I'm assuming it has something to do with that. But I haven't even tested the modulator yet so I don't know what if any affect it has. I have an idea on where it should go based on an inspection of the board, but I'm not positive. So I'm not sure what to do about it. If anyone recognizes what it's hooked up to, or has any ideas on what it could be that may be helpful. At this point I'm thinking of investing in a second ST/floppy of some sort just so I have a backup/test/reference system. It would allow me to narrow the field of possibilities a bit more.
  12. Okay, I opened the system up and I'm not entirely sure of what I'm seeing in here. Anyway, I've started going over the chips (making a point to avoid anything related to that big expansion board so far) but nothing seems to have made any difference. Whenever the floppy is plugged in, it boots slowly or crashes if there is a disk present. System behaves fine if I unplug the floppy drive from the ST. This seems interesting I don't know if it has anything to do with my floppy issue, but it seems like some wires and resistors were soldered in here. I haven't a clue what their point is. It is worth noting that the red wire seems to have broken loose its connection.
  13. I recently obtained an Atari 520 STm along with a SM124 monitor and a Golden Image DS/DD external floppy drive. The monitor and ST both seem to be in working order, but I am unfortunately having ongoing issues with the floppy drive. When I first tested the drive it worked slightly, enough so that if I formatted a floppy in MS-DOS on a PC it would read the disk. However, if I attempted to format the disk on the ST it would work for a while and then would start to grind eventually causing the ST to crash. After trying a few different disks the floppy no longer works at all. If there is no disk in the drive the light comes on during boot and it takes nearly a full minute until the GEM desktop finally loads, the only activity seems to be a few clicks like it's trying to read a track or something. The drive is still detected but any attempt to read a disk or format crashes the system. If I try to start the system with a disk in the drive the system will crash before loading the GEM desktop. The crashes are always 2,3,4, or 11 'bombs', there doesn't seem to be any consistency or pattern to how many 'bombs' show up when it crashes. So far the only remedy I've tried is to open the enclosure and replace the floppy drive. I obtained a 'new' (sitting on the shelf of the local computer shop for years) Sony 920Z and modified it according to information I located on atari-forum. However when this drive was installed in the enclosure it suffered from the exact issues of the original drive. So I'm left with the ugly conclusion that there is a problem with something other than the drive itself. Does anyone have any thoughts or experience dealing with a floppy drive issue such as this? This is my only ST so unfortunately I don't have any other systems to test against.
  14. Yeah, from what I can see of the specs, it has 4MB RAM but "they" never upgraded the TOS. Define "dumpster". Thankfully, not quite literally in the dumpster. But I got a new job recently, I expressed an interest in vintage computers and consoles to my new co-workers (I had a C128, C64, and TI-99/4A prior to this), and they unloaded this stuff on me since they were throwing things out. I got the previously pictured Atari ST, a Franklin Ace (untested), and an Amiga 2000 (untested). I also got a printer with this Atari which I haven't tried yet either, but I read that the printer renders the pages on the ST instead of the printer, so I expect this ST was used for publishing/printing or the like, in which case the memory makes sense. I'm focused on the moment on fixing the floppy. I'm trying to swap in a different floppy drive that I modded for the ST and hope that the enclosure logic board still works fine (it was a Golden Image DS/DD disk drive). I had to order a special internal floppy power cable though since the one already in the enclosure was too short and was slightly different from what you get in an old PC. Once/if the floppy is fixed I will try opening this up. I'm thinking I going to update the OS and I'm considering adding S-video (it's actually an STm) and getting some sort of Satandisk.
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