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Tarzilla

Let's see what is inside a broken Adam

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In another thread I asked about an Adam that powered up, had sound, would let me type to the printer but only showed a color background screen with no graphics. Today I finally had the time to perform surgery on the beast.

[Click an image to enlarge any of these huge images]

 

 

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I started off by removing the four screws (green circles) in the underside that hold the face place on. I placed them aside so I wouldn't mix them with the others. Then I took out the other screws around the perimeter. Surprisingly, the case didn't separate as I expected.

 

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I then popped off the cover over the tape drives.

 

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Seems these screws also hold the case together. I removed them and labeled the cables going from the drive to the motherboard. I don't know if they are interchangable but better safe. Once the drive and empty drive case are unscrewed the case came apart.

 

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Once you take off the top cover, these two RESET buttons will fall off and go flying across the room, probably into the dogs mouth...

 

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Next, I removed the screws that hold the shielding of the motherboard.

 

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The naked motherboard. It has been 20 years since I've touched a solder iron or did any motherboard repair, but I don't see anything obviously wrong.

 

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The board with the video connectors.

Edited by Tarzilla
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and....... :P

 

As you have found out, it's a bit of a task to disassemble the Memory Console and to get all the way through that process and remove all the PCBs is a 32 screw endeavor. Probably a very good idea to document this process with pictures each step of the way although it's pretty straight forward.

 

Did you try connecting a Composite Video cable to the MONITOR port on the back of the ADAM and then to the COMPOSITE VIDEO INPUT of a TV as I suggested in the other thread to see what the video output through this Composite Video port looks like. I ask this because if the video output is good by using the MONITOR port, then you have isolated the problem to be solely with the RF Output.

 

BTW, the Digital Data Drive connector pins are labeled and it does matter how you reconnect them.

  • Data Drive #1 connects to pins 1A and 1B
  • Data Drive #2 connects to pins 2A and 2B

The two connectors at the end of the cables are different as well. One is a 9-pin connector and the other is an 8-pin, so be very careful when reconnecting. If you are unsure, refer to the Owner's Manuals if you have them. I have attached a scan of the Data Drive manual just in case.

 

Second Digital Data Drive - Manual.pdf

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and....... :P

 

As you have found out, it's a bit of a task to disassemble the Memory Console and to get all the way through that process and remove all the PCBs is a 32 screw endeavor. Probably a very good idea to document this process with pictures each step of the way although it's pretty straight forward.

 

Did you try connecting a Composite Video cable to the MONITOR port on the back of the ADAM and then to the COMPOSITE VIDEO INPUT of a TV as I suggested in the other thread to see what the video output through this Composite Video port looks like. I ask this because if the video output is good by using the MONITOR port, then you have isolated the problem to be solely with the RF Output.

 

 

I tried the composite cable from monitor to tv input as you suggested, same result as rf which is what lead me to this. I haven't actually tried again after reassembly, hopefully Sunday sometime.

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I bought one with the exact same problem. you need to get to the adam pc board and reseat all the adam chips... your pictures you only

tore it down to the colecovision board. little bit more work and you'll be working again.

 

the board with the slots on it, that's the adam board get the shielding off and pull and reseat the chips and i'll bet you'll have a working adam

again

Edited by mightywiz
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I bought one with the exact same problem. you need to get to the adam pc board and reseat all the adam chips... your pictures you only

tore it down to the colecovision board. little bit more work and you'll be working again.

 

the board with the slots on it, that's the adam board get the shielding off and pull and reseat the chips and i'll bet you'll have a working adam

again

Thanks for pointing out my half-assed repair attempt. ;)

 

I went all the way, removed and reseated the chips, reassembled everything...miraculously had no left over screws...

 

post-38229-0-86949300-1425959124_thumb.jpg

 

Result: Same thing....

I have a video of what it is doing, but it is too big to upload, I'll process it so people can see what the problem looks like.

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That's a very early revision Adam Logic Board with a Rev. 57 chipset. Other than that, the only thing I can think of would be the VDP on the Colecovision Delta Board.

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I'm curious… what is the date stamp on the board? Mine says 1/24/1984.

 

A little O/T: does anyone know where I can get an EEPROM with the last chipset revision? I've read many of the posts from NIAD and the other ADAM folks about these replaceable chips, and about the later/unreleased versions of the OS. I don't have an EEPROM burner right now, but would love to perform this mod.

 

Also: Jim, do you recommended installing the WP or is there a way to burn CP/M directly onto the ROM so that ADAM boots into it?

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Also: Jim, do you recommended installing the WP or is there a way to burn CP/M directly onto the ROM so that ADAM boots into it?

Are you sure you want to do that? I don't know if CP/M fits in 32K, but seems to me you'd be better off putting it on a game cartridge and running it via the cartridge reset switch...

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Both consoles I bought had bad video RAM.
That kind of RAM has a tendency to die when exposed to voltages that are off.
There is a conversion that can be done that will let you use chips that only require +5v.

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Are you sure you want to do that? I don't know if CP/M fits in 32K, but seems to me you'd be better off putting it on a game cartridge and running it via the cartridge reset switch...

CP/M doesn't require a lot to boot and that would certainly be possible but there are a whole set of utilities/commands that go with it that would need to reside on some kind of drive.

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Are you sure you want to do that? I don't know if CP/M fits in 32K, but seems to me you'd be better off putting it on a game cartridge and running it via the cartridge reset switch...

I'm actually not sure. I was just jogging my memory in regard to a post I'd read a long time back. Couldn't recall if hobbyists were replacing the WP program, the EOS, or actually installing CP/M on the 4-chip boot ROMs.

 

Although your suggestion is a very practical one. I wonder if the OS could be booted via the AtariMax SD.

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I believe I've seen an eeprom with basic burned on where the ADAM turns on to SmartBasic instead of the WP. I know I've read somewhere there are other things you can have the ADAM boot up to instead of smartwriter.

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I'm curious… what is the date stamp on the board? Mine says 1/24/1984.

 

A little O/T: does anyone know where I can get an EEPROM with the last chipset revision? I've read many of the posts from NIAD and the other ADAM folks about these replaceable chips, and about the later/unreleased versions of the OS. I don't have an EEPROM burner right now, but would love to perform this mod.

I'd be interested in this as well. I'm also curious as to what the difference is between the various revisions.

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Someone posted the SmartBASIC cart image in another thread and I made a cart image for the IDE interface boot ROM which you can also find in another thread.
With the IDE interface you can you can load up whatever you want from a CF card including SmartBASIC, CP/M and T-DOS.

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I'm curious… what is the date stamp on the board? Mine says 1/24/1984.

 

A little O/T: does anyone know where I can get an EEPROM with the last chipset revision? I've read many of the posts from NIAD and the other ADAM folks about these replaceable chips, and about the later/unreleased versions of the OS. I don't have an EEPROM burner right now, but would love to perform this mod.

 

Also: Jim, do you recommended installing the WP or is there a way to burn CP/M directly onto the ROM so that ADAM boots into it?

 

Ive got some EOS 6 ROMs originally from Walters Bros but others have come out with newer versions at some point.

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A little O/T: does anyone know where I can get an EEPROM with the last chipset revision? I've read many of the posts from NIAD and the other ADAM folks about these replaceable chips, and about the later/unreleased versions of the OS. I don't have an EEPROM burner right now, but would love to perform this mod.

 

I would assume that Bob and Doug Slopsema (ADAMcon) can handle burning Eeproms of the prototype Rev. 81 and 84 SmartWRITER dumps, but really all they do is correct a number of bugs and implement a number of new features in the SmartWRITER Word Processor and I don't see anyone using this ADAM word processor over a Windows or Mac word processor... so it's really just a novelty. These updated revision chips were acquired from a former Coleco employee back in 1992 and then I sent them to Jim Walters of Walters Software to be dumped and disassembled, but like so many other things in this hobby of our's, it got sidetracked and took until 2010 for me to get these dumps and details. You can download them from Joe B's ADAM website at the following link and try them out in ADAMem or MESS by following the instructions that I put together.

 

http://www.sacnews.net/adamcomputer/downloads/

 

As long as your system reports R80 after pressing CONTROL and R at the same time right after turning it on, you are all good.

 

 

Also: Jim, do you recommended installing the WP or is there a way to burn CP/M directly onto the ROM so that ADAM boots into it?

The Akron ADAM Users Group had a number of very skilled members (John Lingrel, Ron Collins, etc.) that did a lot of really great stuff especially dealing with CP/M and customizing their ADAMs to boot directly into CP/M, but a lot of that knowledge has been lost to the sands of time. Aside from the cool factor of making such mods, I would probably just leave well enough alone and just boot CP/M from disk (running CP/M using only Data Drives can be done but is very slow with all the I/O) when you want to use it. I think you mentioned that you ordered or will be ordering the 100Mb IDE CF Card Package from Bob Slopsema and T-DOS (a far superior CP/M operating system which displays in 40 columns) is already preconfigured on a partition along with a wide assortment of utilities. This setup should be plenty good especially if you buy the Parallel Interface with IDE Boot prom so that the ADAM automatically boots into the IDE HD/CF system and from there it's just a keypress to enter T-DOS... almost instantaneously. I'm not trying to steer you away from CP/M because it's one of the better implemenations of CP/M around as far as what people have said, it's just that the 32 column screen display will be a bit of a pain to get used to and Screen Chop programs that wrap the text instead instead of the default movng window only help so much. What really is needed is an 80 column unit (these are next to impossible to find) or using a Serial Interface to connect a terminal to the ADAM for 80 column output.

 

I would start with the IDE CF Package first to get your feet wet with everything and then depending on your interest level, delve deeper. Also, put Virtual ADAM/ADAMem to work for you in testing things out as you can run everything through it including 80 column output in T-DOS. You can also play around with my CF Card image files with the latest versions of ADAMem without the worry of messing anything up on the real CF Cards.

 

I believe I've seen an eeprom with basic burned on where the ADAM turns on to SmartBasic instead of the WP. I know I've read somewhere there are other things you can have the ADAM boot up to instead of smartwriter.

Only the cartridge dump of SmartBASIC has been made available and someone would have to hack it to boot from the ADAM Logic Board socket(s) where the SmartWRITER roms reside.

 

 

 

Ive got some EOS 6 ROMs originally from Walters Bros but others have come out with newer versions at some point.

While there are some ADAM systems out there with EOS (Elementary Operating System) revision 5, most already have EOS rev. 6. The byte where the revision is stored was never updated by the programmer(s) and it's still listed as 5. As far as I know, there is no way to know it your system has Revision 5 or 6 with dumping and disassembling.

 

EOS Revision 7 is supplied with Disk Manager (came with the Disk Drive) and SmartBASIC v2.0. It cleaned up a lot of bugs, especially with file handling, but really isn't a necessity. The thing is, if you press the Computer or Cartridge Reset, this updated Rev. 7 EOS is cleared from memory. In Disk Manager, the only way to keep EOS 7 resident is by booting other software programs (SmartBASIC, SmartWRITER, etc.) through it's menu options. In SmartBASIC v2.0, you have to perform a soft system reset by using the CALL command (I forget the address to CALL, but it's something like 64743).

 

Getting back to SmartWRITER, Jim Walters released SmartWRITER Elite which corrects numerous bugs and adds new features and Rich Drushel released his own SmartWRITER version (R97) as a rom file, but I don't know all the details on that one.

 

Anyway, to make a long story short, I would recommend that anyone looking to get more serious about the ADAM visit Joe B's site and visit the download page as well as the Newsletter PDF page, put ADAMem and Virtual ADAM to work for them and pickup the IDE CF Package from Bob Slopsema.

Edited by NIAD
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I'm curious… what is the date stamp on the board? Mine says 1/24/1984.

 

What area of the board is the stamp? The underside from the pic above?

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Both consoles I bought had bad video RAM.

That kind of RAM has a tendency to die when exposed to voltages that are off.

There is a conversion that can be done that will let you use chips that only require +5v.

 

Are those original ram chips readily available?

Are they any if the socketed ones above or soldered?

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What area of the board is the stamp? The underside from the pic above?

 

It's funny, as I didn't see yours. Mine is directly visible inside of and above the middle slot.

post-28334-0-69895400-1426043836_thumb.jpg

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Are those original ram chips readily available?

Are they any if the socketed ones above or soldered?

 

You used to be able to get them here, but the fellow who runs this site had gone dormant for some time. I haven't tried contacting him since September 2013, and I got a reply about 45 days later back then (still have the emails), but you can try! Also, I'm not 100% positive that these chips would work in an ADAM, but maybe one of our resident experts can chime in about that. :-D

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I would assume that Bob and Doug Slopsema (ADAMcon) can handle burning Eeproms of the prototype Rev. 81 and 84 SmartWRITER dumps...

 

Thank you as always Jim, for your comprehensive and informative reply!

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It's funny, as I didn't see yours. Mine is directly visible inside of and above the middle slot.

Nope, I went back to my original, much high resolution version of the board image, played Where's Waldo, but couldn't find any dates stamped like yours.

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An ancient thread, but seemed as good a place as any to stick my question.  After 36 years or so, my Coleco ADAM seems to have finally decided to stop reading Digital Data Packs.  This is a bummer mostly for the three super games I own, namely Buck Rogers, Donkey Kong, and Donkey Kong Junior.

 

Any advice on how or whether this can be addressed?  The drive spins and spins, but appears never loads anything anymore.

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Answering my own question, I thought to myself, "Hmmm, I wonder when the last time the drive head was cleaned was," then thought, "Oh right, never," and after 36 years decided that finally its moment had arrived.  Everything in working order again!

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