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1088XEL Atari ITX Motherboard DIY Builders Thread

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Well, I get no normal sounds from my 1088XEL, but then again, I thought it normally booted the Ultimate1M menu, and I'm not sure what sounds I should typically hear.

 

If just start pressing random keys, I don't hear anything until about ten or fifteen key presses and then I get short staticky sound that will repeat occasionally every ten key presses or so, but not a normal key click or anything.

 

I guess I need to start digging through, double-checking solder joints and steping through the schematic, checking for continuity at all the rights spots, and for places where there shouldn't be any, etc. Troubleshooting time!

 

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I spent about a twenty minutes going over about a third of the board with my magnifying visor. I found two bad spots. One poorly soldered joint and another, a pin on a chip that I somehow completely missed altogether. I repaired those and tried again and I finally got some video out of the Sophia DVI. I could see most of the initial main menu text, but it was surrounded by moving and garbled graphics/text rather than the boarders we should typically see. They displayed for a few seconds, then the screen went blank. So, I have some more to look over tomorrow and keep searching for more poor quality solder joints. I'm not going to try to power on again until I go over the whole thing. Hopefully, I'll have better luck tomorrow.

 

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If you have a logic probe, or even a simple mutilmeter, you might make some headway by checking for Vcc and Vss at every major IC. That's a significantly more focused attack than going crosseyed looking at hundreds of individual solder joints all over the board. 

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I didn't think I got any video of it booting, but I did. I'm going to try to post it here. After trying a few times, I finally caught a glimpse of the initial graphics at the top of the screen and realized what I was seeing. It is the strange font text graphic of the original Ultimate1M menu from the old firmware. I caught a glimpse of it for just a second before it turned into garbage characters. I haven't had a logic probe in decades but I do have a lower end Fluke meter. I'll check voltages after I finish going over the board with these old eyes tomorrow.

 

Here's what I'm seeing when I boot.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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How odd that the lower two lines of text remain clear and uncorrupted, but everything else turns into gibberish. Not sure what to make of that.

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from the old firmware? as in you upgraded it and your still seeing the old firmware screen? If so scrambled flash? try to update it again... could the screen memory be skewed in some way?

picture of the u1m and it's connection points plz....

 

Edited by _The Doctor__

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On 2/8/2020 at 6:14 PM, Filon said:

Thank you, Michael! You were absolutely right - it was faulty ANTIC. Now I have a smaller problem - system boots up just after plugging power cord on, switching on gives just more brightness and louder sound. It has to be a short circuit somewhere in power module. But I'm still happy to see boot screen and working system. 

 

Did you solve this already? If not... take a look at the MOSFET. Maybe you´ve done the same silly mistake like me... when I placed the order for parts at Mouser and Digikey the first time, I entered "NDP6020", found it, order it. After assemblind the first 1088XEL, I got the same issue like you wrote above. After some investigations I found out, that there are huge differences between "NDP6020" (the one I ordered) and "NDP6020P", the one needed by the 1088XEL. So check what version you´ve soldered in 😃

 

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5 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

from the old firmware? as in you upgraded it and your still seeing the old firmware screen? If so scrambled flash? try to update it again... could the screen memory be skewed in some way?

picture of the u1m and it's connection points plz....

 

By old firmware, I meant the firmware that the Ultimate1MB came with before flashjazzcat developed the newer one that most people seem to be using now. The Ultimate1MB I ordered from Lotharek last year came with that version and I'm just now using it, so I haven't had a chance to update it yet, and won't until I get my 1088XEL going.

 

2 hours ago, tf_hh said:

 

Did you solve this already? If not... take a look at the MOSFET. Maybe you´ve done the same silly mistake like me... when I placed the order for parts at Mouser and Digikey the first time, I entered "NDP6020", found it, order it. After assemblind the first 1088XEL, I got the same issue like you wrote above. After some investigations I found out, that there are huge differences between "NDP6020" (the one I ordered) and "NDP6020P", the one needed by the 1088XEL. So check what version you´ve soldered in 😃

 

I double-checked this and, no, I ordered and installed the correct MOSFET, a ND6020P, but thanks for the suggestion.

 

Also, I didn't think, and initially just uploaded the mp4 file of how my 1088XEL was acting, when I should've put it on YouTube and posted a link. The video doesn't seem to be working this morning, so here's a link to it on YouTube for any that can't see it and want to.

 

 

Edited by bfollowell

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6 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

picture of the u1m and it's connection points plz....

 

I took a picture of the U1MB, but all you can see is the top of it. It's all but impossible to get any decent pictures of connectors or connection points with it plugged in. I may pull it out and check it out, but I plugged the U1MB into the connectors, then installed them onto the board and soldered them as one unit to make sure everything lined up well. I did think it was weird that the smaller, 10-pin center connector from the U1MB doesn't connect to all of the pins from that section of the U1MB board.

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1 hour ago, bfollowell said:

I did think it was weird that the smaller, 10-pin center connector from the U1MB doesn't connect to all of the pins from that section of the U1MB board.

Have you ever installed a U1MB in a vintage A8? That connector typically has only a 4-wire connector plugged into it, for the 4 signals that are not available via the ribbon cables plugged into sockets. So most of those signals aren't even connected on most machines. For that matter, there are only 9 pins on the U1MB that plug into the 2x5 connector on the XEL board. 

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No, I had planned to install one and my Sophia DVI in my 800XL eventually, then changed direction and decided to build a 1088XEL instead, so I've never installed one in an original 8-bit.

 

And yes, that's what I was referring to. Beside the 9 that plug into the 2x5 connector on the 1088XEL mobo there are 2 other pins that don't even mate up with the 2x5 connector, or any other connector, so obviously those aren't used.

 

Anyway, I know for certain those aren't part of my issue. I just found it strange that they weren't used in any way.

 

I should've mentioned too, when I get that initial menu, I have no control at all. There is no keyboard input. I press the keys but get absolutely no response.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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27 minutes ago, bfollowell said:

I should've mentioned too, when I get that initial menu, I have no control at all. There is no keyboard input. I press the keys but get absolutely no response.

Take a very close look at the solder joints and all the traces around the Left POKEY and the TK-II socket, plus all the traces leading to the PS/2 keyboard socket.

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I was thinking the same thing, since I get no response from the keyboard. I've already eyeballed the solder joints, and they look pretty decent to my eye, but that doesn't mean there isn't something going on that I can't see. I'm going to check for continuity from the ICs down to the solder joint to. It's pretty hard to bend a precision socket pin, but back in the day, I've accidentally bent pins when installing them into sockets in such a way that the pin bent underneath the chip and you could look at it from the side all day long and swear that the pin went into the socket, only to find out that it didn't. I'm also going to check for continuity between close pins and solder points, in case I have some small bit of solder that I can't necessarily see, tying to points together that shouldn't be.

 

Thanks for the advice. I have a teleconference later and really haven't had much time to play today because of real work from home, but I'm dying to get to my work bench and start checking things out.

 

 

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1 hour ago, bfollowell said:

I have a teleconference later and really haven't had much time to play today because of real work from home, but I'm dying to get to my work bench and start checking things out.

I understand - I've been working from home for two weeks now. I finished my most recent project this morning and should have another beginning Monday, so today is a pretty nice goof-off day for me, the first in a month or more. 

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OK, after a couple of days of off and on troubleshooting, I managed to get my 1088XEL to boot once. It seemed somewhat normal and I was even able to get far enough along to upgrade the firmware to flashjazzcat's wonderful new firmware. Something about the boot process seems a little off to me, compared to what I recall seeing in some videos from others. What do you guys think? Does look OK to you?

 

 

 

 

Edited by bfollowell

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You know, I'm not 100% certain. I believe so.

 

I didn't seem to have any keyboard input at all, like I'd mentioned. I finally did focus around on the solder connections for everything related to TKII and both Pokey chips. I did find two solder connections that looked to have what I would call a burst bubble in the solder, but seemed to have a decent enough solder connection to work, even if wasn't the prettiest of solder points. I went ahead and reflowed both of them and added just a touch more solder.

 

When I booted next, the screen looked all garbled pretty much like it had before, but this time I started pressing around on the keyboard. I didn't think it was going to work since I didn't have any lights on the keyboard. No caps lock, no num lock, nothing, but maybe that is normal on the 1088XEL. Anyway, I didn't seem to be getting anything until I randomly hit the F12 key. That was the point everything changed. As soon as I pressed F12, the graphics changed and I had a clear image of the original U1MB setup screen with the old green and purple Ultimate Setup graphic at the top. From that point on, everything worked perfectly. I don't have micro USB to USB A cable and my  AtariMax SIO2PC-USB is on the fritz at the moment, so I used the SIO2USB cable I'd made and the RespeQt to boot a few disks and everything seemed to be working well, though I wasn't all that familiar with the firmware or with SpartaDOS-X. Finally, I decided to download and update to the flashjazzcat's updated firmware and that went without a hitch.

 

I haven't went out and tinkered with it yet this morning but, when I went to bed, everything seemed to be working well.

 

So, should I have any lights on my keyboard when using with a 1088? How do I boot from a cartridge? How do I get the time set and synced? One of the times I booted, I used the time and date commands from SpartDOS to get them, but they didn't seem to keep between reboots, at least not within SpartaDOS. The time and date are correct in the firmware, but they're different in SpartaDOS. Do I need to setup some batch file or script to read that from the RTC every time at boot? See what I mean about not being familiar with the hardware? The only experience I have is with a plain vanilla 800XL and DOS 2.5. I seem to remember reading that someone was looking into putting together a manual. Did that ever happen? I guess I'll need to look into that today.

 

On a video note, my new UAV came in yesterday and Sophia DVI and UAV both work perfectly. Now, if the world ever gets back to something approaching normal and shipping starts up again, I have a VBXE coming from Lotharek for it as well.

 

Today is lawn day, so I have about four hours of trimming, edging, mowing, and blowing today, but I'll probably tinker a little after that. I have so much to learn now. Plus, once, I'm comfortable that everything is working well, I still need to assemble my dual XEL-CF3 and my status board and get everything installed into my Realan H60 case.

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2 hours ago, bfollowell said:

So, should I have any lights on my keyboard when using with a 1088? How do I boot from a cartridge? How do I get the time set and synced? One of the times I booted, I used the time and date commands from SpartDOS to get them, but they didn't seem to keep between reboots, at least not within SpartaDOS. The time and date are correct in the firmware, but they're different in SpartaDOS. Do I need to setup some batch file or script to read that from the RTC every time at boot? See what I mean about not being familiar with the hardware? The only experience I have is with a plain vanilla 800XL and DOS 2.5. I seem to remember reading that someone was looking into putting together a manual. Did that ever happen? I guess I'll need to look into that today.

 

OK, I still haven't figured out how to boot from my Ultimate Cart yet, but I do have at least one light that works on my keyboard. The CAPS lock light works as expected. Also, there is no problem with my date/time. I feel pretty silly, but I was seeing the SpartaDOS copyright date and thought the date was messed up. Everything is fine from the firmware and from SpartaDOS as far as the date/time are concerned.

 

Edited by bfollowell

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When you boot the XEL or XLD machines, the keyboard lights should flash is the TK-II initialized. F12 should take you to the main setup menu, as I recall (not upstairs in my retro-room at the moment). Jon’s firmware will let you enable or disable the cart ROM. If you have it enabled, the machine should boot to whatever cart you have inserted. F11 should take you to the SIDE Loader for your CF card, if you’ve got that XEL-CF built and installed.

 

EDIT: I just watched the video above. The boot isn’t normal. It’s getting hung up in the keyboard initialization process I think. What version of the TK-II firmware are you using? And do you have a second, different-model PS/2 keyboard available? I know I uncovered some bug or issue with certain keyboards a couple years ago when I was building my 1088XEL that related to the timing of the initialization. I think @mytek adjusted the TK-II firmware timing a bit, and I believe @flashjazzcat has also adjusted some of the boot timing in the firmware to account for some of the keyboard variations but my memory on the details is fuzzy.  

 

 

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Ditto on everything that DrVenkman said. Current TK-II firmware is 2.4, and is what will be found packaged in the zip from the main 1088XEL page on my website. Also when in doubt about what does what on the keyboard, there is an online manual that references a graphic of the keyboard map linked from the main TK-II page, also at my website (AtariBits.com).

 

But since you were wondering about the LEDs here's what they all do....

 

Num Lock = yep you guessed it, toggles when pressing the NumLock key, which indicates whether the NumPad is in numeric or navigation mode.

Scroll Lock = indicates the state of auto-insert mode, ALT+Insert key toggles it.

Caps lock = indicates if you are in macro record mode, CTRL+ALT+F5-F12 toggles it.

 

Explanation of those last two is better covered in the online manual.

 

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2 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

When you boot the XEL or XLD machines, the keyboard lights should flash is the TK-II initialized. F12 should take you to the main setup menu, as I recall (not upstairs in my retro-room at the moment). Jon’s firmware will let you enable or disable the cart ROM. If you have it enabled, the machine should boot to whatever cart you have inserted. F11 should take you to the SIDE Loader for your CF card, if you’ve got that XEL-CF built and installed.

 

EDIT: I just watched the video above. The boot isn’t normal. It’s getting hung up in the keyboard initialization process I think. What version of the TK-II firmware are you using? And do you have a second, different-model PS/2 keyboard available? I know I uncovered some bug or issue with certain keyboards a couple years ago when I was building my 1088XEL that related to the timing of the initialization. I think @mytek adjusted the TK-II firmware timing a bit, and I believe @flashjazzcat has also adjusted some of the boot timing in the firmware to account for some of the keyboard variations but my memory on the details is fuzzy.  

 

 

 

OK, I haven't noticed any light flash, and I think I would've, but could've missed it. I still haven't had any luck with my Ultimate Cart, but I'm sure it's something stupid that I'm doing.

 

From the videos I'd seen, I didn't think that boot seemed normal. I don't recall anyone else's freezing at the 1088XEL/U1MB logo like that. As far as versions of firmware, the three PIC chips were each programmed with the most recently available versions as of about three days ago when I programmed them. For the updated U1MB firmware, that was just downloaded last night, so pretty much everything is as up-to-date as it can be. Also, no, unfortunately I don't have another PS2 keyboard that I can try. In all honesty, I hadn't had one in over a decade and I had to purchase this one special for my 1088. It's a Logitech Y-SU61, and it seems like I'd seen that one recommended somewhere, but I may be misremembering that. If someone is aware of the compatibility of this particular keyboard, one way or the other, please let me know.

 

2 hours ago, mytek said:

Ditto on everything that DrVenkman said. Current TK-II firmware is 2.4, and is what will be found packaged in the zip from the main 1088XEL page on my website. Also when in doubt about what does what on the keyboard, there is an online manual that references a graphic of the keyboard map linked from the main TK-II page, also at my website (AtariBits.com).

 

But since you were wondering about the LEDs here's what they all do....

 

Num Lock = yep you guessed it, toggles when pressing the NumLock key, which indicates whether the NumPad is in numeric or navigation mode.

Scroll Lock = indicates the state of auto-insert mode, ALT+Insert key toggles it.

Caps lock = indicates if you are in macro record mode, CTRL+ALT+F5-F12 toggles it.

 

Explanation of those last two is better covered in the online manual.

 

And again, I don't recall seeing any lights flash when the TK-II initialized. I do get a caps lock light on & off when I alternate the caps lock button, but from what you just said, I shouldn't be seeing that. I should only be seeing the caps lock light when I'm in macro record mode, which I'm pretty sure I haven't been. Either way, it sound like there may still be some issues around the TK-II section of the board that I need to look over a little bit closer. So, still more troubleshooting work to do, but definitely a step closer.

 

 

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3 hours ago, bfollowell said:

And again, I don't recall seeing any lights flash when the TK-II initialized.

That pretty much is the kiss of death to not see that. When all 3 LEDs flash momentarily when first powered up, indicates that the TK-II is talking to the keyboard, and has initiated a keyboard reset. Following the reset, a few parameters are initialized, and then the keyboard is now in-sync with the TK-II.

 

If you see the Caps key toggling the Caps Lock LED, it likely means that this is a generic action of the keyboard that is not in response to the TK-II. So in other words it was never initialized properly and is completely wild and on it's own. And based on the strange start-up sequence, I would surmise that your TK-II chip is either no good, has a disconnected or shorted pin, or didn't get flashed correctly. Because one other function of the TK-II chip is to also handle system reset during power up, doing so by bringing the reset line low for a preset period of time. Your start-up looks reminiscent of a floating reset line.

 

However, hitting F12 is suppose to do an automatic timed double key sequence, of sending out a reset and system Help key to launch into the U1MB setup menu. So probably by sheer luck when you pressed F12 that 2 key sequence worked, or perhaps the TK-II chip is actually working, but the keyboard is incompatible and causing all this trouble. Although that's doubtful since it's been tested against no less than 12 different makes of keyboards by myself alone, and even more by the general public with not a single one not working properly (at least that I've heard about). The incident that DrVenkman referenced was due to an inadvertent bug that got in during an early beta firmware version targeted at the 1088XEL that was never released to the general public.

 

But just to rule out a 'bad' PS/2 keyboard I would also suggest getting another one (different model), to test with.   eBay Link to PS/2 Keyboards

 

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All of my PIC flashing seemed to be successful. At least, it said that that it was successful.

 

Believe it or not I'm actually working this week, but I'll probably have a little time in the afternoons, before work, to troubleshoot some more. I'm planning to go over the whole TK-II/Pokey section of the board again, looking for bad solder and using my meter to check for shorts where they shouldn't be or pins or leads that don't seem to have continuity down to the board or trace level.

 

Every day since I got that first flash of garbled text & graphics I've found something and each find has lead to a little bit better operation, closer to normal. Hopefully, I'll be there soon.

 

On another note, about the PIC chips, are the reprogrammable? If I think the programming didn't go right, can I try one again? I'm not familiar with these chips.

 

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27 minutes ago, bfollowell said:

 

On another note, about the PIC chips, are the reprogrammable? If I think the programming didn't go right, can I try one again? I'm not familiar with these chips.

Yep. They are little microcontrollers and can be flashed many times with new code. 

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OK, I was mistaken. I really watched closely this time. About two seconds after powering on my 1088, all three keyboard status lights flash on & off together. Also, when I press Num Lock, the num lock light comes on, and when I enter macro record mode, the caps lock light comes on. Also, Ctrl Home clears the screen, Ctrl Insert inserts a new line and Ctrl Delete deletes a line.

 

As near as I can tell, the keyboard and TK-II are initializing and the keyboard is working as it should. Now, that doesn't mean I don't have another issue going on in the TK-II section, or some other section of the board, but I think the TK-II PIC is programmed correctly and the keyboard is doing what it is supposed to do.

 

On to more troubleshooting.

 

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