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Diagnostics / self-test for 800 (not XL)

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Topping off my G.A.S. shopping spree is an 800 in somewhat sad shape. I'd like to run some diagnostics or self-tests that would exercise the various components and subsystems.

 

I think I have bad memory and potentially a bad OS card. There are three 16k memory cards. Neither the memory nor the OS cards are cased and they bobbled around during shipping. I reseated them and pressed on the chips. Every chip made a "click" as it fell back into the socket. In order for some of my ATRs and some of my cartridges to load I had to play "musical chairs" with the memory card. I removed them all and tried booting with only one installed. One of the cards by itself would hang the computer but the other two seem fine. This is kind of a loosey-goosey way to diagnose but it's all I can do for now.

 

Half the keys on the keyboard don't work. Someone replaced the R cap with a P cap. SELECT, OPTION, START, and RESET are flaky.

 

Composite video works but S-Video is a no-go.

 

The inside of the machine was filled with dust bunnies, hair, spiderwebs, and general top-layer dirt. It all cleaned up nice but is evidenace of being in storage vs. well taken care of.

 

Can anyone offer recommendations for a good diagnostics program to help me dive deeper? I'd really like to get this machine up and running! :)

 

Oh, and the serial number is 402530. Date code stamp (?) is #023 which I think is 2nd week of 1983. Does that sound right? The label with the handwritten text says "PW 412976" and "1/10"

 

Thanks!!

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load the SALT or superSALT test cart if you can.
the attached was kindly provided by another user on here. (apologies, i cannot remember who)
see this thread for more info:
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/194736-super-salt-diagnostic-carts/page-4?hl=%20mycollectionsalt

Bear in mind if you run the SALT or SuperSALT carts - without the Atari-specified loop-back box (a modified 850 as I understand it) youll get a number of errors when the full suite of tests run. Dont worry about them - they test the GTIA trigger lines and a few other I/O related things. Probably not a concern for most systems.

In the OPs case, it sounds like the memory and ROM cards need to be cleaned well with Deoxit or at least a rubber pencil eraser, the card edge connectors inside need to be blown out with canned air and sprayed with Deoxit, and then reinserted. 800s with uncased memory and ROM were sent from the factory with a little black plastic spacer bar that has notched on the top. You fit that over the top of the cards, which helps stabilize them and keep them upright in the slots. Its not a great solution for machines that are shipped around or moved often, but for a machine that is setup in one location, kept closed up and never really moved much, its fine. Edited by DrVenkman

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Unfortunately, I do not have a programmable cartridge where I can load ROM images. :(

 

I Google'ed SALT and it looks like a good kit to have, especially for those who love to play and tinker with stock 8-bit machines. Maybe it's worth having a kit like this on hand.

 

Is there any floppy based program I can run in the meantime?

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do you have an SD card device or maybe an SIO2PC connection? there might be a way using those

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I need something similar but to run on an Atari 400 with 48K upgrade.

 

No ability to use cartridge... but can load diagnostic software via SIO2PC.

 

Anyone have any such software?  Preferably in ATR format.

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Half the keys on the keyboard don't work...SELECT, OPTION, START, and RESET are flaky.

Check the keyboard ribbon cable for broken wires, and also do as DrVenkman suggested with the ribbon cable connectors and the 4-wire connector from main board to the power supply board for the function buttons.

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I disassembled the keyboard and cleaned it inside and out. The unit is squeaky clean. Still many keys don’t work. :(

On a positive note, the S-Video output works now. I must have jiggled something or re-seated something just right. The output through a Framemeister super, super clean!! Cleaner than my 130XE!

After seeing the clean output I am more determined to get the machine up and running at 100%. So, no system check program is available? Forty years of history and heritage and nothing like selftest.exe is out there?

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I disassembled the keyboard again tonight. This time I got brave and peeled off the mylar! Kind of scary seeing how thin and fragile it is. I cleaned all the contacts with alcohol and reassembled. When I reassembled I put a piece of tape over the plastic bar in the keyboard frame that would press onto the bottom contacts on the mylar. Here's a blog post I found showing a picture. Scroll down to the bottom for an idea.

 

http://dkudrow.blogspot.com/2012/02/atari-800-keyboard.html

 

The picture there shows tape placed on the mylar. I didn't think the mylar could withstand removal of the tape without damage. That is why I placed it on the plastic bar instead. Same effect no matter what.

 

Now the keyboard works!! :) :)

 

I'm still on the hunt for a system tester. Google lead me to some XEX files of SALT that were posted here on AA. Not a single one of them loads and runs on my 800. They either hang or give me gibberish chaotic screens or the program just hangs.

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[attachment=635172:supersal.xex]

 

Use the Select key to move action line to Individual test and press OPTION then first alpha character of option list. 

 

How much memory do you have in the 800..

 

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attachicon.gifsupersal.xex

 

Use the Select key to move action line to Individual test and press OPTION then first alpha character of option list. 

 

How much memory do you have in the 800..

 

 

Thank, rdea6! This is the only SALT program that seems to load on my 800.

 

My 800 machine has three 16kB modules. I ran the RAM test and photographed the screens as they blipped by. See the attachments. It looks like I do indeed have bad memory.

 

I tried moving the cards around and found that any other combinations of positions gives "Error 164" in DOS 2.0S or just hangs the system. Also, removing at least one of the 16kB cards does the same.

 

I think this program requires 48k but only tests 32k. Maybe? The main menu says I only have 32k available.

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I think I found the problem and fixed it! :party:

 

I saw a thread somewhere here where someone was trying to test a 48k memory expansion on their 400 machine. The expansion used a mix of memory chips. They swapped the position of the chips and the memory expansion seemed to work. It could be some of the chips were a little picky about the timings of specific instances of the 74LS[xx] logic used to control the select lines and the address/data mux'ing.That inspired me to check each individual RAM chip on two of my cards (the ones without a case). I found one chip with a bent leg and the bent leg was not inserted in the socket! Carefully and slowly, I straightened the leg and reinserted the chip along with the others. I kept the same positions.

 

Now all my memory errors are gone!! :cool: No letter F like before. Just dashes! :cool:

 

I loaded M.U.L.E., Archon, and Joust. No problems! I also loaded the four 16MB ATR collection of games. No problems!

 

So, I am very, very happy!

 

After thinking about it a bit, the address of 0x4000h gave me a clue it was my "middle" card. A failure below 0x4000h would make me think the "first" card.

 

Now I can sleep easy. :sleep:

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Star Raiders also seems to be a good test. I does some hardware tests on startup. IIRC the 400/800 service manual states, that the service technican should use it to do a first test of the system.

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Star Raiders also seems to be a good test. I does some hardware tests on startup. IIRC the 400/800 service manual states, that the service technican should use it to do a first test of the system.

 

I don't think the Star Raiders cartridge actually executes any hardware tests. I'm prepared to be wrong, but I see no evidence of this even in the source code and I would be surprised if an 8K ROM could afford to devote space to diagnostics. It seems that the fact Star Raiders is a 'Diagnostic Cart' has led people to believe it performs diagnostic tests, when in fact the Diagnostic Cart bit (set in the Star Raiders ROM) simply causes the OS to jump into the cart before much OS initialisation has been performed (evidenced by the fact the screen editor is not opened before the game starts). I suppose Star Raider's property of circumventing some parts of the OS ROM and hardware initialisation may prove useful in eliminating certain faults, which is probably why it's often recommended when diagnosing a faulty machine.

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Page 3-16 of the 400/800 FSM, June 82. Sounds more like a prank that a dev sneaked into the manual to give the service tech a break after reaching wits' end. Now everyone shake your Ataris!

[attachment=635441:starraiderstest.jpg]

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Page 3-16 of the 400/800 FSM, June 82. Sounds more like a prank that a dev sneaked into the manual to give the service tech a break after reaching wits' end. Now everyone shake your Ataris!


Not at all! Have you ever owned a 400 or especially an 800? If so, have you ever taken it apart? Both machines are multi-board designs. A shake-test is a useful tool to ensure things are mechanically sound, boards and connectors well-seated, and that the machine will keep working once the tech hands it or ships it back to the owner.

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Not at all! Have you ever owned a 400 or especially an 800? If so, have you ever taken it apart? Both machines are multi-board designs. A shake-test is a useful tool to ensure things are mechanically sound, boards and connectors well-seated, and that the machine will keep working once the tech hands it or ships it back to the owner.

 

Thank you. I don't know much about Ataris. What's a board? Is that the green thingy with the black rectangles and colorful jelly beans?

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Not a joke, shaking made sure it would survive a trip/ship to the it's new/return home. If anything came loose, it better happen at the bench.

Edited by _The Doctor__

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Sorry, obviously a very bad attempt at humor on my part. I mean no ill will towards anyone and am very glad to see another 800 rescued.

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I think this program requires 48k but only tests 32k. Maybe? The main menu says I only have 32k available.


The SALT cartridge is 16K and overlaps the top 16K of RAM in a 48K system, leaving only 32K testable. A 32K and 48K system would be indistinguishable to the software, and both would work fine.

But since you're loading SALT from disk, it loads into the cartridge area at in top 16KB of RAM, so the full 48KB RAM is required, any less will not work.

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[attachment=635513:simsys.bas]

 

If you have a basic cartridge you can run this basic program for some more diagnostics..

.

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