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Atari SF314 & SF354 Drive repair and newbie questions

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I came across a large lot of Atari ST hardware and am going through it. The good news is that I am finding most of it working. I have two SF314 drives and two SF354 drives that do not work. Does anyone here repair these for others?

Also was trying to play a game(Arkanoid) using a RF modulator on an Atari 520ST and game would not work. All I did was change to a Atari ST color monitor and the game is now working. Are there games that only work on the Atari ST color monitor?

Also is there a mod to allow the Atari ST consoles to be hooked up to modern TVs or monitors? Sorry about all the questions. The Atari 520ST was the first computer in my home growing up and it was a blast to play.

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Those drives are just very old. Repairing is not impossible, but that may cost much more that getting other, working drives. And that stay even for countries where service, work is much cheaper.

It's now 30-34 years old. My original Atari floppy drives were replaced 10 years ago already.

For SW, TOS, work with TV attached via RF modulator and RGB monitor is same. No game what work only on Atari ST color monitor. Really nonsense. At least you should leave out word 'Atari' from your question. The reason is for sure something other - like unreliable work of Atari, attached floppy drive, condition of disk. Try it more with TV.

 

Atari ST is not console - it has keyboard ! :-D I will not answer on latest. Please use search. Only this: I can attach my Atari STs, STEs on new flat panel TV with same cable as what was used 25 years ago. Not all TVs are such, but you can put something between TV, monitor to make it work :)

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For me my Atari 1040STE works perfectly with the OSSC 1.6 lot less lag then the XRGB-mini and without sync issues

Tested with SAMSUNG T32E310 32" LED TV/MONITOR and Samsung SyncMaster P2250

 

Bear in mind if you want high resolution monochrome output monitor will need to support 72khz refresh rate

Edited by 256 colors

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Connecting your ST machine to a modern display is not difficult.

 

Which specific ST model do you have? STF? STM? STFM? STE?

 

PAL or NTSC doesn't matter much.

 

In general, assuming your have a model with the right sync signals you would get a ST->SCART cable and connect that cable to a HDMI converter/upscaler. @256Colors above mentions the OSSC. I use a FrameMeister and VCANDO box. Everyone's experience is a little different with the various converter options. The FrameMeister is the premium solution and creates an absolutely beautiful image on my monitor whereas @256Colors struggled with his FrameMeister. You may find different cables perform differently too as some have currently limiting resistors and some don't.

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Coolnovelties (no association) on ebay sells drive belts for the SF354, which is the usual thing to go on these.. there is a rubber belt which turns the disk - this perishes with time. This is an easy fix for anyone who can use a screwdriver. These are single sided drives though so may be that is your problem, as they won't load double sided disk games. A description of the symptoms for each drive would be helpful.

 

The SF314 is a bit more complicated there are a number of things it could be - most likely dirty drive heads - but there are other things like the heads being out of alignment or the caps on the drive going (depending on model). You could swap out the drive for a PC one though you will need to change the id no (search on here for a thread about it no doubt).

 

If you are not into disk drives from a nostalgic perspective then floppy drive emulators really are the way to go though.

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I never saw floppy drive with belt in SF354, and I saw lot of Atari floppy drives - opened. It was used by only small fraction in begin. At 1986 all it was made with direct drive.

 

And ordering belt, paying shipping on it - how good investment is it ? I did not pay for floppy drive in last 10 years - they are around, in ditched PCs . And much newer drives. Needs little knowledge to put them in Atari STF or in SF external case. And of course, why to spend money on fixing single sided drive in 2019 ?

 

And it is not anymore as it was 20 years ago - dirty heads, misalign. It is just way too old, complete mechanic is in bad shape due to degradation.

I think that those. who recently joined this retro hobby may pay high price to learn some things. Floppies had their time. I made HD mod in 1991. Could buy HD drive for low price already. Was lucky with WD1772 in machine - worked well at double clock rate. I made even LED display showing current track. But couple years later all it started to be obsolete - hard disk became spread and cheap. And it was not only me. Era of hard diskification of Atari SW started right around 1992. FFLS driver . Floppy was still there, but less and less used. Mostly for transferring all it on new medias - hard disks, CDs . Thanks to it, I have everything at hand, and on much more reliable media.

 

Nostalgic usage is interesting, at least for some time, and as demonstration to friends. But it may be costy hobby now. As it is with old cars, for instance.

I think that collecting wine, paintings from known artists is what is more time proof :-D

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I've got three of them which have the belt, one I replaced the belt on, the other two I haven't bothered. They are only a few pounds here in the UK, which is about as much as I would want to spend on something so ancient, although someone not in the UK you would have to consider the postage (or another supplier). Personally I prefer the disk for playing games as I appreciate the whole sound/ loading/ aesthetic thing (I'm an archaeologist by profession after all so do like old outdated things!), but admit it is purely for nostalgic reasons - I certainly wouldn't dream of using it for running apps on them nowadays with things like Ultrasatan about :)

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First of all it doesn't make sense that the game would not work with RF Low Res mode vs ST Monitor Low Res, They are both the same. Just one has a clearer picture.

 

Also saw your YouTube video and commented. Hard to tell from watching your video but it could be a bad disk or a bad drive. You get no errors though so the game disk could be bad. Some copy protected games would show empty like this but would auto boot as the boot block has code to autoboot it. I would try a know good working disk. You can format a disk on a PC to 720k and copy some files to it and see if it shows it when you double click on A. Use this command to format a disk in Windows: FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9 You can use a 1.44 HD disk if you use a piece of tape to cover the HD hole. Here is a nice collection of single filed PRG games to copy to disk and run! http://atariage.com/forums/topic/226558-st-single-filed-games/

Edited by tjlazer

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