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chicgamer

New ST owner seeking upgrade recommendations

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Over the weekend, I saved the following from going into a landfill:

 

Atari 1040STF with 2.5 MB memory and TOS 1.02

Atari 1040 STF with 1 MB memory and TOS 1.04

2 boxed Atari SM124 monitors

1 Atari SC1124 monitor

a hard drive case with a couple of SCSI hard drives

various peripherals, including 3 mice, a Mouse Master, and a few video switchers

 

I plan on upgrading one of these computers for gaming. Any recommendations for upgrades? I have a Gotek coming in tomorrow, so I plan on updating the firmware of it and replacing the floppy drive on one of the computers (also have an OLED screen coming in to replace the Gotek display). I may get an UltraSatan, but right now, the Gotek should allow me to play the games I want to play (right?).

 

Which of the 2 computers would you upgrade? I'm thinking of upgrading one to TOS 1.04i, which I think might be easier on the computer currently on TOS 1.04. I also thought about the 4 MB RAM upgrade from the exxos store. What about adding a blitter? Would that be worth the trouble? Are there other upgrades you would recommend?

 

I'm a n00b when it comes to the ST, so any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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Congrats on saving the hardware! :D

 

Start with the STF that has TOS 1.02. Assuming both machine use the same number of ROM chips (2 or 6), swap in TOS 1.04 from the other machine. It's easier to swap ROM than to add memory.

 

Regarding the BLiTTER, not every ST motherboard had a space reserved for it. You'll only know if the spot is present by opening the machine and taking a look. Even if the spot is present then where would you find a BLiTTER? Maybe Best Electronics has one. If it's not there then don't worry. I never had one in my STFM back in the day and I had a pretty good time with that machine.

 

Check your DMA chip under the floppy drive. Make sure it is not a "bad" chip before you shell out for an UltraSatan. I don't know if the "bad" DMA chip problem only applied to STE machines though.

 

A GoTek won't help or hurt you necessarily. I'm still using 3.5" disks and have no problems loading anything. I usually xfer file from my Win10 machine to my STE with my NetUSBee. Just don't hack up the case and destroy the disk drive. I'll happily buy the drive(s) off of you if you don't want it. Let me know.

 

Which hard drives did you save? Megafile drives? Supra drives?

 

Probably the single most important component to check is the power supply. Depending on how it aged, the supply may not put stable and steady +5V and +12V power lines. That can cause all sorts of havoc. For example, some users thought their memory IC's were bad but it was really the power supply generating noise or something. Others have had runaway Voltages. Your machine suddenly runs warmer than usually and crashes more often. Turns out your +5V climbs +6V or more.

 

Look into a converter to connect the machine to a modern display. Usually that is done with a ST Video -> SCART cable.

 

Hmmm ... there's probably more I can babble on about but let's leave it there for now. ;)

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There are no so called "bad DMA chips" in ST, Mega ST Ataris . Until some gets broken 🙂 

There were some 1040 STs with blitter, but most is without - I have one with empty place for. Blitter can speed up work of Desktop, text, graphic, but don't expect some superfast work with it. It can speed up some games, giving smooth scroll, and some games are improved with blitter code for that - Giana Sisters, Uridium .. But overall, it is not used much - max in some 5% of games - sad fact since blitter is present since 1987 .

As 6BQ5 said - best upgrade for begin is to put TOS 1.04 chips in machine with more RAM .

Otherwise I can recommend 1.04i - but only if you order UltraSatan . There are other TOS upgrade options - like 2.06, but that needs some + HW (cheap, simple but some soldering is needed) . Not for gamers.

And yes, checking and recapping PSUs is mandatory in case of 30+ years old computers.

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Thanks for the replies so far!

 

The ST with 2.5 MB RAM only uses 2 chips for the TOS; however, there are places to add in sockets for 6 chips. Is it as simple as adding those sockets and transferring the TOS chips?

 

The exxos store has blitters for sale as well as the sockets. I haven't fully disassembled the STs yet to see if either has a place to install one. Sounds like that is a low priority upgrade.

 

As for the hard drives, I have no idea. They are in the enclosure, and I haven't opened it up.

 

It looks like Console5 sells cap kits for the PSUs. I'll have to double-check to see which PSU each ST is using.

 

Oh, and I do have a SCART cable on the way so that I can connect the computer to my TV using my OSSC. That said, the image quality on the SC1124 is really nice.

 

So, it looks like right now, I need to get some 28 pin sockets for the 2.5 MB machine (assuming that's all that's needed for the TOS switch) and some new caps for the power supplies.

 

Oh, and 6BQ5, after I install the Gotek, you can have the floppy disk drive, if you want it. And dave5678, I would gladly give you a keyboard if either of these computers weren't in good shape, but both of these are in really good shape, and it would be a shame to part them out.

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TOS 1.04 may be in 2 chips too, and that's more likely, or rather that's only how it was in ST machines since 1989 - when it arrived - then 2 chip variant was much cheaper than same content in 6 lower capacity ROMs .  So, I'm pretty sure that it is simple chip replacement - and only 2.  Btw. I have original 1.04 UK and De chips - and both are 2 chip versions.

Talking about 28-pin mask programmed ROMs and not EPROMs .

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Sorry, I should have mentioned that one of the first things I did after getting the computers was to open them up, thinking that I would just do the TOS swap as recommended. The TOS 1.04 ST has 6 chips, and the TOS 1.02 ST has 2.

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Interesting . OK, I was wrong with that " that's only how " . In that case it is not enough that you add missing sockets, but need to resolder so called soldering pads for 256 K ROMs .

There are markings 256 K and 1 M and should be 3 of them.  Currently pads at marking 1M are shorted, since ROMs are 1 Mbit .

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For info: converting from 6 to 2 chips you will also need a 74LS11 on the board. Sometimes that is missing and sometimes it may also not be a place for it depending on board layout and revisions. 

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Okay, I'll look at that. I may just disassemble both STs tonight and take some pictures of the boards. Probably the best way to determine what upgrades will work for them and the level of complexity involved.

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Hehe it’s ok! First time owner myself. Wish I could get it going so I can play some games. Guess stuck on my a500 and fm towns for now.

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3 hours ago, chicgamer said:

Sorry, I should have mentioned that one of the first things I did after getting the computers was to open them up, thinking that I would just do the TOS swap as recommended. The TOS 1.04 ST has 6 chips, and the TOS 1.02 ST has 2.

 

You can also purchase 2-chip sets of TOS 1.04 (or is it 1.4?). Then there is no need to solder anything.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Rainbow-TOS-1-4-Atari-ST-STF-STFM-Mega-ST-New-2-Chip/140953378159?epid=1431578375&hash=item20d179dd6f:g:FfAAAOSwhJ5c41o~

 

The picture shows 6 chips but the description says 2. I think the pic is just generic.

 

Regarding the BLiTTER -- yes, make it a rainy day project.

 

Regarding SCART cable -- not all SCART cables are created equal. One cable I bought from Cool Novelties in the UK did not perform well while another I bought on eBay from a German seller is excellent.

 

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This prices at ebay are insane . 39.95 $ for  "new" 2 chip TOS 1.04 (that's correct #) ? And of course not new chips - nobody makes them for over 25 years. And even more insane is shipping price to Eu - 38.70 $ .

Here is my offer:  TOS 1.04 original and tested in 2 chips, only that it is UK version. Price including delivery to USA 36 $ .

And I can ship EPROMs programmed with whatever you want, and I'm behind TOS 1.04i .

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They use to sell it for $24.95 up until recently. That was a fair price.

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12 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

This prices at ebay are insane . 39.95 $ for  "new" 2 chip TOS 1.04 (that's correct #) ? And of course not new chips - nobody makes them for over 25 years. And even more insane is shipping price to Eu - 38.70 $ .

Here is my offer:  TOS 1.04 original and tested in 2 chips, only that it is UK version. Price including delivery to USA 36 $ .

And I can ship EPROMs programmed with whatever you want, and I'm behind TOS 1.04i .

 

I think that it may make the most sense for me to just go ahead and install 1.04i (in all likelihood, I will get an UltraSatan at some point). The pinouts are a little different between the mask ROMs and the EPROMs, right? As long as I know what to do, it shouldn't be a big issue for me to swap out the 1.02 ROMs with the 1.04i EPROMs.

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30 minutes ago, chicgamer said:

 

I think that it may make the most sense for me to just go ahead and install 1.04i (in all likelihood, I will get an UltraSatan at some point). The pinouts are a little different between the mask ROMs and the EPROMs, right? As long as I know what to do, it shouldn't be a big issue for me to swap out the 1.02 ROMs with the 1.04i EPROMs.

No. 28 pin EPROMs are pin compatible with  mask ROMs. And I ship double capacity 27C512 - what goes straight in sockets, and then upper half is active.

Here are details and photo: http://atari.8bitchip.info/tosimav.html

That's Mega ST, but it is same for all STs, even for old boards without that 74LS11 - what is only for 2 chip version support.

Pinouts for higher capacity differ - so at 1 Mbit EPROMs like 27C1001 , but not only that, pin count is different too. So, 27C1001 is 32 pin, and that makes using them harder in STs .

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3 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

No. 28 pin EPROMs are pin compatible with  mask ROMs. And I ship double capacity 27C512 - what goes straight in sockets, and then upper half is active.

Here are details and photo: http://atari.8bitchip.info/tosimav.html

That's Mega ST, but it is same for all STs, even for old boards without that 74LS11 - what is only for 2 chip version support.

Pinouts for higher capacity differ - so at 1 Mbit EPROMs like 27C1001 , but not only that, pin count is different too. So, 27C1001 is 32 pin, and that makes using them harder in STs .

Sent you a PM about getting the TOS 1.04i chips.

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I took some pics of my boards (see below). Looks like the 2.5 MB does have a spot for a blitter, but the 1.0 MB board doesn't.

 

Good news—I got my Gotek working (yay!). I'm currently 3-D printing a bracket for it.

 

Also, I checked my power supplies, and unfortunately, neither are the models Console5 offers cap kits for, so I'll have to order individual caps from DigiKey or Mouser. I noticed that one power supply has Best Electronics on the board. That means it's been replaced, right?

 

1.0 MB full board

1.0MB_full.jpg

 

1.0 MB board left side

1.0MB_left.jpg

 

1.0 MB board middle

1.0MB_mid.jpg

 

1.0 MB board right side

1.0MB_right.jpg

 

2.5 MB full board

2.5MB_full.jpg

 

2.5 MB board left side

2.5MB_left.jpg

 

2.5 MB board middle

2.5MB_mid.jpg

 

2.5 MB board right side

2.5MB_right.jpg

Edited by chicgamer
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Oh, you have a SIMM add-on card! I haven't seem too many of those. Very cool! I'd try to stuff as much RAM as possible into that ST machine. 👍

 

Instead of recapping an old supply you may want to consider simply replacing it. A new supply would be smaller and run cooler. Here's what I did to one of my STe machines.

 

 

If you can 3D print a bracket for your GoTek and were going to recap your old supply then swapping in a new one will be a piece of cake!

 

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11 minutes ago, 6BQ5 said:

Instead of recapping an old supply you may want to consider simply replacing it. A new supply would be smaller and run cooler. Here's what I did to one of my STe machines.

Do you have any recommendations for new power supplies?

 

Here's a pic of the Gotek installed in the 3-D printed bracket (not my design, mind you—I downloaded the files from Thingiverse). The bracket needs to be cleaned up a little, but I think it works nicely! I did have to extend the wires for the floppy power cable, as it was a little too short to plug into the Gotek when it was installed in the bracket.

20190711_000445.jpg

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You could easily upgrade the 2,5MB machine to 4MB. Fit 2 more 1MB modules, 30pin, non-parity. You have to desolder the on board ram though. It's just a matter of desoldering one side of 2 resistors and connect it to +5V.

 

Manual. It's the two bottom ones. Marpet bought Frontier but it is the same manual for the board. 

 

Regarding PSU I fitted a meanwell RT-65B in my Mega 1. A snug fit. Should fit a regular ST bracket as well. There are other meanwell that maybe have a better fit.

 

Centurion Tech or exxos have ready replacement PSU boards. But they are on the other side of the pond from you so could be a bit pricey. So just cap change maybe be the best choice as you already stated. Maybe get a new rectifier bridge on the PSU as well.

 

 

Edited by snarkdluG

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11 hours ago, snarkdluG said:

You could easily upgrade the 2,5MB machine to 4MB. Fit 2 more 1MB modules, 30pin, non-parity. You have to desolder the on board ram though. It's just a matter of desoldering one side of 2 resistors and connect it to +5V.

 

Would these work (eBay link)?

 

2MB (2x1MB) 30 Pin RAM Matched Pair Non-Parity 8 Chip 80ns TESTED WORKING

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Yup, it is the correct memory modules but...

 

...I didn't look that closely at the pictures and how the board was attached apparently. What you got is not a Marpet or a Frontier Solution board but a John Russel Innovations board and it's called the JRI-RAM+. It also got two video shifter attached so you got 4096 in the colour pallette to choose from. Normal ST have 512. Not that useful really. You can still only display 16 colours on the screen at once.

 

So I don't think it's that easy to make this board to use 4MB as I thought. But I know it can be done, but I don't think it is soldered in for that at the moment. Manual for that board is nowhere to be found. I think most people bought it from B&C Computer. Some more info here about it.

 

Just guessing here if you are interested: (Seems that the board got R, L and H solder point for RAS1, CAS1L and CAS1H on the left side for bank 1 (upper part, back part of board where the solder points are). H, L and R on the top right side of the RAM-board is probably unsoldered (since you don't use bank 2) on your board and is used for CAS2H, CAS2L and RAS2. In the middle there are W for WE and 9 A. Probably the nine address lines (MAD0-8). and the first solder point on the left is O for OE. So should be possible. Most of the signal is transfered through the flat cable attached on the DRAM chip so some solder points is not needed on top of the board. Bank 1 and 2 could be the other way around I suppose).

Edited by snarkdluG
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Thanks for the info! I bought the SIMMs yesterday. Now to figure out what all wiring needs to be done ...

 

I may contact B&C in case they happen to have any documentation for installing the board. I'm a little concerned that no one will respond (it looks like pages have been down in B&C's store for a while).

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