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The Dumb Things I've Done...

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There is a key on the Atari keyboard which says "Break"...  ;-)

 

Last year I copied several tapes to diskette, using various C-Simulators and software freezers. One of these freezers (named The Reset Machine) installs a copy-program into a chosen (unused) RAM location and when hitting the Break key, it freezes the whole 64k memory and a bootloader onto diskette. For most programs it does not matter, when you hit the Break key (in the titlescreen or during a game) and as always, some programs do not react at all and cannot be freezed that way.

 

And there are a few English Software (e.g. Colossus Chess 3) and Novagen (e.g. Mercenary) programs, where some timing is required - one has to hit the Break key as soon as the counting loader reaches 000 -and- before the program switches to the titlescreen. Therefore one has to be fast (reaction time maybe half a second) and well, it happened to me last year that I hit the Break key very fast, but also very hard and thus I breaked (broke!) the Break key...  ;-)   The white plastic spring broke into two pieces, the lower part of the key was still sitting in the keyboard, while the upper part was completely loose. A few days later I also removed the lower part from the keyboard, so now this 800XL keyboard is completely missing a Break key.

 

In short: Morning has broken, errm no, my Break key has (is) broken.

 

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On 3/3/2021 at 9:45 AM, DrVenkman said:

 it was the 1200XL’s 9VAC lead, which has the same size plug.

I did something similar only it was my Indus floppy drive. The display went crazy when on the AC supply and then it went black. Fortunately, it was just the fuse in the 1050 supply that blew. The Indus was fine.

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Posted (edited)

Well, I've got a brand-new dumb thing I've done! As of this past weekend. I was installing my new dual-PIA board in my Atari Incognito 800, which also has a Pokeymax Quad+ Covox installed. Well, stupid me soldered wires to pads on A4-A7 on the mobo (right in front of the left cart slot) which the dual-PIA requires. But, in my totally unthinkable stupidity I soldered to those points with the Pokeymax chip still installed in it's socket! The Pokeymax uses some of those same lines, and though I connected them on the CPU board, it looks like my soldering iron went right down the line with some voltage and fried it, or else it was just me clumsily touching the Pokeymax board while soldering, I know Retronics strongly warns against mis-handling it and static electricity. So, I got a black screen after the installation was done, and after checking the usual suspects (except Pokeymax) I went to the FSM and with my mulitmeter started trouble-shooting which lead me back to the Pokey. That's when I realized the incredibly stupid thing I had just done. So, I pop in my original Pokey, and everything works again. Luckily I just got a Pokeymax V3, so it looks like the 800 is getting another upgrade and I'll have to buy another V3 for my 1200XL!:dunce:

20210525_153409.jpg

Edited by Gunstar
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On 3/19/2021 at 9:00 PM, JGRAHAM2 said:

I did something similar only it was my Indus floppy drive. The display went crazy when on the AC supply and then it went black. Fortunately, it was just the fuse in the 1050 supply that blew. The Indus was fine.

I did this too, I might have even mentioned it in an earlier post, the same result.

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Did another dumb thing tonight but thankfully, the results were not destructive, just embarrassing. I installed a UAV into my project 600XL and everything was going swimmingly until I powered it on for a test, when I got nothing. Nada. Zero indication the 600XL was putting out a video signal at all. I double-checked the UAV jumper configuration, double checked I had the correct signals connected to the correct spots in the terminal strip, triple-checked the jumpers again, tested continuity from the DIN jack back to the UAV, even went so far as to remove the UAV and install the 4050 again to be sure the machine hadn't randomly died.

 

Nothing. 


Stumped, disappointed and a little pissed off, I left the workbench to go have a beer. 

 

A little while later, I went back out and checked everything one more time but still no change. And then I decided to check behind my workbench TV ... and found that the composite cable wasn't even connected. Son of a bitch. Plugged it in and voila. :) 

 

 

IMG_0205.jpg

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2 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

Stumped, disappointed and a little pissed off, I left the workbench to go have a beer. 

 

A little while later, I went back out and checked everything one more time but still no change. And then I decided to check behind my workbench TV ... and found that the composite cable wasn't even connected. Son of a bitch. Plugged it in and voila. :) 

I have experienced this situation so many times, you have no idea :D 
Hours sank into a project that gets stuck for no reason, only to find out I was an idiot the next day and fix the "problem" in less than 2 minutes, hahaha

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I might be in the middle of one of those right now. Trying to get a 486 to POST. Despite best efforts it refuses to finish. Setting it aside for a while and will come back to it.

 

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This doesn't belong in this sight either, but the worst mistake I ever made was thinking with the wrong part of my anatomy and

getting married!  In my defense, I was only 19 and had just gotten my draft notice.  But as the Marine Corps taught me in the

following years: 

 

Excuses are like butts, everyone has one and they all STINK!

 

Sorry if this offends anyone...

David  

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Electrocution also counts?

 

I have electrocuted myself numerous times. First time when I was three. It's one of my oldest memories (but not the oldest).The family was moving to another home, and during the move I found some nails. Mom and dad were in the other room, so I tried if it would fit in a wall socket. It did. And was very painful. 50/50 chance, but I was lucky ;)

 

Not ten years ago, I opened up an old digital photo camera. I wanted to replace the IR filter by a visible light filter so you can take night vision photos. Most sensors respond to the IR spectrum, hence the original filter. So, I knew there were capacitors in there to hold charge for the flash light. Hence, I first flashed, and quickly turned off the camera. Removed batteries, etc... Little did I know. The capacitors were either charged very quickly, or only lost part of their charge. At a certain point, I touched both the + and - side of what I think was the flash capacitor with my pinky. By accident. 180-330V DC. I felt it up to my elbow. Not fun ;)

 

 

 

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13 hours ago, ivop said:

So, I knew there were capacitors in there to hold charge for the flash light. Hence, I first flashed, and quickly turned off the camera. Removed batteries, etc... Little did I know. The capacitors were either charged very quickly, or only lost part of their charge. At a certain point, I touched both the + and - side of what I think was the flash capacitor with my pinky. By accident. 180-330V DC. I felt it up to my elbow. Not fun

I can relate!!! I was sitting in a high school class with the flash components I had extracted from a disposable film camera... Battery attached to a little PCB with the bulb, a capacitor and a leaf switch to "flash"... did it a few times in class, and the jock in the row behind me threatens violence if I do it again... so as I'm putting it away my finger accidentally touches the contacts on the back side of the PCB.... not just flashing again, but electrocuting my finger and leaving me writing in pain with two burn marks on my finger AS WELL AS the other guy proceeding to pummel me - double whammy  LOL

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Perhaps not the dumbest, but...

 

When the SQL Slammer virus was spreading (2003), it got into one of our labs at work and infected everything.  To help decontaminate, it was useful to have an immune system physically nearby, so I took a machine from my office which I had managed to patch, and walked it up to the lab and plugged it in.  I was puzzled because it didn't boot up right away...

 

Turns out the bench I plugged it into was 220V power, and my PSU had a physical switch set to 110V.  It took weeks to get a replacement PSU that fit the case (thanks, Dell), so I had to live with an open machine powered by an spare external PSU, since I really needed that machine working.

 

Recently I was watching a PSU repair video and the presenter mentioned that modern supplies don't have the physical switch anymore, they handle both voltages fine.  I could have used that innovation back then.

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13 minutes ago, Atari_Ace said:

Recently I was watching a PSU repair video and the presenter mentioned that modern supplies don't have the physical switch anymore, they handle both voltages fine.  I could have used that innovation back then.

Switch mode power supplies are the best thing that happened to the electronics world :) 

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2 hours ago, TGB1718 said:

Switch mode power supplies are the best thing that happened to the electronics world :) 

Except for the RF switching noise they can introduce, which is a pain in the ass. Build up a simple 555 timer circuit with a noisy PSU and look at the waveforms sometime. Ugh. Heck, plug in a noisy 12V PSU into a 5200 and look at the screen through RF. 

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I am personally responsible for the destruction of no less than three MMU chips.  :(

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Posted (edited)

The dumbest thing I have done lately (and its shockingly dumb) is crack a rib....

 

Not so odd you think, but I did it with an Atari key off my 800 and the key that did it, I swear to you its 100% true, the break key..

 

The scenario, sat on my computer / office chair, I'm trying to see how many of the 800 stackpole plungers were faulty, with me being messy I've got keys everywhere, on the chair, on the desk, on the floor. So I drop my screwdriver that I'm using to lever the keys off and lean over the side of the chair arm to pick it up but as the chair spins I lose my balance and pretty much fall on the chair arm because my balance is poor. As I hit the arm I get a red hot pain in my ribs and I hear a crack / snap. I then painfully sit up and notice I've got the break key almost embedded in my chest in the rib area. As I painfully pull the key off my chest its clear its done some damage.

 

Upshot, a trip to A&E, chest bound around the area and some weeks of very sore ribs and pain while breathing. Thankfully all ok now, took ages for the yellow / black bruise to go.

 

Probably the most sadly stupid computer thing I've done but then again I'm the idiot who as a kid tried to recharge a battery with two wires coming from the mains and a normal battery, touched the battery, big bang, made me fall back and ended up holding both wires in my hands not enjoying the 220V going through me but the motion of falling back made me pull the wires out of the socket by luck....No real harm done, probably lost a few more brain cells when I'm low on those anyway :)

 

So there you go, I ventured in to the Dumb AND Dumber area with that..

 

All totally true...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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You make me laugh Paul.  Sorry for the pain, but you have to admit that as we get older we tend to do things that children might do.

    Which reminds me..  When I was about twelve I wanted to make a carbon arc and melt copper.  Anyone remember those tall round

six volt batteries?  They had a carbon rod in them that was about 3/4 of an inch in diameter and six inches long.  We had several around

since my Dad used them to start his model airplanes (no RC back then, everything was on two strings to the hand).  Funny but his

planes never lasted very long before he nose-dived them into the ground.  Anyway...

   I broke a battery down, cut the rod in half, ground one end on each to a point, inserted a wire with a sheet metal screw in the other,

plugged the two other ends of the wire into a drop light, set out some small pieces of cope foil around the pointy ends (that were a paper

thickness apart), then flipped the switch on the drop light...  Nothing happened.  How could this be?  Setting the drop light down, and

forgetting to turn off the power, I walked over and touched one of the carbon rods.  A VERY bright flash of light and a loud Zap sound

blew the fuse ( no circuit breakers back then) in the fuse box on the wall in the garage.  It took me till the next morning to be able to

see properly again!  My Mother was horrified, but my Dad thought it was funny.  Oh, my carbon rods were each about an inch shorter,

the copper foil that I put down was never found, and it blew the switch on the drop light (which I had to replace).  Funny, but I never

got any shock from that.  I did stagger around a bit because all I could see was a big bright white spot in front of me.

 

DavidMil    

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Posted (edited)

The closest I've come to anything like that was as a kid playing with fire-crackers. The normal old black cat ones, nothing huge, but it fizzled and did not blow, I waited what seemed like several minutes to make sure it wasn't live, then proceeded to pick it up and CRACK it goes off. But since it was just the usual small cracker it only made my fingers numb and ring for a little bit. I've accidentally touched positive and negative together when working with tools on my vehicles, but never got shocked by it, just damaged parts and tools. This has happened when I was too lazy to disconnect the battery for a "quick fix" that normally wouldn't be an issue, except for my clumsy hands.

Edited by Gunstar
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Saw a mechanic waving a huge screwdriver about under the bonnet of a car, I think he was trying to impress the female customer whose car it was and then there was a huge bang and the top end of the screwdriver was just missing. It taught me to respect a car my own car engine a lot more when I do minor maintenance on it and to not swing your tip about while trying to impress a lady. :)

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Posted (edited)

Whilst changing batteries in a 'dead' APC shoebox UPS (beige metal case, for anyone wondering about the time period involved), I learned that it was the controller that had died, not the batteries, when the wrench I was using to remove the bolts from the battery terminals bridged them.

 

There was a big blue flash, one hell of an arcing sound, and the next thing I knew I was knocked a good 10 feet away from the UPS that I'd been working on, sitting on the floor with my back against a rack cabinet and a small piece of the end of the little finger on my right hand blown completely off.  The wrench was still in my hand, but the bolt that I was removing was now welded to it.  After the ringing in my ears stopped and my vision retained a degree of normality, I found a coworker who drove me to Urgent Care, at which point I officially became the company's first workplace accident requiring medical attention.

 

roz_big_blue_flash.thumb.jpg.fa0555a88856ed982abec5de3af0c199.jpg

Edited by x=usr(1536)
'Point', not 'poont'
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Wow... That sounds hairy.... Hope it wasn't too much of the finger...

 

 

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Some say retro Atari owners are a dying breed...

 

Reading this thread, I'm slightly surprised there are any still alive 😃

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7 minutes ago, Mclaneinc said:

Wow... That sounds hairy.... Hope it wasn't too much of the finger...

It was a small chunk of the edge of the tip - if I had to guess, I'd say that a pea cut in half would be slightly larger than what I lost.  It healed over, but there's a flat spot I can still feel if I rub the finger just the right way.

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