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clh333

Modified 1050: What is it?

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I recently obtained a 1030XE and with it came a 1050 drive which was obviously modified: it had a fan on top of the case and cords and switches and pot knobs sticking out of the case.  I asked the (eBay) seller what all of this was for but he/she only said the fan was for overheating.

 

I disassembled the drive and removed the extra components so I could see the board.  The case is newer than my other 1050s, having more mount points and more "bumpers" to support the drive.  The board does not have an RF cage and uses a different style of connector and a ground wire connected to the drive chassis.

 

More significantly, the OEM electronics have been modified with the installation of "something" that appears to be related to drive performance.  That something is larger than an IC and covered with a vinyl cap.  Auxiliary traces run to other ICs and solder points on the board.  I'm hoping one of the more experienced members will recognize it and can explain its purpose and function.

 

Pictures attached, thanks,

-CH-

 

 

ModifiedDrive01.jpg

ModifiedDrive02.jpg

ModifiedDrive03.jpg

ModifiedDrive04.jpg

ModifiedDrive05.jpg

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Super Archiver from CSS/Bob Puff is my guess.  If that's  correct, you have a nice upgrade in your 1050.

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I agree with the superarchiver upgrade. The wire on the underside is oem. The floating pot is different tho. not sure about that one.Aalso the diode from lifted 6532 pin is also unknown. I cannot remember that one as part of the archiver upgrade. Unusual to have a fan for over heating.

 

 

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I bet the pot is to slow the drive down for a certain sector write, having it on the outside is easier that keeping the lid off.

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Yep, yep, and yep, I also concur with everybody so far. That mod case is definitely from the bench of Bob Puff which makes it a CSS upgrade, the diode and pot are for writing extra sectors which require a slowed down drive upon software command to the RIOT chip and that circuit was well known for wandering about that one off desired speed so having a handle on the outside for it makes a lot of sense actually. Super nice find.

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Thank you all for your responses.  I only have about 6 months' experience with 8-bit Atari hardware and I am learning as I go.  It appears Mr. Puff is still active; I have attempted to contact him but as yet no reply.  I also contacted Jürgen van Radecke <[email protected]> who makes the Bitwriter replica (which combines SA and BW functions in one) and who confirmed this is indeed a Super Archiver.  There were two versions, I don't know which this is.  I have two of Jurgen's Mini Super Speedy devices and will be obtaining a Bitwriter soon, I believe.

 

As I turned my attention to the drive itself I discovered more puzzling details.  This is not a Tandon but is marked World Storage from Hong Kong.  Examining while cleaning I could not find an index sensor or a write-protect sensor on the chassis, and if there is a track-zero sensor I don't know how it is implemented.  Could this be a one-off that is particular to the SA?  Apparently this style of board was unusual for the 1050; I read somewhere that very few were made.

 

Pictures of the drive attached.

 

-CH-

 

 

WorldStorageDrive01.jpg

WorldStorageDrive02.jpg

WorldStorageDrive03.jpg

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On 3/27/2022 at 7:42 AM, clh333 said:

The case is newer than my other 1050s, having more mount points and more "bumpers" to support the drive.

That is the later, slightly less common made in hong kong 1050 variant that contains a World Storage Technologies drive mechanism. (vs made in Singapore / Tandon Mech)

 

On 3/28/2022 at 6:29 AM, clh333 said:

It appears Mr. Puff is still active; I have attempted to contact him but as yet no reply.

You are unlikely to get a response. It took one of the best years to secure an interview via phone call. :)

https://archive.org/details/bob-puff-atari

 

As to the upgrade itself, most of it's "cool" factor is from it's ability to duplicate copy protected software. The every-day utility is close in function to the ICD US Doubler upgrade. A firmware +RAM upgrade that enabled approximately 3x faster SIO transfer rate, but no track buffer so maximum sequential sector transfer speed required formatting disks with an optimized interleave. The built in Atari OS did not support the faster "ultraspeed" protocol, so you either had to boot a DOS (ie SpartaDOS, Top DOS) with a handler to support it, or install a repalcement OS ROM in your machine with it built in. CSS also produced such an upgrade called the "UltraSpeedOS+" Nowadays there are many more.

 

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Posted (edited)

Thank you for your response.  I did happen to hear the Puff interview; found it while searching for more info.  I also found the legacy site at http://www.nleaudio.com/css/ thanks to the interview posting.

 

I'm still wondering how the drive mechanism keeps track of index and write protection:  I haven't fired it up yet as I am waiting for parts to reconfigure the control mechanisms.  I ditched the 120VAC fan, for example; the top half of the case looks like swiss cheese.  I'll keep the external 2k pot but replace the toggle switch and fan assembly with a 12VDC fan, always on.  There was a second toggle that apparently activated and de-activated some part of the archiver mechanism, maybe the slowdown; I'm still figuring out how that worked.

 

I have looked briefly at the other DOS variants but not much knowledge about the particulars.  I was enthused to acquire an MPP device that plugged into the joystick port until I learned it needed a custom OS ROM in order to be recognized by the system.  That was my first clue about custom ROMs.  No modifications to any system yet as I only have the 800XL operational (recently acquired an 800 and 130XE but both have issues to be resolved).

 

Lots to learn, but enjoying the process.  "Use it or lose it," they say.  Amen.

 

-CH-

 

Edited by clh333

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Atari 1050 doesn't use the index hole which means random alignments on any track and the write protect system is likely to have been removed from this customized drive to make it write all disks so write protection then doesn't exist for this drive. You would have seen the electronics for that quite easily, it did come with working write protection circuitry from the factory.

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