James68k wrote:(warning: interminable post ahead)
I come from the other side of the 68k, the Amiga, but always was curious about the Atari. I actually never got to saw an actual Atari before yesterday as they were simply not available where I lived back in the days. Got myself a 1040 STF yesterday with both SC1224 and SM124 with a switchbox so I don't have to unplug everything each time I ...err...switch. The actual computer also has a mod for the disk drive, a small switch (although it's broken right now, I'll need to go to radio shack this afternoon) that I'm told is to boot from one side of the floppy or the other. The previous owner told me it was fairly standard practice for ST owners to pack up two small one-sided games onto a single DS/DD disk.
1- Simplest, most effective method to transfer disk images from the PC onto an ST disk. Can it be done directly on the PC drive, or will it require some sort of nullmodem-like cable to transfer from PC to ST (that's what I do with my amiga).
James68k wrote:2- Although I do have both SC1224 and SM124 monitors, and the image quality of both is impressive, they are a tad on the small side. What are the other common alternatives for video display? It's an STF, not an STFM so it doesn't have the RF modulator already built in, but from what I read about the pinout, the signal seems to be pretty standard RGB fare. An easy way to connect that to a tv, lcd, vga, whatever else?
James68k wrote:3- The audio output is bundled in the monitor output. I plan to use this baby for music, so having a dedicated audio output is a necessity. Looking inside the machine, this seems a pretty straightforward process of simply soldering wires to two pads inside the computer and installing an RCA jack somewhere at the back of the machine. Am I correct? Or do I need to take some special precaution to avoid getting an horrible ground hum in my audio?
James68k wrote:4- Simplest method of getting an HD inside this beast? I have piles of 2.5" and 3.5" HDs of both IDE and SCSI variety that are just sitting here. Any size limitation (like the 4gb/partition of the Amiga) I should be aware of?
James68k wrote:5- Any ways to put more RAM inside? I've got 30 and 72 pin simms around, as well as many DIP chips. I am guessing the RAM inside are the lined-up chips right under the keyboard and its fully populated, but since the STe could be upgraded to 4mb with a simm, I thought that maybe there was a way to retrofit that on an STf?
James68k wrote:6- Sound sampler... I read that one can use the cartridge port on the side to sample sounds. Are these easily available, or are they complicated to build from scratch? Also, from the monitor pinout I checked on the web, there seems to be an 'audio in' on that port. How does that work?
James68k wrote:7- I have two Wico joysticks, but I'm more a gamepad type of guy. Preliminary tests with a Megadrive gamepad seemed inconclusive. Aren't the joy ports standard sega/amiga/atari2600 type stuff?
James68k wrote:8- Any other useful modification I should think about doing?
1- What essential music programs should I have? I'm comfortable with standard midi sequencers as well as trackers. What is the best sample-based tracker for ST? And the best chiptune tracker? MIDI is pretty much well covered with Cubase and Notator I guess, or is there others that are equally good?
James68k wrote:2- I really would like to use the yamaha chip's synthesis to the fullest. A dream software for me would be a program that accepts MIDI input and does synthesis so I could hook up the Atari to my studio rig and use it as a MIDI synthesizer. Does that even exist? (please say yes!)
3- Being an oldschool demoscener, what are the ST demos that I really really shouldn't miss?
4- I can't seem to find any TOSEC-like collection for Atari apps, games and demos. Are there any archives of the genre around? I really don't feel like downloading disk by disk on PlanetEmu heh.
James68k wrote:And finally... any tips for me? A list of do's and don'ts. General tips about the OS. Anything! Lay your wisdom on me!
If you read up to here, thank you very much for taking the time! And on that note.. I'm going back to check out the 400 disks that came with this darling.
James68k wrote:And for the DSDD drive. You scared the hell out of me for a second. I thought I might be stuck with an SD drive. So I check the disks... all 400 of them single sided. I was about to cry really. So I popped a DD disk in there from my amiga pile, just to see.....and I formated it at 726016 bytes. Phew!
James68k wrote:But there's one thing that puzzles me though. I have "Floppy A" and "Floppy B" on the desktop. Is this normal? Dbl-clicking any will reference to the same physical drive (I only have the internal drive anyways, no additional external drives). Although if I open A first, then try to open B, it will pop a requester asking to put a disk in drive B. I just need to click OK and it will access the disk normally. Both will open the exact same thing...all 726kb available on both. Again.. that's normal? If I get an external drive, will it appear as C on the desktop?
Thanks again for the help! Really appreciated
I've actually got hold of an Amiga 500 recently, not had a chance to do much with it yet though. It came with only half a mouse and some missing pins on the mouse/joystick ports, so some TLC is needed, but it seems otherwise OK. Maybe I'll head on over to an Amiga forum some time later this year...
The output frequency is too low for a typical VGA monitor, so you'll need a scandoubler. Search the forum for scandoubler to see what sort of thing people talk about. There are some monitor mods and hardware hacks available, again have a look through the forum. Some modern LCD TVs apparently can cope with the ST's frequency. I haven't read through the threads in great detail though.
For the old STs, hard drives were almost always external. The usual arrangement is from the ACSI port on the back to an ASCI/SCSI adapter to a SCSI drive. Getting hold of the adapters isn't as easy as getting hold of the ST though, so there are a few projects around to use SD cards as hard drives. Still a few months off though - take a look around the forum, there are threads on this too.
I guess it's a matter of looking out for them on ebay, although building them from scratch sounds like a fun project. No idea on the audio-in on the monitor port, I assume it gets mixed with the audio-out and doesn't come in as an input to anything you can sample it from.
When it boots, the ST reads the bootsector of the floppy disk and checks to see if it's executable. If it is, it goes ahead and runs it. This is where bootblock viruses come from, but it's also how a lot of games boot up. Otherwise, the OS looks through the AUTO folder for programs ending .PRG and runs them, in the order in which they appear in the directory on the disk (not necessarily the order they're displayed in). AUTO programs are either the game on the disk, the menu on the compacted disk, or a bunch of utilities that patch the OS (TSRs). Once the AUTO folder is done, the GEM environment is set up and you get dropped to the desktop. The file DESKTOP.INF controls how the desktop is arranged. Any files with names ending .ACC are added to the first menu on the screen, they're desk accessories and it's the usual way of controlling settings like keyboard repeat, printing, modem, palette and so on. It's also the only way to multitask under ordinary GEM.
Some of the more popular AUTO programs are a replacement fileselector, such as UIS; rat-trap, which stops the menus popping open until you click; ramdisk programs (there isn't a ramdisk included in the OS). I'm sure there are others, they generally play nicely with one another unless they're doing really hardcore things
So you might have a double-sided drive with a side select as well? That would be interesting...
The A and B thing is perfectly normal. Since a lot of stuff is done with floppies, it always has these two 'logical' drives and maps them to the same 'physical' drive when there's only one. It's so you can copy files disk to disk without a ramdisk, and it'll use way more disk swaps on an old TOS than on a newer one
James68k wrote:And the remaining connector on the switch gets connected to the ground pad next to the upper left of the yamaha chip (bottom left if you are looking at the chip as if you were reading the text on it). I can only *assume* it's a ground pad as I don't see any reason to connect something floppy-related to the sound chip.
James68k wrote: 4- I can't seem to find any TOSEC-like collection for Atari apps, games and demos. Are there any archives of the genre around? I really don't feel like downloading disk by disk on PlanetEmu heh.
James68k wrote:From what the original owner told me, it was a way for them to have a 'double single-sided' floppy. Saved space, and DD disks were more easy to obtain. They would copy a single-sided game on each side. Left in the original mode, the Atari booted on side 1. When switched to the other mode, it would boot from side 2.
James68k wrote:As for the sound mod. I gave it good thinking yesterday, looking at the chip's pinout and I think I'm gonna go one step further and have a switch that changes between normal monaural output to the monitor for games, and three individual outputs on 1/4" jacks for studio work. That way I can pan/effect each channel individually. I just need to get my hands on a 3pole switch with 6 throws.
Hmmm your home server looks down at the moment. BUt if you say there is a Tosec going around, it's just a matter of time until I manage to find it
unseenmenace wrote:The more common samplers were the 8-bit ones such as Mastersound 2 and Stereo Master (I have both of these). These do crop up on Ebay from time to time as do the Video Digitizer cartridges such as VidiST (got that too).
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