New addition to the collection

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EmpireAndrew
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New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:54 pm

It must be nearly 25 years since I first read about the forthcoming Falcon in ST User or ST Format?

I didn't immediately have the money to buy one and by the time I did, in late 1994 the writing was very much on the wall and so I jumped ship to the PC at the time for various reasons.

Now I finally have one.

It was last used in 97/98 according to the owner (who had bought it new) and has been in storage so it's properly filthy! 8O

The case is generally in good condition with a few scratches and some discoloration, the latter I can fix with some hydrogen peroxide and UV...

It has 14MB of RAM and the original 84MB Conner hard drive which seems to be dead so I'll probably replace that with a CF card.

Video output is clean though.

It was for sale locally so I got to see it working before handing over the cash, which while still overpriced in my book, was at least nowhere near the asking prices on eBay USA.

Pics to follow...
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1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby trecool » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:38 pm

Congrats!
I bought mine about a year ago... quite a feeling huh?
Welcome to the club!
Last edited by trecool on Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby trecool » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:39 pm

trecool wrote:Congrats!
I bought mine about a year ago... quite a feelng huh?
Welcome to the club!

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby trecool » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:44 pm

trecool wrote:Congrats!
I bought mine about a year ago... quite a feeling huh?
Welcome to the club!

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby trecool » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:45 pm

Please remove .... apologies....

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby rj1 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:40 pm

14MB is nice!

Depending on what is wrong with Conner drive, you might be able to at least try something to rescue data.
I could "fix" my 64MB CP-2064 Conner that came with Falcon by opening it and helping (using a finger) heads to move out of the parking position. It then starts and all the data is accessible. After power down, it still has this issue and needs manual "start" again.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby Trixster » Sat Feb 04, 2017 8:51 pm

Nice one! I've only had a falcon for a month, it's a nice machine to own.
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby Atari030 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 10:13 pm

I got lucky with mine, picked em up when they were being nearly thrown out. Glad I did now.

Falcons are the best of the ST series IMHO. Good score.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:53 pm

I've got so many projects "in flight" at the moment in terms of restoration I need to clear some space so I can actually work on the thing...

Managed to get a few machines sorted out today and will hopefully manage to get another couple out of the way tomorrow.
The lack of sunlight means I have to rely on my UV lamp lit "box" to do my retrobriting which I'm way behind on for so many machines and peripherals.
Can't fit much in the box at the same time unless they're small bits, and the lamps are nowhere near the power of a summer sun!
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby Atari030 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 4:21 am

Luckily Aussie is blessed with an dependence of UV. :-) Look forward to seeing the before and afters.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:31 pm

So I had a few hours to look at the Falcon I bought several weeks ago.
I'd been putting it off as I was dealing with other machines and thought this old bird might need a bit of work to get going again but with my SGI Indy now gleaming and working A1 I decided to make some space and pull apart Atari's last stand...

The first thing I noticed was an extra port someone had added to the back above the DSP port:

FullSizeRender%2039.jpg


I had noticed this in the original ad, and could have sworn there was a black rocker switch there...
But it's not there now and the fact the plastic around it hasn't yellow has me firmly believing the seller removed something in the week between me contacting him and actually picking it up. What would be worth removing from an old machine you have't used in nearly 20 years? Hmm....

After pulling it apart I took a good look at the motherboard and my eye jumped to this:

FullSizeRender 43.jpg

FullSizeRender 42.jpg

FullSizeRender 41.jpg


That cannot be factory can it?! I mean, I know Atari love their production line bodges but this would take the bakery, never mind the cake...
Anyone know what this is?
EDIT: I checked and found it's the clock patch.


I then had a look at the capacitors and they all looked ok with the exception of the area near these two under the PSU, specifically where 1 of their legs attaches to the motherboard, looks a bit ratty but then soldering at Atari's factory was never that good...

FullSizeRender 40.jpg

FullSizeRender 38.jpg


Plus this component in the PSU?

FullSizeRender 36.jpg


Everything else looked ok, the hard drive was completely dead so I replaced it with an IDE->CF and a 4GB SanDisk Ultra card.

HDDriver 10.02 found the card, I created 8x 512MB partitions, rebooted, it found them again, installed HDDriver to C and rebooted and....
HDDriver didn't seem to run as the machine was determined to boot only from floppy...

So booted again from floppy with HDDriver and drive and partitions found again...

Then I accidentally noticed that if I went to Desktop Info to get the GEM dialog about box up, the machine crashed with 2 bombs and some floppy activity.

Rebooted with floppy, tried again and same thing happened.

Tried rebooting with the HDDriver floppy but no IDE device connected, same problem.

Tried rebooting with IDE device connected but no HDDriver, just a bare boot, no problem.


Thought maybe there was an issue with the CF Card adapter etc so grabbed a known good 2.5" 10GB drive from an old iBook.
Exactly the same behaviour, 2 bombs when trying to to Desktop Info


This leads me to wonder if there is a problem with HDDriver 10.02?
It works fine on my TT though...

So I wondered if there was a memory issue, but YAART runs through fine.
So I wondered if there was an issue with the ROM chip? But Gembench does all its stuff calling routines just fine.

So finally I'm left wondering if a dead NVRAM can cause these issues?
i.e. the not booting from HDD?
Not sure how the HDDriver causes a problem with the Desktop Info box mind...

The NVRAM must be dead for sure, after all it sat unused for 20 years and I was thinking the NVRAM is where the referred screen res is stored?
Although I can switch out from low to 640x480x256 no problem, it doesn't remember it on reboot, although granted I didn't save the desktop...
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Last edited by EmpireAndrew on Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:38 pm

Motherboard pr0n:
FullSizeRender 37.jpg



April 93 I think, board serial 162?
Would make it quite an early one I guess...
IMG_2860.JPG


Case sticker says May 93, serial 525
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1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby Atari030 » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:08 am

Noice. That clock patch looks better than some I have seen. The reset cap looks a wee bit nasty, I'd replace that at least.

I have noticed some HD software works better than others in all the whacky permutations of Atari HD's that exist. Give the other options a try, older version of HDdriver maybe, AHDI, PP, ICD whatever you have to hand and see how it reacts.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby mikro » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:39 am

The NVRAM and bad PSU are often sources of unimaginable horror. ;-) So yes, I'd strongly recommend to replace it, if you can.

What is really strange is the fact HD Driver refused to boot -- I assume you did warm resets so NVRAM content was kept intact. So I'd go to HD Driver's settings, verify that IDE0 has the top boot priority (or that it's even enabled), check all the other settings just to be on the safe side, click OK, install HD Driver, warm reboot and see what happens.

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby catmando » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:59 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:
The first thing I noticed was an extra port someone had added to the back above the DSP port:

FullSizeRender%2039.jpg

I had noticed this in the original ad, and could have sworn there was a black rocker switch there...
But it's not there now and the fact the plastic around it hasn't yellow has me firmly believing the seller removed something in the week between me contacting him and actually picking it up. What would be worth removing from an old machine you have't used in nearly 20 years? Hmm....


That's very unusual as none of my Falcons have that port.

Can you take a photo of the whole case rear panel?
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby acsi » Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:24 am

Given the size of the hole and your question about what's worth removing I would guess it could have had a Nova Graphics card or similar as there doesn't appear to be any major modification done besides that and the size, yellowing and hole placement are about right for a 15pin dsub vga connector?

However I'm not sure one could actually fit a Nova inside without removing something?

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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby catmando » Wed Apr 05, 2017 9:55 am

acsi wrote:Given the size of the hole and your question about what's worth removing I would guess it could have had a Nova Graphics card or similar as there doesn't appear to be any major modification done besides that and the size, yellowing and hole placement are about right for a 15pin dsub vga connector?

However I'm not sure one could actually fit a Nova inside without removing something?



Even though the hole looks like it was cut out by someone modding the case, the fact it actually has a diagram stamped on the case is unique and suggests this was supposed to be an official port for something, unless I am mistaken?
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby crashman » Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:38 am

This diagram it's the DSP one. Nothing new or different here from stock Falcon.

catmando wrote:
acsi wrote:Given the size of the hole and your question about what's worth removing I would guess it could have had a Nova Graphics card or similar as there doesn't appear to be any major modification done besides that and the size, yellowing and hole placement are about right for a 15pin dsub vga connector?

However I'm not sure one could actually fit a Nova inside without removing something?



Even though the hole looks like it was cut out by someone modding the case, the fact it actually has a diagram stamped on the case is unique and suggests this was supposed to be an official port for something, unless I am mistaken?
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby catmando » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:14 pm

crashman wrote:This diagram it's the DSP one. Nothing new or different here from stock Falcon.

catmando wrote:
acsi wrote:Given the size of the hole and your question about what's worth removing I would guess it could have had a Nova Graphics card or similar as there doesn't appear to be any major modification done besides that and the size, yellowing and hole placement are about right for a 15pin dsub vga connector?

However I'm not sure one could actually fit a Nova inside without removing something?



Even though the hole looks like it was cut out by someone modding the case, the fact it actually has a diagram stamped on the case is unique and suggests this was supposed to be an official port for something, unless I am mistaken?


Yep you're correct, my bad, will try to look harder next time :D
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:01 pm

I fell for the same thing, I thought the diagram was for the cut out port, but yes, it's for the DSP below.
The original owner used the machine with Cubase for music, if that gives any clue as to what she might have had there?
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby stimpy » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:17 pm

Looks like its had audio modifications done too.
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Wed Apr 05, 2017 6:12 pm

Oh?
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sun Apr 16, 2017 1:29 pm

Booting my STE off the HDDriver 10.02 floppy shows the exact same symptoms as the Falcon re the 2 bomb crash when accessing the About GEM dialog box. It won't boot the Ultra Satan either. It was working under 9.x (I forget which version. But one of the last 9.x versions).
So the Falcon is likely fine, I just need to re-download an old HD Driver version and verify the known good STE is working and then re-check the Falcon with it.
The bird will stay in pieces until my new NVRAM arrives...
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sun Apr 21, 2019 11:51 pm

So it looks like it's been 2 years since I touched the Falcon going by the date of my last post above... 8O

Well, this weekend I decided to treat myself to some free time for the first time in, well, who knows how long, and setup the Falcon permanently (as in for the next few months at the very least) and try and get to the bottom of the booting problem.

Before starting I did have to do some serious cleaning as the previous owner had left the machine in a very bad state... It was *disgustingly* and depressingly filthy, plus 3/4 of the screws are missing underneath, there are scrapes on the case and the aforementioned hole in the back. But she's alive and kicking! :twisted:

After some experimentation it turns out the problem is somehow related to either HDDriver 10.02 or the IDE2CF adapter (Startech single slot model) or the 4GB Sandisk Ultra card in it as upgrading to HDDriver 10.15 didn't fix the problem (although I did not recretae the partitions, just installed the driver) but replacing both the adapter and card with the previously mentioned 8GB Apple laptop IDE drive fixed the problem (which it didn't last time I checked it on 10.02), the bird now boots! 8)

So I installed VanillaMint, the NetUSBee adapter and Cab 2.7 and tried browsing the retro website I was working on (and will get back to when time allows). Using HTML tables and small images it's not too painful, the page in the attachment with a couple of GIFs in addition to the jpegs loaded and rendered in about 34 seconds (4 seconds for each of those 3 images in case anyone was wondering).

Obviously I have a lot of setting up to to do, but it was great to see it working this far... :D
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Last edited by EmpireAndrew on Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: New addition to the collection

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Apr 22, 2019 2:27 pm

I decided to post up a video of the Falcon browsing my website...



The NetUSBee interface is not exactly quick, I suspect it peaks at around 112-115kbps but that's still faster than any modem, then the Falcon itself has to process everything and that part is very slow compared to PC's of the time (I've tested this site on everything from a 386dx 25 up).

But if you balance the slow processing with the slightly faster download speed I notice the experience reminded me a lot of when I first got on the web at home in 1995 using a 14.4kbps modem on my Pentium 100. So I did some math:


the fastest page (first one) consisting of 15.2KB of HTML and GIFs

PC + 56.6kbps modem - 3 seconds + processing
PC + 28.8kbps modem - 4.5 seconds + processing
PC + 14.4kbps modem - 9 seconds + processing
Falcon + NetUSBee - 25 seconds total


The slowest page (listing magazine issues),is 290KB in size and breaks down like this:

30KB of HTML code and text + 2 cached small gif buttons - 30 seconds to download, parse and display (lots of nested HTML tables)
10x 26KB jpeg images - 2mins 10 seconds to download, convert to 256 colors and display

PC + 56.6kbps modem - 45 seconds + processing
PC + 28.8kbps modem - 1min 25 seconds + processing
Falcon + NetUSBee - 2mins 40 seconds total
PC + 14.4kbps modem - 2 min 50 seconds + processing


For the page (16KB + 2 cached small gif buttons) about a single magazine issue with a very large (106KB) jpeg image:

PC + 56.6kbps modem - 19 seconds + processing
PC + 28.8kbps modem - 35 seconds + processing
PC + 14.4kbps modem - 1min 10 seconds + processing
Falcon + NetUSBee - 1 min 54 seconds total



So on a very small page my old PC wouldn't have much data to download so even though the Falcon gets it faster it would take longer to process it so the PC would be quicker even on a 14.4 modem.

On a page that is mainly a large jpeg image the Falcon would also get the data quicker but would take a long time to process it for display and thus again the PC on a 14.4 modem would be quicker.

But on a larger page with many smaller images the speed advantage of the NetUSBee gives the Falcon for fetching the data vs a PC on a 14.4 modem means it buys itself enough time to actually be faster than said PC.



Basically on pages that are probably around 250KB or so in total size the Falcon + NetUSBee matches a much faster PC on a 14.4 modem and the bigger the page becomes the further ahead it gets...

1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation, PDA's and more!


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