First PAK board attempt...

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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by ralcool »

Progress... (The opposite of Congress :lol: )

Good News Ronny, The HD mod is assembled.!!.. The 10pack of new GALs purchased for the mear sum of $AU6.64 finally arrived Friday, and a pair were programmed for testing in my prototype rig.
They worked perfectly last night.

The GAL has been transfered to the new PCB - soldered into place, and awaiting a final trial in my weathered ST is being performed now.... nightmarish job of deleting a bunch of old wiring, and re-configuring for this mod.

I'll post again tonight or so to advise how it goes.

ST :cheers:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Awesomeness, thanks for the update! :)

BTW, that remark about Congress? Spot on! :cheers:
Last edited by DarkLord on Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Update:

Installed the new 70ns TOS 3.06 eproms into the PAK board and it booted right
up. Finally, a totally successful eprom burning session! It's a good feeling. :)

Currently have my PAK equipped STacy clocked at 40mhz. Going to try all the
benchmark tests after its been running for a few hours and we'll see how it goes.

If it all holds up at 40mhz vs 3-4 hours of continuous ops with no problems, I'll
bump it up to 50mhz and see what happens.

Will post back later...
Last edited by DarkLord on Sun Oct 14, 2012 5:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by wongck »

DarkLord wrote: It it all holds up at 40mhz vs 3-4 hours of continuous ops with no problems, I'll
bump it up to 50mhz and see what happens.
Great stuff... hope you success !!
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by Shredder11 »

So much success in one thread.....my head cannot take it! :lol:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Got some time to play around with 50mhz this evening. (after getting the little
one to bed and watching the season 3 premier of "The Walking Dead"). :)

Mixed results again. The 50mhz mode is now reliably booting up and making it
to the desktop. It's just that software is a bit screwy with it. For example,
adapted games like Bards Tale will start, at least getting to the point where
you get Klaz's info screen, but then when you try to go into the game itself,
you ger a black screen that never progresses. Most FPU test programs just
crash back to the desktop. GemBench will run, and does complete its battery
of tests - but the results are a bit wacko. For example, even though GB reports
an approximate 6800 percent maths increase at 40mhz, its reporting an amazing
32,000 + percent increase at 50mhz. This while the overall rating drops from
approx 900-1000 percent to 500 percent (ballpark figures here, but you get the
idea). Also, in many of the fields, there are odd characters or a repetition of
characters. For example, it will report the ROM increase as 870%% (2 percent
symbols).

In other words, something is a bit screwy at 50mhz. Might go back and re-measure
the 5v line I've got coming into the PAK board, as per Alan's suggestion. I did check
it one time before, but who knows. :)
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by Silly_Pony »

Flying too close to the sun.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by alanh »

Not strictly related to the PAK, but here's my new memory board for the STacy.

4MB STRAM now, via SIMM. Apologies about the image quality.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Wow, much smaller!

What about TOS? Does the board incorporate that too, like the old RAM board
did?

Thanks.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by alanh »

No the board doesn't incorporate TOS. Upgrading to TOS 2.06 and having 1.04 switchability is next on my list. Then plugging in an Eiffel to get keyboard/mouse functionality.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Awesome work Alan.

I hope you plan on adding these and future items to your online store for general consumption. :)

Can I assume all these changes will still be compatible with the PAK?

Thanks.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by alanh »

It's meant to be all compatible with the PAK :-)

SIMM memory means I can do away with the slower motherboard memory, and my SIMM has 60ns speeds instead of 100ns. Also, my STacy onboard memory was only 2MB, now I'm getting 4MB.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Good! :)

Yeah, and faster with the PAK can only be better.

My STacy memory board is 80ns and 4 megs so I was a bit lucky there, winding up
with that. I do have another 2 meg board that is 100ns like yours. It came with
the STacy when I first bought it.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Was thinking about something...

By replacing the original hard drive, and the screen (either totally, with a new
LCD like you're looking at, or with an EL Sheet like I did for now), which from
my understanding were both huge current users, etc, etc,... is it possible that
the STacy's needs would be reduced enough so that operating off some sort of
battery pack (as Atari originally envisioned/planned) would be possible again?

Smaller, more powerful, longer lasting battery sources have come a long way
since 1989.

I'm probably just dreaming. Random thoughts and all that. :)
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by alanh »

DarkLord wrote:Good! :)

Yeah, and faster with the PAK can only be better.

My STacy memory board is 80ns and 4 megs so I was a bit lucky there, winding up
with that. I do have another 2 meg board that is 100ns like yours. It came with
the STacy when I first bought it.
Indeed.

I do have a 4MB STacy board, but that's only 100ns too :-(

In fact, I have two STacy memory/TOS boards, one 2MB one 4MB, and three STacy motherboards. One the original, as yet unmodified. The second is being my donor one and the one you see in the pictures, and the third is backup :oops:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

You're 1 up on me on motherboards then. :)

Did you get your spares from that same guy I did in the UK? He's been selling new
STacy motherboards for like 47 pounds or something. Its about $60-70 US dollars
by the time I get one here, but just contrast that to buying a populated STacy
motherboard from Best Electonics! :roll: :lol:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by alanh »

DarkLord wrote:You're 1 up on me on motherboards then. :)

Did you get your spares from that same guy I did in the UK? He's been selling new
STacy motherboards for like 47 pounds or something. Its about $60-70 US dollars
by the time I get one here, but just contrast that to buying a populated STacy
motherboard from Best Electonics! :roll: :lol:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

I wouldn't mind having one of the original battery setups that came with the first
STacy's. Just for the fun of it mind you, after all - 15 mins for 12 C size battery's
isn't really much use. :)

Mine wasn't one of those - the battery compartment was just empty when I got it.
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Okay, just in the interest of ruling something else out, I purchased a *new* 50mhz
68882 math co-processor. The one I had been using was used...

I swapped them out, and then ran all my tests at 32, 40, and 50mhz again. Same
results, everything works up to, and including 40mhz, then misbehaves at 50mhz.

What is really interesting is this, just for the sake of argument, I disabled J3, the
jumper that controls the FPU on the PAK board, just so I could see if the PAK board
would then behave normally at 50mhz.

With J3 disabled, the benchmark programs like Gembench give the exact same
results as when J3 is enabled with the PAK board clocked at 50mhz! (in other
words, very, very low floating math scores).

So at 50mhz, the PAK board acts like there isn't a FPU, whether the J3 jumper
is disabled or not. It does not do this at any lower crystal speed (32/40).

Odd eh?
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Another update:

Sean's (and Holger's) new and improved HD floppy mod has arrived. Working all
weekend so I won't have much time to play with it, but I'll post results as soon
as I get it installed and get to test it.

Many thanks to Sean and Holger for going that extra mile to get a model out
that takes care of the PAK boards requirements! :cheers:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by ralcool »

After months of code testing, annoying delays in receiving parts, failed etchings- and a long cold winter.

Darklord has the first operational pcb I built. It suffered a few weeks of relentless testing.

I only built a second one for my own use a couple days ago.... I might need it to help Ron if something goes silly.

It was installed and running before the solder had even cooled. (No it didn't, It was brushed and cleaned to perfection- removing solder slag and a detailed inspection... then installed :lol: )
The GAL is not socketed for clearance reasons...but mounted directly on the pcb. So any error is that much harder to correct.....

I've been refining a installation guide for a mod that probably won't go to sale. Unless the little pcbs get produced by a proper producer. Hand making every board sucks.

One last successful PCB exists... (I try to do a few boards of anything on 'etching' day)... out of 6 boards- three passed inspection. Another 84 holes to drill to complete it. I've worn out almost all my bits.
Geez they wear out fast.

I have 8 more blank 16V8 Gals... And other than a decoupling capacitor- it is the only part on the board to perform DD/HD functionality for single- or dual drive operation. Auto Step too, no TOS drivers required for older versions to boot directly off and operate 1.44Mb discs. Hopefully, the fully integrated 32MHz powered solution gives his PAK030 the stability it needs to run a bloody FDD.

Until the test result, I'm eating my finger nails and praying for the best. Please be awesome!

Much inspiration was drawn from Exxos's High density 'kit'- Holger managed to include the unique auto step operation after some extensive bug testing, and problem work around, and subsequent- solving.

What we've built I believe is a tight, neat- one chip solution. It should even work in an STE, or even Mega STE... and more. Only 5 wires to solder (And an FDC chip removal and socketing.... :contract: )

ST. :cheers:

Here is a pic of the #1 board as it sat in my ST. (Yes, that is a NEW WD1772.. don't even ask why.....).. this little board is literally almost 10thousand miles away from me now. 8O
IMG_4786s.jpg
If you are truly interested... here is a pic of the rat nest prototype... Flexable wiring options ya see.... I have other plans for this unit yet.
IMG_4684s.jpg
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

Okay, it's in place, and :cheers: , it seems to be working fine!

I've formatted half a dozen high density disks, copied files back
forth, deleted them, swapped back and forth between 720k and
1.44 meg floppy's, all with no crashes so far. :D

I also waited the 20mins + to see if there was a random 10-15 bomb
crash like we saw before with the first HD mod. I waited the 20mins,
then waited another 20, and we're over an hour now with no random
kabooms.

I surely would like to thank everyone involved in this little project,
you guys are the best! :cheers:

Here are a few pictures for your viewing enjoyment.

Here is Ralcool and Holgers 2nd HD mod (note they are immortalized
forever in PCB, and deservedly so!):
PB160007.JPG
'
PB160008.JPG
Here is the first problem I had - the mod wouldn't fit under drive cage
with the Ultrasatan in place, so I had to cut out a "docking bay" to make
enough room for the mod with the WD1772 chip on top:
PB180003.JPG
Here is the mod in place, with the wiring, all set to go:
PB200002.JPG
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by DarkLord »

<continued>

Here is a rear view of the STacy's drive cage, with the Ultrasatan mounted where
the original hard drive was, and sitting directly on top of the newly installed HD
mod. From this angle you can see where and why I had to notch the US case:
PB200008.JPG
Now everything is plugged in. You can see just how tight it all really is!
PB200009.JPG
and finally, success! We know have a fully operational 1.44 floppy drive
with the 40mhz PAK equipped Atari STacy! Hurrah! :D
PB200020.JPG
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by ralcool »

Awesome.. Just awesome.

Very happy to see such a result. :D

ST :cheers:
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Re: First PAK board attempt...

Post by wongck »

DarkLord wrote: I surely would like to thank everyone involved in this little project,
you guys are the best! :cheers:
Whoa, great teaming guys... from different part of the world. :D :cheers:
Better team work than those in my company :lol: :lol:
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