Friday, 19 March 2010

RAMtastic

If you've been following my blog you might remember that one of the Falcons came with an Atari 14Mbyte RAM card (very nice) but the other had the normal 4Mbyte one so I bought a SIMM adapter from DJBase for €18 (including postage to the UK).

It wasn't straight forward though. In preparation I dug out all my 16Mbyte SIMMs but out of over 60 SIMMS only one worked.


The reason is that almost all of my SIMMS have chips which are 2Mx8 and for whatever reason this SIMM adapter needs chips which are 4Mx4. Another thing to note is that with the SIMM fitted, the metal sheilding that usually covers floppy drive will no longer fit!

Friday, 12 March 2010

A sign??

video
You probably cannot tell but this is a video taken outside my house just now and it shows two nesting Falcons in a tree next door!! I get two my two Atari Falcons and then I find my neighbour already had two!! :-)

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Key to success

The Falcon's came with three keyboards. A US, UK and German. All three were in a bit of a mess with years of hand-cheese on them. So now begins the restorations. As you can see I removed all of the keys. They just pop off with a little help from a plastic tool. (Don't use metal like a screwdriver as you'll mark the plastic)

Just look at the amount of dust and fluff trapped under the keys. Yeuch! A few minutes with a can of compressed air (available at all good electronics shops such as Maplin) and it was looking as good as new.


Unfortunately the keys were not as easy. They were covered with years of sweat and grease and as you can see at some time in the past one of the Falcon's had drawn blood and the owner had bled out over all the keys.

So they had to take a trip to the kitchen sink. 5 minutes later with a good scrubbing with an old tooth brush and they were clean and after they dried returned to the keyboard.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

You can never have too much power

The 240v AC PSU from Coze in Japan arrived today. Thanks a lot. It plugged straight into Falcon A replacing it's 110v one and it worked perfectly. No more messing around with step-down transformers.

I thought that I would try the SCSI cable that I got a few days ago. It started booting from SCSI and as you can see it identified the internal IDE hard drive (which I wasn't expecting) but failed to find the SCSI drive it was booting from! This failure actually gave me new hope. It found the IDE drive which means the IDE interface wasn't 100% toast. So what if there was a fault in the old stock 84Mbyte Conner 2.5" IDE drive. I disconnected it and powered back on and it booted from SCSI perfectly. I was a little worried as I tried a few demos (remember that I've been unable to try anything on this Falcon upto now because there was no way to get data into it) but I needn't have been because they ran fine.

Ok so I'd identified that the IDE drive or the IDE interface was faulty. But my CF cards and adapters had not arrived from Hong Kong yet. I was stuck for something to try it with. So I hunted around and found an Amiga which had an IDE->CF adapter and 1GB card. I plugged it in, tried it and nothing. Booting from the SCSI drive HDDriver failed to find it. Chatting to people on the net someone suggested that the CF adapter I was using may be incompatible with HDDriver 6.14 (the version on the SCSI HDD I got free). So I needed another IDE drive... so I dug out an old laptop and it was going to sacrifice windows to get my Falcon working. I plugged it in and boom. HDDriver found it. I ran the HDDriver app from the SCSI hard drive and partitioned and installed HDDriver on the 2.5" drive. Disconnected the SCSI drive and it booted. Amazing.

What is even better is the floppy drive is working now too. The faulty IDE drive must have been affecting the floppy. I tried the spare floppy and it too is fully working.

I now have two fully working Atari Falcon's!! YEAH!!

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Scuzzy


The Falcon SCSI II cable I ordered has arrived. That was quick. Only two days. I tried it with the external SCSI drive I got free and Falcon B (the towered one) and bang first time it detected HDDriver and booted. Not quite sure what FPATCH 2 is (but it was in the Auto folder on the drive).

I now needed to get some programs from my PC onto the drive for testing. So I downloaded lots and lots of demos from Pouet and then I plugged the hard drive into my PC's SCSI card. Now I've done this before with my MegaSTe so I wasn't surprised when no drives popped up in Windows. It is because Windows cannot read GEMDOS partitions. But there is a great little utility from a handy Atari Programmer, Pera Putnik, called Drive Imager it is a little clunky on the GUI side and it cannot transfer directories, only files but it works and I transferred all the files and you can see the Falcon running the demo BEAMS from hard drive

I'm an Atari Falcon Fan

The biggest annoyance of my new Falcon's (even more annoying than the floppy drive and IDE in Falcon A not working) is the damn FANs. They sound like a damn Jumbo Jet engine. Looking closer I can tell they are 40mm * 40mm * 10mm fans. Hopefully 12v. A little googling on the web revealed that a famous Atari and Amiga scener who I know called DJBase has already replaced these fans before as he posts (in German) on his website http://www.atariworld.org/

I want to replace both Falcon case fans ( 18 year old sepa ones) with two new PAPST Type 412 FM bought off ebay. This will involve removing the old one and soldering a 2-pin FAN header as currently the fan power is soldered to the motherboard. They are ordered and I'm now waiting their arrival although coming from Singapore they could take weeks :(

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

There are nice people in the world!

I've been chatting over at Atari-Forum about my two new Falcons and I just happened to post that I was looking for a 240v AC Falcon PSU then I didn't need to use a step-down transformer and a really nice guy called Coze who is in Japan (110v) offered me his for nothing. Not even postage. He confirmed today he's sent it so now I'll play the waiting game. I'll have to send him something nice as a thank you.