New Falcon a lemon?

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Gyrussfanx
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm

New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Gyrussfanx » Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:50 pm

My wife bought me a falcon off eBay for my birthday (first one I have ever owned! :D ) and well, I think it's a bit of a lemon. The floppy doesn't work (this was known to me before buying) and the seller said and took pictures of a only slightly distorted vga out. The box comes with an Exxos 14MB upgrade along with some other fixes. You can see the original Ebay description here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Refurbished-At ... 7675.l2557

Some notes on the box itself before talking about the problems. It has an ST keyboard (it seems) and even though the seller claims this is NTSC (and I am in US, I think it might be PAL. It says it's from GERMANY on the bottom. A friend thinks this is a PRE-PRODUCTION Falcon because it came (originally) with TOS 4.0.1 (the seller upgraded it to 4.0.4)

Problem 1: Keyboard stuck sounds and wrong characters printed
It seems like a bit of a frankensystem as well, with a painted ST keyboard (which does look nice) but sometimes produces the wrong keystrokes and makes those keystuck noises when I press on the case (which is slightly bulging on top. I know this has an Exxos Ram upgrade in it and maybe they didn't fit it in right or didn't put cardboard in there to protect the solder joints. I don't know yet.

Problem 2: Video is all messed up
RF

The video on this box doesn't seem to work correctly out of RF. Comes in as B&W. A lot of people on Facebook claim that despite what the seller claims *being ntsc* this is probably a PAL system and I need to reset the NVRAM? I haven't tried this yet because to put any software on this box I need to crack it open and pull the CF card (as I mentioned the floppy doesn't work)
rf-bw-4color-80column.JPG
black and white RF out
rf-bw-4color-80column.JPG (135.76 KiB) Viewed 629 times
VGA
I got a DB19 to VGA adapter from BEST electronics here in the states. I plugged it into a Samsung SyncMaster monitor's vga port and got a nice picture in 4 color mode only! If I try anything else it goes down hill quickly. See below.
IMG_1142.png
simple adapter setup
IMG_1142.png (2.07 MiB) Viewed 629 times
4color-40column.JPG
this actually looks right/good
4color-40column.JPG (202.95 KiB) Viewed 629 times
16color-80column.JPG
16 color 80 column with weird black blurred menu
16color-80column.JPG (133.96 KiB) Viewed 629 times
truecolor-40column.JPG
truecolor 40 column with weird black blurred menu
truecolor-40column.JPG (205.45 KiB) Viewed 629 times
Any help here guys would really be appreciated. I'm not a hardware guy (I write Java server code for a living) but I'm adept enough to get by and can do some basic soldering and use a multimeter if pressed. :)

Motherboard photos (just taken)
epson-drive1.png
floppy 1
epson-drive1.png (2.33 MiB) Viewed 559 times
epson-drive2.png
floppy 2
epson-drive2.png (2.06 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-under-psu.png
under the psu
falcon-mb-under-psu.png (3.31 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-cf-reader.png
motherboard cf reader
falcon-mb-cf-reader.png (2.93 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-top-left-power.png
motherboard top left with psu
falcon-mb-top-left-power.png (3.08 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-top-right-center.png
motherboard top right center
falcon-mb-top-right-center.png (3.18 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-top-right.png
motherboard top right
falcon-mb-top-right.png (3.44 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-bottom-left.png
motherboard bottom left
falcon-mb-bottom-left.png (2.93 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-bottom-right.png
motherboard bottom right
falcon-mb-bottom-right.png (2.58 MiB) Viewed 559 times
falcon-mb-exxos-simm.png
exxos 14mb simm
falcon-mb-exxos-simm.png (3.04 MiB) Viewed 559 times

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simon.osborne
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2020 1:18 am

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by simon.osborne » Sat Jul 25, 2020 2:16 pm

I haven't owned a Falcon for a very long time, but there's a program called BOOTCONF that can be used to set the NVRAM for your region. May be worth trying: https://milan.kovac.cc/atari/software/?folder=/SYSTEM

Exxos has some programs also on this page https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/NVRAM/index.htm

I 'think' you can still save the settings if the NVRAM battery is dead as that is just for the real time clock. But like I said, it's been so long since I had a Falcon I'm just going off memory.

Gyrussfanx
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Gyrussfanx » Sat Jul 25, 2020 3:02 pm

Yeah. I’m gonna have to crack it open to install it but I’ll give it a try.

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Steve
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Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Steve » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:04 pm

Please do try saving the nvram with correct perimeters, while the case is open can you take some nice high res screenshots for us of the board? The images from facebook are too blurry, but I did notice there was a socketed pll ic chip under the PSU which isn't on Falcons I've seen before.
Repairs & Servicing for Atari & Amiga machines (and any other retro computers) Located in the West Midlands UK. PM me if you require assistance.
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Gyrussfanx
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Gyrussfanx » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:33 pm

I added all the mb images to the original post (including under the PSU)

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DoG
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Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by DoG » Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:39 pm

Steve wrote:
Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:04 pm
... The images from facebook are too blurry, but I did notice there was a socketed pll ic chip under the PSU which isn't on Falcons I've seen before.
It's for a 68881/68882. FPU.

Atarian Computing
Posts: 392
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 4:27 am

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Atarian Computing » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:08 pm

Taking a stab at the date of manufacture. @mikro has a great source here: https://mikrosk.github.io/clockpatch/history.html

Yours seems to be a PAL-B machine if I'm reading the code correctly. It does seem to indicate CA401332-003, which would make it ASSY PCB FALCON030 PAL-B (UK, generally UK, Ireland, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Macau; last Atari revision: H).

Your serial # begins with Y42 so not the earliest revisions, which would have had B5/B3.

Gyrussfanx
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Gyrussfanx » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:19 pm

yeah, It says GERMANY on the bottom and also has the original SPEC of 50mhz. The board being even more different than that (given the painted keyboard). It's been changed and now I guess I need to reset the video to deal with NTSC?

The CF doesn't seem to be dos formatted and my pc cannot read it. Huge problem since the floppy on the Falcon isn't working. I have no idea how to get that done on my PC. I do have a copy of petri's 8-bit-chip HD driver partitioner for the ultra satan and it comes with an image that I might be able to write to CF. It's generally meant for an SD so I am not sure that this will work. Too bad the ultrasatan cannot be used here as it is asci not ide or scsci.

Without being able to write to this card I cannot put any diagnostic tools in.

Ideas?

troed
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Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by troed » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:21 pm

Someone has definitely cared for this Falcon before - the built in fan is replaced with a low noise Noctua. Can't see if NVRAM has been changed though.

The image issue is indeed weird. Do you have another monitor as well?

/Troed

Gyrussfanx
Posts: 24
Joined: Sat Jul 25, 2020 1:15 pm

Re: New Falcon a lemon?

Post by Gyrussfanx » Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:31 pm

I have a view sonic I can try.
UPDATE: The view sonic couldn't cope at all. Not sure it's multisync.

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