Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

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Pacman
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Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by Pacman » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:52 pm

Nothing is displayed on my Mega STe when I turn it on (the monitor is OK -checked with an STe), and the power supply outputs the correct voltages, so I'm considering getting a diagnostic cartridge (item #0165).

Since my screen is black I obviously need to view the results from somewhere else, and besides having read this excellent posting: Basic Troubleshooting - Diagnostic Cartridge basics along with this brief overview, I have a couple of questions:

1) I don't have a PC, and my two Mac computers don't have a serial port. I would have to use a USB port instead, and if the software has to run on a PC I could install Windows via Bootcamp.
Will I need to get a USB-serial adapter cable? If so, are there particular specs to look out for, or will just about any such adapter work?
How about the PARCP-USB adapter (originally intended for transferring files between an ST and Mac/PC)?

2) Is the 25 pin-9-pin diagnostic cable (item # 0191) a standard serial null-modem cable, or is this a custom cable made especially for the cartridge?

3) Has anyone tried such a connection on a Mac (in MacOS)? Which terminal software would work with this, and does anyone reading have any experiences with the actual hardware connection (Serial-USB adapter cable?)?
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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by exxos » Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:54 pm

I think the cable is standard wiring, but the connectors are not.. I had to get them custom-made.
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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by frank.lukas » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:10 pm

Pacman wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:52 pm
... I don't have a PC, and my two Mac computers don't have a serial port.
You can also use a other Atari ST/STE with a terminal program ...

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by olivier.jan » Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:39 pm

If you have a small usb to serial adapter (FTDI232 for example) you just connect RX,TX and GND to SI,SO and GND pins of the MFP.
Using serialTools or minicom on the Mac at 9600 bauds, you’ll have proper connection.
You can also use any 5v capable Microcontroller (Arduino for example) to interface its serial to its USB port.
Just don’t connect any of these devices to the rs-232 port of the Atari as it’s not pure 5v logic and you might fry the device.

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by qq1975b » Wed Mar 10, 2021 8:26 am

But...which monitor do you use? MSTE has shown video issues several times.

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by stephen_usher » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:13 am

Pacman wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:52 pm
1) I don't have a PC, and my two Mac computers don't have a serial port. I would have to use a USB port instead, and if the software has to run on a PC I could install Windows via Bootcamp.
Will I need to get a USB-serial adapter cable? If so, are there particular specs to look out for, or will just about any such adapter work?
How about the PARCP-USB adapter (originally intended for transferring files between an ST and Mac/PC)?
A normal USB serial cable will be fine. You will need to install the driver from the chipset manufacturer and reboot. Usually they're Prolific chipsets.

A normal NULL modem cable will work fine, you just need to make sure that you don't turn on hardware flow control.
2) Is the 25 pin-9-pin diagnostic cable (item # 0191) a standard serial null-modem cable, or is this a custom cable made especially for the cartridge?

3) Has anyone tried such a connection on a Mac (in MacOS)? Which terminal software would work with this, and does anyone reading have any experiences with the actual hardware connection (Serial-USB adapter cable?)?
You can merely start the standard macOS Terminal app (Applications -> Utilities) and then use the 'cu' command. (Type "man cu" for the documentation.) The serial port will be something like /dev/tty.USBserial or some such.

I can't remember the baud rate .

So, the command would be something like:

Code: Select all

cu -l /dev/tty.USBserial -s 2400 
Or you can download MacWise: http://carnationsoftware.com/domains/MacWise/Index.html
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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by mfro » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:19 am

Pacman wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:52 pm
Will I need to get a USB-serial adapter cable? If so, are there particular specs to look out for, or will just about any such adapter work?
There are cheap ones on e*bay, you only need to make sure you'll get a "real" RS232 adapter with the proper voltage level. There are lots of adapters out there that only support TTL level.

Mac OS comes with screen (a "multiwindow" terminal that can be used as serial terminal program as well) and at least with FTDI serial drivers (Prolific, the other major vendor, should have drivers available for download).
And remember: Beethoven wrote his first symphony in C.

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by derkom » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:32 am

stephen_usher wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:13 am
I can't remember the baud rate .

So, the command would be something like:

Code: Select all

cu -l /dev/tty.USBserial -s 9600 
Diag cart outputs at 9600 8N1 (code segment in quote corrected). :)

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by stephen_usher » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:34 am

derkom wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:32 am
Diag cart outputs at 9600 8N1 (code segment in quote corrected). :)
:dualthumbup:
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ZX81->Spectrum->Memotech MTX->Sinclair QL->520STM->BBC Micro->TT030->PCs & Sun Workstations.
Added code to the MiNT kernel (still there the last time I checked) + put together MiNTOS.
Collection now with added Macs, Amigas, Suns and Acorns.

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Re: Diagnostic cartridge (dead Mega STe)

Post by Pacman » Mon Mar 15, 2021 12:48 pm

frank.lukas wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 9:10 pm
Pacman wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 8:52 pm
... I don't have a PC, and my two Mac computers don't have a serial port.
You can also use a other Atari ST/STE with a terminal program ...
You're absolutely right!
Sometimes the obvious things right in front of you are the hardest to see! :lol:
Is the VT52 terminal ACC (from the Atari language disk) the easiest terminal to use for this?

Back in the 90s I remember using ConNect for going online, but the details have slipped my mind, and I just need something very basic which doesn't add to the troubleshooting problems.
Mega STe | MonSTer with dual IDE-CF memory card adapter | STe | SM-144 |NEC Multisync 1990SXi | IDE doubler | ST_ESSC | RSVE | ICD Link II | Link '97 | HD floppy drive/AJAX | HD floppy module | Minolta PCMCIA card-drive | Realtime Clock module | Discovery cartridge | Unitor-2 | Export | Combiner | Steady Eye | Human Touch | Unicorn USB

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