H4 remake

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exxos
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H4 remake

Post by exxos » Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:02 pm

:WTF:

Just throwing this out there... People may not realise I'm not against another run of the H4...BUT WHYYYY I hear you cry..

Well if your not interested in newer 3v add ons, then the H5 is overkill really. If you want to mix up 5v addons then the H4 would be better.. But in terms of building it yourself ( don't forget its mostly through hole) you can do it all yourself on a H4. Also if your a hardcore tinkerer then through-hole parts are easier to replace if you kill something.

I doubt there will be enough interest in the H4 now.. But I thought I would throw it out there...
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Re: H4 remake

Post by JezC » Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:44 pm

Interesting option...and very tempting too.

When I finally build the second H4 & my H5 I'd be up for ordering one of the two options...

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Re: H4 remake

Post by exxos » Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:51 pm

It depends what you want to do with it.. If you want to max it out with our new addons, then a H5 will be a must as its going 3.3V which won't be compatible with 5V stuff ultimately..

H4, if you want to build it all yourself (as a project etc) and want to use "other peoples hardware" or any original 5V based hardware addons. Like I said, if you blow up the H4, its likely easier to fix being though-hole.

There are pros and cons to it all. Currently the H5 series has both 5V and 3.3V, but thats a stepping stone between the H4 and potentially a H6 board which may well be 3.3V only. H4 should be cheaper as its not assembled and without parts..
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Re: H4 remake

Post by DoG » Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:18 pm

Sooner or later you have to learn how to do some SMT soldering if you are into tinkering, IMHO.

For me, H4 was not fun to solder. But I get it if you don't have much experience and have done some troubleshooting previously on Ataris. Smaller projects under the belt is the way to go to build confident.

Many users probably just have one or two Ataris. So H4 is a big step for them. I have also heard some people asking for prebuilt H4/H5 so I totally get it.

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Re: H4 remake

Post by JezC » Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:47 pm

@exxos Yes, there are some features in the H5 that are of interest, especially the options for your future developments (3.3v etc.) as/when they become available.

And @DoG I will need to do some SMT work on the H5 & second H4 (not to mention building up a second TF536) so I may feel a bit more confident by the time they are built & working...but I'm in the process of seeing which of my music s/w runs on the Falcon or TF536 or even an accelerated ST.

From the limited results so far, there are a few which really don't get on with an 030 and a smaller number that won't run properly on the accelerated 68k ST either (@16MHz - still to fit & try my 32MHz STE accelerator as I need to sort out the STE Dual TOS board as well).

So, looking to the future I'm facing the real possibility that I will need at least one system capable of running as a stock 68k STF to replace the original STF/M & Mega systems when they finally give up the ghost...

When I've a clearer picture of which programs run on which accelerated/expanded systems then I will be much better placed to choose another H4 or H5 (or later).

For now, the possibility of being able to order either at some future point is very attractive!

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Re: H4 remake

Post by kodak80 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 12:47 am

I like the idea of being able to have both available.

As you say the through hole option is better for tinkering and replacing components as needed. It is time to start replacing old failing boards with various mysterious faults and the H4 would be a good option for these as well if they can be produced cheap enough. SMT components are really set and forget in terms of tinkering they are not easily replaced.
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Re: H4 remake

Post by exxos » Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:26 am

Don't forget there is the legacy board which is aimed to replace original boards as cheaply as possible. Its got 1 expansion slot, but its not intended to be anything else but a stock replacement .

The H4 is the board which is intended to be expandable as much as possible with original 5v expansions. Long term its probably going to be easier to fix.. Like if someone blows up the DMA buffers on a H5 , they will be harder to replace being smt.

The thought really popped in my head as the pullups on the H5 are not easy to change. But being sip packages on the H4, they are easy to change. Some guys are doing a pull up fix board which is great, but in a way its a step backwards as it could easily be done on a H4 board, Cutting pins and hacking it is easier than with smt.

Its "swings and roundabouts" all the time. I was just thinking out loud more than anything. SMT is smaller, cheaper,and assembled for the H5.. Though its not always a good thing.

But just to be clear, the H5 is the way forward and will continue to evolve . I'd probably say the H5C may well be the last in the line development wise.. This board could be produced again and again over the years .... The next gen boards will likely be more FPGA based .. We need to replace the custom ST chips with stuff we can modify and expand on.. This also means we are no longer a remake but a new machine. In part, again, its why I designed the legacy board to bridge the gap with a low as possible cost replacement motherboard.

Its difficult to know what directions to ultimately go in. Its a given that original machines are failing faster than they can be fixed in recent years. So people just starting out in the ST world just want something which works.. If they can salvage the ST chip set and plug into a legacy board, that gets people up and running.

A lot of people still don't get the amount of fixes which need to be done to the original machines either. In many cases, its just going to be cheaper and easier to buy a legacy board. Some people complain about destroying a original machine to build a H5 etc, but that's not the point. If the machine is dead, you can replace the board. If it has bugs which they all do and you don't have the time money or skills to do then mods, get a legacy board. If you really want a original machine then that's fine, if you have time skill and patience to keep fixing it. But just look on evilbay and see how many machines are sold as faulty etc. Buy a cheap machine and salvage it for a legacy board, or if you like pain, spend time fixing it.

However people look at it all, these boards keep the ST spirit alive. We need to attract new blood to the ST world, and that's not going to happen if all which is out there is broken machines on evilbay which people don't have the time or money to invest in fixing endless issues.

OK so I've drifted onto a bit of a rant again, though ultimately which boards get made simply depends on how many people want them. Whatever version that may be.
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Re: H4 remake

Post by mikro » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:48 am

exxos wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 1:26 am
A lot of people still don't get the amount of fixes which need to be done to the original machines either. In many cases, its just going to be cheaper and easier to buy a legacy board.
This is a great point, really.

I just wish it were a STE machine to replace, in my opinion these are used more widely these days.

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Re: H4 remake

Post by exxos » Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:50 am

mikro wrote:
Sun Feb 07, 2021 9:48 am
I just wish it were a STE machine to replace, in my opinion these are used more widely these days.
The FPGA is based on suska cores, which is a STE., so it will one day be a STE compatible machine.
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Re: H4 remake

Post by JezC » Sun Feb 07, 2021 2:15 pm

@exxos Yes, I remember you mentioning the legacy board (and making a start on it...)...but I was thinking that with your current workload you wouldn't finish that in the near future...

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