27 June 2020 meetup

Saturday was another great meetup at Gary’s man cave.

Brett’s brought along his STFM which has the power LED not working. Brett wanted to confirm if this was fixable and likely causes. The power LED was not showing any signs of life but this did not stop the computer from working. Brett may have a dead LED or the resistor feeding it has died.

Brett showed off his latest bit of assembly coding in his strip poker game ported to the Atari ST. Brett has developed this game on a number of different retro platforms and the Atari is the latest one. The game was excellent and worked so well that the girl Kimberly won her clothes back. I guess my poker playing skills are not good enough. On that note, it was very interesting to discuss with Brett the coding logic and the components that make up a card game like this. Kimberly’s image is one also ported over with the game and very applicable to a retro game. Whilst Brett had stripped out the sound so he could demo it, he will be finishing it off and will hopefully make this available for us to play in the future.

Rob also asked Brett to work on a 3D case for the ST2VGA video adapters he make. When the 3D STL file is available, we will make this available to anyone who wants it to print their own case for the adapter.

Rob brought along a 2 chip TOS STFM board and some 32 pin to 28 pin adapter boards he developed recently to allow TOS UV programmable ROMs to be used in the 2 chip STFM boards. The 32 pin ROMs are 27C010, like the ones used in an STE. Rob programmed up a couple of the 27C010 chips with TOS 1.04 (with the IDE patch applied) to show how this is done and then we installed them in the STFM. They booted first time and showed the green desktop. So the computer can now boot IDE hard drives if they are every connected. The PCBs we used have sockets to allow the ROMs to be tested which technically make them too high to fit with the shielding in place so Rob will need to get some low-profile pins and maybe solder the 27C010 directly to the adapter PCBs for them to fit into the original TOS sockets.

Gary and Rob then worked on writing back some disk images with his Greaseweazle and this took a bit of investigating. Gary wanted to write back disk 1 from the 520STE Turbo pack, Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade. This disk has a very strange disk encoding system and as it turns out one that no flux board is capable of writing back to a disk! We tried a few other disk images but we seemed to be using dirty or bad disks and so Gary’s Mega ST did not boot the disks we created with the Greaseweazle. Rob has done some more testing since with his flux boards as he has the Kryoflux, Supercard Pro and Greaseweazle boards with the Turbo pack disk 1 and was unable to get a working floppy disk. The key to writing back to a real floppy is a good clean floppy disk and a clean drive in the Atari. Rob has also tested a few other disk dumps and successfully created a few game disks.

Thanks to Gary for hosting and Brett for letting me relive my youth again playing strip poker…