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Old 27 February 2010, 02:22   #1
alexh
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Fixing Falcons

This week I bought not one, but two Atari Falcon computers from a private seller. Sold as "spares or repairs" an external SCSI hard drive, VGA video adapter, RGB video adapter, spare keyboard, mouse, floppy disk drive.

Falcon A
USA NTSC Falcon : 14Mbyte RAM, TOS 4.04, 80Mbyte internal 2.5" IDE hard drive. As stock as they get. The previous owner says that they had plugged it in forgetting it was a USA model (110v) in the UK (240v) and blew it up.



Took 2 mins to take it apart. Putting all the screws in labelled bags (otherwise I'd just loose them) and everything looks great. Wonderfully clean, no rust.



(Spot the replacement PSU I had lined up on the right of the photo ) A closer look at the original PSU shows that the fuse has gone (which you would expect) and hopefully this will be the cheapest fix EVER, one fuse!



Tomorrow I've got to get a USA kettle lead from work and get out the step down transformer. Unfortunately I've looked and cannot find any of my Atari 13-pin DIN to SCART cables So I'll have to try RF. If I knew how reliable Falcon VGA was I'd try that.

Atari Falcon's are like the A500+ they have an onboard RTC (real time clock) with battery and just like the A500+ they tend to leak and destroy the motherboard. I cannot see any leakage in Falcon A, but I am prepared to replace the RTC chips / battery in both Falcons. Already ordered two replacements with sockets.

I'll give details of Falcon B soon.

Last edited by alexh; 28 February 2010 at 15:43.
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Old 27 February 2010, 02:44   #2
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That looks like a good project you have going on there, I know that when a friend of mine plugged in his pc which was set for 110v into the mains (240V), it almost blew out one of the AC capacitors and it worked fine after I replaced it and switched it back to 240v. I can't see anything like that on the pictures so with a bit of luck the fuse blew before any real damage occurred to any of the components.
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Old 27 February 2010, 03:03   #3
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I've just bought a falcon, can I be in your gang ?

I know someone who knows his shiz regarding these things (he's local to me - bonus!)and the first thing I am going to do is get him to look at the PSU and replace the RTC battery just like you say.

Not received mine yet so not sure whats in box, but have CF---> IDE and 14MB ram upgrade lined up already.
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Old 27 February 2010, 03:14   #4
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Originally Posted by asm1 View Post
I know someone who knows his shiz regarding these things (he's local to me - bonus!)
Not Simbo??

Where are you planning on getting your 14Mbyte RAM upgrade from?

Last edited by alexh; 27 February 2010 at 03:25.
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Old 27 February 2010, 03:30   #5
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Happy

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Originally Posted by alexh View Post
Not Simbo??

Where are you planning on getting your 14Mbyte RAM upgrade from?

Yes Simbo lol I got my 14MB ram upgrade from a link someone posted over on the atari.org forums before some asshole haxed it. He was selling 16MB simms in pairs so I have two (If mine works I can send you the spare if you want)
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Old 27 February 2010, 03:43   #6
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I think you mean DJBase's Atari Falcon SIMM adapter. He's a member here too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by asm1
If mine works I can send you the spare if you want
Thanks, definite maybe. I am thinking about getting a DJBase SIMM adapter too but today I came across another card possibly still in production, not a SIMM adapter, which comes populated.

http://blog.h-brothers.com/2009/07/1...-memory-board/

http://www.atari-forum.com is back up.

Last edited by alexh; 27 February 2010 at 03:51.
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Old 27 February 2010, 04:07   #7
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Originally Posted by alexh View Post
I think you mean DJBase's Atari Falcon SIMM adapter. He's a member here too.

Thanks, definite maybe. I am thinking about getting a DJBase SIMM adapter too but today I came across another card possibly still in production, not a SIMM adapter, which comes populated.

http://blog.h-brothers.com/2009/07/1...-memory-board/

http://www.atari-forum.com is back up.

heh nice

yeah simbo has a spare simm adapter he is willing to part with which is why I went for the chips

good to hear about the forum
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Old 27 February 2010, 04:19   #8
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yay a falcon gang on eab hehehhe

nice, keep us updated with the pics a progress plz
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Old 27 February 2010, 04:22   #9
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you know this is a secret attempt to make this an atari forum. note that http://www.atari-forum.com/ has been down in recent days (its up now), but beware of this alex character. his motives are suspicious! definitely dodgy!!!
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Old 27 February 2010, 15:03   #10
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Early indications were that Falcon (A) just needed a new fuse in the Internal PSU after being plugged into the wrong voltage. I fitted one at a cost of 5p. Used the correct voltage via a step down transformer. Connected to a standard PC CRT monitor with the Atari VGA dongle and she sparked into life.



The hard drive does not appear to work, but that could just be it's age (the original 1993 80Mbyte 2.5" Conner). Also either the mouse is broken or the mouse ports need re-soldering (common fault on Atari ST(e) / Falcon). Either way looks like this could be cheap fix.

But I know it is still early days. List of things to do before she can be pronounced fit and healthy:
  • Prepare a IDE->CF card in place of the hard drive
  • Test the floppy disk drive.
  • Replace the internal fan (Anyone know a good replacement?)
  • Fit 14Mbyte Upgrade

Looks like I can look forward to at least one working Falcon.

Last edited by alexh; 27 February 2010 at 19:39.
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Old 27 February 2010, 15:53   #11
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cool!
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Old 27 February 2010, 17:35   #12
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Falcon B

A 4Mbyte UK falcon which has been re-housed in some 3rd party Tower case. It switched on and came up first time.



As described by the vendor the keyboard and mouse didn't work. He said it used to work with a heavy book on the connector so I suspected it was just a loose connection. I opened up the tower case (which opens like a chuffin suitcase!) and after clearing out all the dead spiders I reflowed all the connections on the external keyboard connector.



The original Falcon internal keyboard re-housed in an external case. I then reflowed all the connections on the re-housed keyboard. Buzzed it through with the multimeter. Fired her up and keyboard and mouse are now working fine.

Last edited by alexh; 27 February 2010 at 19:39.
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Old 27 February 2010, 18:14   #13
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@alexh

a great result!!!

its nice to see a chance well paid off... good luck on your restorations and resales =D
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Old 27 February 2010, 19:01   #14
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Quote:
This falcon didn't have the wavy VGA of the other one. Which eliminates my monitor. Perhaps it was just a loose connection on the monitor port. I'll test and reflow it.
Hi there alexh,

that wouldn't have been caused by the stepdown transformer being too close to the screen by chance would it (magnetic field and CRT).

I'm probably talking rubbish but a similar situation happened with the old speccy power supplies and TV screen.
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Old 27 February 2010, 19:16   #15
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that wouldn't have been caused by the stepdown transformer being too close to the screen by chance would it (magnetic field and CRT).
Damn, I should have known that. Yes that is what it was. D'oh!
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Old 27 February 2010, 19:23   #16
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sometimes we forget the simpler things, Me I just about forget most things, its good to be able to recall something useful now and then (doesn't happen that often though)

I am pleased with you success with this project, its always good to have things go right
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Old 27 February 2010, 19:23   #17
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magnetic flux 4tw!
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Old 27 February 2010, 20:01   #18
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I hope getting my Falcon going is as straightforward

I need to order another CF-> Ide as I cooked my spare lol
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Old 27 February 2010, 20:16   #19
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How did that happen?
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Old 27 February 2010, 20:45   #20
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How did that happen?
Basically I ether didn't plug it in properly or I just got a crap one.... either way it went sizzle when I put power to it. Fortunately CF and Miggy are fine. I need to NOT fiddle with stuff late at night when I am tired
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