ST from HELL

The first machine I bought with my own money was the Atari ST. The Amiga was still young back then and, more importantly, Dungeon Master and Oids weren't available on it (Dungeon Master was eventually ported, Oids never was). I used my 520 STFM for everything from my course work, BBS access, to gaming. I went to town on it. In it's final form it was in a tower case, had a switchable 8/16Mhz 68000 processor 4MB RAM, an internal 40MB SCSI HDD, etc. It was a bit of a beast. It was also the first machine I ever modded to buggery.

Given my retro trip has now hit computers, an ST was inevitable. The feelers went out and I actually managed to land a 520 STFM found in the loft of a guy accross the road from Cleggy. It initially seemed to go well, it appeared to be a complete in box, mint, hardly used machine. However it lasted about an hour before the PSU shat itself. I re-capped that but there was more wrong with it. It was pumping out an extraordinary amount of heat and the voltages were all still down.

In the meantime my old mate Smudger also found his old 520 STE and donated that. A more used machine, in comparison it looked a little green so got a Retrobrite treatment to turn it back to Atari grey. It also had already been upgraded by Smudge to 2MB. More importantly it was working 100% Which left me with the dilemma, where to go from here?

Well I did my reading up and the STE looked to be the one to go to town on if that's what I was going to do. The STFM I decided to leave stock as it's such a good example of one, so I transferred the PSU from the STE to it, and fitted an additional 512MB of RAM to get it up to 1040 spec.

old school memory upgradage

On to the STE. After reading Exxos' LaST Upgrade, it became obvious that the Atari PSU leaves a lot to be desired. So given the choice of a less than ideal replacement Atari PSU, or Exxos' own ninja PSU, I decided to go completely off on a tangent and splice in an external PC ATX supply instead. Because I had a plan!

That plan involves Satan (don't they all?), UltraSatan to be exact. Which started life as Jookie's SatanDisk, then after he stopped making them, evolved into Lotharek's UltraSatan. Which as far as I can tell is as close to a defacto SD card hard disk for the ST as I can find.

The reason this has affected my PSU solution is that I planned to fit the UltraSatan internally, plus I also prefer the idea of having a nice brand new generic ATX PSU keeping the heat outside of the machine. What you see below is how I've gone about it.

"Satan Inside"

I've made an ATX to 7 pin DIN cable which includes the ATX control line so I can operate the power remotely from the switch on the back of the ST. All the other lines go to the main board power socket. I've also spliced in a floppy drive connector to power the UltraSatan which is bolted where the PSU used to be.

The next problem was the ASCI cable. I was initially going to unsolder the socket and solder the cable directly to the board, but the cable I got with the drive was a really quite neat flat ribbon one, which has allowed me to plug it into the socket and run it straight back into the case without making any modifications. Indeed everything I've done is reversable so far apart from the couple of holes I've cut into the PSU shield for the SD card and ribbon cable. Which is nothing really.

Only a couple of issues remained. I was getting some pretty bad ghosting on the image and it was running an older version of TOS that had one or two bugs in it. Exxos came to the rescue with both of these, offering both a solution to the ghosting and a set of 2.06 TOS ROMs. Job done.

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