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hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 08:37 AM
This is my first Atari computer. :) I got a pretty good bargain on it. I don't know if it works yet.

It has a "4 MB" sticker on it. It has an external 3.5" floppy drive in addition to the internal one. It also came with a trackball type mouse and a display.

The only issue is that I don't have the video cable to connect it to the display. I would like to know if anyone has a spare.

I saw in an earlier thread that maybe I could get one here: http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/
However, I don't see one anywhere on that site.

Also, if anyone can give me some background regarding this system I would appreciate that as well.

Thanks.

Edit: The external drive is branded "Tandy" and appears heavily modded. It looks as though perhaps it is only in a Tandy case, but is actually a different brand. Or perhaps it really is a Tandy that has been modified to work with the 1040ST.

Also, the mouse seems partly homebrew as well. It says "Wico Command Control" and it has a pair of mismatched aftermarket-looking buttons on it. A more professional-looking red button in the upper-left corner is covered by electrical tape. There is a male DB-9 port on the front in addition to the cable for the ST. A homemade sticker that labels it as being "1040ST compatible" is dated 3/26/90.

Any ideas/comments/info about those items?

Another edit:
The display has a terrible screech. It'd sure be nice if one of these days, I could find a CRT that didn't give me a headache. I've got the same issue with the display for my Apple //e and with my TV that I use for old computers as well.

Okay, last edit. I promise.
I plugged it in and switched it on with no accessories. It tried to access the floppy drive, but I have no disks for it. It continued trying every few seconds regardless of what buttons I pressed. I don't know if this tells us anything about it's working status. I'll leave that to the experts.

vwestlife
April 1st, 2010, 09:33 AM
If you look on eBay you can get a video cable which will give you a standard composite video output, which you can hook up to your TV, or a color composite monitor. The quality won't be very good in 80-columns (640x200) mode, but it at least should be readable. And anyway the quality is better than using the ST's RF modulator (if yours has one).

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 10:11 AM
No RF modulator on this one.

Thanks for the info regarding the composite converter. I'll look for that.

It might be a good option for me since the display seems to have a very bad problem anyway. It's definitely the most annoying sound that I have ever heard from any electronic device.

Are there many games out there for this thing once I get it working? (I'll probably need some motivation before I buy that cable for it, Lol.)

ahm
April 1st, 2010, 10:14 AM
Try booting the machine without the disk drive connected. That should at least tell you if the main unit is working.

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 10:20 AM
I did power it on with nothing at all connected to the main "box". It didn't catch fire or anything. It periodically accessed the empty floppy drive and made no alarming sounds. It continued to "check" the drive every 4-5 seconds indefinitely.

Vwestlife: Is this the cable you meant? It this one actually compatible with the 1040ST?
http://cgi.ebay.com/A-V-Cable-for-Atari-Computer-800-XL-1200-XL-1200XL_W0QQitemZ390032920213QQcmdZViewItemQQptZVid eo_Games_Accessories?hash=item5acfc60e95

Edit: The "Monitor" connector is a 13 pin DIN socket on my 1040ST. I don't know what was used on the 800XL or 1200XL, but this cable claims to work with those.

ahm
April 1st, 2010, 10:30 AM
Whoops, was thinking of the 520ST. I forgot the 1040ST has the floppy drive built-in.

Maybe you don't have TOS in ROM?
http://www.atari.org/hosted/quickfaq/stfaq_1.htm#31

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 10:37 AM
Waitasec! I tried again and let it go for about 1 min 30 sec. After that, the red drive activity light stayed on and disk access stopped.

Does it actually take that long to start? Does it normally check the drive several times during boot?

Correction, I timed it. It was about 1 minute of periodic disk access attempts before it settled down.

ahm
April 1st, 2010, 10:41 AM
Yes, it takes a while. I think it "fails" faster if you have a blank formatted floppy in the drive.

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 10:46 AM
So does it have the OS in ROM or not?

And was that link I posted for the correct cable?

It might also be worth mentioning that the Power and Drive access lights are red. All the ones I am seeing on youtube are green. This seems to support the idea that perhaps it is an early model.

Chuck(G)
April 1st, 2010, 11:59 AM
A tidbit--I never had a regular video cable for my 520ST--the connectors were almost impossible to locate. But a happy coincidence is that the pins on the video connector are on 0.100" centers, just like plain old perf board used for prototyping. So I cut a couple of pieces of perf board and used some D-sub crimp pins and embedded the whole thing in epoxy. I never had a problem with it.

vwestlife
April 1st, 2010, 12:07 PM
Vwestlife: Is this the cable you meant? It this one actually compatible with the 1040ST?
http://cgi.ebay.com/A-V-Cable-for-Atari-Computer-800-XL-1200-XL-1200XL_W0QQitemZ390032920213QQcmdZViewItemQQptZVid eo_Games_Accessories?hash=item5acfc60e95

Edit: The "Monitor" connector is a 13 pin DIN socket on my 1040ST. I don't know what was used on the 800XL or 1200XL, but this cable claims to work with those.
No, that cable is for the 8-bit computer series. The ST series uses a different connector. You need something like this:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260510571192

ahm
April 1st, 2010, 12:17 PM
So does it have the OS in ROM or not?
I don't know. What do you see on your screen? :p

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 12:18 PM
Oh, OK. That says it needs an RF modulator. How do I know if my unit has one?

When I said it didn't have one, I was expecting it it have a regular TV Antenna type connector. It might have one after all, but how do I know?

The price on that cable isn't actually too bad. I'll have to consider it.

Ahm: There is no screen right now. Darn... Lol. I guess we'll have to wait and see if I decide to get the cable for a possibly useless machine or not.

vwestlife
April 1st, 2010, 12:58 PM
Oh, OK. That says it needs an RF modulator. How do I know if my unit has one?

When I said it didn't have one, I was expecting it it have a regular TV Antenna type connector. It might have one after all, but how do I know?

The price on that cable isn't actually too bad. I'll have to consider it.

Ahm: There is no screen right now. Darn... Lol. I guess we'll have to wait and see if I decide to get the cable for a possibly useless machine or not.
I don't know if that's true. As far as I know all Atari ST series computer should have composite video available through the 13-pin audio/video port.

If your ST has an RF modulator built in, you will see an RCA jack marked "TV" and a channel 3/4 (or maybe channel 2/3) selector switch next to it. Some STs have the modulator feature explicitly marked as part of the model number: "520STfm", where "f" stands for built-in floppy drive and "m" stands for built-in modulator.

hmbrew
April 1st, 2010, 02:47 PM
Yes, it says: 1040STFM

However, there is no RCA Jack to be found anywhere. The only thing that seem to be a video output is the 13 pin jack. I suppose it just works through that jack and uses the needed adapter cables.

So, what can I do with this system once I get it running? What software exists for it?

wthorbjo
April 2nd, 2010, 04:44 PM
Yes, it says: 1040STFM

However, there is no RCA Jack to be found anywhere. The only thing that seem to be a video output is the 13 pin jack. I suppose it just works through that jack and uses the needed adapter cables.

The 1040STFM should have a RF out connector located between the monitor socket and floppy drive socket (both round DIN connectors). I found this picture, which may match your computer:

http://www.thepcmuseum.com/atari/Atari1040stfm/Atari1040STFM-rear.jpg

The RF out connector is just to the right of the middle in this picture. A simple RCA connector hooked to your TV via a TV/game switch should give you a picture on channel 3 or 4.

Atari made a wide range of different models in the early days of the ST, and they were apparently not always too fussy about which label they put on the case. Thus, it's just conceivable that you have a "1040STFM" that doesn't actually have a TV modulator built in.

RF out isn't available on the monitor connector, but composite out is. I suggest you email Best Electronics and ask if they have a composite out cable available. Not all the products they carry are listed on the website. There's a pretty good chance they can help you with a cable to connect your monitor up too, if you tell them the exact make and model number.


So, what can I do with this system once I get it running? What software exists for it?

The Atari ST series is perhaps most famous for being used in music production, it became very popular with musicians and producers because of its built-in MIDI ports. Software like Cubase and Notator and a myriad others exist for this purpose. The ST was also popular as a low-cost desktop publishing machine, and Atari even released a couple of laser printers for it. Almost every other kind of utility software exists, including word processing, spreadsheets, databases and so on.

And, of course, there are games, games, games! Literally thousands of titles were released during the commercial life of the ST series, and you can find many of them online. A great place to start for games and other software is the Little Green Desktop at http://www.atari.st.

Good luck, and have fun!

--
wthorbjo

hmbrew
April 3rd, 2010, 03:11 PM
Well, thanks!

Mine does have the "STFM" label, but lacks the RF jack. I guess they used the wrong sticker.

I will contact Best Electronics about that when I have time, thanks for the suggestion.

I usually stick to the 8 bit stuff, but I think this one will be a fun addition to my "junk" room. (Currently, my only other 16-bit system is a donated Mac SE)

niyon420
May 28th, 2010, 11:36 PM
I don't think I'm going to be of any help but I had a 1083S and at the time I did an adapter to be able to plug a RGB SCART on it (the 1083S didn't have a SCART input but had a proprietary interface with compatible pinouts). I did some tests to get it to work, but it worked very nicely at the end (I was also able to play with my PC Engine on this monitor).
Just try to solder the two sync wires together. It may work and in any case I doubt it would damage anything. You can also try to use the composite output to feed the sync signal since composite carries all video sync (H+V).


Mercedes Benz CLK550 Parts (http://www.carpartswarehouse.com/carmodels/CP20/Mercedes_Benz/CLK550.html)

jpx72
July 21st, 2010, 03:50 AM
I have 1040ST and I am connecting it to a regular TV with its composite output. Look at the pinout of the connector (http://pinouts.ru/Video/AtariStMonitor_pinout.shtml) and connect GND and CVIDEO directly to any TV and play!