Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

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bfollowell
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Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Thu Oct 11, 2018 8:57 pm

OK, it's taken me almost 25 years, but I'm officially fed up with having my ST in the attic.

I was always an 8-bit guy. The STs came out when I was in college and, as much as I drooled over them, I just couldn't afford one. I bought a used 1040STFM setup in about '94, but I've never really had a place to put it. These days, if I need my 8-bit or 16-bit Atari fix, I typically play around through emulation. Still, it's killing me knowing I have this classic old machine sitting in a storage bin in the attic. My gaming desktop has a slide out keyboard tray, so there's room on the desk for my 1040. I just don't have room for an extra old CRT monitor.

This leads into the reason for my post. What is the current, best way to hook an ST up to an LCD monitor? I won't be buying a new monitor, so I'm planning to use an extra HDMI input on my current monitor. Naturally, since my monitor is only about three years old, it doesn't recognize the old 15kHz horizontal signal from the ST.

I looked around through the forums, but most of what I'm seeing is 8-10 years old. I've seen several videos and posts about a GBS8220 card to convert the ST signal to VGA. I've also read some about a similar converter, the Ambery AV-1M. From there, it would be easy enough to convert the VGA signal to HDMI. That's a lot of adapting and converting though. I'm wondering if there's a better way to do what I want. I'm only willing to spend about $100 or so to accomplish this, and I realize the results aren't going to be perfect. I'll settle for usable. I'd mostly be using this for gaming, rather than any serious computing or productivity work.

Any ideas?

Thanks.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Atarieterno » Thu Oct 11, 2018 10:34 pm

We all want solutions that are good, beautiful and cheap; but finding them is usually not easy.

You say that your main interest is for games, so it is obvious that you need a solution for color.
SCART adapter cables are cheap, but perhaps your monitor does not have that connector or you live in a country where it is not frequent. This is an example of the SCART cable:

http://retrocables.es/tienda/index.php? ... &id_lang=1

Another solution is to buy a multisync monitor that supports 15 Khz, but you say you do not want to buy a monitor.

So maybe you're interested in this device that your monitor could take advantage of, but its price far exceeds the budget that you have limited;

https://www.videogameperfection.com/pro ... converter/
ST/fm/e, STacy, Mega ST/e, TT, Falcon, C-Lab MKX... and more music tools.

bfollowell
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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:59 pm

Yes, I forget that Atari computers were sometimes more popular in Europe than they were here at home in the U.S. I should've mentioned that's where I'm from, so SCART is pretty rare.

Yes, I just can't justify spending $200 or more for something like this and I'm definitely not looking to clutter up my desk with another monitor when I already have two.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Silly_Pony » Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:18 pm

What you're looking for is a SCART cable from the ST and a good SCART-HDMI converter box. I don't know whats good one of those, maybe forums of TV nerds can tell you.
1040STe, 1040STf

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby wietze » Tue Oct 16, 2018 4:52 am

My reaearch have found me 5 things;
1.
Gbs board, converts rgb to vga: pro: 50fps conversion, cheap, con: some small quality artefacts, very slight delay

2.
Scart to hdmi converter; pro: excellent quality, cheap, con: 25 fps conversion rate, slight delay

3.
Retrotink: composite to vga conversion, pro: 50 fps conversion rate, excellent quality, no delay con: more expensive, quality limitrd to composite output

4.
Ossc: rgb to hdmi, pro: 50 fps conversion, no delay, excdllent quality, con: expensive

5.
Framemeister: rgb to hmdi pro: 50 fps conversion, image post processing, excellent quality, cons: most expensive, requires cable adapters

Ofc the pro and cons are not exhaustively described, but it gives you an idea of your options.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Trixster » Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:38 am

I think the gbs only pushes out 60hz unless the firmware is altered, or you stick it into bypass mode and hook an Arduino up to it. Complicated.
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bfollowell
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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:57 am

I wound up caving and have decided to add yet a third monitor to my desk. I was really, seriously considering a SCART cable and a SCART to HDMI adapter, but then I realized that I actually had an STF, not an STFM (see, I told you it had been in the attic for a long time). I read about some issues with STFs not having composite sync on the monitor output, so they don't work correctly with the SCART cables or the HDMI adapters, or both.

Anyway, I bought an NEC 19" MultiSync LCD1970VX. It'll be here in a few days. I need to order one of the Best Electronics' ST Multi Sync adapter cables and, assuming the monitor is good, I should be in great shape and I'll be able to use all three resolutions to boot.

Anyway, thanks for the suggestions guys. I'll be good for a while, hopefully, but I know no monitor lasts forever, so I may need to look into these options again in the future regardless.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Silly_Pony » Tue Oct 23, 2018 1:27 pm

Just looked that monitor up, strange that apparently it works at 15Khz but they only list the usual 31Khz+ in the spec sheet
1040STe, 1040STf

bfollowell
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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:35 pm

From what I've seen, very few of the modern monitors that work with the ST line actually list their frequencies going down this far. Why, I'm not sure. Maybe it's just that they don't actually test them down to these frequencies. If they did, and advertised that they worked with them, I'm sure it would lead to more sales to retro gamers and retro computer users. Heck, most widescreen monitors you can choose to maintain the original aspect ratio, so you could even use those with your retro equipment as long as you knew they were compatible with these older, lower frequencies.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Spoddy » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:16 pm

bfollowell wrote:I read about some issues with STFs not having composite sync on the monitor output, so they don't work correctly with the SCART cables or the HDMI adapters, or both.

Ug. I just bought an old 1040STF (not M; i'm ok with that), and wasn't aware of this. I've been trying many video solutions over the past few weeks, some with good results, others with terrible results. I'm thinking that maybe this doesn't help the situation? Can I solder a cable/components or two (etc) to remedy this?

The "good" results have been with this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00KXTXPIC
This one is cheap, so tried it. The results from the older page talking about this persist. In low res it's perfect. in medium res, it's missing pixels, making black text on white background hard to read. White text on black background converts just fine. This is tiding me over for the moment, as the many monitors I have in the house (I'm an IT guy), can't do 15khz at all. Even checked the regular LCD TVs (4x) from different brands I have.. no luck.

The "ok" results (just arrived with only an initial test): https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brand-New-Arca ... 2060823642
This is a cheap board (spot a pattern? :) ), but it works, with the exception of high frequency interference.. If I can stabilise that, it'll be a better picture than the above. It comes outside of a box, so i'm considering building a cheap metal box for shielding, which is what the interference looks like to me.
Mine shipped from a US seller, but it's got Chinese written all over it - literally. So jury is still out right now.

I'm still working on the rest.. real life getting in the way as per usual. I'm aiming for the "perfect" solution. Something that converts and looks like it's on an original monitor, one box (or two at max), and not for a three figure price. I really don't believe this needs that much cash to solve. So I'm not giving up for a while yet.

bfollowell
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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Fri Oct 26, 2018 3:12 am

I'm still working on the rest.. real life getting in the way as per usual. I'm aiming for the "perfect" solution. Something that converts and looks like it's on an original monitor, one box (or two at max), and not for a three figure price. I really don't believe this needs that much cash to solve. So I'm not giving up for a while yet.

I think you'll find, like I did, that such a solution doesn't exist.

Like a contractor friend used to say, "You can have it fast, cheap, or easy. Pick two."

That's why I finally caved and went with the "old" LCD monitor option. Still, those old monitors aren't going to last forever...

I'll keep monitoring your progress though. Let us know if you find that perfect solution. I'm certain there are many on these boards that would be interested in them. Good luck!

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:31 am

Well, I finally chanced powering on my old STF and the SC1224 monitor. They both worked, though the mouse didn't work in every direction. I'll need to check the solder joints on the mouse/joystick port. I also found out this baby is sporting TOS 1.0. I'll definitely need to update that to TOS 1.04 soon, as I think I want to replace the failing floppy drive with a Gotek floppy emulator and I've read that I need at least TOS 1.04 in order for that to work correctly. I may need to pickup a new/old Atari mouse too. I know I could replace it with a better mouse, but I'm already using it with a multisync LCD and replacing the floppy for a USB emulator; I want to keep my ST experience as authentic as I can otherwise.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Spoddy » Fri Oct 26, 2018 9:42 pm

bfollowell wrote:I think you'll find, like I did, that such a solution doesn't exist.
Like a contractor friend used to say, "You can have it fast, cheap, or easy. Pick two."

LOL, I'm sure there isn't, but one can hope, dream and continue the effort.
I usually find it's Fast/Cheap/Good, but in these cases, the effect is the same.

bfollowell wrote:... though the mouse didn't work in every direction. I'll need to check the solder joints on the mouse/joystick port. ... I think I want to replace the failing floppy drive with a Gotek floppy emulator ... I may need to pickup a new/old Atari mouse too. I know I could replace it with a better mouse, but I'm already using it with a multisync LCD and replacing the floppy for a USB emulator; I want to keep my ST experience as authentic as I can otherwise.

Firstly, I have one of those Gotek emulators. Zero instructions. The PDF, if you find it, does not work. The instructions rely on YOU finding out which version you have and then applying the very bad operating instructions. I've never got it to work as advertised, so be aware. If your floppy still works, and/or can be made to work, I've found the stop gap of using 1.44Mb HD floppies, with the hole covered up, will format and are usable. While I can't format them on a USB based floppy drive (Win7), they do read and write once formatted by the ST. That saved my bacon, and I now have an UltraSatan booting up.

Second, I think you'll be old enough to remember the old ball mice issues... they get dirty. Pop the bottom off, and take a look at the rollers. It may just need a thorough clean. Even a tiny patch of filth will pause or stop the ball. Ah, the icky ol' days of mice with balls. I still feel the need to find a terrible joke to insert in there. :shrug:

I do have a NetUSBee as well, and there's a mouse driver floating around these forums that work wonders. Not sure if it's compatible with the rest of the NetUSBee software, as I can't get the rest of it to work - the software just starts and immediately dies (even without the mouse driver). But that's a subject for a different thread.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby simonsunnyboy » Sat Oct 27, 2018 9:51 am

Use the FlashFloppy firmware for the Gotek, there is plenty of decent documentation for this. The USB A-A cable method works fine.

https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy
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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby ranix » Sat Oct 27, 2018 4:58 pm

yeah I'm using the FlashFloppy firmware on mine, I didn't have any trouble with the usb A-A cable method. I think I had to solder a jumper across 2 pads but I was able to do it with a butane iron

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby flintjr » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:36 pm

Hi, I've got similar issues as I try to resurrect my "C & assembly development/ midi music studio" setup. My first C
program was creating random patches for a DX7 Synth, which generated lots of theatrical-like sound effects.

I have a 1040stf and a 520st. I bought the Best "ST Multi Sync Adapter Cable" from San Jose, Ca. On the site is a list
of supported monitors. My first try was the Dell U2412M (Staples $169) but no-go with a 6ft vga male-male, needed for
the female-vga of the Best cable.

http://www.best-electronics-ca.com/monadapt.htm#2nd

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby bfollowell » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:15 am

I was really interested in one of the Goteks, but the more I look at them, I'm fairly certain it would require some case modification to use it in my old STf. Mine has the long, slanted eject button and there just doesn't appear to be room for everything without case modification, and I refuse to do that. I think I've decided to go with one of Lotharek's Slim HXC SD Floppy Drive Emulators instead. It's a little more expensive, but I'm fairly certain I can get that in and have access from the side without modifying my case.

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Re: Help getting my ST out of the attic and hooked up to a modern LCD monitor

Postby Poobah » Wed Nov 21, 2018 1:47 am

bfollowell wrote:Anyway, I bought an NEC 19" MultiSync LCD1970VX. It'll be here in a few days. I need to order one of the Best Electronics' ST Multi Sync adapter cables and, assuming the monitor is good, I should be in great shape and I'll be able to use all three resolutions to boot.


The NEC is a great choice. I've stockpiled a couple of them.
I've got an old MultiSync II CRT, and an OSSC, but the NEC is my go to.


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