I got an Atari 520STfm, SM124 and big box of software on craigslist for $100. I took it home and tried it out to find a few issues:
1) The floppy drive didn't work. It would make a few noises during bootup but wouldn't respond at all while the computer was on, so I figured the drive was the issue. Got a 1.44mb drive out of an older PC lying around, bridged pins 10+12 solder side on the floppy drive so the ST would think it was Drive A. Hooked it back up with the new drive, and I get the sounds of it trying to load! Awesome
Also I can get the option to format a floppy now, whereas I didn't have that option beforehand with the stock drive, so that's some improvement.
Unfortunately I can't format a disk (it'll tell me the disk is write protected and then that it had an error) and if I try to open it from the icon on the desktop I get the fated "Drive A: Is Not Responding" error. I checked the mainboard and the floppy cable looks okay. Not quite sure where to go from here.
2) The picture on the monitor can get jittery and the geometry goes a little wild for a few seconds every 10-15 minutes or so. Is this more likely to be a monitor issue or a PSU going bad?
This is my first ST, but I'm not going to give up easily! It seems like the system can see the floppy drive since it starts up and makes noise at boot and even gives me the option to format, but trying to open the disk or get info from the File menu results in the Drive not responding
error. I won't be too upset if it means I have to put in a floppy controller that runs at 16MHZ but I hope I didn't overpay for what I got!
edit: Two more things -- one, this replacement drive is some no name drive so I guess I'm not that surprised it's not working right. I will get a Sony MFP920 but I got a little confused while searching around here, is there more modification that needs to be done to get one of these running in a STFM vs a STE or is it the same procedure for both? Also, both drives will make a grinding noise as soon as I put a floppy in, regardless of whether or not the data cable is connected. Also I was going to install some new RAM onto the motherboard but it looks like there are actually 32x 256K modules installed!! Can't run SysInfo because of the lack of floppy capabilities right now but really excited to see if the Atari sees all 8MB RAM (or if this is part of my woes, I thought the 520STfm could only take up to 4MB?)