Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:15 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:So you always put 2.2k's in to replace the red and black ones?


Basically yes. Though one is also replaced with 1.2k if its not already (P100).

EmpireAndrew wrote:But I take it that in itself doesn't necessarily fix the issue or you wouldn't be adding a resistor pack to the -38?


The resistor on the -38 is my first find of issue. The motherboard resistors are my second find. Though nobody has tried it to solve DMA problems yes. I never had any real issues with the DMA so I have no idea if it will solve the DMA issues are not.

EmpireAndrew wrote:And I agree, it would be good to know what is different about the 001 that (mostly?) fixes people's problems.

People are always so quick to change to the 001A without trying other things first. So I just don't know if there is any actual faulty -38s or not.

EmpireAndrew wrote:Atari obviously switched to it for a reason, but maybe it simply tolerates some other underlying issue with the board design better than the 38?.


EXACTLY!!! finally someone talks some sense on here.

EmpireAndrew wrote:Frankly, I just want it working. I spent a lot to get this STE as I wanted as close to perfect as I could get so I could just go ahead and enjoy the machine. So it's frustrating to have to perform surgery on it.


You don't even need to change the resistor packs to test it out, just solder them on the back of the ones on the motherboard.

EmpireAndrew wrote:But I'd like to know why whatever fix I do actually fixes it. Ridiculous that 25 years on we don't have an answer.


Yes, I've been TRYING to explain these DMA issues for years and pretty much given up. This will definatly be the last DMA thread I will replyl to, as I am just repeating myself over and over, just doing nothing but wasting my time.

I'm trying to help people finally solve DMA issues, but everyones brain washed into thinking every -38 on a STE is faulty. Simply not true. I've only once seen a faulty -38. As to if it was produced that way or just failed over time is unknown.

The "rumor" is *some* very early STE had bad DMA chips. Apparently very few. But pretty much everyone who has a -38 thinks it is faulty and HAS to replace it.

EmpireAndrew wrote:But there will be a limit on how much investigation I am prepared to do, in any case I don't own a scope or anything so there isn't much I can do anyway.


Yes I can appreciate that. You dont need a scope, just the resistor packs soldering on. If it solves your problem then its a huge step into understanding the real cause of the DMA issues people are having, if it doesn't solve it, I will keep looking. Currently I can't do anything more as nobody will help.

The last guy who had DMA issues sold his machine to troed on here, who said the DMA seems to work fine. So Is there DMA issues or isn't there...

EmpireAndrew wrote:I think I'll start with the resistor pack on the 38, after all the only other option is to replace it anyway so I'm still faffing with it regardless.If that doesn't work I'll probably swap it out tbh.


If you put the resistor pack on the -38 and it doesn't help, then you need to update the motherboard ones. If that doesn't work, then you really have no choice but to change the DMA.

EmpireAndrew wrote:And if that doesn't work then I'll put a resistor pack on the 001.


I've not done much with the 001A, its possible it needs pull downs and pull ups on it, so its not so simple, I've not spent any time looking for 001 fixes.

EmpireAndrew wrote:Only then will I mess with the rest of the board (i.e. the other resistor packs).
The less I mess with the board itself the better. Less chance of screwing up.


If you just tag the resistor packs on the bottom of the motherboard, then as long as you actually have them soldered and not shorted, then in theory your motherboard should match mine with the -38. Don't forget the red one towards the front of the motherboard should be 1.2K (P100).
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby czietz » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:54 am

Some questions that arise purely out of curiosity -- I don't even own an STE:

As far as I understand, these "DMA problems" mainly occur with the UltraSatan or other modern HD replacements. Has anyone ever investigated why this is the case? Possible these devices push the ACSI bus to or even beyond its limits. Maybe the -001 DMA chip is simply more tolerant of borderline timing or glitches etc.? Or does everyone (except for Exxos) simply swap their DMA chip, blame Atari and never research the root cause of these issues? A root cause which may well not be the DMA chip...

I always only read about the C025913-38 and the C398739-001A (possibly made by IMP) chips. However, there is also the definitely IMP-made C100110 DMA? How does this behave in all of this?

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:57 am

czietz wrote:Some questions that arise purely out of curiosity -- I don't even own an STE:

As far as I understand, these "DMA problems" mainly occur with the UltraSatan or other modern HD replacements. Has anyone ever investigated why this is the case? Possible these devices push the ACSI bus to or even beyond its limits. Maybe the -001 DMA chip is simply more tolerant of borderline timing or glitches etc.? Or does everyone (except for Exxos) simply swap their DMA chip, blame Atari and never research the root cause of these issues? A root cause which may well not be the DMA chip...


I've got a whole page on my investigations on this, its been ongoing for a long time. There is some work I have not published yet, but with nobody doing anything past fitting a 001 or changing the STE, then its pointless to continue anyway.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby frank.lukas » Sun Aug 21, 2016 10:15 am

From the Chips & Chips ...

Very often I am asked why not C025913-38A as DMA chip
is on the list. The answer is quite simple, the 520 / 1040STE,
MegaSTE and TT030 have a modified ACSI DMA interface and
in computers aforesaid works only C398739-001
or C398789-001A (DMA chip STE (U300)) as DMA chip properly.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby nukebloodaxe » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:00 am

Curiously the board revision I am seeing in the Photos is the same board revision as in the dead STE my end [I have another working one with a different revision + a 32Mhz booster and TOS switcher.]

The bodge with the wires coming from the Yamaha chip to the piggybacked chips [which appear to be a form of logic buffer] I assume has to do with creating a stereo signal, or creating a form of delay, on the STE [all the STE's I've seen have this rather unprofessional looking modification, so it appears to be an in-factory fix.] I would be glad if someone who actually knows what it does would chime in, saving me from my amateur speculation.

When the machine was working I read about all of the DMA issues, and took a look at mine and noted quite grimly that there might be problems, however when I was using it conjunction with Jookie's CosmosEX no problems arose. As a precaution I did take to imaging the SD card with dd every so often, meaning if a problem did arise I wouldn't lose much data, and could just write back the prior known good image.

If you do manage to replace the SILs with different values, as per exxosuk's instructions, I would be quite keen on hearing if it works as I'm not currently in a position to perform the same test with this unit; booting it to a white screen is not very informative.

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby troed » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:38 am

frank.lukas wrote:From the Chips & Chips ...

Very often I am asked why not C025913-38A as DMA chip
is on the list. The answer is quite simple, the 520 / 1040STE,
MegaSTE and TT030 have a modified ACSI DMA interface and
in computers aforesaid works only C398739-001
or C398789-001A (DMA chip STE (U300)) as DMA chip properly.


Yes, everyone has read everything written about this. However, as I've written here before: Someone on this forum who had an STE + UltraSatan and had major issues sold the STE to me (since I wanted to try exxos' fix). That STE works perfectly fine with my Unicorn.

(and his UltraSatan worked fine, afaik, on another STE)

I'm quite sure the "buggy" DMA works fine. The combination of that DMA and some devices (Atari claimed the problem only happened with third party HDs) might not - and such a specific combination might be solved with the other DMA revision (or maybe through other fixes, like exxos').

If everyone who's having issues is having them with UltraSatan, specifically, but not other ACSI devices then maybe it's more of an UltraSatan issue ...

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sun Aug 21, 2016 11:52 am

If only we had someone who worked on this issue at Ataru chime in as obviously there are several such people, but I guess we don't know who they are or they're simply not saying.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby ijor » Sun Aug 21, 2016 1:50 pm

Don't have so much experience with this. Thinking in loud voice, mostly from the theory:

- As I said sometime ago, the DMA chip is probably the most troublesome design in the whole chipset. It has plenty of ripple logic. No wonder it is very sensitive to noise, glitches and timing issues.

- The RDY signal is of course open drain. The ACSI/FDC data bus signals can't be. They are three state, of course, but not open drain (or open collector) because otherwise it wouldn't work at all. Still, I agree that pull-ups on the ACSI/FDC bus makes a lot of sense. But just to avoid floating input to the CMOS buffers when nobody is driving the bus. If so, strong pullups should be enough.

- I don't understand the purpose of changing the pullups on the main CPU bus. Here again, the only purpose should be to avoid floating inputs. And in this case they are floating for small periods. So why use weaker pullups?

- I don't think buffering the FDC data bus interface is needed. The ACSI side goes outside the computer. It makes all the sense to buffer and isolate the external connector. The FDC is NMOS, it shouldn't require much driving power from the DMA chip outputs.

- I don't know if it is real or not, but in theory the problem of the -38 should be on STe only computers. I wonder if somebody tried modding the STe ACSI interface for a plain ST one, just removing the TTL buffers. Just curious how those buffers are relevant.

- Jookie's designs (Satan-Ultra-CosmoEx) are great in some sense. But I agree that they might have some weakness on the ACSI signals interface. I recall even some heavy ringing issues he mentioned during the development. Definitely there is an issue of mixing too new with too old tech.

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby ijor » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:16 pm

I was thinking about the pullups on the DMA data bus ... On STe, we might need them on the external side of the TTL buffer ...

I can't check it right now, but I suppose the default state of the DMA CRW signal is high, in reading mode. That would mean that the LS245 transceiver is driving the bus when DMA is idle! And, again, when idle, is driving the bus but its inputs are (or might be, depending on the external device) floating! If so, then pullups on the inner side won't help too much. There should be pullups on the external side, or otherwise replace the LS245 with a modern version that has bus-hold functionality.

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby TheNameOfTheGame » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:03 pm

exxos wrote:There is even a huge thread on DMA issues which I closed a few weeks ago. I am really just losing my temper with people with it all. I really have had enough of it all. All my machines work perfectly well with -38 DMA's with ultrasatan. So if people want to think otherwise, then they are free to do so.


Sorry I even mentioned the 001 DMA. My intention was if EmpireAndrew wanted to use ultrasatan, then it was recommeneded by Jookie to use a 001. That's all. The "traditional" way has usually been to change the -38 out.

I was trying to help EmpireAndrew..I never intend to anger or insult my fellow Atari users. I hope you have a nice day.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby troed » Sun Aug 21, 2016 4:19 pm

I understand exxos. He's documented what might be a fix, after having done lots and lots of research, but I believe so far exactly _zero_ people with issues have tried it ;) That's why I paid €70 to acquire a known not-working STE, only to find out it had no problems whatsoever with my Unicorn ...

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby dlfrsilver » Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:23 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:I used to be able to solder, I certainly soldered plenty of upgrades onto my STE back in the early 90's, but I haven't done much since.

I saw some of your posts on this subject, maybe there was a tiny batch of faulty chips on some early machines, but other issues are maybe caused by the supporting components and of course with age and faster transfers (these SD cards are pushing the machines to their limits) anything too far out of tolerance is being exposed. I don't know...

I pulled the machine apart this evening so it's certainly not going back to Best now, lol!

I've just dropped $200 on all the tools etc, but it's not clear to me what parts I need to order up.
Is that a 1K or 10K 9 pin resistor pack?
Is it buffered?
I'm having trouble finding the right stuff on ebay.com or amazon.com... :( :shrug:


It all looks good to my untrained eye, no leaking caps, no swelling caps etc etc.
All very clean actually.

I took some photos.

Revision:
Image


Full board:
Image


TOS area closeup:
Image


Socketed chip 1:
Image


Chip on mainboard:
Image


Socketed chips:
Image


What bodge is this?!
Image


1MB SIMM - 8 chip, all 4 identical:
Image


PSU 1:
Image


PSU 2;
Image


PSU 3;
Image



Basically you have exactly the same model as me. It's a 1040 STE with 4mb of RAM, i have the same surgery thing with the 2 red wires soldered on the piggyback 74LSXXX chip going to the MFP68901 and the Yamaha chip.

The reference on mine is exactly the same as yours : CA4003290 Action REV AA 0890 Copyright Atari Corporation 1989. It had before the DMA chip 038.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby Frank B » Sun Aug 21, 2016 6:39 pm

It would certainly be good to get to the bottom of it. What about loaning him a 110 volt good PSU? See if this helps?
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby Anzac » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:02 pm

I understand exxos frustration with this subject.

Because there WERE some DMA problems when the STes were first launched and I remember because I had my STe soon after, was a subscriber to several magazines and it was (unfortunately) widely reported.

So much so, that it has entered Atari lore for all time. Only very few machines had the problem originally and odds are they're not around anymore. My STe never had any problems working with my SH205 HDD nor a megafile.

I would put my money on any number of issues creating data transfer (not DMA) problems that are not actually caused by the DMA chip.

25 years old capacitors, countless hours operating, different revisions of hardware and factory fixes for known problems back then all together will make working with modern complex hardware like Ultrasatan not exactly a "hit-or-miss" but something that might require some detective work and patience.

Replacing electrolyte capacitors that were manufactured almost 30 years ago is a sensible option for anyone that wants their Atari working properly for some more years. It will greatly diminish power fluctuations and the chances of destroying something because the PSU decided to cr*p out.

So I would start there... On the obvious. Then, if problems persist, I would start following exxos resistor pack mod. If problem persists, then and only then I would consider replacing the DMA.

Shipping your board to exxos might not be that expensive. I have a friend living on the USA and as long as we keep shipments under 2 kilos, it's not that bad. An STe mainboard with protective packaging most likely won't be over that limit.

As for the reports of non-issues with TTs, they are business class machines. First we don't have such a large sample of machines to have any reasonable conclusions, then we don't know if the components for higher end machines were higher quality, if the machines had less hours of use or if the hardware design is pure and simply better to work with Ultrasatan, etc.

Chris might be able to try (if he can) an Ultrasatan on a MegaSTe and see if he has any problems like normal STe's.

I just think that the fact that there were a few original machines with that problem confuses people now when the problem is probably somewhere else...

And though I understand exxos has been saying the same arguments again and again, for someone that is looking on the internet about data corruption will find contradictory information on Ultrasatan page, jookie's or exxos.

To anyone not willing to search the forums and read about these issues, it's natural to get confused.

So yes, post away and ask for help, but try reading the forums first and then ask if you're still in need of help.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby Frank B » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:10 pm

Anzac wrote:I understand exxos frustration with this subject.

Because there WERE some DMA problems when the STes were first launched and I remember because I had my STe soon after, was a subscriber to several magazines and it was (unfortunately) widely reported.



It was reported by ST format. They seemed to have an axe to grind with the STe. Reading their coverage years later made me cringe. There were many bogus claims made about the STe at the time.

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby Anzac » Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:17 pm

Frank B wrote:
Anzac wrote:I understand exxos frustration with this subject.

Because there WERE some DMA problems when the STes were first launched and I remember because I had my STe soon after, was a subscriber to several magazines and it was (unfortunately) widely reported.



It was reported by ST format. They seemed to have an axe to grind with the STe. Reading their coverage years later made me cringe. There were many bogus claims made about the STe at the time.


Yes, I remember the ST format coverage. It was like they were trying to inflate the problem to sell more magazines. It was a strange time, when after so much anticipation and waiting for an STfm replacement, as soon as the STe is launched there were months of coverage of DMA problems, software incompatibility, TOS bugs, programmers not accepting to use the extended STe features, etc...

All in all, it botched the STe introduction and probably kept many people from either upgrading to an STe or simply pushed them to the Amiga/PC universe.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:34 pm

OK, so I have the resistor and some wire etc so I was about to start work on this and I just noticed my board is completely different to the one in the photo.

For a start the TOS ROMS are right next to it, and that C68 cap is nowhere to be seen...

Are the pins in question the ones I highlighted in red that are (annoyingly) near the TOS ROM socket and where does the common leg on the SIL pack go as I don't see that cap.
:shrug:

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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:03 pm

1.jpg
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:28 pm

That looks more familiar, lol!

So rather than assume...

It should be like this yes?

Where the pin in the lower right of the photo attaches to the common pin of the SIL pack, and the remaining pins of the SIL pack connect to the pins on the chip I have highlighted in red?

Image

So the common pin on the SIL pack does *not* connect to the 4th on the chip right?
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:36 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:
So the common pin on the SIL pack does *not* connect to the 4th on the chip right?


correct. the SIL starts on pin 5 (its looking its its start on pin 4 but thats the 5V pin)
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:49 pm

OK, wish me luck...
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:53 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:OK, wish me luck...


If it doesn't help, then we can take a look at other aspects aswell.
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby mlynn1974 » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:01 pm

I don't know if this is relevant but when I bought my second hand STE (with TOS 1.6 and SIMMS - not SIPPS) I'm sure the seller said he had problems with his Power Computing hard drive with it. The seller's mate added, "... but it'll be OK with an Atari hard drive".

In 1990 I couldn't afford a hard drive and I wasn't bothered about it but a few years ago I checked the DMA chip and it was a 001.

Exxos is right, there are other issues at play other than the DMA chip version.
Still got, still working: Atari 4Mb STe, 520STFM, 2.5Mb STF.
Hardware: Cumana CSA 354, Ultimate Ripper, Blitz Turbo, Synchro Express II (US and UK Versions).

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EmpireAndrew
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby EmpireAndrew » Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:34 pm

Well, it's on there and when I first tried creating a partition on the SD card it worked, it saw it at reboot which it never did before.
When I wrote a few files to it from Floppy I soon got a write error though.

I switched it off while I had some food and tried creating removing and creating the partition again but this time it didn't take on reboot.

So I think it amounts to no improvement from before.

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1977 VCS Heavy Sixxer (Boxed)
1990 Atari 1040STE, 4MB, UltraSatan, TOS 2.06, TT Touch -> Atari SC1435 Colour CRT Monitor
1991 Atari TT030, 2/64MB, Int 8GB Gigafile SCSI2CF, TOS 3.06, CaTTamaran Accelerator -> Atari TTM195 19" Mono CRT Monitor
1993 Atari Falcon030, 14MB, Int 8GB HDD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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exxos
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Re: Argh! My new STE may have a DMA issue...

Postby exxos » Sat Aug 27, 2016 7:56 am

If you have 2x 256K simms, use them (512K RAM) and see if that does anything.

Next you need to make the SIL arrays on the motherboard total 2.2K. Looks like the black ones are 4.7K. So either remove them, or tag on the bottom of the motherboard some 4.7K making the value 2.2K.

Red ones are likely 10K, changes them for 2.2K, or you can tag 2.2K on the bottom.

P100 should be 1.2K, if its not, then it must be changed.

Also try a different PSU with US.

Also use a PC card reader and verify with a program like HDTUNE that there SD card does not have any bad sectors.

The ST PSU must be one of my manufactured ones, or at least a re-capped one (with caps from my store only).

Should all those fail, I suggest you send me your motherboard to diagnose. If it works with my US then we know there is a iffy batch of US, if it does not work with my US, then there is some other issue with the board (which could lead to a actual faulty DMA chip).
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - various clutter

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