Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:40 pm

Turned on the Falcon today and its done over 20 passes and no fails now. Bizzare. Might try the heat gun and heat some stuff up as its generally a lot colder here today...

EDIT1: heated the whole motherboard and RAM board almost to burning point, its still passing :shrug: So last night it failed after just 1 pass,and failed several times before after a short run.. now its gone though about 30 passes and not failed.. hate stupid intermittent problems :roll:
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:02 pm

2nd simm still going fine.. Maybe there is a iffy connection on the headers on the falcon itself causing these odd errors i was getting before :shrug:

If anyone has any simms which do not work reliable on the falcon (16MB ones) then please send them to me to test. I will go into production with these after xmas unless there is any reason to do further debugging.

I will keep testing these 2 simms I have here, but I think it would have failed hours ago if it was going to fail.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby mrbombermillzy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 7:18 pm

I remember from years ago you couldnt mix the different SIMM/contact metal types or it would cause oxidation/resistance problems.

Also I would be interested in a 14mb board at some point too. :)

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:16 pm

mrbombermillzy wrote:I remember from years ago you couldnt mix the different SIMM/contact metal types or it would cause oxidation/resistance problems.


I have a feeling might be some truth to that, but not really sure. Contacts can oxidise over time anyway, or at least give bad connections. Its why I always used contact grease. Those horrid molex PC power connectors always caused problems on my girlfriends PC, I gunked them and years later still going fine. Before the grease, they were going iffy just after a few weeks.. cheap china stuff as always. Grease stops the air from getting to contacts, so they generally can't corrode or get dirty over time.

mrbombermillzy wrote:Also I would be interested in a 14mb board at some point too. :)


Cool :) Still waiting for my simm sockets to arrive, might list up the 2 prototypes if people want to buy those as I doubt the final version be any different anyway. I might add some smaller caps each end of the board if theres room.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby mrbombermillzy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:52 pm

exxos wrote:I have a feeling might be some truth to that, but not really sure.


Im pretty sure it wasnt an 'over time' type of thing. If I recall, the problem arose quite quickly. I will consult some old mid 80's PC hardware tech manuals I have to find out.

exxos wrote:Cool :) Still waiting for my simm sockets to arrive, might list up the 2 prototypes if people want to buy those as I doubt the final version be any different anyway. I might add some smaller caps each end of the board if theres room.


Wont be able to use it until I de-fry the Falcon :roll: so I wont be in any rush!

What sort of price are we looking at for these boards?

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby mrbombermillzy » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:01 pm

Ok, this quote is from the 1998 version of Scott Muelers Upgrading and repairing PC's, page 959/60:

" If the motherboard SIMM or DIMM sockets have tin plated contacts, then you must use SIMMs or DIMMs with tin plated contacts. If you mix dissimilar metals (tin with gold), corrosion on the tin side is rapidly accelerated, and tiny electrical currents are generated." ...etc, etc. You get the idea.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:11 pm

mrbombermillzy wrote:Ok, this quote is from the 1998 version of Scott Muelers Upgrading and repairing PC's, page 959/60:

" If the motherboard SIMM or DIMM sockets have tin plated contacts, then you must use SIMMs or DIMMs with tin plated contacts. If you mix dissimilar metals (tin with gold), corrosion on the tin side is rapidly accelerated, and tiny electrical currents are generated." ...etc, etc. You get the idea.


[smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif] Tin + gold = bad then. I think some dimms and stuff might have have goldplated contacts, not sure about motherboard sockets, never took uch notice. Though likely simms and simm sockets are all tin plated. Can't remember seeing any gold plated ones.

mrbombermillzy wrote:What sort of price are we looking at for these boards?


I can't really say currently, ive not got any PCB quotes, or done any pricing yet. Maybe somewhere around £30-£50 at a guess. depends on if it do a second prototype run as I had to design the PCBs before I actually got the simm sockets in order to speed up work on it. PCB prices seem to be going up a fair bit all the time, also depends on how many are made and what spec the final PCB is.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby NiB » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:50 pm

Exxos sooo great !
Thank you for your work around.
I will get your 14Mb for sure unless I can't find a 14Mb expansion for my Falcon :(
Anyway, so great to have your solution on the way.

~NiB

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Tue Dec 13, 2016 5:34 pm

NiB wrote:Exxos sooo great !
Thank you for your work around.
I will get your 14Mb for sure unless I can't find a 14Mb expansion for my Falcon :(
Anyway, so great to have your solution on the way.

~NiB


[smilie=greencolorz4_pdt_01.gif]


A little bit more news.. .

Got it on test again, passed 37 times no faults. Takes about an hour to to 10 passes...

I think the sockets are in the UK now, but got held up as got import tax to pay :( Should probably get them in a few days.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby leech » Sat Dec 17, 2016 9:43 pm

Man, how I hate those weird intermittent issues, I have a NAS I slapped together myself, and damned if one of the drives isn't bad, but I can't really tell which one! Pulled what I thought was the bad drive out, put in a new drive, and now the RAID is rebuilding... from the other day when it was also rebuilding, hit 18% then alarmed, freaked out and now it's at 15%...

Terribly, I've been tempted really badly to get a second Falcon, so if I do, I'll order this board as well (if it doesn't already have 14mb). All the Falcons popping up on eBay lately are asking for 3 times as much or more than what I spent on my current one last year...

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Sat Dec 17, 2016 10:07 pm

I've ran it for a few days for several hours and its not tripped up. I think its a bad connection somewhere. Though ive won a load of 16mb simms off evilbay so going to try each one as they all look different brands etc.

Drive faults are tricky to find. I use HDtune even though everyone else will tell you its old hat and better apps etc etc etc blah blah. All the drive faults ive had only show up on benchmarking tests. Normally speed varies from around 80MB/sec to about 40 on outer edges. Though on a faulty bit it slows down for ages so you know the drive is duff, even though ironically it never shows any CRC errors or bad sectors which is all those "modern apps" seem to do.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby leech » Sun Dec 18, 2016 1:07 am

Yeah, this one just randomly pops up SCSI bus reset errors (probably due to it being a SAS/SATA backplane). But then when looking at SMART and all the other things, nothing says it's bad, and everything is A-Okay. I'm thinking more and more that it's a weird firmware issue, since all the other drives in the set had the same firmware, but one. Even one that was labeled differently. Anyhow, completely off topic.

Was going to start backing up my Atari Falcon to it over NFS, but all in good time.

Good to see you working on more Falcon mods though!

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Sun Dec 18, 2016 10:11 am

I wasn't planning on falcon mods, not just yet anyway. Though when a few people mention the same things, if its something not to time consuming then I will try and do it. Though same old case that while I am working on Falcon stuff, I'm not working on STFM boosters etc :roll: With so many items in my store my time for development is pretty much nonexistent these days :(

Anyway some more general info..

Simm sockets have arrived, so just waiting on some more simms to arrive to test. I think if anything the address bus is a mess ,needs better pullups like every other Atari machine. Going by the RAM test results from before, it seems to be failing on writes to some random address. I can't see how write would fail, the RW line looks really good, So I think the write does happen, but to the wrong address.

This isn't really anything to do with the RAM or the card, but noise on the bus. Couple that with faster than 80ns RAM and the RAM will latch the wrong address if the bus is noisy. All these type of problems are one huge reason why it takes so long to develop boosters as constantly fighting problems like that which never seem to end.

If any of these simms fail to be reliable, then at least it gives me something I can debug. I will likely re-solder the DRAM headers to start with if things fail as it was failing a fair bit first time around, but now isn't. So that suggests bad connection. But will know more when I try a load more simms.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:10 am

I've spent a lot of time testing about 10 simms out, various makes/manufacturers, mostly 60ns and they all seem to work fine and not failed even one bit (pardon the pun).

I did have a odd thing where after my falcon was on for 9 hours it looked like it died totally. Then took ages to get it to reboot, then kept crashing out big time, turns out the ROM was the original TOS 404 ROM and I was using it with the zero waitstates. I swapped in one of my faster TOS-ROMs and its not happened since.

So its possible the random bit errors I got before were in part bad connections originally, then a it started to fail after some hours running, that it was the TOS ROM causing the malfunctions, so wasn't related to the RAM board at all.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby JustinPayne » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:00 pm

Yea, I'm interested in one. Price and being able to use my shielding are my only concerns.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:17 pm

JustinPayne wrote:Yea, I'm interested in one. Price and being able to use my shielding are my only concerns.


Its a tight fit, but I've had a similar one in my falcon for years. I just have some thick card on top to make sure the metal shielding doesn't touch the top of the board at any point.

Incidentally, I have got a new batch in production, Just waiting on the PCB's to arrive. I've got the simm sockets and other bits already.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby JustinPayne » Thu Feb 09, 2017 3:38 pm

exxos wrote:
JustinPayne wrote:Yea, I'm interested in one. Price and being able to use my shielding are my only concerns.


Its a tight fit, but I've had a similar one in my falcon for years. I just have some thick card on top to make sure the metal shielding doesn't touch the top of the board at any point.

Incidentally, I have got a new batch in production, Just waiting on the PCB's to arrive. I've got the simm sockets and other bits already.


Great. I went to your site and also saw some other stuff I'm interested in so I'll keep my eyes open for when these come available.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Fri Feb 10, 2017 10:51 am

JustinPayne wrote:Great. I went to your site and also saw some other stuff I'm interested in so I'll keep my eyes open for when these come available.


I should think the PCB's will be here around the end of the month (china new year holiday holding things up currently) . Then its just a matter of time to assemble and test.
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby JustinPayne » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:34 pm

exxos wrote:
JustinPayne wrote:Great. I went to your site and also saw some other stuff I'm interested in so I'll keep my eyes open for when these come available.


I should think the PCB's will be here around the end of the month (china new year holiday holding things up currently) . Then its just a matter of time to assemble and test.


Just thought I would find out how it goes with the PCBs. I'm in no hurry but also wanted to stay on top of it.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby exxos » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:43 pm

JustinPayne wrote:Just thought I would find out how it goes with the PCBs. I'm in no hurry but also wanted to stay on top of it.


I've got the PCBs, Forgot to mention it :) Going to start assembly again hopefully next week.

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby JustinPayne » Sat Apr 01, 2017 5:52 am

I see you have new boards so I'm planning on making an order this weekend. I do have a 16 meg SIMM. Before I do, I assume this will work.

Package Size Type Pins Speed Chips per side Sided
SIMM 16M EDO 72 60ns 8 Single

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby catmando » Sat Apr 01, 2017 7:06 am

JustinPayne wrote:I see you have new boards so I'm planning on making an order this weekend. I do have a 16 meg SIMM. Before I do, I assume this will work.

Package Size Type Pins Speed Chips per side Sided
SIMM 16M EDO 72 60ns 8 Single


Be careful viewtopic.php?f=27&t=31418
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby itaboy » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:24 am

I'd like to order one, if available...

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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby catmando » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:10 pm

itaboy wrote:I'd like to order one, if available...


Do it
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Re: Falcon ST-RAM 14MB boards

Postby itaboy » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:03 pm

Done, tnx! :)


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