No colour on an atari 4160 ste

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No colour on an atari 4160 ste

Postby pjo123 » Mon May 24, 2004 6:48 pm


I've been given an Atari 4160 STE obviouslt some sort of prototype witg gand written serial no of 67 on the back.

When I turned it on I had just noise for sound and a black and white screen.

After stripping it down and having a look, I found a screw on the underside of the board, on the bit the arial lead plugs into and turning this allowed me to sort out rhe sound, in that I now have propper sound although it is very quiet and I have to have TV up loud.

However I simply cant see what could be causing it. It allows me to select low or medreolution but no colout whatsoever.

I have loads of old games that my 10 yr old would love to play but it would be nice if I could get it in colour.

The board is very different from the dead 520st I have even the bit the ariel plugs into has completely different pins on the bottom so I cant take the one off my dead 520 and put it on my 4160.

Any sugestions please?

I've attached a pic of the 4160 board.



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Postby pjo123 » Mon May 24, 2004 6:54 pm

attachment doesn't seem to be there, lets try again
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Postby pjo123 » Mon May 24, 2004 8:34 pm

On further investigation, the ariel socket bit is exactly the same as the one in my 520.

I've de-soldered it and replaced it with the ariel socket bit off of my dead 520.

The sound is now perfect but alas I still have a black and white screen. So any further suggestions please?




Postby simbo » Tue May 25, 2004 8:31 am


after looking at the circuit

i see it uses an mc1377 as a modulator driver chip to produce the composite colour signal
i think it is ok

the mono signal comes from the shifter chip straight to the socket on the rear

this leaves us with a few options
you mention that you cant get any colour at all
u405 74ls257 this is a buffer used as a switch between modes
as it changes the clock frequency ...

it is gubbed cut it out desolder its legs to clear the holes
fit a new one

other than this for colour on a tv the modulator needs composite colour signal + audio it then adds "modulates" to the tv carrier pal signal
@ around 600 -800mhz tv band for pal type's

if you have a monitor plugged into the rear socket RGB type then theoreticaly you should get a colour picture

however the ls257 is the video switch
chances are it is gubbed if you instead get nothing or no colour

download the schematic for the ste here

youll find the interesting diagram is page 4 or 4.pcx

i import the schematics to paint shop pro and change them to monocrome as a colour depth to restore the tracks etc more clear

let me know if you still have problems
ill prepair a few tests you can use to narrow down the issue

pretty sure that chip is duff myself

or huuuuu its the shifter {not as easy to get or change}

a few tips when working with tv out problems

1} change all the low value electrolytic caps like 1uf
around the modulator section under the psu

there is one that always gives a problem
check by replacement

C423 100uF change it {this is a polerised cap}

C433 1uF {this is a polerised cap so needs a new one in the same way around {or bang its head blows off showering you with hot electrlyte fluid and cotton wool}

suspect L403 {this is an important coil and if the screw shorted it it will have cooked {fryed} turns on its bobin

these three faults will only show on a tv signal
possibly as missing content

the actual monitor rgb i think prob youll find it is ok
i will re read your post to see if i notice any change

BUT if it were the mc1377 that had a problem
you would be missing one or other colour and not just the "lumanance" content of the composite signal
this part is missing in your case so it is unlikely that the chip is damaged {but dont rule it out either}

a few multimeter tests will confirm it if the other changes dont fix it first

hehe after turning up the brightness on my monitor
i see there is two prob 100uf caps beside the modulator can
there "skin" is shrunken
a clear sign they have dried up

there is a metal can type inductor just above the ram in the middle
if it is damaged or the screw {hehe} has been 'tuned'
then the colour will also drop out
check this isnt just the case

but replace those two caps with new ones

also the modulator {metal can} should have its own cover
to stop parasitic problems with colour etc
maybe it needs one to work correctly sometimes they do...

if you look at the schematic on page1 1.pcx or 1.emf etc

youll see that there is a section at the top called stuffed in pal section

this section has a chip 74ls74 and is a clock genorator for the colour clock
perhaps this circuit has failed and the clock is missing
this would also give a no colour result

after looking closer at the picture i see there are some duff connections on the input to the modulator section
touchup the solder connections to the sorounding componets also
being carefull not to lift and smd componenets and also use a 12 watt or 16 watt iron
NOT a 25watt one

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Postby pjo123 » Tue May 25, 2004 8:12 pm

Many many thanks for all your help



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Postby PaulB » Wed May 26, 2004 11:40 pm

Since you mentioned using a TV earlier, are you sure you've tuned the TV to the channel that the ST uses correctly? If the tuning is slightly off it will show in black and white and would also affect the sound.


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Re: No colour on an atari 4160 ste

Postby Skywalker » Fri Jun 04, 2004 5:00 pm

pjo123 wrote:I've been given an Atari 4160 STE obviouslt some sort of prototype witg gand written serial no of 67 on the back.

Hi Phil,

Is this a real Atari 4160STE? Can you make me some pictures of this Atari for my homepage, please?

Ciao, Bernd


Postby simbo » Sat Jun 05, 2004 9:12 am

its an ste 1040 im sure looking at the picture i notice a version number

also it looks exactly the same as my ste 1040 guts even the visible chipset is the same
perhaps is another model of ste thou but im not convinced
{i dont remember the model number so it dosnt exist }
it is possibly a 4mb ste {some ste were supplied with 4mb ram}

so are 1040 * 4 = 4160

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Postby Silver Surfer » Sat Jun 05, 2004 9:54 am

The 4160 was a model that wasn't manufactored in many numbers as far as I remember it was a developer machine, though my memory is quite hazy. ... 60STE.html


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Postby pjo123 » Sat Jun 05, 2004 5:23 pm

It's a 4160 STe not a 1040 see attached pics

It was originally owned by Bullfrog (people who wrote populous)

p.s. Skywalker I've emailed some pics to your web site
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Postby simbo » Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:30 pm

did you fix your colour problem

i have a fix for you
esp if your in the uk then read this

your atari like older video equipment is tuned to ch35 on the tv band

and in 1993?? then ch5 came online
this if your in a good reception area will cause the interlace colour to disappear
and or other very strange results

the fix is easy
at the back of the tv output can is a metal screw

plug in the tv arial and tune just of ch35
{to 37 or another adjacent clear channel {just static}}

now tune the atari to the channel till you get a clear picture

using the metal screw at the back

your colour should appear

once this is done
make a good quality cable up using a piece of 75 OHM coax
a phono plug and a belling lea 75OHM tv ariel plug
use good quality coax {double screened}

as even a video or other device can "walk over" your tv picture from an atari

and keep other cables away from atari cables

the inductor on the atari main board L403 the screw cap inside {ferrite cap} sits 1full turn -.1 T so realy .9 of a turn from the top exactly....

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Postby Dark Willow » Fri Jun 18, 2004 2:34 pm

hmmm, cool! From what I know the 4160STe wasn't exactly a prototype, but rather a specail limited production machine Atari made for it's own programmers to use??? I guess they got disbursed along with the rest of their stuff when the company was wound up. I think a few hundred were made.
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Postby simbo » Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:34 pm

its exactly the same guts as my ste except comes standard with 4mb {full compliment } of ram

nothing special :roll:

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Postby jens » Mon Jun 21, 2004 9:58 am

simbo wrote:nothing special :roll:

Except for the model-no... :D
Greetings, Jens

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