I finally have a TT!

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EmpireAndrew
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I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:31 am

I always wanted a TT back when I was in my mid teens and owned an STE.
A hard drive, higher screen resolutions and a lot more CPU horsepower ticked all the boxes for me, plus I thought the design, as with the ST, was really cool.

Well now I finally have one, courtesy of a purchase from another forum member.

It's got 2MB of ST RAM, 16MB of TT RAM, a 2GB hard drive, a 68882 FPU and a Cattamaran accelerator board (which doesn't appear to be doing anything, but more on that later).

Overall it's in good working condition but I can be pretty fussy about stuff so I want to correct a few things and the first thing on the list was to give it a good clean by pulling the whole thing apart.

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It's as dusty inside as you might expect a 25 year old computer to be:

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(does anyone have any idea what this ultra fine wire is doing disconnected and wrapped up in tape?)


but after some gentle cleaning work with cotton buds soaked in isopropyl alcohol the motherboard starts to look like new:

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The underside of the board has some iffy looking parts (opinions?):

Image

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The next thing to sort out is the case, the lower half has started to yellow, the top is a little dirty and marked in places but compared to the bottom the color is much better. The keyboard has properly yellowed though, looks really nasty.

I decided to try and restore the original color and after reading up on retrobrite treatments I decided to take a slightly different path.
The retrobrite process has a few flaws I don't like, or opportunities for screw ups to be more accurate.

I don't like the risks of having to brush a homemade paste on (getting it even and keeping it wet so it doesn't dry out in the sun), and the strength of hydrogen peroxide people are using, especially combined with laundry boosters feels more like impatience than anything, so I decided to stick to the hydrogen peroxide, but at a mere 3% concentration and fully submerge the parts in it. This should help avoid any uneveness, blooming or any other risks around strong chemicals. But it might not work or take a long time. First time I've ever done this so...

I decided to start with the bottom half of the case as it's yellowed more than the top and will be less visible to the eye if I do mess something up.

Amazon wanted $8 for 32oz of 3% peroxide, but my local dollar store had the exact same bottles in stock at a $1, so I grabbed all they had, 10 bottles, and a 23" by 16" x 6" clear plastic container to put the parts in, hoping there would be enough liquid to submerge the parts. Turns out there isn't enough for the top of the case, but the bottom was just about submerged. I covered the container with plastic wrap to keep the smell in and evaporation to a minimum, covered the stickers on the base with clear packing tape cut to size and put the whole thing on the window ledge (no garden as I live in apartment).

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You can see the bubbles doing their thing...

Naturally as soon as I did this the clouds rolled in and the rains came, so UV light would be limited, but such is life...

I left it for 6 hours and then rinsed the whole thing off.

I realized I should have rotated the container so that all sides got some UV, lesson learned, but the side exposed to the daylight, the rear panel, has massively improved in terms of color. It has some slight yellowing still on the very edges, but it's a much greater improvement than I expected given the amount of light and strength of liquid I used. Very pleased.

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I now have some cheap fluid coming from Amazon (oxydiser that is equivalent to 7% hydrogen peroxide), 4 gallons of the stuff for $36, which should be enough to do the case top, keyboard and redo the bottom. Fingers crossed...

Image
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:14 am

OMG, its been like 1 day dude :) You're a king among men! Definately a good home for an awesome machine :)

I've got a couple STs that are DOA and in my 'to be repaired' pile; you re juicing me up to get to work rebuilding power supplies and so on...

Can't wait to see the final project!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby wongck » Sun Jul 31, 2016 4:06 am

Congrats on your latest acquisition.
Glad to see a TT going to a great home.
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:45 pm

Yeah I don't hang around when it comes to projects, lol!
Also want to make the most of this weeks vacation!
The weather really isn't co-operating though, dull dark day today and another promised for tomorrow. :(

Do you buy stuff up to fix/restore or are they your machines of your own that have failed over time?
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Sun Jul 31, 2016 6:43 pm

A little from column-A and a little from column-B; I've collected a LOT of gear over the years, to fill in the gaps and fiddle and make a wicked retro games room. I'm heavy into arcade collecting (fridge size retro, now we're talking!), and of course all things Atari. I wanted to fill in my Atari gaps, but around here (Toronto area) I find they're over-priced and rare.. so the Atari gear I get tends to be the stuff few others want, and I like to rescue before it gets landfilled. Often you can get a working 'keyboard' as people call it, but no power brick or any other accessories. I've often found the caps gone (common), or things like keys jammed, or power bricks melted apart, all sorts of things. Think old stereo gear.. you can get what was a beautifiul expensive old stereo receiver from the 80s, and replace some caps.. clean the brushes on the dials, and it'll be good as new, even better than much of todays stuff.. for next to nothing.


Arcade stuff tends t suffer quite a bit (I can regail stories of hunting gear down, finding it in old barns, or half melted into the ground, or hundreds upon hundreds of PCBs just sitting rusting in sheds..), so you have to repair a lot.. fix missing audio, hack together power supplies or wiring harnesses, all sorts of stuff.

So yeah, I've got a goodly pile of 'parts/projects' needing love :)

I've got a stack of about 15 ST audio chips (the YM2149) that are faulty, which makes me crazy. I need to find some known good ones. I also need to find a new STF (520 or 1040) or even an STE, so I can run osciliscope across it under some loads, and compare to other machines.. I'm sure theres some weird business going on, but its hard to know for sure without more perfect machines to compare to...

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby joska » Mon Aug 01, 2016 6:37 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:I left it for 6 hours and then rinsed the whole thing off.


Maybe you should have left it longer? I've seen reports from others that soak cases in peroxide, and they soak them for several days.
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby Mindthreat » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:01 pm

Beautiful work restoring that TT! Look forward to the final pictures for sure! =D
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby alexh » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:42 pm

EmpireAndrew wrote:The underside of the board has some iffy looking parts (opinions?):

You'd have to show high resolution closeups and shots of what is directly above but they look like capacitor leakages.

But they could be residue due to old insulation or solder flux near wire-mods for PCB errors

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:14 pm

joska wrote:
EmpireAndrew wrote:I left it for 6 hours and then rinsed the whole thing off.


Maybe you should have left it longer? I've seen reports from others that soak cases in peroxide, and they soak them for several days.


Oh definitely.
I read somewhere that after about 8 hours the chemical reaction is spent and I had no more left.
I also wanted to start cautiously as I've never done this process before.

Despite being another overcast today I'm trying the keyboard today which is very yellow/brown indeed.
I also bought a different brand product which claims to be 7% hydrogen Peroxide vs the 3% stuff I was using (for the same price).
Problem at the moment is the keys keep turning upside down in the container (so not exposed to the light) after I've sunken them as the oxygen bubbles build up underneath and over time flip them. But it's all a learning experience!
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:25 pm

Maybe fly screen (like on a door) to hold them down but let light through?
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Mon Aug 01, 2016 3:26 pm

Maybe fly screen (like on a door) to hold them down but let light through?
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Mon Aug 01, 2016 4:16 pm

Hmm, that could work...
Might try some glass too.
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:52 am

So today I decided to have a go de-yellowing the keyboard as that's by far the worst affected part.
I know it will take a few days, in fact the case needs doing too (the bottom has already had the one session but it's still not there yet), but as the keyboard is the worst I figured I'd get started on that.

I used the 7% hydrogen peroxide to fill the container above the height of the 2 keyboard halves I'd placed side by side, then added some Oxy Clean which apparently boosts the process and is cheap. I put the keys in a seperate container.

The keys were a total pita. They absolutely refuse to sit face up, and when they do the bubbles get under them and turn them over.
So I settled for simply giving the container a good mix every 45mins or so.

The keyboard case also proved to be a pain in that it was determined to float. In the end I just sloshed the fluid over it by rocking the container back and forth every 45mins or so. I need to weight it down somehow...

Anyway, progress after 8 hours in the fluid (another overcast day):

Image
The bulk of the yellowing is gone but I'm puzzled by the grey color of the casing vs the much whiter TT. In most pictures I see online the keyboard case and computer case look off white, with the keycaps being a grey.
I did notice what looks like streaking on the keyboard case and it could well be, or it's simply those parts have gotten lighter approaching the white color I was expecting? Hopefully another day but fully submerged will even it out...
But the inside of the keyboard case is the same grey as the outside, not white, so I'm confused as to what color it's supposed to be?
Or is the grey an age thing and a couple more days in fluid will lighten it?


Image
As you can see the key caps are still very much yellow but it's a massive improvement already. Presumably they'll get better over a couple more days.
The underside of the keys is the whiter color I was expecting, matching the TT casing. But in photos they are either the same color as the keyboard casing or they're a little darker. The keyboard casing grey really has me confused...

The main downside so far is that despite covering the keyboard sticker on the underside with clear packing tape, it seems the fluid got to it and it's de-laminating and fading. But I did take a photo of it so maybe I can get a replica knocked up. I'm not too fussed though.
On the plus side the blue writing on the keycaps doesn't seem to be fading.
Last edited by EmpireAndrew on Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:00 am

OK, after further research I believe this is a MegaSTE keyboard, not a TT keyboard, which would explain the color difference....

As I understand it:

Mega ST keyboard: Grey with diagonal F-Keys
Mega STE keyboard: Grey with rectangular f-keys and blue writing on key caps.
TT keyboard: White with rectangular f-keys and green writing on key caps.

So my original plan of acquiring a TT keyboard still stands, and this Mega STE one will do until then and will be a backup later.

So tomorrow I will move my attention back to retrobriting the casing!

Then finish up the keyboard later.
Last edited by EmpireAndrew on Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:40 am

huh! Sorry about the keyboard mixup then! :( Its close, and came with the TT, so I looked no further.

Awesome job on the restoration though; I am riveted to the thread, and surely will be doing the process to some gear myself :)

You're not actually retro-briting right? (ie: making a paste, like one would make for a ham, but with peroxide ;) .. you're just using a 7% peroxide solution off the shelf, right? Or are you diluting with water or anything?

As I understand it, you don't need the Oxy .. that is just a low %age peroxide in salt form, so you're just adding another 1% or something to what you've got so far.

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:52 am

No problem re the keyboard, as I recall you had two, this one which we assumed was a TT one due to the f-keys, and a cleaner one we knew definitely wasn't due to the diagonal f keys and you gave me the choice of either. Turns out neithe were TT although this one is really bar the color. The other is mechanical though which is cool.
It matters not anyway.
I'll either keep it as a spare (most likely) or sell it off if I don't ruin it while restoring.

I'm not actually retrobriting, no. No paste. Saw too many horror stories, seems messy and over complicated.
I figured the fluid is better as it can't dry out, and the other ingredients are only to turn the stuff into paste.
This is the fluid, pre-mixed:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0057FQL88

The reason I tried adding the Oxy is because I already had it for laundry, so adding it to the mix and seeing much increased bubbling made me feel better, lol!
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:10 am

On a side note, I'm hoping I've sorted the Cattamaran out.
In the picture above of the whole cleaned motherboard you can see the green probe clip. That was on the far right leg, row closest to the front, of a chip. And while there are several English language install PDFs floating around for earlier motherboard revisions, for this h rev I found German instructions which matched everything about this install except that green probe was on the 3rd pin from the right in the same row. So I've moved it over. I won't know if that wakes the Catt up until I get the whole thing reassembled though...
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 2:16 am

alexh wrote:
EmpireAndrew wrote:The underside of the board has some iffy looking parts (opinions?):

You'd have to show high resolution closeups and shots of what is directly above but they look like capacitor leakages.

But they could be residue due to old insulation or solder flux near wire-mods for PCB errors


I double checked and most of what I posted is either under a chip socket or the reset switch or an expansion slot.
Except the first "close up" which is underneath whatever that red item is in the center of the board below my black probe clip.
I do t think it's anything that's leaking though.
I think most of what I found is flux from poor soldering.
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby Mikefulton » Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:36 am

Congrats!

I occasionally regret having gotten rid of mine, but if I still had it, it would just be in storage anyway.

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby alexh » Tue Aug 02, 2016 9:34 am

EmpireAndrew wrote:The first "close up" is underneath whatever that red item is in the center of the board below my black probe clip.

Looks like a variable resistor. Not obvious from the schematics though. Might be possible to identify it by looking at the component number which I can't see

http://dev-docs.atariforge.org/files/TT ... 6-1990.pdf

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby BoNuS » Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:13 am

Finding a real TT keyboard is very difficult, and if you can find one it probably have a very weird layout (like Finnish) but okay. Do you also have the white mouse ? I have 2 TT's but only one white mouse. And I do have 2 white keyboard, but one of the is so yellow that the keys look almost brown :( Still have to do the retrobright thingy ;)
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby joska » Tue Aug 02, 2016 11:41 am

BoNuS wrote:Finding a real TT keyboard is very difficult, and if you can find one it probably have a very weird layout (like Finnish) but okay.


I bought several NOS TT-keyboards from 16/32 a few years ago. Yes, they have a very weird layout, but the correct weird layout for me so the £25 a piece was worth every penny :) Just wish I had a TT!

BoNuS wrote:Do you also have the white mouse ? I have 2 TT's but only one white mouse.


I think the TT-white mouse is rather unusual. Around 1991 I used to frequent a local shop that sold Ataris and PC's, and all the TT's they sold was shipped with the ST-grey mouse.
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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:29 pm

It'll have to be a US or UK keyboard really.
Although I have no idea what differences exist on a German or Swedish key set...
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby EmpireAndrew » Tue Aug 02, 2016 12:39 pm

As for the mouse, I don't have one so I'm using the one from my STE for testing. I have a used Golden Image mouse on the way from German eBay.
It's what I used back in the early 90's and this will be my main machine so I'd prefer something a little more ergonomic, lol!
I will keep a look out for a white Atari mouse though, but I also seem to recall pictures of TTs in magazines with grey mice so maybe they were even in short supply back in the day?
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 4GB IDE2SD, TOS 4.04 -> Atari PTC1426 Color CRT Monitor
Amiga, Mac, DOS, Newton, SGI, Sun, NeXTStation and more!

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Re: I finally have a TT!

Postby skeezix » Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:16 pm

Could always go all out, CosmosEx or similar.

I have been considering building a display buffer too .. ie: something to plug into an ST DIN port that in turn emits VGA .. not necessary of course for a TT (but even a VGA to VGA cleanup would be handy for MiST..); but STs and Mega and so on .. the mice and keyboards are running low imho, so something like CosmosEx is in increasing value over time.

jeff
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