MNX2010 Atari hardware Site
<<<<<< In Nederlands
After all it's very difficult to repair Atari's. That's why you can find them very cheap sometimes,
or even for free (especially when they're broke).
To replace hardware for the Atari and find good technicians to do the job will become harder and
harder. There will come a moment that when it's too difficult to repair, I'll just throw it in the garbage,
and after some time Atari's will die out, because of this.
But maybe Atari will become a collector's item, and then it will be worthy again to spend time and
money on it.
Atari 520 ST
The power supply of the 520 ST is one of the strongest points. It's almost indestructible,
you could only demolish it if you throw it of a balcony. Also the disk drive is most of the times
from a good manufacturer, like Epson or Teac. The weak parts are the motherboard chips. The first versions
of these Atari's had a bad chip architecture with a lot of bugs. When these computers gave problems
because of that, they where not to repair and mostly became worse after some time.
You had to replace the chips one by one with the risk to damage another or all at the same time,
or replace the complete motherboard.
Atari 1040 ST
The chip structure and the motherboard are from a good quality, and that's what made it the first
One of the weak points of this machine is the power supply. If the 1040 ST is not working
any more and even the power leds are off, you can be shure that the power supply is broke.
Luckily the power supply is easy to repair, and spare parts for it are still available at electronic shops.
To repair the power supply, first remove it from the Atari and check the output power with an AC/DC power level meter.
Replace the fuse if it's broke. The outlet of the power cables must be exactly 5 and 12 volt,
otherwise you must replace all condensators.
If the power supply still isn't working, after you have replaced all the condensators, the coil is probably broke.
This is, alas, the most expensive part of the power supply.
Other weak parts are : the DD disk drive (still for sale second-hand and if you look well),
the chip that transmits data to the harddisc connector, and the video chip which can short circuit
if too much power is fed into it.
Still a very popular Atari, and with it's 16 bits twice as fast as the 8 bits Atari ST.
Sometimes it's possible to build in a HD drive into it, without changing the chip on the motherboard needed
for the control of HD drives. In this case however, you must use jumper settings. (Not every HD is compatible,
but most of the times old Sony, Teac & Epson will do).
It's possible to upgrade the MegaSTE with an extra video hardware card, and a bigger SCSI hard
disk, and that's the main reason why this is such a popular machine.
The hard disk common used in the MegaSTE is sometimes to small (less than 100MB),
and must be replaced by a better, faster and bigger SCSI hard disk.
Not all of these SCSI hard disks are compatible and the MegaSTE link can recognize only one 512 MB HD.
For a list of compatible SCSI HD's : >MNX-SCSI<
Mega ST 1 / 2 / 4
The Mega ST has a weak chip and motherboard structure. It's not always stable, and you can get problems
with upgrades or modifications. But the Mega is one of the most stable Atari's
there is and because of it's separate keyboard my favorite. Working with Cubase using this machine caused
the least crashes. I have modified my Mega with a standard SCSI connector and
HD disk drive.
TT & FALCON
The TT & Falcon are often easy to repair. The machines are not so old, and therefore spare
parts are easier to find.
Also the general condition of these Atari's are far better than the older Atari's.
Most of the defects are caused by the motherboards and chips. A lot of Atari's which
came right of the assembly line had defects in them, what will become apparent when
the machine becomes older. The only thing to do in such a case is to replace all of
the chips or to replace them one by one, risking to damage more chips.
An animal specie doomed with extinction, the more luxury mouse's (like logitec's) are much better.
If the left and right mouse button are broke, replace the buttons on the mouse print,
which are still for sale in an electronic store. Clean the wheels of the mouse ball once in a while,
with a match or cotton cleaner with alcohol.
Use a mouse pad...
A weakness of the Atari, the hard drives, because of heat and moving parts, hard disks unfortunately not last long. There may still reliable Atari compatible SCSI hard disks in circulation, yet it is even no time to replace it with a flash card. For more information :
Atari monitors are slowly dying-out, they give radiation and a strong magnetic field.
The screens are old and porous, so unhealthy to stay to close on it, so many good reasons to put away and recycle this old, too big Atari screen .
Nowadays for a little money you can easily buy a TFT-VGA screen, that can easily handle the resolution of 640×400. For the converter schematic, see the picture on the left, convert Atari – Monochrome to VGA. A high-res colour converter also exists, but this one is more easy to make your self..
For more info :
>Atariage - Forums<
You can buy them as readily available device, here a introduction movie, gives a good inside view on how this actually works :