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Sys-Check V2.2 ready-to-use batch available


tf_hh

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On 3/10/2023 at 5:45 PM, Ppyo said:

Can one use Sys-Check with an Ultimate1Mb expansion? Are there any memory addressing conflicts? I hope not...

Not regarding how useful it is, yes, it works. The Sys-Check diagnostic firmware disables the U1MB BIOS and features (as possible), so you might run the RAM test also having an U1MB installed. The other features (external O.S. switcher and/or external 512 KB RAM expansion) works also, but... the U1MB does it already 🙂

 

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  • 5 months later...
  • 3 months later...
1 hour ago, macsonny said:

Dumb question but is there a copy of the Sys Check 2.2 manual floating around as I can't seem to find mine?

You can always find the links to the individual products and their lates documentation including manuals in @tf_hh's "catalog".

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  • 5 weeks later...
9 hours ago, Djangovic Django said:

want to order one piece of Sys Check 2.2 for. xl.xe 

Dont find the email adres not onder picture and no idee where is some pdf. 

can you just write it here 

Just look at the signature line in tf_hh posts, there are 2 of them just a few posts up in this thread.

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9 hours ago, Djangovic Django said:

want to order one piece of Sys Check 2.2 for. xl.xe 

Dont find the email adres not onder picture and no idee where is some pdf. 

can you just write it here 

It's just 6 x posts above yours in tf_hh's signature.  😉😁

 

 

If you can't see any forum member's signature then check your settings for AA. 

 

Here is the url: https://www.van-radecke.de/STUFF/tfhh_HW_info.pdf

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20240209_060514.jpg

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20 minutes ago, Beeblebrox said:

It's just 6 x posts above yours in tf_hh's signature.  😉😁

 

 

If you can't see any forum member's signature then check your settings for AA. 

 

Here is the url: https://www.van-radecke.de/STUFF/tfhh_HW_info.pdf

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20240209_060514.jpg

Also, if you’re reading AA on a smartphone (like I normally do), you’ll have to rotate your phone to landscape mode in order to see the signatures. 
 

Bob C

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5 minutes ago, darwinmac said:

Also, if you’re reading AA on a smartphone (like I normally do), you’ll have to rotate your phone to landscape mode in order to see the signatures. 
 

Bob C

Interesting. I use AA all the time on my Android smartphone. I don't have that issue. If you have an Android smartphone, make sure you have desktop view enabled in your browser as it could be in android mode, and that may or may not be the issue. You certainly shouldn't need to rotate to landscape to see these things. :)

Screenshot_20240209_063225.jpg

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@Beeblebrox - Simply using the desktop site doesn’t show the signatures on my iPhone. It may work on Android but, on iOS, signatures don’t show up for me in portrait mode. 
 

If another iPhone owner has a different experience, I’m happy to hear how they did it. 
 

Bob C

Edited by darwinmac
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  • 1 month later...
On 9/25/2023 at 5:20 AM, tf_hh said:

 

Yes, they are. Please sent an email, my email address is found in the avatar or the linked PDF file below 🙂

 

Thanks for continuing to make these!  I just placed an order for one (we've emailed about it already).

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

So I got my Sys-Check 2.2 last week, and I'm very happy with it.  I've already tested a 130XE, and four 800XLs.  But I ran into something that's got me scratching my head a little...

 

All but one of the 800XLs passed the tests.  The one that didn't, is my original 800XL I got in 1983.  It has been 'dead' since around 1988, but I recently dug it out of storage, and after troubleshooting and testing, it turned out the 6502C was bad.  I popped in a spare, and all was well.

 

It's an early Hong Kong 800XL, with everything socketed.  It also has the older 400/800 ANTIC (C012296), and not the XL/XE ANTIC (C021697).  I understand that means is uses 7-bit memory refresh as opposed to 8-bit.

The RAM chips on this 800XL are all MOSTEK (MK4564N-12 / C060612-009).  Every other RAM tester I have tried shows them all good.  I have no stability issues with the computer, running games or applications.  I've used it with FujiNet, SIO2SD, SIDE3, it all works as it should.  No crashes, everything is OK.  But according to Sys-Check, ALL RAM is bad, every position.

 

So I have to wonder, is this down to the older ANTIC / 7-bit memory refresh, and the RAM is actually OK?

 

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No remotely knocking the device at all as it's excellent, but I've had false results in the past and the ram is actually ok. Various things can cause it, Antic included irrc. Not qualified to comment on what else. I still wouldn't have fixed half the A8s I have without a sys check unit.

 

So also check all sockets, vias, and traces as often it's that that is causing issues. Also make suire all chips are seated and no oxidisation is present, causing bad contacts. It's good it's socketed. You could remove all chips and give the board a good clean with detoxit or contact cleaner. 

Edited by Beeblebrox
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10 minutes ago, nurmix said:

It also has the older 400/800 ANTIC (C012296), and not the XL/XE ANTIC (C021697).  I understand that means is uses 7-bit memory refresh as opposed to 8-bit.


The RAM chips on this 800XL are all MOSTEK (MK4564N-12 / C060612-009). 

 

So I have to wonder, is this down to the older ANTIC / 7-bit memory refresh, and the RAM is actually OK?

 

Strange, until today I never got a report of such a behavior. The Mostek MK4564N DRAMs need only 7 bit refresh (128 cycles), so this can´t be the problem. I´m pretty sure that I have tested over the years some XL/XE systems with the PAL "old" ANTIC. NTSC old ANTICs are rare here.

 

So if you can, please check first the newer ANTIC and also try another MMU, please.

 

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5 hours ago, Beeblebrox said:

No remotely knocking the device at all as it's excellent, but I've had false results in the past and the ram is actually ok. Various things can cause it, Antic included irrc. Not qualified to comment on what else. I still wouldn't have fixed half the A8s I have without a sys check unit.

 

So also check all sockets, vias, and traces as often it's that that is causing issues. Also make suire all chips are seated and no oxidisation is present, causing bad contacts. It's good it's socketed. You could remove all chips and give the board a good clean with detoxit or contact cleaner. 

 

5 hours ago, tf_hh said:

Strange, until today I never got a report of such a behavior. The Mostek MK4564N DRAMs need only 7 bit refresh (128 cycles), so this can´t be the problem. I´m pretty sure that I have tested over the years some XL/XE systems with the PAL "old" ANTIC. NTSC old ANTICs are rare here.

 

So if you can, please check first the newer ANTIC and also try another MMU, please.

 

 

Thanks, guys.

 

Yes, very strange behavior indeed.  So... I swapped the original ANTIC (C012296) with another ANTIC (C021697), but got the same results.  Then I plugged in an Atarimax flash cartridge that I put some other testing tools on (additional RAM tests + Super SALT), but the 800XL wouldn't boot the cartridge - and it worked fine yesterday (scratching my head more here).

Then I unplugged the Sys-Check, and plugged in my FujiNet to run some tests I have on the SD card, but now the FujiNet wouldn't boot (it also worked fine yesterday).  And I noticed it was taking the FujiNet power light longer to come on than usual when powering up the 800XL (similar to how the FujiNet powers on when connected to a 400/800).

 

I then connected a different 800XL, plugged in the Sys-Check, and it ran the RAM test, but went to a black screen right after that completed - before 'rainbow of colors' and OS test.  Obviously at this point I'm really puzzled, but am starting to suspect a power issue, since this second 800XL passed all tests over the weekend, using this same power supply.

 

So... I just started using one of the USB power adapters, along with an older Apple iPad charger (the bigger ones that output 5.1V @ 2.1A).  All my 8-bits have been working fine with it for the past week.  I did a quick test with my multimeter, and it was showing a steady 5.12V output without a load.

 

I decided to plug in my old Atari power supply again (one of the big two-tone beige and black models), and suddenly both my original 800XL and the second one I was testing worked perfectly, and passed all tests in Sys-Check, multiple times.  And on my original 800XL, it passed with both the older ANTIC and the newer ANTIC.  No issues with cartridges, no issues with FujiNet.

 

So weirdly, it came down to the power supply that worked fine all last week, and had no problems with all the other 8-bits I tested with Sys-Check over the weekend.  I guess with the additional power draw of the Sys-Check, especially when combined with my original 800XL (which may be a bit more power hungry than the others I own?), the Apple PSU wasn't able to cope with the demand, so it caused all sorts of weird issues with the computer.  And now the Apple PSU is flaky with just the computer by itself, so it's done.  Maybe the power supply was on it's last legs, and the additional demands I was placing on it were enough to take it down.

 

Anyway, all seems good now.  But this does bring another question up... is there any real advantage/disadvantage to using the older/newer ANTIC in an 800XL?  Should I keep the original older ANTIC in my childhood 800XL, or switch to the XL/XE ANTIC?  Does the MOSTEK RAM care which ANTIC is on the board?

 

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4 hours ago, Beeblebrox said:

No remotely knocking the device at all as it's excellent, but I've had false results in the past and the ram is actually ok. Various things can cause it, Antic included irrc.

Needless to say, anything preventing proper communication betweem the CPU and memory is laible to cause an aggressive RAM test to fail, so I wouldn't even necessarily describe SysCheck calling bad RAM on a machine that's otherwise broken anyway a false result. The machine described above (which turned out to have a failing power supply) is a perfect example.

 

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11 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

Needless to say, anything preventing proper communication betweem the CPU and memory is laible to cause an aggressive RAM test to fail, so I wouldn't even necessarily describe SysCheck calling bad RAM on a machine that's otherwise broken anyway a false result. The machine described above (which turned out to have a failing power supply) is a perfect example.

 

Thanks, @flashjazzcat.  I'm in full agreement that the Sys-Check is a fantastic device.  I've only owned it a few days and it indirectly helped me identify a power supply issue.  I was so puzzled because using that same USB/Apple power supply with 5 different 8-bit computers this past weekend, all but my original childhood 800XL passed with flying colors.  So a power issue wasn't on my list of possibilities until I did some additional testing after the replies to my post here.

I have to assume that my childhood 800XL is drawing more power than the other 8-bits I have.  Could be down to aging capacitors.  I haven't checked them yet, but I put together a full kit of all I need to do the entire board.  I just need to go through them all with my ESR meter (I have one that tests in-circuit, which greatly simplifies the job) and change out accordingly.

 

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I reserve a special mistrust of any Atari 8-bit powered by USB, and at least half the time, my misgivings are quickly proven well-founded. I recently asked a client who reported SIDE3 issues I was unable to replicate once his setup was on my desk what kind of power supply he was using, expecting him to say 'USB'. Sure enough, he sent me a photo of a 1.6A USB adapter. :)

 

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28 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

I reserve a special mistrust of any Atari 8-bit powered by USB, and at least half the time, my misgivings are quickly proven well-founded. I recently asked a client who reported SIDE3 issues I was unable to replicate once his setup was on my desk what kind of power supply he was using, expecting him to say 'USB'. Sure enough, he sent me a photo of a 1.6A USB adapter. :)

 

Last week was the first time I've tried one of the USB power solutions.  I'm going back to my OEM Atari power supplies for now.  The ones I have are all tested good, and no, none of them are "ingots" ;-)

 

And just to keep the thread on topic, for those wondering... Sys-Check 2.2 can even help diagnose a failing power supply (although I don't think @tf_hh will be adding that to the official features list, it did for me).

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10 hours ago, nurmix said:

So... I just started using one of the USB power adapters, along with an older Apple iPad charger (the bigger ones that output 5.1V @ 2.1A).  All my 8-bits have been working fine with it for the past week.  I did a quick test with my multimeter, and it was showing a steady 5.12V output without a load.

 

Thanks for this report 🙂 - Well, power issues are quite often IMHO, specially with these mini wall warts. The load is not the problem here, a stock Atari 800XL draws 650-850 mA (the differences are based on different manufacturer of the major chips as 74LS logic chips also), Sys-check takes about 170 mA when operating, so using a 2.1A power supply is more than enough. But I´ve also made several bad experiences with smart phone or tablet PSUs. Since some years I used only genuine Raspberry Pi PSUs for my Ataris. Never was disappointed so far.

 

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10 hours ago, nurmix said:

Anyway, all seems good now.  But this does bring another question up... is there any real advantage/disadvantage to using the older/newer ANTIC in an 800XL?  Should I keep the original older ANTIC in my childhood 800XL, or switch to the XL/XE ANTIC?  Does the MOSTEK RAM care which ANTIC is on the board?

 

As I know, there´s no other difference between both ANTIC versions except the amount of refresh cycles. Later DRAM chips require 256 cycles, so Atari reacted with a new ANTIC. When you have 128 cycle DRAM chips installed or use any kind of substition using SRAM, then there´s no disadvantage to use the older ANTIC. The only problem occurs when using the older ANTIC and DRAM requiring 256 cycles refresh rate. This is a nasty issues, then the system mostly will start normal and some programs run fine. As long the display list is long enough (for example, a standard Graphics 0 screen), there are enough refresh cycles. But for example, some copy programs using less screen content and ANTIC mode 1 or 2 will cause RAM content corruption due to missing refresh cycles. See Altirra HW manual for detailed info.

 

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10 hours ago, tf_hh said:

 

As I know, there´s no other difference between both ANTIC versions except the amount of refresh cycles. Later DRAM chips require 256 cycles, so Atari reacted with a new ANTIC. When you have 128 cycle DRAM chips installed or use any kind of substition using SRAM, then there´s no disadvantage to use the older ANTIC. The only problem occurs when using the older ANTIC and DRAM requiring 256 cycles refresh rate. This is a nasty issues, then the system mostly will start normal and some programs run fine. As long the display list is long enough (for example, a standard Graphics 0 screen), there are enough refresh cycles. But for example, some copy programs using less screen content and ANTIC mode 1 or 2 will cause RAM content corruption due to missing refresh cycles. See Altirra HW manual for detailed info.

 

Thanks for that information.  Since I have a spare [newer XL/XE] ANTIC, I might as well use it.

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