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Bit 3 Full-View 80 troubleshooting and repair


adam242
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I would like to install and use my Full-View 80 that I bought on eBay a while back... When I activate the card with an A=USR(54818) command in BASIC, the machine locks up, not even responding to System Reset. If I remove and reseat the card, I can occasionally get a response of ERROR- 9 but there is no video output from the card.

 

Results are the same in a stock 800, and my Incognito-equipped one.

 

I've tried cleaning the edge contacts and reseating every chip on the board. No change. Does anyone have any suggestions, or is anyone able to repair this for a fee?

 

 

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- Have you read the manual? It is pretty thorough.

 

- Is the card in the correct slot?

 

- Are there any other mods in both of your 800s?

 

- Have you cleaned the oxidation on the card-edge with a fresh #2 pencil's eraser? Sometimes the oxidation is on these cards is heavy, and that will do the trick.

 

 

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- Have you read the manual? It is pretty thorough.

 

- Is the card in the correct slot?

 

- Are there any other mods in both of your 800s?

 

- Have you cleaned the oxidation on the card-edge with a fresh #2 pencil's eraser? Sometimes the oxidation is on these cards is heavy, and that will do the trick.

 

 

 

-Yes.

-Yes.

-No.

-Yes.

 

Thank you for the suggestion. I had previously only used rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip. A thorough cleaning with a pencil eraser does not change anything.

 

I've also tried the card in two more 800s, as well as with various memory configurations (two Atari 16K modules, an Atari 16K with a Alxon 32k) and it acts the same.

Edited by adam242
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There are several other things that we can go into, with regard to troubleshooting, but something about this reminds me of the weirdest & most annoying troubleshooting instance that I had ever had, a while back.

 

I have a red 1986 Limited Edition Marshall full-stack that I used to lug all over the place, then it sat in my studio for a year. One day I moved it, and when I plugged it back in & set it up, it was acting out & sounded like a trebley whisper, and I was like, oh man, the tubes are screwed, and I went through all kinds of bullshit, checking cables, cleaning jacks, cleaning the connections for the tubes, looking up replacement parts, calling Marshall for part numbers, and doing all of the normal trouble-shooting that you would do. ...& after loads of annoying nonsense, you know what it turned out to be? Take a guess.

 

If you guessed this, then good for you, but, it got my teeth gnashing... as it had turned out, the internal contact points of the jacks had been spread, ever so slightly, in the Effects Loop jacks. This happened because I had left the same cables in them for a year. Sooo when I had set it up after moving it, I had used other cables, and apparently there was a RCH (Red Cunt Hair... Technical Term, lol.) difference in the barrel size of the connectors on the cables. I was fuming... But, after adjusting the internal contacts of the jack, it came right back to life, and was loud enough to take the paint off of the neighbors' walls again, so, I was happy. ha.

 

Aside from the long-winded story, and the explanation of Technical Terms, the point that I'm getting at is this... take a micrometer to the edges of the known working cards, note the measurement of the card edge, and then measure width of the card-edge of the Bit-3 card. If the pins in the slot's female socket have been spread, it could be the answer to your problem. I know that this is a very weird, and usually unlikely thing, but it's worth ruling out, because those Atari RAM cards are pretty thick, and they have been sitting there for decades... if the contracts have spread, you would have no electrical contact, and it would fit your problem (nothing, not even garbage on your screen)... it sounds like there is no power going to the board, and a spread slot contact could be the culprit. Who knows if Bit-3 made their boards a RCH thinner than Atari and other manufacturers. Worth ruling out, anyway, before we go any further with the troubleshooting.

 

Good luck.

 

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Just to be sure we have the same manual, check this one:

 

Bit3_UsersGuide.pdf

 

& be sure to check the first part of the Troubleshooting section. Go through the manual, and double-check to make sure that you have your monitor connections right.

 

When I got my card, there was no metal tape (as described in the manual), and the long cable (with the toroidal coil) looks like something that can fail very easily, due to the crimping effect of the computer's case. You should check that cable for continuity with a multimeter, because that cable is a likely culprit. also check it's solder points, because it could have been pulled too hard by the previous user, and could have a bad connection to the board.

 

I presume that you have you tested with two monitors. Check the manual for the various ways to connect monitors. This way you will see if any screen garbage, whatsoever, is output.

 

There should be an EPROM on the board, check to make sure that it's window is covered. It contains the font data, and if that EPROM data is corrupted, it would likely cause a crash. If the card had been stored with the EPROM not covered, it may have caused data corruption, and you will need to burn a new EPROM with the correct character data.

 

I forget if the RAM is socketed, but, I have a post here, somewhere that has extensive photos of every angle of the board, I'll have to look for the post, so I can re-familiarize myself with what the board looks like under the cover. You might want to replace the RAM chips, if the standard troubleshooting doesn't fix things. So, I'd start with a cable inspection, then as more drastic measures do the RAM & EPROM.

 

You may want to remove & reinsert all chips, several times per chip, before going to such lengths. This will clean oxidation off of the leads of the ICs. Sometimes just pressing them in isn't enough, and you need to put them in & out a bunch of times.

 

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Thanks for the thorough response, I truly appreciate it.

 

I have the same pdf of the manual, and I have already removed and reseated the chips once. Perhaps another round of that, after I check the thickness of the board for proper contact with the 800 motherboard socket will be in order.

 

Playing around further (removing and reinserting the card more) this afternoon, I was able to get a different error number - 131, I think - on the standard 40-column display, and a bit of garbage characters out of the Bit 3 card output.

 

Thank you again, I'll get this...

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OK, the pictures that I took are here:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/234789-bit3-full-view-80-under-the-hood/?do=findComment&comment=3176096

 

The main topic includes the EPROM dump:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/234789-bit3-full-view-80-under-the-hood/

 

& while you've got yours apart, why don't you take some clear pictures and post them in that thread, so we can build up some more of a hardware knowledge-base for this card. There were different revisions to the board & some have jumper wires soldered in place.

 

There are a few other threads on this forum about this board, if you search around you should find 'em, just to increase your general knowledge about the device. It is most definitely a very, very rare Atari hardware item, and has always been highly desirable to own. So, one way or another, we have to get yours working, because they are, very seriously, high-end, low-production number collector's items.

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OK, very good, you are getting garbage on the screen, & errors, so it's almost working. Keep a log of the ERROR #s that you get, and look them up, they may provide clues to solving this issue.

 

Get a static discharge preventing wrist-strap on, and we'll go a bit deeper into this.

 

Let's try this: With the computer unplugged from the AC you can clean the "Fingers" (the individual contacts in the slot). Buy a cheap CVS brand "Firm" toothbrush, dip it in Isopropyl alcoholl, and give the Fingers in the slot a good brushing, with the toothbrush bristles half-way saturated in the alcohol. Wait a few seconds and dab up the residue. Repeat this process three to five times.

 

Let it sit, and Clean all of the Bit-3 board contacts (on both sides) again with the new #2 eraser. It works best if you go up & down each gold contact 10 times, vertically, while applying downward pressure. Use Isopropyl alcohol on a Q-Tip to remove all of the eraser residue from the card edge, so it doesn't get into the slot. The gold should look highly polished and should be uniformly buffed, all in the same direction, on all contacts of the card-edge connector, on both sides of the card.

 

Insert & remove the Bit-3 ten times, by holding the top edges firmly, insert straight in, but wiggle the whole board, horizontally, back & forth (in a slight teeter-totter" motion) upon removal. Do this 10 times. This will make enough friction to both clean & re-situate the slot fingers. Sometimes I'll put a fine coat of alcohol on the card-edge, and then insert & remove the card, to ensure that the lower portion of the slot finger gets cleaned.

 

Now, go make a cup of coffee & come back.

 

Ensure that the alcohol is dried up, then plug the computer back in, and your card will most likely work.

 

If not, power down, wear your wrist strap, & remove the card, remove it's shield, and remove & insert the ICs one-by-one. Dabbing the leads with an alcohol soaked Q-tip is also a good trick for ICs during this process. To be really sure, repeat the process three to five times per chip. Do them one at a time & be sure to keep track of the ones you have done, and do them all. I find that working clockwise works well. Try not to use the Q-Tip in the slot itself, as it will leave fibers behind, so if you have to do it, be sure to get all of those fibers out!

 

If it doesn't work after all of that, burn new EPROMS, and replace the RAM chips. It will work. You just need to be persistent & patient, and it will all work itself out.

 

 

Good luck!

 

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  • 1 year later...

Good luck! Looking forward to hearing of your progress.

 

I'd love a BIT3 board in one of my 800's someday. I have one with an aftermarket 32K board so I have a slot free. It sure would be great if someone like Candle or one of the other hardware wizards came up with a modern equivalent, especially if it worked in combination with an Incognito/Incognito 2 board.

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  • 1 month later...

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