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ATARI 800/800XL: Power Consumption Review (Part I)...


Faicuai
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...I always wondered how much power these machines drew, whether on stand-by, powered-up idle, booting, SIO active, etc. Moreover, I also wondered how much my IndusGT/Ramcharger drives ever consumed, also relative to their host computer...

 

Well, here's a first look at how much power these computers draw, along a multitude of different stages / tasks... Results are quite interesting:

 

 

Part I:

  • HW Configuration [UPDATE: Atari 1050 now included):
    1. Atari 800 + Incognito//SIDE (Sandisk Extreme-III)
    2. IndusGT // Ramcharger 64K RAM module (extra RAM not used by SDX or any test)
    3. ​Atari 1050 Disk Drive (STOCK)
    4. NUXX Drive (Sandisk Ultra SD).
    5. (x1) Atari AC Power Supply (large) for Atari 800.
    6. (x1) Indus DC Power Supply (large) for IndusGT drive
    7. In-line, AC-to-AC digital watt-meter (INDIVIDUALLY measuring each device, except NUXX, which got on/off via SIO).
    8. NOT MEASURED: [Viewsonic VP930b monitor] & [DVDO iScan HD video processor] (maybe at a later stage).
    9. All measures from 120 Vac / 60Hz mains.
  • RESULTS:
    1. ​​[Atari 800=OFF]:
    • 1.9w (static draw from Atari A/C-to-A/C power supply, regardless of system activity).
    1. [Atari800=ON] & [NUXX Drive=OFF] (disconnected from A800 SIO port):
      • Incognito BIOS screen: 10.6w - 11.2w (just moving along BIOS menu ALTERS power consumption!)
      • Side Loader screen: 10.6w
      • Side Loader-AtariBlast: 11.0w - 11.4w
      • AtariBlast Auto-Demo: 11.2w (across most screens & scenarios)
      • SDX Boot + SIDE: 10.2w - 10.7w
      • SDX si2.24 (CPU/-DMA): 10.2w - 10.4w
      • SDX si2.24 (HD/-DMA): 10.2w - 11.2w (Resulting Speed: solid 106 KB/sec via OS, all tests)
    2. [Atari800=ON] & [NUXX Drive=ON] (telepowered from A800 SIO port):
      • Incognito BIOS screen: 11.7w - 12.2w (just moving along BIOS menu ALTERS power consumption!)
      • Side Loader screen: 11.8w
      • Side Loader-AtariBlast: 12.6w - 12.7w
      • AtariBlast Auto-Demo: 12.3w - 12.4w (across most screens & scenarios)
      • NUXX boot (PBI off): 10.7w - 11.8w
      • NUXX MyDos (PBI off): 11.0w - 11.4w
      • NUXX rwTEST (PBI off): 10.7w - 11.4w.
    3. [Atari800=ON] & [NUXX Drive=OFF] and [IndusGT // RAMcharger=ON]: [UPDATE: Format Operation, CPM boot]
      • IndusGT powered OFF:​​​ 3.7w (wow! 3.7w watts just the power supply, doing NOTHING!).
      • IndusGT powered ON: 16.6w (no disk on tray, no spin, system ready and head parked on Track 39)
      • IndusGT looped-seek: 23.8w - 24.2w (diskette in, disk spin, full-stroke head-seek, from T0 to T39)
      • IndusGT free-spin/T=0: 25.7w (head on track zero, disk on free-spin), no I/O
      • RPM acquisition / Index: 25.3w (index-pulse, from Indus GT diagnostics, NOT the DOS GTRPM version)
      • SDX hispeed/DD format: 21.3w - 24.0w
      • SDX multi file read/write: 22.0w - 30.0w
      • SDX CPM boot / load: 16.8w - 19.9w (during CPM boot and loading "STAT" utility).
      • SDX rwTEST (-DMA): 30.0w (!!!, during write stage, ~30 kbps) // 19.9w (during read stage, ~60 kbps)
      • NOTE: power draw specifically measured off IndusGT power-supply (all other items isolated)
    4. [Atari800=ON] & [NUXX Drive=OFF] and [indusGT // RAMcharger=disconnected] & [Atari 1050=ON]:
      • 1050 powered OFF:​​​ 1.9w
      • 1050 powered ON: 12.7w - 13.2w (no disk on tray, no spin, system ready and head parked on Track 39)
      • 1050 looped-seek: N/A (could not run from IndusGT diagnostics. NOT provided with 1050 Diagnostics disk)
      • 1050 free-spin: 28.9w - 29.2w (right after disk insert), no I/O
      • RPM acquisition: 28.7w - 29.4w (from Indus GTRPM utility)
      • SDX ED format: 29.2w - 31.0w
      • SDX multi file read/write: 29.2w - 29.7w
      • SDX CPM boot / load: N/A (not supported by 1050)
      • SDX rwTEST (-DMA): 28.3-28.9w (during write stage, ~11 kbps) // 28.5-28.9w (during read stage, ~11 kbps)
      • NOTE: power draw specifically measured off 1050 power-supply (all other items isolated)

 

Part II (UDPATE: now with 800XL, Side-II):

 

HW Configuration:

  1. Atari 800XL (Rev.C, fully socketed) + SIDE-II (Sandisk ULTRA)
  2. NUXX Drive (Sandisk Ultra SD)
  3. (x1) Atari DC Power Supply (silver-label, good) for Atari 800XL
  4. (x1) Atari AC Power Supply (large) for 1050 drive
  5. In-line, AC-to-AC digital watt-meter (INDIVIDUALLY measuring each device, except NUXX, which got on/off via SIO)
  6. NOT MEASURED: [Viewsonic VP930b monitor] & [DVDO iScan HD video processor] (maybe at a later stage)
  7. All measures from 120 Vac / 60Hz mains
  • RESULTS:
    1. ​​[Atari 800XL=OFF]:
      • 2.1w (static draw from Atari A/C-to-D/C power supply, regardless of system activity)
    2. [Atari800XL=ON] & [sIDE-II=out] & [NUXX Drive=OFF] (disconnected from A800 SIO port):
      • Ultimate BIOS screen: 10.9w
      • Side Loader screen: 10.9w
    3. [Atari800XL=ON] & [sIDE-II=in] & [NUXX Drive=OFF] (disconnected from A800 SIO port):
      • Ultimate BIOS screen: 11.9w (moving along BIOS menu DOES NOT alter power consumption!)
      • Side Loader screen: 11.6w
      • Side Loader-AtariBlast: 11.8w - 11.9w
      • AtariBlast Auto-Demo: 11.6w (across most screens & scenarios)
      • SDX Boot + SIDE: 11.2w - 11.7w
      • SDX si2.24 (CPU/-DMA): 11.2w - 11.7w
      • SDX si2.24 (HD/-DMA): 11.5w - 11.5w (Resulting Speed: solid 100-103 KB/sec via OS, varying across tests)
    4. [Atari800XL=ON] & [sIDE-II=in] & [NUXX Drive=ON] (telepowered from A800 SIO port):
      • Ultimate BIOS screen: 12.6w
      • Side Loader screen: 12.3w
      • Side Loader-AtariBlast: 12.5w - 12.9w
      • AtariBlast Auto-Demo: 12.2w - 12.7w (across most screens & scenarios)
      • NUXX boot (PBI on): 11.7w - 12.4w (if PBI off, system boots straight to SIDE-II embedded loader)
      • NUXX MyDos (PBI on): 11.7w - 11.9w (if PBI off, system boots straight to SIDE-II embedded loader)
      • NUXX rwTEST (PBI on): 11.7w - 12.2w (if PBI off, system boots straight to SIDE-II embedded loader)

 

OVERALL results:

 

  1. SURPRISE: The old-and-sweet [Atari 800 // Incognito] combo consumes LESS power than [800XL // SIDE-2] combo in similar tasks (!)
  2. Side-II cart power consumption DOES make a difference on the results (as you can see above) !
  3. As EXPECTED: IndusGT drive consumes SIGNIFICANTLY less power than 1050, while trouncing it with out-of-the-box speed.

 

 

Cheers!

Edited by Faicuai
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Interesting! Sounds like the Indus GT is similarly inneficient as the 1050. It takes 9vac with a regulator to make 5vdc (making heat) and a voltage doubler to make 18vac, then a regulator to take it down to 12vdc (even more heat). Pretty inneficient, but I guess it allowed them to use a standard existing power supply.

 

Just spinning a disk I noticed the 20-30 watt consumption in the 1050 - ill have to document thoroughly like you did since I do have a watts up meter.

 

One more measurement you might want to try is a disk format, since erases take more power than writes.

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Interesting! Sounds like the Indus GT is similarly inneficient as the 1050. It takes 9vac with a regulator to make 5vdc (making heat) and a voltage doubler to make 18vac, then a regulator to take it down to 12vdc (even more heat). Pretty inneficient, but I guess it allowed them to use a standard existing power supply.

 

Just spinning a disk I noticed the 20-30 watt consumption in the 1050 - ill have to document thoroughly like you did since I do have a watts up meter.

 

One more measurement you might want to try is a disk format, since erases take more power than writes.

 

I will check media-format (although I believe RWTEST is more demanding, as it runs at full SIO speed, supported by IndusGT BIOS).

 

As for 1050... Well, I recall mine is WAY MORE inefficient than my IndusGTs. Runs way hotter, much noisier, etc. I will try to setup some measurements for it.

Edited by Faicuai
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Did some quick tests on my 1050's. WST Happy, Tandon Happy, and Tandon USDoubler

 

The biggest thing was that all tests would measure higher consumption initially when the drive was cold, then slowly drop down and settle after about 10 mins..

 

I found my WST/Hong Kong Mech takes about 5W less power compared to a Tandon/Singapore mech when the disk is spinning. Seems the WST 1050 is comparable to your Indus GT, except writes less than the indus.

 

WST Happy 1050

  • 1.5W OFF
  • 13.5W Idle
  • 25W Spinning
  • 26.1W Format Single Density forward, 25.1w Format back (happy formats track 0-39, then does verify 39-0, stock and most other 1050 mods do format-verify of each track 0-39)
  • 25.7W Format Double Density forward, 24.8w Format back - this was done a few minutes later, probably just due to drive warmed up more than SD format
  • 24.5W RWTEST Single Density
  • 24.5W RWTEST Double Density
  • 13.1w Continuous Double Density Sector Read. used spartaDOS 3 RPM utility - (Interesting since Happy has a track buffer, this makes continuous I/O without the drive spinning)

Tandon Happy 1050

  • 14.5W IDLE
  • 30.2W Reading DD Disk. after warmed up dropped to 29.2W
  • 31.1W Format DD Disk Fwd, 29.9W format back
  • 29.7W RWTEST Write
  • 29.2W RWTEST Read

USDoubler Tandon 1050

  • 14.0W Idle
  • 30.3W DD Read - 29.6W after warmup
  • 31W Format Double Density
  • 29.7W Write Double Density
  • 29.7W Read Double Density

my primary 130XE with 320K RAM, Brown XL style PSU CO61982

  • 1.2W Computer DISconnected
  • 1.4W Computer Connected, OFF (I have some OS Select LED's)
  • 13.0W Computer ON, SIDE2 SDX. Idle vs Running applications and SI2 made no difference in consumption
  • 12.1W Computer ON, no cart
  • 13.0W Ultimate Cartridge

Stock 800XL

  • 12.2W SIDE2 SDX
  • 11.4W No Cartridge
  • 12.5W Ultimate Cartridge
  • 11.8W Kaboom! Game Cartridge

Cheers

Edited by Nezgar
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How about Atari 800 power supply, not plugged into anything? Does it use power in that config?

 

I've also got an AC power meter but it's a pesky piece of crap which works when it feels like.

An alternate and probably more accurate method might be to hook up a multimeter in series and measure the amperage. Though I suppose it could be a case where wattage draw is more useful since the PSUs probably suffer some voltage drop under load.

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Any transformer plugged into the wall will use something because they're not 100% efficient. Linear supplies were definitely the way to go in the 70's and early '80s. Switching supplies were more expensive to build and probably would have failed much sooner. By the time the ST came out, they were getting much better, but my original 1040ST supply only lasted a couple years.

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Wow.. 15 and 30W for the 1050 drive.. All of these numbers are very interesting -- Thanks for measuring all of these!.

 

I'm kinda curious how efficient/inefficient the original Atari power bricks are..

Edited by Xebec
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Based on power consumption, looks like you have a Tandon mech 1050 :)

 

It's like the majority of 1050s out there. The rest is a lottery.

 

The only reason I keep this 1050 is because I test-burnt it for long hours, and worked like a champ, with ZERO problems.

 

On rotational-speed test (via 1050 diags. disk), it spins precisely on allowed threshold.

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  • 4 years later...

With all respect, but with what device did you measure ?

 

It looks like you used one of those “energy meters” which are used to see how much energy a device consumes over a period of time. Many, if not most, of these devices are known to be highly inaccurate, _especially_ at low Watt devices like all the components of our Atari setups are.

 

These devices are meant to see how much a refrigerator or washing machine consumes. 
 

it is not suitable for the task you intended to perform.

Edited by Level42
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4 hours ago, Level42 said:

it is not suitable for the task you intended to perform.

We will put this to the test (once I get back home).

 

Two known-loads (approximate), 1st rated at lower-than-Atari consumption, and 2nd rated at much higher (close to x10 times higher than Atari). If there is a significant (aggregate) difference in precision, we should see it there.

 

This is at the A/C outlet, where everything is added up (heat-and-power from the P/S itself and then heat-and-power of the load-device, in this case the Atari).

 

I will post results and pics.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, Level42 said:

These devices are meant to see how much a refrigerator or washing machine consumes

Well, time for a reality check:

 

Load #1: nominal 8.5w, reading 5.1w (this one is on almost 24x7 either a bit exhausted or overrated?)

C0C6664F-71BE-4F32-9857-4A93ED3660D7.thumb.jpeg.3b1f37f2f968341957680ab00d0a0832.jpeg 4E195E55-B384-4F6F-A7F9-A214B98A04B9.thumb.jpeg.cdeeada25a963a3628d71c01b9421301.jpeg

 

Load #2: Nominal 13w, reading 14w:

24EBEFF0-5E65-4E4B-BAC2-6788333F2FA7.thumb.jpeg.96170678bda567ec9c8eabb668588d7c.jpeg C2E7F5A1-9F54-4B93-9E66-8715545CB9E6.thumb.jpeg.d6b49972ef23a735db5786885a87c696.jpeg

 

Load #3: nominal 60w, reading 61w:

651D49FC-8711-426C-B255-B38490935F6D.thumb.jpeg.2087add22c57ea6367eb600f53b6b6cd.jpeg A9AA1A6B-5BE9-4DC8-AA94-316C83757D9B.thumb.jpeg.7b331747a5840b717d47f5b4cfe0ee05.jpeg

 

Load #4: nominal 72w, reading 73w:

5356E63B-D201-4C1A-BD34-65F9208F0246.thumb.jpeg.b2453798abadeb0835996d48be9e5a71.jpeg FEF31C25-A7D0-4E4B-954C-13298F76D015.thumb.jpeg.530544f0592c2ac8428ffbc4c35e68e8.jpeg

 

So there you go. We are not yet at home-appliances power levels, and I can't detect anything abnormal here, at the outlet, where all aggregate load shows up.

 

I think the real issue here, instead, is to start wondering about the actual EFFICIENCY of our older, linear power-supplies... because if we assume it to be (say) 65%, that means 35% of total reported draw will be lost to heat... So from my prior estimation, that takes from 1.88 amps to 1.22 amps of device-driven load, but that would mean a STEADY draw, with no transient peaks or draws from power-ups, and other device's peak-activity, etc.

 

In short, a max. of 2.0 amps (@ 5.0v DC) of REAL juice seems a solid bet, and reasonable. Atari's original 1.5 amps seems right on the mark.

 

 

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Should also note what your mains voltage is - A 60W bulb uses 60W @ 120V - it will use less if the voltage is below 120V, or more if above. 61W is pretty close though - so maybe your mains voltage is slightly above 120V...

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On 7/8/2017 at 11:49 PM, Faicuai said:

IndusGT drive consumes SIGNIFICANTLY less power than 1050

Except that at idle the 1050 (~13W) is significantly less wasteful than the IndusGT (~16.5W) -in part it would seem because of the Indus's inefficient power supply.

 

As the drive will likely spend an order of magnitude more time idle than active, overall I suspect the 1050 is saving you a few watts and cents, even taking into account the faster operation of the Indus (reducing time active)...

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44 minutes ago, Nezgar said:

so maybe your mains voltage is slightly above 120V...

Good point...

 

For this one I hooked up the Fluke 99B scope-meter, and I am getting 120.0 V rms AC, solid. and 0.000v DC.

 

So it could be a 1w parasitic drag, somewhere in there (either by the power-meter itself or the bulb itself and its socket / switch).

 

Not a major deviation at all, but the meter seems to resolve down to 0.1 watts on-screen. Realistically, may be +/- 0.3w, which means a 1.0w difference should be externally produced.

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30 minutes ago, drpeter said:

I suspect the 1050 is saving you a few watts and cents, even taking into account the faster operation of the Indus (reducing time active)...

?

 

Yes sir, the numbers support you clearly!

 

And that got me thinking if I should re-do the Indus/GT sampling with Track-Buffering and high-speed SIO code locked-and-loaded... Maybe even higher?

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1 hour ago, Faicuai said:

I think the real issue here, instead, is to start wondering about the actual EFFICIENCY of our older, linear power-supplies...

Ok, I am trying here to find some light on this with some (real?) numbers...

 

The following readout comes from SuperSalt's external HW fixture being read from diagnostics code:

 

55F61DC5-0BAF-473D-AABE-B90B9F44D2F7.thumb.jpeg.6282153fab3d7e80e57a7944c735cee0.jpeg

 

Can anyone here confirm, please, if my theory of multiplying [MC+] x [VI+] = drawn wattage between external AC power block and A800 power-board?

 

I have noticed that [VI+] always goes UP every time I plug anything on the system...

 

I am pulling out the 800 for this because these SuperSalt VI +/- readouts ONLY show in Colleen mode.

 

Maybe I can estimate the efficiency of the external block, but I am not sure about the internal power-board efficieny (which is a bit more complex, because it generates +5, -5 and +12v DC, coming from 9v A/C... ?)

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  • 3 weeks later...

"theory of multiplying [MC+] x [VI+] = drawn wattage"

I did understand some electronics before but may I ask what is MC+ and VI+????

Maybe I just have for got the terms...

Did you figure in POWER FACTOR.  That has a lot to do with "REAL POWER" and "Apparent POWER". Most watt meters are Apparent pwr, Not real... Need to check spec's...

And no it does not change anything..The power you draw for the Atari and stuff is what it is..

Can switching power supplies work better...Maybe, depends on the PS. Some have very little output filtering and will interfere with your video and or audio...

Switching freq. may vary according to load and input voltage..Linear power supply, while draw a little current are 60 cycles and don't interfere with anything. Well maybe if the filter cap's are bad 60 or 120 cycles will cause real problems in the logic.

 

Peter

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2 hours ago, Peter Rabitt said:

may I ask what is MC+ and VI+????

That's an excellent question, sir! And, to be honest, I do not have the foggiest idea. Not even on SuperSalt manual.

 

I am not sure you are aware, but... The SuperSalt test assembly used to get the readings shown above, has two a/c power ports: one goes to the external A/C supply, and the other goes to Atari... The assembly actually "taps" on the power-line between the Atari and external 9v A/C supply.

 

My questions comes out of repeated empirical observation, tests and comparisons to external reference (e.g. watt-meter on main A/C outlet where 9v power-supply connects). I have noticed that multiplying [MC+] and [VI+] tracks closely the external power readings minus p/s efficiency factor, without mentioning confirmed positive correlation between [VI+] and system load: the both move in tandem and in the same direction, which makes me wonder if [VI+] actually relates to current (amps) flow...

 

So it is just my educated guess, and was wondering what others thought about this...

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OK,after looking thru the Manual, online, I think the MC is motor control and the VI is (volt current)  a current for the AC line... MAYBE....

Looks like a very interesting test box... If the VI changes as you add or subtract things it would indicate that is what it is, maybe..

You could check and see if the MC is motor control by turning on a disk drive or a ?? tape drive ?? .

 

Good luck...

 

Peter

 

Edited by Peter Rabitt
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