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Games wont run and bombs on screen

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Hi there guys, so after talking to some of my friends about the problems with my 1040 STe, we wernt able to figure out whats wrong, so they suggested that I post on here and see if anybody can help me.

Basically, almost every game I try to load either gives me a black screen after the main screen or it shows bombs or goes red and freezes.


Ive only owned my owned my Atari 1040 STe for about 5 month and Ive only gotten some games for it in the last 2 weeks, so I dont have much of history with it.


Here are a couple videos I uploaded to youtube that can probably show you better than I can describe.





Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated, thanks!

Edited by anime4ever
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Well......not to be rude but I was looking for some advice other than being told to have someone repair it......I mean thats kind of a given that it needs to be repaired. Are you saying that its not possible from the videos Ive posted that someone cant narrow down the field a bit and maybe tell me what parts to inspect myself? Ive repaired several old video game systems in the past but Ive not really worked much with computers.

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I'm not an Atari STe guy, but here are some tips:

Find diagnostic sw put it on 720KB PC disk, run it see if it finds any problems, maybe memory is bad.

Remove the cover, push all the chips in, check if some chips get hotter then usual.

Swap memory, or use less to see if it crashes, I'm not sure how much RAM you have.


Link to error codes: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=15500

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There was reason why I started my first reply here with "make it younger" .

What now happens is not like it was 20 years ago - when some component broke, you needed to find which and replace.

Now Ataris are 26-32 year old, and there are many weakened components - which still work, but not as good as in better (younger) days.

Rule is that in case of errors like this (btw. videos are really bad - how about staying with cam on screen ?) need to replace capacitors - in PSU ...

So, if you are skilled with soldering and buying components - replace electrolyte capacitors for start.

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amiman99 gave you some good pointers.


Google around and see if you can download some Atari ST diagnostic software to run some tests. See if there is anything wrong with any of the major subsystems.


Check out GEMBENCH or there is a RAM test program here: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/101549-st-disgnostic-or-test-software/


The videos don't give us much to go on. CPU and ROM appear to be working at boot, floppy sounds normal. Video is displaying. I assume the mouse and keyboard are not exhibiting any problems.


Re-seating chips and checking for any that might be extremely hot is one approach. Also visually check for any swelling or burst capacitors. Check for any custom mods a previous owner might have installed. Many were installed badly and just need to be removed.


The PSU is a basic +5V/+12V/GND and is clearly marked so you could rig up an alternative using any PC power supply if you have the knowledge and skills. It wouldn't be pretty but it would allow you to rule the PSU in/out of the list of possible culprits.


It might also be the case that nothing is wrong.


You've shown us two games, How many have you tried? Floppy disks are quite fragile . The floppy disks may well have failed after all these years.


Have you tried formatting a spare disks to see if the floppy drive will access all tracks on both sides?


The ST is also an awkward machine. Do you know which TOS you have? TOS 2.06 caused all manner of problems with games. TOS 1.62 was better. The video looks like North America, so is this machine NTSC/60Hz? I have Rainbow Islands (I think cracked by ParanoidLittleMan) which just hangs on a black screen in 60Hz mode, but runs fine in 50Hz. You can get a 60Hz/50Hz switcher to put in the AUTO folder, but I don't know if you could then boot a commercial disk after. I'm assuming you don't have a hard drive?


How much RAM do you have? The case says 1040STe but case lids got swapped all the time. Maybe you only have 512K and the games are crashing because they need more? The diagnostic tool will tell you, or take the lid off and look. Reseat the RAM chips while you're in there.


Where are you located? There are several shows where you might be able to connect with other Atari enthusiasts who might be able to offer more hands on help.


Good luck,



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oracle_jedi: I appreciate your effort, but I'm afraid that it was little too much, and will confuse anime4ever (if he will come back here at all) .

Yes, there are many possibilities. What is sure is that this is not refresh rate error - so why talking about it here ?

It was obvious that it is without hard drive - from floppies - although I guess that would be much better to accent it in text, and not in videos :)

And worse, he said "almost every game I tried ...:" yet, you asking how many games he tried ....


Then, since I was mentioned with "cracked by ParanoidLittleMan" - seriously ? All you see in some hard disk adaptation (or may call it even patch) is crack ?

FYI - in most of cases (99%) copy protection is easy part, often takes only 5-10 minutes to remove it. And I need to remove it better than when it should run from floppies. Because there are many cracks which just change compare function somewhere, but do not deactivate whole code what accessing floppy to check WP. I need to completely remove all floppy access. And that may need + time.


The reason why I don't care for 60 Hz is that people not asked me for it. Only in very rare cases. Someone mailed me that Potsworth & Co. freezes at start, and he gave short description of his system, so was clear that it is 60 Hz. And I was able to test it in emulator in 1 minute. That game version just works not at 60 Hz. So, only way is to run at 50 Hz. - and I added switch to 50 Hz at very start. Stupid UK coders ! :-D In many cases it works at 60 Hz too, but not so good - too fast music for instance, graphic errors ..

STE with 512KB RAM - that's was rare then, now is like winning on lottery - considering chances :D This games work with 512KB RAM.

Edited by ParanoidLittleMan
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This won't be much help, but the number of "bombs" you see on the screen corresponds to the 68000 exception number. A partial list:


2 - bus error

3 - address error

4 - illegal instruction

5 - divide by zero


All these would normally indicate that somehow that data or program have been corrupted. This could occur when data is read into memory (something wrong with a peripheral), or could occur if the memory is faulty. This is why some type of diagnostic will be needed in order to isolate the cause.

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Rampage brought up 2 Bombs on the screen but its the only game to do so.


I have three floppy drives and all of them ran into the exact same issues. I also went through after opening it up and pushed down all the chips.


Also, all of the games I tried were 512kb and out of 12 games, the only games to load all the way and allow me to play was Air Bucks and Millennium 2.2.

By the way, I have to apologize, I made a big mistake at the beginning, my Atari ST is an Atari STf not an Atari STe.


I dont have a PC that I can download a diagnostic program from and then write it to a floppy. My only option for something like that would be for me to buy a Gotek (or an Ultra Satan) and then run the diagnostics that way.

The TOS just says 1985 on the screen, so Im assuming that is outdated, so once again a Gotek would enable me to upgrade that if that is part of the problem.


Some good news at least is that if its the PSU, I have a spare one that a friend can send me.

By the way, thanks to everyone that has taken the time to help me so far, its all very much appreciated.

Edited by anime4ever
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Great ! Now many things are more clear. If it says 1985 it is TOS 1.00. And it is not bad for games.

There are ways to transfer files to Atari via serial or parallel port, or even via cartridge port, so you must not write floppies on PC. But that costs some money too.

Don't see what Gotek has with outdated TOS version. TOS upgrade means replacing ROM chips in computer. Gotek replaces floppy drive. UltraSatan is even better - if in nothing else - you don't need to open computer - although better update TOS then too.


But you really should to start with PSU. Just test it with another one (proved, I guess). and then will be smarter.

To add that soon or later will need to get rid of floppies. So, if you plan this for longer ...

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Ok so Im from BC, Canada and my buddy with the extra PSU is in the UK, so itll be a little bit before I receive it.

In the meantime, I'll order a Gotek this payday and go about running a diagnostic (cant afford a UltraSatan right now)

Sorry about the TOS, I just figured it was like any other OS and could just be updated.

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Well BC is a big place, but if you're anywhere close to the border, note that we are having the SRGE show in Seattle on June 16/17.


Its really more console oriented than personal/home computer, but I will be there, and would be happy to give you a couple of 720K disks with ST diagnostics software and the Rainbow Islands game that wasn't cracked by ParanoidLittleMan. If you wanted to schlep the ST down with you, I could bring my UltraSATAN and you could try a bunch of programs and games to see what does and does not work.


Seems like your on the right track but I figured I'd throw that out if you're heading this way.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ok so Im from BC, Canada and my buddy with the extra PSU is in the UK, so itll be a little bit before I receive it.


In the meantime, I'll order a Gotek this payday and go about running a diagnostic (cant afford a UltraSatan right now)


Sorry about the TOS, I just figured it was like any other OS and could just be updated.


You're planning on using a UK power supply with an ST originally built for North America?

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