Reserrecting my old A420/1

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mark71
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Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by mark71 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:25 pm

Hi All

Just thought i'd pass on some notes for others in the future, i have been spending my free time on lock down, going through my retro collection and see what works and doesn't and repairing them to get working.

Today was reserecting the A420/1 and putting the Beeb back together after a complete re-cap and clean. A little bit of history on the A420/1, i bought the A420/1 new back around 1989/90 can't remember precisely, i traded in my A3000 for this down at Beebug. Then sold it to my sister when buying the A5000, who gave it back some years later, free comupter sort of.... Coming forward to the present day, i decided after working aborad for nearly 10 years to fire the old girl up....

First problem to solve was the battery issue, needless to say it, the duracells that were in there was dead, one had burst and the other not much better, been in there since the beginning, never changed them.... so get them out, drill out the battery box and clean it up, put it back with some new batterys, along with cleaning up the fan unit as the filter had dissintegrated into powder....

Next problem, no monitor to plug it into that uses the 15pin lead, i'd taken the monitor to the tip some years ago as these things take up a lot of space.. Luckilly i still had the AFK18 that came with the A5000, and it still worked!, plugged it into a PC laptop, picture!. So how to connect it to the A420, some googling and searching this forums, found someone who used a 15pin to VGA adaptor, even had a amazon link, still in bussiness so ordered one and it arrived, plugged it in and it booted, with the beep, with delete key pressed down.

Next problem, floppy drive was sticky and not detecting it the disc's, take it out, take lid off and see that the 4 bearings on the carriage where stuck, some drops of WD40 on the bearings freed things up, put it back together and fired it up and try out lemmings demo from an old AU disc, i still have many old stuff, the wife go's crazy about all the junk i have, hmm...

Next problem, still had RiscOS 2 in it so ordered some 3.11 Roms, they arrived today, fitted them and nothing, had forgot to change the jumpers for the larger rooms, time to read the instructions off the internet... Still have the 3.1 Roms from the A5000 and the 3.5 Roms for the RiscPC, as fitted a StrongArm card many years ago, don't chuck anything away generally.....

So after that fire the old girl up and load Elite, yes!, one working 32bit Acorn out of 3, the A5000, and RiscPC have suffered the battery corrosion, i think the A5000 board is salvageable, The RiscPC issue 1 board maybe not be as damage greater, might work with a seperate battery board.

Final problem is the harddrive, after over 10years of not working and old age the ST-506 when clicking on the icon in 3.11 it hangs then gives a disc error, RiscOS 2.0 it just froze the machine. So it think this is beyond all hope of life, will give it a good soak test and see if it comes back to life, and get any data on it off.

But going through floppies i have seems that they have survived quite well and quite robust with many working. Have a Version 1 AlephOne 486 Podule card to put back in it and network card to, also have a Acorn Replay Card that was in the RiscPC i used to play around with video capture and a few others.

Picture below is Elite running from a free version from an old AU disc.

Question:-

Any one have any secret tips in getting a ST-506 running, its a Rodine drive?....

P.S The beeb booted first time, loud beeb compared to the Electron's i have, the daughter likes playing Hopper on the Elk :). Tomorrow will try and fix the BBC Master 3 keys not working, machine boots well after the new caps, the old ones went pop and smoke :). Then have another look at the A5000 and RiscPC, don't like them being poorly and not working.

Mark
IMG_5774.jpg

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IanS
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by IanS » Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:44 am

mark71 wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:25 pm
Final problem is the harddrive, after over 10years of not working and old age the ST-506 when clicking on the icon in 3.11 it hangs then gives a disc error, RiscOS 2.0 it just froze the machine. So it think this is beyond all hope of life, will give it a good soak test and see if it comes back to life, and get any data on it off.
Well done getting your machine as far as you have. Unfortuntely I suspect the HD is probably dead. You may get lucky and revive it long enough to get data off it, but it's unlikely.

I can offer a modern(ish) replacement in the form of an IDE podule. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16877#p233356
(They fit in a post box, so can post it on my daily "exercise")

mark71
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by mark71 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 7:44 am

Hi Ian

Sounds like a plan, PM with a contact method, would like the formatted 512mb option :D .

Mark

mark71
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by mark71 » Sun Apr 05, 2020 8:03 am

IanS wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:44 am
mark71 wrote:
Sat Apr 04, 2020 9:25 pm
Final problem is the harddrive, after over 10years of not working and old age the ST-506 when clicking on the icon in 3.11 it hangs then gives a disc error, RiscOS 2.0 it just froze the machine. So it think this is beyond all hope of life, will give it a good soak test and see if it comes back to life, and get any data on it off.
Well done getting your machine as far as you have. Unfortuntely I suspect the HD is probably dead. You may get lucky and revive it long enough to get data off it, but it's unlikely.

I can offer a modern(ish) replacement in the form of an IDE podule. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16877#p233356
(They fit in a post box, so can post it on my daily "exercise")
Hi Ian

Sounds like a plan, PM with a contact method, would like the formatted 512mb option :D .

Mark

TimoHartong
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by TimoHartong » Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:32 pm

What helped with me is switch it on after a moment switch it off and do that a couple of times. You can be lucky that the ST506 comes back to life.

mark71
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by mark71 » Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:14 pm

TimoHartong wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:32 pm
What helped with me is switch it on after a moment switch it off and do that a couple of times. You can be lucky that the ST506 comes back to life.
Hi Tim

I tried that, but it is dead as a door nail, but all my floppies seem to be ok so, once the drive is replaced with a modern solid state device will be busy transferring the data onto it then to back it up via network, do have a old Zip drive so will see if that works as maybe a solution to get the data out of the machine.

Mark

Kazzie
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by Kazzie » Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:43 am

mark71 wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:14 pm
TimoHartong wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:32 pm
What helped with me is switch it on after a moment switch it off and do that a couple of times. You can be lucky that the ST506 comes back to life.
Hi Tim

I tried that, but it is dead as a door nail, but all my floppies seem to be ok so, once the drive is replaced with a modern solid state device will be busy transferring the data onto it then to back it up via network, do have a old Zip drive so will see if that works as maybe a solution to get the data out of the machine.

Mark
Having looked into it briefly with my A420/1, I seem to recall that parallel zip drives are only compatible with newer Acorn machines, as the A400/1 series only have a unidirectional parallel port.

Mind you, I didn't actually go as far as plugging things in and trying it...
BBC Model B 32k issue 7, Sidewise ROM board with 16K RAM
Archimedes 420/1 upgraded to 4MB RAM, ZIDEFS with 512MB CF card
Acorn System 1 home-made replica

mark71
Posts: 33
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:14 am
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Re: Reserrecting my old A420/1

Post by mark71 » Tue Apr 07, 2020 1:15 pm

Kazzie wrote:
Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:43 am
mark71 wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 9:14 pm
TimoHartong wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:32 pm
What helped with me is switch it on after a moment switch it off and do that a couple of times. You can be lucky that the ST506 comes back to life.
Hi Tim

I tried that, but it is dead as a door nail, but all my floppies seem to be ok so, once the drive is replaced with a modern solid state device will be busy transferring the data onto it then to back it up via network, do have a old Zip drive so will see if that works as maybe a solution to get the data out of the machine.

Mark
Having looked into it briefly with my A420/1, I seem to recall that parallel zip drives are only compatible with newer Acorn machines, as the A400/1 series only have a unidirectional parallel port.

Mind you, I didn't actually go as far as plugging things in and trying it...
You are probably right, been a long while since i used it and the old brain has dimmed a bit..... will give it a go just in case.....

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