Atari Stacy

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A new inmate (2009), I wish I had it 20 years ago!

What's in the box? What can you do with it? Disassembling

A gift from Jean Lusetti, the author of Vision, the true color image manager. The Stacy is a portable ST... But a heavy one! 8Kg.

What's in the box?
  1. CPU Motorola 68000, 16/32 bits, 8MHz
  2. Ram 1MB, max 4MB replacing a daughter board
  3. LCD monochrom display 640x400, other color ST modes with an external monitor.
  4. Internal SCSI HD 2 MB
  5. trackball or (with a switch) external mouse and joystick.
  6. Sound on a Yamaha chip.
  7. serial 19200 bauds, MIDI, centronics, external floppy port
  8. DMA and cartridge port
  9. Full keyboard with numeric pad
  10. No battery, only the external power supply...


The rear panel
Here you find the standard ports of an Atari ST.
You'll notice a room for the battery, but Atari never could get a better autonomy than 15-20 minutes, so this was abandonned.


The right side
On the right side, a switch allows you to select between the trackball and the external mouse. You also have the joystick port.
I really like this t-ball, much better than the touchpads found on the new laptops. For games, you'll prefer a real mouse...


The left side
Here is the power switch and two traps.
The first one gives access to the cartridge port (or Rom port) and the second one to... nothing! I imagine that something like a MegaBus was prepared but never released.


Under the Stacy
Two metal parts close the access to the ROM and RAM. To change the TOS, just replace the two ROM chips! For the RAM, only the Stacy 2 has a SIMMS extension. On my Stacy 1, I can't do anything to increase the ram size without soldering or replacing the RAM/ROM daughter board.


The power problem!
With the Stacy, I didn't get the power unit. But, happily, the connector is a standard one and I was able to use the PSU of a Compaq 486.
I just had to swap the polarity cutting the wire.


The display
The display is fine but dark despite the contrast and light tuning. The LCD panel is lightened with a electroluminecent backpanel. This last loses its efficiency year after year.


What can you do with it?

If you don't want to use an external monitor, then you're limited to a monochrom display and you start your hunt for the monochrom software. Here's what I've found...


The games


Esprit
I installed Esprit, Oxyd, Oxyd Magnum, Zak McKraken, Monkey Island, Patience, Go Up, Bolo. I'll find more, no doubt...

Patience


Office


Script
Script for writing, Everest as a simple text editor. Calcomat for spreadsheet. Textomat is a problem as it always wants to access the floppy unit.

Calcomat


Programmation


GFA Basic 3

Forth STE
I installed the GFA Basic 3, my Forth STE and Assemble.

Assemble


Tools


Kobold
Kobold for the copy, ST Trans for a serial link to get sofware from my other Ataris, HexEdit as hexadecimal editor, XBoot to create different sets of boot configurations.

XBoot


Animation

Sound and images are correctly rendered with MP_STE! But the refresh rate of the display is too low, so you can see consecutive images at the same time, especially when the animation is fast.
Other problem is that with no DMA sound, the Yamaha chip is programmed via an interruption that takes a lot of CPU time. So the global result is not as good as on a STE.

MPlayer STE
Disassembling

It's a really delicate operation! I thought I'd never complete it and I'll never try it twice...
For those who like sensations, here is how I started...

First step
Remove the sticker "Atari Stacy" under the display, this reveals two screws you'll have to unscrew. Once this is done, you can remove sofly the back part of the display.


Second step
Then, remove everything that hold the cables that run from the screen to the mother board. Cables must be free. Then try tu pull enough length of those cables inside the central unit. The only way to take the upper and lower parts of the computer is to get enought length between them. Else, they remain tied.


Third step
Turn your machine upside down and remove the screws.
  • Don't forget the one under the warranty sticker (in green)
  • Don't forget the two ones on the rear panel (in red)
  • The two screws that hold the metal parts can be left (in yellow)


Last step

You can now disassemble the upper and lower parts of the computer. Unfortunately, I don't have photos of my work because I was so concentrated and stressed that I forgot to take some. Inside, you'll discover some boards:

15 décembre 2007