View Full Version : after 3 amigas, i think i would like to have an Atari ST - info please

26th October 2010, 13:52
Dont' kill me...
I have 1 600 ; 1 1200 ; 1 A1200 tower
but i allways liked the Atari ST ... not so much as Amiga, but...i want to have one

so... ST ; STE; STM ; 512/1040....
Can anyone give me some info about them....

some simple questions:

1) witch ones can i connect to my TV with Scart cable ? STM ? Is it the same cable then the miggy?
2) witch ones are monitor only (1st 512 ?)
3) what is the average price for them? are they easy to get in ebay/amibay ?
4) and what about expansions... if later, i want to put HD... witch models support hd?


26th October 2010, 16:22
As you might remember, I'm also a fan of the Atari ST. I don't like them as much as the Amiga, but I owned an ST before any Amigas so have fond memories of my STdays.

As for which model to get... Get either the STFM or the STE. Don't get anything older. In the ST lettering model naming, M= built in TV modulator and F= built in floppy drive. The original ST (no extra letters) didn't have a modulator or built in floppy drive. The STM had a modulator but no internal floppy drive and the STF doesn't have a TV modulator fitted so can only be connected to a display from its monitor port. Whereas the STFM and STE both have modulators so can be connected via a TV ariel socket, which is a good backup if you don't have a compatible monitor.

In answer to your questions.

1, All STs can be connected to a TV via SCART cable. The scart cable has to connect to the ST's monitor port and all STs have this. But it isn't the same as the Amiga cable. They use completely different wiring and the ST's monitor socket is a round 11 pin plug that isn't anything like the Amigas RGB port. I had to make my own ST scart cable. I managed to find someone on ebay selling the 11 pin connectors that fit the ST's monitor port and a schematic for the wiring. The cable also has to have some resisters added because the luminance is too high from the ST and makes the image too bright. I can try to find the ebay seller for the sockets if you are interested, and can let you have a copy of the schematic.

2, As I mentioned above, all ST's with M in their name have a TV modulator so work with a TV. So the STM and STFM. All others are monitor only. All STE's also have a modulator and will work with a TV. Also, the Mega STs, TTs etc are monitor only.

3, They tend to command quite a high price. Aroun 25 - 40 for a good STFM and 35 - 60 for an STE. Although I managed to get an STE with 4MB ram for 40 recently.

4, Expansions are not like the Amiga. It is not easy to add anything to the ST. With the STE it has simm sockets internally making it easy to expand up to 4MB of ram using 4x 1MB 30pin SIMMs. But all older models cannot have their ram expanded easily and require soldering and some electronics work done to them.

For HDDs there is no internal solution. STs don't have internal IDE or proper expansion slots like the Amiga. The only way is via the external HDD socket on the back of the ST, and this is a proprietary HDD connector and HDD type. It won't work with normal SCSI or IDE HDDs, but instead uses something called ACSI which is like a simplified SCSI. If you are lucky enough to find an original Atari Hardfile external HDD these are rare and go for over 100 all the time. There do exist ACSI-SCSI adapters to use external SCSI hdds with the ST but they are rare.

Recent projects in the community called UltraSatan (http://joo.kie.sk/ultrasatan/) and SatanDisk (http://joo.kie.sk/satandisk/) exist and allow you to use SD and MMC memory cards like a harddrive and connect them to the ST using the ASCI port. I've linked to both projects for you, but you will need to try to either locate someone who is making one of these, or try to make one yourself. I've been interested in one of these for some time but not found anyone yet.

So for the best model, I would say try to get an STE. It doesn't matter which model. An 520STE or 1040STE as you can easily upgrade the ram to 4MB (4160STE) and I have some spare 1MB 30 pin SIMMS if you find you need some.

If you can't find a decent STE then try to find a 1040STFM. But even the 520STFM will run most games and software.

The STE has the advantage of the newer TOS rom support and can run the newer STE only demos and games, although there were not that many. Also the STE has 4 channel stereo sound with stereo phono connectors on the back, whereas the STFM only has 3 channel mono and this is fed via the modulator to the TV.

26th October 2010, 17:28
All STs can be connected to a TV via SCART cable. The scart cable has to connect to the ST's monitor port and all STs have this

- Is the image with that cable (st monitor port -> scart) better then the modulator like the miggy?

- if i get a STM with no floppy, can i get an external floppy easly? Does that drive loads the same way as an internal? Can i convert a Pc floppy?

- can i convert the normal cable st pin monitor to st monitor into a st pin monitor scart? this cable should allready have those resisters so it's just changing the end of the cable...(?)

My major problem is that shipping to Portugal is more expensive then the ST itself ....
when i was searching from my A1200 UK or Germain sellers would ask +/- 35/45 euros ...
for only a bit more i would pay a trip in easyjet to london to get it personaly ... and i thought a lot about it... i like to fly a lot, so it would be cool...
i would go to london, buy the ST and bring it as hand luggage maybe... the st in plane cargo could be a problem... many times they kick the bags hard...

27th October 2010, 03:04
Something else I forgot to mention is ST floppy drives. They are not all the same. Earlier models only had single sided drives and so cannot read a lot of game disks which are double sided. A lot of earlier STF's only had single sided drives, and I think the drives that came with STM and ST models were single sided. So it is best to stick with getting either an STFM or STE. The STE is the best model to get if you can find one in good condition. It has all the plus points of the STFM with the added bonus of the upgraded hardware design of the E (enhanced) model.

As for the image. The image using a scart cable from the monitor port is a huge improvement over the modulator output and I would say it even greater than the difference on an Amiga between modulator and scart. One other thing to consider with the ST scart is audio. As standard the ST outputs most audio in the mono 3 channels and most games will use these sound channels. This comes from a couple of the pins in the monitor port, and you can wire it to send the audio this way into the scart input on the TV. In addition the STE added stereo 4 channel audio. This was actually separate from the original ST 3 channel mono sound, so the STE could output both. You can make the scart cable to combine these both, but the 4 channel stereo is only output through the stereo photo outputs on the STE so the cable has to include 2 phono connectors on the ST end, and wired into the audio channel on the scart connector on the other end.

Regarding converting cables. It is quite hard to find ST monitor cables as it is. Probably easier to find scart cables. But i had trouble finding anything when I needed one last year so ended up just finding the connectors and making my own using an existing scart cable. Using a multimeter to test the wires is easy enough, but quite time consuming. Soldering each individual wire onto the scart end and ST connector end, but I got it working in the end.

Something else I didn't mention much about is the ST TOS rom. The ST has 2 roms that make up the TOS. As newer models were made the TOS got upgraded with better features, although the built in GEM desktop was never that good and horrible compared to Workbench. The STE did improve it quite a bit with TOS 1.6 and upwards. It isn't completely straight forward to upgrade TOS roms though. Unlike the Amiga where you can just swap them over, on the ST some will be found to be soldered onto the motherboard so will require removal and a socket fitted to upgrade them. Where as other STs will have socketed roms already. However you can't just swap the roms over as there are also 4 jumpers that need setting next to the roms depending on what is being fitted. But it gets worst. These jumpers are not actual jumpers but soldered points on the motherboard with resisters soldered into them for the current required settings. So to upgrade the TOS roms you have to get the soldering iron out and desolder the existing resistors from them, solder in some jumper posts, and only then will you be able to swap over TOS roms. It makes the Amiga look brilliant as Commodore allowed users to upgrade their Amiga hardware without hassle and no soldering icons in site. So far everything I've ever wanted to do on an ST regarding upgrading seems to involve soldering something. About the only thing that didn't is STE ram upgrading.

27th October 2010, 04:08
Thought it worth mentioning that there are currently a couple of STs for sale on Amibay. One of them is an STE upgraded to 4MB for 50 + shipping from the UK.

And regarding shipping. You should be able to get a much cheaper shipping/postage price using parcels2go.com I've shipped large, heavy items to the continent for under 20. Some some to the USA too for not much more.

27th October 2010, 09:54
Thanks for the info harrison.
I need to start looking for the Atari, but not so soon, i spend more money this last month that i wanted, so must check my finances...

The ST size should be around:

18 1/2 X 9 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches +/- 46cm x 24cm x 6cm

the maximum size por hand lunggage is an airplane is a total of 115 cm of X,Y,Z with 6KG

What should be the weight of the ST + PSU under 6kg??

I am cheking if i can bring it abord the plane.... it would be a good excuse to go to London... and sometimes trpis with easyjet are very cheap... it would be cool to get an ST there.

27th October 2010, 13:16
The ST PSU is internal to the main ST so is always a part of the system. As for actual dimensions. Measuring an STE i have here the maximum dimensions of the system itself are 48cm x 30cm x 8cm. As for the weight. I have an STFM here in its original box so it will weigh more than on its own, but as a rough idea that box weighs about 7KG.

As an idea of postage i entered the boxed STFM's details into parcels2go.com for you just to see how much shipping it to Portugal would cost. And it could be shipped for 23.49 using the parcelforce Euro 48 service.

27th October 2010, 13:25
Thanks Harrison, i need to study a bit about it. :-)