An Atari ST Rises From The Ashes

We’ve all made rash and impulsive online purchasing decisions at times. For [Drygol] the moment came when he was alerted to an Atari 1040STe 16-bit home computer with matching monitor at a very advantageous price.

Unfortunately for him, the couriers were less than careful with his new toy. What arrived was definitely an ST, but new STs didn’t arrive in so many pieces of broken ABS. Still, at least the computer worked, so there followed an epic of case repair at the end of which lay a very tidy example of an ST.

He did have one lucky break, the seller had carefully wrapped everything in shrink-wrap so no fragments had escaped. So carefully applying acetone to stick the ABS together he set to work on assembling his unexpected 3D jigsaw puzzle. The result needed a bit of filler and some sanding, but when coupled with a coat of grey paint started to look very like an ST case that had just left the factory. Adding  modern SD card and USB/Ethernet interfaces to the finished computer delivered a rather useful machine as you can see in the video below the break.

If you aren’t familiar with the Atari ST, it was a line of 68000-based home computers available from 1985 to 1993. At the time it was something of an object of desire, with customers including your then-youthful scribe torn over whether to choose it or Commodore’s Amiga. You were more likely to see an ST in the hands of a musician than any other home computer of the day due to its built-in MIDI interface, and it was not uncommon to still see STs being used by bands long after the machines had finished production. [Drygol]’s STE is a later “enhanced” model, featuring a more capable version of the ST graphics chipset. Sadly the ST hasn’t featured here at Hackaday as often as some of its competitors, however we have featured an FPGA-based implementation of an ST and a rather sacrilegious repurposing of an ST case with PC internals.

19 thoughts on “An Atari ST Rises From The Ashes

  1. I had one of the original 520st’s when they first came out. About a year later I was working for a computer store that was the largest retailer of them in the area doing warranty repairs. Best quick fix that made us look like miracles workers… You’d take it in the back out of site… Grasp each end of the case and give it a good twist!! This reseated some of the socketed IC’s, and we had a happy customer. For a while. ;)

  2. I still have my 520st that had a mem upgrade using a really hacky ‘press pins onto plcc socket on top of other plcc chip’ thing going on. it doubled my ram and gave me a full MEGABYTE of ram. wow. was cool back then.

    I am going to sell my 520 and the drives and 2 monitors that went with it. wonder if anyone needs one? I’ve been lugging those 2 stupid displays around (one was color, one was mono; and many of us bought both) for so many decades now, house move to house move, I’m sick of seeing it!

    there was a mod back then, that let you interface a DEC lk201 (iirc) keyboard to the atari and use the keyboard from DEC instead. I did that mod and was going to remote mount the st board into a pc chassis of some kind but never fully got that done. lost interest and then the next gen of intel pc came along and I made the jump to that.

    there was an adaptec scsi controller and host adapter that adapted old old scsi1 drives to the ST. I have that, too, but I think it had a coin cell batt on it and if it used that to save configs, well, they’re long gone now.

      1. Nobody’s too bothered by misspellings anymore, unless it’s obviously on purpose. I used to correct people like a douche, until I got this phone! Auto-correct is terrible! Micro$oft word is 20 times better than my spell-check; I finally gave up and disabled it. :)

        Is your neighbor willing to sell those? Worth good money now!

    1. I still have two STs and an Atari Falcon, which are in use nearly daily.

      I use the STe and Falcon for music production (The Falcon has excellent Synth capabilities due to it’s DSP chip) and my daughter and I love to play games on them.

      The Atari community is small, but we’re still around.

    1. I’m sure that is the same courier that delivered a high res. Epson flatbed scanner to me from fleabay the other day. It arrived bubble wrapped, but with the case smashed into about forty pieces. Hot glue and epoxy saved the day. It only cost £1 but that’s not the point.

  3. I owned a an Atari 520ST with a sound sampling cartridge. I made Max Headroom answering machine tapes for people utilizing their voices. I had friends lining up around the corner for a tape. :)

  4. I’ve got the 1040 STe in 1990, Played Prince of Persia and Lemmings. Later discovered 3D CAD and made nice textured raytraced renderings with it. A single full screen rendering took 2-7 hours! Got the Assembler development kit later and made a vector mapping program.

  5. I’ve got a bunch of 520ST, 1040ST and MegaST, and I love to repair and hack them. Although, honestly, I wouldn’t have patience for that game of puzzle, I’d simply dump the case… I’ve got some spares, you know :)

  6. I bought a 1040ST with monitor after considering whether to buy it or an Amiga 1000. I went with the Atari simply because of the lower system price. Loved it. Vastly more capability for the money that any Apple or IBM PC of the day. Still, if you’d walk into a PC store and make the mistake of saying that you owned one when asked what computer type you owned, you’d get comments like, “Well, we don’t sell arcade game computers here.”

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