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Thread: Coleco ADAM: A journey in to madness?

  1. #11
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    ...And so the moding / upgrade process begins:

    PSU components not here as yet, but for now the "factory PSU" will do.

    What has arrived today is another Digital Data Drive:

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    If Two Will Fit I Will Have Two

    I'm led to believe two drives are a bit of an extravagance but I can now corrupt Data Packs twice as fast! Also I'm having some initial thoughts as to how I might be able to bodge an SD card in to one of these things... long term ambition.


    Also my 8x4164 DRAMs have arrived:

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    80k? Pah! Let's have 144k


    I do love getting to know old systems while moding them. Progress pics shortly, I hope.
    Last edited by Charlie; 6th September 2017 at 15:52.
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  2. #12
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    Awesome thread so far, Charlie!

    The eject button looks like a perfect slot for an SD card.
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  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by protek View Post
    Awesome thread so far, Charlie!

    The eject button looks like a perfect slot for an SD card.


    "New" Digital Data Drive Retr0brited and will be fitted shortly, but first some more goodies arrived:

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    PSU, PSU Case, Serial Cable

    I do believe it's time to make a somewhat smaller PSU for my ADAM. It will also be nice to have something with new components running the show and not to be relying on a rather cheep 'n dodgy step up converter.

    Ingredients:
    PSU Box
    Serial Cable
    Open Frame mains to DC PSU (preferably with 12v, 5v, -5v. The TDK ZPT40-512 I bought doesn't have -5v, the ZPT40-512N does)
    Mains Lead and Plug (nabbed from extension cord)
    Maxim MAX660 and a couple of caps to make a -5v output
    3.3v LED and 68R resistor
    Bits 'n bobs to connect it all together
    Lots of hot glue!

    For me the choice of components was dictated by first finding a suitable PSU case and then the PSU to go in it. Dual output PSUs are easy enough to find but triple output ones are not so easy. I picked the cheapest decent quality PSU I could find with 5v and 12v output that would fit knowing I had some spare MAX660s to make a -5v rail.
    Some may remember I bought a bunch of MAX660s to make a groovy little power lead for the C64 that only needed a USB brick to supply the juice. To my knowledge the two I made are still working well but I made no more because of the generally negative response.

    As cheapness was high on my agenda I wasn't bothered if the PSU didn't line up with the supplied mounting posts:

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    If In Doubt, Bodge

    I snapped out the supplied mounting posts, screwed them to the bottom of the PSU and then melted the ends with the side of my soldering iron to get the lengths even. Having a screw inside the post made this easy. The observant may have noticed a small board and components attached under the PSU. This is the circuit I knocked up to provide a -5v line:

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    MAX660, Two Caps, Board, Wire, Solder, Done!

    For any who are interested using a MAX660 to get a -5v line is very easy, there's a nice diagram showing the connections in the data sheet. As long as your capacitors are polarised, and the same value it's hard to go wrong. I soldered the Red and Black inputs to the underside of the PSU where two of the 5v and GND output pins are located, and in the case of this PSU soldered the White output wire to the underside of output pin 6. This was unconnected but would have been -5v out if I'd spent more money for a triple output PSU. The result:

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    Bourjois Big Bollocked Boiler

    The PSU was then placed in the bottom of the case and the stand-offs attached with the aid of lots of hot glue. Then I soldered the mains lead to the input pins, the ground for this PSU was part of one of the stand-off holes. I could have used proper connectors and fitted a power switch but... cheapness.

    The next job was to wire up the output cable. As might have been guessed the ADAM needs 12v, 5v, -5v and uses a Male DB9 port, of all things, as it's connector. Looking at the ADAM the Male connector is wired as follows:

    Pin 1) 12v
    Pin 2) 12v
    Pin 3) 5v
    Pin 4)-5v
    Pin 5) GND

    Pins 6 to 9 are related to the ADAM Net connection for communication with the printer. For now I've not used these but may put an ADAM Net port on the PSU at a later date if needed. The lead I chose was just a Serial Null Modem cable with one end lopped off. Having buzzed out the wiring it was then a matter of soldering the relevant lines to the correct output pins of the PSU. I also added a LED (with resistor!) as a power indicator.

    The result:
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    Coleco ADAM PSU All Done

    The output voltages all seem correct, in the right places, and there's been no escapes of Magic Smoke, so I guess I'd better go test it.

    More anon.
    Last edited by Charlie; 7th September 2017 at 18:13.
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    My I be the first to offer congrats on your work and thanks for the lovely pics and narrative

    and ps the c64 power lead you made works PERFECTLY.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iainjh View Post
    My I be the first to offer congrats on your work and thanks for the lovely pics and narrative

    and ps the c64 power lead you made works PERFECTLY.
    Most kind.

    More to come, I've just made an AV port to SCART cable which has drastically improved video, and I now have sound! Piccies in a bit...

    One roadblock: My PSU doesn't work, blast!
    Full recheck, all the right voltages on the right lines. PSU specs meet the ADAM's needs, especially as it's not having to supply the printer. Odd... A bit of googling and it seems ADAMs are a bit of a SOB to get working with any PSU but the one in the printer.

    Things I've picked up so far:
    Some ADAMs don't like switch mode PSUs. That could be an issue!
    Some ADAMs get really upset if the DB9 cable between the PSU and computer is too long / not thick enough. Ok, will shorten cable and a thicker one purchased.
    It seems the ADAM may need a power switch on the PSU output lines. Doesn't handle a powering up PSU that well.

    The ADAM also has two 12v lines. One goes to logic and the other goes to mechanical stuff likes drives / printer motor. As the PSU I'm using only has one 12v out I tied the lines together at the PSU end. The max combined current draw is less than the 12v out from the PSU but I wonder if the computer is so easily upset by spikes from it's drives and needs fully isolated 12v lines? I wonder if there's an ADAM PSU schematic anywhere?

    As an aside the MAX660 is rated for much more than the ADAM draws on the -5v line, and the PSU has more than enough to supply both 5v rails.

    There's also a "drain" wire on pin 8 which I haven't as yet connected... no idea what it's for, other than I assumed another ground, but might not be. I might try connecting that to Earth and see what happens.

    Hmm, some fiddling to do...
    Last edited by Charlie; 7th September 2017 at 22:46.
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    Nice work with the PSU!

    I certainly could've used a MAX660 with my IIGS to get the -5V from the MeanWell PT65B. The 7905 regulator was just too noisy. I actually made the 220V mod into the original IIGS PSU and installed that back. Well the PT65B will get use as the A500 PSU.
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    Thank you!

    It's been a day of ups and downs... I bought two department ADAM system boards for spares in case I couldn't get the machine running with what I had. They've arrived today, the memory board has a bunch of hand-written EPROMs in it so I'll fire up the ROM bower in a bit to see if they contain anything interesting. My "new" data drive works well and is much quieter so I might swap them round.

    On the PSU front shortening the cable didn't help and making up a decoupling circuit to properly split the 12v line didn't help either. Bum!

    I have a spare Meanwell PSU that is earmarked for an upgrade to my Master which I'll try but if itndoes work that will be good but another, larger, PSU case will be needed. For now PSU on hold until the thicker DB9 cable I ordered arrives.

    On a happier note my AV go SCART cable is working well. DIN sockets have always been my soldering kryptonite for some reason. I'll post a how-to in a bit.

    Over to Mockingchick thread:

    *Edit*
    Same result with Meanwell PSU...
    Last edited by Charlie; 8th September 2017 at 16:49.
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    Quote Originally Posted by protek View Post
    Nice work with the PSU!

    I certainly could've used a MAX660 with my IIGS to get the -5V from the MeanWell PT65B. The 7905 regulator was just too noisy. I actually made the 220V mod into the original IIGS PSU and installed that back. Well the PT65B will get use as the A500 PSU.
    I Installed the same PT65B in my GS a month ago using a 7905 and it all works Perfectly. Iain's too
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    Well that's just bl**dy odd!

    Plug in DIY PSU; whatever I try the computer just doesn't want to know. Looking at other's DIY PSUs it doesn't look like I'm doing anything different...
    Ok let's try wiring an ATX PSU soldered direct to the inside of the ADAM power connector. Still no joy, even when I've properly split the 12v lines. When the ATX PSU is off and the ADAM is powered from it'sown PSU it won't start, but is all fine again if ATX wires removed.

    The computer just won't start seemingly if anything is hanging off the power lines other than the OEM PSU even if said device is powered off. Some further thought required I think, if anyone has a bright idea or a legible schematic of the ADAM printer/PSU I'd appreciate it.
    Last edited by Charlie; 10th September 2017 at 21:34.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheCorfiot View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by protek View Post
    Nice work with the PSU!

    I certainly could've used a MAX660 with my IIGS to get the -5V from the MeanWell PT65B. The 7905 regulator was just too noisy. I actually made the 220V mod into the original IIGS PSU and installed that back. Well the PT65B will get use as the A500 PSU.
    I Installed the same PT65B in my GS a month ago using a 7905 and it all works Perfectly. Iain's too
    Good thing it's working for you guys. Mine was making a distinct hiss, and I can't think of anything else than the 7905 and the circuit related to it being the cause.
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