Hopes for a working QL floppy drive expansion board were dashed when visiting the Retro Computer Museum yesterday as trying it on the Sinclair QL setup showed nothing, nader and zip 😦
When connected, the QL simply refused to boot.
It’s a shame really and these things appear to be quite expensive to replace judging by eBay. There’s one listed now at £69 and another at £149.
Jim fancied a poke around inside so after removing the plastic covering and surveyed the circuit board, we discovered, on the bottom side, what appears to be some sort of minor repair job. It was a bit of a mess and so we headed into the (delete where appropriate) ‘restoration room’, ‘technicians delight’, ‘cave’, ‘uber geek den’ and fired up the solder iron.
Returning to the QL we had somesuccess. It booted, a GUI was loaded from a rom cartridge but that was about it.
Back at the bat cave, Jim didn’t like the look of the voltage regulator and so he swapped this out with a spare. He also swapped out a dodgy looking ram chip and swore at the others in the event that they also decided to rebel.
Still nothing and this went on for about about another hour including a chip shop run for lunch. Attached to the expansion card is what appears to be a daughter board sitting on top of it. I’m not sure what is is without researching but we removed it and tried again.
Well, whaddaya know it worked and was able to load a game from floppy disk.
Well, it worked on that particular game, most of the others didn’t for some reason. these appeared to be games that had more colour, more on screen sprites and generally a lot more going on than the basic game that worked. Maybe the daughter board is some some of failed ram?
I had one of my QL’s with me and so Jim has taken the lot home with him for further testing. Fingers crossed!
One other project we thought we start whilst we were there is to turn one of the arcade cabinet shells into a classic Mame cabinet.
The donor is a gutted Taito Space Chaser cab that’s been sitting at the museum gathering dust. Originally a vertically mounted monitor we thought we’d keep this aspect to run all vertical classics like Moon Cresta, Phoenix, 1941 etc.
Apart from a shot screen, bust marquee and dodgy controls, the rest of the cabinet is in pretty good condition including the impressive stencilled side artwork.
Jim is going to work on the screen whilst i prep a PC and look at the controls. I have plenty of spare buttons etc and we’ll be using another ipac to interface with Mame. The coin door and mechanism appear to be in ok-ish condition so with a bit of TLC we might be able to get this to work with Mame too.
I’ll be back with more on this as we progress.
Many thanks Jim!