Atari 520 ST FM (*2)

Growing up with the Spectrum I didn’t know anyone with an Atari St or Amiga. I was aware of them, and probably slightly envious at the time as they were far more capable machines, or so the advertising would have me believe, with its 520K or 1024k depending on the version. The main feature I remember from the Atari was its MIDI capabilities making it great for musicians. So, when I saw 2 Atari 520 ST FMs locally for a decent price I jumped at the chance – despite not knowing anything about them.

Both had been used for music production back in the day and were in good condition despite being stored in a oft for 20 years – although they were a little grubby. As is normal, I gave both a good clean before starting to work on them…

Cleaning the Atari keyboards

The first interesting find was that both machines had completely different board layouts, most notably the memory, one had through holes, the other surface mount – both with empty spaces for a RAM upgrade.

Recapping the power supply

One of the machines booted but had lots of interference, the other didn’t. Given that they have internal power supplies I decided to recap them with the reputation of the caps from that era. This resolved the issues and both machines booted.

Not bad. After some research I decided that a RAM upgrade was probably the best next step given that most games needed more than the 520k that was installed. That will have to be my next post…