Lightning ST

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Lightning ST oben.JPG Lightning ST unten.JPG

The Lightning ST is a pcb with various items for all ATARI ST models.

The pcb give you the opportunity to add

  • two USB 1.1 compatible ports
  • an IDE interface
  • an adressdecoder for TOS2.06 (hexE00000) (further instructions see below).

The main IC on the pcb is a XC95144XL from Xilinx. The USB-Ports based on a ISP1160 chip from NXP.

The IDE interface offer three operate modi:

  • Falcon compatible modus
  • byteswap modus with twisted cable (solution like ppera it use)
  • last but not least a smart swap modus (recommed mode for best speed and compatibility).

The IDE interface also could be disabled by not setting any jumper (J1 and J2 open). With this three operate modi fully compatibility to other pcbs warranted.

Here you have a small impression how fast the USB transfer of the Lightning ST is with an 8MHz Atari ST compared to other USB solutions:

  • Lightning ST: 430 kb/s (an installed and activated blitter increases the USB transfer rate by about 20%)
  • Netusbee: 130 kb/s
  • Unicorn: 60 kb/s

The Lightning ST lives up to its reputation!

Hardware installation

Important note 1: Please use the connectors (64pin) carefully, as they are not designed for multiple connections and disconnections. They can becom loose and cause contact problems. If that happens, an intermediate socket or cautious bending of the pins before insertion can be a remedy.

Important note 2: Only applies to STf/STfm with C070523-001 motherboard (with the CPU next to the floppy drive)! With these motherboards, the Lightning ST can only be installed when your computer is equipped with a slim floppy drive model. Also, pins P11/P12 (used for connection to the Cloudy) might need to be shortened so they don't collide with the keyboard connector. See this photo and this photo for a successful installation.

Lightning ST INT.JPG


Lightning ST Jumper1.JPG Lightning ST Jumper2.JPG Lightning ST Jumper3.JPG

Rear view, oblique and top view of the jumper.

Lightning ST Jumper4.JPG

Side view. The missing pin is for your orientation.

Lightning ST USB Port.JPG

The assignment of the two USB ports is standardized and labeled. Note the coding pin when connecting the cable to the USB bracket.

Lightning ST TOS Decoder.JPG

The Lightning ST provides a decoder for using a modern OS (TOS 2.06, EmuTOS) via pins 11 and 12. Ideal is the connection to the Cloudy.

Software installation

The included floppy diskette contains the driver software for TOS/Magic and MiNT.

Check this for new driver and tools [1].

Contents of the disk

The following illustrations shows you the order of the programs in the subfolders:

Lightning ST Disketteninhalt.jpg

Installation on TOS/Magic

When installing the driver under TOS, the order in which the programs are located in and therefore loaded from the AUTO folder is important.

The drivers on the floppy disk must be copied to the AUTO folder of your boot partition in the order as described below. You also can use an auto-sort program or the sort function of the Xboot boot manager.

First, the USB stack (i.e., USB.PRG) must be loaded, followed by the devices drivers. Last comes the BLITZ_ST program.

Note: A spezialfeature is the KEYB_INJ.PRG, because this is only necessary when using a USB keyboard under a TOS 1.xx.

If you have a previous version of the drivers installed on your computer keeping the order is very easy, if you simply copy the new files to the AUTO folder using drag-and-drop. In this case, TOS asks if this file should be replaced. Just confirm this. Then the files are automatically in the correct order.

For storage devices like USB sticks the limits apply that you know from the operating system itself (partition size, partition count, filesystem type). It's possible to increase the partition size when you use BigDOS in the AUTO folder.

Notices for BigDOS: Please load BIGDOS.PRG before MOUSE.PRG.

Notices for Magic: MAGXBOOT.PRG has to be the first application in your AUTO folder after the boot selector (e.g., XBoot).

Notices for ExtenDOS/MetaDOS for using a USB CD/DVD drive: You have to load it after the STORAGE.PRG driver. The storage driver provides a SCSIDRV based interface that can used by ExtenDOS. When you use MetaDOS, a driver such as Spin by Julian F. Reschke is necessary.

This information also applies analogously to Geneva.


As already described, this program is only available when using a USB Keyboard required under TOS 1.xx, otherwise not. If it uses it must be loaded from the car folder before the USB.PRG. Further Information can be found in KEYB_INJ.TXT (English) in the Info folder.


This file is the main USB stack that makes USB on the Atari possible. The USB stack manages the USB bus and supports the base functions for connected devices.

The drivers presented below are based on the USB stack (see following chapters). The drivers allow the communication with the connected devices, such as a USB stick, a USB mouse, a USB hub, a USB floppy disk drive, a card reader or other USB devices.

These drivers can be expanded as required, depending on availability. If new drivers are available, they will be included in this package. We try to test the drivers in various situations before publishing.Since we do not test all exotic combinations of hardware and software, please feel free to report any issues you encounter. Please provide as much information as possible about your setup.


In the present version, the mouse driver supports the scroll wheel with any mouse. So far, this was only possible with selected mice. If you find a mouse that does not work, we look forward to feedback from you. Please provide important details about your environment (type of mouse, operating system, AUTO folder content and order, etc.).


This driver manages USB flash drives and other USB drives, including card readers.

Considering the support of USB floppy drives there is some improvement in this software release: The previously published driver could cause problems if you changed the disk. The new driver R226 and above does not yet solve the problem completely, but improves media change detection.

Please take note the following:

  • When booting, the USB floppy drive should contain a floppy!
  • If you start with a 1.44 MB floppy, media changes will be recognized perfectly with 1.44 MByte floppies. With a 720 kByte floppy disk, the changes will not be properly recognized! Even though the root directory is displayed accordingly, writing on this medium will not work. There is a threat of data loss!
  • The reverse case when booting with a 720 kbyte floppy is the same! Switching to a 1.44 MB floppy does not work perfectly.
  • Therefore, unplug and reconnect the USB floppy drive if needed.
  • Formatting floppy disks on a USB drive is not possible at this time.
  • Booting from a floppy disk in the USB floppy drive is not possible.


The KEYBOARD.PRG provides the possibility of connecting a USB keyboard (and even emulating Atari special keys). For more information, please read the included KEYBOARD.TXT. Please also read the notes on KEYB_INJ.PRG.


The PRINTER.PRG allows the use of a printer with PCL protocol. Generally, PCL output works when using Deskjet and / or Laserjet drivers within the respective programs. Postscript output can also be used when supported by the printer, although this was not extensively tested by us.

In general, printing from GEMDOS should work properly, even when no output port or printer driver can be selected in the respective program. So, if you are working with a standard text editor, then simply print, usually by pressing CTRL-P. This leads to the right result. This was tested with CLIX, 7Up and Everest as editors and will certainly work with other software, as well.

When printing on CALAMUS - whether version 1.09 or SL - please select HP Laserjet. Laserjet 1 and 2 work with 300 and even 600 DPI resolution. Important: Under Calamus the output needs to be set to "Other". Otherwise it will not work. For a Deskjet printer, use the Deskjet driver instead of the Laserjet driver.

Tempus Word and other word processors will work when a Laserjet Driver or a Deskjet driver (depending on the printer) is chosen.

If you are working with Tex and the Postscript driver, you should add the option -0=PRN (without spaces). Otherwise, it will not work. We have tested this with the Strunk-Tex version 3.52cs. Furthermore, the Laserjet driver 2 does not work there! Just the Laserjet driver 1 works.

If you work with Scooter PCB, you have to change the output to BIOS. After switching to BIOS, it is quite simple to print using the PCL (Deskjet or Laserjet) driver as well as the Postscript driver.


This file allows the communication between the USB stack and the Lightning VME card. This program initializes the hardware. For that reason, this program must be loaded as last program in AUTO folder, i.e., after loading the USB stack and the individual drivers.


This ACC is necessary under TOS and Magic to use the hot plug feature of the USB devices. Without this ACC, TOS is not able to recognize when you unplug or plug in a USB device. This ACC also allows you to see all attached devices. Under MiNT, this ACC must not be used, however.

Installation using MiNT

For installation using MiNT, these steps are necessary:

First, copy all files from the disk to the right folder C:\MINT\1-19-CUR\USB (or the respective folder in your MiNT installation). If the USB folder does not exist, then you have to create it.

Next, open your favorite text editor and edit the file MINT.CNF. You will find the following line near the end of the file:


Before this line add the following line:

exec u:/c/mint/1-19-cur/usb/loader.prg

NOTE: Please replace the CUR with the kernel version you use. Please use the USB driver from version R268 with a MINT version that is not older than from 1st march 2020. Otherwise, due incompatible API, problems can arise.


Lightning ST IDE USB.JPG

DOM and USB Braket connected (here with CPU on the Lightning ST)

CPU socket.JPG

64 pin DIL socket on top of an 68000 CPU to "open the bus for the tower of babel".

Instead of the socket you can also solder a Cloudy to the pins of the CPU, this saves space upwards.

You can also unsolder the CPU, solder a socket for it and then put the CPU on top - as you like!

But: Always pay attention to the correct alignment!

Trio Socket.JPG Sandwichtower.JPG Sandwich.JPG

You can change the order if you want. Its a modular system.

Lightning ST Cloudy.JPG Lightning ST Storm ST.JPG

You can run the Lighnting ST alone or together with a Cloudy or together with a Storm ST or together with Cloudy and Storm ST - just as you like and need it!

Trio Decoder1.JPG Trio Decoder2.JPG

Do you see the difference when using the TOS decoder?

Using the decoder from the Storm ST has the advantage that you don't have to carry a ROM2 signal from the mainboard to the Lightning ST.

So this is the preferred variant, because you only have to connect the INT signal to the Lighnting ST to use the IDE port!

Lightning ST Cloudy Storm ST RTC.JPG

What a sight: Complete expansion from bottom to top: CPU, socket, Lightning ST, Cloudy, Storm ST and RTC

With this modular tower you get: one IDE port, two USB ports, TOS Decoder, two flashable Operating systems, 8 MB FastRAM, Realtime clock

For more information and pictures klick here: Cloudy and Storm ST


Drivers and Tools can be found here: [2]

It is recommended to always use the new versions.

Coop with other hardware

This is an exemplary list of hardware that has been described as working with the Lightning ST:

- STGA Mega ST Bus Projekt (Till Harbaum)

31.01.2021 gaga