Extreme long shot I know but if anyone has this tucked away in their loft from back in the 90's or knows any musician who may have one or is even still using it, please drop me a PM.
We have successfully reverse engineered the hardware protection dongle (via acid decapsulation) for the Atari ST version and would like to do the Atari Falcon version as well, but the Falcon dongle is very, very rare to find these days.
Good work. There was a thread on Retro Rides where someone has set up a lab and is recovering gold from old PCBs and ICs - he recovers a fair bit actually.
He describes the process in detail with pictures and I remembered that WFNA is one of the acids required. Someone posed the question 'how do you get hold of it as it is a controlled substance?' and he did provide an answer. Might be worth a search over there.
He must be using nitric acid below 70% purity if it's attacking the gold, that's why 98%+ is needed so that it doesn't destroy the gold bond wires going from the leadframe to the chip die. A 9:1 ratio of concentrated nitric acid to concentrated sulphuric acid works best for dissolving the chip epoxy package.
But yeah the 98% nitric is very hard to get, needs a government license apparently. The guy I'm working with is making it himself from 98% sulphuric acid and pottasium nitrate, but he's not in the UK so I'm still hoping to find a local source.
Ah, OK. Thats interesting re the purity and making it from sulphuric acid and salt petre. Never knew that.
I used to make black powder for home made fireworks when I was a younger, you could go to a small independent chemist and buy powdered potassium nitrate. If questioned what I wanted it for I would say for stopping raw meat going grey/brown. Might be worth a try, I was never turned down but times change...
Yes you can get small quantities of pottasium nitrate (salt petre) easy enough as it's widely used for curing meat. There are various videos on youtube showing different methods of making nitric acid, but you still need to source the concentrated hydrochloric or sulphuric acids which is easier said than done in the UK.
Still looking for small quantities of concentrated sulphuric or nitric acid if anyone has a source?
We eventually got hold of a cubase Falcon dongle from Sweden and have decapsulated it, then I put together a suitable microscope setup and have made a >1 gigapixel image of the bare die. So now it's the real fun part of reverse engineering the logic functions by manually decoding the transistor gates and interconnections on the die surface. Might be done in another 6 months.