A2000: Next batch of upgrades

Well, this has been fun. Lets start with juggling soldering irons is only good for the dexterous — which strapping a brick to my solder station is looking like a better idea every day.

Yuri got a batch of upgrades.

BatteryStarted with removing the battery, which was getting fuzzy. After reading all the debates about coin batteries or cordless phone batteries — I decided to use the original battery type. I made a small metal fold under the mainboard, so the battery could just snap into place, then be removed if needed. Hard to see and its actually jammed in there too. I have never taken the motherboard out of that machine, but after it was on the bench for a while I noticed that its pretty bendy, enough to pop the 68000 out of alignment. Many Yellow boot screens, then push push push.. ahh.


PSUBackI had a spare ANTEC PSU around, decided to get that installed. A jumper change on the main board, easy. I cheated this time and bought a power adapter. I had fun building the other PSU — but the adapter was cheap and I ordered a few other little things from amigakit.com (so why not). ATX PSU’s of course have a different component layout — but the ANTEC’s come with a handy metal jig/adapter you can screw on. A few extra holes here and there and the PSU was mounted.Not the most elegant mounting in the world, but not bad either. Fan’s in modern PSU’s seem to vent up not out the back, so I mounted the PSU slightly lower in the case. I’m going to try to find a slot based fan, to help with the heat in the machine. But power up!

DeniseHuggerWho doesn’t hate interlace flicker. My eye’s were dying, along with one of my 1084 monitors. So the next addition was: Indivision ECS flicker fixer VGA adapter. I have to say, that OS3.9 and a reasonable resolution (sans le flicker) is pretty good looking (I used WB 1.3 in 4 colour mode for most of my life). I was always jealous of 2.04 ROM’s (friend had an A3000), but I loved my setup in the day. I wish I had taken the plunge earlier. Anyways, the card plugs into Denise’s slot and then Denise piggy backs on top. A grounding wire finishes up the install. A note to Denise pulling, use a screw driver — chip pullers are not designed for big ones. Just use a small flathead and pop the chip from each side and rock it out. The Adapter card, really really is a tight fit and requires a little bit of man handling. In the end, you can watch from an 1084 and the VGA at the same time. The back and forth is pretty amazing. I keep looking at my WB screen on the LCD — I really do like it.

68030Proc3 parts: 68030 (50 mhrz with MMU), 68882 companion and 50 mhrz crystal. This mod, I have been dying to do for a while — but didn’t have the balls. Who doesn’t want a 20% boost in speed. After getting “Smell the rubber.. I wanted to know what was next :). Yes, burnt PCB 🙂 No not really. Looking at the board, this particular GVP supports 50 mhrz so the base hardware can take it. Getting the crystal off the board (as it was soldered in place) was the worst time I have every had with a PCB and soldering iron. It was impossible to get out. I was trying to save the crystal in case something happened. I have 3 of them (2 x 50’s and a spare 40) but a certain point, a pair of thin side cutters and the snip snip, off  it goes. A new socket, yes 🙂 pop in a crystal and some jumper configs (which some didn’t make sense) — Wham! Power up 🙂

While the board was on the table, I kept screwing with the MegaChip2000 — which is still not working. So that’s going in a box until I can figure things out with that.

Kickstart31The ROM switcher went from 1.3/2.04 ROM’s to 1.3/3.1 ROMS. I had decided to burn a copy of OS3.9 and give that a run. The install for that was slow. Well the CDROM was slow, part of me was wondering it floppy swappin’ would have been faster. Getting the Hydra and the serial port card to go was interesting. The hyperCOM4 card is going to be an eternal pain.. Always keep copies of drivers.

Configuring OS 3.9 was fun, but also interesting to compare modern OS’s versus anything Amiga. AML-C for copy, is annoying to do — who uses left control-c to copy on a PC? I’m sure there is one guy out there, but really.. getting my UI and operation reflexes took a little longer than I thought it would.


Ok, now the sysinfo 🙂


hehe, something to note — this shot it taken from an LCD. Looks great 🙂

Willem PCB45: The Red Head Stepchild of EPROM Programmers

BurnerAndAdpaterMaking ROM’s has been on my mind for a long time. Every so often the need arises, or so I have told myself. A while back I bought a Willem PCB45 EPROM burner, thinking I’ll be burning ROM’s every day till I die. It went in a box and life got in the way. Life got in the way of a lot of my projects.

It seems that in burner market, there are hordes of these guys, well not all these guys. There are PCB4C’s, 5’s, 3B’s and others. Look up PCB45 and its really hard to locate any info. My cheap (serves me right) no manual or power adapter off of Ebay purchase was starting to piss me off.

Download the latest version and you are out of luck. I needed to go back to a version that supported my hardware. Then you get the host of other problems of living in a modern world, software designed for 32bit XP which needs an actual LPT port. You know the first five minutes of plugging in a USB cable and wondering.. is this thing going to detect? Ahh its for power only.

Managed to make a few C64 carts and PETROM’s. Looking into a few Atari Carts and maybe a GVP SCSI 4.15 upgrade for my Amiga.

A4000: Kei up and running OS3.1

A4000-MBThis is a busy week on the Amiga side of things, A4000:Kei is now up and running.

I got this MB as part of a bulk sale of items from someone who was slimming down their collection. It came with a non standard card riser, floppy drive and OS3.1 install disks.

A little while ago, I decided to start cleaning out the collection — items that work or can get working were going to be kept and the rest would be sent out onto Ebay. Getting this machine working was a little bit painful, as there was no PSU and the board had seen better days.

Making an PSU was fun, but getting the MB connector was a pain. I am used to working with A2000/500’s and never owned a A3000/4000 type machine. It would have been a shame if I had to let this one go :). Making a PSU that was compatible required butchering of an old power supply, but after all the work I noticed it didn’t have a power switch. Arg. A little hack job from a dead PSU and everything was good.

Once the power was working and verified, the black screen after all that work was really disappointing. Re-seating everything didn’t help. Spent an hour cleaning everything, contacts and the processor card. I think there is maybe two socketed chips (excluding the KS) on the whole board — not like previous Commodore gear I have worked on over the years.

After the cleanup I noticed I was missing a few jumpers, added them from a dead MB in the basement. Went back to reading about A4000’s and their issues. The original battery was there, and looked like it had some leakage, but nothing that bad (will have to deal with that soon..). After moving cables around one of the PSU cables fell on the processor card and suddenly the KS screen popped up. I took a look inside the processor card and there was a toothpick in the slot, laying flat at the bottom. A little upside down shake and it dropped out. A push of the processor card into place and the KS screen appeared. That was a first.

A4000-INSTThe floppy drive booted the OS3.1 Install disk without issue. It was amazing to see that go. I was surprised that the disks actually worked. Most of my original Amiga disks are questionable at best.

Bitching about SCSI issues over the years, I thought that going to a simple IDE interface was going to be the least of my problems. I have crates of old IDE drives, most of them are 10GB and above. There are reams of IDE cables in a bin. Brought up stack of everything, set the drives to master and went crazy for a few hours. Nothing would work. Black screen, sat there for minutes still no boot from floppy. Unhook the drive, the floppy would boot after a period of time. Swapped out cables, drives and combinations of configurations. Mounted the drives on a PC to verify them. Maybe they were not that compatible, with the IDE in the Amiga.

Back to the basement, more drives must be here somewhere.. maybe something smaller? Ohh, theres a box of DVD/CDROM’s. I’ll grab one of those for later. After a few more hours of waiting for a drive to boot, I went for a walk with a friend. Came back, wondered what would happen if I hooked only a CDROM up. That did it, the system booted to floppy right away, no wait. Weird.

Installing a CDROM at the end of the chain (set to slave), with HD in the second slot (set as Master) allowed the system to boot. HD by itself, no. With the CD, yes.

A4000-OS31Being spoiled by Windows/Apple Partitioning systems over the years — going back to the Amiga partitioning software gave me the old feeling of — I can really screw this drive up. I recalled some of the drive size requirements for various versions of the OS. So the first drive I made 500 MB and then a second partition that was 2 GB. Looking at the space left, the max visible from this OS was ~4 GB. I’ll have to sort that out later, to get the additional space back.

I was pretty amazed with the OS3.1 installer. It actually worked and was painless.


Amiga 2000: Kickstart Rom Switcher

RomSwitcherYuri, originally was a KS 1.3 machine. When she got upgraded, I had a spare set of OS 2.04  roms and used those. But nothing says backward compatibility like installing a rom switcher. KS 1.3 is what the majority of games run under, so being able to switch between roms is a good thing.

The guy who makes this, no longer exists on the net (www.amigamaniac.com). I had to go to a web caching site to find a link that would get some installation info. I just had the device and no instructions. It’s pretty obvious what to do, but in the end it wasn’t that straight forward.

Under the roms in the socket is printed ROM 1 and ROM 2. All the chips on the board face one direction. The sockets didn’t have an obvious notch. So I followed the crowd and placed the roms how the rest were, which was wrong. After flipping them around, and looking for pin 1’s around the front and back — I noticed the notch. My coke bottle glasses should have seen it — but it was really small.

So under most circumstances, ROM 1 sounds like the primary/default and ROM 2 is the switchable one. Well that’s another mistake. Thank-you chip pullers 🙂

So after a few careful presses on the chips and adapter, a power cycle later and default KS 2.04 started. Holding down the Amiga three finger salute (ctrl-amiga-amiga) for little more than 3 seconds and KS 1.3 was revealed. Awesome! I dug out my floppies for Shadow of the Beast (originals in that  cool box :)).  While I had her opened, I tried the MegAChip2000 again, no luck (sucker for punishment. hehehe)


Amiga: MegAChip 2000/500 Issues


DKB Software’s MegAChip 2000/500 (NTSC), which when installed will give you 2MB chip ram. I have an Amiga with the 1MB  Angus, which I thought would be a relatively easy upgrade (as long as you have PLCC pullers).

I got this as part of a bulk sale a while back. So its not new; also by the scratch on the Super Fat Angus in there.

Every time I mount this in a machine (doesn’t matter which), I get a garbage on the display when the Kickstart logo shows up. I’ve only tired in 2 A2000’s, due the fact of mounting it in a 500 would require some one way modding.

I connected the trace to either Gary or the 68000, neither works. I looked at the bottom and the connector and housing looks ok, maybeI am missing something obvious (besides it being broken…)

Fun with Turbo Chameleon 64: Minimig Core

xCards2* Update *

It’s not a matter of compatible cards by the looks of things. My TC seems to have some timing issues. I’ve had this problem before with a firmware update — but fixed in a later update.

Speaking with Alastair about what the issues could be it ended up that the latest version of the Minimig core wasn’t working — but older versions did. He mentioned a new build sometime in the future to test out the timings.

* Old News * 🙂

Well as of today, I still can’t seem to find an SD card that will run the Minimig core correctly. A while back I had one, but it got crushed. I threw the card out and started fresh (had backups), but nothing I do seems to work. So these are the cards I have tried, formatted FAT32, FAT16, exFAT, with various clsuter sizes and with smaller partitions (for the 8GB cards) or using the complete size of the SD card.

The same cards will work with MSX core, or load files for the TC64’s C64 file browser. A few other people have mentioned issues with particular cards. I’m looking around for other cards to try…

Amiga 2000: Rise from your grave, then kick ass.


It’s been a long time for this computer. I dragged her through high school and all of art school. I wrote my papers, did some video titling, played Eye of the Beholder, composed some MODS and then programmed way too many RPG tools for various paper game systems. On my last week of school she died. I started working at a PC Lab, which got me a 486 DX50 and busy with other things.. “Yuri” got put in storage until I had time to work on her.

Over the years I’ve stacked up a few Amiga parts and then ran into a cache of *many* by fluke (ask Tak). My original 2000 “Yuri”, had a Compsec SA2000 SCSI HD Controller, 2091 ram expander and two floppy drives. This Amiga was a later version, with the 1MB Angus. In the day, this machine was good for everything that I needed. But the day a group of friends upgraded, my 68000 “Yuri” was a little jealous. I always wanted her to kick a little ass 🙂

Yuri had a bad power supply, which was the only thing that was wrong. I pulled one out of a 2000 with a damaged (bashed in more like it) motherboard. So Yuri booted, the 180MB drive started into WB1.3.

So begins the project, upgrade Yuri to the best she can be. (or with what I can dig up)

Starting with :


I’ve always wanted a GVP Accelerator. G-Force 030 (Impact A2000-030 Combo Series II) is nothing to sniff at either. The problem with this card was the missing jumpers everywhere :). Also, trying to figure out which GVP it was, makes life a little difficult. I got the card working with 8megs of ram.

I knew that the old drive was not going to be an easy port over. Controllers of this era were pretty much tied to the drive and vice versa. So hooking up will not work. Having both controllers in the machine didn’t work. So Old one in, while I figure a way to get all my stuff off.

Yuri’s Old Drive: Fujitsu M2614SA (180MB) formatted 20 Megs DH0:, 40MB DH1: and 120MB DH2:

Ways to get stuff off an Amiga to another machine:

1. Serial off the mother board (slow) or off a Serial Card with a decent Speed (need a cable and/or Card)
2. Network Adapter, TCPIP Stack and some basic Networking. Need OS 2.0+ as well.
3. SCSI Controller in a PC that is physically compatible (SCSI1/2) with Amiga SCSI and Copy Disk Images. (needs a PC with SCSI controller, HD Imagining Software)
4. Throw Amiga Explorer into the mix, great tool.

Serial, motherboard, slow.

You can always fail back to basic serial. It’s nice that it works and often I would just use it to prove that communication was possible while I pulled my hair out trying to get faster methods to work.

I transferred some files off using Terminal software to my lab PC. With the rats nest of cables, trying to find a serial cable that would work was a pain. I even slapped in an HST 19.2 modem (the one I used in Art School) and a 14.4 in the PC to see how that would play out. Slow… but worked.

Transferring data using AExplorer over serial, Amiga motherboard serial was painful. The only thing worse is sneaker net. I had a few other Amigas around that needed to be backed up, so a faster method was needed.

Serial Using HyperCOM4 (has 4 High Speed Seral ports)

Well I found one of these on Ebay, ordered it and it also came with a AmigaNET Rev 1.1A Hydra 10BaseT2/AUI Network Adapter. The network adapter used BNC/AUI which would need some work to get physcially wired up to my home network, so I opted for the serial first. This seemed like a logical decision as I had basic serial working so going from 19.2 to 115.2KBaud would be 5-6x times speed boost and shouldn’t be much problems to achieve.


No matter how I hooked up the card, its ports which port used or driver choice I could get it to communicate. I installed the latest Driver used the DEVS:hyperCOM40.device as part of the AExplorer config. Here is what I used:

Run >NIL: <NIL: sys:AExplorer/AExplorer >NIL: <NIL: SERDEVICE DEVS:hyperCOM40.device SERBAUD 19200 SERUNIT 0

A few things to keep in mind when using other using DEVS: devices,
1. The file name is case sensitive…
2. SERUNIT is for the different ports on the card, the mainboard serial is SERUNIT 0.
3. Multiple HyperCOM’s are differentiated between hyperCOM40, hyperCOM41, hyperCOM42..etc. You can have as many as 4 or 5 in an Amiga.

I figured out what serial port was what on the card, I had all 4 ports wired up to the card and then connected one to the NULL modem cable. Then I cycled through SERUNIT 0-3. 3 out of 4 ports would throw an error on the PC side saying that there was nothing hooked up and to check the connection. The other error that popped up on the one was “COM Error”. So I guess that means that’s the active port 🙂

No setting’s combo on either side would work. I know the cable and PC config works, as the Amiga main board serial works fine. I managed to open a terminal window on the PC side and mounted AExplorer on the Amiga side. The result was some formatted, structural garbage. So something is going somewhere…

After extra gray hair, I moved on to the next option, which was based on the a trip to the basement. A basement which is like the interior of Jawa Sandcrawler. Really, the Ark of the Covenant is down there too.

Mounting an AMIGA SCSI disk in a PC

I found a PCI 2950UW Controller in the basement, dug further into the piles and found parts for a PC to host the controller.

Built a Windows 2003 Server with 2GB of ram, 80GB Drive and the 2950. Dug up a batch of SCSI cables, found three drives from a derelict HP server that were all too large for use in an Amiga but found a 2GB Baracuda that was compatible.

Most of the problems here revolved around SCSI termination, most of the Amiga HD’s are old technology wise and were designed to either be the only device in the chain or the termination was non-existent. My testbed drive was from one of the spare A2000’s which didn’t have stable termination and didn’t provide stable termination power. Besides, screwing around with the drive’s mainboard and jumpers is too much of a pain… I just used the best SCSI trick you can do.

Mount another drive on the end and make sure it has term power enabled and termination resistor packs. One of the HP server drives did the job. The drive mounted on the SCSI chain without any further problems.

I downloaded a disk imaging software that was freeware/trial ware and ripped an HDF image of my test machine (an 2000 with standard commodore controller). I think the drive was going to have a heart attack, it was never probably pushed that hard in its life.. The disk image moved over in about a few minutes. I copied the file over to my PC dev machine and mounted it in an emulator and there was the test machine running on a PC.

Well, I cracked open “Yuri” and noticed the drive was full height 5 1/4 sized drive… and thought about the last time I saw one of those.

It was huge. I pulled the drive and mounted it into the PC SCSI box and about 5 minutes later the entire drive was imaged. But when I mounted it in an emulator, the OS would not boot. A lot of goofing around yielded no results. I looked into the controller I was using, COMSPEC AS2000. It might be an insult to call it a SCSI controller, it had a non standard boot method and disk format. So I guess an image of this is useless if I can’t open it to get files out. I will have to send the specs out to someone else who might be interested in figuring out how to mount this image, but its out of my expertise. At moments like these its time to go…

Back into the Basement…

Found a Hub with a BNC port and Regular Ethernet (4 ports). You never know when these things are useful 🙂

Three Rules of BNC/10base-T2
1. New Cable Always
2. T connectors and proper 50 ohm Terminators
3. Ground one end of the network for stability.


Network Time…

I grabbed a test hard disk from the stack, installed WB and mounted the NIC in a test machine.

I have installed networking stacks on a lot of different machines, but doing it on the Amiga was unique. I upgraded the ROM to 2.04, then tried to get Miami DX to work. I had used WB1.3 for a long time, so moving around 2.04 involved tripping over things and totally not understanding why xyz doesn’t do 123.

Process for installing Miami

1. Install the MUI
2. Install the Network Drivers (me its the Hydra)
3. unpack both the Main and MUI drivers in one folder then install.


There is a lot of TCP/IP config to do once everything is installed correctly. I gave the device a fixed IP and configured things manually. I left one of the machines on my network pinging that static IP. As I messed around with settings and configs I kept an eye on the ping to make sure what I was doing was working or not. I am pretty confident with networking, I’ve wired up an entire school once with 10baseT2 and had to work in that lab for about year. So I had pulled some terminators out of the basement tool box some RG8 cable and T connectors.

The hub was working fine, I checked by hooking other devices to it and I could see them still on the network. So the problems was either a config in Miami (port filter/firewall/config) or its at the media level.

After screwing around with the cable enough, I checked one of my terminators and engraved on the end was 70 ohm. I went out the next day found an electronics store on College street that sells some weird stuff (they looked at me funny when I asked for the terminators: Sarah Conner?) and then they give me 70’s.. then I point out they are not what I want and then digging out the box I find two mismatched 50’s with grounding chains. That should have been the give away that there was no grounding chain, hey.. it’s been a while.

I hate that RG8 cable, really. Nightmares.

So this is our new friend, which means I don’t have to have mixed media types running through the network. Step on RG8 cable and forever watch that segment flap. So lets move into RJ45/CAT5 and be happy. I had a pair of these (see left) for networking  older MAC’s at the school. I knew these would come in handy 🙂

Once the transceiver was connected, I adjusted the router (DD-WRT) dns server and DHCP client to give Yuri a static lease and DNS entry.


Once the network was working, (I totally miss command prompt networking tools) and DHCP was handled correctly,  time for AExplorer.

The speed was amazing, copied the entire drive contents over in the blink of an eye (well it looks like that after sneaker net and MB serial).

I unplugged everything, mounted a CD-ROM, the Accelerator (with RAM), Serial Card, NIC and a 500 MB drive. Yeah, I know what you are thinking. But this drive was in packaging for a while, so it was as fresh as I could get in that class/age of HD.

sysinfo-yuriI re-installed everything from scratch, then copied the contents of my old drive over the network to the new Yuri. Time to see what blows up under OS 2.04 🙂

So after all that, Yuri is now on the network. Running at a decent clip. I installed (over the network!) SYSINFO V4 and checked out the stats, as seen below 🙂

(Click on the image to see the details)



I love the fact that it gives “Smell the Rubber?” as a comment. heheh.