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Captain Rufus

Posted Fri Dec 31, 2021 2:47 am

Anniversary of me getting one. Oh god.

(The original version of this post was done over in the Retrogames Retro Computer thread over at Something Awful. But yall get the Directors Cut version with more pics. It doesn't seem like tiny image tags work so to save huge pictures annoyance just click on the image urls I guess.)

Been working on a new old money sink I finally got off my ass to restore, repair, and give fat buffs while losing any and all screws to hold it into place.

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I have returned to finally have an operating Amiga 500.

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An internal Gotek with mounting bits began the project.

[timg] ... 577092.jpg[/timg] I took out the Amiga that was working but disks never seemed to want to load and the old GVP HD with 2 megs of ram. I realized my old 500 that has the green flashing screen (the one that looks a lot better) had some cosmetic uses until I can get a diagnostic rom. Plus I needed to mooch its floppy drive power cable. Sadly my og one had the old Commodore trap door ram and it has rust from the rf shield and looked like barrel battery for clock and there is some green mung on the connector. (The other one has a coin type battery ill probably need to remove. Seems soldered in.)

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Pulled out the 1.3 Kickstart to give the working unit 1.3 over its 1.2. Plus after some cleaning the better case top and keyboard. I don't really recommend composite out on even a nice crt TV though. Mine doesn't have screen positioning which adds with the video output to.. be bad.

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However I realized I both had two Amiga to rgb din cables and my Commodore 1084 monitor accepts it. Grab some Stereo Rca cables to my 5.1 to ensure stereo sound and when I don't have to give the side of the monitor a quick light thwap when the screen goes blank every now n then and I can at least play now. (Apparently it is probably cold solder joints on the big transformer inside it. I'll need to open it up eventually and see where its at. However the 1084 has a huge rf shield soldered in and I dunno if I want to deal with that right now and I'm hoping the bits in question are maybe not under there.)

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I think its pretty nice though sadly PAL stuff is gonna be cut off at the bottom anyhow. But its much better than composite on the crt TV or on the HDTV. (Didn't feel like trying RF. Plus dont remotely want to deal with the shield.)

Finding out my old 486 had a battery that went boom and has probably killed the unit i wasn't going to ever use again gave me the inspiration to rip out the ram chips. Which work in the GVP giving it 4 megs instead of 2 and 70ns compared to the 120 or 100 it probably had.

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Sadly my 5.5 external SD2SCSI doesn't seem to want to be accepted by the GVP SCSI controller meaning an easy way to get lha stuff I can't otherwise transport over right now isn't happening which is gonna annoy me.

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And for now the lcd on the Gotek i just have sticking out the drive bay cuz its tiny and I can't read the thing without moving around the machine and practically sticking my face in the drive. I may in the future drill a hole for it to fit. No idea yet.

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A sure thing probably future buy list. I also have an extra drive power and data cable on the way plus a USB to DB9 mouse dongle that claims to use all USB mice and not just ps2 types. I can't deal with 200 dpi Amiga Ball Mouse when my main mouse is a 6000 dpi one. I have a Konix aka Epyx 500xj 2 button stick already so the few 2 button joystick games should be covered.

While I've done some scrubbing and cleaning I am not quite ready to screw it all up obviously. I may be drilling or cutting a few holes in it for both that gotek screen and the RGB2HDMI thing. (Plus probably a button to access the things menu.)

The question is.. WHAT ELSE? Do I get a compatible SD2SCSI internal to replace the physical HD with something much faster, quieter, more capacity, and probably easier to transfer all that lha stuff?

A Terrible Fire 536 which brings the RAM to 64 megs and nets a 68030 50mhz cpu plus interface for ide type drives and the SD type replacements? A ROM switcher so I can have 1.3 and 3.2 Kickstarts?

I've owned an Amiga since 92 but honestly my time using one amounts to maybe 3-4 semi active months? 6 tops? I need the wisdom anyone has for me.

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Its already looking good and I even have an ok but great suction cup joystick for any of those sort of titles that may need it.


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While I got myself a new trapdoor ram the one in my currently working Rev 5 board is also working but I need to remove this ol battery. Do I need to solder it out? I wouldn't mind putting in a slide in and out CR battery just for QoL.

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I passed on the 3.2 rom and OS from Retro Rewind in Canada for now, but got some stuff I need for nice big video.

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A week later and from Pishop US I get the Zero to go into the RGB2HDMI. Sadly I still get to solder because of the pin headers. At least no desoldering. I have a decent iron but not really anything for desoldering.

Also on the way are extra case screws and a db9 USB mouse dongle that can take any sort of USB mouse that i mentioned.

While waiting on all this stuff I've been going through Retro 32s curated Tosec and deleting most of it. From 8 gigs unzipped to 2.15 or so during what is currently my 4th pass through the games. (Pass 1 got rid of obvious things I have zero interest in like most Sports, Puzzle, Adult, Sim, Adventure, Foreign Language and similar. Pass 2 and 3 involved popping up Lemon Amiga and diving through looking for what looked neat and wasn't stuff I didn't know was in my uninterested sections. 3 was then going through each game and looking at Lemon's user and old magazine scores. Pass 4 is me having UAE set up with my machine specs and seeing what works without even needing a Pal conversion program.)

Given the weakness of Workbench 1.3 and the realities of figuring out how to get old stuff that is happy in both NTSC and ADF has been a challenge. Aminet is mostly LH type archives. Some things I need are only easily in said archives. Plus things that can do things are both in archives and require stuff to go in Libs or whatnot and thus I must learn how to use either Filemaster or Dopus and they are weird to my Mac and Windows familiar self. (Making a hard disk folder and a UAE 3.1 os boot plus getting that adf program thats 4 bucks online helps with a few things but not all the things.)

So that's where I am right now. Trolling through uk Amiga Coverdisk adfs looking for programs to help me on my way for now until I lock in what my 500 is gonna be.

Thus me joining here to get wisdom I may not know or have run into with quick searches.

Like: "Can I take the R6 Agnus and put it in my R5? If so how do you safely get them out? Might I just get a UK 1mb Agnus and effectively be done worrying about pal issues? Should I hunt down 2 4mbyte 30 pin simm ram chips to max out the Gvp ram? What Sd2scsi could I pop in and replace the 120 meg or so almost 30 year old scsi hard disk? Internal 5.1-2s aren't expensive at all. Would 8 mb ram and a big SD hard drive equivalent be good enough for WHDLOADs? Should I just get a Terrible Fire 536 and then have a smaller footprint less noisy less power plug using machine with MAXIMUM BEEFLORD stats? What of 3.2 ROM and the newest WB? Would I be dealing with extra compatibility issues or would it make life better n easier either with or without a TF 536?"

These are the questions that try my soul and possibly suck away large amounts of time and money plus or minus requiring holes drilled into 30 year old plastic computer shells.

Perhaps together we can answer them and actually have me use the Amiga as more than a dust collector...

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Captain Rufus

Posted Mon Jan 10, 2022 3:58 am


I'm still working on things. Got both scsi2sd 5.2 in my gvp hd AND got rgb2hdmi set up. The former seems to be eating up RAM (probably need to lower buffers or something) and the other has the odd bit of video garbling that randomly pops up. Its minor but I notice it.

Getting WB 1.3 on the hd was an ordeal. I did it but it involved both Gvp Prep programs, using both partitions, and a bit of annoyance.

Maybe my first solder job in 30 years wasn't good enough, maybe it's the hdmi connectors, maybe its my settings? The mini hdmi to normal plus normal hdmi cable isn't gonna work in there for size reasons so I'm gonna try a different cable before reflowing 40 pins.

Its nice having 2 beefy partitions.

All i'm waiting on is my RAM chips and the setup is basically complete outside of maybe drilling cable holes.

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Posted Mon Jan 10, 2022 4:50 am

Awesome story, thanks so much for sharing!

The missing RAM might be due to buffers. AmigaOS assigns small bits of RAM to buffer disk access.

The larger the disk, the more memory this requires.

You can check the difference if you auto-mount both partitions at boot and then again auto-mount only one partition. There should be a respective option in advanced option in HDToolBox.

For my setup I eventually only auto-mount one partition and add others if i need them with ‚mount‘. The mountlist I created with giggledisk from Aminet.

Have fun with such a wonderful machine!


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