In terms of battery replacements, ZippyZapp walked us through the choices out there.
There's the standard barrel battery, which has to be soldered and de-soldered to replace (not awesome, but they last a really long time). This is the kind of battery Commodore used decades ago, and are honestly the reason so many Amigas die. The barrel batteries, over a long period of time, will start to corrode and leak acid. Some ultimately destroy the motherboards they were soldered onto, an all too common and painfully tragic way for these old machines to die. My philosophy is: why replace a flawed component with yet another future problem?
Note: this article assumes your IC clock chip is working. If you aren't sure, I highly recommend downloading and installing SysInfo if you haven't already. (See here on how to transfer files to the Amiga from a PC.) Fire it up and look on the right-hand side of the screen under "Internal Hardware Modes." The first item is "CLOCK" and, hopefully, it says, "FOUND". If it does, you're good to go.
I went the coin-battery route for my Amiga 2000, supplied by Amigakit for only a few dollars. The obvious benefit being the battery can be easily swapped when necessary without desoldering junk ever again. What's also nice about this option is that it comes with a holder that contains a protection circuit, which prevents charging of the coin cell. This is important, because if you charge a non-rechargeable lithium battery, it could potentially explode. The holder has circuitry to prevent that. The following is a guide to remove and replace a battery for an Amiga 2000 running Kickstart/Workbench 1.3. This delineation is important, which I'll explain later, as the classic 1.3 OS on original hardware has a particular gotcha you'll (sometimes) need to address in order to it get working. This is for informational purposes only. AmigaLove is not responsible for your hardware or physical safety. Please take the proper precautions and do this work at your own risk.
Step 1: Remove your motherboard
This doesn't really require a lot of explanation. You will have to remove it completely from the case, remove the PSU, and the heat-shield underneath the motherboard. Put all your screws to the side.
Step 2a: Remove your old battery If your battery is already removed, skip to Step 3.
If your battery hasn't been removed yet, get that sucker out of there!
When I first acquired my 2000, the first thing I did was pop the case off and remove the battery. The easiest way to do this is to remove the floppy drive bay, then grab a pair of needle-nose pliers. If you grab ahold of the barrel battery with your pliers, slowly rock the battery back and forth. After about 2 minutes or so, it will (or should) break off the board. This will leave the soldered legs of the battery stand broken off in your motherboard, but it doesn't hurt anything. You really don't need to remove your motherboard entirely from the case to get the battery out. That is an unnecessary waste of time... unless you plan on putting the new battery in at the exact same time. Which is why you're here. Read on.
Step 2b: Clean the motherboard
Once the battery is out, you need to clean off the acid dust and built up residue on the motherboard as best you can. You might start with a paper towel with some vinegar and water on it (not dripping, but damp). For hard-to-reach places, some Q-Tips will come in handy. Some recommend using a soft toothbrush. In any case, do your best to remove the acid. Hopefully your board is still OK. In my case, I removed enough of the green coating in one spot that I used a special overcoat pen to draw some new coating.
Step 3: Installing the new Battery
I needed the following supplies. There are certainly better equipment options out there, but this is what I used and it worked fine for my needs.
- Soldering iron
- Desoldering vacuum pump as well as desoldering wick, solder braid
- 60-40 Rosin core solder
De-solder the old battery stand's legs and old solder off the board. Pretty self explanatory - get that old junk out of there. You'll know you did a good job when the glob of old solder is totally gone and you've got a perfect round hole in its place.
Step 4: Install the new battery kit
There are 3 post holes, which should be clearly evident on your board now. The excellent replacement kit is made so that it is impossible to install incorrectly these days, which is nice. Only just a few years ago one had to know which post hole was positive and which was negative yada yada. Worry not - that's all been sorted already for you. Using your soldering skills, put the new kit in place with 3 new and shiny little "teepees" of fresh solder. For me, I flipped the board upside-down and used a small brick of foam to put between the battery and the table. I used some masking tape to hold the kit in place, thus letting the new posts stick through the motherboard. I soldered these 3 posts, then snipped off the excess posts. If you've made it this far, you should be feeling pretty good about yourself. Well done!
Step 5: Reassemble your computer
Obviously you need to put everything back together. Isn't that heat shielding fun?
Step 6: Power Up and Set the Time
Again, this is for folks out there who are running 1.3 KS/WB environments, and particularly the 2000. This also assumes you have Workbench 1.3 installed to a hard drive. If not, why not?!
Now, this is where things get a bit wonky due to the age of our machines, the various previous owners and what they might have done, or not done, along the way.
Once I got to this stage I figured, "I'm done!" I was wrong.
I could go to the CLI, and set the date and time. As a reminder, here's how to do that:
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DATE 12:00:00 12-oct-85
To exit the CLI, type EndCLI
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Now, you could go to the clock widget in Workbench to test your clock. In my case, I use Dopus, which is an excellent file management tool. And when launched, it shows me the date and time across the top of my screen. Indeed, I have Dopus set to launch when Workbench launches as a small little strip across the top of my Workbench screen. It shows me the time as well as my memory usage, and is one click away from use, which I love.
I thought this was all I had to do. For some, I imagine this IS all they have to do.
I re-booted the machine. And.. the battery did NOT save the time or date. I was staring at 1-Feb-1978. No matter what I tried, the time would never save after I set it.
Thomas, via EAB:
What the hell? How can that be?Seeing it at 1978 means there is a battery backed up clock and it has either been reset or the battery is empty.
But it would let me set it when the machine was on. The IC chip was working, remember? So maybe I screwed up the battery install somehow. That's what I thought, anyway.
I bought a multimeter ... and yes, my battery was fine. The traces on the motherboard appeared to be fine, too. What was going on? I really had no idea, and finally accepted defeat.
Fast-forward a few months, and I'm working on a totally different project. At the end, I needed to put my Workbench 1.3 floppy in the drive to use some tools. And that's when I noticed that, when I used the floppy disk, during the startup sequence I could see the real date and time! Right there, I could see it! But when I popped the disk out and rebooted to launch from my hard drive - it forgot the time and date again.
If this is happening to you, read on.
Step 7: The Startup Sequence
Using Dopus, I quickly inserted my WB floppy and read the startup sequence file in the S: drive. And there, in the middle of the file, I saw this:
That little command tells the Amiga to look at the IC and load the date into memory! Seems baffling (and completely stupid) but if that command is missing, even if your IC can save the time, it won't show it on a reboot and will appear to have reset everywhere you look - to a date well before the Amiga was made! Completely idiotic, but it must've saved some really old machines a couple bytes of RAM back when every byte mattered.
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SetClock load ;
So if you want to use your computer's clock without setting it manually every time, you need to set it as I described above. But you also need to update your startup-sequence to load it on each boot from the IC. Once you do that, everything should work flawlessly. And you should see the correct date and time when you launch your machine during the boot sequence wherever you placed that command in your file. And now on to installing productivity software! And I'll be leaving Dopus running all of the time with the time and date shown arrogantly across the top of my screen, every single day!