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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 1:10 pm

I believe today that - from a system standpoint - I'm done collecting for the foreseeable future now. It's always fun to look, but with this addition I feel like I've got everything I could ever want. Very peaceful feeling, that.

I’ve been looking for an A3000 for what feels like a very long time. I lamented to a my friend Mattsoft a few months ago that the 3000 had become my unicorn. The machines are so scarce I didn't think I'd ever find a working one less than the cost of my first born.

The sad truth is due to the battery location in the 3000, when they start to leak they take out a lot of machines permanently. And whenever you do find one that still works they go for stupid money.

And I just refuse to spend that kind of money on a nearly 30 year-old computer. It just seems irresponsible. So, I gave up seriously looking at Ebay and started peering into other corners of the internet for a change.

About a month ago I found a very nice looking A3000 for sale from a single owner in the Bay Area. The case and keyboard has no discoloration, no markings - it's virgin.

I contacted him, but he wanted to sell it in a large lot with another Amiga AND a large pile of books and software with local pick-up only. I went ahead and submitted a fair (but below market value) offer anyway. I figured it couldn't hurt.
She works! She's a modest system, but in some of the most pristine condition I've ever seen. Looks super sweet with my 1084S.

Three weeks later, I checked again and the computer was still sitting there amongst all of the other things. I contacted the gentleman again, this time asking about the battery condition. He honestly didn’t know. In two days he got back to me - there was indeed battery damage, but it was localized and not the worst I’ve seen by any stretch of the imagination.

After that info, though, I gave him a new offer - lower than before. He agreed to my terms and was willing to ship it to me! I had to convince him to create a PayPal account, and by doing so my payment fired off automatic alarm bells at PayPal, but I authorized it and it went through.
The seller smartly packed the machine in the original box, and put that box in a cushioned second box. So refreshing to get an important package like that (and rare!).

Two days later, one of the finest (and final) additions to my vintage computer collection has locked into place. It’s just gorgeous!

This A3000 is a modest machine. It has 1MB Chip and is of the 16Mhz CPU variety. With Mattsoft’s help, I’ve already ordered the RAM to upgrade the machine to 2MB Chip - it’s socketed and easy to reach with just taking off the cover and the RAM cost less than $20.

It also has several empty sockets for Fast RAM, which has also been ordered from China. The Fast RAM upgrade requires the motherboard be removed even though it is socketed - they are under the floppy drive area. So I’ll remove the battery and clean the motherboard while also adding the RAM at the same time. The motherboard has sockets for 16MB Fast!

Once the Fast and Chip are upgraded, this beautiful little 3000 is going to be so sweet. The machine currently runs (quite smoothly) off an original internal 100MB HDD, too.

The case, the keyboard - everything is just perfect. I barely even have to clean the thing. For now I’ll be pairing it with my 1084S monitor, which looks really sharp from an aesthetics standpoint. The two look made for each other.
The keyboard is mint. I barely even have to clean it.

Out of pure luck, I received a package from a different deal a few days earlier and there was a generous free "pregnant mouse" in the package. It's as if fate knew a 3000 was on its way.

The original owner saved everything in near-perfect condition that he received and used with his A3000. I even got the original manuals, which - frankly - I'm looking forward to reading in non-PDF format!

The only downside is the 1084S doesn’t support the Super Hires / Interlace modes. But that doesn’t matter that much to me right now. I’ve only got a small handful of programs that even require higher resolutions.

I may have to move my beloved A2000 off the desk for a while. I’ve much to learn with the 3000 and I’m really looking forward to it. Dream come true.

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Lexington VA

Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:39 pm

nice! Just dont break the spine when you read those old manuals :)

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:31 pm

Wow, that's amazing!

A 3000 is the machine I want to complete my collection too. Maybe with some luck, and the patience of a rock, I'll get one eventually. If you think they're hard to find where you are, try buying one in Australia!

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Posted Thu Apr 25, 2019 10:33 pm

Nice machine! Congrats!

My $.06 (as an "A3000 worshiper", as we are probably called nowadays):

1) Before anything else, check if the built-in flicker fixer works as it is one of the most likely damaged parts in case of a battery leak. (I am sure you know that - there is a small screw for adjustment right beside the VGA plug if there a flickering pixels / lines, just like on the A2320.)

2) While you have the mb removed, add the INT2 fix. Needed by many, if not all, SCSI controllers on turbo boards.

3) Some say that Superbuster 11 does not work in the 16MHz version. All I know is there's no Z3-DMA without SB 11.

4) When adding fast RAM, try not to mix Pagemode (xxx400) and Static Column (xxx402). Bad things can happen.

5) I really do NOT recommend "upgrading" this with a 3640. That card is absolute crap. If you want a CPU upgrade, I'd go for a CS MK2 or Warp Engine.

6) Upgrade your SCSI chip to rev 8 of the WD chip or replace it with an AMD AM33C93A-16PC DIP-40. All sorts of problems with SCSI can occur with anything less.

So long, for now. Congrats again!

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 8:08 am

Thanks for the advice, A10001986. Some of that I'm going to have to research as it's over my head.

Before anything else, check if the built-in flicker fixer works as it is one of the most likely damaged parts in case of a battery leak.
My early tests seem to suggest I've avoided issues here. I know what you're talking about, though, and breathed a huge sigh of relief when I powered it on and tested those modes. My damage appears to have been more localized, thank goodness. I will begin to address that very soon, for sure.

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:57 pm

No need to remove the motherboard to install the ZIP RAM, removing the drive/power supply carrier is enough. If you ordered the ZIPs from China and if they are supposed to be static column, be prepared for them to be fake (i.e. page mode zips that had their surface ground off and new fake info printed - I got 24 of those that I am now instead using with an Oktagon 2008. Took a while to figure out why the machine was crashing. I confronted the seller and got a significant refund)

I can add the Int2 modification and install either an Ultracapacitor or a Lithium coin cell holder (with diode) if you want me to.

Btw. 16 MHz A3000s are pretty rare. I think you can use the Super Buster rev 9 but you don’t need it unless you are doing Z3 DMA.
As stated above, the Super Buster 11 does not work with the motherboard clock set to 16 MHz. Possible solution: switch to a 25 MHz oscillator, jumper the motherboard accordingly, and hope that the 16 MHz 68030/68881 (not 68882 on the 16 MHz model) work. Alternate solution: get an accelerator :-)

Btw if you stick with 16 MHz, then you could go with a 16.6667MHz crystal - that’s the actual speed rating of the 16 MHz parts. The motherboard/components are designed for 25 MHz so they won’t complain with that little speed increase.

Other items would be to correct the orientation of the SCSI termpower diode and adding a Polyswitch resettable (self healing) 1A fuse.

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 5:01 pm

I think that DF0: on the A3000 is supposed to be on the left (i.e. middle) side with the floppy blanking plate covering the right side for the fully authentic original look :-)

With two floppies DF0: moves to the right and DF1: takes the place of DF0: on the left. Check out the original reviews and advertisements of the A3000.

And adjust the deinterlacer using a CRT monitor even if ultimately using an LCD. The LCDs own PLL circuitry will make it difficult to adjust the deinterlacer. Also, you will likely not get as good (stable) of an image with the deinterlacer output on an LCD due to that reason.

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:42 pm

Congrats, Eric. My 3000 is by far my favorite Amiga. I too have the 16 MHz variant, and, as others have already said, it is the rarer variant.

Before I upgraded it with a CS MK II, i swapped out the oscillator to 25 MHz, changed the jumpers, and put a heatsink on the CPU, and had no issues.

Mine had minor battery leakage, but I cleaned it up and it has worked fine for the 3 or 4 years I've now owned it. Once Chucky is done with his 3000 replica PCB, I will be buying one to keep as a spare should this computer stop functioning due to that leakage, and then transfer all the components over.

Once you disassemble it to do the upgrades to the memory, post up some pictures of the battery area...I'd be interested to see how much leakage occurred.

I upgraded mine to Buster 11 so that I could use iComp's Xsurf-100 and RapidRoad combo. Without it, the card wouldn't work at all, even in Z2 mode. But, I in order for that to be done, you have to overclock the CPU to 25MHz as above, since Buster 11 won't work at 16MHz, as Christian has already noted.

I had also gotten my hands on the ultra rare Super DMAC 04 and tried to use it with the Ramsey 7. It worked fine on the stock configuration, BUT, for some reason, did not like that combo when I upgraded to the Cyberstorm and added Cybervision 64/3D. For some reason, the RTG graphics would not work with the DMAC4/Ramsey7, and only native video would work.

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Posted Fri Apr 26, 2019 9:40 pm

congrats on the find. i got mine before the retro rage hit the markets and everyone starting asking for offers of first born children in exchange for any retro computers.

i have a 25mhz 3000 with 2mb chip / 16mb fast. even though noone likes them, i have an a3640 in mine and it works great. also have in mine:

xsurf network card (10mb ver)
egs spectrum 24/28
usb card
emplant emulator

also added two sd2scsi cards (one for the 3000, other for mac emu). i also built a usb mouse adapter and use an old microsoft mouse with my a3000. also installed two fz-357 high density floppy drives.

next to my a1000s, my 3000 is my favorite and most used amiga. now if i can just find my holy grails, an amia or sybil adapter then i would be very happy.

again congrats on the find.

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