Category: Amiga

Amiga left to do

08/06/09 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

Well, I have a couple of projects on the go at the moment.

One is towerising a A4000. I had all the parts for that for a very brief time.

I managed to get a complete Tower kit off eBay, based on the Micronik version, and went over and picked it up. While picking it up, I left the busboard on the roof of the car, and drove off. 45minutes later, I was back home minus the busboard. Drove back on the off chance that maybe I had forgotten to take the busboard, or that it had fallen out on the grass, or some other miracle.

I arrived to find it in the middle of the road outside of the house. It was in the middle of a lane, so I was still thinking "Maybe no one's hit it". Picked it up, and the edge connecter was bent.

It was dark, so I was still thinking "Maybe it's fixable, just bend it back".

In the light, though, the damage was clear. The edge connector was the least of the problems. The board had cracked most of the way through along the edge where the edge connector is. One of the ICs was cracked right through, part of the first Zorro slot connector was broken off, and the first two slots were bent. Wells stuffed it is.

The up shot is that I am trying to track down a suitable busboard for the A4000. I just missed out on an identical board on eBay because the auction finished at 4am local time (item is in Germany). I almost bought a PCI busboard from Elbox when they had their free Radeon deal, but I took too long to make up my mind and the deal ended.

So, that's the state of the A4000 project. As a result of being in limbo, I haven't done much with the A4000.

The next project is the A1200. Basically, all that needs is the SCSI and hard drive/optical drive situation sorted (and maybe one day get a mobo with clockport). I have a Blizzard PPC 603e+, which has a Fast SCSI controller. However, it only comes with an 'external' cable which is basically a short cable with a hi-density 50pin SCSI-II connector. Which is not as useful as a 68pin SCSI-II hi-density connector (internal cables will plug straight into the 'external' port) or what any tower owner really wants: a 50pin internal IDC connector. I picked up a cable which claims to be this, however it suffers from two problems: bad solder work, and it is too long (this is a common problem with many SCSI cables where cables should be no longer than required).

So, once we get the internal SCSI situation sorted, and I have a couple of ideas, I can add a few things. On the list is a SCSI DVD-ROM (because it's there), Fast SCSI hard drives, a 2GB Jaz drive (I have three of these to distribute among the amigas), and maybe a removable SCSI bay.

I'd ideally like to have the A1200 in tri-boot situation with OS3.1, 3.9, and 4.0. OS4 is running, but is nowhere near as quick as on the A1.

Which brings us neatly to the last project: the AmigaOne. I have not been treating this one as well as it really deserves. I scavenged out the hard drive from it a while back, and then took the optical drive as well. I'd like to get a hard drive back in there, make sure all the firmware is up to date, install OS4.1 and get the thing on the network and internet.


Alfred the chicken, Gods etc

08/06/09 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

So, after many, many moons, I finally have a workable A2500 up and running.

Just quickly the specs are this: Amiga 2500, ECS Denise, 1Mb Agnus, KS 1.3/2.04/3.1 on a threeway KS board, A2320 Amber flicker fixer, GVP EGS Spectrum, Blizzard 2060 with 96MB RAM, internal 1GB Iomega Jaz Drive, internal SCSI 8x CD-R, QuickNet Ethernet card, external SCSI Pioneer CD Changer, external SCSI 1GB hard drive.

From the previous incarnation, I have dropped the MegaChip and the Oktagon. Which were/are both faulty. The Oktagon is probably fixable, it could be just the diode has blown again. The MegaCHip I have had working with a new Agnus, but it onlt shows 1MB. It seems to be very fussy about which version of Agnus it will work with.

The last part to get installed and working to get the machine operational was the internal Jaz drive. The idea behind using the Jaz, is that it has a nice capacity. 1GB is small enough to avoid all the 2GB/4GB limits, and big enough to be useful. And by using it internally as the primary boot device, it allows me to have multiple installs that I can swap between. And the Jaz is quite quick. I am using the Fast SCSI controller on the Blizzard, which is the fastest available for an A2000, and I am getting 4Mbyte/S which is about 4x faster than the speeds I was getting with the Octagon.

Does it all work?

Yeah. I finally managed to install OS 3.9 on the Jaz and get it working with the 68060 libraries. There are three libraries it needs. The original 68040.library, the 68060.library and a dummy 68040.library which redirects commands to the 68040 or 68060 library.

I got that installed, and the boing bags, and then decided that I didn't like the partitioning scheme. I'd formatted as one big partition, which is not a good idea. When the filesystem breaks, it will take an age to fix

The only issue I am having with OS 3.9 at the moment is getting the Spectrum working nicely with my 18" Sun LCD. It doesn't centre well. I will probably end up using a different screen.

The good thing though is that now it is sitting on my desk and getting some actual use, if only mostly for games at the moment.

If I could find some good 68060/ECS demos (not likely I know) then I'd probably load them up as well :)


A2000 troubles

07/04/08 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

I have had some ongoing issues with the A2000. Initially it was a lot of weird shit. The upshot seems to be a dead SCSI card, and the MegaChip is faulty.

The SCSI card in question is an Oktagon A2008. It does some clever stuff like locking up the Zorro bus when it is plugged in. So, unusable.

The MegaChip is more interesting. It has got contact corrosion on the pins. Strange that they would use such dodgy crap on such an expensive product.

I took along the A2000 as dead to the local user group meeting: SAUG. The geniuses there diagnosed the above faults and cleaned the contacts on the MegaChip. So got it back up and running. But after a couple of days it died.

It is now consistently giving a green screen on boot. This indicates a RAM fault. In this case a Chip RAM fault. So the next step is to drop it back to 1MiB Chip by taking out the MegaChip and putting an Agnus straight back into the socket. And see what happens.

Hopefully, I can get it up and running, and drop in the Blizzard A2060. Part of a plan to get a 68060 based Mac.


AOS4 Classic

07/04/08 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Software, Amiga, AOS4

Got AOS4 classic up and running on the A1200. The A1200 has Mediator + Voodoo 3, Terratec and Realtek 8029AG. So far I only have the Voodoo working. There's only 192MB in the A1200. Hoping to pick up a thinner 128MB module to fit the BlizzardPPC.

Apparently, the Realtek 8029AG might be supported with an update. But there are issues with the faster 8039 and sound cards as these use DMA. Elbox (makers of Mediator) did a clever hack which uses the Video card as a DMA buffer for other cards on the bus. So far this is not supported in AOS4.

Performance wise, it ain't no AmigaOne. It is noticably slower, not unusable, but slower. I have yet to test the 68k emulation extensively. Paula works however, as well as native video. And even more cool, it handles the BlizzardVision and Voodoo better than previous versions of AmigaOS. Switching between the two is trivial.

All we are waiting on, is better PCI support, and BlizzardSCSI support, since I have no clockport hearers I am using just a buffered IDE adaptor, no FastATA, SCSI would be fast. AND we hope, the SharkPPC.


68060 Mac

06/04/08 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Software, Mac, Amiga

I've been doing so research on this, looks like there are a couple of options.

1. Put a 68060 in a Mac. This is possible, there are socket adaptors for 68060s to plug into 68040 sockets. They are pin compatible, apart from your average 68040 running on 5V and the 68060 running on 3.3V. It looks like the socket adaptors are built to order, and they do cost a pretty penny. There is another, slightly bigger, snag: the ROMs don't support the 68060. The 68060 is missing some features of the 68040, and superscalar functionality can cause another set of issues. So, you would also need to edit the ROMs (and burn a copy and resocket them). A little more than I can do :(

2. 'Emulation' via an Amiga. This is rather more straight forward. What is needed is an Amiga with a 68060, and a copy of Shapeshifter (or Basilix, or whatever), and some Mac ROMs from a 68040 based Mac (a Quadra, or Centris, for example). And ideally, a Graphics card. I have most of this already. Now, the reason that this works without kludgy hacks is that 68060 accelerators are freely available for the Amiga, and more importantly, the AmigaOS allows 68040 calls to be translated to 68060 in software. This allows the 68060 to work with 68040 ROMs.

For number 2, I am waiting to get the A2000 back up and running.

Interestingly, the reason that 68060 accelerators aren't available for the Mac is (apart from the ROM issue, which could be solved in firmware), is that the PPC emulation of the 68k was pretty good, and PPC native apps appeared not long after. The 601 is pretty crap CPU, but a 603 or 604 can easily emulate a 68040@40MHz at full speed. The time it would take to get a 68060 to market (given the ROM issues) would be longer than the time it took for a combination of 68k emulation in PPC and PPC native apps to catch up.


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