Archives for: October 2005

A2000 arrives, work needed

23/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

Today I got the A2000. It has (at the moment) the A2320 flicker fixer, gvp spectrum, A2630+rocket launcher+dkb 2632, megachip 2mb chipram expansion, kickstart switcher with 1.3 and 3.1 and an Oktagon 2008. 2 500Mb HDDs, SCSI CD-ROM, and 2 floppies.

The Oktagon is not working at the moment. :( It has a blown diode (not too uncommon, apparently). But I am not sure if that is the problem, or whether it is something else.

Also the machine is a bit dirty, and has some rust. I am going to swap out some parts from my old A2000.

It looks like it is the model just prior to the ECS A2000. A v6.2

So, I am going to swap the top case, steal some backingplates, screw the accelerator and stuff into place, swap the PSU over, install a better CD drive, and try out the GVP scsi card. whew!

I also need to download and burn all the drivers to CD. But at least I've found them all! :)

Once it is up and running, I plan on doing some octamed stuff and checking out some CDs. More to follow.


Beige G3 rebuild

21/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

Some time ago, I purchased a group lot of beige G3s. One was missing a few parts. The case was also in a bad way. Finally, I am starting to rebuild it.

It is a Beige G3 desktop 266MHz, with the normal sound only personality card. It has no floppy, no hard drive, no ram, and a zip bezel but no zip drive. It might have bad RAM slots.

I have got together the parts. Replacement low profile RAM (256Mb in two sticks), a 6GB HDD (from an iMac, I believe), a floppy drive (from a beige g3) and a zip-100 drive. I also have the VRAM upgrade, an AV personality card, a DVD ROM drive (apple branded) and a CD-RW drive (apple branded). I haven't decided whether to go with the DVD or the CD-RW. Probably the DVD drive.

I have a PCI graphics card from a PowerMac G4 PCI. I am not sure whether I'll install it or not.

If I really want to go crazy, I have a SATA card and a firewire/usb2 card. I could also add wifi or gigabit, bluetooth, OSX Tiger (with Xpostfacto), 1GHz G3 or G4, superdrive, Radeon 9200pro, and upto 768Mb of RAM.

I am thinking that I might make it a wifi bridge with 10.2.8. It will probably also get the USB2/Firewire card, since that card is doing nothing and if I can get the SCSI card working, I will put that in there, too.

More to follow.


6100 G4

21/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

I got the G4 for the 6100, and sat down with all three 6100s to build the machines.

I put RAM in the machines. 2x 64 in two machines and 2x 32 in the other. Then I put in the graphics adaptors. An AV card in the 72Mb machine, a HPV in one 136Mb machine and an AV card in the G4/136Mb machine.

I also installed CD-ROMs. Surprisingly, I had 3 drives and carrier trays (the plastic things that the CD-ROMs screw into). 2 of the drives were 12x (I think that that was the original spec for the 6100) and one drive was 4x. I put the 4x in the 72Mb machine.

Next I need to find SCSI drives. I had foolishly bought five 4Gb wide drives for the bargain price of $17. Two were 68pin Ultra, and the other 3 were SCA ultra. To fit in the 6100 they would need adaptors to 50pin. The adaptors were selling from $13.50 for the 68pin to 50pin to $17 for the SCA to 50pin.

I figured I had some other drives lying around (this was a long running project). I found a 4Gb, a 2Gb and a 1Gb. I had to check them out first. They all worked in the PowerMac G4 Digital Audio.

The 4Gb didn't work in the 6100. Bugger. I had another idea, I had a 50pin to 68pin adaptor but wrong gender for a simple fix. I used some short cables to correct the gender, and then install an 18Gb drive in the 6100/G4

I installed OS9, and it booted. Wow. It crashed after awhile. I am thinking that it is heat from the 18Gb and poor ventilation due to all those cables.

I set up the 6100/136Mb with the 2Gb drive. Installed OS9 and booted. It is a loud drive.

I put the 1Gb drive in the 6100/72Mb. No chime. Usual voodoo (pram, expansion cards out, switch RAM etc), still no go.

So I have 2 (kind of) working 6100s.

No good for a beowolf cluster. But I might be able to squeeze my Beige G3 into a beowolf. Maybe needs some other crap. I plan to wait for another garage full of beige to go on eBay. Some 6100s and 6200s sold the other week for about $1 a unit. And some Beige G3s (no RAM) went for about $2.50 a unit. There are options :)


Amiga2000 fully loaded

21/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Amiga

I have managed to pick up a very loaded A2000. I should be getting it this weekend :)

It is a rev 6, but I am not sure if this means ECS (my first A2000 was ECS) or whether it just means a Fat Agnus. I think I have the parts to make it ECS, if needs be.

It has an A2630 with Rocketlauncher (50MHz 68030 upgrade), and DKB A2632 (RAM expansion). I already have some RAM to max out the DKB (it takes 112Mb of 72pin SIMMs) due to experiments with my 6100s. I am assuming that the A2630 already has 4Mb.

It also has the DKB Megachip 2MB Chip RAM expansion. I have wanted one of these since about 91 or 92, not long after I got my first A2000. I originally wanted it for OctaMED, but OctaMED moved on. Now I want it, because I wanted it. Which makes perfect sense.

It's got the A2320 flicker fixer. This is a big deal, because it means I can use a normal monitor. YAY!

Also, it has a GVP Spectrum board. This was one of the first retargettable graphics cards. It is cool because it has Picasso 96 drivers.

Did I mention KS? It has Kickstart 3.1 (abit of a shit, because I recently bought a 3.1 ROM from Italy), and 1.3 on a ROM switcher, with room for a third ROM. I am looking at getting a KS 2 rom. Just for symmetry :

Naturally, it also has a SCSI controller with 2 HDDs and a CD-ROM drive. I will probably replace the drives with larger ones and the CD-ROM with a burner or at least a faster drive (I have a 40x lying around).

For some reason it has an Emplant card. This is of little interest to me. Which might be surprising. Basically, it is because I can't see the point in a 68k Mac. I am not too fond of OS9, and 8.1 might be too crap. And if I need to, I can run Shapeshifter.

A couple of other cards were included: An opalvision and another SCSI card. I should at least play around with the Opalvision, since it is a major piece of kit.

What it does mean is that some stuff will be appearing on eBay in the near future.

I imagine I will sell my KS3.1 ROM (A500, A600, A2000 version), the Opalvision, and the emplant. I will also probably get rid of my other A2000 stuff. I was planning on building a system up, but this one has nearly everything I need. So I will probably list an A2000 with hard drives, extra RAM and CD-ROM.

The thing I am looking forward to is running OctaMED with 118Mb of RAM, at 800x600 or higher, if I can get it working with the 21".

Just needs an ethernet card :)



Mac Wifi, belkin!

21/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

This one is interesting.

I have been looking at wifi on the Mac since I first got a powerbook. The fantasy is to have net access while I'm watching the TV.

I originally bought a couple of wifi (b and g) cards much earlier this year. One card did have mac drivers, but I never got it working well (can't even remember the brand now). I tried both the cards in the PC using a cardbus/PCI adaptor. The cards were recognised, but without a wifi network to test them on, nothing happened.

After trying with generic PC Cards, I did some research and found out about broadcomm chipsets. The idea is that the Mac will recognise any broadcomm based card as an airport card. So I bought one (802.11g)for about 33-40% the price of an airport (802.11b) and it worked. I was using a Wallstreet at the time, so airport extreme on a Wallstreet is pretty cool.

But still no wifi network to try it on. I sold the whole kit a few weeks later.

Fast forward to last month. I had bought a Pismo, so I got interested in getting a wifi card again. The uni has wifi, so it would be cool. I figured I could get a broadcomm PCI card, and put it in the PowerMac and use that to bridge across to the Pismo.

I did a search, and found that Belkin made a broadcomm based card, F5D7000au. I did another search and found one for $25. I bought it.

I plugged it in and nothing. Doesn't work. I searched for info, and hit on two possible answers: Tiger don't let you do this trick no more, and/or only some Belkin F5D7000AUs are broadcomm based.

The PowerMac was leaving, so I couldn't try it with panther, so I openned the card up. It looked like the chipset wasn't Broadcomm. :(

Not to matter, there are plenty more cards to try.

I have found some suitable cards, in a reasonable quantity. They are slightly more expensive, though. Closer to $45. I will probably buy a couple next week. :)

If I get them, I will post some more on attempt two.


Powerlogix CPU upgrades.

20/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

So the last couple of weeks I've done two upgrades.

The first was the Digital Audio to 1.8GHz. I dropped in a new hard drive. The final config was 1.8GHz G4, 768Mb RAM, 120Gb HDD, Radeon 9600 (G5 version with dual DVI), keyboard/mouse (and a logitech based wheel mouse), 16X Pioneer 109, Zip 250, and Harmon Kardon speakers. It's running OSX 10.4.2

I used a PowerLogix, cause they was cheapest :) The CPU install is a bit fiddly for two reasons: you need to patch the mac's firmware to recognise the 7447a, and the fan is a tight fit. PowerLogix support was super fast and super effective. I needed to get an updated firmware patcher from them.

The second was a Sawtooth 500MHz to a 1GHz (Powerlogix). Current config is 1GHz G4 (2Mb L3), 1.5Gb RAM, 20Gb HDD, Rage 128 Pro, Zip 250, DVD-RAM, original keyboard/mouse. It's running 10.4.2 The 1GHz Powerlogix is a simple drop in replacement.

I plan to add more to the sawtooth, because I am selling it on eBay. I am offering the usual selection of upgrades, and trying to extend my range a bit.

I also added a 256Mb stick to my Pismo. So the total is now 384Mb. The guy I had originally tried to buy the RAM off (2x 256Mb, alledgely) was a newbie, and had the specs very wrong (128Mb PC-133 and 512Mb DDR-400). I made a small profit :)

The Powerbook is working out nicely. It just needs wifi :)

Next post will be on wifi :)


PowerMac G4s

01/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

Well, you might remember my ravings of a day or two back about building a PowerMac system for a friend. This is a similar deal, but is with my PowerMacs.

Over the last few months, I've had a handfull of PowerMac G4s. Ranging from a PCI 400 to an upgraded (933) Digital Audio.

The (mildly) interesting upgrades are:

a PCI 400 with a flashed Radeon 7000, 120Gb HDD, 512Mb, and 103 Superdrive
A Digital audio 667 to a 933 (no level 3 cache), 1Gb RAM, 2x 120Gb HDD, 107 Superdrive and a GeForce2 (I think it was a GeForce).
A Digital Audio 733 with a flashed Geforce3, then a Radeon 9600 (rv351 from the powermac G5 with the 4x AGP bus tape mod), Miglia Alchemy TV tuner card, Radeon 7000 PCI then Rage 128 Pro PCI, 106/107/109 superdrives (at various times), 768Mb RAM, 60Gb and 40Gb HDDs, and Tiger.
And a few AGP Macs with superdrive upgrades.

The superdrive upgrade is my favourite. At one point 'superdrives' were selling for twice the cost of 'Pioneer' drives.

Currently there are two projects in the works. The first is based on the DA 733 above. I am dropping in a 1.8GHz (7447a) G4, two 120Gb HDDs, leaving 768Mb RAM, 109 superdrive and Radeon 9600 (it's a nice card), and taking out the old hdds, tv tuner and pci graphics. This one has been sold at less than cost, but about what the current value is for the parts (a little less). It shits me, because with the 9600, it is a very nice system. It's also going with keyboard, mouse and harmon kardon speakers. A real deal.

The second project makes up for the pains of the first one. I picked up a PowerMac G4 400 with 1.5Gb RAM, upgraded graphics (Radeon, I think), DVD-RAM, Zip and a 20Gb drive with a heap of software. It also comes with the mouse/keyboard and install disks for Panther and iLife 05. The software and RAM are worth the purchase price alone, which puts me about 200AUD odd up on the whole deal. :) I am looking at a 9600XT (from a G5) for it, and a superdrive (106).

The reason I am buying an AGP, is that I have a powerlogix 1GHz upgrade which has the fixed 100mhz fsb. So, it will have a CPU upgrade. I have a SATA controller lying around. ANd when I finally get around to upgrading the PC, I will move the 200Gb SATA drive in to the Mac. I am also getting a PCI wifi card, which should be compatible with airport. A pretty killer system, all in all.

With the wifi, I should be able to get it linked with the pbook. This will give me the ability to use internet on the pbook. :) I might even setup an old beige G3 with the wifi card and use that as a gateway/router.

Longer term, I am looking at getting a Quicksilver 2002, and upgrading the CPU to a 2GHz or dual 1.8GHz, and then dropping in a Radeon 9800 or even an X800 (if anyone ever gets it working). Either that or buy a second hand "best" PowerMac (a dual CPU model). The big problem with the DA/QS models is the lack of RAM support (1.5Gb is pitiful in a Mac). A PMac G5 would fix that problem.


Powerbook Tiger migration

01/10/05 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

Well, as I said, I've got the 80gig installed in the Pismo and now I have found the other 128Mb stick that I thought was gone. So, I installed the other 128Mb for 256Mb and then I had enough for Tiger. I installed Tiger with the upgrade DVD I have, and found migration assistant in the Utilities drawer. It worked and I ported over all my files from the PowerMac G4. I also got it working with the SMB shares on the network, and transfer some other files.

So, now I have all my apps from the old machine, some like iDVD and Call of Duty won't work though (der!). I been playing the Sims. It works well enough. It is about the same vintage as the Pismo. The only shit is that it loads some stuff from CD. That really drains the battery. I'm going to look to see if there is a solution.

I should have another Pmac G4 setup soon, so I will tranfer back a bunch of stuff and get rid of it from the PBook to free up room.

The guy who was meant to be selling PBook RAM to me, STILL hasn't got back to me. This is like after 2 weeks. I even asked the guy if he wanted to go through with the transaction. I don't know maybe he's got cancer or dead or kidnapped or something. So, at the moment, I am stuck with 256Mb. I've found a 512Mb stick. If the price is right I'll get it.

I'm going to put some PowerMac stuff in a separate post. :)


Current Hardware Projects

This is all about my on going fumblings with hardware. Regular entries should provide an indication of the depths of my obsession.

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