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Amiga haul

DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
I've made a bit of a haul today...


click for large



Amiga 500, Amiga 1200/HD40, Commodore 1084S-D2 monitor, stack of disks and original manuals/warranty card :) the 500 has a 512KB RAM expansion too.

I'm pretty new to Amiga though, don't really know much about them... I'll have to leaf through those manuals. I understand you need a kickstart ROM to match the version of the workbench you want to use... and supposedly the 1200 has compatibility issues with a lot of older software because it uses the AGA chipset.

Are there any tricks or gotchas I should know about?
I've pulled the A501 out and am in the process of desoldering the battery from it, to prevent any leaks. The 1200 doesn't have a battery anywhere does it?

What are some good upgrades for these machines?


Also, the 1084 monitor still has the door on the front, but it seems stuck. I'm pressing where it's indicated but it won't open. Any way to get this off without breaking it?
 

mikerm

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
280
Location
Grand Rapis, MI
Very nice. I'm envious of the 1200 :)

The door on the monitor, you might have luck carefully bending out the bottom, as the hinges don't go in very far, that might get you enough room to work the top. I have the opposite problem, my door won't stay latched.

Yes, You need a workbench to match the kickstart. Your 500 probably has ks 1.3, so you will need wb 1.3. You can upgrade it all the way to 3.1.

I'm not too familiar with the 1200 to say about the battery though... As far as compatibility, a lot of the old programs used ECS instead of AGA. Your 500 is ECS. I have the opposite problem, my main Amiga is a 2000, which is ECS, and I run into AGA demos/games all of the time. Some programs have both versions though.

As far as gotcha's go, I can't think of much, it's common for the 500 floppy drive to have issues though, although mine doesn't.

The best things to get next are accelerators if not already equipped. It makes a HUGE difference to have one. Your 1200 can be expanded, a LOT. You can even get a pcmcia network card for it and get it online (even wireless!). The 1200 will be the most fun for you. Check out AmigaKit (http://www.amigakit.com/) for some great options. The Indivision flickerfixer (when the AGA models come in stock again) would be second on my list to an accelerator. I have the ECS version in my 2000, and it's worth every single penny.

I love Amiga like crazy, I sold 99% of the non-Amiga collection to focus on Amiga. It's such a great experience.

Here are some good bookmarks:
Amiga SuperStore (my words): http://www.amigakit.com/
Amiga Forever: http://www.amigaforever.com/
whdload: http://www.whdload.de/
Amiga Hardware Database: http://amiga.resource.cx/
The Big Book of Amiga Hardware: http://www.amiga-hardware.com/
 
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DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Cool, thanks for the info. I've just desoldered the battery from the A501, some small localised leakage, doesn't seem to have reached any components on the board. Hopefully the damage isn't too severe.

I managed to get the door of the monitor open without breaking it, but it seems like the quick release latch is broken, it will latch on but it just won't let go.

With the floppy, is it OK to use a cleaning disk, like I'd use on a PC? I assume you can't replace the Amiga 500 floppy drive with a PC floppy drive?
 

Druid6900

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Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
3,809
Location
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
What's the make and model number of the floppy drive in the unit?

I have some strange 3.5" 720K-like drives that are said to have been used in some Amiga computer.
 

mikerm

Experienced Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
280
Location
Grand Rapis, MI
Correct, Amiga drives are completely different. In fact, they even have to be terminated. They can be cleaned like normal drives though, since it uses the same size and shape floppy. I have a cheap generic floppy cleaner disk that I have used before.
 

Cammy

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
11
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Hi DonutKing, congratulations on your awesome haul! I have those two computers myself and love them dearly, in fact my A1200 is my main computer which I use most of the time, only switching over to the PC and Efika occasionally for some more advanced websites that don't work too well in my browser, or to play videos I downloaded.

Where abouts on the Gold Coast are you? I'm in Tweed, so if you ever need any help getting up and running my friend (also an Amiga enthusiast) and I can come visit and help you out if you'd like.

As for the Amigas, the A1200 doesn't have a battery in it so it should be okay, unless the capacitors have had it which they very likely will have by now. You'll be able to tell when you listen to some music on it, if it's all hissy and low volume, especially out of one channel, then it might be time to replace all the caps. There are two Amiga repair centres in Australia, one in Sydney and the other near Melbourne, so if it's too big a job for you to handle yourself it shouldn't be hard to get them sent off for repairs. Hopefully it's all good though!

It doesn't matter if your A1200 has Kickstart 3.0 or 3.1, it will and should be running AmigaOS 3.1. The only time you NEED a 3.1 ROM is to run AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9, although a 3.1 ROM is still better to have but you can flash them onto a couple of EPROMs (or get some from amigamaniac.com ).

I have two 1084S monitors sitting beside me hooked up to the A500s, one has a door and one has been broken off from a previous owner. The one that still has the door has the same problem yours does, it won't click open by pressing on it, so I have to use my fingernails to grab it and pull it open, then pop it back in when I'm finished adjusting it. It's kind of annoying, but it hasn't broken off by doing this

You won't have to worry about incompatibility issues with the A1200 if you install the games to the hard drive with WHDLoad, a tool that is still being actively developed that allows you to install just about any old disk-based game on the hard drive. You might want to get some extra RAM for the A1200 if you want to play most of them though, but there are still ways of booting up to a menu and running them on a stock 2MB system. The A500 with a 512k expansion is the perfect platform to play classic floppy based games on though, if you wanted to stick to disks. As for the A1200, all of us these days are swapping those noisy old hard drives for fast, silent Compact Flash cards. You just need a cheap adapter, I have some extra ones that I bought the last time I needed some for myself if you wanted to buy one for a couple of dollars. A 2GB-8GB Compact Flash card is enough for thousands of games and programs to be installed on there.

Do you have any game controllers for it? I don't see you mention any and don't see any in the photo. You can use any Sega Master System or Mega Drive control pad, or any Commodore or Atari 2600/ST joystick on the Amiga, or you can get brand new control pads from DealExtreme for $4.55 with free shipping (I bought some extras of these last time too).

Remember to always switch your Amigas off before you plug or unplug any cords, just in case! I've read horror stories about CIA chips being blown by leaving Amigas on while unplugging things, so it's better safe than sorry. Good luck with everything, and let me know if you need a hand with anything.
 

DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Hey Cammy, I'm in Kingscliff, so you are probably just around the corner... small world isn't it :) Not technically 'gold coast' but close enough for most purposes :)

I haven't opened the 1200 yet, planning to do it sometime this week, as both computers are quite dirty having presumably been in storage for a while. I'll check all the caps while I'm there. I've replaced a few caps on PC mainboards before so it hopefully won't be too big a job if it comes to that.

I have a couple of CF-IDE adapters that I use in old DOS PC's, will these work with the 1200?

No game controllers, but luckily I do have a Sega Master System with 2 controllers so I can just use one of those in the meantime :)
 

Cammy

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
11
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Cool, Kingscliff is closer than I thought, awesome. :)

Those floppy drive cleaning disks are life savers for Amigas, I use them on all my old computers and they have fixed some very dirty Amiga drives that were giving errors constantly.

If the CF-IDE adapters are 44 pin, they'll work, but if they're 40 pin you'd need an adapter. Amiga A1200s (and A600s) use 44 pin IDE laptop drives.

Hope you can put up with those square D-pads on the Master System controllers, they should be adequate to play some games though. :)

Have a look through http://www.lemonamiga.com and http://hol.abime.net where you can browse through nearly the entire collection of Amiga games, there's bound to be plenty to keep you entertained for ages.
 

AppleIIfan

Banned
Joined
Aug 11, 2011
Messages
395
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GONE
Nice Haul

I used to have an A1200, Got rid of it when I graduated high school, boy do I miss that.. Ill find another one someday.. The house is getting filled though.. There is probably 40 systems in this house.. and space is at a premium.
 

DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Okay, I pulled the 500 apart and cleaned it out, was pretty dusty inside and the heat shield was fairly rusty but the PCB inside seems to be in pretty good condition.
I put it back together and it seems to be working. Unfortunately I don't seem to have a good Workbench disk. I've got an original 1.3 and a backup of it but they both fall over with read errors and dump me at the AmigaDOS command line. I did run a cleaning disk through it before I tried to boot off a floppy.
I found an original copy of Populous and attempted to boot off that but it tells me that it can't validate the volume 'populous'.

I haven't had a chance to fiddle with the 1200 yet. Assuming its got a working hard drive in it, with a bootable OS- is there some way I can download a workbench 1.3 floppy image from the internet, get it on the 1200 and make a bootable floppy for the 500 from that?

I also have an external 3.5" floppy drive for the amiga.... I don't suppose I can try to boot off that? just to make sure its not the drive thats the issue and not the disks.
 

Cammy

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2011
Messages
11
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Where we live it can get pretty humid, all my old floppy disks grew some mould or fungus in them over the years of being in storage and are useless now. So check your disks first by sliding the metal thingy over and see if there are any white spots. Don't put them in the drive if they are rotten or it'll just muck up the heads more.

I don't think you can boot from the second floppy drive (DF1) on an A500, but you can with an A1200 since it has more options in the ROM. These can be accessed by holding down the two mouse buttons when you switch it on or reboot. It will also show if there's a hard drive installed, but that should be obvious enough once it's plugged in and switched on anyhow, because it'll boot up into something, probably Workbench. If not, it'll have a purple screen with an animation of a floppy disk going into a drive.

You can download ADF images of Amiga floppy disks from the net, but you'll also need the software to write them back to disk, and since they are usually 880kb each, you'll need to compress and decompress them if you are going to be transferring them to the Amiga by floppy disk, because they will have to be formatted as 720kb DOS disks to be read by both the PC and Amiga. You can also use a serial null-modem cable, or a PCMCIA card reader, but those will also need software and drivers to work. The first time I tried getting all of this stuff it was a bit of a hassle, so it's up to you if you want to go through all that yourself or my friend and I could come over with some disks and things for you to borrow. We recently helped out another guy in Murwillumbah who was trying to get his A2000 up and running, and I sent a pack of disks and some joysticks and a floppy cleaning kit to an online friend in Adelaide who just got his old A500 working again. I assure you we're both friendly (although since I'm deaf I don't talk much in real life, but my friend Adam can hear and speak fine) and we have all the equipment to get any software you'd need and plenty of blank floppies, so don't be afraid to ask, Kingscliff is such a short trip for us to come over for a visit.

If you'd like to try it yourself, you will need to boot the A1200 into Workbench, which is hopefully installed on the hard drive. The PC0 icon should be in SYS:Devs/DOSDrivers/ and not SYS:Storage/DOSDrivers/ (SYS is the device name of the boot partition, which is usually DH0 or HD0, and called "Workbench" or "System", but can be named anything really). Make sure this PC0 icon is in the Devs/DOSDrivers drawer anyway, so move it from the Storage/DOSDrivers/ drawer if it's in there by dragging and dropping it. This activates MS DOS floppy disk support, so you can format a disk as 720kb DOS format and use it to transfer data. You might need to cover the second hole on the disk with tape to trick the drives into thinking it's a Double Density disk and not a High Density disk, if you're using HD media. I could write a really long guide on how to do this if you'd like me to keep going, or it's up to you, we can come for a visit with all this stuff you need if you'd like, we are always happy to meet new Amiga users.
 

DonutKing

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Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Hmmm, I might take you up on that. I'm pretty much a newbie to Amiga so it would be good for someone to show me the ropes :)
I work full time in mur'bah so we'd have to tee it up for a weekend, or maybe one weekday evening.
Thanks for the offer too :)

Anyway I managed to find a Fairlight demo disk and it boots off that fine, so at least it looks like the drive is OK. The demo was "HINCH" with silly video clips of Derryn Hinch and a song made using samples of his voice. It was probably pretty topical back in the heyday of the Amiga when he had his own TV show, but now that he's back in the spotlight again with his conviction its quite a find :)

EDIT: Booted the 1200. Formatted a fresh disk, did a diskcopy from the original Workbench 1.3 to the freshly formatted disk, and it boots in the 500. So I've managed to get that going at least :) Most of the other disks I've tried though have errors- I guess that's to be expected from 20 year old floppies.
 
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SteveH

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Apr 30, 2003
Messages
298
Location
Sutton Coldfield, ENGLAND
The only gotcha that comes to mind, as you've got a stash of floppies, is to find a suitable virus scanner. I encountered my first computer virus on my A500 (still got it in original box in the attic - the A500, not the virus!). Probably didn't help that at the time I did exchange a lot of games with my mates. Anyway, nice haul - enjoy.
 

Druid6900

Veteran Member
Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
3,809
Location
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Just FYI, the original disk drive for the A500 is a Chinon FB-354 (which I have a number of) or, if you have the later 500, it's a FZ-354 which is the slimmer drive. I have none of the FZ model drives.
 

DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
OK well I've made a bit of progress. I have a lot of questions so bear with me :)

The 1200 had an installation of Bars n Pipes on it which was taking up about 30MB of the 40MB drive. So that had to go.

I found a floppy with Dos-2-dos on it, so I copied that to the 1200's hard disk. I was able to use that to format a few 1.44MB floppies as 720KB. My Windows PC detected these fine although I had to put a bit of tape over the small window in the corner, opposite the write protect tab.

I was able to copy LHA, Unzip and ADF2DISK onto the floppy, and then transfer these over to the 1200.

I downloaded an ADF of Workbench 1.3 and wrote it to a disk on the 1200, which booted it fine. However, when I tried to boot the 500 with this disk it gave me read/write errors.
So is it possible that the 500's floppy drive is out of alignment or something?

Also, after writing a disk using ADF2DISK I can't DIR the disk in amigados. Is this normal?
I notice that WB 1.3 includes diskdoctor but its missing from WB3. Is there an alternative?

I tried to do the same thing with Lemmings- download an ADF, write it to a floppy on the 1200- but it just gives me a software failure guru error on both machines. I did have a disk of lemmings that came with the 1200 but it had read/write errors on both machines.
What might be causing the software failure error? Do I need to disable fast mem or anything like that?
Is it possible that the A501 is faulty? Any way to test the RAM?
 

Dave Farquhar

Experienced Member
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
458
Location
the midwest
OK well I've made a bit of progress. I have a lot of questions so bear with me :)

I downloaded an ADF of Workbench 1.3 and wrote it to a disk on the 1200, which booted it fine. However, when I tried to boot the 500 with this disk it gave me read/write errors.
So is it possible that the 500's floppy drive is out of alignment or something?

Possible. Or possibly dirty or another mechanical problem. Not sure if the 1200 mechanism will fit in a 500, but that would be one way to test things.

Also, after writing a disk using ADF2DISK I can't DIR the disk in amigados. Is this normal?

I don't think so.

I notice that WB 1.3 includes diskdoctor but its missing from WB3. Is there an alternative?

Yes there is. Disksalv, by Dave Haynie, is probably the best. Disk Doctor from 1.3 was pretty buggy.

That doesn't cover all of your questions but hopefully it gets you started.
 

Cammy

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Aug 14, 2011
Messages
11
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Hi again, DonutKing. Sorry for not replying sooner, the last couple of days have been kind of hectic.

It's possible your floppy drive heads are out of alignment, but it's also very likely that they're just too dirty to work properly. This was the case with several Amigas we have picked up over the years, and they were all fixed by a simple floppy drive cleaning kit. I have a couple of these so I can bring one over with some other stuff for you when we arrange a time to meet up.

I'll also bring over a PCMCIA card reader so we can back up anything you want to keep from that clanky old 40MB hard drive, and if you'd like we can replace it with a compact flash card adapter and a 1-8GB CF card (depends if I can find a spare one around here or if you have one yourself). If you wanted to buy one, make sure it's a genuine Sandisk because we've had problems with Dick Smith and Verbatim brands in the past, but Sandisk is always reliable. Once you have a few gigabytes of storage space, we can transfer over your choice of Workbench setups, either a default Workbench install (with the BetterWB update pack) or ClassicWB.

A lot of ADFs of games you'll find on the internet seem to crash randomly on various Amiga configurations, probably due to the cracks applied to them. Sometimes you just have to download five different versions of the same game and try them all until you find one that works okay. It's a bit annoying so most of us have our games installed on the hard drive (or CF card) these days using the wonderful WHDLoad. The whole collection of games, pre-installed with WHDLoad is available too so if you want to use your A1200 for gaming, this is the best way to go rather than disks. Of course it's still fun to use them on the A500 sometimes, especially when they're games and demos that fit on a single disk that doesn't need to be swapped.

Some disks use a special non-DOS format, and can't be read by the operating system. These are usually games that just boot as soon as you put them in an A500, or reboot once it's in the A1200 and it should boot from them. There's no easy way to access the information on those disks without a special bit of hardware like the Action Replay, or perhaps through some emulator. This could be why you can't read the directories on some disks after you've written them from ADFs.

There might be some memory testing tools for Kickstart 1.3, I'll have to have a look around. Usually there's nothing wrong with the RAM on those A501s, the only problem is the battery exploding on them.

I'll just show you a photo of our home office here to give you an idea of how much I like Amigas, http://www.amiga.org/gallery/images/5087/2_UndergroundArcadeOffice.JPG (a few of them are mine, my main A1200 is in the far corner with the small black monitor). And just so you're not too surprised when I show up, that's me in my avatar photo but I won't be dressed up as Cammy from Street Fighter in the middle of Winter.

My friend and I are free pretty much any afternoon/evening or the weekend except tonight because I have a Zumba class. So just let me know what time is best for you and we'll work it out.
 

DonutKing

Experienced Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2011
Messages
96
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
Thanks for that. I do have a floppy cleaner that I've run through several times. Just seems a bit erratic more than anything. Sometimes I'll get the read/write error booting with the workbench disk, if I pull the disk out, soft-reset and put it back in it works fine.
I think half the problem is these crappy old (copied) disks I'm putting in it. So far 9 out of 10 don't work. I managed find a working copy of Silkworm though... hard game :/

I do have a couple of CF cards, but they are Transcend. They work in my DOS machines and were recommended for that purpose- I guess I won't know if they work in the amiga until I try. :)

I've ordered a wireless PCMCIA adapter and PCMCIA CF card reader for the 1200, from amigakit. I take it the Amiga can read FAT formatted drives? The idea is that I can copy stuff from PC to Amiga on the CF card.

You do have quite the setup there... and yes, best leave the cosplay at home, if you show up dressed like that I will have some explaining to do lol

Anyway, would sometime sunday afternoon/evening work for you? I should be free then :) I'm busy other evenings this week and I need some time to find a home for my amigas (they are sitting on the kitchen bench at the moment... starting to get in the way lol) Otherwise perhaps next week/weekend.

Thanks for the help :)
 
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