… or Amigaaaaaaaahhhh !
Yup, the above photo should be enough for a whole post but I decided that I’ll add just a bit more 😉
I am a happy owner of quite a few A500s in pretty crappy shape. I’ve finally managed to start some serious work with modding ’em.
I won’t post single-machine mods but rather a several mods in a few Amigas that I’ve pimped.
As usual, I’ve started with simple things 🙂
1MB CHIP RAM Upgrade
Next on my list (I’ve skipped standard repairs) was to upgrade CHIP RAM on motherboards and make it switchable – trap door expansion enabled/disabled. However, It turned out that I have quite a few different mobo revisions in disassembled Amigas – 3, 5, 6A, and 8A.
I’ve decided that revisions 3 and 5 will be repaired, refurbished, cleaned, and left in their original form.
6A and 8A revisions are far better for modding, plus has unpopulated vias waiting for RAM chips 🙂
I’ve decided that I’ll go with a standard 1MB upgrade. Yes, I know that 2 megs are easy to do on rev. 8A or 6A motherboards with Super Fat Agnus(8375) but I just don’t have that many spare 8375s.
As I wrote, this upgrade has to be switchable. I wanted to achieve two options. The first, where I would have 1 MB of CHIP RAM available but with trapdoor expansion port disabled and a second option, 512 KiB of CHIP RAM available and trapdoor expansion ready to accept another 512 KiB of RAM. This is necessary because some stubborn programs (hardcoded memory regions) simply won’t run without expansion port RAM.
To achieve such mod in a 6A mobo, two jumper pads (JP2 and JP7A) have to be connected to a dual 3-way-switch. The first jumper pad (JP2) is located between the Agnus PLCC socket and CPU socket. It enables/disables more than 512KiB of onboard CHIP RAM.
The second jumper pad (JP7A) is located near the expansion port and it is simply responsible for turning on and off the expansion port.
Both jumper pads have bridges by default and both bridges have to be cut/desoldered.
Jumper JP2 has three pads and all of ’em have to be connected to a 3-way-switch.
JP7A only requires two wires instead of three and these go to the second section of the 3-way-switch.
The easiest way to describe the changes needed is:
JP3 has four pads that are by default connected like this -> “||”. This has to be changed to the following config -> “=”
Pics made before cleaning of course 😉
It is the only chip in a PLCC socket.
After several tests, I figured that it is simply not enough.
Five out of six times cleaning was needed as well but that still didn’t help much and I was still getting random crashes.
Later, I noticed that FAT AGNUS comes from various chip factories – in the Philippines and US.
The one from the Philippines is a bit easier to work with because of the small pockets and right underpins.
Although 30.7 mm was much better it still wasn’t enough to make proper contact with a socket and resulted in much fewer crashes but still, the system wasn’t stable enough.
After some work with a PLCC socket and decent cleaning, it finally stopped crashing.
Internal modulator – S-Video and Composite
Next on the list was a built-in modulator.
I’ve described it in one of my previous posts
This module is available at retrohax.net online store and requires minimal soldering skills. Only six wires are needed – RED, GREEN, BLUE, SYNC, GND, +5V
I had to run some tests on both (6A and 8A) motherboards to see if there are no unexpected pitfalls or surprises 😀
I’ve soldered signal and power supply wires to soldering pads near the RGB socket.
Here is how it looks on both mobo revisions.
Tadaaaa! It worked like a charm, plus the s-video is very crisp and the composite is way better than through the original A520 modulator.
Now it was just a matter of finding a nice spot to drill holes for sockets.
I must admit that drilling a plastic case with a 12mm drill is extremely tricky.
After a couple of failures, I ended up buying a tool that did the job nicely.
Dual KickStart – 1.3 / 3.1
GOTEK – USB Floppy emulator
The idea here was to install a GOTEK USB floppy emulator along with an original Amiga floppy in case I wanted to run some software in an old-school way 😉 Of course, it had to be switchable. As usual, there were some tricks involved.
The first tricky bit was to flash a GOTEK with new firmware.
When I was playing with it, the only available open-source firmware was a Cortex. It is an excellent piece of software. However, not so long ago, FlashFloppy firmware was released which is another awesome alternative, plus it runs on Amiga, Atari ST, Amstrad, etc.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to program GOTEK through a usb2serial dongle (Yes, I’ve tried all three of ’em – pl2303, FTDI based, and cp2102) and even soldered directly to a chips RX/TX lines …. nothing worked. Fortunately, there is an alternative method of flashing ’em – through a USB with an STM32 in DFU mode.
Jumpers setup for flashing in DFU mode.
After successful tests, I could start working on the installation itself.
The first thing that needed a small mod was a bottom metal shielding.
The small part had to be removed from the one in the picture below
Troll mode on
A case had to be prepared as well.
I decided that the best place for a bare GOTEK PCB will be under the original floppy drive. I had to cut holes for tact switches, USB sockets, and LCDs.
At first, holes were drilled and extended to the proper size with a file.
Here is how it looked.
That’s all for now. I am currently working (a shitload of projects would be the best description here) on hydrographic projects that will sort out problems with cases that are in very bad shape. Hopefully, I will be able to present ’em soon 😀
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