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      /  It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
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amipal 
It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
Posted on 4-Apr-2019 15:09:00
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 8-Apr-2003
Posts: 1894
From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

Hello! Not sure if people will remember me, but I used to be a regular around these parts until around ten years ago...

Back in 2008, I bought my first non-Amiga machine - a Mac Mini - to assist with my photography. And unfortunately it was that decision that ultimately led me to pack away my Amiga gear, and sell a few pieces too.

My main machine these days is a 27" iMac, but I am keen to crack the Amiga 1200 back out of retirement to set up in the corner of my study for some classic gaming that my son and I can enjoy together.

The question is, what do I need to do in this day and age to get a working Amiga system? I fear my Amiga-knowledge has waned somewhat in the intervening years.

I've got three systems I want up'n'running, two expanded A1200s and an AmigaOne system:

  • A1200 with Blizzard 1230/IV and internal hard disk

  • A1200T with PCI-busboard+Voodoo3 card, and FastATA (I think) IDE controller+hard disk + CDROM drive

  • AmigaOne XE G4 with additional soundcard and PCI graphics card (I can't remember what's in there)


  • With the machines out of use for so long, what do I need to look out for on booting?

    Without being in use, will anything have happened to the alignment of the floppy drive heads? And similarly, would my existing floppy disks have deteriorated over the years? (I'm assuming yes to the latter)

    If I need additional cables/mouse/joysticks/peripherals, where are the best places to look for (preferably) new gear?

    Thanks in advance for any assistance offered.

    _________________
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    Turrican3 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 4-Apr-2019 17:04:37
    #2 ]
    Regular Member
    Joined: 20-Jun-2003
    Posts: 317
    From: Italy

    @amipal

    Welcome back!

    Don't quote me on that, but many people claim good old Amigas like yours will need a recap, sooner rather than later.

    My personal experience is mixed to be honest: I have an A500 and two A1200 that seem to be working flawlessly (not even the battery is leaking, and I definitely was not expecting this) while an A600 has been malfunctioning for a year now, and with absolutely no notice beforehand!

    My ~30 years old floppy drives seem to be fine instead, even the ones from the models that have been stored for a long time like it happened to you, and so are the disks... but a backup of the most important things is definitely something you should consider IMHO.

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    NutsAboutAmiga 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 4-Apr-2019 18:24:08
    #3 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 9-Jun-2004
    Posts: 11015
    From: Norway

    @amipal

    Quote:
    AmigaOne XE G4 with additional sound card and PCI graphics card (I can't remember what's in there)


    Replace the backup battery probably. if additional problem replace PSU, uboot reset I have no idea, it can be bit*h to configure, some time better hope it's ok.
    if you have done the USB fix you should do that, as it turned out the DMA fix was as not as necessary as first expected. if you have PCI graphic card your fine then DO NOT DO THE DMA FIX.
    if you have AGP graphic card then YOU SHOULD DO THE DMA FIX.

    And yes do not overclock the CPU, unless you have mounted a proper CPU cooler, it's probably not worth doing overclocking, as there too many bottleneck anyway. and it can be really expensive to get CPU module fixed as I learned.

    If you like a faster system get AmigaONE-X5000, or a used X1000, big difference in speed.
    Sam460 is ok too, but limited expentions, but you get to use newer graphic cards. (I'm not sure about USB on the Sam460, there as been some nagging but not a lot, maybe some people got unlucky)

    Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 04-Apr-2019 at 06:29 PM.
    Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 04-Apr-2019 at 06:28 PM.
    Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 04-Apr-2019 at 06:27 PM.
    Last edited by NutsAboutAmiga on 04-Apr-2019 at 06:25 PM.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 6-Apr-2019 15:26:50
    #4 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    @Turrican3

    Thanks!

    Sounds like it'll be a case of trying it and seeing what happens then... I'd best get an A1200 down from the loft and plug it in.

    Next step is an Amiga-compatible monitor/television. Something like the Acer V226HQL or Benq BL192.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 6-Apr-2019 15:28:10
    #5 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    @NutsAboutAmiga

    It's been sometime since I tinkered with the XE, so I really haven't a clue what is plugged into it. I do know that it isn't fixed though, as I bought the soundcard to circumvent any issues around that.

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    Toaks 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 6-Apr-2019 20:35:36
    #6 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 10-Mar-2003
    Posts: 8037
    From: amigaguru.com

    @amipal

    hey bud, it's been a while since we chatted now indeed (on PSN) :)

    There have been quite a few decent game releases for the Classic Amiga/CD32 (and some rather good OS4 games too for your XE) over the last few years so i suggest you check them out, not sure if you have checked my blog over the years but i have done a few articles about Amiga games too, so give it a whirl :)

    AmigaGuru Gamer Blog

    Other than that, nice to hear you want to check in again, i lurk a lot in here but quite active in the facebook and twitter groups.

    Oh and yes, change your password here... if you haven't done so already (10 years is a long time).

    _________________
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    OlafS25 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 8-Apr-2019 9:35:52
    #7 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 12-May-2010
    Posts: 5455
    From: Unknown

    @amipal

    here immediately start people to talk you into buying very expensive AmigaOS hardware. I would recommend you to look and test what is appropriate for you

    There is MorphOS (running on used PPC Macs), AmigaOS with new but very expensive hardware, AROS and the Vampires (NG 68k hardware) or you simply stay with A1200 and expand it

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    Trixie 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 8-Apr-2019 10:43:55
    #8 ]
    Amiga Developer Team
    Joined: 1-Sep-2003
    Posts: 1762
    From: Czech Republic

    @OlafS25

    Quote:
    here immediately start people to talk you into buying very expensive AmigaOS hardware.

    So far in this thread I don't see anyone talking amipal into buying anything.

    _________________
    Smoke me a kipper, I'll be back for breakfast!

    AmigaOne X5000/020 @ 2GHz / 4GB RAM / Radeon RX 560 / ESI Juli@ / AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition
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    bennymee 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 8-Apr-2019 11:22:26
    #9 ]
    Regular Member
    Joined: 19-Aug-2003
    Posts: 487
    From: Netherlands

    @OlafS25

    This guy has an Amiga 1200, there is no Vampire for the A1200 at this moment.

    @Amipal

    Check the cooler if it functions well and makes no additional noise.
    As mentioned a replacement cpu for your Amigaone is a little hard to get.

    Last edited by bennymee on 08-Apr-2019 at 11:27 AM.
    Last edited by bennymee on 08-Apr-2019 at 11:25 AM.
    Last edited by bennymee on 08-Apr-2019 at 11:25 AM.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 14-Apr-2019 13:20:38
    #10 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    @Toaks

    Toaks! Good to hear from you!

    Getting back into the Amiga, and indeed this place, has really started to get some of the old neurons firing. Glimmers of recognition and memory.

    Will give your blog a read, and thanks for the password advice.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 14-Apr-2019 13:27:31
    #11 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    I think I'll be working down the list like so:

  • Get A1200 up and running

  • Then set up the A1200T (which has all sorts of bits hanging off of it, so I anticipate that it won't be the easiest of tasks...)

  • Finally the AmigaOne XE G4.


  • I already have the Blizzard 1230/IV for the desktop Amiga. This may require some attention, as I reckon it still has the original battery attached to it.

    Will also get a 2.5" hard disk installed, although... is this still the best option for storage/installing? Would I do better looking at an SSD, or some sort of memory-card adapter?

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    BigD 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 14-Apr-2019 15:49:43
    #12 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 11-Aug-2005
    Posts: 4824
    From: UK

    @amipal

    Quote:
    Then set up the A1200T (which has all sorts of bits hanging off of it, so I anticipate that it won't be the easiest of tasks...)


    I don't envy you that task. Big Box Amigas are stubborn enough when expanded to the max never mind making a A1200 think its a big box Amiga

    I admire your plans though. Makes me tired thinking of that approaching middle age!!

    ... I'm learning Adobe Premiere and am planning another Deluxe Paint animation. Blitz Basic also still holds an interest if I only had the time So not dead yet

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    klx300r 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 14-Apr-2019 20:40:50
    #13 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 4-Mar-2008
    Posts: 3442
    From: Toronto, Canada

    @amipal

    welcome back! I see you've got enough projects to keep you busy in Amiga land....take your time on only one project at a time..yes it sounds easy but trust me for your sanity sake I personally found very few issues with my old 5.25 and 3.5" floppies but those darn CD backups from the 90's are 90% useless! I used a floppy head cleaner (one where you put a few drops of isopropyl alcohol on mesh) to clean up the heads before trying real disks on drives that weren't used for a very long time.

    There's so many helpful sites nowadays and the Amiga community is as helpful as ever so have fun!

    _________________
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    Zylesea 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 14-Apr-2019 22:52:22
    #14 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 16-Mar-2004
    Posts: 2114
    From: Ostwestfalen, FRG

    @amipal

    I use mSATA ssds on my MorphOS machines (Mac mini and powerbook) with 44pin PATA to mSATA converters. Works great. On the A1200 with the rather slow ide controller an ide to sd converter and an SD card is another good option.

    _________________
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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 20-May-2019 23:33:18
    #15 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    Well, I've got a BenQ BL702A monitor on the way! That should provide a good screen for all three Amigas.

    I did also try to purchase the RGB-to-VGA adapter via AmigaKit, but my order went awry. So something to sort out.

    I know I've got a port-mounted scandoubler somewhere, so will use that in the interim.

    Hoping that the monitor is here for Thursday (working from home day), so that I can dig an A1200 out of the loft for testing.

    _________________
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    JimIgou 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 21-May-2019 2:11:22
    #16 ]
    Member
    Joined: 30-May-2018
    Posts: 97
    From: Unknown

    @Zylesea

    Quote:
    I use mSATA ssds on my MorphOS machines (Mac mini and powerbook) with 44pin PATA to mSATA converters.


    Yep, those work, and redrumloa sold me a PowerMac MDD with an SATA controller that can actually boot the system.
    My guess is that a similar card would not be bootable under OS4, but it could control additional drives.

    The adapter Zylesea mentioned is a great option, especially when paired with an SSD.

    The AmigaOne XE G4 is more than powerful enough to run OS4 well (better than a Sam440 actually, close to a SAM460).
    But I'd ditch the video card and go with an AGP Radeon R200 based card. You could try an R300, but OS4 has no 3D support for those and the Radeon 8500, 9000, and 9200 all have W3D support.
    You just need to make sure its a universally keyed 3.3 volt card.

    Many 9200s won't feature that, and the 8500 is actually the most powerful of the three.
    Here an example of what I am talking about posted here (and they are cheap).

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/ATI-Radeon-8500-video-card-128-MB-275-MHz-DDR-VO-DVI/153490770059?hash=item23bcc3488b:g:j9YAAOSwhf9c3Lv6&frcectupt=true

    Newer sound cards are available. I'm not as familiar with OS4 as I am with MorphOS, but if OS4 supports VIA Envy24T (or the related Tremor based cards), that would be an improvement.

    Pity no one ever built faster processor cards for the XE, as its processor card is similar to a PowerMac G4, and there were 1.6-2.0 GHz accelerators for those.

    There are even a few 1.4 GHz cards for the Pegasos2.
    BTW - Does it serve any purpose to remind everyone that Bill Buck was right about the ArticaS?

    Buggy boards that require fixes for a flawed component that the manufacturer wouldn't admit was flawed.

    BUT, if you can get it to work, still a pretty neat system.
    And its still pretty cool to see OS4 apps and OS3.1 apps running at the same time on the same system (which quite a few OS3.1 apps can do, or you can resort to RUNINUAE).

    Last edited by JimIgou on 21-May-2019 at 02:22 AM.
    Last edited by JimIgou on 21-May-2019 at 02:20 AM.
    Last edited by JimIgou on 21-May-2019 at 02:18 AM.
    Last edited by JimIgou on 21-May-2019 at 02:13 AM.

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    Rob 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 21-May-2019 23:31:41
    #17 ]
    Elite Member
    Joined: 20-Mar-2003
    Posts: 5784
    From: S.Wales

    @JimIgou
    Quote:
    Many 9200s won't feature that, and the 8500 is actually the most powerful of the three. Here an example of what I am talking about posted here (and they are cheap).

    I think there may be some compatibility issues with 8500 and 9100 cards on OS4 so best to stick with 9000, 9200 and 9250 and aim for a card with a 128-bit memory bus.
    Quote:
    Newer sound cards are available. I'm not as familiar with OS4 as I am with MorphOS, but if OS4 supports VIA Envy24T (or the related Tremor based cards), that would be an improvement.

    There is an Envy24 driver for OS4 and even one for the XE onboard audio if the codec chip is present.
    Quote:
    ty no one ever built faster processor cards for the XE, as its processor card is similar to a PowerMac G4,

    Acube offered 1Ghz and 1.25Ghz upgrades for the XE but only if your CPU had died since their was risk of damaging the CPU module. Crisot upgraded the CPU on his own module but wouldn't offer his services for the same reason. I think he eventually settled for 1.4Ghz making it pretty much on par with an X1000 in terms of CPU power.
    Quote:
    Buggy boards that require fixes for a flawed component that the manufacturer wouldn't admit was flawed.

    I was very satisfied with my XE and the Sil680 worked around the main flaw of the boards very well. I do sometimes wonder if the public spat between Eyetech and Genesi damaged MAI more than the actual flaws in the Articia.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 24-May-2019 19:44:49
    #18 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    Update!

    The BenQ monitor arrived before the RGB-to-VGA adapter did. But not a problem, as I managed to find my external scandoubler/flicker-fixer!

    So yesterday I tested three A1200s, and an A600.

    1. A1200 - bought up the insert disk screen that flashed every time the disk drive ticked. Screen subsequently corrupted into artefacts. Possible custom chip issue?

    2. A600 - works absolutely fine, and is also the whitest Amiga I've seen, despite it being over 20 years old! I don't have a working mouse at present, and the only joystick I have seems to be completely mashed. I did at least get to see Super Foul Egg boot, so know the machine works.

    3. A1200 - this is the one that has my Blizzard 1230/IV in the trapdoor. And it brought up a grey screen. Hmm. I did try booting with the 2 key held down to deactivate the accelerator, with the same result. Will have to try with the card removed.

    4. A1200 - this is the yellowist Amiga I've ever seen. A severe case of jaundice! But despite that, it booted fine with no display issues, and also loaded Super Foul Egg.

    As luck would have it, the RGB adapter arrived today, so if I get time this bank holiday weekend I'll give it another go (the scandoubler imparts a bit of vertical banding on the image).

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 25-May-2019 13:25:59
    #19 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    amipal: Back to the Amiga

    I also documented the testing, so you can see what some of the artefacting is like - it's around the 8:40 mark.

    I'll hopefully be continuing with some more content as I get everything up and running.

    Last edited by amipal on 25-May-2019 at 01:26 PM.

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    amipal 
    Re: It's been a few years, but I'm back - where to start?
    Posted on 2-Jun-2019 19:38:17
    #20 ]
    Super Member
    Joined: 8-Apr-2003
    Posts: 1894
    From: Saltdean, East Sussex, UK

    And now I've tested the VGA to RGB adaptor!

    amipal: VGA to RGB test

    Works very nicely, and saves a good few inches around the back of the machine.

    Now for a couple of questions:

    1. I've been mainly buying things through AmigaKit. Are there any other Amiga stores which are worth checking out?

    2. Amigaworld tends to focus on the newer generations of machines. What sites would be better placed to answer classic Amiga questions?

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