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Old 15 October 2018, 00:45   #1
dommer
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General Hardware Questions - Amiga 500

Here on my desk I have an amiga 500 that I am using for a data retrieval project, but will also be using it as a printing machine and a part of my music studio in the future.

Well... I have some things I'd like to have it doing first. One is some sort of networking. I'd love for it to be an IRC machine and I know some people use them as such. Is the plipbox my only option on that front? Is there an ethernet solution? I'm a bit of a security nut, so I'd rather not have it on wifi (tho really what is anyone going to do with an m68k system, really).

For two, I need to bump this to NOT the amiga CRT that I have on hand. I don't mind modding it, me being the second owner where the first owner added as much RAM as possible and got an adspeed accelerator, hard drive, and a wiring board of some sort that doesn't look stock (he was a dev, maybe he was making something but I can',t figure out what it is), and for this I know I have a few options.

1. Indivision ECS and an AmiVGA. Though I'd rather not have an 8 foot long box coming off the back of the machine.

2. Vampire. Worth it if I can even / ever find one.

3. Mod a TV. [ Show youtube player ] 8bit guy just put out a video about this. Or I just buy a flat screen with SCART from the uk... (I'm in the US, but the EAB is the best resource as far as I am concerned).

Are there other options I am missing here? And are there other components that I am missing? Mostly I just want to know the best way to get ethernet for the machine if possible, if not whatever plipboxes aren't expensive, and what the best way to get the ouput of the A500 out to either a nice 5:4 flatscreen monitor I have from dell via VGA or DVI (VGA preferred).

Thanks for any info!

Edit: Whats the highest OS I could run? I currently have 2.4 running off the hard drive... I see theres a 3.1 kickstart available. 3.9 possible?
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Old 15 October 2018, 01:40   #2
desiv
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Congrats!
Quote:
Originally Posted by dommer View Post
1. Indivision ECS and an AmiVGA. Though I'd rather not have an 8 foot long box coming off the back of the machine.
If you can get an Indivision, they are great.
There are some other options. If you don't mind making your own cable (which is a bit of a pain with the Amiga using a DB23 for video), you can use a GBS-8200 (or GBS-8220) to connect your Amiga to a VGA monitor. You can get them for around $20 on ebay still I think. The DB23 will probably cost you about $10 with a shell. (I have heard of people "modifying" a standard DB25 to fit. The GBS is definitely not as good as the Indivision, but available and cheap. Note, there are people selling Amiga-ready GBS devices on e-bay for like $100. I'd wait for / find an Indivision if you plan on spending that much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dommer View Post
2. Vampire. Worth it if I can even / ever find one.
There are several great accelerators / expansions for the 500. It's all about availability. ;-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dommer View Post
3. Mod a TV. [ Show youtube player ] 8bit guy just put out a video about this. Or I just buy a flat screen with SCART from the uk... (I'm in the US, but the EAB is the best resource as far as I am concerned).
I just saw that vid. Tempting, but I don't have a TV I would mod for that. (And I have a couple of Amiga monitors already)

Quote:
Originally Posted by dommer View Post
Mostly I just want to know the best way to get ethernet for the machine if possible, if not whatever plipboxes aren't expensive,
Take a look at the PLIPBox. If you have an Amiga with OS 2.x or higher, you can run that and I would think an IRC client would work no problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dommer View Post
Edit: Whats the highest OS I could run? I currently have 2.4 running off the hard drive... I see theres a 3.1 kickstart available. 3.9 possible?
They "just" released an updated 3.1.4, but you might want to wait until you can get one with a ROM chip. (Unless you have a ROM burner handy now)
I wouldn't think about 3.9 until you get a decent accelerator. Even then, take a look at ClassicWB to see how nice 3.1 can look.

I've thought about it a few times, but keep ending up with 3.1 for my 1200.

Have fun!!
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Old 15 October 2018, 21:51   #3
nogginthenog
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Quote:
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Is the plipbox my only option on that front? Is there an ethernet solution? I'm a bit of a security nut, so I'd rather not have it on wifi (tho really what is anyone going to do with an m68k system, really).
I thought the PlipBox was ethernet only?

You can use a serial network connection, but don't expect fast speeds! You'll need a Linux server of some kind.
http://c0dedbad.co.uk/raspberrypi-amiga-ppp/
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Old 15 October 2018, 22:53   #4
project23
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The cheap converters/scandoublers like this one:..

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flylink-Con...hdmi+converter

...are much better than you might think. I use one, I know Stephen (TerribleFire, designed the TF530 accelerator - sorry i dont know how new you are to all this) uses one - and he showcases the performance in the following video:

[ Show youtube player ]

For the money they really are great, and take a scart input and give an HDMI output. They support the 15khz signal of the Amiga, and even handle interlaced resolutions pretty well too. (I used to think not, but apparently the slight flicker you still get when moving the cursor over icons etc is just unavoidable no matter the converter, and even happens on the A3000 which has its own scan doubler).

You will need an amiga RGB to scart cable. Places like amigakit sell them, as i'm sure amigastore.eu too. Don't be expecting anything high quality, that's all I can say about that. But it works, what can i say. You might have better luck grabbing the cable itself from amibay?

If you're even the least bit handy with an iron, i'd pull the RGB connector out of the A520 modulator, and make your own scart lead. Or even mod the 520 so it gives a separate scart lead coming from it - but who the hell wants that nasty modulator sticking out the back of their Amiga?

All in all I had my cable and HDMI converter for around 30GBP. Shipping from amazon was free, shipping for the cable (it was from amigakit) I can't remember, sorry.

But it really is the best option in my opinion. The GBS converters are great too I hear but not any better as far as I can tell. Plus they're not enclosed. With the converter I have (the exact one - there's many that do the same thing, but you want the one that looks like the link i posted), you can choose PAL/NTSC as well as a number of different output resolutions. Check out Stephens video. It just works.

Oh, you'll obviously need a monitor/tv that will accept HDMI and be able to adjust to 4:3 if you care about stretching etc. (I actually think its technically 5:4 the Amiga - i'm sure i read that somewhere)

Anyway hope that helps in some way,

John

EDIT: To elaborate on the cable I got from amigakit - the cable itself was lower quality (much thinner, flimsy) than pictured, and the RGB connector was just a DB25 connector with part of it cut off to make a DB23. They do now mention this on the website, but the product image showing a genuine DB23 connector and a thick ass high quality cable hasn't changed. I could have made better myself to be honest, thats why I suggested ripping the DB23 from a modulator and using a bit of creativity with the 520 to form a casing.

Last edited by project23; 15 October 2018 at 23:01.
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Old 15 October 2018, 22:56   #5
desiv
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For the money they really are great, and take a scart input
There you people go rubbing it in our faces that we don't have SCART here in the USA.. ;-)
Good point tho, if you get an Amiga to SCART cable and then a device like that, it should also work pretty well without you having to make any of your own cables...
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Old 15 October 2018, 23:13   #6
project23
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There you people go rubbing it in our faces that we don't have SCART here in the USA.. ;-)
Good point tho, if you get an Amiga to SCART cable and then a device like that, it should also work pretty well without you having to make any of your own cables...
Yeah, the cables are definitely out there, just expect a bit of a wait as they're made to order apparently:

http://amigakit.amiga.store/product_...roducts_id=778

But do read my 'EDIT' above regarding what you actually get. It works though, i've no complaints regarding functionality.

With regards to not having SCART in the USA... To be honest I find it incredibly weird that we still have it here in the UK! I mean who uses scart these days anyway? We use HDMI as much as you guys - I guess its either an EU requirement of some kind or there are enough people out there still using it for their VCR's/DVD players etc to warrant putting one in??

Like - I use a monitor for the Amiga, the same as for my PC at the moment, so it has to be HDMI. But even if it wasn't - ie even if I was using a TV for the Amiga - i'd still use the converter I have because i'm sure certain TV's give worse scandoubling or whatever.

Last edited by project23; 15 October 2018 at 23:18.
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Old 16 October 2018, 12:26   #7
Daedalus
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SCART is disappearing here too, though most decent quality stuff still has it. There's no requirement to have SCART, but there do appear to be enough people around who still use it for it to be a deciding factor when buying a TV. I guess it's similar to how some motherboard still come fitted with Firewire and PS/2 connectors for keyboards and mice - for the extra few quid it costs to support them, they might get some additional sales from the minority still using older peripherals.

My plasma is 7+ years old now, and has two SCART inputs that I use all the time for Amigas and other older gear. No sense in buying additional converters when the TV's own upscaler is very good at its job. I'm sure different TVs will have varying capabilities in that area, but even the most basic built-in upscaler is surely going to be at least as good as the cheap GBS-8200.

When my plasma eventually dies, it will be a sad day, but whatever I replace it with I would go out of my way to make sure it still has SCART.
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Old 16 October 2018, 15:24   #8
project23
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SCART is disappearing here too, though most decent quality stuff still has it. There's no requirement to have SCART, but there do appear to be enough people around who still use it for it to be a deciding factor when buying a TV. I guess it's similar to how some motherboard still come fitted with Firewire and PS/2 connectors for keyboards and mice - for the extra few quid it costs to support them, they might get some additional sales from the minority still using older peripherals.

My plasma is 7+ years old now, and has two SCART inputs that I use all the time for Amigas and other older gear. No sense in buying additional converters when the TV's own upscaler is very good at its job. I'm sure different TVs will have varying capabilities in that area, but even the most basic built-in upscaler is surely going to be at least as good as the cheap GBS-8200.

When my plasma eventually dies, it will be a sad day, but whatever I replace it with I would go out of my way to make sure it still has SCART.
I guess its the ageing population. For people who grew up with SCART its easy to see why its useless to keep around (in general). For people who grew up with the 'wireless', everything being connected together with SCART is probably a tried, tested, and still popular solution.

This was actually tested recently when we looked after my GF's parents house for a while. They had SCART connecting everything upstairs, even though the TV wouldn't accept HD that way. At least downstairs it was HDMI.

Not being ageist here. There was a study done I believe that the older we get the less in touch we become with changes in social norms (sounds obvious, but this study was looking at the possibility of us living much much longer and how we would cope), which I guess includes word-of-mouth updates about minor tech changes.

It's happening to me now! I had no idea what a bloody 'snapchat' was until a girl ten years my younger explained it to me. I felt about 90. And i'm a 'tech head'.
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