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Old 18 May 2020, 18:53   #1
Ulysses13
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Floppy disk I just bought an Amiga, any recommendations?

Hello.

I grew up with Commodore and my family owned both the C64 and Amiga 500+ so those were the computers that meant the most to me.

I just experienced pangs of nostalgia and discovered that lots has happened with the Amiga since then.

I somewhat hastily bought an Amiga 1200 (the one I always wanted) on eBay.

It's yellow, it's beat up, but it works. I figured I can get a new case and keycaps for it in due course, so, my question is....

...what should I do next?

What upgrades, or maintenance things do you guys recommend? Hopefully the Amiga I've bought isn't a total wreck, and I can get it running like a modern Amiga should!
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Old 18 May 2020, 19:04   #2
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Accelerator, or at least fast ram expansion.
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Old 18 May 2020, 19:09   #3
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As always it depend on what you want and your goals. First, I would check the mainboard. Maybe it needs new caps. Is the power supply still ok?
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Old 18 May 2020, 19:19   #4
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Get yourself a PCMCIA to CF adapter. You can transfer files from PC to Amiga super easy.
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Old 18 May 2020, 19:30   #5
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Check the capacitors on the board and see if any of them should be replaced as well.
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Old 18 May 2020, 19:35   #6
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IDE to CF (or SD Card) adapter
Gotek Drive
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Old 18 May 2020, 20:22   #7
Ulysses13
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The capacitors actually seem fine. The metal shielding was quite corroded so I feared the worst.

The external case has broken in a few places and without the metal shielding the disk drive slides around, so I imagine j need some sort of drive bracket.

Then, sounds like a CF drive. Should I upgrade it to 3.1.4 so I can get a card bigger than 4Gb, or is that a waste of time? I can only imagine having 4Gb back in the day!


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Old 19 May 2020, 01:52   #8
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You don't need 3.1.4 for large disc support

However, I have never had a drive bigger than 6Gb (in 3 partitions)
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Old 19 May 2020, 09:08   #9
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The capacitors actually seem fine.
No fishy smell? If the capacitors are still original, they need replacement.
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Old 19 May 2020, 10:02   #10
Ulysses13
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I'm not sure how to tell if the capacitors are original, but I assume they are. The computer doesn't seem to have been looked after very well so I think it's unlikely to have been refurbished. The capacitors don't smell and look really perfect, so I'm guessing they aren't an urgent thing. How do I go about getting them replaced?

Also, I found this CF adapter:

https://amigakit.amiga.store/product...roducts_id=883

...which I'm assuming is the sort of thing I need. But on the same site they have this:

https://amigakit.amiga.store/product...ducts_id=12672

...would that do the same job? I would find it far easier to work with SD cards than CF, which I don't have a reader for.

Do I need to keep under 4Gb? The Amiga has Rom 3.00 inside with the purple double tick boot screen.
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Old 19 May 2020, 11:04   #11
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How do I go about getting them replaced?
You buy replacement capacitors, desolder the old ones and solder the new ones in.
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Old 19 May 2020, 11:36   #12
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Welcome along! Solid advice above, add some RAM (at least) and change the capacitors are the key things, as without the RAM you won't have much pleasure using a hard drive-based machine for playing games, and the original capacitors will start leaking and destroying the board sooner or later.

You need to keep under 4GB if you're keeping things absolutely standard. You can, however, patch the driver and replace the filesystem to use larger drives once the boot partition is below the 4GB mark. 3.1.4 deals with this issue by including an updated driver and filesystem in the ROM, along with a whole host of other updates.

Either of those adaptors should be fine, and generally, SD to CF adaptors seem to work well too. There are many guides available for setting up different configurations.

What are you using for your display? If you're using a TV, an RGB SCART cable is going to give you the best possible image quality without modifying your machine, and is a significant upgrade from the composite quality for a relatively cheap price as it uses the same signals used for connecting an RGB monitor.

There are many people who will replace the capacitors for you if you're not up to it yourself. Where in the UK are you? If there's one that's not too far from you then that's even better as it saves having to ship your board back and forth. I have a list of some of the repairers on my website. They might look fine now and not be an immediate threat, but get them replaced sooner rather than later. The A1200 doesn't typically show any symptoms of capacitor failure until they've already caused damage to the board, at which point replacing the capacitors alone won't be enough to fix it and more significant/costly repairs would be required.
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Old 19 May 2020, 13:13   #13
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I'm not sure how to tell if the capacitors are original, but I assume they are. The computer doesn't seem to have been looked after very well so I think it's unlikely to have been refurbished. The capacitors don't smell and look really perfect, so I'm guessing they aren't an urgent thing. How do I go about getting them replaced?
My A1200 didn't smell fishy and I was all "meh, I don't need to replace them"

...until the pins for the IDE connector fell off.



When soldering in a replacement there _was_ a distinctive fishy smell so I would personally advise doing it sooner rather than later.

There are many places that do it, there is a sticky here http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=88046 that covers the various people that do it.
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Old 19 May 2020, 13:38   #14
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Thanks for all the advice on the capacitors, I can see there's a UK service so I'll look into that!
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Old 22 May 2020, 08:50   #15
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I recommend a scandoubler as well so you can hook a modern LCD on it.
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Old 22 May 2020, 09:06   #16
Ulysses13
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I recommend a scandoubler as well so you can hook a modern LCD on it.

Oooooo, I’ve heard about those. Is there any place you’d recommend I start?

I guess HDMI would be the ideal way for me to hook it up these days...?
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Old 22 May 2020, 10:33   #17
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It depends on what your intention is really. If you have (or buy) a TV with SCART, you can get a SCART-RGB cable relatively cheaply that will give you as good an image as you can get from any display without significant upgrades to the machine. There are some VGA monitors that also work fine with the Amiga's native output - The Benq BL702a and BL912 are popular options, as is the Dell U2410. Bear in mind that it's very difficult to get a modern display to perfectly scale the Amiga's output.

A scandoubler will typically give you a VGA output that can be used by any VGA monitor, but if you want to go to HDMI, it's usually a different bit of kit. There's the Indivision AGA, which is an expensive bit of hardware but is an advanced scandoubler that gives you DVI out (easily converts to HDMI). Audio will have to be routed separately with these solutions. Then there's also the Open Source Scan Converter, which is an external box specifically designed as a high end scandoubler for retro machines. There are cheap RGB converters too that some people use and are fine, but other people find them laggy and with poor image quality.
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Old 22 May 2020, 10:46   #18
Ulysses13
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It depends on what your intention is really. If you have (or buy) a TV with SCART, you can get a SCART-RGB cable relatively cheaply that will give you as good an image as you can get from any display without significant upgrades to the machine. There are some VGA monitors that also work fine with the Amiga's native output - The Benq BL702a and BL912 are popular options, as is the Dell U2410. Bear in mind that it's very difficult to get a modern display to perfectly scale the Amiga's output.

A scandoubler will typically give you a VGA output that can be used by any VGA monitor, but if you want to go to HDMI, it's usually a different bit of kit. There's the Indivision AGA, which is an expensive bit of hardware but is an advanced scandoubler that gives you DVI out (easily converts to HDMI). Audio will have to be routed separately with these solutions. Then there's also the Open Source Scan Converter, which is an external box specifically designed as a high end scandoubler for retro machines. There are cheap RGB converters too that some people use and are fine, but other people find them laggy and with poor image quality.

Thanks for the info, I have an old RGB scart cable somewhere so I’ll give that a go first.

At the moment I’m just tinkering with it hooked up to the living room TV but in the future I’ll likely have it in a dedicated space, on a desk with a monitor.

Looks like the Vampire accelerator is the Rolls Royce of upgrades, and that has HDMI along with virtually everything else, so perhaps that’s an efficient way to upgrade a bunch of stuff in one go.
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Old 22 May 2020, 11:03   #19
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Absolutely, but bear in mind that the HDMI out on a Vampire isn't a scandoubler - it's more like a graphics card output. The native graphics are still output using the RGB port. There is a beta core in development that uses the Vampire's chipset implementation instead of the native AGA chipset, but that hasn't been released yet. Another alternative in a similar style is the Warp 1260 accelerator. These are currently with testers and are looking excellent. They also have RTG and AHI sound, wifi and an optional scandoubler module to pass the native output to the HDMI output. That's not available yet either, but keep an eye out.
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Old 22 May 2020, 11:26   #20
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Oooooo, that Warp 1260 is looking like a nice option.
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