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Old 24 December 2017, 23:29   #1
marm
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What next? Newbie alert...

So, I've bought an old A500. Plugged it in to my TV (coming out of the 520 via the Video port), loaded a few games off floppies and played them. So far so good.

My main aim is to use it for tracking with Octamed 4, but I'm also up for playing a few games and watching some old demos.

One option would be to just get hold of Octamed on a floppy. Anyone?

Option 2 would be to get a newer version of Workbench (on a floppy) and then download an ADF for Octamed, stick it on a PC floppy, and create an Amiga disk using "method 2" here: http://www.lemonamiga.com/help/faq_crossplatform.php

Option 3: Get a Gotek drive and just download ADFs straight on to the USB. Does that work? Any reason not to?

I have a second external floppy drive for the Amiga. Does the Gotek need to replace the internal drive, or what?

Then the other thing is what should I do re a monitor. Output on the TV looks OK I guess, but am I missing out on different resolution modes using just the video out?

Any other advice for required mods and updates welcomed... although I'm trying not to spend a fortune. I resisted the urge to buy an A1200... if I use the 500 lots then maybe one day.
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Old 24 December 2017, 23:39   #2
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A floppy emulator like the Gotek is certainly the easiest way to interface with an A500. It can be made to replace the internal or external drive, or even a switcher can be built or bought: http://amigastore.eu/en/485-df0-selector.html

The A520 outputs composite, which is a pretty poor quality signal. Using the RGB output directly is much better, the image is crystal clear that way. But as the output is not standard VGA, you'll need to choose your monitor carefully. There is a compatibility list here: http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?78792

I have the BenQ BL702A and it has served well.
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Old 25 December 2017, 01:45   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajk View Post
A floppy emulator like the Gotek is certainly the easiest way to interface with an A500. It can be made to replace the internal or external drive, or even a switcher can be built or bought: http://amigastore.eu/en/485-df0-selector.html

The A520 outputs composite, which is a pretty poor quality signal. Using the RGB output directly is much better, the image is crystal clear that way. But as the output is not standard VGA, you'll need to choose your monitor carefully. There is a compatibility list here: http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?78792

I have the BenQ BL702A and it has served well.
Thanks for your response. I am leaning towards getting a Gotek, and had my eye on that switch too. Actually the switch looks quite doable as DIY (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=89581)... In the meantime if anyone can provide a floppy with Octamed on it that would be amazing, as it will get me going.

Re monitors, what about this type of Scart adapter: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AMIGA-RGB-...r/322719659549 - Presumably that feeds an RGB signal to the Scart...so I could use a video monitor or a TV...is there likely to be a big practical difference in the resulting image vs using a VGA monitor?
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Old 25 December 2017, 09:51   #4
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Yes, a SCART input on a TV should give equivalent quality. Some TVs do not like the signal from the Amiga but that is fairly uncommon. If you have a TV you can try, it's the cheapest option.

I'm sure there is a UK member around who can make an Octamed floppy for you to get started with. Everybody is probably just busy with Christmas right now
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Old 26 December 2017, 13:29   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajk View Post
Yes, a SCART input on a TV should give equivalent quality. Some TVs do not like the signal from the Amiga but that is fairly uncommon. If you have a TV you can try, it's the cheapest option.

I'm sure there is a UK member around who can make an Octamed floppy for you to get started with. Everybody is probably just busy with Christmas right now
Excellent, thanks. I quite fancy finding an old CRT video monitor for some retro goodness.

Would one of these be a suitable replacement for the drive in my external enclosure?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/UFA1M44-1...K/253192624706

Have decided to also check out Soundtracker Pro...
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Old 26 December 2017, 14:27   #6
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You will need to put new firmware on it to work with Amiga format files.

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=88002
https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy/wiki

It is actually quite easy to do.

From a TV point Keep an eye out for an old Sony CRT TV or Bang & Olufsen Beovision Mx or Bang & Olufsen Beovision 1

They are all meant to give good picture quality and can normally find them cheap enough.
A lot cheaper than buying a Video Monitor some of us have!

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/253322400411
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/282779723927
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/202158916176

Last edited by kgc210; 26 December 2017 at 15:04.
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Old 26 December 2017, 15:28   #7
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Sent a PM regards Option 1
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Old 26 December 2017, 16:01   #8
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For doing tracker stuff you may need some more memory earlier or later. You need enough chipram (where the song is stored in) and some expansion memory for the program (Octamed, Protracker, ...) itslef (else program data is stored in chipram). Default A500 config is 512kb chipram only. A1200 has 2MB chipram.
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Old 26 December 2017, 16:25   #9
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Thanks guys. I'm liking it here already.

Have ordered the Gotek drive emulator linked to. Still a bit confused about how it works in terms of partitioning, reading and writing, transferring etc., but hopefully that will become clear once I try to get the thing up and running.

MikeyG's PM replied to - thanks very much!

Re monitors, yep I'm thinking maybe picking up an old TV or if I'm lucky maybe a broadcast video monitor of some kind... We'll see what turns up. I'm not going to panic about it and might wait 'til the car boot season. Plus round here, people chuck old TVs away all the time. Actually after Christmas there's often stuff outside people's houses, maybe I'll have a scout around. Tis a wasteful world...

Quote:
Originally Posted by daxb View Post
For doing tracker stuff you may need some more memory earlier or later. You need enough chipram (where the song is stored in) and some expansion memory for the program (Octamed, Protracker, ...) itslef (else program data is stored in chipram). Default A500 config is 512kb chipram only. A1200 has 2MB chipram.
The machine came with an A501 board fitted which I'm assuming is working as all seems well. I'm hoping that that's enough to get started. If I want more then what routes are available?

I'm open to the idea that long term an A1200 might be a better option, but hopefully the A500 will be a good reintroduction to the Amiga world, and get me started with some tracking. If I get into it then I'm happy to spend a few quid, and it wouldn't hurt to have two Amiga systems... but it wouldn't surprise me it this ends up as a dead end... I am better at starting (music) projects than finishing stuff.
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Old 26 December 2017, 18:49   #10
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For the start it is ok with 512kb + 512kb. Start make music and you will notice if it is enough or not. There are options to upgrade to 1MB or 2MB chipram but I don't know what is possible with your A500. The A500+ for example has 1MB chipram. Upgrade possibility might depend on chipset/board revision.
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Old 27 December 2017, 13:21   #11
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Quote:
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For the start it is ok with 512kb + 512kb. Start make music and you will notice if it is enough or not. There are options to upgrade to 1MB or 2MB chipram but I don't know what is possible with your A500. The A500+ for example has 1MB chipram. Upgrade possibility might depend on chipset/board revision.
Thanks, I need to resist the temptation to buy bits and bobs to upgrade it before I've even started using it... Got an Octamed disk and a cheap mono sampler on the way and can't wait to get started.

If I get a chance this afternoon I might give the machine a good clean up, maybe I'll open it up and see what board I have.
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Old 27 December 2017, 23:49   #12
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Cleaning it up now. Here's a picture of the board.
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Old 28 December 2017, 01:01   #13
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Hi Marm,

A500 looking nice inside.
If you comfortable with soldering (or ask a friend who does), I recommend opening up the A501 and inspecting the cell battery that it has, normally you'll find these have leaked and hopefully not done too much damage to the board so far. Desoldering it and then using white vinegar on the board to neutralize the alkaline helps.
Also recommend taking the cover off the floppy drive and give it a clean with cotton wool bug as dust and dirt builds up around the mechanism.

Hopefully send the package off to you tomorrow.
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Old 28 December 2017, 02:12   #14
marm
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Hi Marm,

A500 looking nice inside.
If you comfortable with soldering (or ask a friend who does), I recommend opening up the A501 and inspecting the cell battery that it has, normally you'll find these have leaked and hopefully not done too much damage to the board so far. Desoldering it and then using white vinegar on the board to neutralize the alkaline helps.
Also recommend taking the cover off the floppy drive and give it a clean with cotton wool bug as dust and dirt builds up around the mechanism.

Hopefully send the package off to you tomorrow.
Cool, thanks man, that's awesome.

Have blown the dust out of everything with compressed air and cleaned the floppy drive head manually with a cotton bud and some alcohol. Pleased to see the drive uses no belts so none to change. Probably should have regreased the little gear but it's working OK so never mind...

Also took the opportunity to check all the socketed chips and connectors were properly seated.

I removed the A501 and had a look at the manual to check I had refitted it correctly. I noticed that it has a clock, so checking the battery was next on my to-do list. Thanks for clarifying what needs doing, soldering is no problem.

I cleaned up the case, keys and all the accessories with a toothbrush and some foam cleanser. The top of the case had a nice scrub in the kitchen sink and a rinse in the bath. It's really clean now, and nicely yellowed IMO...

Glad to say that it's all working fine following reassembly although I haven't checked out the external drive yet. I dug a little JVC TV/monitor out of the loft earlier today, too. It's neat but I think just a bit too small...
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Old 30 December 2017, 00:40   #15
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For the start it is ok with 512kb + 512kb. Start make music and you will notice if it is enough or not. There are options to upgrade to 1MB or 2MB chipram but I don't know what is possible with your A500. The A500+ for example has 1MB chipram. Upgrade possibility might depend on chipset/board revision.
It's a rev 6a, I think. Looks like it has room for more ram on the main board for what that's worth. But I'll see how I get on.
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Old 30 December 2017, 13:46   #16
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More RAM on the mobo clashes with the A501 memory upgrade - they do use the same address.
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Old 31 December 2017, 18:29   #17
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I cleaned up an A500 with creme hair bleach from Boots , mind you I did it on a sunny day !
Just painted it on , left it for a couple of hours in the sun and washed it off came up a treat !

Wilko , for all your retro computing needs !

http://www.wilko.com/all-hair-colour...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 31 December 2017, 19:40   #18
marm
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Thanks all for your comments. I'll forget about adding extra RAM to the mobo. Probably won't bleach the case - I like it showing it's age to be honest.

Especially thanks to MikeyG - received a couple of discs in the post the other day...looking forward to getting going with some tracking. The postman also brought me a Gotek drive and a pair of joysticks. Been playing Lemmings today with the kids. Still brilliant.

Unfortunately it's developed its first fault though. Sound was distorted, so I did the usual checking of connections. Turns out (as far as I can tell) that the distortion is caused by a dodgy connection on the PSU output lead...a combination of wiggling the cable and/or a good whack on the PSU case cures it... I suppose if it's not the cable it might be a dry solder joint or something internally in the PSU.

An odd one, but hopefully easy enough to sort. I'll open it up when I get a moment, but if anyone has any pointers then that would be good.

Happy new year all.
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Old 31 December 2017, 19:43   #19
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Is the PSU quite heavy or light ?
The later Switch Mode PSUs were a bit unreliable , the earlier heavy linear PSUs are better , but I guess there isn't a ready supply of them about now !
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Old 31 December 2017, 20:08   #20
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Is the PSU quite heavy or light ?
The later Switch Mode PSUs were a bit unreliable , the earlier heavy linear PSUs are better , but I guess there isn't a ready supply of them about now !
It's a big heavy lump, pretty sure it's not a switch mode supply, feels like it's got a proper transformer in it from the weight of it.

I don't think there's much wrong with it, but unfortunately, I can't find a way to open it...

Last edited by marm; 31 December 2017 at 20:15.
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