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Old 17 June 2020, 15:55   #1
floren
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Acquired A2500 and A3000, next steps & software questions

Hello, everyone! A few days ago, my neighbor gave me two Amigas, a 2500 and a 3000. I've wanted an Amiga for years, so having two fall into my lap is amazing. Also, both systems have Video Toasters installed, which I've always wanted to play with. There was also a Commodore 1084S monitor, which I've been using after building a 23-pin Amiga to 9-pin Commodore video cable--it looks great!

I have a Gotek drive ordered, since that seems to be one of the most convenient ways to get data over to the Amigas.

The 2500 has 3 hard drives: a 50MB drive attached to the A2091 Hard Card, plus a 2GB drive and another Maxtor of unknown size chained behind that drive. When I first powered it on, I got an error message about a disk problem at bootup (I can get the exact message if needed) until I disconnected the 2GB drive, at which point it was able to boot into Workbench 1.3. Based on googling, I think I may be able to boot DiskSalv once the Gotek arrives and potentially recover the disk?

As I mentioned above, the 2500 is running Workbench 1.3, and the 3000 is running 2.something. Is it sensible to upgrade these to run Workbench 3.1, or is there some software which only works on older versions? As I understand it, I'll need to buy a new ROM chip for the 2500, but the 3000 can upgrade Kickstart via a floppy? Does anyone know a US-based ROM supplier, since international shipping is a bit funny right now?

Any suggestions on what software I should run, games I should check out, or tips on getting some use out of the Video Toasters would be appreciated!

Also, the 2500 has this memory expansion card installed and I cannot find any label anywhere. Can anyone identify it?


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Old 17 June 2020, 19:43   #2
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I'm jelous!

Quote:
I have a Gotek drive ordered, since that seems to be one of the most convenient ways to get data over to the Amigas.
It's a good way to handle ADF files, but not individual programs/non-adf files. You can also use CD's or ethernet, with the correct equipment.

Quote:
As I mentioned above, the 2500 is running Workbench 1.3, and the 3000 is running 2.something. Is it sensible to upgrade these to run Workbench 3.1, or is there some software which only works on older versions? As I understand it, I'll need to buy a new ROM chip for the 2500, but the 3000 can upgrade Kickstart via a floppy? Does anyone know a US-based ROM supplier, since international shipping is a bit funny right now?
Some games only work on KS1.x. Personally, I would have the A3000 be a daily-driver machine with KS3.1.4.1 and leave the other with KS1.3 for historical view. This is my personal opinion.

Quote:
Any suggestions on what software I should run, games I should check out, or tips on getting some use out of the Video Toasters would be appreciated!
I always start with Shadow of the Beast. That's the game that convinced me to turn in my C64.

Quote:
Also, the 2500 has this memory expansion card installed and I cannot find any label anywhere. Can anyone identify it?
Looks like a Golden Image RC-2000. http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/rc2000
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Old 17 June 2020, 19:56   #3
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Welcome! That RAM board looks like an early revision Supra RAM. A basic 4MB expansion, as it's configured.

First things to do are to get the onboard clock batteries out of the machines--they tend to leak and damage the motherboards. The fact that both systems booted up easily is a good sign that either the batteries haven't leaked yet, or there isn't yet severe damage. Either way, get them out and clean up the mess before anything bad happens. (these are direct drop-in replacements that won't leak; it's perfectly fine to run the systems without batteries, but you need to set the clock by hand at each cold start.)

Only some A3000s can be upgraded in software. Most use ROM chips, like other Amigas, but the early units came with what are generally referred to as the "softkick" or "1.4" ROMs. If you hold down both mouse buttons at power-on and you get a menu asking whether you want to boot 2.x or 1.3 from hard drive or floppy, then you've got the 1.4 ROMs. Otherwise you've probably got a regular Release 2.04/v37.175 set of chips.

(There are, of course, other ways to softkick 3.1 on almost any Amiga, but it's best to use real chips for maximum benefit/compatibility.)

Unfortunately the broken hard drive is likely due to an age-related breakdown, so DiskSalv is unlikely to be able to repair it. But it may be able to salvage some of the files. Either way, you should look into SCSI2SD as a replacement for the old hard drives.

Generally speaking, there are 2 eras of Amiga software: the 1.3 era and the 2.0+ era. A lot of 1.3-era stuff won't run on 2.0 or newer, especially games. So you may want to keep the 2000 on 1.3 to play with software from that era and use the 3000 for newer stuff. But a common upgrade on 2000s was a ROM switcher to use 1.3 and 2.04 (or newer) in the same machine, so that's another option.

Depending on what other cards came with the machines, there might not be a whole lot you can do with the Toaster. The original main use for the Toaster was as an effects suite and production switcher for editing live or pre-recorded video to tape or broadcast. The later release of the Flyer board turned the Toaster into a full digital NLE suite. Let us know what you've got and we'll try to advise.
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Old 17 June 2020, 20:47   #4
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Check to see that a battery hasn’t ruined the motherboard
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Old 17 June 2020, 21:22   #5
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It's funny, both Matt_H and jasonsbeer appear to be correct on the RAM board... looks like the same hardware was sold by at least two companies? Since I'm in the US, this was probably sold by Supra rather than Golden Image.

I forgot to check the 3000, but at least on the 2500 the battery is still intact (no leaking). I'll remove them both at earliest convenience and swap in a coin cell holder, probably one with extension wires so I don't have to pull out the whole motherboard just to change the battery (at least on the 2500, it's tucked under the drive mounting frame).

The precise error for the hard drive was "Error validating disk / Key 1053003 bad header type". I hit cancel several types, was finally told "Disk corrupt - task held"; selecting cancel *there* gave me a Guru meditation I'll try DiskSalv when I can, but will look into SCSI2SD in the meantime.

Keeping the 2500 on 1.3 for specific games and updating the 3000 to 3.1.4 as a daily driver makes sense. I got all excited to find http://amigaonthelake.com/amiga-os3-...r-amiga-a3000/, an American company selling exactly what I needed, but then I noticed it's unavailable

Here's a fully inventory of hardware in the two machines:

2500
  • A2630 accelerator card
  • Video Toaster card
  • Digital Processing Systems 743-750 video time base corrector board
  • SupraRAM 2000 board with (apparently) 4MB installed
  • A2091 hard card w/ 50MB disk
  • Seagate ST32171N 2GB disk (not currently working)
  • Maxtor 120MB drive
  • Floppy drive

3000
  • 2x AD516 audio card
  • Conner CP31370 hard drive
  • Quantum ProDrive LPS hard drive (a bit over 1 GB, I think)
  • Video Toaster in external "Toaster Cozzy" enclosure
  • Floppy drive
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Old 18 June 2020, 00:29   #6
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An interesting hiccup: attempting to launch Video Toaster on either system when connected to the Commodore 1084S monitor fails with a "Video Toaster not responding" error. If I plug in an LCD screen to the 3000's VGA input, however, it will start up.
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Old 18 June 2020, 01:40   #7
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Re: the RAM board, yes, it was probably sold by both companies. For simple hardware like that, re-badging was pretty common. It could be Supra, but plenty of Golden Image stuff was distributed here in the US, so there's no way to know for certain. Doesn't really matter, though.

From the hardware included with your machines, I'm guessing they were originally part of a small editing rig and an audio production/dubbing rig. On the 2000, there was probably a VTR connected to the TBC and another one connected to the Toaster output. On the 3000, the AD516 cards are a full DAW, which may have been to provide soundtracks to live broadcasts or to layer on top of tapes. The two systems could have worked together or separately. The TBC's data connection is through the serial port, not the slot it's plugged into, meaning it could have been used with the 3000 even though it was plugged into the 2000.

The Toaster Cozzy is a rare piece of hardware--take good care of it and, if you can, send some more photos to the Big Book of Amiga Hardware.

As far as using the Toaster today, your options are a bit limited unless also get a Flyer or if you want to set up a full retro VHS editing suite. Short of that, you can pull video from any source with a composite out and record to any destination with a composite in, playing with Toaster effects/wipes/titles along the way. There's probably some digital recording stuff on the market that'll work (and be much smaller than an old-fashioned editing setup).

The AD516, on the other hand, is still highly usable for hard disk audio recording, editing, and processing, and can also be used as a general-purpose sound card (for AHI-compatible programs) for better quality output than the Amiga's built-in audio chip.

As to the startup error you're getting with the Toaster, the Toaster is an incredibly sensitive device with respect to its analog components. Assuming the hardware itself hasn't failed with age, unless all the external i/o cables are hooked up correctly (i.e., to video cameras, monitors, or terminators), heaps of errors are likely to result. In other words, don't panic (yet).

One other thing that might be obvious but if you're new to the Amiga bears repeating: the Amiga is not hot-pluggable. Never connect/disconnect *anything* while the power is on.
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Old 18 June 2020, 02:32   #8
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Great score! I had an A2500 - any pictures?
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Old 18 June 2020, 03:16   #9
floren
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt_H View Post
Re: the RAM board, yes, it was probably sold by both companies. For simple hardware like that, re-badging was pretty common. It could be Supra, but plenty of Golden Image stuff was distributed here in the US, so there's no way to know for certain. Doesn't really matter, though.

From the hardware included with your machines, I'm guessing they were originally part of a small editing rig and an audio production/dubbing rig. On the 2000, there was probably a VTR connected to the TBC and another one connected to the Toaster output. On the 3000, the AD516 cards are a full DAW, which may have been to provide soundtracks to live broadcasts or to layer on top of tapes. The two systems could have worked together or separately. The TBC's data connection is through the serial port, not the slot it's plugged into, meaning it could have been used with the 3000 even though it was plugged into the 2000.

The Toaster Cozzy is a rare piece of hardware--take good care of it and, if you can, send some more photos to the Big Book of Amiga Hardware.

As far as using the Toaster today, your options are a bit limited unless also get a Flyer or if you want to set up a full retro VHS editing suite. Short of that, you can pull video from any source with a composite out and record to any destination with a composite in, playing with Toaster effects/wipes/titles along the way. There's probably some digital recording stuff on the market that'll work (and be much smaller than an old-fashioned editing setup).

The AD516, on the other hand, is still highly usable for hard disk audio recording, editing, and processing, and can also be used as a general-purpose sound card (for AHI-compatible programs) for better quality output than the Amiga's built-in audio chip.

As to the startup error you're getting with the Toaster, the Toaster is an incredibly sensitive device with respect to its analog components. Assuming the hardware itself hasn't failed with age, unless all the external i/o cables are hooked up correctly (i.e., to video cameras, monitors, or terminators), heaps of errors are likely to result. In other words, don't panic (yet).

One other thing that might be obvious but if you're new to the Amiga bears repeating: the Amiga is not hot-pluggable. Never connect/disconnect *anything* while the power is on.

Yep, my neighbor's late husband had a video production company. There was more stuff in racks on either side of the desk, with a few cables running into the Toaster Cozzy's input/output connections, but I didn't have time or permission to go pulling anything apart in there. I'll talk to her soon and see what else she'd like to clear out... I don't want to take advantage and clean out everything valuable, but it would be nice to get a little more video editing gear to make the Toaster more useful, like at least a VCR and a broadcast monitor if there is one.



I was thinking along the same lines as you re: what to do with the Toaster. I don't do video production professionally, but it would be fun to get some sort of capture card and a camera and play around with various effects. A Flyer would involve a separate card with connectors for a bunch of hard drives, right? I've opened both the 2500 and the Cozzy and saw nothing NewTek-branded except the Toaster cards.



I'm kind of excited about the sound cards because I *do* enjoy playing around with audio recording.


The trackball that was plugged into the 3000 is GARBAGE! The ball is constantly losing contact with the rollers. I'm going to check with my neighbor and see if maybe there's a proper mouse somewhere, otherwise I guess I'll order one off Amigakit and wait for transatlantic delivery.


I'll definitely take more pictures of the Toaster Cozzy and send them in. It's a weird bit of kit... frankly the decision to leave off any sort of externally-accessible connector for the cable which links it to the Amiga is BAFFLING, but since it plugs right into the system bus there may have been technical reasons.


aeberbach, I'll take some pictures once I get my workbench (physical workbench, not the OS!) in a semi-presentable state!
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Old 18 June 2020, 12:53   #10
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How about a few more pics of the machines you have aquired?
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Old 18 June 2020, 15:54   #11
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I never had a trackball so I don’t know how easy they are to clean, but that may be the only problem with it. If you can open it up and give the rollers a good scrub (there’s probably loads of gunk built up on them) it may start behaving better. As a workaround, you can also control the mouse pointer from the keyboard. Hold down one of the Amiga keys and the arrows to move around, hold shift to accelerate, and press Left Amiga + Left Alt to left click and Right Amiga + Right Alt to right click.
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Old 18 June 2020, 23:47   #12
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On further inspection, both systems' batteries were leaking slightly at the negative terminal, so I removed both. In both cases, the negative terminal is a little ugly after removal and might be a bit of a pain to solder to... does it just connect to a ground plane? Since I'm going to install battery holders on "extension" wires, could I connect the negative side to some other ground point just as well?
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Old 19 June 2020, 03:30   #13
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What's the best Kickstart+Workbench combo to put on my 3000?

KS 3.1 + WB 3.1? (https://amigastore.eu/en/19-rom-31-a...two-chips.html and https://amigastore.eu/en/301-workben...o-edition.html)

KS 3.X + WB 3.1? (https://amigastore.eu/en/452-rom-3x-...two-chips.html plus the 3.1 set linked above)

KS 3.1.4 + WB 3.1.4? (https://amigastore.eu/en/689-amigaos-314.html#/, they seem to offer both ROM and floppies)

Something else?
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Old 19 June 2020, 04:00   #14
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I have not tried 3.x only 3.1.4 since returning to Amiga - seems good to me, and is working nicely with 128GB SSD in an A1200.
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Old 19 June 2020, 22:46   #15
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There will be a wide array of opinions on this, but I think 3.1.4 is probably your best option. It’s the current “active” branch of the OS. If you’re new to the Amiga there are a lot of tricks and workarounds and compromises you’ll need to get a fully operational 3.1 system, but 3.1.4 has all that built in so you’ll be up and running faster. 3.1 is probably the next best choice since it has decades of knowledge and support behind it.

3.X is a semi-official version based on components of OS 3.5 and 3.9 (which never had ROM chips of their own) and isn’t widely used. Best to stick with a better-known OS release, I think.

A word on versioning, which can be confusing: 3.1.4 is newer than 3.5 and 3.9. All 3 are directly derived from the 3.1 source code and some components from 3.5/3.9 have been backported to 3.1.4 and further developed, but not all, due to lost code or lack of licensing of specific pieces.
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Old 23 June 2020, 23:57   #16
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Ok, thanks, I think I'll go with 3.1.4.

A possibly related question: I tried writing a couple game floppies from TOSEC, using a rather annoying technique that involved copying the zipped image to a MSDOS-formatted floppy, copying that image to RAM: and unzipping, then using adf2disk to write that to a different disk. Both Lemmings and Another World *booted* in the 3000, but Lemmings threw up a guru meditation after the crack intro video and Another World got to the code-wheel input screen but wouldn't take any keyboard or mouse inputs. Maybe I just grabbed two bad images (I guess I ought to pick something marked [!] to make sure), but is there something I should be doing to make these work properly? I think I've seen mentions of disabling memory expansions etc. but I don't know exactly how that works.

The 2500's disk drive isn't working properly (everything comes up DF0:BAD) or I'd try the disks there.
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Old 24 June 2020, 00:38   #17
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Amiga games--especially from the 1.3 era, which most are--are notorious for not running on systems with anything more than a plain 68000, 1MB of RAM, and Kickstart 1.3. This doesn't apply to all games, but many, and may be affecting you here. Other possibilities are a bad/buggy crack (most Amiga games in TOSEC are derived from pirated versions of questionable quality created in the 80s/90s), or running a PAL version of a game on an NTSC system.

While this latter issue most often manifests in a stretched display (with the bottom of the screen cut off) it can also result in hangs or crashes because the internal timings are different. Degrader will fix the issue. Just select 50Hz and 50HzSystem and click SurviveReboots and your NTSC Amiga will be in PAL mode until you hold the left mouse button during a reboot or you power down.

Once you get your system fully operational, look into WHDLoad which will allow you to install games to hard disk. It employs all sorts of magic trickery to get finicky games to run on expanded systems. You can find packages of pre-installed games ready for use with WHDLoad in various internet places.
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Old 25 June 2020, 16:05   #18
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Still waiting for some pics of the machines....
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Old 25 June 2020, 21:02   #19
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Sorry they're not very good, but here's the 3000:



and here's the 2500:

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