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Old 15 April 2020, 18:25   #1
camsoft2000
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Hello from Brighton

Hi Guys,

Just joined and as I've recently had bought an Amiga 500+. I've never owned an Amiga but as a child of the 80's I had always wanted one, so decided now is the time to fulfil my childhood dream of owning one.

I'm also into Acorn especially the BBC Micros too as I have fond memories of using them at school and am also the proud owner of a BBC Model B.

Regarding the Amiga, I literally have no idea where to start with it, I've got no disks or anything loops. I do have a cable to connect it to a modern screen that I got off eBay.

I did buy a Gotek on eBay too so hopefully, I can bridge the issue of not having physical disks

As I'm a complete Amiga virgin I'm wondering if you could tell me a little about my purchase?

It's definitely a 500+ and my understanding is the Plus had 1MB of ram though my board suggestions it has 512K which is interesting.



Does the Amiga have a desktop interface or any kind of command-line interpreter?
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Old 15 April 2020, 23:44   #2
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Hello and welcome!

It is not a plus board: http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/a500

The desktop interface is called Workbench and the command line AmigaDOS

Did you never boot your Amiga?
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Old 16 April 2020, 08:29   #3
camsoft2000
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Hello from Brighton

Quote:
Originally Posted by LucasBox View Post
Hello and welcome!

It is not a plus board: http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/a500

The desktop interface is called Workbench and the command line AmigaDOS

Did you never boot your Amiga?

Oh, now that’s odd. It’s in a plus case and came in original plus retail packaging box. Has someone swapped the board out, is that possible?

I didn’t boot it because the power supply started to smoke briefly. I inspected the power supply but couldn’t see anything that looked burnt or blown.







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Old 16 April 2020, 09:45   #4
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Here are a few more photos maybe someone can shine a light on what exactly I’ve bought as it doesn’t add up.









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Old 16 April 2020, 10:14   #5
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The case and box is A500+ but all the internals, the motherboard, keyboard and floppy drive are from a plain A500 so someone swapped it around at some point. Unless the seller is clueless about Amigas, he/she should have known that it is not an A500+ and it should warrant a return.
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Old 16 April 2020, 10:19   #6
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Yeah that’s my thinking. They claimed it was found in a garage. Also all the seals were broken so yep it had clearly been opened before. Thanks!


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Old 16 April 2020, 12:28   #7
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Seller has refunded me and told me to dispose of it. A bit extreme but I assume they don’t want it back.


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Old 16 April 2020, 13:32   #8
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Strange, but still a good "deal"

Case and caps are in very good condition. It's still worth a try if it will boot.
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Old 16 April 2020, 13:34   #9
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Yeah that was my observations too all looks like it’s in very good condition. So will be keeping of course.

Though is there anything I can do without any disks?


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Old 16 April 2020, 13:35   #10
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I did turn it on briefly without a screen attached and it was just the floppy disk making a reading noise continuously . Though I will plug a screen later and see what I’ve got.


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Old 16 April 2020, 13:40   #11
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Since the 500 does not have a IDE-Port it is not so simple. You can swap the internal dive for a Gotek-Drive. In the long run, this is actually the best solution as you can easily copy the data (ADF) from the PC via USB.
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Old 16 April 2020, 14:20   #12
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While a Rev.8 or Rev.8a board should be in the case for obvious reasons, you might not be so unlucky with your purchase. Most A500+ boards do suffer from battery damage these days. In many cases, this battery damage requires quite a bit of work to get the A500+ running again.

So my advice on buying an A500+ is: keep away from offers where the board is not shown.

I was sent two boards with known battery damage for repair a while back. Both were in similar condition.

Example: https://imgur.com/a/ihCPeJp



Last edited by buggs; 16 April 2020 at 14:24. Reason: added two images
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Old 16 April 2020, 14:36   #13
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Oh wow I see what you mean. So I’ve essentially got a free A500 in an A500+ case so not so unlucky after all.

I already have a unmodded Gotek and all the parts for my BBC Micro so might use that for the Amiga instead as I’ve actually got some disks for the Beeb.

I’ve ordered another Gotek so I’ve got one for both systems.

What kind of upgrades can or should you recommend for the A500?


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Old 16 April 2020, 18:17   #14
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With the assumption that you're in for gaming I'd suggest another 512k RAM in the trapdoor slot.

Many A500 games require 1 MB RAM as that was the most common configuration back in the day.

Please be advised that not all A500 trapdoor expansions will work as intended in stock Rev.5 boards. The Agnus chip (8371) cannot refresh DRAMs with higher density by itself. Commodore's trapdoor expansions take care of that limitation and has special circuitry for the refresh procedure. 3rd party products might or might not.

That's why I'd avoid expansion boards that have only the common 4 RAM chips (1 MBit in 256kx4) onboard. An alternative approach would be to use any trapdoor expansion after the upgrade of Agnus from 8371 to 8372a. That chip swap requires an appropriate PLCC pulling tool, though. See for example here for a guide how to replace Agnus (but skip the additional RAM chips onboard).

I'd say that the combination of 1MB RAM and a Gotek should be a solid foundation for fun in retro-gaming on classic Amigas.
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Old 16 April 2020, 18:22   #15
camsoft2000
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buggs View Post
With the assumption that you're in for gaming I'd suggest another 512k RAM in the trapdoor slot.

Many A500 games require 1 MB RAM as that was the most common configuration back in the day.

Please be advised that not all A500 trapdoor expansions will work as intended in stock Rev.5 boards. The Agnus chip (8371) cannot refresh DRAMs with higher density by itself. Commodore's trapdoor expansions take care of that limitation and has special circuitry for the refresh procedure. 3rd party products might or might not.

That's why I'd avoid expansion boards that have only the common 4 RAM chips (1 MBit in 256kx4) onboard. An alternative approach would be to use any trapdoor expansion after the upgrade of Agnus from 8371 to 8372a. That chip swap requires an appropriate PLCC pulling tool, though. See for example here for a guide how to replace Agnus (but skip the additional RAM chips onboard).

I'd say that the combination of 1MB RAM and a Gotek should be a solid foundation for fun in retro-gaming on classic Amigas.

That’s amazing thank you. So either get specific trap door upgrades that are known to work with this board or upgrade Angus so that I can use any expansion board?

Where is the best place to buy these kids of things? Are there any reputable Amiga stores or sellers that your would recommend?


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Old 16 April 2020, 18:40   #16
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This one will work with the old Agnus:
https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/product/A512.html

Edit: Just noticed that it is out of stock, but it should also be easy to find a 8372 Agnus as many people have them from either dead Amigas or Amigas that were upgraded to 8375 Agnus (2MB chip).
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Old 18 April 2020, 00:28   #17
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Welcome!
Unfortunately that's part of the game, any amiga 500 has over 25 years and people did them everything, sometimes not with bad intention, maybe the mb was broken. Sometimes instead people did horrible things like cutting the case to fit a gotek. The best thing if you want learn more about workbench and amigados is tos start with winuae, you'll avoid being frustrated by the list of issues you'll likely (actually you already started finding some). Old computers are like old cars, you have to love them, sometimes the pleasure is just cleaning
About that amiga, I would buy a modern power supply, the old one are quite dangerous. An expansion as advised, then you'll need either an original monitor or a converter to connect it to a monitor.
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Old 18 April 2020, 01:30   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nnsense View Post
About that amiga, I would buy a modern power supply, the old one are quite dangerous.
Actually, the Amiga PSU is not generally considered as dangerous. If they die they usually just go dead and doesn't produce over-voltage that fries the machine like the C64 PSUs tend to do. And unless you install some expensive and/or power-hungry expansions like a 040/060 accelerator and the like, I would just continue to use the original PSU if it works.
If the PSU is very dirty and dusty after storage, I would just open it up and clean it with some compressed air.
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Old 18 April 2020, 01:54   #19
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_Actually_ those old power supplies had killed many Amigas, just search on google, in particular those for A500. I've thrown away at least 3 of those during these years, I wouldn't advice to keep it connected.
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Old 18 April 2020, 09:00   #20
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Thanks for the advice. I kind of like the tinkering but my word Amiga’s come in a lot of different configurations.

The fact that the base A500 models can’t play later games due to stock 512K and then throw in Workbench compatibility issues it’s crazy that they sold so well. Must have been frustrating for owners having to upgrade them to play specific games etc.

Why so many breaking changes to the motherboard and chip revisions?

Regarding the power supply I’ve got on of these. What do we think?




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