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Old 09 April 2006, 03:34   #1
Ze_ro
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Cool Restoring an Amiga 3000...

I've decided to restore my brothers old, forgotten Amiga 3000 that has been sitting in the basement for quite some time. The machine itself seems to work well, but it'll take some effort to turn it into a truly functional system. However, I'm new to the world of Amiga (playing games on it doesn't really count here), so I need some help. Hopefully someone can answer my questions here:
  • I have no CD-ROM drive. I've been looking into buying an external SCSI CD-ROM drive off eBay... they're pretty cheap at around $10, but I have no experience with SCSI components. Can I just buy any random SCSI CD-ROM and expect it to work, or do I need to worry about support for specific devices? I have a disk with AsimCDFS on it, which seems like it'll do the job as long as I acquire the hardware for it. Also, I've noticed that many devices have different types of connectors on them... are these incompatible, or is it just a matter of getting the right adaptor?
  • The machine has a Dataflyer 500 IDE controller card installed in it, but it doesn't seem like there is any driver installed. The install disk MIGHT be somewhere in my brothers pile of disks, but sorting through all them will take forever. Is there anywhere online where I can find drivers for Amiga hardware? It seems that I need ExpSys.amhd or ExpSys.device, but I haven't been able to find anything.
  • Right now, the machine is running Workbench 3.1, with Kickstart 3.1. Is it worth installing 3.9 on it, or will it be too slow? I have 14 MB of RAM total, but the machine is only 16MHz. I eventually want to get this machine connected to the internet, so the integrated TCP/IP stack and such will be very helpful. I know these features are in 3.5 as well, would 3.5 be a better choice for a slow system?
  • Regardless of which version of Workbench I use, I plan to format the hard drive and install from scratch, as there is a lot of software cruft causing problems. Is there anything special I need to know about doing this, or is it just a matter of using HDToolBox to format, and then booting off the Workbench disks/CD? I guess I'll have to be sure to save the kickstart images from the hard drive before I do this so that I can still use the boot menu to load 'em up. I've also been told that I have to name the harddrive WB_2.X: in order for softkick to work.
  • Is it worth learning ARexx? I've been using Unix for about almost 10 years now, so I'm familiar with scripting languages, and I know that I can install REXX on my Linux machine, so I figure it could be worth learning... but does general Amiga systems administration involve many REXX scripts? I know my brother has a book on ARexx that came with his original Amiga 500, but I haven't read any of it yet.
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Old 09 April 2006, 11:53   #2
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Almost any SCSI CD-ROM will work HOWEVER you need a specific wiring for the cable that goes from the 25-pin header to the centronics connector. Sometimes known as "MAC SCSI" cable.

Quote:
The machine has a Dataflyer 500 IDE controller card but it doesn't seem like there is any driver installed
http://www.l8r.net/install/hdc.html

I am guessing but there is a "DataFlyer_IDE.DMS" image.

Quote:
Is it worth installing 3.9 on it, or will it be too slow?
With no graphics card and no AGA, why bother? The only reason I can think of is to use hard drives and partitions greater than 4 Gig. Your CD-ROM will work without ASIMware CDFS though. Might be worth it.

Quote:
I plan to format the hard drive and install from scratch (snip) I guess I'll have to be sure to save the kickstart images from the hard drive before I do this so that I can still use the boot menu to load 'em up. I've also been told that I have to name the harddrive WB_2.X: in order for softkick to work.
STOP.

As you say, some A3000's dont have REAL Kickstart 3.1 chips, they have 1.4 chips (yes 1.4) and they soft kick from a file on the hard drive. You reformat and you may never get your Amiga to do anything for a long time

The first thing to do is work out if you REALLY have a KS1.4 machine.
Hold down both mouse buttons after you switch on the A3000, if you have ks1.4 you will be prompted to choose the operating system version to use. You can either bootstrap Kickstart 2.x and Kickstart 1.3 from hard disk or from floppy disk. Try 1.3 you never know you may have a Kickstart 1.3 partition you never knew about
The next thing you MUST do is make some Floppy "Super Kickstart Disks"

Once you are happy that your Super Kickstart floppy disks are working (Make both 1.3 and 3.1 versions to make sure they work) THEN you can think about re-formatting your hard drive. You do need the special A3000 versions of both ROMS. 3.1 should be on your drive, but most A3000's with 1.4 I've come across dont have the 1.3 ROM. Trawl the net and you can find it.

You should really get a handle on where the kickstart images live on the Amiga hard drive too before re-formatting (Devs:kickstart).

I recommend transferring everything to the PC, or even better buy a new SCSI hard drive and use that, keeping the old one as a back up.

Last edited by alexh; 09 April 2006 at 12:08.
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Old 10 April 2006, 00:02   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh
Almost any SCSI CD-ROM will work HOWEVER you need a specific wiring for the cable that goes from the 25-pin header to the centronics connector. Sometimes known as "MAC SCSI" cable.
Oh, so PC's and Mac's use a different pin configuration then? There's a store near me that has a 25-pin to 50-pin cable, but there's no mention of Mac or PC anywhere in there... here's another that actually says "Apple" in the description... is there any way to know unless the packaging actually says?

Quote:
http://www.l8r.net/install/hdc.html

I am guessing but there is a "DataFlyer_IDE.DMS" image.
I tried that one unsuccessfully, and then I found this disk image which seems to be a newer version of the drivers... unfortunately, I still haven't gotten it to actually recognize a hard drive. I think there are some jumpers missing from the board. Good thing I have the manual, so hopefully I can get it working.

Quote:
As you say, some A3000's dont have REAL Kickstart 3.1 chips, they have 1.4 chips (yes 1.4) and they soft kick from a file on the hard drive. You reformat and you may never get your Amiga to do anything for a long time
I asked my brother about this, and he claims that the machine DOES have actual 3.1 chips in it... but I'm a little confused by some of the boot messages. If I go to the boot menu, it gives me options to boot either 2.0 or 1.3... if I DON'T go to the boot menu, it flashes "booting kickstart 2.0"... I then get an odd splash-screen that shows some system information, telling me that I have kickstart 37.175 and Workbench 38.36. Finally, once I get to a CLI, I find that I have kickstart 40.68 and Workbench 40.42! Needless to say, there's a bit of confusion here, and I certainly don't plan to format anything until I get this all figured out!

Quote:
I recommend transferring everything to the PC, or even better buy a new SCSI hard drive and use that, keeping the old one as a back up.
I've considered doing this too... the system currently boots off of a 200 MB SCSI drive, but since old SCSI hard drives can be had for relatively cheap, it probably makes more sense to just replace it with something around 10-20 GB. As long as I use Workbench 3.5 or higher, I shouldn't have to worry about the 4 GB limit, right?
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Old 10 April 2006, 00:28   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_ro
I asked my brother about this, and he claims that the machine DOES have actual 3.1 chips in it...
The little liar

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_ro
If I go to the boot menu, it gives me options to boot either 2.0 or 1.3... if I DON'T go to the boot menu, it flashes "booting kickstart 2.0"...
Without a doubt you DEFINATELY have KS1.4 chips!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_ro
I then get an odd splash-screen that shows some system information, telling me that I have kickstart 37.175 and Workbench 38.36.
I think that might mean that your kickstart image in DEVS: is a 2.04 version.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_ro
Finally, once I get to a CLI, I find that I have kickstart 40.68 and Workbench 40.42!
There is a good chance that you are soft loading 2 different kickstarts one after another. I speculate that your brother was never able to get a REAL A3000 3.1 ROM image and had to use this trick to get around it. Or it could be something totally different.

To be sure I need to get a look at your s:startup-sequence and s:user-startup scripts and the Devs:kickstart to be sure. If you are we can easily fix it (get an A3000 ROM image) and you'll get back 512k of RAM too!

If this is correct it's almost certainly makes for an unstable system.

Quote:
As long as I use Workbench 3.5 or higher, I shouldn't have to worry about the 4 GB limit, right?
Your boot partition must be less than 4Gig I think, probably less with KS1.4

Last edited by alexh; 10 April 2006 at 00:37.
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Old 10 April 2006, 05:03   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh
Without a doubt you DEFINATELY have KS1.4 chips!

I think that might mean that your kickstart image in DEVS: is a 2.04 version.

There is a good chance that you are soft loading 2 different kickstarts one after another. I speculate that your brother was never able to get a REAL A3000 3.1 ROM image and had to use this trick to get around it. Or it could be something totally different.
Wow, this is rather complicated. I talked to my brother about this, and he definitely remembers that the guy he bought the machine from had upgraded the ROMs, and had also given him the old ROMs when he bought it. He says they were mounted in the system on a ROM tower. However, I found the (empty) ROM tower sitting in the basement with a number of broken pins. The chips inside the 3000 right now have typed white labels that read "COPYRIGHT 1990 CAI, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, ALPHA 5 ROM 0 CS=9713", and "ROM 1 CS=9B21". Any idea what this means? Searching the net only found me this italian forum where some other guy apparently has similar ROMs in his 3000.

I managed to find a few other sets of Kickstart chips... one set being 390629-02/390630-02. According to this list, these are the 1.4 chips out of an Amiga 3000. The container they are in is sealed with Commodore tape, so whoever replaced the chips must have been "official" or something.

Quote:
To be sure I need to get a look at your s:startup-sequence and s:user-startup scripts and the Devs:kickstart to be sure. If you are we can easily fix it (get an A3000 ROM image) and you'll get back 512k of RAM too!
Well, I looked through them, but I can't see anything that would be loading up extra kickstart images... I admit I'm really not quite sure what I'm looking for, but I see no references to devs:kickstart, or anything like that. Is there anything that gets executed before s:startup-sequence somehow? There's a splash screen that is coming up that prevents me from seeing what's actually happening when the machine boots, and I can't find where that thing is loading up either.

Aside from losing out on 512k of RAM, is there any real downside to loading kickstart off the harddrive as opposed to having actual 3.1 chips?

Quote:
Your boot partition must be less than 4Gig I think, probably less with KS1.4
Hmm... so if I have a giant harddrive, but make sure that the boot partition is relatively small (500MB maybe), then have the old ROMs boot up that, load up 3.1 ROMs from that partition, then mount the rest of the drive... would that all be kosher? Or might 1.4 get confused by the physical parameters of a large drive even if it's not attempting to access anything that might overflow registers?
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Old 10 April 2006, 10:53   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ze_ro
The chips inside the 3000 right now have typed white labels that read "COPYRIGHT 1990 CAI, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, ALPHA 5 ROM 0 CS=9713", and "ROM 1 CS=9B21"
Definately Kickstart 1.4. These are 390630-02 and 390629-02 versions

http://www.gregdonner.org/workbench/wb_b14.html

Looks like you have 2x sets of KS1.4!

Quote:
I admit I'm really not quite sure what I'm looking for, but I see no references to devs:kickstart
It doesnt necessarily have to say devs:kickstart. That is where the kickstart 1.4 ROM looks, doesnt have to be where the relokick program looks. However if you have not seen relockick or skick....

Quote:
Is there anything that gets executed before s:startup-sequence somehow? There's a splash screen that is coming up that prevents me from seeing what's actually happening when the machine boots, and I can't find where that thing is loading up either.
Not sure what you mean.

Quote:
Aside from losing out on 512k of RAM, is there any real downside to loading kickstart off the harddrive as opposed to having actual 3.1 chips?
The code in the 1.4 ROM is not 68040+ compatible and so will not work with an accelerator.

You have a very old A3000 though. Chances are you have very old chips in your A3000. Although very cheap, the A3640 accelerator (which would offer a 4x speed over your 16MHz 030) probably wouldnt work without you replacing at least the Buster chip as well as your Kickstart ROMS

Probably not worth trying!
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Old 10 April 2006, 22:47   #7
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I am curious to know which SuperKickstart image you have.

Can you check in Devs: for a file called kickstart? Report back it's size and if possible CRC?
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Old 11 April 2006, 07:28   #8
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The file is 526572 bytes, and has a CRC32 of 16c0f9bf.

There is also a file named "kickstart21" in Devs: ... I think it's safe to assume this is 2.1
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Old 11 April 2006, 08:50   #9
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There never was a Kickstart 2.1... curiouser and curiouser!

526572 IS a valid size for a 2.04/3.1 A3000 Super kickstart image.

Checking CRC's back later.

My A3000 KS3.1 is 526,572 bytes with a CRC32 of 285DD816.
My A3000 KS2.04 is 526,848 bytes with a CRC32 of 4FABB146.

I dont think this line of thinking has helped much

Have you tried selecting 1.3 after holding down both mouse buttons on bootup and see if it works?

Last edited by alexh; 11 April 2006 at 09:11.
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Old 11 April 2006, 15:59   #10
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OH WELL.

You guys trying to say Commodore did really ship BETA ROMs with the A3000?
Didn't know that nor did I expect it. I'm really curious to know about PC BIOS manufacturers which would dare ship a BETA BIOS in their motherboards!
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Old 11 April 2006, 16:46   #11
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Quote:
You guys trying to say Commodore did really ship BETA ROMs with the A3000?
Certainly they did. They always shipped the hardware when it was ready, no matter if the software was fully developed or not.

Quote:
I'm really curious to know about PC BIOS manufacturers which would dare ship a BETA BIOS in their motherboards!
So why do you think BIOS chips are updatable ?

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Didn't know that nor did I expect it.
That's really naive IMHO.
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Old 11 April 2006, 19:24   #12
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I wonder if someone somewhere has created a CRC32 list of all the Amiga Kickstart ROM's (TOSEC or someone) then we can work out which SuperKickstart ROM you have in DEVS:

Anyone know?
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Old 11 April 2006, 20:02   #13
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TOSEC dont have any details of SuperKickstart ROM images in their database.

D'oh!
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Old 11 April 2006, 20:09   #14
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Hey alexh,

Not sure if this helps? Guess you're really only after SuperKickstart ROMs though...

Edit: Actually, I may have others although I cannot remember exactly which ones. Need to trawl through some CDs that I have.
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Last edited by DamienD; 11 April 2006 at 20:17.
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Old 11 April 2006, 20:25   #15
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Non of these are SuperKickstart ROMs and TOSEC dont have them in their database. Starting a thread in TOSEC here http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?p=237480
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Old 11 April 2006, 20:25   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thomas
Certainly they did. They always shipped the hardware when it was ready, no matter if the software was fully developed or not.

So why do you think BIOS chips are updatable ?
You're not trying to make a fool of me, eh?
I was talking about ORIGINAL motherboards shipped AS-IS with beta BIOSes, not the option to update it via the manufacturer's/vendor's web site. I haven't seen any (common?) manufacturer doing this (yet).

I was making this comparison as an Amiga boot ROM can - in some way - be regarded as a sort of PC bios.
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Old 11 April 2006, 20:38   #17
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Oi, no hijacking Ze_ro's Topic
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Old 11 April 2006, 21:49   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DamienD
Hey alexh,

Not sure if this helps? Guess you're really only after SuperKickstart ROMs though...

Edit: Actually, I may have others although I cannot remember exactly which ones. Need to trawl through some CDs that I have.
i have here: Kickstart v1.4a15 rev 36.15 (1989)(Commodore)(alpha).rom CRC:A3BA6116
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Old 11 April 2006, 22:42   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andreas
You're not trying to make a fool of me, eh?
I was talking about ORIGINAL motherboards shipped AS-IS with beta BIOSes, not the option to update it via the manufacturer's/vendor's web site. I haven't seen any (common?) manufacturer doing this (yet).

I was making this comparison as an Amiga boot ROM can - in some way - be regarded as a sort of PC bios.

Slowly I get the impression that you make yourself look like a fool.

Of course no manifacturer tells his customers that he ships beta software with his hardware. But early software versions always contain bugs. That's why the A1000 was shipped with WORM and Kickstart disks and that's why the A3000 was shipped with Superkickstart disks. That's business practice. It's a calculated risk. You have to ship your product before other companies ship their products. So you ship with firmware which has been tested but still has many known bugs. There is just not enough time to correct them all before the initial release. So you make your firmare updatable (flash-rom was not known or too expensive in the 80ies, so the Kickstart was loaded from floppy disk) and once the bugs (or some of them) are corrected, you let the user update it.

It does not matter which device you look at, it gets even worse nowadays. Every advert of a DVB-T or SAT receiver mentions that the firmware is updatable. Software development is not so important any more. They ship with early versions of the software and once bug reports arrive, they make updates available. It's too expensive to do all the beta tests themselves.

I really don't understand why you are so surprised about it.
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Old 11 April 2006, 22:48   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chain
i have here: Kickstart v1.4a15 rev 36.15 (1989)(Commodore)(alpha).rom CRC:A3BA6116
That is _NOT_ a SuperKickstart file. It's a plain old A3000 v1.4 kickstart ROM.

When you have v1.4a15 Kickstart ROM in your Amiga 3000 it doesnt boot like a regular Amiga (with perhaps the exception of the A1000). On powerup it looks for a SuperKickstart file (either on the hard disk or a floppy disk) this KS file is loaded into memory and used from there.

I have 3 versions of SuperKickstart files a 1.3 version, a 2.04 version and a 3.1 version. However Ze_ro has a different file to me. This is probably because we have different revisions of the same type of SuperKickstart files, e.g. I think he has v3.1 r40.68 and I have v3.1 r40.70

However we cannot quite tell the differences between them from the files themselves.

Shame TOSEC hasnt looked into this area...

Last edited by alexh; 11 April 2006 at 23:03.
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