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Old 28 April 2018, 19:00   #1
Mikerochip
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Amiga 600 with Vampire II, and PSU (possibly) woes!

Hi all,

I'm having trouble with a recapped A600, which I've purchased a Vampire II for.

From the few people I've asked about it, I've been told that, if the recapping was OK, then, it's probably my PSU.
(Personally, I think the recapping is the problem, since it worked fine with the current A600 PSU before it was recapped, and, that PSU powers my A1200 fine, and my A1200 PSU also powers the 1200 fine, but, the A600 has problems with it)

So.

I have one of 3 options as I see it:
Recap either my A600 PSU, (or A1200 PSU)
Purchase an ATX adapter from Ian Steadman, and wire up either:
A PicoPSU (With Laptop PSU etc)
A standard PC PSU.

Obviously, I don't need to purchase the ATX adapter to wire in the ATX PSU, but I like how neat it is.

My question is about the PC ATX PSU:
I currently have 3x on hand:

An Enhance small form factor 200w PSU ENP-2320
A Corsair 430w PSU, the CX430 and
A Corsair 760w PSU, the AX760.

Would any or all be ok for the Amiga?

I'll probably wire a CD drive into the A600 (and A1200!) at some stage, but for now, the PSU will just drive the A600+VampireII.

So, will the load from the Amiga be enough to properly regulate the PC PSU's, or, would I be better off buying a Pico PSU, and using a laptop etc. PSU.

(I don't know if they're decent quality or not, but I saw one of these knock off PSU's from Ali-Express, when I was searching for a PicoPSU that would accept a wider range input, so I could use something other than a 12v PSU)
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Old 28 April 2018, 19:08   #2
Sinphaltimus
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You never describe the actual issue.
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Old 28 April 2018, 20:37   #3
Mikerochip
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Sorry, I mostly want to know about the PSU.

But. Only because the problems are not consistent.
(And, I'm trying to learn about the whole Amiga platform, piece by piece!)


About 10-100 seconds after power on, the machine either:
Guru's, locks up, the screen freezes but the mouse still moves and/or randomly reboots, and then, after another 2-5 mins of doing this, refuses to boot at all. It just sits on a blank screen, or continually reboots, or sits on a Guru screen.
If I leave it off for 30-90 mins, it starts ok, and then the whole cycle begins again.

(So, basically unusable)

I have a number of games I like to play on it and depending on the game, it's either fine, unplayable or, usually, the machine doesn't get far enough into the game to be either, the machine just locks up/reboots/gurus.
(It's almost never the same. EG, today, it constantly reboots. Yesterday, it didn't reboot, it just Gurus, but on a mouse click, restarts ok, runs for a little while, and then gurus again. Some days it just refuses to power on at all, but those days are rare)

I bought this A600 secondhand and it was working fine as was, and I used it for 2-3 months without any problems. (Other than the odd audio channel crackle)

It all started when I sent the machine, which had an audio (left I think) channel crackling issue, so I asked for the Audio to be repaired, and then the whole machine recapped.
(Since I'd learned by then that A600's and A1200 are prone to caps leaking)

While waiting for the machine to be returned (which took 3-4 months) I bought a vampire II.

On the day the machine returned, I tested it (using just a plain WB2 and eventually a plain WB3 install) and it crashed, but, I just put it down to something I did, since I knew very little about the whole platform.

I fitted the vampire, and it seemed ok, for the first day or two, but, I didn't have it on for long enough, I think, to notice an issue, and since then, it's been steadily been getting worse.
(Well, it's been getting worse since day 1, but, since I fitted the vampire on day 3 after it's return, it'd be easy to blame it on the V2, but, it clearly isn't the case)

If I remove the vampire, it's actually a lot worse than when it's installed, just fyi. The machine almost immediately reboots/gurus or just refuses to boot without it.

I have a 4-in-1 Kickstart, and it happens with both KS2 and KS3.

I actually bought that after it was recapped, and the issues presented before the new Kickstart was fitted. (The machine originally had a 37.350 KS, and the Vampire uses it's own internal kickstart image)

This is the first Amiga I've ever owned, and it's just been a ball of grief from start to finish. I'm really starting to hate it

I was just going to abandon Commodore altogether, and get rid of everything, but, at Christmas, a friend in work sold me his A1200, and it's been a lot of fun to play with, and learn about, and it revived my interest in 16/32 bit machines in general.
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Old 28 April 2018, 22:09   #4
Daedalus
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Hmmm, it's a shame you're having issues like that, but they could well be related to the power supply. Of those ATX PSUs, I'd expect the 200W one would be most likely to be stable on the Amiga's minimal load. Another option that's generally much cheaper than the PicoPSU route is a small industrial PSU module like the Meanwell PT65B, which will give you plenty of power and also fit inside many of the original PSU casings. The PicoPSU is great, but its main advantage is its extremely small size, so if you don't need it that compact, a Meanwell unit will give you cleaner power for less money.

You could also be having some sort of compatibility issues with the installed software - what version of Workbench are you using now? If you're not using a plain install, does it contain any CPU libraries? Are there any patches or replacement components that need an FPU for example?
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Old 28 April 2018, 23:15   #5
Mikerochip
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Hi Deadalus, thanks for the reply.

I'm tempted to just get the A1200 PSU recapped as well, and just leave it.


I specifically didn't mention the Meanwell, since I've seen a few people talking about the quality of the PSU itself and they weren't very complimentary about it.
(I did see the Nightfall crew posted a very nice howto on replacing an Amiga PSU with a Meanwell)

If you start the A600 with no Vampire II, and no software installed, it reboots or Gurus, so, it's unlikely to be a compatibility issue with workbench.
(And, for instance, if you start 'Bart Simpsons Vs. The Space Mutants', it has funny colours, and crashes after level 1, and there's loads of weird things happening in it. It's one of my favourite Atari ST games, so, I wanted to see it on the Amiga. And, before recapping, it played fine)

As for WB, a plain 2.05 and 3.1 install, nothing extra at all, (just the main 4/6 commodore disks) and the machine locks up etc etc. So.

Yeah! Fun!
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Old 30 April 2018, 10:25   #6
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Well, for the price of the units they're never going to be absolute top quality, but you can be sure that the Commodore supplies, and generic cheap ATX supplies are all pretty poor on the quality front, so they probably don't compare too badly after all. There are many other similar industrial modules available, Meanwell just happen to be a popular brand for this sort of venture so it's the first example I use.

Personally I haven't had too much experience with Meanwell supplies, but the ones I have used have had perfectly acceptable levels of ripple and noise, and have been far better than a cheap Chinese ATX supply used for comparison. They also fared much better than any Commodore supply I had, but admittedly they weren't recapped so they're probably not representative examples.

Hmmmm, if this only started happening after the recap it does seem quite likely that something has happened during that process, perhaps some stray solder paste causing a partial short, or a 25-year-old solder joint that cracked from the stress of being handled / removed from the case / shipping or whatever. Funny colours and crashes like that do sound like there's a problem with one or two bits on the bus somewhere, or perhaps a custom chip/memory issue. Can you try Systest on it? It's a self-booting ADF and can run memory tests, display colour tests and some other diagnostics that might help get to the bottom of it.
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Old 30 April 2018, 12:16   #7
Mikerochip
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I'll give Systest a try, but, when the machine can't power on, it's unlikely to work, or tell us much! (Or, well, power on long enough to try something)

I thought about getting/building a DiagROM, but, the same reasoning stopped me.
Machine has to power on to do some tests.

But my 200w PSU isn't working either it seems, so, that's out!

I also have a SPARC Worsktation that has a 100 (maybe 120w) PSU, that looks like an ATX adapter, so, I'll take a look at that during the week. A quick google seems to say it'll be ok.
(My multimeter's battery has gone flat, and I need to get a replacement to test. I don't have an ATX psu tester.)

Last edited by Mikerochip; 30 April 2018 at 12:27.
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Old 01 May 2018, 11:43   #8
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First of all, there is no point in installing the Vampire until the machine is running 100% stable without it. Go back to basics, remove all expansions, and test with a plain WB or bootable floppy with MBRTest or other test tool.

If it can't even do that properly, then you either have an extremely bad PSU (or the connection between PSU and Amiga is bad) or you still have some other issue with your Amiga that needs addressing. Perhaps the Amiga was not tested and repaired properly when you had it recapped. Simply replacing the caps is usually not enough to get it back to working order when it starts malfunctioning.

I would start by making sure all the supply voltages inside the Amiga are good (preferably using an oscilloscope as a multimeter will not show whether it is noisy) and then doing a full memory test. If there are no problems here, then installing a DiagROM could be useful for further testing.
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Old 08 May 2018, 16:40   #9
Mikerochip
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Unfortunately, I don't have (or have access to) an oscilloscope! So, I can't check the noise on the PSU. So, I'm a little stuck
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Old 08 May 2018, 18:00   #10
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Not much help from me, but YES do get Ian Steadman/s adapters, they are fantastic, very useful pieces of kit.
I recently bought a mini ITX power supply (not a picoPSU) and managed to power two A600s with one adapter Very handy for my intended use.
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Old 08 May 2018, 18:46   #11
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Sounds like a bad recap job and not a power supply issue. Have a pro who can do repairs take a look at it.
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Old 09 May 2018, 23:59   #12
Mikerochip
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OK, so, more updates. Welp, I've had my A1200 recapped. (Different person) and now, my A600 PSU won't power my A1200. (It did before I had the A1200 recapped, but it also powered the A600 before it was recapped). Just get a white/green/grey screen. My A1200 PSU will power my newly recapped A1200, and all but one of my IDE adapters don't work (mSATA to IDE, Original 800MB IBM 2.5", SD to IDE Adapter, New 80GB IDE 2.5" all fail). The CF to IDE adapter works fine. And all of the above work in the A600.

OK. I've more or less accepted it's one or both of my PSU's need to be recapped Repaired or just replaced. I have a Sparc 100w ATX PSU, and putting it together with Ian Stedman's adapter, I now just need a 4/5 core cable to solder into the M plug I just got.
So.

Let's see what happens.
No idea if the Sparc ATX PSU is ok, but, it can't be worse than the current ones!
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