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thanius
20th October 2010, 21:02
EDIT:
This thread tells the story of my journey of building my first Amiga tower. The project started with a towerization of my trusted old Amiga 600, but later on I realized that I wanted to play AGA games so I upgraded. Therefore the thread is called A600T but in fact today is a A1200T. :)
Thanks for checking it out!

/T

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I've got this blog up (http://a600t.tumblr.com), but here's for you who don't read swedish.

The main goal of this project is to have a nice WHDLoad system with a nice menu (still waiting for Tiny Launcher and xBench) for me and my son (and upcoming son/daughter) to play with during the harsh winter nights of Sweden's northern forest country.

Without further ado, here's some progress:

http://28.media.tumblr.com/K7Lqu007IkfezqbkRLgcV6pao1_400.jpg

Ian Steadman's wonderful work and a cheap plug I've ordered from France (so that I wouldn't have to slaughter my working PSU).

http://27.media.tumblr.com/K7Lqu007Ikm9s6uctDzdBc4do1_400.jpg
http://25.media.tumblr.com/K7Lqu007Ikm9tinnEOUB6fNro1_400.jpg

Soldering the plug into PERFECTION

http://29.media.tumblr.com/K7Lqu007IlwajnrjroxuqYY6o1_400.jpg

First test-run - What a wonderful sight! Although I used to hate this purple screen since I had a faulty hard drive in my 600HD which would decide every other day to take a little nap. With the upcoming CFIDE, no more!

http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9tt1eLwu41qzxavmo1_400.jpg

Even though I started this project with a desktop chassi mod, I soon realized there wouldn't be much room for stuff - also, I didn't want to cut too much plastic in the front, I wanted the machine to look good! Got this ATX-case instead, donated from a friend.


http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9tt1eLwu41qzxavmo5_400.jpg

The joystick extension cables BARELY fit. Please, don't mind the soldering work. :roll:
I actually had quite some trouble making these, because of my fat soldering iron (I'm too cheap to get a smaller and better!) Also, I managed to make a straight connection the first times before I realized I had to swap places with the pins.

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9tt1eLwu41qzxavmo4_400.jpg

1MB Chipmem I grabbed off eBay. Nice to have SIMMS instead of soldered memory in case I need to fix it some day.

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9tt1eLwu41qzxavmo2_400.jpg

Case chaos! Thankfully, I've got lots of room and airflow for this tiny devil.

http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9vk88J2GQ1qzxavmo1_400.jpg

I needed something to make the machine easily identifiable. A case badge sticker would do!

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_la8rewDu3a1qzxavmo1_400.jpg

The new ATX I/O shield made out of aluminium looks horrible from the behind! Luckily, only myself will be looking inside the case! All I need: Two DSUB9 ports, RCA connection and DIN5 connector for the Elbox keyboard adapter. Later on I'll install a port for the PS/2 mouse, but this would have to do for now.
Again folks, please don't mind the soldering. Although, by this time I've actually improved! Now all I need is proper tools.

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_la8rewDu3a1qzxavmo2_400.jpg

It looks actually quite good from behind, especially with everything plugged in! Now for the ultimate test run:

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_la8rewDu3a1qzxavmo3_400.jpg

TURRICAN 3 (so, so awesome!)

-- In the coming episodes:


Installation of A608
Installation of CFIDE
Configuration of system
Buying WHDLoad key (!!)
Grab a PS/2 mouse adapter and hook up ports for the back
Installing mouse/joy autoswitch
Soldering/buying multiplayer adapter and move port 1/2 to front, replacing USB/Firewire ports
Playing awesome, awesome games all nights long!

Zetr0
20th October 2010, 22:24
@thanius -

that looks really cute indeed!!!!

since you are in a tower - theres a lot more you can add at virtually no extra cost -

like CD - Player, with the combination of 4 small resitors you can mix the CDROM and Amiga Audio outputs together.

The bonus here is that you can also run CDTV titles as well =)

Impressive bit of hacky - keep up the good work.

If you get some time - have a chat with an awsome amiga-fan Cammy on EAB - she
has done some amazing work with her A600!

Might I ask where you got the power connectors from?

LTAC
20th October 2010, 22:26
Whaooouhhhh!!!! Magnifico!

salaxi54
20th October 2010, 22:30
ahhhh! The fine art of modding! :) That's the spirit mate, keep up the good work! :thumbsup:
@Z: I believe AmigaManiac has 'em!

Hell_Labs
20th October 2010, 22:44
A600T...

That's clever, I'm impressed. Lots of space in there to work on things.

Opposite of what I'm going to do with one though.

ChrisUnionNJ
20th October 2010, 23:08
This is the first time I have seen a A600 Tower nice...:thumbsup::thumbsup:

Chris :coffee:

salaxi54
20th October 2010, 23:13
@ChrisUnionNJ: http://www.amigahellas.gr/uploads/photos/473.jpg by yours trully in '98 :lol:
(sorry for the hijack thanius)

Buzzfuzz
21st October 2010, 00:30
@thanius -
If you get some time - have a chat with an awsome amiga-fan Cammy on EAB - she
has done some amazing work with her A600!


http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=47986
Is that the thread ?


When I compare that to this, I have to say it looks a lot easier to fit it all in a tower :D
Having said that, A4000D's are pretty thight too.

Zetr0
21st October 2010, 00:36
@Buzzy

I wouldn't compare the two directly as they are different creations from different creators, each having a niche'

I have toyed many times in creating a small midi-tower build to bulding an A600 into DVD player chassis - perhaps even keeping the DVD player bit lol.

I love seeing the creative mind at work - its not only a joy to see but both a thrill and a source of continuious inspiration to draw from - I think its this why I am so in love with the Amiga Community to be sincerely honest.

thanius
21st October 2010, 07:22
Thanks for all the praise and support, this has been my baby for the past year. You can see the Compaq Deskpro case I was working on earlier on the blog.


Might I ask where you got the power connectors from?

I got mine from a french site I got from google, was really cheap too about 3 with shipping if I remember correctly. Really didn't want to chop up my PSU. AmigaManiac's looks exactly the same, and I like the look of that cable!

thanius
28th October 2010, 22:00
So, I finally got my A608 from Fitzsteve today (four days is a LOOONG wait! :D) and managed to get it working in the tower.
First thing that happened though was that I hadn't pressed it all the way down and the miggy roared to me with a red screen that all the memory had "BAD STATUS"! Eeek, I thought as I promptly shut it down. A firm press and it ran like a dream. Now I can finally run all the WHDLoad-games I want (Except, of course, the AGA ones. :| I want an A1200!) with WHOPPING 6 megs of RAM!

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb0lu6HKJH1qzxavmo5_400.jpg
The card all installed and ready to go! Unfortunately, the CF-IDE-adapter I got yesterday which installs right onto the motherboard doesn't fit with the upgrade. Anyone got an idea how to fasten this one? I wonder if there are any longer 2.5" IDE-cables out there...

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb0lu6HKJH1qzxavmo2_400.jpg
Swedish Chef says: 2 megs ooff cheepmem und 4 megs ooff FestREM. Hoo neece-a!
Also: Workbench in Swedish rocks.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lb0lu6HKJH1qzxavmo4_400.jpg
Game-test: Superfrog! Awesome game. All of its four disks should be a great test for the board. Looks like it's going to be aaaaall right...

TO BE CONTINUED...
(Insert dramatic music here)

fitzsteve
28th October 2010, 23:24
Awesome stuff thanius :thumbsup:

Very nice custom Amiga you have there :cool:

Glad the A608 is serving you well.

With regards to IDE cables, I got a much longer one from Amigakit and it can reach all the way to the HDD bays with plenty of cable to spare.

Or you could do like I have on my Tower and use and IDE-CF that mounts on the rear slots of the case so you can remove the CF easily without opening the case, these are usually 40pin so you'll need 40-44pin converter or better still 4Way Buffered IDE (Again from Amigakit) and then you can run a DVD/CD ROM and use normal 40pin HDD Cables.

Steve.

Phipscube
28th October 2010, 23:55
This is a fantastic project! Good work thanius :) And although its an A600 in there i'd be quite tempted to fill up a bit of that space in the tower with some bits and bobs ;)

rkauer
29th October 2010, 00:02
Swap the 44 pin interface for a 44>40 pin IDE converter, then use an ordinary 40-wire IDE cable to a slot-screw-able CF adapter.

You'll have the ability to change the CF without having to open the tower.

thanius
29th October 2010, 00:19
Thanks for all the tips and praises!
Although I'm not sure whether or not I should put in an optical drive in it, what use would it have? Are there any CDTV only games worth grabbing?
Perhaps I should do as suggested and grab a slot-in for the CF, is it possible to have the LED connect to the HDD-led on the front?

fitzsteve
29th October 2010, 09:45
Thanks for all the tips and praises!
Although I'm not sure whether or not I should put in an optical drive in it, what use would it have? Are there any CDTV only games worth grabbing?
Perhaps I should do as suggested and grab a slot-in for the CF, is it possible to have the LED connect to the HDD-led on the front?

I think its worth getting 4WayIDE & and optical drive (you can use a modern IDE DVD Drive) and then you open up to a wealth of CD Content, there are some great CD Games as well and many will work with 2mb Chip/4mb Fast. Look for wasted dreams, thats worth a play.

Amigakit do an LED Adapter for A1200 Towers, it won't work with the A600 but its a very simple solution so no doubt you could make your own with some basic soldering skills.

Keep up the good work and keep the pics coming :thumbsup:

Steve.

thanius
29th October 2010, 13:17
Should I need 4 way IDE if I am only to use a CF-adapter and CDROM? Or doesn't the IDE-port allow more than one connected unit?
The CDROM games looks promising, I had no idea there were ECS-compatible ones! Is it hard to find original copies of these?
Too bad I need AGA for OnEscapee and Payback, two games I had been watching back in the late 90's. :/

fitzsteve
29th October 2010, 13:22
Should I need 4 way IDE if I am only to use a CF-adapter and CDROM? Or doesn't the IDE-port allow more than one connected unit?
The CDROM games looks promising, I had no idea there were ECS-compatible ones! Is it hard to find original copies of these?


You can find them on ebay and I have bought a from here/EAB.

I know you can run two devices off the A4000/A1200 IDE but I'm not sure about the A600 and in any case 4way IDE is quite cheap compared to other solutions and you can use standard 40pin cables after you install the 4Way IDE so you wont need to buy 40-44pin converters :cool:

Steve.

thanius
30th October 2010, 07:12
I think I'll grab a 2.5" to 2.5" and 3.5" from AmigaKit and then an older CDROM from the county surplus. It would be nice to have an easily removable CF but since I believe I won't be doing that all too often I think I'll stick with an internal solution.
After we've moved to the house in February (Uh, yeah - We bought a house this week) I'm going to set up a working area where I can solder undisturbed and build me some multiplayer-adapter! Hopefully by then I've grabbed all the things for the PS/2 mouse as well. So updates will be scarce from now on.

thanius
3rd November 2010, 20:18
Ok, since I can't seem to get rid of my new PCMCIA angle adapter, I thought I might use it after all. Perhaps I should grab a WiFi-card and mount an external antenna on the case?
What else can one use the PCMCIA port for except for transfer, memory, CDROM and net?

Zetr0
3rd November 2010, 20:51
There is the Aura 12bit/16bit sound sampler (http://amiga.resource.cx/exp/search.pl?product=&company=&amiga=&intf=pcm&mid=&base=dec&pid=#aura)

There is also a couple of IDE Harddisk controllers and Serial Controllers.

ck1200
3rd November 2010, 21:01
That really does look good :thumbsup:

thanius
4th November 2010, 15:33
Sound sampler won't be no good for a WHDLoad machine. ;)
Perhaps I should sell the adapter after all... Anyone interested? I still got the thread up on the sell-board.

Zetr0
4th November 2010, 15:43
I maybe - pending shipping - let me have a lookie


on looking its a little outside my pocket money - I fear I shall just have to do right angle bend to the PCMCIA.

Brataccas
4th November 2010, 18:13
Really cool project, that case if you didn`t already know is called a Dragon by a company called Chieftec, i have one exactly the same here spare :) It`s got ooodles of space, especially with an A600 inside :)

:thumbsup:

Cheers,

thanius
4th November 2010, 20:36
@Zetr0: I've dropped the price by 4 euro. Not much, but still...

thanius
5th November 2010, 16:27
I've been giving some thoughts about the Ian Steadman ATX-adapter I've been using and was wondering if it possible to fix the switch issue it has? Namely, that one has to hold down the switch for a couple of seconds and then release to power on and off. Is it possible to prolong the short circuit so that the adapter doesn't turn the power off when released too soon?
Has anyone tried this?

EDIT: Spoke with Ian and apparently you can piggyback a resistor over one specific ditto on the adapter. Will try this when I get some.

thanius
8th December 2010, 21:49
http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ld4mzg32621qzxavmo1_400.jpg

There, finally got around to solder the chassis port for the mouse. Not exactly prime engineering, but it works! Note that I made the test with a keyboard as I had to slaughter the last remaining PS/2 mouse I had at home, but the connections are the same.

thanius
12th December 2010, 16:53
http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldbny6Pain1qzxavmo1_400.jpg

There, the internal mouseport resoldered so that the motherboard will fit in the old A600T-chassis! Don't mind the man behind the soldering iron. :)

Zetr0
13th December 2010, 11:18
its comming along quite nicely =D

thanius
13th December 2010, 12:09
Slowly, but steadily. :)
Hopefully I get my screw tap today so that I may actually install the motherboard without messing with a hot glue gun. :P
And hopefully I've got most of the A600 stuff sold this week so that I may order myself an ACA1230/28! YAY

Madstokie
14th December 2010, 00:03
I must say I'm very impressed with your build here, I always loved to see any of the classic amigas in towers :)

The reference to superfrog is always welcome :)

thanius
14th December 2010, 14:02
Thanks, Madstokie. Unfortunately I chickened out with the A600 (as I grabbed an A1200 board which I'll upgrade with ACA1230/28 soon!) but there's still some hackery to do to make everything go as planned. ;)

EDIT:

Just finished tucking in the A1200 into the chassis, and it fits magnificently! Hopefully the ACA1230 will fit as well.
What's left for the project:



Fitting an autoswitch (I wonder when it'll arrive?) for the mouse/joyport
Drill and install chassis mouseport
Grab the accelerator, drill standoffs for it and install/secure
Grab HD LED adapter and install
Install the new keyboard adapter when it arrives from jvdbossc, do some keystrokes to test it out!
Grab a buffered IDE controller and install CD-ROM (YAY)
Play some OnEscapee, which I got from webber!
Have some pizza (wow, it's been a while now!)
Move into the new house and fix the garage so that I can work on projects there!
Fix Ian Steadman's ATX adapter to prolong short circuit so that power sequence will behave as expected
Purchase that bloody WHDLoad key so that I can get rid of the annoying nag screen!
Grab OS3.9 and install!
Play some Super Frog.

And now, some photos:

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldfmfpWUSm1qzxavmo1_400.jpg
See? It fits.

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldfmfpWUSm1qzxavmo2_400.jpg
Not much space for a mouse port there!

http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldfmfpWUSm1qzxavmo3_400.jpg
Lookie, an angled PCMCIA slot, mum!
I'll probably tuck in an ethernet card there.

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldfmfpWUSm1qzxavmo4_400.jpg
A rather nice CFIDE adapter, which I'll probably have to sell once I get an IDE buffered device. Too bad, I like these ones.

Till next time, cheerio.

thanius
15th December 2010, 21:47
Received the PC-key 1200 I swapped my 600-model for, works great! The rawkey of F12 on my kb was not only registering but was free as well (F11, however, was not), which is great for a global quitkey.
I started stripping the PCB which held the front firewire and USB ports, where I'll put two DB9 ports for player 3 and 4 (you know who you are!) later on. Notice how I cut myself several times - what wouldn't a man do for his Amiga? BLEED BLEED YOU DAMMIT
Also, I'm pretty surprised how many WHDLoad games actually run with only 2 megs of chipmem, even with the PRELOAD turned on. The 64 megs on the ACA1230 will do well, Amiga OS 3.9 is a bloated beast!

PICS:

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldhldr3djo1qzxavmo1_400.jpg
The PC-Key 6... I mean, 1200.

http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldhldr3djo1qzxavmo2_400.jpg
I am a passionate Amiga hacker! How many have bled for their miggy?

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ldhldr3djo1qzxavmo3_400.jpg
Tah-dah! The rest of the soldering lead will be dremel'd for convenience. This little PCB will hold the joystick ports for player 3 and 4 on the front of the tower. Believe me, this was faster than actually cut out a new piece. :p

thanius
17th January 2011, 16:24
http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lf68fxJYSM1qzxavmo1_500.jpg
YEEEAAAAAH

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lf68fxJYSM1qzxavmo2_500.jpg
OMGOMGOMG, it's finally here! :bowdown::bowdown::bowdown:
The ACA1230/28 has arrived! Too bad I haven't got time right now to plug it in. :(
Expect a longer post after we've moved into the new house. :thumbsup:

ALSO:
http://www.youtube.com/user/thanius#p/a/u/1/q5TrJ8xwdZk

thanius
26th January 2011, 21:05
Okay, let's get down to business.

http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo1_500.jpg

The ACA1230/28 installed. I am very impressed of this little board, some games that were unbearable before just flew with this little baby! Well invested money.

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo2_500.jpg

Awyeah, the memory works. I wonder it got those two extra megs from?

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo3_500.jpg

Everything seems to be identified correctly.

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo4_500.jpg

The mandatory, quite not readable Sysinfo photo!

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo5_500.jpg

I finally settled for a CFIDE-adapter on a bracket. Too bad this one doesn't reset properly, so I need to make a fix. Anyone know how to do this? I heard something about cutting a line on the IDE cable.

http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo6_500.jpg

The LED adapter installed. A very simple construction which I could have made myself if I knew it was this simple. Only HDD LED is connected since I got a new floppy with builtin LED and the power LED is connected on Ian Steadman's ATX adapter.

http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lfnb6j734O1qzxavmo7_500.jpg

BLINKENLIGHTSEN!!

To be continued...

salaxi54
26th January 2011, 22:42
Nice work man! Keep it going! :thumbsup:

Hell_Labs
26th January 2011, 23:53
How's the performance with 3.9 on the /28? I've got the same one, but I don't dare more than classicWB Full.

thanius
27th January 2011, 08:42
I'm running 3.1 still, tried 3.9 but wasn't my cup of tea. Perhaps later.

AmiNeo
27th January 2011, 08:49
Looking awesome!

thanius
27th January 2011, 09:15
To fix the CFIDE adapter not being ready after reboot, I grabbed a little util off Aminet (I _LOVE_ that place!) called A1200_HDPatch (http://aminet.net/package/util/boot/A1200_HDPatch) which one loads the first thing in the Startup-sequence. It'll prolong the boot with a second, but if it means I dont' have to slaughter cables, I'm fine with it.