A4000 Working after 8 months work!

manic23

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I hate to temp fate but...

I feel so happy tonight that I had to post here. After 8 months I have finally got my A4000 working perfectly the way I want it!! I have wanted an Amiga A4000 ever since about 1992 when it was released. I had an A1200 back in the early 90's but ended up selling it with a view to putting the cash towards a A4000, but before I could save up enough money Commodore went and filed for bankruptcy!! how selfish of them!

Well anyway last September I bit the bullet and got one, finally fulfilling my dreams. However plain sailing it was most certainly not! fiszsteve tried to warn me "having an A4000 is nothing but a pain in the bum" he warned me. did I listen? no, part of me wishes I had but the other part of me is not so very happy that I have a lovely working A4000. Here is the story if you are interested.

I got the A4000 in September 2014, just a stock off the shelf model A3640 card and nothing else. Everything seemed to be working fine with just a regular WB 3.1 install no problems. The fun started once I introduced a Picasso IV to the party! I had constant lock ups and freezes shortly after powering it up and ALWAYS when opening and then closing DOpus. I got an error asking to wait for disk activity to finish then it would just freeze. If I put the card in Zorro II mode however it seemed to work fine (although TheCorfiot subsequently told me that he also found it unstable in Zorro II mode). I was convinced that it was to do with the fact that the board had a Buster 9 fitted so I made enquiries here on AmiBay to see if there was someone here who could fit one for me. I was surprised to find out that they are still for sale on AmiKit so I got one.

With the combined efforts of TheCorfiot and bebek I got the buster 11 fitted, got the board recapped, also got a few minor other repair work done on the board. bebek did an absolute 1st class job on the board, in fact the soldering is so good on the Buster 11 that at first I didn't think it had been changed!!

However on getting the computer back it became apparent that 2 of the slots on the Z3 busboard were not working. I took the computer to fitzsteve who very kindly helped me on the road to getting the computer working (thanks Steve), he also discovered the faulty busboard. luckily for me bebek had a spare that he sold me and this seemed to do the job (well after a bit of IPA and contact cleaning that is).

I now have a really stable and working A4000 that I am very happy with, I have none of the issues with the Picasso IV that I was having before. I have a standard A3640 CPU board, Picasso IV, X-Surf 100 network card with the Rapid Road USB module and the BigRam Plus 256MB expansion all working with no issues what so ever.

And to put the icing on the cake this evening I even managed to get the CD drive working, I could not do this before no mater what I tried, in the end the only way I could get it working was to get the 4-way IDE adapter from AmigaKit, at first this did not work but I think I had the cables round the wrong way! Yes I know I'm a numpty :nuts:

I now just have one last issue to resolve... can you guess? yes I'm sure that every A4000 owner has come across the dreaded PSU overheating issue. At the moment I am using the computer with the case off the PSU and directing a desktop fan over the innards to cool it. This works but is not pretty. If I don't do this I get lock-ups and screen corruption.

I read that the A4000 is renowned for overheating caused mainly by the laughably bad design of the Power Supply. What the hell were Commodore thinking when designing a PSU that draws air from inside a case that is likely to be warn already and blowing that warm air onto the PSU and then having no exhaust fan at the rear of the PSU?? It's pure bonkers and I must admit I am not entirely sure at this stage how to resolve this, I have ordered a more powerful fan for the PSU and hope that this will fix the overheating but I fear it may not. If I have to use the computer with the case off full time then so be it, but I'd rather not.

Anyway here are a few pics. I will post more here when/if I ever get the case back on.

The computer at fitzsteve's helping me to get it all working.

2015-04-04 14.19.09.jpg2015-04-04 14.19.16.jpg

Computer now back at home still with the case off and the desktop fan helping to cool the thing down.

2015-04-12 13.27.02.jpg2015-04-12 13.27.10.jpg

Just look at the craftsmanship of this soldering job on the new Buster 11, nice work bebek

Amiga A4000 Motherboard (Post Work Buster 11).jpgAmiga A4000 Motherboard (Post Work).jpg
 
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roy_bates

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i always see these machines as a journey with many bumps in the road,lol

sure i have older computers with inherent problems,but they are still all a joy to use.
 

kenhan

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especially good magical technique
with the "LIVE!" invocation! hehe

and now i understand one of my 4000s
much better, PSU heat mystery to be studied
thanks for sharing!

(of course ill do the invocation too! ��;)
 

UberFreak

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Regarding heating issues, I solved all of mine by adding more fans, which took air from one of the card slots (had to sacrifice one slot for this) and pushed it towards the front of the case, then another small fan to push it towards the PSU.

Other options: drop the CD drive & use that space for air intake. You can modify the plastic cover & install small fans into it.
Also, a high RPM fan in the PSU is an absolute must (and saw off the grill).

Its a nightmare of a computer case to work with, thats for sure!
 

manic23

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Thanks for the info re fans UberFreak would it be cheeky to ask you to post some pics of your case mod?

Also I just wanted to thank everyone here on AmiBay for their invaluable help they game me in in getting this all working I really could not have done it without this awesome forum and it's even more awesome members!! Thank you all.
 
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manic23

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Added a few pics

Added a few pics

Just added a few more pics so that you can see the superb job that bebek made of soldering the Buster 11 to the board. I think it look as good as a slow solder machine in a factory, no idea how you did it bebek but you are a genius as far as I'm concerned!! :bowdown:
 

UberFreak

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My A4000 is currently in storage, but I look around, maybe I have old pics of it.
I didnt mod the case, just cut the fan grill on the PSU & added more fans internally.
 

dougal

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I don't know of any A4000 overheating issues. I've got an A4000D with an A3640 clocked at 33mhz with no fan and used to have another too and none have or had any overheating issues and I live in Malta where the summers are hot. Stock PSU.
 

manic23

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Yes but rather stupidly I changed the PSU fan for one of those ultra quite (low speed) ones and I just don't honk that it is man enough for the job. Also I have a Picasso IV, x-surf 100 and 256 BigRamPlus installed which all puts extra load on the PSU.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

dougal

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Hope you get it sorted. You could adapt a PC one but thats no fun. Maybe replace all the insides of the power supply with a more modern one but keep the outer shell.
 

wmsteele

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I ended up installing three coollink fans into a A4000D, one into the psu and two into the case although it did require some 'alterations'...click

Prior to this mod I had serious heat issues, cyberstorm is now stable @ 75 and could probably go higher just don't want to push my luck as the system is now rock solid.
 

manic23

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That is a really nice fan mod you did there wmsteele, thanks for sharing, if I get more heat problems I might have to do something similar. I got my new fan yesterday and have just finished installing it so I plan to test tomorrow. Will report back...

Can I ask where you got those metel grills from? they finish it off really nicely.
 
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manic23

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Update:

Right then. I fitted the faster fan but I am still getting problems after about 30 minutes so it's not really done a lot for me.

I am now back to running the A4000 with the PSU and case off and a dirty bit desktop fan pointing at the PSU to cool it. Seems OK running like this but I want to resolve this issue.

I think I am going to have to go down the new mini ATX supply route, I'd like to rip the guts out of a new one and put it in the original enclosure if possible to make it look as original as possible. I have read a few threads on the subject here and other places so I know that it is possible but it is not really something I want to tackle alone as A) I don't want to damage my Amiga and B) I don't want to electrocute myself!! lol

Does anyone here have any experience of doing this mod? can they recommend the right supply to use? and offer any other help?

One thing that confuses me is that modern supply's do not use the same connectors as old Amiga ones so how would you connect the old ones to a new supply?

Many thanks in advance.
 
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