A600 Project

spatuluk

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Hi all!

I thought I'd create a thread about my newly acquired A600. Why? Coz I'm a noob, and I thought I'd give a noob-eye view of trying to modernize an Amiga after having forgotten almost everything about Amigas, and not being very aware of new developments or techniques.

So, chances of this ending in disaster are quite high! :roll:

First off, here is the A600 that is involved:

15606177404_f1968d6fc2_o.jpg

In daylight, it doesn't look too yellowed! It powers up, and I get the Kickstart 2.05 insert disk animation, but I can't tell if the keyboard works because...

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...there's no floppy drive! :p I knew there was no floppy drive when I bought it, altho I kind've hoped there'd be case clips and motherboard screws. hmph!

So, onto the plan:
  • Find some screws for the motherboard
  • Fit a Gotek floppy emulator
  • Fit an A604N chip memory expansion
  • Upgrade the Kickstart ROM to 3.1 (it's currently a 37.300)
  • Fit a CF - IDE hard drive thingy
  • Apply some retr0bright to the case and keys, followed by armorall
  • Replace the case clips with something. Velcro? Hinges?
  • Buy either fast memory, a Vampire, a Furia, or an Indivision.

It's a fairly simple plan, really!

The screws were easy to find, and the A604N, 3.1 ROM, and CF-IDE adaptor are all in the mail. I need to find time to get to a branch of Sallys to get some peroxide for the retr0bright. I live near one, but their opening hours are the same as my working hours. :(



The Gotek floppy emulator


The Gotek was the first decision I made, so I ordered it ages ago, along with a cable for flashing the Cortex firmware. The author reckoned it was a simple process to flash the Cortex firmware! He was wrong.

The main mistake I made was choosing a PL2303HX cable. It was the type recommended, but for some reason it seems like the recommended cable is the worst cable, due to some really bad drivers. It may also be a build quality issue, but when the comments are full of 'keep trying and it might work eventually' advice, then something isn't right, and it makes it really hard to tell if the cable is at fault, or just working as badly as it normally does. Why do people put up with this crud, in this day and age?

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My cable connected once in over a hundred tries. Just long enough to wipe the existing firmware before the software crashed. I've spent hours trying to get the bloomin thing to connect. Hours that I'll never get back. :mad:

For reference, I tried flashing it using Windows 7 on an AMD C-50, Windows 7 on an Intel i5, Windows XP on an Intel Atom, Windows XP mode on an AMD C-50, and Windows XP mode on an Intel i5. The one time it connected was using Windows 7 on the AMD with a really low baud rate.

I've now ordered a different cable; a CP2102. Some people had problems with that, but nowhere near as many problems as the PL2303HX. I hope it works!

16231074441_c4e44280e8_o.jpg

If it does work, I'm fitting the Gotek without it's casing. I intend to have the LEDs, buttons, and USB port extended so that they're outside the computer, attached to a gutted transparent floppy disk (one of the red Amiga Format ones). The buttons and USB port can hide on the underside of the floppy, the red and green LEDs can light up the floppy from the inside, and the digits will be either inside or poking out of the floppy. It depends how readable they are through the plastic.

It should be quite cool if it works, so it probably won't work. :roll:

I'll add more photos later. They might even be stable!
 
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dimfil

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Very nice sharing your experience!
For sure, many people will benefit from time to time.

As long as the gotek is concerned, I too noticed a lot of complaints about PL2303HX. After some reading on the net, I found out that the PL2303TA solved the problems of HX and eventually I ordered one. It did cost me just 2 euros (including shipping) from China! I tested it and it worked right away!
It is true though that I couldn't be sure before testing. But for only 2 euros, it would only be a matter of lost time, not money, if it didn't work...

Let me propose for you to use a Dremel tool and prepare some holes for the buttons and the led, and a small opening for the display on the A600 case. To my opinion, it will definitely be more good-looking and "professional-alike" result...
 

spatuluk

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I wish I'd done more research before buying a cable, but oh well - you live and learn! As you say; at least they're cheap! :)

I added a couple of photos of the Gotek to the post. I'm not keen on hacking up the case, which is why I'm going for an unusual approach. I want it to look as normal as possible on the outside!

I got the CF - IDE adaptor today, but found out that I don't have any 44 pin IDE cables. I should probably have looked earlier, but I was sooo convinced I had one! Also, I don't think my CF cards are going to be straining the limits of the Kickstart ROM..

16232929225_342441ebae_o.jpg

8MB, 32MB, and 512MB! :roll: Might have to make yet another visit to ebay..
 

cpiace64

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i have a cable and cf for you


some usb if you use more Ampere, shut off 5 volt

with some usb adapter the floppy need 5 volt from computer not from usb

i now use PL2303HX under seven 32 bit (i have flashed 5 gotek or more)
 
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spatuluk

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I think you're right about the USB voltage issues..

The CP2102 cable arrived today, but first I tried the old cable using a USB charger as a 5V power source.
It didn't work.

So then I tried the new cable, connected the same way as the old one. TX to RX, RX to TX, ground to ground, and +5V to +5V.
It didn't work. :huh:

But, the CP2102 has something that the old cable doesn't have; a 3.3V line. I plugged it into the 5V input, and tried again...

It worked!! :LOL:

So, Gotek programmed! Time to find some ADFs to test it with, and then probably break it with my modifications. :p
 

kaosoverride

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The broken case clips are a pity. I'm also looking for a replacement. The hinges are a good idea, but I doubt how to fit to the lower part of the case...

On one side is placed the floppy drive, on the other I have an external CF reader. I'll have to put it in the middle, but I will touch the keyboard ribbon cable...
 

spatuluk

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I guess I'd have to attach new clips or hinges using glue, or a really powerful double sided tape. I don't really trust glues, so I'm veering toward some 3M VHB. If I attach the back so it can't be lifted, I'd also need to extend the LED wires. I might do that anyway - they're annoyingly short!

I realised the other night that I'm also missing an HD caddy, and whatever the floppy drive sat on. I can see holes in the casing, so presumably there was a cradle of some kind? As the Gotek and CF hardly weigh anything, I think I can replace both with a bit of plastic. Presumably the old Gotek casing will fit in there, somehow..

Oh, I got the Gotek working! Initially it didn't work, obviously - it would flash away, the stick would flash away, and then the Gotek displayed '---', and the Amiga wouldn't detect it. It turned out that it didn't like my 16GB Kingston Datatraveler USB stick. Having no other USB sticks, I tried using a card reader with a CF card in it, and it worked!

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The 3.1 Kickstart ROM and the cable for the CF HD arrived on Monday, but I haven't tried them yet. I'm trying to sort out monitor issues first. I bought a HD Upscaler thingy from Amazon, to convert RGB to HDMI, but it never works with my monitor. I was thinking it was an issue caused by using an HDMI - DVI cable, but I finally realised the true problem - my monitor was made before HDMI, and all the HD standards, and doesn't support 720 or 1080 resolutions! The upscaler only outputs in 720 or 1080.

So, a new monitor should be being delivered today. Thank goodness for the work Christmas bonus! :roll:
 
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spatuluk

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Hooray!

The new monitor works with the upscaler, but it turns out the problem WAS the HDMI - DVI cable. I've got 3 of them, and none of them worked on the new monitor, either. Pretty weird, as I thought the component signals of DVI were also used by HDMI.. at least the new monitor has an HDMI input, and it's working fine with that. :)

The CF HD worked first time, which is cool, but there's always something that gets in the way.. this time it's the USB mouse adaptor! Not only does it not quite fit the A600, but it doesn't work with the only mouse I own; a Logitech G5. Time to decide between a rolly Amiga mouse or an optical. An Amiga mouse would solve the adaptor issue, but I'm not sure I can go back to using that kind've mouse.. :unsure:
 
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