Alfapower 500 Problems... Help Please!

Powerpie5000

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This thing is becoming a curse! First i had all kinds of problems trying to set this thing up with my A500+ (wouldn't let me format or save changes to any CF cards without coming up with errors!) and now a couple of wires have come away from the buttons on the front of the unit (looks like a very poor solder job) :banghead:. One of the previous owners has made a complete mess of the wires and i suspect a few have been soldered back in the wrong place :dry:

If anyone owns one of these unts, could you please upload an inside photo of the power switch/LED blocks... There are quite a few pins and i'm not sure which colour wire goes where. I've already PM'd a couple of members who may still have one of these units... any help is greatly appreciated :)

Also... i'm still on the lookout for another A500 sidecar expansion as i don't intend on keeping this one: https://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?t=11456.

Cheers, Dan :cool:
 

Powerpie5000

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Spock-79 is truly a great person :)

He kindly emailed me a few photo's of the wiring in his Alfapower and it makes me even more shocked about the condition of mine! I never realised there were meant to be mini circuit boards attached to the led's & buttons :blink:

Here's a photo from Spock-79 of how it should look (minus the pubes :D) :

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And here's a photo of mine after some nutter obviously made an extreme cock-up:

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stachu100

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Big difference indeed!
As said, I'm not the first user - and I don't think I was a second.
But since it worked fine I had no intention to change anything or to look is it original wiring or not.
 

Powerpie5000

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Big difference indeed!
As said, I'm not the first user - and I don't think I was a second.
But since it worked fine I had no intention to change anything or to look is it original wiring or not.

Don't worry i know it's not your fault. I wonder how the other previous owner broke it? I had to re-solder a yellow and green wire as they just "fell off" :blink:

Anyway i've got the HDD led's and button working again and i've also managed to get the 2gb CF card to work in my 500+ (it's formatting as we speak). I did a full low-level format on the CF card using my PC which recovered a few bad sectors... and then created 2 x 1gb partitions on the A500+ (FFS Dos/1 partitions) (y)
 

rkauer

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A CF (and HD units, for this matter) don't need to be fully formatted. Just do a quick format and you are good to go.
 

Powerpie5000

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A CF (and HD units, for this matter) don't need to be fully formatted. Just do a quick format and you are good to go.

Well the CF card finished formatting and when the A500+ rebooted it came up with this message "Not a DOS disk in device DH0". When i load Workbench from floppies it shows the CF card as something like "DH0???". I go to format it again using workbench and it came up with a bad sector/ checksum error straight away! And if i try formatting with HDInstTools it comes up with "Format failed: error 21"... again :(

I'm starting to think maybe it has something to do with the max transfer, mask values and possibly buffer size? have no idea what they should be set to for a 2gb CF card... and the Alfapower uses "Polled I/O" and not "DMA" transfers... does this affect it also?

This is what HDInstTools comes up with (amongst other things):

Mask: 0x7FFFFFFC
MaxTransfer: 0x0000FE00
Buffers: 2033
File System: FFS (version 36.104)
DOSType: DOS/1

Cylinders: 3903
Blocks per track: 63
Heads: 16
Block Size: 512

Does anyone know if these automatic settings look correct?
 
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rkauer

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Nope, this is related with bad power supply!

Check the voltage level, if steady (not oscillating) 4.9 to 5.2V, swap the decoupler capacitors (just the electrolytic ones), then, if problem persists, you can blame the CF/adaptor.
 

Powerpie5000

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Nope, this is related with bad power supply!

Check the voltage level, if steady (not oscillating) 4.9 to 5.2V, swap the decoupler capacitors (just the electrolytic ones), then, if problem persists, you can blame the CF/adaptor.

Tried it with another CF adapter from one of my old A1200's (i know this one works)... no joy :(

I have 2 x A500 PSU's (one is 4.3A and the other is 4.5A) and i also have a Goliath PSU which if i remember is a modified 200W PC psu and i've never had any problems with these PSU's. I even disabled the 8mb fast ram and took out the 1mb trapdoor chip ram... still no good!

I think i may have a PSU from an old A590 somewhere. The PSU connector on the Alfapower looks the same as the one on the A590... Anyone know if it will work?
 

rkauer

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You can check the traces from the power connector to the molex for the HD. Probably you'll need to move a pair of jumpers or a switch to use external power.
 

Powerpie5000

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You can check the traces from the power connector to the molex for the HD. Probably you'll need to move a pair of jumpers or a switch to use external power.

Well i found the A590 PSU and it has a 4-pin connector but the Alfapower needs a 5-pin :dry:

It has a pair of jumpers for selecting external power, but apparently the PSU was optional when they were new... so i assume many of them were sold without a PSU (i've never seen one specifically for this model). Anyway i personally don't think i'm having a power issue.

I will get this thing working... if not, then it willl be used as a chunky 8mb RAM expansion until i find another GVP HD8+ or similar :D
 

matt020

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Try changing the jumper to enable external power to at least rule that out as the problem
 

Powerpie5000

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Does anyone know the maximum drive capacity this thing can handle? I created a single 500mb partition on my 2gb CF card and it works! I did a low-level format using Windows XP, then partitioned the drive using HDToolBox (through WinUAE) and finally formatted the partiton using HDInstTools (quick format within WinUAE).

I installed WB 2.1 and have installed a few games and it works... although only as a 500mb drive (funny as the smaller 128mb Sandisk wouldn't work at all :roll:)!!

WHDLoad verison 16.9 seems to have a problem installing on a 68000 based Amiga. I get the "suspend or reboot" error when launching the install file... something about waiting for disk actitivity to finish? I finally had to install WHDLoad using an A1200 configuration and my CF card through WinUAE for it to install... Is there a reason for this?
 
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stachu100

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I'm glad to hear that you've managed to get AlfaPower working properly with 2GB CF card with your A500+. :)
It means that there was software problem somewhere.
But AlfaPower hardware is ok (not counting wires soldered to switches directly).

With regards to HDD limitation on AlfaPower:
For sure there is a limit - but I don't know this number...
You know very well that in '90 HDD's size were about 20-80MB, not more.
So I don't think that the engineers foreseen an option to use ~2GB HDD in AlfaPower - none even dreamed about such capacity during these days. :D
 

netagra

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Hi guys!
What kind of power supply do you need in order to use a hard disk ? I cannot seem to find one!
I suppose it's not needed when you use CF cards.
What if i use external power for the hard disk (instead of CF). Will the controller and additional ram work without any power supply ?
 

rkauer

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Yes, you can use without a second PSU.

Just grab a strong enough PSU and let it be.

Better if you can hack an ATX PSU instead the original brick, that is seriously underpowered.
 

netagra

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Thanks, i'm receiving one of these controllers today. Is it OK if i use 8gb CF card or use a smaller one?
 

netagra

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I'm giving the answer to myself, since i read all the previous messages... better get something smaller and/or format it using WinUAE configurations in Windows...

The problem i get now is that this beauty is the old version and gets zip ram... Any idea on where to get some and what kind of should i get ?
 

rkauer

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IIRC, LTAC is selling some right on this site. You need 256k x4 or 1M x4, 80ns or faster, page mode type (static column may work, but have lots of strange behaviour & clashes with other hardware parts).
 

netagra

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Good, thanks!
So you mean that there are two types. How can anyone see what type is the ones he finds? I found on internet many types and i'm about to buy.
Anyway i found a simple solution with external power and other disks or CD-ROMs than CFs etc here
https://www.amibay.com/showpost.php?p=155184&postcount=5
The only thing is that i have to try it !
 

ElectroBlaster

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Here's a photo from Spock-79 of how it should look (minus the pubes :D) :

attachment.php

I need to revive this old thread! I recently acquired one of these Alfapower units and of course some wires are adrift!

I have two choices:

1. Unsolder the little boards and resolder all the wires, finishing up with some hot glue to keep it all locked down.

or

2. Change the switches! Somebody did this. But I have no info on what was used? The new switches/buttons appear to be direct replacements, better made with no circuit boards on the bottom.

Anyone able to point me in the right direction? I just need to find the link with some more details and post it up here in a bit.

EDIT: http://chain.3dgrafika.cz/temp/alfa/

http://chain.3dgrafika.cz/temp/alfa/switch_modified.jpg
 
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