Thursday, 21 July 2016

Brief break from the blog

It is time for a small break from this blog for me for a bit, as I am going on a short holiday with sadly no access to my Amiga systems.

I plan to be back on deck again sometime in August when I have returned and got things sorted out here.

You should expect some serious amounts of Train blog entries on my other site following the trip.

I have some very special train trips already booked and paid for months ago and I am raring to go!

In the meantime, please enjoy your Amiga systems, Classic, Next Gen or emulation!

See you again here soon.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Adelaide Retro Computing Group July 2016

Sorry for the delay in posting the photos from this month's Adelaide Retro Computing Group meeting, held on July 8th. I already posted the photos to our Facebook page, But here is my meeting report with photos now!

This meeting was a free for all retro system meeting, with a Star Wars game theme.

I decided to bring along my Amiga 600, which has been extensively upgraded, covered on this blog in detail every step of the way. Here is the internals which I had on display for a while during the evening:

For most of the night though it was running Stars Wars games:

I had both Return of The Jedi and Empire Strikes Back running on the Amiga 600 - it was actually my first time to play them in all these years of Amiga ownership!

We had a lot of different Retro systems on display during the night, thanks to the efforts of lots of attendees who brought in interesting systems to play with.

Here is an Atari Jaguar playing Empire Strikes Back as well:

Llamatron 2084 and Xenon 2 also got a run on the Atari Jaguar!

This is an IBM PC compatible machine from pre-2000:

Here is a rare treat - a working Dick Smith System 80 computer:

Here you can see the 5.25 drive internals exposed - love that it is titles as a "Mini disk drive":

I had a go playing Eliminator on this system - mastering the strange cursor key layout on the keyboard was a challenge - better to let the owner show how it's done!

We also had a for sale table running for this meeting (for the first time), and lots of interesting stuff to buy on the night - I certainly picked up a few items:

Here is a Dreamcast on display, with another Star Wars game:

This Dreamcast is rather special. It has no GDROM drive in it - Just a USB stick for loading Dreamcast GDROM images!

When the lid is opened, it still returns to the Dreamcast boot menu to choose another game - very neat!

Paul also brought in his Amstrad CPC464:

Here is Paul taking the Amstrad through it's paces with a game or two:

A wonderful thing to see was this rare Vectrex game console. I used to have one of these until about 10 years ago when it failed. Great system and a lot of fun to play:

Here is some of the overlay game sheets you put in front of the vector drawn black and white screen to colourise the games:

I couldn't resist another go at the Vectrex for the first time in years - here is me having a go!

Of course I was not the only way intrigued to try out the Vectrex:

Nintendo 64 was setup on the main projector showing off yet another Star Wars game - Shadows of the Empire!

The meeting was well attended again, which was great to see!

Interestingly we also had an Atari XE Game System video output into a Sega Game Gear using it's TV tuner attachment!

Here was another Dreamcast on display, this time with Pod Racer running on it.

An iBook G3 and Toshiba laptop were also on display, running Star Wars games too of course!

A curious item was this Epson portable computer with built in tape drive and printer that Theo brought in:

As we did at the last meeting, there was a two player retro system competition with a prize of a Raspberry Pi running Emulation Station (Retro Pi), which I donated.

The retro system chosen was the Dreamcast, and the game was 2 player Pod Racer - had to be Star Wars game of course for this meeting:

It was fierce competition with lots of people keen to have a go:

Of course there can be only one winner, and here is the winner getting his Raspberry Pi prize from me at the end of the evening:

It was another great meeting and I again want to thank everyone who brought in many different and varied Retro systems to our meeting.

I can't wait for the next one!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

DF0 Selector on Amiga 500

Following on from my initial work on my newly received Amiga 500, I decided to install a DF0 selector, which enables me to select to boot DF0 from the internal floppy drive or boot DF0 from an external floppy drive, even under Kickstart 1.3!

The main benefit of doing this is so that you can boot a Gotek floppy drive emulator as DF0 without having to hack up the case to fit it internally!

So with this device installed you can boot demos and games ADF's from the Gotek connected to the external floppy drive port as if it was connected to the internal floppy cable. Very cool. Means it is easy to switch my Gotek to whatever Amiga requires it.

I picked up the DF0 Selector from a while ago, in preparation to doing this on the Amiga 1000, but since the Amiga 500 is here I thought I would set it up on that instead!

Here is the DF0 selector as delivered:

To do this installation, we need to remove the Even CIA chip from the Amiga 500 motherboard - here it is, shown just below the internal floppy drive cable connection:

Here is the chip safely removed:

Paying careful attention to the chip orientation, I place the even CIA chip on the DF0 selector socket connection as below:

I then install the DF0 selector back onto the Even CIA socket:

As a temporary measure I route the selector switch out through the left hand side expansion gap (same as I did for the Indivision ECS):

Close up view of the switch - flick the switch one way for DF0 to be the internal floppy drive, the other position for DF0 to be the external floppy drive (Gotek in my case).

Here is the Gotek - I also picked up a Gotek floppy drive connector (including power) from to neatly power the Gotek without the need of extra power supplies, etc. The power comes from the external floppy drive connector, as it used to do for the real external floppy drives back in the day!

Close ups of the new gotek floppy connector:

With the Gotek connected to the external floppy drive port and selected as DF0 using the DF0 selector I then fired up the Amiga 500.

I confirmed it booted the Gotek fine as DF0 straight into the selector.adf.

Now for the real test - some tracks demos which are hard coded to only accept DF0 - Scoopex's Mental Hangover demo is a nice choice that works with the 512k we have on this Amiga 500 - one of my favourite demo soundtracks too. It works!

I put the Amiga 500 case back on and pleased to say everything still works:

One thing that has been bugging me is the lack of memory - only having 512k memory limits what games and demos I can try out. But thanks to the ACA500 help is at hand!

When the ACA500 is connected, on booting the A500 the configuration menu appears to load the 3.1 or 1.3 configurations for cf card booting a hard disk. However, you can also choose to boot fast ram or chip ram enabled 1.3 configurations:

If I choose F4 to boot Fast RAM enabled 1.3 configuration, the system now have 2MB memory available! I booted up the Workbench 1.3 ADF from the Gotek to check this:


So now I can boot up 1MB plus demos on the A500 using the Gotek ADF's (or real floppies if I desire). This is Scoopex's Millennium demo from 2000 running from the Gotek via ADF as DF0 using the DF0 Selector:

I also tried out Ghostown and Whelpz's Sunglasses At Night, the final version demo from 2015 too - great stuff:

I am happy with this setup now on the Amiga 500!

Well, err, I might do some more with it - tempted to try the MAS MP3 Player hardware on it - Mp3's on an Amiga 500, hmmm, tempting to try it. If I can get a bit more memory and an A1200 accelerator to connect to the ACA500 I could try the Subway USB support too - ahh, so many things to muck around with on Amiga's in 2016!

Reached the end of the weekend and I now have a nicely running Amiga 500 I didn't expect to even have before it! Life is interesting for sure! :-)