The A1200 Thread

chrisgreen

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Today was a landmark (in other words, expensive) day in my re-ownership of an Amiga 1200.

As of today I’ve acquired the following upgrades for it:
  • AmigaOS 3.2 and Kickstart 3.2 ROMs
  • AmigaOS 3.2 on CF Card + a IDE to CF adapter
Ordered today, we have the following items:
  • 8MB RAM Expansion with on-board SD Card Reader and Ethernet
  • Internal fitting Gotek to replace the floppy drive
  • IDE to SATA adapter so I can fit a 2.5inch SSD
More to follow once I’ve stripped it down to examine the board.
 

Retro

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Chris, you do realise that this will require a full video demonstration once your project is ready?

I’m drawing up the legal documents as we speak, thankyou.
 
G

GCC

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sound good to me what gotek did you go also which was the 8mb board you got ?
 

chrisgreen

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I had the day off work recently so decided to spend some time stripping down the machine to see what I've actually bought (and so I can determine how much of a money pit its going to be to get everything fixed/renewed etc on it). Having now been able to fully inspect the machine I've made some interesting discoveries......

Here’s the board, which I have removed from the RF shield (which has got a bit bent over on the edges and a lump cut out of the top left inside edge?)

ebba55b2-1ac7-42fb-91bc-19fa234966ec.png


As you can see - it’s a 1D1 board (circa 1992). This board predates Escom/Amiga Texhnologies by quite a way.

b684af1e-a366-4413-aeab-3476d4f1eb1b.png


Kickstart 3.1 factory ROMs with 1995 Amiga Technologies date stamp. These should not be in here (least of all because they are three years+ older than the board itself. If in its stock form, this board should have 3.0 Factory ROMs.

d36ded2d-cdfd-4562-aac0-3d663ab9862d.png


Bit of bodge wiring. I seem to remember either my 1st or 2nd original A1200 motherboard back in the 90s having this same thing. I believe this was a legitimate production line bodge fix.

05a801d6-8a0e-4700-9549-90826234b5b1.png


And finally I flipped over the motherboard to check the underside for the Amiga Technologies PC floppy disk hack. And it isn’t there! This alone is amazing news and tells me something surprising about the internal floppy drive that came in this particular machine.....

42f0280c-f069-4f65-b242-2ebc5c17f0e7.png


This is the floppy drive that was in the 1200. This is one of the drives used by Amiga Technologies as a floppy drive - but not the one most commonly used (and it has an Amiga Technologies barcode label on). However, Commodore also used this same model as it could be easily modified to work properly on the Amiga (and Commodore would have them modified accordingly). It looks to me like this was either old Commodore stock that Amiga Tech reused, or an Amiga Tech drive that someone has properly modified to enable it to work on the 1D1 motherboard. Either way, the motherboard I have is not modified to take a PC floppy, and therefore this floppy drive can’t be operating as a regular PC drive, it must be Amiga modded. Yippee!

beec1b7a-9157-4c3c-b10e-6f65975c5b01.png


Oh, and one last thing - the caps. They look like new (no bulging, no cap juice residue anywhere, no fishy smells), which is making me believe this board may have been recapped a little while ago.

So what next for this machine? Well, I want to recase it. While the original case (a mix of an Amiga Technologies Rev E case top and a Commodore Rev B case bottom) is in pretty good condition and hasn't yellowed, it has malformed on one side (top half, above the PCMCIA slot) either from heat or from crap moulding in the first place, so the top and bottom halves of the case don't fit together properly there. Plus, I've kinda gone off beige/cream coloured computers. I have managed to find stock of the A1200.net Transparent case, and one arrived from Germany late last week.

I also have an internal Gotek kit and a new PSU from Retro Passion, though I am rethinking the internal gotek in light of the discovery that the floppy drive is good. I have an external Gotek, along with external floppy drives, ready to use either way.

I will also to fit an internal scandoubler/flicker fixer - I managed to source an Indivision AGA Mk3 (it is very good, but not the one I wanrted as this one also has to clip onto the keyboard controller, so if I ever recase into a Checkmate case, I will have to lose the scandoubler).

I already have an 8MB RAM expansion for it (the Wicher 1211 with Ethernet and SD Card daughterboard). I plan to upgrade from that to a Vampire V4 Ice Drake next year when they go on sale.
 

chrisgreen

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sound good to me what gotek did you go also which was the 8mb board you got ?
So the internal Gotek is one of the newer boards with the new Artery chip (it has already been flashed to run FF). I have two external Goteks both have the older (better) chipset in them. I also have an additional external Gotek (one of the new ones with the factory-fitted bigger OLED screen and rotary dial) coming directly from Kier Fraser. That too will be the new Artery chip, but should work given it's coming directly from the man himself.

The 8MB board is the Wicher 1211, which has a daughterboard with Ethernet and an Mirco SD card on it that is designed to sit in the rear trapdoor position. I should have the Ice Drake in early 2022. That will give the 1200 similar performance to my Vampire V4 as well as RTG.
 

chrisgreen

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Next club meet is likely going to be the initial rebuild (as I am not sure I will have time before then to tinker with it).
  • Fit 3.2 ROMs
  • Recase into the clear case
  • Fit CF card, experiment with using a SATA SSD and Sata to IDE converter
  • Fit new internal multi-header power cable
  • Fit lighting
  • Fit case badge
Won't fit the scandoubler until it has been recapped. Once that's on, I don't want to have to remove it unless absolutely necessary.
 

RobA1200

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looks clean. ive got a 1200 with the same green wire, does seem to be a factory fix. also had a trimmed top metal shield, mine was trimmed for a larger (3 1/2) hdd to ft inside the case, cheaper than the 2 inch drives. might also be why you have the 3.1 roms, think these allow larger hd partitions.

sata SSD sounds interesting - good to try something different. i did try an SD to ide adpator for a bit instead of the cf adaptor. much slower than the cf, reverted back in the end. - some are putting DOM drives onto the ide header with good results to

looking forward to seeing 3.2!
 

chrisgreen

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Hi @RobA1200
The cuts in the shielding are in the wrong place for a 3.5inch drive (did a few of those back in the day for people). The cuts are more on the lower edges, which makes me think the top shielding may have come from a machine that had a scandoubler clipped onto the Lisa. That would marry up with several of the cuts. It's not the end of the world as I need to ditch the top shielding anyway - partly for better airflow, but also to allow me to fit my own scandoubler and some other mods. I'm going to lose the bottom shielding as well as it simply serves no purpose. I've got a custom-made metal runner coming from Germany which will replace the edge of the lower shielding that the rear ports poke through, so that will still look tidy with no gaps.

Really keen to try and get an SSD working. A 120GB or 240GB SSD is dirt cheap today, whereas a 128GB CF card is about £80 for a decent brand (SanDisk) and while SD cards are more in line with SSD prices, they are soooooo slow in comparison and don't have the read/write lifespan to match CF or a dedicated drive. I do have an 8GB CF with. AmigaOS 3.2 already installed on it. One possible plan will be to install that as a boot drive, and then use the SSD as a slave drive (as some reports suggest that SSDs will work, but there are issues booting from them). Either way, going to try installing an SSD as bootable myself before ruling out the idea.

DOMs are good and are really robust, but are mostly available in very small capacities. To get one in a larger size (more than 4GB) with a 44pin connector will cost much more than the equivalent CF card.
 

Retro

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So, is the A1200 a higher spec than the original A500?
 

chrisgreen

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So, is the A1200 a higher spec than the original A500?
Oh yes, quite a difference. Here is a very basic example of the differences.

A500:
68000 Processor
512K Ram
Original Chip Set (OCS)
Double Density Floppy Drive
No on-board Hard Disk/Mass Storage Controller
External RF Modulator

A1200:
68020 Processor
2MB Ram
Advanced Graphics Architecture (AGA)
Double Density Floppy Drive
On-board IDE Interface
PCMCIA Card Slot
On-board RF Modulator
 

chrisgreen

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So the new-style Gotek with factory fitted rotary encoder and larger screen arrived today:

IMG_9466.jpg

Nice unit, and in a colour a bit closer to an aged Amiga. I have a metal outer shell for it, but that shell was made for the original Gotek. This one is ever so slightly taller. We are talking 1mm. So i'm having to sand off the bottom to make it fit.

IMG_9467.jpg

IMG_9468.jpg
 

chrisgreen

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They've done a great job on these, Everything is held in place tightly, and its a zero-screw design for the screen and rotary. The main PCB is held in place by a couple of plastic posts and the screws from the lid.
 

chrisgreen

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Looks very nice. Very tidy. Someone took pride in making this.
Apparently Gotek is actually talking directly to Kier Fraser and the community. They really like how he and the community has taken its original product and modded it for other systems (remember, the original Gotek was designed as a drop-in replacement for music keyboards), so it wants to support that use with better products, not stop it.
 
G

GCC

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They've done a great job on these, Everything is held in place tightly, and its a zero-screw design for the screen and rotary. The main PCB is held in place by a couple of plastic posts and the screws from the lid.
It does look good I like how they have done the case on it so it all fit well. On the new type of gotek does it have problems with some usb sticks ? I am thinking of putting one in my BBC Micro setup
 

chrisgreen

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It does look good I like how they have done the case on it so it all fit well. On the new type of gotek does it have problems with some usb sticks ? I am thinking of putting one in my BBC Micro setup
Unfortunately I don’t have a clue. I’m not aware of anyone reporting specific issues with types of USB stick. They should work more or less like the older ones with the other chip.
 

RobA1200

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nice case. as you know the floppy drive header will easily run a gotek and rgb 😉
 

chrisgreen

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nice case. as you know the floppy drive header will easily run a gotek and rgb 😉
That is indeed the plan. I have acquired this cable, which combined with my beefier power supply should allow me to comfortably power the floppy drive, lights and a small fan that's going over the Lisa & scandoubler.

Power Cable

1627983223779.png

Won't be fitting a CD drive, the 12v will be used for the lights and fan.
 

chrisgreen

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More bits arrived today:
  • The scandoubler (which better be good as it just cost me an extra £40 in VAT and customs handling fees).
  • A small Noctua fan, which will sit above the Lisa chip. Once the scandoubler clips on, this chip can get a bit warm.
  • Fan splitter cable - partly to convert the fan connector into a regular 4-pin Molex power connector, but also has the add-on benefit of making connecting a second fan easy.
44654BFF-F297-41F2-93F9-F02A4480EE8D.jpeg

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BBC71E18-54CE-4730-98FD-BFFFA3A03BE5.jpeg

1549BE34-F52F-4808-A93D-50CB948C331B.jpeg
 

RobA1200

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is that the indivision mk3? very nice.
i had the mk2cr - didnt get on with it, ended up selling it, but ive been reading there is quite a big difference between them, the config options are easier on the mk3. mk2cr suffered with centring the picture on the screen on some (mine) monitors. been reading and its cured on the mk3. will be interested to see this in action.

have you seen the tsunami 1230 card? 030 but might be a decent price.

anyway, some good pimping going on there.
 
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