Thursday, August 4, 2016

A600: Some RTG love and recent ClassicWB 3.9 enchancements

Hi my friends.

So many things, so little time but hopefully I'll try and post more stuff from now on.
All this time I'm tinkering my lovely Vampire and my beloved ClassicWB 3.9 system.

I made many changes so I might not remember all but here are some highlights:

  • Updated a lot of libs, utilities and programs to latest versions
  • Changed whole iconset from MagicWB to Ken's Icons (OMG only that alone is TONZ of work)
  • Added "Theme Support". This includes the following options:
    • <None>
    • VisualPrefs (with a new OS4.0 theme edited by myself)
    • AfA OS (it still doesn't work since it requires FPU but if you mount the system to WinUAE and add FPU then it works just fine). Also it's ready for when FPU implementation is done on the Vampire.
  • Updated a lot my Startup-Sequence cleverly so I can mount my CF card both on Amiga and my PC (via WinUAE) using the same system without any changes. IT ROX so much having the same environment without having to change monitor, screenmode, settings etc, and what's best... either in real A600 or WinUAE every change is saved in each environment!
  • Changed many options on ToolPrefs menu adding stuff like:
    • Converting images to icons (thumbnails)
    • Replacing backdrops on the fly either on windows or workbench screen
  • Replaced ToolsManager Dock with WBDock by Thomas Rapp
  • Added many utilities and tools. Some I remember are:
    • SwazInfo that replaced RawWBInfo (I like it more)
    • PowerWindows (for moving windows wherever I want on the screen)
    • ReqAttack for changing all requesters
  • Changed all my assigns from all places to be managed by MCP
  • Installed Clould Handlers (after also registering them just for the support)
  • Made a lot of new backdrops with Vampire theme (lol) which I will put at the end of the post for anyone that wants to grab any :)
You can check the video bellow that shows some of these features live. I suggest to open it on YouTube where you can also view it up to HD (1080p) quality.




Here are the backdrops that you can grab :)

   
    

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A600: Spare A600 mobo recapped, serviced and replacing current

Since many years I had a spare A600 mobo from my really old A600 that had some cap issues (sound etc) plus some old hacks I did when I couldn't hold a soldering iron correctly :)
Since I didn't have much time my really good friend Leo (keropi) offered to help a bit.

After getting a cap kit from AmigaKit, he changed the caps but there were channels missing in audio... He checked and changed the audio amp chip (from a spare dead A600 mobo) but still no fix.
Then he decided to salvage Paula from the dead mobo and finally that was the problem!
Now my mobo is working flawlessly so I received it and tested it with great joy.

Since it was working perfect with my Vampire I decided to replace my current mobo (that has some audio issues as well, along with some RGB to scart issues (caps desperately needing change).

So new mobo got the following hacks

Adding 2 signals for the dual floppy header. I decided to add the wires under the motherboard for cleaner mod. You can check the previous mod here where I added the wires on the top of the motherboard.



Next it was the 2nd floppy LED wires that would attach next to the LED header. Previous mod can be seen here. A lot cleaner in this go :)




Here you can see Ratte's switch in RF modulator space, the ribbons for Native/RTG fold carefully and hot-glued on top of kipper2k's angled adapter and then going under Vampire.



And here you can see the whole unit ready to rock with everything on.



You'll notice in the previous pic that the old switch that I used for switching between Kickstart 1.3 and Kickstart 3.1 was removed as nowadays the kick resides inside the Vampire. Instead, I thought of putting a bigger switch I had (ON/OFF/ON) for switching between Ratte's switch modes (Auto/Native/RTG). It took me a LOT of time trimming and filling the switch in order to be able to fit in my A600 but it fitted like a glove once I was ready.



 

Some things that are missing (if someone knows my setup) are the following:

  1. MAS-Player plus the internal MAS/Paula mixer: Yep it was removed for 2 reasons. 1st because MAS-Player is definitely obsolete now since it can only play up to 192kbit MP3 files while Vampire can play up to 320kbit without a sweat and with only consuming 20-30% of the CPU power (impressive shiz I tell ya). Another reason was that mixer lowered considerably the volume of both MAS-Player and Paula so there was no reason to keep it.
  2. NMI header: Yep, Vampire doesn't have an NMI header, although we managed with kipper2k to trigger the INT7 so I might add such a feature in the future
  3. Ugly HDMI to VGA adapter handing in the air: I sympathize I tell ya, but most that know me, know that there was not a single way I would leave that hanging like that :) Tbh, I'm waiting an HDMI amplifier plus a short 10cm HDMI cable to try putting all these inside as comfortable as I can to have the best possible VGA signal coming through the HDMI plug.
Stay tuned :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

A600: Ratte's auto switch working on my A600 beast :O


Hi peepz.

After finishing my Gotek inside my A600, something that troubled me a long time came in front.
I love my Vampire and RTG modes, but I also want native modes which atm I can get either from Indivision SD/FF or from RGB to Scart. Ofc both of these solutions require either a dual input monitor (HDMI/VGA or HDMI/Scart, which I already have) or having 2 monitors.

Since I was always fond of auto switch between RTG and Native I though... what the heck, I have to try Ratte's switch like I had in the past.
Worst thing, is that I would use the parallel port signal if I couldn't find one inside...
After talking with highpuff (ikod.se) who was making a batch on Amibay, I decided to gief it a go after he told me that U8 that I knew on A1200 was also present on A600! Dafuq I never thought they were alike sharing the same signals :)

This is the new switch that I received along with plenty of cabling in PRO quality! (Thanks a lot Claes mate, you rock \m/)



Ok Natives were ok as I knew that Indivision would run ok with Ratte's switch as I tried in the past Indivision AGA, 4000, mk2 without issues.

What about RTG coming through HDMI though :S
First of all HDMI is only digital while Ratte's switch works only with Analog signals.
Only choice I had was to get an cheapo HDMI to VGA adapter from eBay like this...



After making all the necessary connections to a spare recapped A600 mobo of mine... this was the result (btw, I asked highpuff to make me a custom male RTG cable in order to feed it directly to the HDMI adapter).



Result was SUCCESSFUL! OMG I couldn't believe it! Even putting SwitchControl in Startup-Sequence right before IPrefs gave me AUTO switching like it should!!!
After that I thought about dismantling the adapter to see how big it would be inside... Turns out it's rather slim



I couldn't leave the thick HDMI connector as it was would I?



One more test again and it was indeed successful as well! You can see in the following picture the U8 CIA adapter (what a PRO PCB man)



Here's a quick video about the booting and switching phases of RTG/Native using Ratte's switch on my A600.



Stay tuned :)