Friday, November 4, 2016

A600: Paula NMI Piggyback adapter

Hi my friends.

Recently I got a message from my friend highpuff that he created an NMI adapter for A1200 that piggybacks to Paula!
I was amazed since I didn't knew that the IPL0, IPL1 and IPL2 signals that were needed for NMI header were also available on Paula as well!

Yesterday I got a package on my mailbox out of the blue sky...

OMG, I was really happy that Highpuff sent me one kit for testing it on my beefy A600!
After all... Paula on A1200 and A600 are the same so why wouldn't it work?

Here's the adapter on it's full glory...

Really simple design but elegant and effective!
Time to remove my floppy dual drive combo, and plug the adapter to Paula.
Once it was ready, and switch was put in the adapter header it was time to give it a spin!

Hohohoho! After some custom kickstart fun, just pushing the button gives us HRTMon 2.36 (even from Early Startup Menu! Awesomeness!

For some people who will simple say... WTF is that, it's an Action Replay clone that can give some info and alter some address in RAM for hacking some stuff.

ACA630 had an NMI adapter by default that I showed in the past as well, but since Vampire doesn't have an NMI header the only solution to get the signals so far, was to get the signals from Vampire's Piggyback 68k socket (not something for the fainthearted doing).
Getting the header from another IC is a really awesome solution without affecting at all the rest of the setup. Good thing also is that the adapter is really low profile and doesn't mess with the height of the floppy drive (even my dual drive combo sat really well) and case closed just fine :)

Thanks a lot highpuff my friend... You rock!

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 :)