Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!!!

As the year is ending and 2012 is already at our doorstep, I wish you all...

A Happy New Year ! ! !

Lets hope for a year full of joy, health and happiness.
May the new year bring us...
New Hardware & Software and more appetite to tinker our lovely Amigas!

Keep moddin'...   :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A4000: Mounting Ratte's Auto switch & Buffing Grex

Hi my friends,

Today despite going out for presents and enjoying the day with friends, I decided since I stayed home @ night to tinker my lovely Amiga.
Having some more extra time tonight was really nice and it was time to permanently attach Ratte's Auto AGA/RTG switch and fill the extra PCI sockets of my Grex :D

Checking the space and ribbons, I decided to mount the Auto switch in the Expansion bracket position.
Well it was time to cut a VGA backplate exactly at Expansion bracket's dimensions

I positioned the VGA hole a bit to the right (just to be safe with ribbons from RTG/AGA) but mostly because I wanted the extra space IN CASE something comes up in the future :)

Well the following mod, took me quite some time, only because I tested the joints via a multimeter and continuity test many times to be sure! Don't wanna risk damaging something in my system :)
It was fun procedure though.

What on earth am I doing?.... Yep you understood correctly :)
Internal soldering of Ribbon that goes to Ratte's Auto switch. (Like BVisionPPC/CVisionPPC but now on Voodoo!)

Then it was time for stuffing and buffing my beloved Grex!
I already had the Voodoo3 and ESS-Solo-1 but now I also got...:

An RTL8029(AS) Ethernet NIC (Thanks Leo)

And an Terratec TerraTV/Radio card (Bt878 chipset) that I had for a really long time in one of my drawers LOL!

Stuffing it all was a really amusing moment since everything fitted like a glove without wires in the way :) Gotta love this Voodoo mod.


This is a photo with the wire installed that goes from DVD-ROM's audio signal to ESS-Solo-1's internal connector for CD. I already had it ready from my Delfina mod, so now it also works like a charm in this current mod.

And now some photos from the back of the A4000. Haven't showed a pic since I had the Delfina/USB NIC mod :)
You can clearly see... Ratte's Auto RTG/AGA swith on the Expansion bay, along with the PCI cards.
Amiga Paula's sound goes to ESS-Solo-1's "Line In" connector. I could have made it internal in ESS-Solo-1's AUX internal connector but I'd had to take apart the whole motherboard = NO FUN!

And finally a close up of Ratte's Switch mounted and sitting comfortably in the Expansion bay without interfering with the 80mm fan that blows some silent air into the CSPPC and Memory sockets :)

Just a quick photo from CSPPCs PCI menu...

...and we're ready to Rock & Roll :D
Everything works like a charm and I'm a happy Amigan. It's nice having such clean mods inside without too much wires cutting my airflow and vision to teh awesomenezz :D

I hope you like it as well.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A4000: Setting up my newly acquired Grex 4000

Hi peepz,

Recently I managed to get a Grex 4000 from Amibay. That was a dream come true since I always wanted to find one, but sadly these boards are REALLY rare and really expensive if they show up!

Ok enough with the long talk...
Board arrived safely with it's original CD that you can see just fine below

Of course... I didn't know if the board was working since the seller sold it AS-IS since he didn't have the equipment to test it.
I tend to have an optimistic mood with Amiga Hardware as most of times tend to be very resilient :)

Here are two more shots comparing it with the original daughterboard...


Isn't it a beauty? :D Pretty funny is the extra wire put at some pins. It's on all Grex pictures I found over BBOAH and my friend Leo (Keropi) assured me that it was on his former Grex as well.

My RTG card will be nothing more than the known and awesome 3DFX Voodoo3 2000 that I hacked with the help of Cosmos's blog putting an onboard fan as it tends to be ULTRA hot!

Just to be sure, I followed all the required steps after downloading all the drivers from DJBase's website here:

  • Updated CSPPC to latest version (firmware 45.71) that includes as well a PCI menu under CSPPC setup menu (via ESC key on boot).
  • Updated 68040.library and  68060.library with the latest versions (46.5/46.15)
  • After taking a backup from my previous system, I formatted my Hard Drive and started from scratch with a CF ClassicWB 3.9 BB2 installation.
You can see the new menu in the following pictures

[off topic]
I always had some parity problems with my Hard Drive having from-time-to-time Parity Error requesters. After a lot of frustration and headbanging turned out that I found a thread over with exactly my symptoms. Since I downgraded my ACard some time ago with an earlier firmware I have these issues so some point today or in the future I will update it again with latest firmware and be done with it :)
Till then... I putted manually 8-bit in the controller settings under SCSI Menu of CSPPC and never had issues again.
[/off topic]

Ok time for more info now about installation. The steps I followed were:
  • Installing Grex's CGX4 version from Grex CD
  • Updated CGX4 to version 4.3 again from Grex CD (CGX4 CD required)
  • Updated CGX4 to latest version 4.6 (CGX4 CD required)
  • Copied my old Env-Archive variables from my previous installation including my Monitor-Mode file.
...and that was about it :)

Booting for first time after installation gave me the well known "Light my Fire" PPC logo and that was what I wanted to see to understand that my Grex was working as intended!!!

I went straight ahead to SYS:Prefs/CGXMode to check/setup my Monitor installation.
Just to help some of you that asked me in the past, I'm presenting from my previous setup my CGXMode monitor installation settings for 1280x1024 and the Widescreen 1360x768 that newly HD Ready LCD/TV's have.

These are the 1280x1024 settings for my Dell 17" monitor

...and these are the 1360x768 settings for for my Samsung 24" LCD/TV.

So... after using these old but trusted settings I was seeing RTG finally on my Grex Setup :)
As you can see from the photo, "God of War" 1280x1024 wallpaper and WhichAmiga running just fine under my setup.

And a close-up of WhichAmiga for the fun part :)
Haha Voodoo3 is presented as Inferno (I think they must have given that codename based on it's temperature LOL)

Just for closing this brief article (soon will follow for sure) I'm presenting a photo from the side where Grex with the following is mounted and working:
  • Voodoo3 2000 Graphics adapter (PCI)
  • ESS-Solo-1 Sound adapter (PCI)
  • ZorRAM 256MB Fast RAM adapter (Zorro)
  • Deneb USB2.0 adapter (Zorro)

Stay tuned :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A600: Testing my new arrived "Furia S628"

Hi my friends.
Long time no see I know... but after fiddling along with other hardware platform over the weeks I thought of giving a bit of rest to my beloved Amigas :)

So, yesterday I received my very own "Furia S628" accelerator with 2MB Fast RAM and connector for future Fast RAM board.
This was a board that was discussed over EAB at some point. I already have gotten the excellent ACA630@30MHz from Individual Computers but I really wanted to support such an effort so I made a small donation to Boboo just for supporting him a bit :)

Some time ago he completed testing his board so I was given the chance of ordering such a lovely unit!
To follow the whole original thread on follow this link.
Enough for the long talk... Time for some pr0n :)

So here's the package that arrived yesterday.

Yes it had a 3-wire cable to solder to 3 points in the motherboard... but that will be seen next :)

This is the front side of the PCB with the ceramic (I think) heatsink and the SmartBUS connector.

This is the back side of the PCB with the PLCC connector, the 3-wire connector and the Donators names! (Thanks a lot for this honor Boboo mate) /respect

This was a folded print page that explained where to solder the 3-wire cable onto the A600 motherboard. Not so hard to spot :)

...and this is the actual soldering of my own cables into my A600 Rev.1.5 mobo.

Most awesome part is that the classic El'Cheapo angled female 44pin CF2IDE adapters fit like a glove with "Furia S628" (not to mention it holds the accelerator in place better).

Well, I present you with a video that I uploaded on YouTube that shows a mini test performance of "Furia S628".
The test was made using Bloodwych's ClassicWB 68k and it's test without and with the Furia in place.

As you can see from the video, the results are MORE than impressive and Furia seems to work really well with many WHDLoad games that I tested :)
It's a really nice addition and the future FastRAM module that will be attached to the SmartBUS connector would be even better!
The installation is really straightforward and Plug&Play (once you solder the 3-wires).

The memory lacks 512KB of memory that can be added by using the AutoAddRAM command using the following file that was taken from the Furia thread:
Just adding the following command before SetPatch in Startup-Sequence is enough :)
C:AutoAddRAM >NIL:

Also a better resolution connector photo can be downloaded from here as well:

That wasn't such a thorough review, but a test of this amazing accelerator which really gives a nice boost to our beloved A600's!
Once the extra memory module will be ready, it will be a LOT better than the A608 :)

Boboo mate, great job! Keep up the good work \o/

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A4000: Custom circuit for Auto AGA/RTG switch

Hey my friends,

It's not have been a long time since my previous post but trust me... I was waiting some things to arrive alas I couldn't write without having stuff in my hands :)

Anyway, since a long time I was wondering what I was gonna do with the manual switch that Ratte's Auto AGA/RTG switch had. Don't get me wrong I love my Auto switch but I really dislike the classic stick switches.
Sadly On/Off/On switches don't have a great variety and for a round one... the smallest I could find had a diameter of 21mm which is really big to mount.
Then it struck me... Why wouldn't I put an awesome momentary Push-On switch that has an embedded LED on it and mount it on the obsolete position if the keylock switch???

Well I ordered the switch and voila... IT REALLY fits like a glove...

In the previous photos I just supplied voltage to the LED to test it out.

So... I had the switch... so now I needed the circuit that would make my Push-On click... to transform to On/Off/On states (and loop back). I made a thread on Amibay about it but on the meantime I asked a good electronic friend of mine (Mike) to bring an idea about that.
After searching a bit he told me he has done something similar in the past with an CD4017 IC. After getting the PinOuts we designed a circuit that was simple enough.
The IC used was indeed an CD4017 that has 10 outputs. Since I only wanted 3 outputs (On/Off/On) we fed the 4th output into the RESET on IC so it loops back to the start once the 3 output switches :)

You can check it out in case you wanna try something like this in the future :)
So... after getting the parts that was needed, and after 2-3 hours of assembling the prototype board, there was it. You can see the sockets for the IC and the relays plus the headers.

I soldered a couple of LEDS to female headers to be able to try out the output LEDS on the PCB

...and the first TEST (after some troubleshooting) was successful!!!
  • Left LED = ON
  • No LED = OFF
  • Right LED = ON

Since everything worked fine, I needed to cut the remaining unused veroboard and mount the PCB inside A4000's faceplate :)

I used some dual foamy sticky tape that insulated and hold the veroboard solid as a rock inside A4000's faceplate. Wires from Push-On button on header plus a custom Molex to Fan+12V power for my PCB was made :)

And that's about it!!!

Because I'm sure you're pretty weird how that thing works... how about a little video about it?
(I'm also testing Line-In of Delfina because some peepz requested it).

Enjoy :)

You can check out also a really clever and nice implementation using Arduino by my Amiga friend Claes. Check out his solution on his blog here.