Saturday, March 24, 2012

A600: ClassicWB improvements

Free time on weekends to tinker my lovely Amigas is just priceless :)

This week there was a thread on EAB where we discussed about commodities while some fellow Amigans showed the need to use a Dock instead of plain icons "left out" on their Workbench screen.
Well I was one of them as well, since Workbench 3.1 doesn't have an AmiDock equivalent utility and every utility that I tried in the past wasn't nice for my taste.
Then it hit me that my old A2000 days I have used the ToolManager utility which worked like a charm. After so many years and trying to use it again, I found out that it was kind weird into setting it up. In some minutes I remembered how to set it up correctly and since some fellow Amigans asked if it would be possible for me to write a guide... I thought "Oh well... Lets do this"!

You can download the Guide that I wrote by clicking here.

An example of how my ClassicWB Full is now configured using ToolManager can been seen bellow.

The nice part is that apart of being pretty neat and nice, is that it's really configurable and most important... Blazingly fast! 


Some time ago I contacted Peter Keunecke (PeterK) asking him if there was a way to be able to use his awesome icon.library successfully on ClassicWB.
You see... before contacting him, I made all the necessary tests to my ClassicWB installation and for some reason loading PeterK's icon.library... messed with my palette and icons weren't showing at all!
After a lot of searching around I finally realized that it was the LoadWB that was causing the problems!
Scalos that all ClassicWB 3.1 packs use, uses it's own LoadWB command that internally uses the original LoadWB command (that is renamed to LoadWB.orig).
  • If I use the original WB3.1 LoadWB library then the icons using the new icon.library display just fine but I have no Scalos working.
  • If I use Scalos's LoadWB command then Scalos works just fine but I don't see the icons using the new icon.library.
After some fiddling around, PeterK sent me an archive with some file replacements on my ClassicWB installation that involved some new Classes/Datatypes/Libs/Prefs etc files and that way his icon.library worked just fine!!!
You can check it out along with a video from my previous article that I wrote some weeks ago here.

Seeing that it worthed the effort, Peter created a thread over EAB which explained everything you need to know.

Some days ago, he made a final revision of his archive which involved lotsa stuff. In the thread there is lot of details about what features his version had so whoever needs to make some reading... you can check it there :)

Since I have a really heavy modified ClassicWB installation I had to do my tests carefully so I decided that today was a nice day to do so.

Well after some time tinkering my installation around... IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!! 

These are some screenshots from AllIconsOnWB3.1 archive by PeterK showing OS4 icons and DualPNG Ken's Icons.

...and the new Icon information module from Scalos! How awesome is that!

Since my system is rather heavily modified with Custom Kickstart ROM... I made some minor alterations to PeterK's Startup-Sequence script:
  • I commented PatchRAM from the patches since I already have an "Ram-Handler 42.24" inside my Custom ROM.
  • I commented the LoadModule declarations for both Icon.library and SCSI.device as I have them in my Custom ROM.
  • I removed the PatchWB from my WBStartup folder since now it's in C and run from Startup-Sequence

Lotsa thanks Peter for your continuous work!

Monday, March 19, 2012

A4000: Modding and testing an ATI Radeon on GREX

Hey peepz.

Some time ago I ordered an ATI Radeon 9200 (256MB RAM) in order to give it a test on the GREX :)
Yep I know that official CGX drivers don't exist for GREX but no worries... Ratte has something up his sleeve :)

So... the main problem with the Radeon is that it requires also a 3.3V line to operate which the Amiga PSU doesn't deliver.
Every problem though has it's solution so there are a couple of ways to bypass this:
  1. Putting an ATX Power Supply into the Amiga, and then feeding Radeon with the 3.3V line from the ATX PSU that Amiga doesn't use.
  2. Using an LM1084 3.3 regulator that you can feed with a max voltage of 27V as input (5V from Amiga are just fine to produce less heat) and ouput the required 3.3V.
I decided to use the second approach just because it seemed easier and more good looking :)

So... this is the ATI Radeon of mine in which I have marked the spots on the PCB where you can get the Input (5V), Output (3.3V) and GND lines.

The LM1084 has the following easy pinout as well...

Since regulator is getting a bit hot, I decided not to let it stay naked but instead I thought of putting a dedicated transistor heatsink.

Since my regulator was a PCB version without a hole for a screw, and because the heatsink was a bit big for my taste, I dremeled it and attached the regulator using a thermal paste glue!

Result was nice for my taste :) After soldering the wires to both the regulator and Radeon and gluing the heatsink on Radeon... this is how it looks like...

Not bad at all!!! The height is same as the GPU heatsink so it doesn't interfere anywhere else :)

This is how it looks in my Amiga's last available PCI slot (Slot 0).

After checking out PCI Info from CSPPC's screen, card was recognised!!! Time to log OS3.9 and check PCITool and OpenPCIInfo applications...

Presto! Both applications recognize the board just fine. You can check both logs from the links bellow:
I hope I'll have more news about this experiment in the following days :)

Stay tuned.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A600: Recent updates and a new video

Hey peepz just thought of sharing my latest updates since lately I've been tinkering my A600 a lot softwarewise :)
It's going really stable all this time, and I'm enjoying it very much.

Listening to music while I chat, or making custom Kickstarts is so enjoyable, and I run it on daily basis without a single crash.

Latest updates were:

  • Attaching a silent 40x40x10 Scythe/Kaze fan on ACA630 (just for safety)

  • Upgrading an NetGear MA401 PCMCIA Wi-Fi NIC (firmware+station) in order to be able to support WPA2 encryption that my home network uses! No delay at all :) There is an awesome guide by a guy Hiddenevil (over on his blog here.
  • Tinkering my OS as much as possible. Also with the help of PeterK (author of the newest Icon.library) I managed to be able displaying all possible icons under WB3.1 like GlowIcons, NewIcons, OS4 icons and even DualPNG Ken's Icons. Ofc colors aren't that great (since my WB only uses 8color palette) but still quite impressive. The thread concerning changes of some ClassicWB files can be found over EAB here.

I also made a quick video last night to see how my system is going on :)
I converted it to 480p (from FullHD) this time in case it looks a bit better so probably it's nicer than the previous ones (better use full screen, or change to the native YouTube page that has more options on resolutions).

I hope you like it :)

Stay tuned \o/