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AuthorTopic: Novice Amiga user  (Read 1122 times)

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Offline Aristotle

Novice Amiga user
« on: May 03, 2015, 04:26:48 AM »
Hi. I'm a philosophy prof. in Houston. I'm not very knowledgeable about legacy equipment, let alone Amiga matters, but I love my A3000.  I'm using Final Writer (97) to make tests, syllabi, etc. for my courses. One of the things I'm interested in is finding out if there is anyone, highly skilled in Amiga, that is interested in working on mine, for reasonable pay. I called AmigaKit, but hadn't realized they were overseas; I could buy an Amiga for the cost of shipping. Anyway, my box has a couple of issues and mostly I'd like to make some modifications, like a graphics card. So if anyone is interested please let me know.
 

Offline danbeaver

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Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2015, 08:30:30 AM »
This particular web site is known for people with opinions, helpful advice, closets filled full of BDSM equipment and a few pieces of Amiga parts hidden under the whips and handcuffs; so can you be more specific about what you have, and then what upgrades or modifications you propose?

Failing that, there are plenty of people formerly associated with the TSA, FBI, CIA, Ferguson (Missouri) police to tell you in absolute terms what you need -- we call them "Under the bridge people who light fires."
 

Offline AAACHIPSET

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2015, 12:17:10 PM »
Quote from: danbeaver;788776
This particular web site is known for people with opinions, helpful advice, closets filled full of BDSM equipment and a few pieces of Amiga parts hidden under the whips and handcuffs; so can you be more specific about what you have, and then what upgrades or modifications you propose?

Failing that, there are plenty of people formerly associated with the TSA, FBI, CIA, Ferguson (Missouri) police to tell you in absolute terms what you need -- we call them "Under the bridge people who light fires."
whips and handcuffs  ...so thats where they went
A500 3.1/8meg/2gigscsi ...wants a 040
CD32/SX1/FMV/FLASHDRIVE/  wants sx32pro
A1200  os3.5 030/50/fpu/mmu/2flashdrives/cd/   indivision coming ..............wants a ppc/060  ACCEL :laughing:
 

Offline Thorham

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2015, 01:40:39 PM »
To Aristotle:

Check out English Amiga Board: http://eab.abime.net/

I'd be surprised if no one over there can help you.
 

Offline Matt_H

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2015, 05:00:51 PM »
Come on, guys, joking aside, this isn't a very helpful way to introduce a new user to the community - especially one who's actually using an Amiga in a professional setting!



@ Aristotle

Welcome! Let us know what sort of issues you're experiencing and we might be able to help. Depending on how comfortable you are with electronics, there may be a few things you can service yourself.
 

Offline Aristotle

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2015, 06:01:12 PM »
Ok, thanks. Is the English Amiga Board a domestic audience, or worldwide ?  What I would like is to find someone I can send my 3000 to (fortunately the 3000 is significantly smaller than other boxes from around 1990) for some work. I need the following:  1) a better graphics card installed, 2) more RAM (if possible), 3) my SCSI cd drive installed (I think one has to open it up and disconnect certain things), 4) a new os installed (I have a new copy of 3.5), 5) a video problem fixed (AmigaKit told me it likely involves pulling out and resetting all video chips), 6) either a new 3.5 floppy drive installed or the current one repaired (it just gives checksum errors now, though before I was able to use it, maybe a couple of other minor things (like a new diode "power on" light). I simply have no skill in any of this and would destroy the whole thing if I tried to do it. Hence, I would like to find someone who could do it and simply pay that person to do all this. I love this little box, and though the college provides me with all the latest kit and software (Office 365, etc.), I prefer my Amiga. :-)
 

Offline Matt_H

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2015, 08:14:03 PM »
EAB is global. There are a couple of other Amiga users in Texas who I think are members both here and there, but I don't know how close they are to Houston. Unfortunately, most Amiga repairs these days are either DIY or send-overseas.

Anyway, we can start looking into some of your problems:

1. Graphics card. The first challenge with installing a graphics card is finding one! They're not common these days and tend to be rather expensive. Do you have one already?

2. RAM. What do you have currently? The A3000 motherboard can take 16MB of Fast RAM and 2MB of Chip RAM. To get more, you need a CPU board with RAM slots, which can add up to 128MB more, or a Zorro-slot RAM expansion, which adds 128MB or 256MB. I think the slot-based expansions require a revision 11 Buster chip.

3. There's no room in the A3000 case for a CD drive, so you'll need to put the drive in an external SCSI case and then connect it to the A3000's SCSI port. Some quick eBay searching shows that these are fairly expensive these days. Maybe check with your university's IT department to see if they might have an old one kicking around? this is the sort of thing you'll want to look for.

4. OS upgrade. Do you have 3.1 or 2.x installed currently? If it's 2.x, you'll also need a new 3.1 Kickstart ROM.

5. In case you're not aware, the clock batteries in Amigas tend to leak after a long period of time, causing damage to the motherboard. In the 3000, the proximity of a leaky battery to the video circuitry can sometimes cause display problems. Hopefully this isn't your problem, but it's worth checking your battery just to be safe. If you don't have any cards installed in your 3000, it's as simple as popping off the case cover (remember to take antistatic precautions). With the machine facing front and looking at it from the top, the battery is the horizontal barrel shaped thing (usually blue or green, sometimes red) halfway up the board near the left edge. Here is an example. If you see any white powdery stuff near the battery, let us know and we'll advise on removal.

6. Not sure what could be going on with your floppy drive, but hopefully it's not too complicated. A good first step would be to try cleaning it. I once put a moldy old disk into my drive and it caused all sorts of read-write errors afterward. After a few rounds with the cleaning disk all was well. If you do end up replacing the drive, make sure to save the eject button!

I'm assuming your power and disk LEDs are no longer lighting? I have the same problem on my 3000 - the little board that contains these LEDs is incredibly fragile and is easily damaged, breaking the circuit. Replacement boards are extremely rare, but the circuit is incredibly simple. It should be possible to bypass the broken traces with some jumper wire.


I hope this is a helpful start! If you post a new thread in the Hardware sub forum it should attract some more attention. Hopefully we can get you fixed up!
 

Offline Aristotle

Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 09:26:01 PM »
Yes, I do get the impression that there is more Amiga activity in GB and Germany. I already have a SCSI cd drive, well, actually I have two of them. It's connecting things like that which I have trouble with. I know this requires me to do things on the motherboard to get it to work. I have 16 mg of ram; so I guess I would need a card. I do not know what video/graphics card I have, and though I know how to find out with an x86 machine I don't on an amiga. I just know that when I see images online of the amiga stuff of other ppl there's looks a lot better than mine; I mean their video output does. I want mine to get that kind of output and screen image. My battery was already replaced long ago and shows no acid on the motherboard. Ok, I'll try posting on the hardware forum, I guess, and see if anyone there is interested in earning a little money.
 

Offline danbeaver

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Re: Novice Amiga user
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2015, 09:58:52 PM »
Amiga.org is has larger domestic following than EAB which is European, so repairs and parts will be higher due to shipping. This site has a few users that express their daily need for sarcasm and humor, but contains just as many people capable of providing help, repair advice, Amiga parts, and actual repairs as the touted other site.

As noted in the private message sent when I posted my earlier reply, there are answers, parts, and advice readily available (parts may not be free).

Let me run some numbers based on Matt's post:

Quote from: Matt_H;788789
EAB is global. There are a couple of other Amiga users in Texas who I think are members both here and there, but I don't know how close they are to Houston. Unfortunately, most Amiga repairs these days are either DIY or send-overseas.

Anyway, we can start looking into some of your problems:

1. Graphics card. The first challenge with installing a graphics card is finding one! They're not common these days and tend to be rather expensive. Do you have one already? Cost $100 - $200 USD

2. RAM. What do you have currently? The A3000 motherboard can take 16MB of Fast RAM and 2MB of Chip RAM. Cost <$100 USD for ZIP RAM. To get more, you need a CPU board with RAM slots, which can add up to 128MB more, or a Zorro-slot RAM expansion, which adds 128MB or 256MB. Cost $100 - $125 USD. I think the slot-based expansions require a revision 11 Buster chip. Cost $20 USD

3. There's no room in the A3000 case for a CD drive, so you'll need to put the drive in an external SCSI case and then connect it to the A3000's SCSI port. Cost $50 to 75 USD. Some quick eBay searching shows that these are fairly expensive these days. Maybe check with your university's IT department to see if they might have an old one kicking around? this is the sort of thing you'll want to look for.

4. OS upgrade. Do you have 3.1 or 2.x installed currently? If it's 2.x, you'll also need a new 3.1 Kickstart ROM. Cost <$30 USD.

5. In case you're not aware, the clock batteries in Amigas tend to leak after a long period of time, causing damage to the motherboard. In the 3000, the proximity of a leaky battery to the video circuitry can sometimes cause display problems. Hopefully this isn't your problem, but it's worth checking your battery just to be safe. If you don't have any cards installed in your 3000, it's as simple as popping off the case cover (remember to take antistatic precautions). With the machine facing front and looking at it from the top, the battery is the horizontal barrel shaped thing (usually blue or green, sometimes red) halfway up the board near the left edge. Here is an example. If you see any white powdery stuff near the battery, let us know and we'll advise on removal. Cost to remove ~ nothing; repair to the motherboard if there is damage $200+

6. Not sure what could be going on with your floppy drive, but hopefully it's not too complicated. A good first step would be to try cleaning it. Cost Free I once put a moldy old disk into my drive and it caused all sorts of read-write errors afterward. After a few rounds with the cleaning disk all was well. The old one can be aligned by someone with simple tools; cost likely free. If you do end up replacing the drive, make sure to save the eject button! Since a used A500 drive fits (but has wrong eject button, vide supra) Cost $25 to replace

I'm assuming your power and disk LEDs are no longer lighting? I have the same problem on my 3000 - the little board that contains these LEDs is incredibly fragile and is easily damaged, breaking the circuit. Replacement boards are extremely rare, but the circuit is incredibly simple. It should be possible to bypass the broken traces with some jumper wire. Cost to repair, likely free.


I hope this is a helpful start! If you post a new thread in the Hardware sub forum it should attract some more attention. Hopefully we can get you fixed up!

I know that the A3000 is a sexy beast, but once the case is removed she has vicious teeth ready to draw "First Blood."

Your video issue may not be just reseating the chips as battery damage dissolves the copper traces in this area.