In the next few weeks I shall be looking at setting up a yahoo email account on an Amiga 3000 and Micro AmigaOne running OS4.1
After learning recently that my Yam guide had failed a fellow Amigan, I have decided to get the proverbial finger out and cover setting up email more thoroughly.
If anyone has any questions or would like me to cover something specific, please feel free to send in a message. I would love to hear from you!
So until next time, keep on geeking!
Saturday saw yet another congregation of the Lincolnshire Amiga Group, 11 people where able to make it this time round, which isn’t a shabby turn out at all.
While my girlfriend took along her trusty A600 for a session of point & click adventuring, I’d brought along my Amiga 3000 still needing attention and my micro AmigaOne with freshly installed 512mb SDRAM. This time around it finally seemed to be working, unlike last time, when the ram I bought produced errors while surfing the net. Just as I had been warned, the Au1 is a picky little bugger when it comes to ram. Hopefully this time I’ve found a stick of SDRAM that will work. While sitting beside my GF who was enjoying a game of Monkey Island II, I realised after all the time spent setting up the Au1 so that it was working with all the right apps, had completely neglecting the subject of games. This left me sitting at LAG without a game to play. Luckily I had packed my A1200 which had one or two games on the HDD, “UFO: Enemy unknown” being one of them and also one of my favourite Amiga games. Ok I might keep getting wiped out by the Aliens, but there’s something about the isometric game which I find very appealing. I’ve tried playing other newer incarnations of the game, but frankly nothing beats the original for me.
One of the reason I had took along the A3000 was in the hope Gaz would be able to give it a looking over. The man knows a heck of a lot more than I do about the A3000, not surprising when I’ve hardly had one more than two years. In anticipation of meeting up with him, I had printed out the pin configurations for the A3k. My plan was to return the A3000 to its stock settings and then slowly add hardware a piece at a time. Getting it to even boot would be a result, given it would turn on and display nothing at all, except a blank screen!
The last time the A3k had worked, was prior to installing an A3640 processor card and a brand new ZoRAM 128mb card. After installing the two cards, the power supply in my aging A3000 finally decided it had enough and decided to pop, perhaps taking offence to being asked to power more demanding hardware. A bright spark and puff of smoke and the PSU was toast, leaving me with a major problem. Where the heck was I meant to find a replacement? I couldn’t really phone Commodore for technical support. Fortunately I was in luck, some boffin had worked out how to use a modern ATX power supply in an A3000 and A4000. Glancing at the how-to, it was unlike any project I had taken on before. Now I will take on most things for the hell of it, but playing about with the guts of 240v power supplies and transformers just makes my spider sense tingle. Thoroughly convinced I was going to electrocute myself or fry my Amiga. I spoke to Gaz, who was more than willing to help me rewire a PSU at the next LAG. In the mean time I found a mini ATX psu, the sort found in Compaq and Dell compact office computers. By all counts, it looked like it would fit inside my existing A3k PSU casing, which would keep the Amiga looking original.
After a lot of help from Gaz, the new PSU was up and working, with only a few wires left for me to tidy up, the more hazardous work having been done already. Installing the new PSU in the A3k, I was actually rather nervous, the explosive memory of the old PSU was still in my mind. So I donned a set of insulated gloves before switching the A3k on. With a whir of the fan and a blink of the front LED the Amiga powered on. Except it wasn’t booting from the hard disk drive or posting an image on the screen. Something was up and this time it wasn’t the power supply.
Now we fast forward to LAG 31, remember I wasn’t playing games? Right well instead of a romp of Monkey Island 2, I decided more fun would be had taking the A3000 apart, because that just how rock and roll I am!
Dragging Gaz away from his machine and sitting him in front of the A3000, I explained what I’d done so far and my plan with the jumpers. The print out really wasn’t needed, as he poked his head in the Amiga and adjusted most of the jumpers from memory. See? I told you he knew more about the A3k then I did, any doubters should get to the back of the class.
Switching on the machine I held my breath, a few moments passed then finally the screen came to life! Hurray! My Amiga was alive! It had narrowly dodged becoming a glorified paper weight on the shelf. One after the other we slowly installed the zorro cards until the machine was up and working with my Picasso II video card, X-surf network adaptor and 128mb ZoRAM memory expansion. The new psu was handling everything that was thrown at it, in addition the inside of the Amiga looked no different to any other A3000, aside from a few shrink wrapped wires. Overall I think this mod / repair scores an awesome on my fix-o-meter!
A big thank you has to go out to Gaz for all his help, Rockape for the A3640 and several guys on the Amiga.org forum, who kindly pointed me in the direction of the jumper settings for the A3000 motherboard.
(Written on an Macintosh Plus with 4mb ram & 500mb Hard disk.)
July 27, 2012
In last weeks blog we saw an awful lot about the Amiga, well I’m happy to reveal today’s blog is a continuation of the same theme. For the past week I have dragged the A3000 out from mothballs for a shake down and setup. After attending the last meeting of the Lincolnshire Amiga Group, I’d spent the best part of that event installing Workbench 3.9, MUI and MiamiDX. All in preparation for getting the A3k online. However as with anything, life got in the way and the A3k was put on a back burner until i had the time to work on it some more. Over the past year since receiving the A3000, I’ve upgraded the fast ram to 16mb and also installed a Zorro II Picasso II video card and X-surf network card . A lot of upgrades for a little computer. My intention was to make the A3000 a useful desktop computer. Which all these upgrades have gone a long way to fulfilling.
Over the past week, I have discovered the A3000’s stock 030/25mhz CPU is sadly holding the system back, even drawing the icon’s in Workbench is a slow process to witness. No where near as snappy as my A1200 /030 or my A1200T with it’s Blizzard 060/50. Something has to be done, which is why I’m hoping in the next few weeks to have an A3640 CPU board installed in the A3000. Before some of you start nodding your heads and saying what a great idea. This excellent plan does have one slight niggle. You may recall earlier when I mentioned the memory upgrade. This upgrade happens to goes pretty much where the CPU card needs to be installed. Which means, I can either have 16mb of ram or an 040 processor.
Unless that is, I can come up with a solution. Amigakit do happen to sell a ram Zorro II board with 128mb of ram. The down side is that like any new Amiga hardware, it’s rather pricey at £75!
I’ll be sure to post back more about this as it develops
In other news, the BBC micro has sadly developed a fault, which could be a faulty ram module. Sadly determining exactly was is wrong and fixing it, is proving extremely difficult. The BBC might be a simple computer by today’s standards, however the microchips and circuits which make up the workings of the computer are still complex when it comes to understanding faults when they occur. At least the fault should be repairable, which is certainly more then one could do if a modern computer developed the same symptoms. Modern computers are repairable only on the most limited scale, promoting a more remove and replace policy. If the BBC proves to costly to repair, the A3000 will most likely replace it as the ByteMyVDU workhorse. Which is providing today’s blog as it happens, using Final Copy. It has to be said typing with FC is certainly a lot easier then using Wordwise on the BBC. One thing I did find difficult on the BBC was typing, the keyboard is laid out differently to a normal Amiga or PC keyboard and takes a moment to adjust to. In last weeks blog I typed the blog out on the Nomad via an Amiga Emulator. Strangely enough the overall display and experience isn’t that different. However unlike the Nomad, getting blogs online is a little easier via its internet connection, without the need for ADF’s or ADF extraction software.
Amiga Emulators are great, the serve a purpose. If you want the true Amiga experience, get yourself an Amiga. They can be picked up for as little as £5-10 and are worth every penny for a trip to nostalgia land.
In recent weeks I have been playing around with my new A3000 which came in to my possession last year. I’ve always had a soft spot for the trusty desktop computer, not the modern 90’s PC rubbish, but more the vintage AT/XT variety. So when I got my hands on my first deskop, the cog’s began to whirl and a new project was born. One of my main goals is to make this an email and IRC chat machine. For that i have an Zorro Network card, which i hope when i have MUI sorted out will be all up and running (MUI is needed to install MiamiDX).
The next issue I wanted to address is the yellowing, the A3000 is a lovely machine to behold in is natural colour. 20+ years of harmful UV rays cause a chemical reaction within the ABS plastic, that causes it to yellow. Many people have in the past resorted to painting their machines, in an attempt to restore there original colour. This can pose a problem if it’s your keyboard thats become the victim of yellowing.
This tanning effect, was discovered to be caused by “Bromine” one of the chemical elements used in TBBP-A ( tetrabromobisphenol-A ) during the 80’s and 90’s as a fire retardant in ABS plastic. Untreated, ABS plastic’s are flammable. Which is not a good combination when put with electronics.
Explaining the entire chemical reaction would take a lot of space. So I highly recommend the inquisitive reader look on the Retr0brite wiki page for a more thorough explanation.
Credit should be given to David Stevenson, the man behind the Retr0brite project, not to mention the many other people who have contributed to the research and development.
Within the coming week I shall be experimenting with Retr0brite, at first testing the formula on a defunct Macintosh Plus. The one mentioned previously on this blog. As the Macintosh and Amiga’s share aesthetic similarities, it will make a good test subject before i attempt to lighten the A3000.
It should be pointed out that Retr0brite does not prevent future yellowing. What can happen once, can happen again. Such is the degrading effects of UV Sun light on TBBP-A molecules. One method I understand to work. Is to spray your restored plastics in clear enamel. I personally intend to coat my A3000 with matt varnish. Thus encapsulating the plastic and starving the Bromine of oxygen. Only time will tell if this actually works.
Today i ordered a 1ltr bottle of 12% liquid peroxide, I have already purchased a tub of Oxi powder and now only need a UV black light and packet of wallpaper paste. This does not sound like a computer repair at all does it? Wallpaper paste!?? Am i decorating the Amiga? No, the paste will act as a thickening agent to allow the solution to be applied by brush. Previously when using Retr0brite, you would need to submerge your plastic in a bath of liquid. But subsequent work has now been done, which has developed a more convenient paste.
Fingers crossed, i shall post my progress on this interesting experiment!
Recently I have been looking at the AROS Research Operating System. As some of my readers will know, i do like my Amiga’s. I currently on the look out for a new video card for my A3000. When i find one, expect to see a review of the installation. In the mean time, i thought it was about time i sampled the newer Amiga inspired operating systems. Especially after using the Amiga 1200 online and discovering how limited my browsing was with the dated Ibrowse software.
So in the coming week i plan to try out the AROS liveCD on the Nomad and see how we get one 😀