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Kamekone

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:17 am

Greetings, I'd like to start by saying I was directed here by the kind folks over on r/Amiga, over a thread asking for advice.

To summarize: I bought an A3000 for a steal, came with most everything... but the unit needs some work, the Floppy Disk Drive is damaged, it also has 2 HDDs and I'm certain neither of them work. It also has a problem displaying the whole screen on normal bootup, it attempts to detect something from the second scsi unit (suggested to be a non-existant CD-Rom Drive by a Redditor) but fails.

I'm simply attempting to get this thing in working shape, I made good on what little I know about Amiga Computers, I made sure to remove the battery and carefully clean the traces with a brush and neutralize any corrosion.

Taking suggestions from others I have booted it into AmigaDOS and discovered that it's running some version of AmigaOS 3.9, I made sure to order a CD-ROM Drive and I'm working on procuring a Floppy Disk Drive that would be compatible.

I'm currently trying to find someone who does repair in the United States (preferably the East Coast where I live), but in the mean time I'd like any suggestions on what I can do to fix this unit on my own, or at the very least improve it, or the parts I'd need for whoever is repairing it.

Pictures

Startup on VGA

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:44 am

Woah - they painted it black? Interesting... I suppose you could try and hunt down a CDTV black keyboard. That might look cool together.

In any case, there are few folks here that could probably assist you. That green at the beginning sometimes means you've got a RAM error of some sort.

I kinda wonder...

I think if it were me and I didn't know a lot about Amiga in general, I'd try to get the machine down to 3.1 just to get my bearings. If you think that machine is running WB 3.9, I think that means you've got 3.1 Kickstart ROMs. If you got ahold of a WB 3.1 set of disks (and your floppy drive worked) you could launch WB right from disk and bypass the hard drive altogether. That would allow you to get down to the Startup Sequence on the drive and potentially comment out whatever is gumming it up. It's hard to tell from afar, but it's possible that hard drive actually works but due to missing devices and video settings it's all confused.

If it were mine, I'd try to start over and 'down grade' it to 3.1. I'll let some of the hardware/OS gurus chime in, though.

User avatar
Kamekone

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:57 am

intric8 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:44 am
Woah - they painted it black? Interesting... I suppose you could try and hunt down a CDTV black keyboard. That might look cool together.
NGL kinda thinking about priming the rest black and putting a proper Amiga Logo on it all nice and 3D printed, also fixing that bottom bit and the Floppy Disk space.

But barring cosmetic fixes, the most important thing right now is the Hardware, when you say 3.1 disks do you mean ones like these? It did not come with Disks, other than Page Stream and Deluxe Paint III, and the Floppy Disk Drive ain't really an option until I can find one, so I'm a little SOL when it comes to trying to boot from disk, as for a CD-ROM its on its way so hopefully I'll get some relief with that.

OH! and some OS info, uploaded this just a second ago.

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:03 pm

when you say 3.1 disks do you mean ones like these?
Yes, exactly. I would confirm you have 3.1 KS ROMs which are not easy to get to, but you should be able to see them if you look underneath where the hard drive sits. The 3000 uses two of them. Ideally there will be a sticker on the top of them stating their version number.

Once you confirm that's what you are dealing with you could get the Workbench disks (which is just the desktop operating system). The Kickstart ROMs are basically like firmware.

That's just me and what I'd do. But regardless I think you still have to get a functional floppy drive. I picked up 2 A3000 floppies last year on Ebay for very reasonable prices (IMO) and they work great. it's possible yours just needs the heads cleaned.

Does your floppy drive repeatedly "click" when the power is on? Every couple of seconds a repetitive soft "clunk" sound? If so, you could be in business.

User avatar
Kamekone

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:19 pm

I have heard rumblings of a 'click of death', no, I have heard no such thing just the fan and a the typical hum I should think it would make, seems rather dead though.

Any recommendations on a compatible brand of Floppy drive?

User avatar
intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:11 pm

I have heard rumblings of a 'click of death', no, I have heard no such thing
So in the Amiga world, hearing that repetitive click is actually a sign of good health. The "click of death" is usually reserved for some faulty Iomega Zip Drives, iirc. If your drive isn't making any clicking noises at all every few seconds, it either isn't getting power or it is indeed dead.

The drives are tricky. You either replace what you've got in there with the exact same brand and number (I'm guessing you have a Chinon drive, Chinon FB-354?) or you modify a PC one, which can require some surgery.

IIRC, the A2000 and A3000 floppy drives are the same. The only difference is the plastic eject button, which you already have. You would simply pluck your button off that dead drive and fit it onto the replacement.

User avatar
Overmann

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm

Hi Kamekone;

Welcome to the forum. I'm the guy at r/Amiga!
There are a couple of things you can do. Intric8's suggestion of getting some Workbench disks and running them is good, and cleaning your floppy drive might very well bring it back to life. Those old drives can be found affordably or they can cost you a kidney. One thing you might try if cleaning the drive and drive heads doesn't work is post on amibay as "want to buy". I know a lot of people are hoarding all sorts of stuff. They might let one go cheap. There are also lot's of resellers that sell modified PC-drives ready for the amiga. I've never had a bad one! Perhaps amigaonthelake has some?

The are roms that you can install that well give you a pretty thourough system checkup:
http://www.diagrom.com/
These can be downloaded and burnt (if you have the tools to do so) or bought online, and they really give extensive info on the health of your system. It might not always be easy to understand the info presented but it's well documented.

Did you try running the VGA output? You can also hold down both mouse buttons on boot and select "boot without startup sequence". Perhaps that gives a steady image? You can also disable the internal HDD that way. Doeing that and booting will jump you right to the "insert floppy"-screen. Does that one look good? Note that there are calibration pots both on the back of the machine (by the VGA port) and on the motherboard, close to the battery) for the VGA output, but there are no such pots for the 15khz signal.

It looks from your pictures that the eject button on your drive ISN'T the one that the A3000 is supposed to have.. The previous owner might have changed the drive for an A500-drive at some point. Those ejectbuttons can be 3D-printed or bought online for very little. :)
And what is that Zorro-card? I don't recall seeing that before.. You might want to take it out and try booting!
And have a VERY close look at the battery underneath.

Just because I'm curious; Is there no way to remove paintjobs like this? I've seen lot's of A1200's painted in all sorts of colors and have stayed clear, but if it's possible to just dip the case in something to disolve the paint? I understand it would probably depend on the paint.. But..?

User avatar
Kamekone

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:02 pm

intric8 wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:03 pm
Once you confirm that's what you are dealing with you could get the Workbench disks (which is just the desktop operating system). The Kickstart ROMs are basically like firmware.

That's just me and what I'd do. But regardless I think you still have to get a functional floppy drive. I picked up 2 A3000 floppies last year on Ebay for very reasonable prices (IMO) and they work great. it's possible yours just needs the heads cleaned.
Would it be more efficent and cost reducing to simply get Workbench 3.1 on a Compact Flash, and get a Compact Flash to SCSI converter? I see those floating around too like this one.

User avatar
Kamekone

Posted Fri Feb 07, 2020 7:19 pm

Overmann wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm
Hi Kamekone;
Welcome to the forum. I'm the guy at r/Amiga!
Good to see you, this has been a very fun endeavour to get this thing running, I am tight on money atm but I'll be paid again soon so I can get to a new batch of items for this thing.
Overmann wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm
Did you try running the VGA output? You can also hold down both mouse buttons on boot and select "boot without startup sequence". Perhaps that gives a steady image? You can also disable the internal HDD that way. Doeing that and booting will jump you right to the "insert floppy"-screen. Does that one look good? Note that there are calibration pots both on the back of the machine (by the VGA port) and on the motherboard, close to the battery) for the VGA output, but there are no such pots for the 15khz signal.
Have it on a VGA with that switch enabled, looking much much better than on the 1084s-d, still experiencing some graphically glitches even on AmigaDOS, a few people have suggested hardware failure or software failure for that. But for now I can enter commands, and a lovely chap over on the subreddit gave me a list of commands to enable, disable, and move things around.
Overmann wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm
It looks from your pictures that the eject button on your drive ISN'T the one that the A3000 is supposed to have.. The previous owner might have changed the drive for an A500-drive at some point. Those ejectbuttons can be 3D-printed or bought online for very little. :)
Based on date/time info I could find this thing was used by the original owner from (at the very least) late 1994 until 2001, it also came with a Security Key plug in to make it so booting up would come to a passworded prompt, that item is in its original box seperate from the unit at this time (the bloody receipt is still in it too).
Overmann wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm
And what is that Zorro-card? I don't recall seeing that before.. You might want to take it out and try booting!
And have a VERY close look at the battery underneath.
I would really prefer someone who does repair to get hands on with this device and talk me through it, not that you all haven't been incredibly helpful, you certainly have! I'm just worried a number of issues can be solved by being 'hands-on' with it, perhaps I should make a video where I dissemble some of it and check information on it to allow everyone offering advice to watch and make some notations of what possible pieces of hardware would need to be changed.
Overmann wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 3:48 pm
Just because I'm curious; Is there no way to remove paintjobs like this? I've seen lot's of A1200's painted in all sorts of colors and have stayed clear, but if it's possible to just dip the case in something to disolve the paint? I understand it would probably depend on the paint.. But..?
You're really going to hate me for this, but deep down in my heart I associate that wonderful beige colour more with the likes of the C64s and the IBM PCs, for nostalgia I would and preservations sake I would certainly love to take it back to that wonderful colour but I do intend on using this machine and I have it on a pretty nice VGA Monitor that I'll probably have it on for the rest of its forseeable life, I'm not totally against the black just the way the previous owner did it... was pretty bad. I would redo it, rebuild it, or have a new 3D printed Chassis whatever the cost in the future.

User avatar
Overmann

Posted Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:43 am

Making a video showing the innards of the machine would be very helpful, or taking some more internal pictures. A lot can be diagnosed just by looking at the thing. But taking the Zorro-card out and having a look underneath is a good next step. Always roll back to stock, and that card is not a HDD controller. It does look like it has ZIP-ram on it (which might be causing trouble if bad) and it does look to have ports (possibly serial or parallell?).

You'll find that lots (most?) folks in the amiga-community do basic repair and maintenance themselves, and some basic steps are agreed opon by most. Rolling back to the most stock setup (no zorro cards, no HDD, no other addons (if there are any) and no external devices) is one of those. Next would be removing expanded memory. The A3000 has 2mb of ram soldered to the board (in all cases I've seen) and the rest of the ram either in zip or dip in sockets. Those can be pulled, and might very well cause quite a bit of headache if some are bad.

If stability-issues or other (graphical) glitches are present even with no Zorro and no HDD then removing memory would be the easiest next step. If problems are still present then more intricate steps are needed (like checking the graphicsmemory, custom chips etc.). But I really cannot stress enough the importance of having a really close inspection of that battery. If it indeed hasn't leaked yet and everything is perfectly fine then removing it is paramount. Corrosion might be very difficult to spot but might cause serious issues. Even badly corroded boards can be repaired but it's beyond most people to do so and if serious repair is needed I highly siggest sending the board to a VERY GOOD repairman/repairlady. Many people do these sorts of repair but fail to properly deal with the batteryleak. Removing all the chips and components in the area, brushing away the solder mask ot expose the copper and properly neutralizing everything is the way to go. It's a time consuming process but not strictly difficult. It's just that many just use vinagre and alcohol without removing chips, sockets and other components and thus not really dealing with the problem.

So I would say removing the Zorro-card and unplugging the HDD (taking closeup pictures of the battery area) and trying to boot straight to the kickstart-screen would be a logical next step. If issues are still there then taking the whole thing apart and giving it a proper clean with isopropol alcohol, removing all socketed ramchips and cleaning the sockets and chips with contact cleaner, and opening the PSU and giving it proper blast of compressed air would be your next steps. :)

EDIT:
And I have to say giving the paintjob a proper overhaul doesn't sound like a bad idea, and a fun project. I look forward to seeing your results. And also, welcome to the rather exclusive A3000-owners club. It's really important that we get that wonderful machine up and running :)

And to try to answer some of your other questions:
Getting Workbench disks is important. An alternative might be to set up a drive on a PC or getting a CF with OS preinstalled, and later making your own floppies, but I would suggest getting a copy of the operating system. And I would suggest getting Workbench 3.1.4 (with kickstart ROMS for the A3000) while your at it. It's a nice stable version and it has lots of nice quality of life improvements compared to 3.1 or 3.9 (if you didn't know, 3.9 is not the most recent version of Workbench. 3.1.4 is).
Getting a SCSI2SD-solution would be very good. SCSI2SD v6 is the fastest, but v5 is also nice. If you have the money for v6 I reccommend that one as v5 is significantly slower then the A3000's internal SCSI-controller is able to go. If you do that then you can set up your HDD on your PC (using WinUAE) before transfering the SD to your A3000. When buying AmigaOS 3.1.4 you get all the digital files needed to run a WinUAE setup that mirrors your actual amiga so it makes things easier.
The A3000 is a machine that really doesn't NEED any upgrades or additional mods to be an awesome machine, but If you want to do some fun things with it then getting an external SCSI CD-rom is nice (make sure terminators are set correctly), and perhaps an extarnal ZIP-drive (makes it easy to boot different operative systems etc.), getting a Zorro-III ethernet controller (xsurf-100 can be upgraded with USB addon, making it an USB and ethernet card). A 030 will be able to handle all amiga-related websites failry easily. Dowloading stuff from Aminet, games from WHDownload and stuff like that is so much easier then transfering by floppies or serial. Getting a 3D-printed A3000 eject button would be nice (even if you can't get the drive working, buying a new one probably won't come with the correct eject-button).





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