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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:17 pm

Last night I hosted the 21st meeting of the SEA-CCC. We had a great showing with lots of good friends a good times, as is always the case. It's one day out of every month we all are allowed to get our nerd on around like-minded souls. It keeps us young.

I took a ton of hardware (my back!). I brought my C128Dcr and 19092A with Ultimate1541 cart. We checked out the brand new game Millie and Mollie by Carleton Handley.
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Millie and Mollie is a fun new puzzler for C64. Check it out!

We also watched member Ron defeat L'Abbaye des Morts in just a few minutes, which was great fun to witness. He completely mastered it in just a couple of days. His game flow is so refined now he actually skips one of the screens entirely to save time. Finally we wrapped things up with David's Midnight Magic and Fort Apocalypse.

Club member Dan brought a large collection of 8-bit focused magazines. To my astonishment, I pulled out a very special issue of RUN, which I instantly remembered seeing before (look at the mag on her shelf).
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This distinctive cover scratched my brain cells big time.

I quickly thumbed to the Table of Contents and scanned for Margaret Morabito's name. Then I found it, and flipped to page 80. And there it was - so very cool! One of her in-depth articles on the C128.
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I interviewed Margaret last year about her history with the Commodore 128 and her time at RUN magazine. She was so gracious; it was a total thrill.

I also brought my beloved A3000 for some work. My friend (and site member) Christian got a GAL programmer and wanted to swap out 4 of my PALs with brand new GAL chips. The four chips in question were U202, U203, U701 and U714.

He wanted to exchange those on my machine for multiple reasons. Most importantly the old PALs consume more power than the newer GALs, and the old versions are also prone to overheating and crashing. The new chips cut about 0.5A on the +5V rail. This is key to helping to keep the machine cooler. It also reduces the draw on the power supply as I expand things over time.
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The chips with the paint pen labels are the new ones.

Those got swapped, and after each new chip was put into place we cycled power to make sure all was well - and it was! With my low-power and quiet fan, SCSI2SD and now these GALs, my 3000 might be able to run off solar. Hah!

Next he installed the proper 1A Polyswitch fuse, which in theory should correct my A3000's SCSI term power circuit as well as the TermPWR diode. These were incorrectly installed by Commodore in many machines - and that includes mine. This very well may explain why my external SCSI port would not function properly when I hooked up SCSI devices. It would explain a lot. I will test that fix later this week and report back.
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Christian is a master of the soldering iron. That is not an understatement. I just step to the side and hope osmosis gives me some of that mojo.

To my shock and horror, when I took the top case off my A3000 I discovered the area I cleaned around the previous VARTA battery had begun to lightly corrode around a nearby resistor. I couldn't believe it! I had worked on that area last year for quite some time taking my time cleaning a fairly large swath of the motherboard.
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I thought I'd really cleaned this area thoroughly last year. Those little resistor legs seemed to suggest I'd missed a grain if acidic dust. It's possibly it was just uplifted mask, but we didn't take any chances.

Regardless, that area was dealt with again. I need to use an overcoat pen and cover up the exposed metal to hopefully not have to think about that area again.

Christian then painstakingly removed the corroded posts from my motherboard from the previous battery (not easy to do) and soldered the new battery in. This was a very time consuming process but it all works great now.

We also all stood around and ooh'd and aah'd briefly at my 3000's special 1.4 hidden beta screen.
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This interesting 1.4 beta exp came shipped on my A3000 from the factory this way. You can only access it by clicking on an invisible box in the upper left hand corner of a boot selection screen special to this machine.

Finally, after showing the club how I could boot into either 1.3 or 2.0 - using the ROM Tower as it was shipped from the factory - Christian showed me how to change the boot priority of my partitions so I could make the 3000 boot into 1.3 instead of 2.0 as the default, which was completely rad. I never would have thought to do that.

While he didn't entirely approve of making the 3000 default 1.3 for me, he understood my reasons. So now I'm one big time happy camper!
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Look upon the 16MB of on-board RAM, ya'll. Mm-mm good!

I just need to test my SCSI tonight, and if all goes well I think my 3000 might be good to go for the foreseeable future.

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BloodyCactus
Lexington VA
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Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 1:35 pm

very cool stuff.. Your A3K probably has corrosion between the layers if it has come back from nowhere, thats a shame.. it could be on borrowed time. good thing you have a new made one!

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
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Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:39 pm

@BloodyCactus I think it was trapped under the mask. But Christian desoldered the resistor that looked sketch, scraped everything down to the metal, then resoldered it back in place.

She looks really shiny and new.

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:25 pm

There was one other amazing machine on display last night. Another member, Chris, brought a heavily modded A500 with GoTek FDD. What was amazing about it was he hacked into the video on the 500, and when he used his FDD it would do a sort of GenLock effect on the screen so he could see the GoTek's UI - right there on his monitor overlayed on top of whatever he else was on-screen. It would float above Workbench, games - whatever - and then turn off after 10 seconds or something like that. It was one of the neatest and most ingenious mods I've seen in a very long time.

I'll try to take pics or video of it in the future. It's hard to describe and will blow your socks off, guys.

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Crazyeights

Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:34 pm

Is there any way that you can get some more info on the Go-Tek screen mods? I would really be interested. BTW your machines look great. I am local and would really enjoy coming to your meet sometime.

Thanks Again!

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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA
Website

Posted Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:42 pm

Is there any way that you can get some more info on the Go-Tek screen mods? I would really be interested. BTW your machines look great. I am local and would really enjoy coming to your meet sometime.
Hey! All you need to do on attending is shoot over to sea-ccc.org and have me add you to the email list. During each month I send out a handful of emails about dates, times, hardware I'm expecting, etc.

And yes, I'll try to get more info on that wild mod Chris made on his 500. It was kinda sci-fi, to be honest.

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chris.henkel

Posted Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:27 am

Crazyeights wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 7:34 pm
Is there any way that you can get some more info on the Go-Tek screen mods? I would really be interested.
I use FlashFloppy on my Gotek drives. I installed the OSD mod.

FlashFloppy on Github





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