Amiga hardware info, help and support with a focus (but not limited to) North American NTSC experiences. Open to all.
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by oldbull posted Sat Feb 16, 2019 7:50 pm

Q: Why did I buy a refurb floppy drive?

A: Because I still consider myself new to the hobby and wanted to get my A500 working in stock form before adding non-period hardware into the mix.

The drive I received appears to be a PC drive that was modified to work with Amiga. The internal connectors were switched around. Fortunately the power and data cables reached OK. The eject button did not line up with the case hole. I scrounged a spacer in my junk drawer and got that sorted. Several disks don't read in the refurb drive that work just fine in my A1000. The money was not a total waste because I got the machine into Workbench a few times and the times I did boot a game it worked OK. I consider the motherboard now fully validated.

Next step:

I've read some games insist on being in df0. That means replacing the 1.3 ROMS and using the boot menu won't achieve what I want. If I read the description of the ACA500+ correctly, that device has the ability to force an external drive to be seen as df0 and solve my problem for those times when I want to boot from floppy. That expense will have to wait. It's time to tear the A500 apart for a good case scrubbing and repair the rust on the RF shield.
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by rpiguy9907 posted Sat Feb 16, 2019 8:35 pm

Where did you get the refurbished drive from? I’ve wanted to order one from but haven’t yet.
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by oldbull posted Sat Feb 16, 2019 9:38 pm

I got the refurbished drive from
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sat Feb 16, 2019 10:28 pm

I've bought a drive from them and it has worked very well. The only issue I had was with the eject button.

They sent me a 3D printed one and it was a really ugly print, and didn't really fit (i.e. it didn't extend out of the case far enough).

Thankfully my friend Mattsoft is extremely talented in 3d part design and modifications and he made me a new button that actually worked with my setup. simply ignored me when I tried to talk to them about it.

But the drive itself was solid. And it was intended for an A500. It's a Sony drive. Must be the one you got, too?
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by oldbull posted Sat Feb 16, 2019 11:15 pm

I'd have to open the machine up again to see the make of drive. I can tell you the data connector was blue and there was an activity light on the drive itself visible through the slot.

As for the button issue. the drive sat too low in the chassis, I had to put a rubber washer in between the drive and the plastic support post to prop up the drive. Even with the button aligned properly in the case hole, the drive slot barely lines up with the case slot. I need to push the disk down a bit after it clicks in. When ejecting a disk, I need to grab it with two fingers and pull the disk out because the disk drags on the lower edge of the case slot. The combination of bad fit and worse performance is what led me to conclude I was sent a PC floppy drive that was hacked for Amiga.
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Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Sun Feb 17, 2019 10:53 am

led me to conclude I was sent a PC floppy drive that was hacked for Amiga.

I do believe that is indeed what they do. There is a modification folks figured out how to perform in order to use newer PC drives with Amigas. And the surgery isn't exactly simple. It's supposed to be for the 500.

I should point out that I used the drive with my A1000 Phoenix machine, which is completely different than its originally intended use. It took me a long time to get it perfectly aligned. Once I got it, though, it's been very solid.

And I mean I had to tweak it's positioning a ton to get it just right.
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Zippy Zapp

by Zippy Zapp posted Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:01 pm

Hmm, I wonder if that was what Amigakit was selling too. They sell or sold drives for A1200/2000/4000. I am guessing they are also modded PC drives.

Depending on the drive it can be very easy to mod. Some drives actually have jumpers and all you have to do is move a few jumpers and you have a 100% compatible Amiga drive. Others you may have to cut a trace or two and solder a jumper wire here and there. I have a TEAC that has the jumpers and it is set to work with my A2000. It is funny because the faceplate is an off color just like the A2000 case so it matches perfectly.

I have another drive that I modded with a couple of wires and it also works perfectly. There is a website that shows the different drives and the mods you need to do to make them Amiga compat.
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by oldbull posted Mon Mar 18, 2019 10:07 pm

New information:

I took the A500 apart today for a first-pass at cleaning the top half of the case and the keyboard (to the extent possible without removing keys).

Had a random idea to try one of my unused HD floppies from a bulk pack I bought in the 90s. Since my A500 now has a modded PC drive it might work. Problem, I needed my A1000 to make the copy. Oh well, still worth trying. I should stipulate that my A1000 has a third party external floppy, not an official Commodore unit.

Booted the A1000.
Stuck the 20-year-old virgin HD floppy in the external drive.
Format successful.
Diskcopy df0: to df1: successful
Shutdown A1000
A500 booted successfully off the refurb internal floppy drive.
Messed about with various disks and ended up rebooting about 5 times,
The refurb drive in the A500 booted consistently with the HD floppy.

It appears my decision to buy the cheaper external drive for the A1000 all those years ago was the right call. Without that I might not have been able to copy Workbench to an HD floppy.

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