Amiga hardware info, help and support with a focus (but not limited to) North American NTSC experiences. Open to all.
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mattsoft

by mattsoft posted Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:52 pm

Since the dawn of time, man has stared up at the night sky and wondered if it was possible to upgrade an Amiga 1000 with 8MB of RAM, a faster CPU, and fast IDE storage -- without compromising the beautiful aesthetic that is the 1000.

Wonder no more.

The 1000 is a great machine, but seriously lacks internal upgrade options. While there are vintage internal CPU and memory upgrades, they are expensive and have no internal "hard drive" option. There are several external hard drives, but no flash memory options.

The ACA500+ is a great option from Individual Computers. Even though it does not technically support the 1000, it does work -- and gives you a nice CPU boost, 8MB fast, and a compact flash "hard drive" for storage. But it dangles off the side like under developed appendage.

The Vampire promises to bring all these things -- but through hardware "emulation". I'm sort of a purist and prefer real hardware.

Along comes the Wicher 500i sporting a 14MHz (minimum) 68000 CPU, 8MB autoconfig fast RAM, and a 600/1200-compatible IDE header.

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But...it's only for the 500/500+ and 2000...or so they say! Looking at the card, it's very small and should fit nicely inside the 1000. Except the boys at Hi-Toro decided to put the 68000 CPU partially under the floppy cage. Ugh.

The solution? A custom CPU offset board. So I fired up PCB Artist and laid out a small offset board. Got the board fabricated out of some cheap-o Malaysian factory, bought some sockets and header pins, and soldered me up an offset board.

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I have so far plugged everything in and...it fits and...the CPU and RAM work perfectly! To get the IDE working, I have to jumper 2 pins on the Wicher to the OVR and INT2 pins on the ZORRO expansion slot. Of course, you also need Kickstart 2.05 or later for IDE to work. I happen to have a "Rejuvenated" 1000 that has Kickstart 3.1 ROM onboard (plus a 1MB "Fat Agnus" so I can play Alien Breed) -- so I should be good to go.

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In the next couple of days I hope to get the IDE working, and will post the results along with pictures. Stay tuned!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:07 pm

Yes yes yes!!! Thank you SO much for this, mattoft. So awesome!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:11 pm

@mattsoft, could you post the links to the place(s) you got the offset board parts? I think I may want to give this a try. I love this solution - keeping things tidy under the hood but more than enough power for virtually anything I'd ever want to do; nothing hanging out of the machine; no destructive mods (all reversible). I just love this. I'd like to follow in your footsteps.
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mattsoft

by mattsoft posted Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:07 am

I soldered 2 headers onto pins 9 and 10 on the side bus and connected the OVR lead to pin 9 and INT2 to pin 10 and ... we have IDE! Woot! I have been able to get her up to 25MHz which is roughly twice the speed of the 1200. Next step is getting a CF card that lays flat (so I can close the case) and replacing these test grabber clips with jumper leads.

RE: the CPU offset board -- I custom made those myself. I have 2 spare boards and will order the DIP64 sockets needed to finish them, then solder and test them. You can have 1. That leaves me with 1 spare if anyone else is interested.

As long as you don't want IDE, it's 100% reversible and non-destructive. Even with IDE, it's only 2 tiny pins I soldered into existing through holes on the edge connector, so it's very clean.

More pictures tomorrow. Time for bed!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:12 am

I'll definitely take you up on your generous offer for the offset board you designed. I'd love to have those skills. Very, very cool, Matt!
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:42 am

The Wicher 500i must have flown off the shelves recently. I tried to get one from Amigastore.eu two nights ago and got placed into a pre-order queue. Hopefully the wait isn't too long.

When I ordered my laser tank mouse from Amigastore.eu in January, 2017, it took over six months for it to finally arrive. Fingers crossed it doesn't take that long this time around, too. Either way the wait was worth it.
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v724UHui.jpg
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intric8
Seattle, WA, USA

by intric8 posted Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:50 am

By the way, I wanted to post this pic for the community here to take a gander. This is a shot mattsoft took of his 1000's SysInfo after completing the initial install. How 'bout them apples?
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W1ajs-t5.jpg
After installing the Wicher's software, mattsoft was able to adjust the speed. He got it to 25 Mhz - over twice as fast as a 1200. At higher speeds things start to freeze. Still - 25 Mhz puts it on par with a 1992 Amiga 3000's CPU.
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LambdaCalculus
New Jersey, USA

by LambdaCalculus posted Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:22 am

The listing for the Wicher 500i on AmigaStore.eu says that it should be available again on 9 October. I hope to be able to order one soon because I'd love to pop an accelerator into my Amiga 500 and also have IDE capability so I can make use of a Workbench 2.1 CF card install.
Own: Amiga 500 (NTSC), Amiga 4000, Amiga 600 (PAL), Mac Mini G4 & iBook G4 (MorphOS), ThinkPad T40 (AROS), R.Pi3 (Amibian)
After: Amiga 1200

https://nostalgiaroadtrip.com
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mattsoft

by mattsoft posted Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:23 pm

I have installed the Wicher software on the Workbench 3.1 CF card and have been able to clock the CPU to 25MHz without issues -- any faster and it locks up. The CPU stays at this speed through soft reboots, but goes back to 14 on a hard reboot:
IMG_2009.jpg

You can set a jumper on the card to lock it at 25MHz or 50MHz. If you remove the jumper on "TURBO ON/OFF", it appears that the fast RAM goes away and I'm down to 10MHz or so. Maybe a switch could be installed on this for those that want an ON/OFF switch?

WHDLoad has been installed and was giving me some serious grief. Some games would load, others didn't. Then I remembered that some CF-IDE interfaces have transfer speed issues. So fired up HDToolBox and changed the max transfer for each partition to 0x1fe00. Rebooted and shazam! WHDLoad works perfect.

I'm so incredibly happy with the Wicher in the 1000. For around $150, it's a tremendous upgrade for the 1000. I still need to get a better CF adapter so I can close the case, but that is next week now.

It will also be difficult getting stuff onto the Amiga when the case is closed now with the CF card stuck inside and all, so I've ordered a PlipBox from Amiga on the Lake. This $50 adapter lets you plug your Amiga (via the parallel port) into your LAN via ethernet. Add the device driver and the Aminet TCP/IP stack and I should be able to get on the Interwebs and my LAN. There appears to be a Samba (SMB) client so I have hopes of mounting my NAS volumes on the 1000. If that works, I will be in heaven. More next week...
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mattsoft

by mattsoft posted Fri Oct 06, 2017 10:25 am

I've had a few people ask me about the CPU relocator board. So, basically it's a very simple PCB I designed using PCB123. I used Silver Circuits to fab the board. It basically just moves the CPU up and left of the floppy drive so you can plug a Wicher or Vampire (yes, the Vampire 500 works in this too) into the 1000 and keep your floppy stock (I love loading floppy disks, I know, I'm weird).

The PCB123 file is attached to this post if you want to order some yourself (minimum order is 4 IIRC from Silver Circuits). If you don't want to order 4, PM me and if I get enough interest, I can order another run and sell them at cost. I don't want to solder all the pins or go into business with this, but can provide you with links to the socket and pins you need.

Here is the file

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