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Reply to topic GDR Forum Index -> Game Developer's Refuge -> Development Gear (Commodore 64, NES, and more) Page Previous  1, 2
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 17, 2017 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rise from your grave !!!

Hey look! A thread from 9 years ago. ;)

* * *

Back then the "cool" device was the MMC2IEC. Nobody uses the MMC device anymore. They use the SD2IEC (for SD card) instead.

Quick eBaying shows there are a few options available (just type SD2IEC in search). There are the neat ones that look like tiny floppy drives.



And there are these slightly cheaper ones in colored cases.



There's even a version on eBay that plugs in flush to the back of the system (no wires needed).



* * *

I eventually did buy a 1541 Ultimate. Very expensive, but it does everything.

http://www.1541ultimate.net

Looks like there's a new model of this out now with built-in Ethernet and such.

* * *

What lead me back to the SD2IEC adapter was this.

https://www.thefuturewas8bit.com/shop/commodore/pu-vic20.html



This little addon cart for the VIC-20.

It includes 40 ROMs on the cart, but more importantly, it adds 35 KB of RAM. When combined with a SD2IEC adapter, it can be used to play nearly any game. Fancy.

* * *

This lead me down a rathole, where I discovered this WiFi modem for the C64.



And this funky little device that lets you attach a PC floppy drive to it, and backup pretty-much any kind of disk to an image (written to an SD card).



https://www.cbmstuff.com/cart.php

https://www.cbmstuff.com/categories.php

Neat.
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Edited by PoV on Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:46 pm; edited 1 time
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Sirocco
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 3:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

By god, I want all of that.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And now that I'm looking in to AMIGA's, here's what I've found.

I'm going to start with a general Amiga overview.

* * *

Practically speaking, for "our" uses there are a few that make the most sense:

- A500 Series (A500, A500+, A600)
- A1200 Series (A1200)

Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi_nQXWYr-M

The models mentioned above are C64 style with integrated keyboard and floppy. Most others are proper PC style, and are generally not as compact or portable as the above (they'll do if that's all you can find). That said, the original Amiga (i.e. the A1000) lacks a boot ROM, so you need to insert a floppy before use (i.e. this is NOT ideal).



Common to almost all Amiga, you're going to need a cable to adapt the video signal. Amiga's use an uncommon 23 pin D-SUB connector for video out (25 pin are what PC parallel ports typically use, so sometimes those get hacked to fit). On the 23 pin connector are signals for Component video (Yellow RCA), and raw RGB (SCART). There's some oddities with the sync too, but the typical way to modernize an Amiga is to hook an Amiga to SCART cable to a SCART (RGB) to HDMI adapter. SCART as a standard also supports Composite video, so you need to be careful that the SCART to HDMI connector you're buying is RGB.

Or just buy an Amiga monitor. *shrug*

Here's a further breakdown of the ideal models:

- A500
--- 68000 CPU
--- 512 KB RAM (upgradable to 1 MB, but *MAY* already include the upgrade)
--- Zorro Connector (replaced by PCMCIA in later models)
--- No IDE connector for HDD
--- No PCMCIA connector
--- The "standard" Amiga

- A500+
--- 68000 CPU with "Enhanced" Chipset
--- 1 MB RAM
--- Zorro connector (replaced by PCMCIA in later models)
--- WARNING: Has a backup battery that is prone to leaking (remove immediately, replace when you can).
--- No IDE connector for HDD
--- No PCMCIA connector
--- The "Improved" Amiga (with potentially common battery leak damage)

- A600
--- 68000 CPU with "Enhanced" Chipset
--- 1 MB RAM
--- IDE Connector for HDD
--- PCMCIA connector
--- No numeric keypad
--- The "smallest" Amiga, with the benefits of next generation Amigas :)

- A1200
--- 68020 CPU with "Advanced" Chipset
--- 2 MB RAM
--- 8 bit color
--- IDE Connector for HDD
--- PCMCIA connector
--- The true "2nd gen", or sequel to the Amiga

In general, the above Amiga's are backwards compatible in the order they appear. There is a recorded history of compatibility oddities, but most software issues are because older software expected older firmwares (and there are clever ways to switch to them using modern upgrades).

The A1200 is the most modern of the bunch, with a faster CPU and better color fidelity. There are newer better Amiga's, but they use larger PC style cases. The 4 above are the COOL Amiga's (though the CD32 is cool for being the one Amiga with real video outputs, a CD-ROM, but original CPU).

I think that about covers what Amiga are ideal (because ideal to me is like the C64).
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amigakit seems to be the home of most of your Amiga needs.

http://amigakit.amiga.store/catalog/amiga-shop.php

If you have the A500, there's the RAM upgrade. It basically just means better software compatibility.



The Amigakit RAM upgrade has an optional battery backed up clock too. I'm sure clocks matter more when you're using an Amiga for productivity (i.e. making sure file time is incremental). Probably not important to what we'd do with it, but piece of mind if you have it. I've seen another A500 clock adapter that plugs elsewhere in to the board by piggybacking one of the chips. *shrug*

STORAGE

Floppy disks are old. If you luck-out and get one of the newer models (A600, A1200), you can hook up one of these:



i.e. an Compact Flash IDE adapter. Quite inexpensive, and makes things much better.

The other option is replacing the Floppy Drive with a Floppy Drive Emulator (or Gotek):



These can be found for under $20 on Aliexpress (more elsewhere). You need to flash a new firmware to it using a USB serial adapter (which can be found for a couple dollars on AliExpress). You can pay more money for a pre-flashed unit, but being able to flash your unit yourself has benefits. The downside is one you flash your unit, the firmware is lost (and I was unable to find the default firmware anywhere). These devices appear to be highly compatible with MIDI keyboards and things with built-in floppy drives (I have a SNES flash cart with a floppy drive I'm curious to try it on). The guts are a 32bit ARM processor with DMA features running at 70'ish MHz, so it's quite a versatile little box for all your floppy drive replacement needs.

There's also something called the HXC Floppy Emulator.



http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=13

Lets you plug in an SD card, but it costs more.

Interesting, the creator of HXC sells a custom firmware for the cheap Gotek drives above:

http://hxc2001.com/store/index.html

Supports a variety of other retro computers including the Atari ST and Tandy.


Then there's this for the A500 (and A500+):



https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/product/aca500.html

Not ideal since it sticks out the side (Zorro connector), but it's pretty insane. It upgrades the CPU of the Amiga 500, gives you 2 slots for Compact Flash cards (Boot ROM, HDD), 2 MB of RAM, and even lets you attach an additional addon card to effectively make it in to a better A1200.

Unfortunately the ACA500 is actually discontinued, replaced with this:



https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/product/ACA500plus.html

I can't find a better photo, but in general it's visually the same thing. This photo shows what it looks like with the ACA12xx card attached (i.e. the thing that makes it like an A1200, but better). 8 MB of RAM this time, and a long list of other niceties.

If I'm reading correctly, this combined with the ACA12xx card basically turns an A500 in to one of the fastest possible Amiga (it's quite literally using the rest of the Amiga as IO).
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OTHER

Here's an adapter that can convert any USB mouse in to something compatible with Amiga 9 PIN connectors.



They seem to be around $6 on eBay.


Most Amiga, especially the A500 ship with an older Kickstart ROM (1.2 or 1.3). You can buy a replacement chip that includes the 3.1 Kickstart ROM.



http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=157

I've seen it mentioned that the Hard Drive upgrades need this as a minimum. Not sure what other benefits it has.


Though there are other ways to handle switch ROMs (i.e. hard drive cleverness), you can also get this which lets you push a combination of keys to change which Kickstart ROM chip you want to use.



http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=947

A 2nd source for a similar device:

https://www.cbmstuff.com/proddetail.php?prod=Kickstart


As mentioned, a video cable is almost necessary.



The SCART cables come in different lengths (sizes listen in meters, where 1 meter is roughly similar to a yard).

1.5 M - http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=226
3.0 M - http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1087
4.8 M - http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=778

You then need to pair it with one of these.



After much digging, the above is the least expensive SCART RGB to HDMI adapter you can buy. There are cheaper adapters, but they are SCART Composite, not RGB.



This here is ONE OF THE BAD ONES.

As far as I know, Aliexpress has the best price for both of these (even the bad one).

You need to be careful when buying adapters on AliExpress. A lot of the time you'll accidentally find the reverse adapters for cheaper (i.e. HDMI to SCART) in place of the desired adapter (SCART to HDMI). I made this mistake with Composite video. ;)


Another video option is this, an Amiga to VGA adapter.



http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=183

Unfortunately thought, it requires syncing to 15 Hz, which is something only a CRT might be able to these days.


A more expensive option is this VGA mod chip.



http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=918

THIS will allow you to hook an LCD Monitor up to the Amiga (and I assume do proper video capture).


S-Video: http://electronics.chroma.se/svideo.php

http://retro.68k.pl/2016/12/09/amiga-rgb-to-buffered-vga-composite-and-s-video/


PCMCIA

I wont bother listing these, but in general if you have an Amiga with one of these, you win. You can get nice features like an Ethernet adapter, or PCMCIA to Compact Flash card reader/writer, which is ideal for copying files between your PC and your Amiga.


I think that's everything worth considering. There are of course other more niche things, but these seemed like the most common/useful for someone looking to turn an Amiga in to something usable today.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh I guess it was this thread I should have said I have an SD2IEC adapter in. Ah well.
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PoV
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Floppy Copy with the 1541 Ultimate.

https://devdef.blogspot.ca/2014/11/1541-ultimate-guide-4-floppy-copy.html
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