Couple of years ago I picked up my old Amiga computers which I was stored away for since the beginning on the nineties since I was living abroad and moved couple of times over the years. So finally got around to pick up three Amiga 500 and one Amiga 1000.

Stacked Amiga 500 in the garage…

So first step was to check perform hardware inventory to control the status of the various boards and whether it worked our not. In general the boards looked fine with no caps having leaked or indication of going bad (re-cap will be done anyway…). Status was worse for the A501 trap-door memory expansion sitting in all of the systems; they’ve had their fair share of the being exposed for the Varta battery leakage.

Amiga 501 memory expansion killed by Varta

Moving along to test all the system I was actually surprised that all, except one Amiga 500, worked when being powered up. The Amiga 500 that didn’t power up was most likely due to some hold hardware modification related to overclocking the Motorola 68000 CPU to 14MHz since it shows indication of tampering with the Fat Agnus.

Pin on Fat Agnus has been masked due to 14MHz CPU modification.

One of the Amiga 500 also has the Archos AVideo 12 (ColorMaster 12) board which is a nice add on which plugs into the Denise socket.

Archos AVideo 12 plugged into the Denise socket.

The general specification for the board are:

  • works similiar to a genlock – shows its picture where the Amiga picture is black
  • up to 768×580 resolution
  • 1.5 MB video RAM
  • 4096 colours in all resolutions
  • controlled by AVideo, ARexx or CLI commands

I remembered that this board was something I picked up during a meeting with Archos in France based on reseller and distribution discussion that we had with them.

The Amiga 1000 I quickly just tested to see if it worked, which it did, and this beauty also had some small hardware modification such as ICD IDE controller which plugs into the 68000 CPU socket. Remember that I for quite many years used this old Amiga 1000 as my primary work machine up until 1993.

Moving forward how would an Amiga 500 dream machine look like when picking hardware available today then? Based on that one of the system that I have is Amiga 500 Plus (rev 8a board) – this machine would be the obvious donor system for this mod project.

Clearly I want to start with the basic stuff such as ensure that this system gets a new trap door memory expansion to ensure that I maximise the amount of CHIP memory which for the A500 Plus is 2MB .

When looking at different ways to expand the Amiga FAST RAM there are boards that plugs in to the CPU socket but I quickly started to look at acceleration boards as way to expand memory, get IDE controller including Motorola 68030 CPU upgrade as well. Problem is that there are so many different boards available, so I just had to define some basic requirements, where one of them was that I wanted the board to be mounted inside the A500 and not using the left expansion port of A500. Quite quickly I’ve focused on two boards:

  • TerribleFire 536 (TF536) board with 68030, 64MB RAM and IDE interface designed by Stephen Leary (aka Terrible Fire) [More information]
  • 68030TK +64MB Turbocards designed by Matthias Heinrichs (aka Matze, Germany) [More information]

And still there are a lot of small hardware modification available for the Amiga – so all continue my endeavour in finding additional hardware mods to build my Amiga 500 Dream Machine.

Keep you posted!