Boing Ball

As some people may know, while I was a child of the 8 bit machines (Oric, Spectrum) I didn’t really find my feet till I started working with the Amiga.  At first with an A500 and later with an A1200.   Those machines carried me into my career.  I still own them both, and others besides.

I recently repurposed the Xmas demo as a Valentines surprise for my wife.  It all worked out great, but it wasn’t a smooth journey and has lead me to both heartache and victory.  While I was working on VD2016 (as it is called) I had to transfer it onto a real floppy disc.  This process actually took days eventually, but this is where the problems started.

As part of the process I discovered that my A1200’s 23 year old 120mb Western Digital Caviar was mighty sick.  It took an age to recover the data.  3 of the 4 partitions survived with only minimal damage ( 1 or 2 files) but one partition took the brunt and only half of the drive survived.  That drive took 16 hours to recover what content there was.  Finally though I got all the remaining data homed on a new 4GB compact flash that allowed me to retire my 512mb Overdrive too.

Fortunately my .mod collection survived.  I started listening to them, and realise that the sound was way off.  One channel was half missing and the audio was scratchy.  Upon inspection of the motherboard it became apparent that several of the surface mount capacitors had failed.  So, I replaced them.  This process isn’t for the faint of heart or bereft of skill.  You can easily destroy your motherboard in the process.  I did a decent enough job though and I’ll do a separate blog post documenting my experience.

So, a healthy Amiga A1200.  I got several Amiga related presents for my 40th Birthday (a floppy drive emulator and a network card) but I had been waiting till I had recapped the board to try them out fully.  The floppy emulator is great (though the shape is difficult to work with) and I want to find a way to put it internally.  This shouldn’t be too bad a task if it weren’t for my desire to keep the internal floppy drive.  It’s just going to require me to cut some holes and do some soldering.  No biggy really.

The network card is a PCMCIA card.  I tried it this week.  The guides in my PCMCIA slot are damage from years of having an Overdrive hung out of the slot.  Turns out I didn’t get it in quite square and manage to bend one of the pins.  The pin then proceeded to snap off :'(  I have a replacement socket on it’s way thanks to the efforts of John “Chucky” Hertell. It’s 88 pins for me to solder up at some point in the coming weeks having removed the remains of the old socket yesterday.  The saga of my poor old A1200 continue.  At least I’m not shy of taking the soldering iron to it now.