Learning to make spritesI was looking through the contents of the cassette that came with the ... Read More!
Amstrad 3.5" Floppy drive - DSK to DiscSo you've got the floppy drive all powered and plugged in, but got no Amstrad CPC software on 3.5" d... Read More!
Amstrad Controller PCB'sIt's been a while since I last posted, yet again. I've been paying a fair bit of attention to the we... Read More!
Connecting a 3.5" floppy drive to an Amstrad 464 without modifying the drive or DDI-1Quite some time ago I bought a DDI-1 interface to use with my amstrad 464's. Just the interface with... Read More!
Amstrad 3.5" Floppy drive - Making a new ribbon cable, case and switchesSo if you've followed the previous blog posts about making a PC 3.5" floppy drive work with your Ams... Read More!
Created on: 16-01-2019 By Gee
My Father-in-Law was pestering me a while back to sell some "old computers" for him and I had mentioned at the time that I wasn't so keen on helping as they don't fetch much money.
Now, that was quite unusual for me as I quite like old tech (you'd never have guessed eh!?). But at the time I didn't have the inclination to deal with them.
After having spent so much time watching people fix their old computing equipment on YouTube I thought I'd at least have a look at these computers. I asked if the computers could be looked out and I'd get things set up to get them sold on.
I was told that there was a boxed c64 (more modern style, not a breadbin sadly) with cassette drives and a pair of joysticks. Three or four amiga 500's and one or two amiga 600's.
This got me salivating as I had an amiga 500 as a kid in the 90's and loved it. I managed to break it by opening it up and more than likely getting static into the board. No idea what I done with it after that. Probably (sadly) just got binned. If only we could go back and tell ourselves not to do it!
I went round to pick the computers up after my work recently and found one c64, two amiga 500's and one amiga 600. Which is possibly just as well, as they take up space in the house that I just don't have at the moment.
Last night, I decided to test the computers out and see what works and what doesn't. Secretly hoping that they all worked just fine and I could get them turned over to a happy new owner. No matter if I wanted to keep them or not.
Testing started great. I plugged in the c64 and it worked straight away. Looks like the cassette recorder/player also worked just fine, although I didn't think I had any cassette games to test on it (I found Scrabble later on after I had packed it all away).
Next I tested the Amiga 600. I want to keep this one and use it. I just love it for some odd reason. I plugged it in and scanned the tv to the correct channel. And there is the lovely animated kickstart screen. I had a disc with the amigas and put it in to see if there was anything on it that would load. The floppy drive squeaked like mad and ended up not loading anything. So that'll need taking out and servicing I think. I tested an external floppy drive that was included in this bunch, same squeaks and non loading of anything. starting to wonder If its the disc that's squeaking!
After getting off to such a great start I moved onto the two Amiga 500's, one of which turns out to be a 500+ model. This is where things went a little south. I plugged the non plus model in and turned it on. Lights came on, caps lock light came on and went off, then the screen went green, then a kind of purple and then to a fuzzy grey and stayed grey. I moved onto the 500+ and the screen was just black and the power light was pulsing (I think it was the plus model that had the pulsing light, i'll need to double check).
Seeing as these two weren't working, I thought i'd have a look inside to see if there was anything obvious and easily fixed.
I started with the plus model and found an expansion card installed in the trap door, BONUS! a whole 4mb extra ram. No idea who made it. I took this out in case that was somehow causing the problem (this was before I looked up the different error codes) and sadly it still wasn't working. I eventually got it opened up and noticed that the battery had leaked slightly. A fair few of the resisters and components were corroded, So that'll need a new battery and some thorough cleaning (maybe some re-soldering). I'm hoping none of the traces are damaged as I don't fancy repairing them with wire. I will if I have to though.
After looking at the plus model, I opened up the normal 500 and found ANOTHER expansion card. This time it was 1mb RAM. Although this had a battery on it and that looked like it had leaked onto that board. So it might also be dead. I had the same result when I tried this one without the expansion card (ever hopeful!).
I opened this one too and couldn't see anything obvious. A little corrosion here and there on some of the pins, but nothing serious.
I had a quick look up of the error codes for the model and I now think that the problem for this one is some faulty RAM. I hope so as it should be an easy enough fix. If I can find some replacement chips easy enough. If I do replace the RAM, i'll put some sockets in first to make this easier in the future if it needs fixing again.
I've taken a good few pictures of these two 500's for a before and after shot.
I'm kind of looking forward to getting the 500's on the workbench. Should be interesting!
First things first, find a buyer for the boxed c64! I'd love to keep it for myself, but the money from these computers are going towards my daughters bank fund for her future. So, I don't feel so bad about selling these.