Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Adelaide Amiga 30 Meeting Report

On Monday May 25th from 7:30pm we had the Adelaide Amiga 30 Meeting, celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Amiga in Adelaide! This was hosted by the Adelaide Amiga User Group at Clarence Park Community Centre.

With the introduction of the Adelaide Retro Computing website to promote the event, as well as promotion via amiga.org and Retrospekt (who sent three members to our gathering tonight), we had a full room and lots of people and lots of Amigas on show!

There really was a lot of interest in the Next Gen Amigas I brought to the meeting, Sam 460CR running AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition, Powerbook G4 running MorphOS 3.8 as well as the CDTV running music, and booting games and demo disks from the Gotek Floppy drive emulator during the evening:

Of course there were other Amigas on display too, with plenty of interest too:

Amiga 3000 on display here, in need of some work though:

An Amiga 1200 as well - Plenty of Strider and Turrican 3 was played on this machine tonight.

An Amiga 4000, Amiga 500, Amiga 1000, Amiga 1200 and Amiga 3000 on display:

Not Amigas related, but Commodore related - a Commodore PET computer was being demoed as well:

I had never seen a PET in the flesh before:

Some more photos of the A1000, A1200 and A4000:

It was great to see so many Amigas on display tonight - a fitting tribute to the 30th Anniversary of the Amiga:

What was truly great was we had plenty of people and lots of positive interest in the new developments in the Amiga, particularly Next Generation Amiga systems:

There was even a Chameleon 64 running C64 emulation on the night too:

I opened up the Sam460 CR and there was plenty of interest in it, and lots of questions about AmigaOS 4.1, MorphOS, where to buy them and questions, questions, questions! It was great though, and I hope a few people decide to try these new systems out themselves - they prove that Next Generation Amigas are still fun in 2015:

I was showing a demo of the recently released Swamp Defense 2 game on the Sam 460CR:

Shadow of the Beast running on an Amiga 1200:

People were happy to play with the machines and try things out which was great to see:

I then started up a Wings Battlefield LAN gaming session between the Sam 460CR AmigaOS4.1 Final edition machine and Powerbook G4 MorphOS 3.8 machine - the game was very popular and I had lots of very positive feedback on how much fun it was to play and how easy to get into - the game is due to be released very shortly:

Close ups of the action as the rounds continue in Wings Battlefield LAN game:

I think LAN gaming has a real future on Amiga systems - and especially when setup at meetings:

I had a quick look at an Amiga 4000 that was not very happy - it booted ok, but no fast memory recognised.

Closer inspection of the board revealed extensive battery corrosion, which I suspect is the cause of the issue - unfortunately I couldn't fix that!

Adelaide Amiga 30 was a truly great event and a lot of fun! I was so happy to see a lot more people there than the last meeting, and continued interest in the latest developments on the Amiga.

Can't wait for the next meeting!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Gotek using External floppy cable on CDTV

Interesting thing I bought recently on Ebay is a external Amiga floppy disk connector plus cable with integrated floppy drive power supply that can be used to connect a Gotek floppy drive emulator to an Amiga!

For those with Classic Amigas with Workbench 2.0 and above, this is excellent as it means you don't have to open your case up to install the Gotek - it simply plugs into the external floppy drive port and choose to boot from this device in the Early startup menu.

I previously showed the Gotek hooked up to my Amiga 600 and Amiga 1000 using the internal floppy drive connector - opening the case and going into some detail on the operation of the Gotek so I won't repeat myself again here - click the Amiga 600 and Amiga 1000 links for more info!

But today, I am using the external connector on the CDTV to use the Gotek! This is because, unique to the CDTV, the external floppy drive IS DF0 and bootable on Workbench 1.3 without modification internally!

Here is the Gotek drive with USB attached, and the external floppy cable with power:

This is my standard CDTV, connected via AV to a TV screen (looks like a computer monitor I know but it is actually a TV with a tuner in it and remote control):

Here is the Gotek all connected up, ready to plug into the floppy connector on the CDTV - I love the simplicity and the fact a separate power source is not needed for the Gotek with this setup. Just plug in and go:

Here is the Gotek now plugged into the CDTV:

First power on and we boot into a Classic Amiga game - Katakis:

It works fantastic - I recommend picking up the external connector if you have a Gotek drive. I assume it will work well with a HxC floppy drive too, but not tested.

Since I had the CDTV on, I couldn't resist loading up the Psygnosis Commodore Demo CD - very cool:

Unless you have a CDTV or emulate one, chances are you missed out on this rather interesting CDTV only CD - there are a few that were only released on CDTV:

I plan to bring the CDTV and Gotek setup as above to the Adelaide Amiga 30 meeting on Monday night, so if you are in Adelaide please come along to the meeting and you can see it in the flesh and try it out yourself!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Dual Boot AmigaOS 4.1 FE and MorphOS 3.8 on Sam 460CR

I finally got it working - Dual Boot AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition and MorphOS 3.8 now running on my Sam 460CR!

Above is the AmigaOS4.1 Final Edition running on the Sam 460CR, showing the MorphOS partition and Data partitions used by MorphOS. (Click to expand any pictures)

Below is the MorphOS 3.8 running on the Sam 460CR off the partitions shown above (MorphOS can't see the AmigaOS 4.1 SFS2 partitions):

The secret to getting this working was a tip off on the Amiga forums by Kyle (here) on how to boot from SDCard on the Sam460CR, in combination with the latest Sam 460CR/EX 2015-A firmware from ACube (shown in this blog here), which removes the 2GB restriction on SD Cards...It means I can install MorphOS 3.8 onto a large SDCard!

To get this working I opened the Sam 460CR case and installed a 64GB SDXC Card (stock standard - brand new):

The SDCard slot on the Sam 460 is mounted on the back of the board itself - here is the SDCard installed and ready to start work on it:

I first booted into AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition and prepared an additional SFS0 partition called Data on the SATA hard disk (size 101GB) to be used by MorphOS. It can then also be read by AmigaOS4.1 and so sharing data is easier (MorphOS can't read the SFS2 partitions created by AmigaOS 4.1)

I then format the partition:

I then booted the Sam 460CR from the MorphOS 3.8 DVD and ran the HDConfig tool in the Tools folder.

We use this HDConfig tool to delete the existing SD Card partition, install the Amiga RDB (instead of default MBR), and then prep the SDCard as a DOS/07 (FFS LNFS) partition, using the full size of the SDCard, called DH0.

Note: I tried using SFS0 for the partition rather than FFS LNFS - it doesn't boot. So I stick with FFS LNFS.

The reason to do this ahead of the MorphOS installation, is to avoid drive partitions and names being created (like System: and Work: that MorphOS uses on automatic install) that conflict with the AmigaOS 4.1 partitions already in place on the hard disk (In AmigaOS 4.1 it already has two partitions called System: and Work:).

Here is the prepped SDCard in HDConfig, ready to save:

I then formatted the drive using the MorphOS format tool, and then installed MorphOS on the SDCard using Manual partition size, and selecting the partition I created earlier.

Installation completed:

After the install to the SD Card is complete, I show the completed install on the SD Card partition MorphOS, ready with all the required files:

I can then remove the MorphOS CD and reboot the Sam. 

At this point I press Enter when prompted by U-Boot, then select in U-Boot to boot the USB HD (which is the SDCard slot in the Sam 460).

It then boots MorphOS 3.8 on the Sam460CR from the SDCard! Success!

To boot AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition I just let the system boot as normal - it will then boot the hard disk.

As a test I then removed the hard disk, so that only the sd card remained. It won't boot at all without the hard disk, as the hard disk has the SLB_v2 needed for the Sam to run. 

I guess you could install the SLB onto the SDCard if you didn't want to use a hard disk at all - haven't tried it yet though, and not really a priority for me.

Anyway - goal achieved! I can now dual boot MorphOS 3.8 and AmigaOS 4.1 final Edition on the Sam 460CR. No more opening the case to swap cables around! Fantastic!

I guess the next target is to triple boot Linux on the system using the former MorphOS SATA hard disk - another task for another day!