Commodore A500 Collection

The A500 holds very fond memories for me as a child in England. Unfortunately it was the prize possession of the more well-off kids I knew - perhaps that is even why I knew them - so I never actually owned one at the time. I had an Atari 520STFM after upgrading from a ZX Spectrum, which I adored.

In an effort to finally own an A500, I went over-board on Ebay a few years back in Melbourne and ended up with eight of them, an A1200 and assorted other classics. I do not know their origin beyond the Ebay seller but the vast majority of them are Rev. 6 with a few Rev. 5 (nothing special). I have future-proofed, repaired and restored many of them, learning as I go, accumulating equipment, and vowing that they will either make me rich or serve the public record.

I am happy to share my inventory with those who are interested and open to discussions and exchange on the topic.

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Hey! I’m an avid Amiga fan myself and also British.

My first Amiga experience was in the early to mid 90’s with my cousin’s A500+. Was introduced to games such as Silkworm, Mortal Kombat, Arnie 2, and of course The Chaos Engine - one of my all time favourites.

I recently moved over from the UK and shipped my computer collection with me - including a A500, A500+, A600 and an A1200. Each with their own problems of course - they’re very stubborn old machines.

What do you have in your collection?

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Welcome @sonicthewedge - maybe you can update @flonky_tash and the community with some of your collection here

I’m also of a certain age and British :slight_smile: and recently got an A500 myself for the first time after only using friends as a kid.

I got it specifically for using with pistorm and after a failed first attempt at installing that now needs a new cpu socket soldering to make it functional again.

Ouch- you’ll get there.
I’m still unaware of what the pistorm actually does

Basically it allows you to plug a raspberry pi into the 68000 socket, which you can then use to emulate in software the CPU and a bunch of other peripherals. You can enable high res video over hdmi etc etc.

You can have a look at my humble collection inventory here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18_3vzwQXWG2D_hhlyhadFnn6C4eoUNHwGn3T0_JV6CI/edit#gid=1073639410

My current efforts are focused on a 1541 disk drive that I thought I had running and was connected over USB using a XUM1541. I wanted to do it this way because the C64 that come with it was not working! All ways well with the 1541… and then it was not. It is an Alps mechanism so should be pretty robust. On we soldier…

It was the sound and speed of Silkworm that always impressed me.

The Chaos Engine is legendary - as are The Bitmap Brothers. There is a remastered AGA version on Steam (The Chaos Engine on Steam). Have you read Gibson and Sterling’s, The Difference Engine?

Did the 500+ introduce ECS or was it just C= being cheaper with their components?

Absolutely - I have an inventory to which I have shared a link if anyone is interested: You can have a look at my humble collection inventory here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/18_3vzwQXWG2D_hhlyhadFnn6C4eoUNHwGn3T0_JV6CI/edit#gid=1073639410

What was your goal with the Pistorm?

I faced a few oddly “moral” problems when I embarked on my journey with this stuff;

  • Introduction of modern components
  • Recapping
  • Irreversible modifications
  • To Retrobrite or not to Retrobrite

and a big one for me was trying to avoid approaching projects as work rather than a hobby.

Broad modern hardware changes seemed like fun but often fraught with danger - Youtube does not fairly represent how difficult desoldering can be without the right equipment and enough patience. I always wondered what I intended to do with such a super-charged machine and should I revert to emulation?

You can get a Pistorm for the expansion port as I understand it now. This struck me as a better way to go and obviously way less expensive that some of the accelerators out there - this might just be for the A1200.

Good place to get quality sockets from: https://www.amigakit.com/68000-socket-amiga-5002000-p-12661.html

I use a Pi Zero as the storage for my Gotek. I have not really seen anyone else do this. You can store all of your FDD images on it and access it over the network as if you were just using a USB drive:

Another fun one is using Midi to USB cables so that you can use your PC as a Midi device particularity on the Atari ST. Munt is a good way to do this (Munt download | SourceForge.net). Good for those who can’t justify the silly prices for a Roland MT-32 but always wanted one!

Be sure to check all your connections for continuity and bridges especially if you lift any pads. The Amiga PCB Explorer is a great resource to validate this against: https://www.amigapcb.org/

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The goal was basically to try it out and also make it easier to load software from hard disk packs without having to shell out for an expensive drive and ram / accelerator upgrades.

I was just unlucky that my socket was not great (though now I read this is quite common), and then I was a bit too heavy handed removing the pi-storm out of it again, resulting in it having a few broken pins now.
The socket will now no longer take its original CPU (i think i get a red or yellow screen boot error). I bought the amigakit socket and just need some time to fix it :). Im confident I can do the de-soldering and have the tools.

Yeah I think the external one is only for the A1200, or I would have gone that way.

This is a cool idea, ill check it out.

I’ve used this for midi GitHub - gmcn42/clumsyMIDI: A THT-only Raspberry Pi expansion board containing a MIDI interface, DAC, and OLED display, turns you pi into an mt32. Ive only used it with my X68000 so far but will have to try it out on my ST’s.

I suggested the idea to a few prestigious YouTubers but I am not cool enough for them.

I must warn you though that you will get very sick of Jean-Michel Jarre very quickly (if you are not already). Divorce can ensue and Tiddles will move out.

I feel your pain. I hope you resolve it.

I presume that you have removed the Amiga-killing Varta from the machine already? That can be a primary source of damage to these sockets.

I think there is an external Pistorm for the A500 but it is for the expansion port on the side of the machine and not the trap-door like the A1200. Jan Beta reviewed it I think.

Fortunately the ram expansion card that came with the machine already had the battery removed.