Saturday, 16 August 2014

CDTV - Installing SCSI Controller and AztecMonster

Today I wanted to take a look at the SCSI Controller expansion (by CBMChef) for the CDTV and the AztecMonster CD SCSI card (and a quick look at an A2000HD too):

Above you can see the CDTV SCSI Controller as delivered. I bought it brand new from Ebay. It comes with a CDTV backplate for securing it to the back of the CDTV expansion slot.

On the board itself you can see it was made in 2013, with the interesting the Sushi Time writing on the side, SCSI controller chip, and internal SCSI connector.

Below you can see the rear view showing the external DB25 scsi connector, and two switches - one for enabling/disabling the SCSI controller, and one for switching between different kickstart ROM chips if you have a kickstart ROM switcher installed (which I don't):

There is also a connector for the SCSI disk activity which is suggested in the instructions can be combined with the disk activity light for the CDTV drive - I lack the suitable skills to do this though!

Here is the backplate now attached to the Board. As you can see, the board is actually inserted upside down into the CDTV:

Below you can see the expansion slot (I have removed the cover) on the CDTV, ready for the SCSI controller expansion card to be installed:

As a curiosity I also removed the CDTV case to take a look inside - I quickly saw that installing a 3.5 inch SCSI hard disk internally is not possible - there is simply no room for it:

Another view from the rear of the case, a bit closer (you can click to expand these photos):

This is the view from the front of the case towards the back:

A closeup of the Revision 2.2.1 that this particular CDTV is - it is a bit dusty as you would expect:

Here is the SCSI Controller now installed into the expansion slot on the CDTV:

Next to the SCSI Controller is the RF and Composite Video out. As a point of interest this is also an expansion slot module. I assume you could take this out and put another expansion in if you desired it!

Given the constraints of the space inside the CDTV case, the expectation is that hard disks will be mounted in an external case and connected to the DB25 external scsi connector. However, there is still an internal 50 pin SCSI connector, and this got me thinking...

I found a potential solution in the AztecMonster - a 3.5 inch form factor SCSI to CF card converter card from Japan. It is designed to be used in old 68k Macintosh computers and AKAI sampling machines. It has been used in some Amiga setups too, although I also saw plenty of people had trouble with them also.

I decided to take the gamble and order one. Only the Japanese would call such a card an AztecMonster :-)

Here it is, the AztecMonster card, brand new, as delivered from Japan, with instruction sheet:

Some views of the AztecMonster Card. Here you can see the 50 pin SCSI connector and Molex power connector:

Here is a view from the other side of the card, showing the CF Card slot:

I added a 4GB CF Card that I prepped in WinUAE following instructions I found on the internet here to prep the card for Amiga use:

Hmm, AztecMonster and CDTV - A potential good match:

Next I partly removed the SCSI controller from the Expansion bay, so I could connect an internal 50 pin SCSI cable to it:

Here you can see the internal SCSI connector:

And here is the scsi cable connected to it:

The intention is that if I can get this working, I will install a molex power splitter on the CD drive to power the AztecMonster and have it all mounted internally, as the AztecMonster is very slim and will fit inside.

But for testing purposes I ran the SCSI cable outside the CDTV and used an external molex power supply to power the AztecMonster for testing:

Here it is, now all hooked up, but unfortunately I just get the CDTV boot screen - the hard disk does not boot at all:

Next up, I tried connecting a real Amiga 2000 SCSI hard disk to the CDTV via the same SCSI cable and using the external molex power. It worked perfectly. The CDTV booted the Workbench 1.3 from Hard disk and here it is multitasking the Amiga Boing Ball demo and the workbench:

Closer view of the real SCSI hard disk working on the CDTV:

So the SCSI Controller expansion works well, but doesn't work with the AztecMonster.


So next, I decide to dust off my trusty Amiga 2000, and connect the AztecMonster to the SCSI controller on that to see what is happening.

I have owned this Amiga 2000HD since we bought it new back in 1991 in Perth. I have done a lot of projects with this computer over the years...

At the moment it has 8MB Fast RAM, 68030 Accelerator with MMU and FPU, two floppy drives, once SCSI Drive, and a 1GB SCSI hard disk installed. I opened up the case since I need access to the SCSI controller:

Here is a close up view of the twin floppy drives and CDROM drive. I picked the CDROM drive from an old Digital AlphaServer as the colour of the CDROM drive closely matches the A2000 drives and case. I had to change the original floppy drives when they failed a few years ago. These ones below I got from another A2000 I picked up, and scavenged spare bits for just this kind of occurrence:

Closer view of the 8-Up RAM Card and and A2091 SCSI Controller:

In this Amiga 2000HD I have three kickstart ROMS on a switcher - v1.3, 2.05 and 3.1. The switcher is operated by a switch on the back of the Amiga 2000. I also have a Indivision ECS installed in here, as well as a MegaAChip giving 2MB of CHIP memory. The foam prevents the kickstart switcher moving around - not elegant but it works:

Next up, I disconnected the SCSI CDROM drive and connected the AztecMonster to the A2000:

I choose to boot using v1.3 as I have a dual partition setup on my A2000 SCSI hard disk. I can boot into v1.3 or 3.1. On power on, I can choose whether to use the 68000, 68030 or run AMIX. AMIX is the commercial Unix variant Commodore released on the seldom seen A3000UX system, but AMIX is also able to run on this system - although I have not tried it out:

Here is my A2000 booting Workbench 1.3 - I created a boot screen using Deluxe Paint 2, since it doesn't normally have a boot screen and I wanted one:

Here is my highly customised Workbench 1.3 desktop when booting is finished:

I run an Amidock style launcher in the bottom left, SID 2 (file manager like DOPUS) is running in iconify mode, ready to launch when needed. Also running interlace screen mode (flicker fixed by the Indivision ECS) for more desktop space, and using a program called SimGen to change the background to a picture and blank the borders around the Workbench screen.

I also have a tbar program to change the window icons and title bar pattern, and a more detailed memory information in the Workbench toolbar. There is a lot more too of course, but I spent a lot of time to get this setup on Workbench 1.3. I transferred this hard disk partition setup for use in Amiga emulators, and also under AmigaOS4.1 on the X1000 too.

Anyway, back to the AztecMonster. I run up HDToolbox, which turns on the HD light and freezes while trying to detect the drives:

I tried modifying the jumpers on the AztecMonster to use different SCSI ID's, turn off the automatic SCSI termination (powering off each time of course), but I got the same result every time.

So next, I switched over to using the v3.1 kickstart ROM, and use the early boot menu to choose the other partition to boot into AmigaOS3.9:

Originally I had a Picasso II card installed to have a much nicer screen mode for AmigaOS3.9, but the 2MB memory in it removes 2MB from the 8MB Fast RAM in the A2000, which is bad for running AmigaOS3.9...I really need CPU card memory expansion to have more memory...

In any case, I tried running the HDToolbox here and the same issue - freezes on detection:

I next tried using the Amiga 600 CF Card in the AztecMonster, which I know works on the Amiga, but no go either.

Looks like the AztecMonster doesn't work on my Amigas...

I already spent a lot of time trying to get it to work, and have to conclude that it doesn't. I noted other people had similar lock up troubles - some got it working too but I just don't see what else I can try at this point.

For now though, I proved that I can get SCSI hard disks working on the CDTV, booting a normal Workbench 1.3 system and running programs on it. Although it is not the perfect solution I was hoping for with the AztecMonster, the SCSI controller expansion card does work well on the CDTV!


  1. I have the RaizinMonster and CF card. I found that the CDTV will boot just fine IF I'm using Kickstart 2.x and above with CDTV Extended ROMs 2.07 or 2.30. However, if I try to boot using Kickstart 1.3 and the original CDTV Extended ROMs 1.0, then for me it doesn't boot either.

  2. I recently purchased a Raizin' Monster for my A2000, which freezes with the A2091 just like Epsilon noted. I've managed to have it recognized when using the Microbotics Hardframe SCSI controller, but, with the Hardframe, I'm restricted to using their own prep. software because of the ROM built-in hardframe.device driver. The problem with their partitioning software is that it isn't allowing a geometry (with a 4gb CF card) for a drive larger than only 30 megabytes! If I could add the hardframe.device driver to WinUAE maybe I could prep a good card for it, since Hardframe won't recognize a uaehf.device prepped card. Any ideas?

  3. I have managed to get a CDTV and AztecMonster to work perfectly. Get in touch to find out more!

    1. I am very interested. Please let me know what you did to get it working!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Hi I just fell over this blog. In the German Amiga community a lot of people had problems with an AztecMonster. We figured out one major problem: The Monster becomes unstable if the power on the 5V-rail drops below 4.9V. This is often the case on old power-supplies. So try hooking up the Monster with a independent powersupply, e.g. one from a 3.5" USB-IDE-Case and test if stability improves. My CDTV is perfectly working with an AztecMonster after I "refurbished" the power supply. Attention: This is not for the weak-of-hearts, because you are fooling on a mains-device!

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    1. Hello Mattias,
      can it be the case when trying with cards larger than 4Gb?

      I have a 400W PSU powering my A1200 + peripherals. I will try to measure the +5V rail to see if there is a difference.

  5. Hi I bought and installed an AztecMonster to my Blizzard SCSI adapter (A1200+060).

    The card is quite picky with CF cards, I have managed to make it work with a Hama 4Gb(grey label), while it failed with a Hama 8Gb and a Kingston 16Gb.

  6. Excellent post. So, did you never figure out how to get your AztecMonster recognized by any of your Amigas?

    I'm fairly sure it has to do with whatever scsi.device driver you're using. Perhaps an after-market scsi driver would have worked?