Thursday, 11 August 2016

ACA1233n, memory upgrade and floppy drive for Amiga 500

Hello again - I am now back from my trip to Japan and can use my Amigas again! This week I received my most recent purchase of a new ACA1233n 030 accelerator, 512k memory upgrade and new floppy drive to install into my Amiga 500 - the accelerator via the ACA500 expansion.

I got a little distracted first playing the newly released Giana Sisters SE on my Amiga 4000T which I had set up to make sure it is working well for the Adelaide Retro Computing meeting this week, which has a "Bring along my favourite retro system theme". Of course it has to be Amiga! :-)

Great Giana Sisters SE in 2016 replaces many of the graphics of the original 1980's classic Amiga game whilst maintaining the same mechanics and gameplay of the original.

Have to admit I enjoyed playing it:

Anyway, enough of the distractions! My package from arrived this week, ready to try out on the Amiga 500 I got recently. You can follow the earlier posts on the Amiga 500 work I have done so far here and here.

I bought a 512k memory expansion:

I also bought a new Amiga floppy drive, complete with a 3D printed drive eject button designed to fit the Amiga 500:

I also got an Individual Computers ACA1233n 030 accelerator, which has 128MB memory:

This is the slower accelerator that runs at 26Mhz rather than 40Mhz. Since this Amiga 500 is really for WHDLoad games and OCS/ECS demos I didn't see the need to pay the significant extra cost for the small extra speed bump. There is no FPU anyway. I already have other big box Amigas that fill those higher spec needs much better anyway.

I also got the optional RTC battery expansion to plug onto the clockport expansion port on the accelerator to maintain the correct time/date on the system:

Last, but not least, some light Amiga Future magazine reading - two issues as I missed one with my recent job redundancy situation from mid June.

On that topic fortunately I am very glad to say this is now resolved and I have now secured a new full time job, starting next week! :-)

Here is a closer shot of the accelerator, so you can see the clockport expansion port for RTC battery expansion or RapidRoad USB expansion:

There is no FPU installed but it can be installed if you desire it. Here is the RTC battery expansion close up - it is very small:

First things first - I load the RTC expansion on to the accelerator:

From the messages on the back it is clear that there is no warranty if you try to solder an FPU on the board....

 I tried out the easiest upgrade first, the 512k memory expansion card for the Amiga 500:

It is a small board, with plenty of space still left in the expansion bay!

I powered on the Amiga 500 using the external disk drive port Gotek drive acting as DF0 using the DF0 selector expansion I installed on my last Amiga 500 blog post here. Here it is booting Workbench 1.3 ADF:

And excellent - I now have the extra memory:

That done, I turned my attention to the accelerator next. I got out my ACA500, which has an A1200 accelerator port to connect selected accelerators (like this one) to use on the Amiga 500:

Here it is with the case taken off:

The new accelerator fits nicely in the ACA500 case housing:

I then reassembled the casing, ready for action:

I connected the ACA500 to the Amiga 500, ready to test:

Power on and things are looking promising - ACA boot menu appears:

I boot up the kickstart 3.1 CF hard disk configuration to boot Workbench 3.1 from CF card on the ACA500 - soon after the Workbench appears - much faster than before thanks to the 030 accelerator on board. I am using Directory Opus in Workbench replacement mode with Magic Workbench:

As you can see the 128MB FAST memory from the accelerator has been picked up and available to the Workbench! Excellent!

This machine doesn't have much software on the CF hard disk as yet - something I plan to work on soon enough.

But for now I am happy it works, so I turned my attention to the final upgrade on the Amiga 500, a replacement floppy drive for the not working internal floppy drive.

Here you can see the new drive (left) and the original drive:

One problem that becomes immediately apparent is that the height of the two is not the same, which will create problems for mounting the new drive correctly in the Amiga 500.

This then began a frustrating afternoon of adding bits here and there to raise the height to the correct level...

To say this task was frustrating is an understatement!

It took me a long time to get it aligned correctly. Perhaps they should include the necessary bits to raise the drive to the right level out of the box to make things easier for future customers.

Eventually though I got it pretty much right:

So I hooked up the Amiga 500 to test things out:

The drive worked and the eject button was ok, although a little bit shorter than the original one:

Booting floppy disks worked well - Amiga Workbench 1.3 and some demos too of course:

As you can see the fit is not perfect as the drive eject button is not quite deep enough to nicely fill the hole on the Amiga 500 which is a shame, but it works ok and ejecting it is not a problem, once I finally got the alignment correct:

Here it is with a disk inserted:

I was glad to get the upgrades installed on the Amiga 500 - there is more to do of course with the Accelerator and CF hard disk setup, but this is for a later time!


  1. Pity about the drive issues, but the rest was awesome. Well done Epsilon, and congrats on the job front...