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Amiga RAM Issues

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I posted this over on EAB (http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=82768), but I'm not getting too many replies so I figured why not post it here as well.

 

Basically I have a GVP HD8+ Impact II SCSI card with what suspect is a RAM issue. I'm getting random crashes and Guru errors of the 8003 variety which I believe means there's a RAM issue. If I take all the RAM out of the card it's fine so I think that narrows it down to either the RAM sticks or the card itself.

 

Does anyone have any hints or tips on how to check the RAM? I've tried some ram check programs but usually the damn system crashes before I can even run it. It's starting to drive me crazy!

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That's what I did. I put in two sticks and then tested. Removed those and put in two different sticks and tested, etc. Here's my post about it on EAB:

 

 

 

Ok I found a program called Amnesia which seems to work nicely. I've tested it with all my sticks and got some interesting results. I tested two 1MB sticks at a time:

The first two sticks showed several errors in the test at the following address ranges:

$002292D8-$002292E0
$0022E4E8-$0022E4F0
$00238630-$00238638
$0022E548-$0022E550
$002386E0-$ (didn't show the second address)
$00239810-$ (didn't show the second address)
$0023F568-$0023F380

That was for one run through, I tried it several times and got errors at different addresses. I tried another program (either memcheck or checkmem) and it said everything was fine. Not sure what to make of this. I believe those are all Fast Memory ranges ($0020000 on up)

The next two sets of memory sticks I tested crashed the system before I could even get to the mem test with a Workbench Program Failed (error #80000003) message.

The final set I tested allowed me to get to the memory test but crashed DURING the test with a Workbench Program Failed (error #80000004) message.

Everything seems stable if I use the SCSI card and no extra memory.



At this point I'm thinking it's got to be one of the following:

1. ALL the memory sticks are bad. I find this hard to believe, but I suppose it could be possible. Maybe the system took a bad shock or something?

2. The memory slots on card itself is bad. This could be I possible, but if that were true would the Amiga even detect the memory? It shows up in the Memory Free message at the top of the Workbench bar.

3. Something else with the part of the system that deals with the memory has gone bad, but not the memory itself. No idea if this is even possible. The Chip memory tested just fine.

 

 

I have people telling me that there's no way all of the RAM could be bad and if it was the errors wouldn't be random. So if that's true, what the heck could it be?

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I see that you checked for bent pins on the connectors, and that the minimum RAM speed is matched. Since those are 30 pin SIMMs, there should not be any EDO/FP issue which I remember sometimes would screw things up on other systems if you used the wrong kind. Are those 1 MB modules with or without parity, ECC etc? I don't know if that should make any difference though. Not really any capacitors to blame neither.

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The RAM chips are correct for the board as the person I got it from years ago was an Amiga person. I don't think the TYPE of ram is the issue.

 

I checked for bent pins and I saw a few (I had to REALLY use force to get the RAM out the first time) but they're not destroyed or anything like that. How can you tell if they're 'too bent'? Maybe this is the problem?

 

 

What machine is this? Do you have any other RAM in the system?

 

It's an Amiga 2000. The only other RAM is the 1MB in Chip Ram.

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That rules out the conflicting RAM in Zorro II space problem. You are going to be doing a lot of low-level troubleshooting. It could be a bad controller, bad traces on the SCSI card, a bad TTL chip, a bad GAL, or a problem with the motherboard. I suppose you lack another Zorro II RAM card you can use to test the motherboard?

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That rules out the conflicting RAM in Zorro II space problem. You are going to be doing a lot of low-level troubleshooting. It could be a bad controller, bad traces on the SCSI card, a bad TTL chip, a bad GAL, or a problem with the motherboard. I suppose you lack another Zorro II RAM card you can use to test the motherboard?

 

Yes, this is my only RAM card.

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So, on a whim I decided to take the new hard drive cable out and put my old one back in. Poof! All my memory issues went away. So it would seem that the cause of my problems is the new SCSI cable with the terminator pack on the end that I got. I have another cable with extra connectors for the CD drive but no terminator (the CD drive provides it anyway) that I'm going to try and see what happens. At least I know my memory and card are good.

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Spoke too soon. The system has become unstable again. I wonder if the power supply isn't going or something like that? Are there any system diagnostics (not just memory) I can run?

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It was the damn 68010 I added to the system that was causing it to be unstable! I swapped the 68000 back in and everything is fine now. Who would have guessed?

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How esoteric. I know the 68010 can be a difficult upgrade for the Amiga, but I wonder if perhaps yours has problems.

 

(BTW, ever notice how many articles on Wikipedia have past/present tense problems? I could not remember all of the difference between the 68000 and 68010 and, of course, the first search result is Wikipedia. Just this one article has a half-dozen tense changes.)

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Great that you found the cause. Of course everyone else who didn't know your entire setup would stumble in the dark trying to find it.

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How esoteric. I know the 68010 can be a difficult upgrade for the Amiga, but I wonder if perhaps yours has problems.

 

I know that the 68010 can cause game compatibility issues, but I wanted one so I can exit out of games using WHDLoad (some games need a 68010 for this). All I can guess is that the 68010 doesn't like my SCSI/RAM card since the system was stable when I took the card out or didn't have the memory in. Very odd, but at least it's an easy fix.

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Check the power supply. I've had similar issues with my Amiga 3000. Expansion cards can over stress an already failing power supply and cause random crashes like that.

 

I would measure your voltages ( under load ) with and without the expansion card and see if there is a significant voltage drop.

Edited by shoestring

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Check the power supply. I've had similar issues with my Amiga 3000. Expansion cards can over stress an already failing power supply and cause random crashes like that.

 

I would measure your voltages ( under load ) with and without the expansion card and see if there is a significant voltage drop.

 

Yeah I wonder if my power supply is going, sometimes. But then again if it was the power supply then why would it get better after removing the 68010? The 68010 can't be using more power than the 68000 can it?

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I installed a 68010 in my A500 years ago and had compatibility issues with some games & software, gurus were common so I installed the standard processor back in. Perhaps that's what you're experiencing. I'd install the standard 68000 and see if you can reproduce the issues.

 

Having said that, TTL/74ls series logic chips don't like voltages under 4.8v, they start to play up. With my Picasso card installed I'd get random crashes, horizontal lines and glitching on the screen whenever the screen was refreshed or if I dragged a window. I thought the ram on the card was toast but I realised that everything went back to normal only after removing all the zorro cards. I recapped the power supply and all was good.

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Well I only have one card in it at the moment. I'll see if there are any stability issues, although I've played games for a few hours and didn't see anything. The only issue I have is that I usually get a Guru error if I turn the power off and don't wait a good min or so before turning it back on (using the reset keys doesn't do this).

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Could it be that the Power Supply does not have enough *juice* for what the GVP HD8+ Impact II SCSI requires? Could you post a photo of your actual setup?

 

The requirements, since I helped a friend of mine with a similar problem back in 2010, are the following ones:

- [email protected]

- [email protected]

 

Instabilities may be a result of failing to meet wattage request.

Edited by Oge

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The power supply *could* be the issue, but like I said I played games on it for hours and didn't have a problem. Then again it could have leaking caps that are slowly going bad.

 

What exactly do you want a photo of? The motherboard? The insides with all the wires? I can tell you everything that's in it, what do you need to know?

 

How can I test the wattage of the power supply?

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I have a standard power supply on my A2000 with following cards and upgrades:

A2061 HD controller with 2MB RAM and 1GB HD

030 25MHz accelerator with 4MB RAM

Video Toaster 2000

2MB chip RAM

Pentium 266MHZ SBC

Sound Blaster Card (for SBC)

??GB HD for SBC

 

No problems at all

 

You could check voltages under load, just to verify that everything is correct.

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I'm running into a new issue. I'm getting random crashes but they're hard crashes (i.e. no Guru message). Basically the system will just go blank and display a solid color (the color depends on the background so for WB 3.1 it's gray and for WB 1.3 it's blue). Basically it's like all the graphics went away and you have nothing. It's happened when running WB from disk or from hard drive. Sometimes it takes 5 min to happen, sometimes it's hours. This is a brand new issue, unrelated to my old 68010 problem. I'm pretty sure my system is just possessed at this point.

 

Right now all I have in the system is the SCSI/RAM card and the CD Rom drive. No other peripherals. I also have a Indivision VGA board and a Kickstart switcher (1.3/3.1) but I can't see how either of those could be the problem.

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I'm starting to wonder if it's not the SCSI cable I'm using. I connected the card to the hard drive using a very short one connector cable and all seems stable now. Maybe the system isn't liking the longer multi-connector cable with the CD drive on the end? I have one with and without a terminator but I've had this crash with both (the CD drive can provide termination if needed).

 

I also had a weird issue with my 4GB hard drive I was using where it would never see the CD drive with it hooked up. It's like the 4GB drive was permanently terminated or something (even though I took that jumper off). The issue went away when I switched back to my 1GB drive. I wonder if my SCSI card has some sort of termination 'SCSI Voodoo' issues?

 

Amiga's are WEIRD!

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It was the cable, I used a different cable and the crashing stopped. I still can't access the CD drive but I'm pretty sure that the Amiga is at least seeing it so that's progress.

 

I actually have a chance to snag an Amiga 3000 and I think I might do it. About the only thing it offers over my decked out 2000 is an 030 processor, but I hear they're really stable and reliable which at this point is the most important thing to me.

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