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New to Amiga 1200, what does this button do?

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I just picked up this A1200, and am not familiar with this model, hoping for your insight.

 

-Can I pop off the keys for cleaning?

-What is the Pcmcia slot for? I'm assuming there are a limited number of compatible devices that can be used.

-The wiring in this photo goes to a grounding switch. It looks like a fairly well done installation, although I have no idea what it does.

a1200 mystery mod

 

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Yes, the keys pop off by prying them up.

 

Lots of uses for the PCMCIA port: can be used as super slow RAM, but not recommended. Can stick an Ethernet/WiFi adapter in it, or use a CF adapter to easily transfer files to and fro your modern computer.

 

Have a look here for A1200 motherboard fixes:

 

http://www.ianstedman.co.uk/Amiga/amiga_hacks/A1200_Mobo_fix/a1200_mobo_fix.html

 

...that wire could be a PAL/NTSC switch or timing mod coming off Alice?

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Definitely get a CF adapter for the PCMCIA slot. If you want to save money, buy a generic one from China instead of one grossly marked up (*) by an Amiga reseller. I have tried three different el-cheapo PCMCIA-CF adapters from China, and they all work 100% on Amiga 1200 and 600 so you would be very unlucky to get a dud one.

 

Then download FAT95.LHA and CFD.LHA which in combination will let you read CF cards through the PCMCIA adapter and add support for FAT file systems like save2600 mentions. You won't have to worry about PC formatted floppy disks, null modem cables or setting up a TCP/IP network just to transfer files.

 

(*) I don't mind spending top dollar for custom hardware that fills a need that no other hardware does, but I don't like spending top dollar for generic hardware just due to I as the customer am unaware it really is generic and can be had much cheaper elsewhere.

Edited by carlsson

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I just picked up this A1200, and am not familiar with this model, hoping for your insight.

 

-Can I pop off the keys for cleaning?

-What is the Pcmcia slot for? I'm assuming there are a limited number of compatible devices that can be used.

-The wiring in this photo goes to a grounding switch. It looks like a fairly well done installation, although I have no idea what it does.

 

 

PCMCIA was an industry standard for peripherals. It was typically found in laptops, but there are a number of devices around that can use it,

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It can be added that 16-bit PCMCIA evolved into 32-bit CardBus etc. The cards are similar, but the CardBus ones have a line of raised dots to prevent it from inserting into an older PCMCIA slot. Thus if you find e.g. network cards, make sure they're really 16-bit. Also only a few of them will have Amiga drivers. I seem to recall that NE2000 compatible and some 3Com cards were most likely to work. Some D-Links would freeze the computer unless you had a special 3rd party driver, if even that helped. A couple of times I've been tempted to equip my Amiga 1200 with networking capacities, but in the end I've realized it would be more hassle than benefits. You might have other priorities.

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Thank you for the pointers. I have obtained a PCMCIA to CF adapter + 4GB card, and prepdisk sees it, though as you pointed out, one needs those driver files for it to work, but I'm not sure how to get them into the machine at this point.

Some ideas are:

-use the original Amiga's pc emulator to read a pc disk with the files (not sure still how to get the PC emulator into the A1200.)

-use a Gotek emulator... though I do not want to replace the internal floppy, but I guess I could do a temporary swap.

 

I'm not sure what FAT95 is, is that then not FAT or Fat16, etc.? Hopefully my OS X machine can read it, or perhaps Parallels + WinME.

Still no idea what the switch does.

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You should be able to setup the CF card completely i emulation (winuae) and have it work on your A1200. there's a lot of instructions depending on the options you want and the route you want to take.

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IIRC, Kickstart 3.0 and upwards has CrossDOS built in so you just move PC0 from Devs:Storage to Devs: or something like that. Then you can load a PC floppy with the two LHA archives + a self-extracting LHA executable. You will defintely want LHA installed on the Amiga, it is kind of the default compressor like how everyone are using ZIP on PCs.

 

And yes, FAT95 is just the same of the package. It implements support for FAT16 and FAT32. It can be a little tricky to understand how to install the two packages. Fortunately you're running 3.0 or later which makes the process easier. I installed the software on a 600 with 2.05 last week and it got me stumbling for a while although I've got 25 years of on and off experience of the Amigas.

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I used this guide: https://devdef.blogspot.com/2014/01/amiga-1200-pcmcia-compact-flash-guide.html

And succesfully copied the files DevDef suggests to the Amiga HD using a 720K floppy.

 

No Joy.

 

I've noticed the new icons look wonky, the existing old files in Devs/Dosdrivers look like a looping network thing, whereas the new icon for the CF0 looks like a hammer (and is hidden unless I use "show all".) I unlharced the files directly on the Amiga to minimize the chances that files would be corrupted, though that didn't seem to help.

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The hammer is the default icon for tools, that displays if no particular icon file is associated with the program. Actually the hammer displays for pretty much any file that doesn't have the project bit set.

 

You might want to check that the files went in the intended directories. AmigaDOS uses a system of assigned folders or paths with a trailing colon. Usually those locations are the same as the path from the bootable drive, e.g.

 

C: maps to SYS:C which translates as DH0:C or whatever your primary hard drive is called - it could also be called System3.0:C

Devs: maps to SYS:Devs in the same way

L: and Libs: do too

 

The guide you followed refers to Devs/ and L/ rather than Devs: and L: so there is a slim chance that your files may have gone in a different place than intended. Also there should be a file called CF0.icon which is the icon associated with the file CF0. If you don't see the file CF0 unless you show all files, it sounds like the icon file didn't copy over. Icon files are not just pretty images, they may also contain additional information about the program they belong to so it is a good idea to make sure it exists.

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Thanks again for your guidance. I have moved closer to success, I think. I used a newer LHA, v138 I gather, and the icons and such are correct. The machine sees cf0: now, though clicking on it leads to a message "the icons have no default tool."

 

I tried formatting it in winXP and MACOS as fat32, so perhaps now it is the "fat95" portion of the amiga files that are not yet working correctly, although Amiga wouldn't directly format the CF in its own native format either. The card seems to work fine back on the Mac.

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Downdate:

I whimsically tried an old 128MB compact flash, and it worked perfectly in the 1200. As one final attempt with the 4Gb card, I used a vintage Thinkpad with PCMCIA slot and formatted to FAT (instead of FAT32) but the Amiga still failed to open it. So at this point it looks like "Dane Electric 4GB CF" is incompatible with some part of this set up. It looks like I'll need to dig through some old cameras to see if there is something slightly larger I can use than the 128MB, so that I can do a Whdload setup.

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Oh yes. The other week I was trying to use a 8 GB CF card that wouldn't detect at all, even after low level partitioning it as 512 MB and formatting that partition only. I don't know off-hand what the maximum is for the PCMCIA slot adapter, but 128 MB should get you far when it comes to transfers. I ended up with using an old 8 MB (yes, megabyte) CF card to transfer files to the Amiga 600 I was setting up.

 

Which capacity is the onboard CF card used in a 2.5" IDE adapter? At first I was using the same 8 GB card internally, divided into three partitions of 2, 3, 3 GB each. While it seemed to work at first, I got various random errors when unpacking archives onto the card. Dragging files gave no immediate errors, but WHDLoad and other programs would keep crashing when I executed them. That is why I started over with a 256 MB card for internal storage as I didn't need more than so. It might've been a problem of my own as I seem to recall other Amiga users having no problems with larger CF cards but watch out so you don't get bitten by seemingly unexpected errors.

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Which capacity is the onboard CF card used in a 2.5" IDE adapter?

 

It was already set up with a 4GB card, which seemed to be working for the former owner, so I will not worry about that, other than trying to figure out how to back it up. I'll think about replacing the caps if I come across a kit for sale.

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Capacitor kits are easy to find, whether you buy a matched set or shop around for your own caps. I bought some from Futurlec the other year, but I haven't got to install them yet. Then again it is a matter if you want good quality that hopefully will last a good part of the Amiga's remaining lifetime or something just as cheap as Commodore installed 25 years ago.

 

http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1137

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I read, or heard, that it is better to use ceramic capacitors that can't leak.

 

Now that I'm up and running, I thought I'd plug a BMOW floppy emulator into the AmaxII dongle that came with the system.

 

Although the 1970vx lcd monitor works as-is, I realize a flicker fixer would be useful, which Amigakit also sells, though for almost the price of the Amiga itself.

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Downdate:

I whimsically tried an old 128MB compact flash, and it worked perfectly in the 1200. As one final attempt with the 4Gb card, I used a vintage Thinkpad with PCMCIA slot and formatted to FAT (instead of FAT32) but the Amiga still failed to open it. So at this point it looks like "Dane Electric 4GB CF" is incompatible with some part of this set up. It looks like I'll need to dig through some old cameras to see if there is something slightly larger I can use than the 128MB, so that I can do a Whdload setup.

 

It probably isn't compatible, but you ought to try partitioning it into two smaller partitions as a last ditch effort.

 

As for old cameras, I bought one the other week so that I could use its on-camera formatting utility to format CF cards for use in our Motoman robots. Formatting it on Windows won't work for the Motoman.

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4GB CF cards work fine in the A1200 or A600 PCMCIA slots, but you have to set them up correctly. Obviously FAT/FAT32 will not work. You need to format it and split it up using FFS or one of the other Amiga file systems. I used FFS as it was included and easy, split it into a 500MB partition (for Workbench) and then two 1.5GB partitions for DH1: and DH2: using WinUAE. There are tutorials online and while it is kind of a pain in the ass (generally working with files from PC to Amiga is a PITA) you can get it to work. OR, find an image that is preconfigured...but I won't go any further than that due to legality reasons ;)

Edited by eightbit

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You need to format it and split it up using FFS or one of the other Amiga file systems.

 

Possibly, though I'd rather have the Fat compatibility so that I can easily transfer data to/from a MacOS system which is very easy, just plug it in to a card reader and go.

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Possibly, though I'd rather have the Fat compatibility so that I can easily transfer data to/from a MacOS system which is very easy, just plug it in to a card reader and go.

 

 

And that would be wonderful if the Amiga supported FAT, but it does not....which is your first problem ;) Not natively at least...

Edited by eightbit

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And that would be wonderful if the Amiga supported FAT, but it does not....which is your first problem ;) Not natively at least...

Whaaaaaatt....

That was one of the first things solved in the thread above.

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The Amiga 1200 comes with CrossDOS support, which means it will read 720K floppy disks from the PC, which are formatted as FAT12 if I recall correctly.

 

However memory cards mimicing hard drives likely will be formatted as FAT16 or even FAT32, and this is what the Amiga not natively supports, but by installing the 3rd party package FAT95, you get support for such drives as well.

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