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NightRelic

New To Amiga and need guidance

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Hi all,

I'm new to Commodore Amiga and hoping you guys can give me some pointers. 

 

I came into 5 Amiga computers, three A2000s, an A4000 and an A4000T. They are in varying degrees of functioning and I'm trying to get them all running as best as they can. So far, I removed the corroded clock batteries from all but the A4000 tower, which has a coin battery and hasn't corroded. I cleaned the corrosion off the boards with alcohol and then vinegar. The corrosion didn't seem to have creeped into the boards much yet, fortunately.

 

Here's where I'm at:

A2000 #1- booted to Video Toaster. I just watched a video on how the program works. My cursor seems to be frozen. I can navigate a little bit by hitting numbers on the keyboard or the enter button. I know this mouse works because the cursor will move on the other computers that booted. Any suggestions?
 
A2000 #2- booted to what I think is Work Bench. A good sign. Still figuring stuff out on this one, so I'm not sure what, if any questions to ask.
 
A2000 #3- This one did not boot up. The screen cycled from light blue to darker blue to black and back again. Any ideas about this one would be much appreciated. I'm guessing it needs recapping or something is going on with the drive. Maybe you know better than I do, though, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.
 
A4000- This one booted to a request to "Please insert volume WDH1 in any drive." I've just started hunting around for what that is. If someone could clue me in that would be great.
 
A4000T Tower- Unfortunately, this one is the most disappointing. So far it won't boot up. I hear the fan, but nothing on the screen. I noticed a green light blink on the Seagate drive when I turn it on (I had it opened up). It blinks again when I turn it off. The ribbon cable has some separation on it just before it goes into the drive. Not sure if that's enough to stop it from working. Also, there are reset and turbo buttons on the front- wondering if I should be trying those. I'm wondering if I need to remove the battery on this one to get it to work. Also, someone mentioned elsewhere, at some point, I may need to insert a Work Bench disk at start up. Maybe that would help? Again, any suggestions will be much appreciated.
 
Thanks to everyone!
 
Edited by NightRelic
correction

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Did you had Amigas before or you are 100% newbie? If you are new to Amigas, then it will be harder to troubleshoot.

 

A2000 #1: Look at the mouse connctor, see if some pins are pushed in. Check 5v on db9 connector. Check pin 7 at 5v and 8 gnd. https://old.pinouts.ru/InputCables/AmigaMouseJoy_pinout.shtml

 

A2000 #3: Blue screen, check custom chipset, maybe push them in? Remove all cards and see if it boots. 

Amiga boot error code colours:

Red - An error in the Kickstart rom as detected.

Green - An error in the Chip Ram was detected.

Blue - An error in the custom chip set was detected.

Yellow - The CPU encountered an error before the system's error-trapping code (the code the calls up the Guru) was in place.

Black - No CPU detected.

 

 

A4000 "Please insert volume WDH1 in any drive." it means some script is looking for a missing partition or missing HD. Check under S folder for startup-sequence or user-startup. Open them in a text editor and see if anything references the WHD1.

 

A4000T check is cpu card is present, or loose.

 

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First off: Wow, that's a serious haul. Subjective of course, but the A4000T is the holy grail of Amigas for many. Amongst other features, the lithium cell instead of the NiCd battery is a bonus for corrosion, as you've discovered. A note on that though: You should treat it with vinegar first, then clean away all the residue afterwards with isopropanol. Leaving vinegar or residues from the leak on the board will mean it could still spread slowly.

 

Now, onto the machines:

Quote

A2000 #1- booted to Video Toaster. I just watched a video on how the program works. My cursor seems to be frozen. I can navigate a little bit by hitting numbers on the keyboard or the enter button. I know this mouse works because the cursor will move on the other computers that booted. Any suggestions?

You can also control the Amiga cursor with the keyboard if necessary: Hold down the left Amiga key on the keyboard and you can use the arrow keys to move it around. Also holding down shift makes it move faster. Then pressing left alt (still holding left Amiga) will left-click, and right alt will similarly right-click.

 

One possibility for the mouse not working is that the 5V fuse on the port has failed. The A2000 uses a small fuse to protect the port, and if the pins are shorted, that can cause the fuse to blow. It's a relatively easy fix, but needs some soldering. Later Amigas protected the port with a resistor instead, which meant you could get away with a short if it was remedied quickly. Another possibility is that the traces in the area have been damaged - they run through the area near the battery, though usually when the damage is that bad, the machine wouldn't boot due to damage to the CPU socket nearby.

 

Quote

A2000 #2- booted to what I think is Work Bench. A good sign. Still figuring stuff out on this one, so I'm not sure what, if any questions to ask.

Good stuff :) Hard drives were optional on the A2000, and need a controller card of some sort in there to attach one. Workbench is a nice desktop environment, and the A2000 can have any of a number of variants - it initially shipped with Workbench 1, which has a garish blue and orange colour scheme by default. Later, it shipped with Workbench 2, which has a more modern grey and blue appearance with a 3D look to its buttons - a look that was retained for later versions too. They can also be upgraded, depending on the spec - part of the OS is in what's called Kickstart ROM, and the A2000 can be upgraded to any version if desired.

If you have Workbench 2 or above, there's an application in one of the system drawers called ShowConfig. This will list the low-level hardware spec, including and additional cards installed. This will tell us a lot about the machine and what it's capable of, since the A2000 can be expanded significantly.

 

Quote

A2000 #3- This one did not boot up. The screen cycled from light blue to darker blue to black and back again. Any ideas about this one would be much appreciated. I'm guessing it needs recapping or something is going on with the drive. Maybe you know better than I do, though, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.

Capacitors are less of an issue with the A2000 as they are for the later machines, and the capacitors rarely cause any sort of failure. This sounds like it's trying to boot, but crashing. If that's the case, you'll see the power LED cycling from dim to bright, maybe pulsing, before starting again. This can be caused by several things - if it's getting far enough to boot from an installed hard drive, the software could be crashing before it gets to open the display. But it's likely the leakage from the battery has affected the CPU socket or ROM socket, or the nearby circuitry, and that's causing it to fail to start up.

 

Quote

A4000- This one booted to a request to "Please insert volume WDH1 in any drive." I've just started hunting around for what that is. If someone could clue me in that would be great.

WHD1: is likely a device name. The Amiga uses a very nice, logical system of naming different devices, which refer to a hardware level of access. DF0: is the first floppy drive, DF1: is the second, and so on. (This is as opposed to the volume name, which is the label given to a volume when it's formatted, and can be something like Files:, System:, Games: or whatever). When hard drive partitions are created on the Amiga, they're conventionally named DH0: for the first, DH1: for the second and so on, though often a letter from the manufacturer's name is added to the front when there are multiple hard drives installed. WHD1: is therefore likely the device name of the second partition on a WD hard drive.

 

Since the OS doesn't mind whether you refer to a drive by name (e.g. Games: ) or by device (e.g. WDH1: ), both often get used. This error you're getting is due to some piece of software, some setting, or some addition to the start up scripts referring directly to WHD1:. Normally, the system is entirely self-contained on the boot partition, and cancelling this error will still get you to the Workbench, but that's not always the case for heavily modified setups. It's impossible to tell exactly what might be causing this without knowing more about what happens when you cancel the error message. All I can tell you for sure is that something is referring to a partition that cannot be found, so either the drive has failed, been removed, the partition has been renamed or been wiped and reformatted with a different device name.

 

Quote

A4000T Tower- Unfortunately, this one is the most disappointing. So far it won't boot up. I hear the fan, but nothing on the screen. I noticed a green light blink on the Seagate drive when I turn it on (I had it opened up). It blinks again when I turn it off. The ribbon cable has some separation on it just before it goes into the drive. Not sure if that's enough to stop it from working. Also, there are reset and turbo buttons on the front- wondering if I should be trying those. I'm wondering if I need to remove the battery on this one to get it to work. Also, someone mentioned elsewhere, at some point, I may need to insert a Work Bench disk at start up. Maybe that would help? Again, any suggestions will be much appreciated.

That's a shame. An Amiga will give you a display, even if there's no hard drive present. Inserting a Workbench disk is only going to help you if you get a purple "insert disk" screen, though depending on the setup, that screen can take up to 30 seconds to show, so make sure you're waiting long enough. It's worth looking again to see if the power LED is cycling from dim to bright, which would indicate a crash. The clock battery won't change anything I'm afraid - no settings are stored with it in the same way as a PC's BIOS, and it makes no difference whether it's full, empty or absent. The blinking could just be part of the drive's startup routine. The CPU is on a separate daughter card in the 4000, it might be worth checking that that's properly seated. If there are any other boards in there, it might be worth taking them out to make sure they're not causing an issue, similarly with any drives attached. But beyond that, if you're not getting a Kickstart "insert floppy" screen, it needs to be looked at.

 

There are lots of people in the Amiga scene who are pretty adept at handling repairs. I don't know where you are in the world, but I might be able to point you to someone not too far away if you need it.

 

 

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Thanks for all the great replies. I'll have to try all the suggestions in the next day or two. Yes, I am a total Newbie to Amigas. I'm a graphic designer and remember hearing about them back in the late 80's early 90's. If I ran into another graphics person and they were working on an Amiga, I knew they were good. I worked mainly on PC's initially and then Macs. But Amigas were that holy grail I never managed to work on. That's the closest I came to Amigas. They were like a legend.

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