(Originally posted on Dreamwidth Jul. 11th, 2018)
What have I been up to? Well, a bit of this and a bit of that. Picked up a new hobby, BTW.
What’s that? You wanna know more about my new hobby? OK.
So after watching many YouTubers playing with classic computers I decided I wanted in. I’d recently acquired an Amiga CD32, which I got recapped (It was all SMT so I wasn’t going to do it I can tell you) so I had a foot in the door. I built a new PSU for it and I had a working console but I wanted MOAR!
At Swancon I asked around and a friend came to the party as she had a few more systems gathering dust. (I won’t name her to respect her privacy) This netted me an N64, a NES and, most interestingly a Sinclair ZX Spectrum.
Meanwhile I ordered an Amiga 1200 off AmiBay in a semi-working state (Don’t ask how much it cost. I’m mostly using it for parts.) which took three months to get here.
I have had some leave recently, so in a flurry I have:
Recapped the NES and the Spectrum
Purchased a new PSU for the Spectrum.
Replaced the cartridge connector on the NES <- At this point it was working.
Converted the Spectrum to use Composite out rather than TV Out. <- At this point the spectrum was booting.
The Spectrum needed much more work.
Although it was booting, the keyboard was unreliable. It was in an aftermarket case which meant I didn’t need to deal with the notorious membrane. This took me ages to fix as it was multiple issues overlapping. Firstly, all the contacts were corroded. This was solved with some contact cleaner, a bamboo chopstick (They make excellent “soft” contact cleaners) and some strips of cardboard. Secondly, some of the wires on the keyboard connectors had poor solder joints. I desoldered / resoldered them and that fixed that. I needed to also trim the edge of one of the connectors to ensure a better electrical connection with the motherboard. Now I could boot and type.
It took me a while to work out exactly HOW to load a game, and I didn’t have a tape deck in a working state. I solved this issue by using my Android phone, a piece of software called “TeeZiX”, and an eeevil custom made cable. Now I could even load games.
This is the point one of the key buttons on the keyboard stopped working. Thankfully I was able to resolve that with some contact cleaner.
I was loading games! I was even playing them! W00t!
My next step is to wait until next month so I can afford to buy another PSU to hack into the Amiga 1200. I think at this point I should be able to get it to boot to the “Insert Disk” screen (I hope). I’m not sure how I’m going to proceed from there to be honest. My big challenge will be getting bootdisks ready to boot the Amiga to the point where I can format and install an OS. The Amiga uses a non-standard floppy disk format (880K) that I may need to build a USB to FDD bridge just so I can write out the disks from images.
So that’s kept me busy.
Oh, and if you happen to have an old C64, C128, or an Amstrad CPC machine you no longer want / love, let me know 🙂