02 February 2012

Boot Selector and HxC for Amiga 500

The last weeks I haven't done much music. The Apollo album has taken a lot of my energy and I needed a break. So I have been working on some projects on another hobby. Next to synthesizers I also collect old retro computers and game consoles. In the place where my studio used to be (before I moved to the basement under the garden) I have build a bit of a computer museum. The last weeks I spend a lot of time testing and repairing stuff and adding modern electronics to old hardware like on this Commodore Amiga 500.

The software for this machine used to be distributed on 3,5 inch double density floppies. After a couple of years these diskettes go bad since their magnetic layer deteriorates in time. So I bought this HxC floppy emulator for it. You can put floppy images on a SD card and select the image you want to load on with little knobs. Once you have the image you want to boot in the display you hit a key and the Commodore Amiga doesn't know better than it is talking to an actual disk drive.

Most people replace the internal disk drive with this HxC emulator, but I didn't want to do that since my internal drive is still working fine and I also have a lot of diskettes that do work. The Amiga 500 is only ably to boot from the first floppy drive though and that is the internal one. I put the HxC on the electronics of a external drive but that becomes drive 2 then. So you need to be able to switch them. I build something for it called a boot selector. It takes two pins from the floppy controller chip inside the Amiga 500 and swaps them when you toggle the switch.

In this way the internal drives becomes drive 2 and the external drive becomes drive 1. So now I can boot from the HxC and my Amiga 500 is still original. I didn't want to drill a hole in it either for the switch so it is sticking out on the back with a flat cable coming through the housing. Now I'm going to transfer some of the diskettes that still work to the SD card and look for some new ones. I'm happy that the boot selector works. Time for some retro fun. I did some more projects so maybe I'll post some more of them up here.


PastelSounds said...

More great stuff. And lots of fun. Cheers... On my A500 with 030 cpu also i have SD and CF card but by IDE. Any way congratulations.

Synth.nl said...

Thanks :) You have fun too!! :)

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me where to find a schematic for the bootswitch?


Synth.nl said...

Send me an E-mail on michel@synth.nl and I'll try to explain how to build it. I don't have a link for it.

Anonymous said...

i've got it!



Synth.nl said...

OK great! :)

Troels said...

Looks great!
Please do a tour around your basement-computer-museum :D

Kind regards from Denmark

Synth.nl said...

I guess I could do a little video tour like I did for the studio. But at the moment not much time unfortunately.