ScuzzBlog: Diaries April 2021

Entry 7th April 2021: Post 1: A-500 Plus - More like a busted Plus'h.

A-500 Plus - More like a busted Plus'h.

For all kinds of reasons the term 'Busted Flush' seems most apt. 
For one the Amiga 500 Plus was so promising when released and then 
it turned out to be anything but. and add to that the issues of 
battery damage to stocks and she was also prone to disappoint , 
even when on the face of it she looked so well presented.

For me , though, the world of the Amiga is revealing my failures
to satisfy the current 'minimum requirements' to be an Amigan in
the year 2021. Time was that the Amiga was first and foremost an
interest in computing. Sadly not now. To be a community champion
these days you have got to be an electrician.

I recall a time when most with an interest in the Amiga were keen
on programming and using the Amiga as a computer. When did this
all change? Today's Amiga champions are 'Tubers' that can solder
and use electronic gadgetry to diagnose electrical faults. You
could be mistaken these days for thinking that retro computing
was just an interest in electrical engineering. Gone are the
discussions about software and applications. Nobody appears to
expanding the portfolio of useful programs. The frontiers of the
Amiga imagination as a creative tool, have all but vanished into
the void. And what has replaced it? Capacitors and retrobrite.

Watch any video these days about the Amiga or Commodore and you
will find electrical enthusiasts extolling the virtues of hot guns
and soldering stations. They use scopes for diagnosing problems.
In truth they may as well be mending a radio or a hoover. The
last thing discussed it seems is the computing. Best you get is
a token disk insert at the end of the video.

Not sure when computing actually tripped over into electrical
engineering. The forums these days are filled with technical
queries regarding electronics. Additionally you can't be in the
club without a freshly recapped Amiga, brightly scraped and
fitted with an ADF floppy emulator... And for what? Playing games.

My world has long ceased to exist. I am not an electrician and do
not wish to be one. If I want something fixed I pay an expert in
that field. I just sense that it's the electrical repairs that
folk are interested in and there is very little computing being
done when they are thru' recapping their machines. For me when I
read these posts and see videos on YouTube I just switch off.

Anyhoo... With that said what was I doing today?

These last few weeks I have been showing on the blogs some of my
failed computers. I have deliberately been featuring kit going bad.
It is not that I like it when things go bad, it is just that death
is inevitable. I have no idea how long I will live, but like my
computers, I said my computers, I have no desire to live forever.
We have our time and then it is gone. I kinda hope that the pace
of their demise keeps track with mine, so as I expire, my beloved
Amiga packs up at the same time.

Today I resurrected an old Amiga 500 Plus case that I had junked
into the loft in 2004. Stuff that goes into the loft rarely sees
the light of day again. I questioned as ever why she was there.
In this case it was a story of a busted Plus that had been stored
in a friends garage for decades and was weathered by damp and cold
and destroyed by the battery. I have been dealt a full hand of
busted A-500 Plus' over the years that have suffered the same fate.
I rebuilt what I could and was left with this sorry box of broken
kit. It is a real shame that I am not an electrical engineer, but
I managed to salvage by swapping out and so what you see today is
literally junk from my elephants graveyard.

I started with the case cover which literally broke into pieces in
my hand. I cleaned off the rust from the base. Typical mishmash
of A500 broken lid and A-500 Plus base. All the motherboards were
well busted. Broken chips, sockets and tracks ravaged by battery
damage. I rescued the last of the chips and decided to have one
last go at that motherboard left to rot in the garage.

I first cleaned up and checked with power. Neither the GARY or the
main ROM were warm. Additionally the memory was freezing cold and
I was greeted with a flashing green light. So I went in deeper to
find the spring clips in the sockets broken. I cleaned up and
burnished the feet of GARY. A little trick is to spread the legs
so you don't need the springs in the socket. Next I swapped out
the ROM and fired up again.

So what happened ?

The computer stopped blinking green and gave me a solid bright
green. Better still the GARY and the ROM plus memory were all now
warm to the touch.... And so what next.

Nothing.. That's it. I placed her in amongst all the working
Amigas knowing full well that I will return to this fruitless
challenge. For this to work I need an electrical engineer. Just
as with the Amiga 4000 and Amiga 600 with the broken capacitors.
But as ever, I have others. My Amigas will outlive me so it is no
hardship to buck the current Amiga trend and not play electrician.

So instead of a final picture of me playing Turrican having oscillated
my hot gun and soldered my Amiga back into the sunset, I twiddled
with the A and M in Amiga and created 'Veiga'. A far more rewarding
use of my computer time utilising Photoshop. I would prefer to be
using a computer than mending one any day. And I use the term mend
in the most loose of ways. My main interest has always been in the
use of the computer. All this fixing is really a way of passing the
time. I do not generally know what I am doing. I just pretend, to
make me feel better. I'm more of a tinkering kind of guy. Works.

There you go I kinda used the blog to show just how much of an utter
'Busted Flush' I am. Play your cards right and I'll show you more
of my card trickery with the Amiga pack. Fortunately I have my
lovely assistant to guide me. And so that poor Amiga will feature

That is the only promise I can make. Everything else is just smokes
and mirrors... cus I haven't got a clue what I am doing. Most times.

PS As I said on the forums this week about radio and hoover bods
that claim to be computer enthusiasts.... Sorry. Not a fan. You may
know how to hot gun a capacitor but computer user you are not.

A-500 Plus - More like a busted Plus'h.

Motherboard Number 1

Enter motherboard Number 2

Next motherboard Number 3

And finally motherboard Number 4

Full house or busted Plus'h

Every chip was now warm.. She's alive !!!

I'll be back !!!!

One for you Clara Veiga spotters

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Last updated 7th April 2021

Chandraise Kingdom

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scuzzscink 2021