ScuzzBlog: Diaries January 2021

Entry 7th January 2021: Post 2: Amiga-500 Plus - Spread your legs GARY.

Amiga-500 Plus - Spread your legs GARY.

First sign of problems was the intermittent way the floppy drive
was attempting to boot a disk, without the monitor connected. The
next sign was a little more obvious. The boot image began to fall
apart starting with the disk animation. It was pretty clear there
was a more serious issue.

I chose to swap out all the chips starting with the Denise. I even
swapped out the Paula though I left the main CPU and Agnus.

I was getting varied levels of success but just couldn't pin point
the issue. I was worried about track corrosion associated with the
battery leakage. This machine did have some quite dreadful battery

The computer is fitted with a Power Computing ROM switcher. I think
it is possible to fit a switch to the vacant jumper port. For now
changing from 1.3 to 2.04 means swapping jumpers over. A pretty
pointless exercise in truth.

At one stage I was able to fire up the game but was unable to repeat
the process and she just kept locking up. All kinds of things were
just not happening and I was starting to worry about the Agnus.

So I bagged things up and went away for a few hours and cried into
a cup of hot tea....... But I knew I would be coming back.

This time I decided to attack the GARY slot head on. The socket
was green and I had been nervous about cracking those socket feet.
What the hell.. No gain without pain. So I doused the area with
cleaning alcohol and went bonkers with a brush and other cleaning
techniques I use including bits of cardboard. I was amazed to find
that the socket feet were generally OK and only looked green.

The 'biggy' was bending the GARY feet out.. spreading the legs so
they made a positive contact with the socket. When removing a chip
always but always use a special removal tool. Never do as you see
on YouTube and use a flat headed screwdriver. If you see that ever,
leave a reply and call the guy a 'plonka'. There are circuits below
the chip and those sockets will not take leverage.

A chip should be seated by lining the legs up on one side and then
carefully locating the sockets with the other side and then very
gently leaning back on the first inserted legs until you are able
to lower the other sides legs and gently seat them. When you think
they are ready to be fully pushed in get a very bright light and
check EACH AND EVERY LEG to make sure they are located and then
and only then push the chip in. It should give a very welcome
crunching noise as the legs lock into place. Then check again with
the light each and every pin leg.

I was so convinced everything would work without fault. The chip
had not located so tightly and I believe that this cold spell we
were having may have contracted the metal parts. I am not a lover
of heat and can have rooms a little cold. I just hate heat.

I placed a tissue across the machine and reconnected the keyboard
without the monitor connected. I should say I cleaned the ROM socket
also though I believe this to be a red herring. I then booted the
A-500 Plus and she kicked into gear. I had no flashing power lights
and no problems booting a disk.

I then reconnected the monitor and soak tested the drive and Plus
by heavy loading a series of games. I played R-Type II and Giana
till my fingers bled, I was so happy. She was green across the
screen, metaphorically speaking. The issue was with a GARY chip
that had become unseated due to the cold and then couldn't find a
clean connection due to the green debris on the socket. She is
just fine now and working very well.

I closed up by adding yet another note to the base of the computer.
It will not be the last, but reflect on the fact that she deserves
the TLC and the care of limited intrusion. She doesn't deserve
having all her teeth pulled and then drenched in a tub on some
dick heads hot roof. With limited effort and a bit of sensible
attendance you can keep your Amigas working. If they were working
last time switched on there is probably very little wrong. Just
cus she throws up a wobbly doesn't mean you need to rewire and
strip out all the capacitors and start fitting 'GoKraps' to her. She
really doesn't deserve to be abused. Just take your time and take
pictures and think thro' what changed since you last used her. In
my case it got bloody cold, but I'm too thick skinned to notice.

Happy days. Always happy days with a real Amiga. Onward.

Amiga-500 Plus - Spread your legs GARY.

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Last updated 7th January 2021

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