ScuzzBlog: Diaries May 2020

Entry 18th May 2020: Post 1: Amiga Basics - Essential Guide Part 1.

Amiga Basics - Essential Guide Part 1.

I see so many questions on the forums about the basic aspects of
the Amiga and find myself regularly having to explain some of the
essential elements of the platform both in terms of the hard and
soft. So here is my idiots guide on just what any Amiga enthusiast
should have in their toolbox to maintain their Amiga.

The guide is in two parts. The first is the essential stuff you
need to understand and obtain. The second is the prep work you
need to undertake when troubleshooting any problem. The trick to
the Amiga is always be prepared.

I have chosen to use an A1200 in the guide, though to make it a
little more tricky I am booting off a 2.05 disk. I am not using
the actual Workbench 3.0 to check the files etc I am using the
Workbench off the disk. This is useful as many problems may occur
cus you can't boot into the Workbench.

Please note that I have taken pics off a standard Amiga monitor
and it's real difficult getting an image without the scan lines.

Here goes.

Amiga Basics - Essential Guide Part 1.

Your Amiga is a star so treat her with
respect. Never hot shoe or plug in when
she is powered up. Avoid unplugging and
plugging in endlessly. Keep her safe and
covered. Avoid the coffee spills and food
debris. Keep your floppy port clear and
dust and wipe clean all surfaces.

Her floppy click and hard drive whirr is her
heartbeat. Without them it's very difficult
to sense just how she is feeling. Trust me.

She also likes a tan so let her bronze a little.

So what is in the trap door. Is it a RAM
card or an accelerator. I'll keep this
real simple. The gold chip probably means
the card is an accelerator. The card may
may also be fitted with an FPU.

You are likely to have a battery for the
battery backed up clock. Not essential.
There may also be a RAM SIM on the card.
The RAM may also be fixed to the card.

So find out what you have and research
by visiting the Big Book or Amiga Resources.

So what do these cards do. With an accelerator
you go faster. The A600 is an 00, the A1200 an 020
A modest accelerator gets you to 030. Better is
an 040 and the 060 is like **cking fast.

The RAM is your working vessel for all you
do. If you have created an animation that
is 4MB in size and you only have 4MB of RAM
chances are that most programs will run out
of memory and not run it. So the more the
better. I would suggest 8MB to 32MB.

Useful to have a sticky on the base of your
computer reminding you of what is inside.
This little baby has not been updated .

And give your Amiga a girls name. Tradition.
Everybody's Girlfriend.

OK.. To trapdoor or not trapdoor.

If your trapdoor is struggling to close
or is too tight then leave the thing off.

The Amiga is a pig when it comes to monitors.
The monitor I use here is a CDTV 1084S black.

She is guaranteed to work with any Amiga.

You can still get flat screen with
SCART or even a SONY Trinitron say.

The older Amiga models support the A520.

This gives both the composite.

And the RF for the older TVs.

The A1200 and the A600 has both the
composite and RF built in.

Get yourself an external floppy drive.
So many problems with floppies. The old
external can be a life saver. Better if
it is high density model for PC disks.

You need an Amiga compatible mouse.
There is nothing wrong with ball mice.
They just need an old style mouse matt
with a textured surface. The ball needs
to grip onto something.

Joysticks are very useful as some
programs use them along with games.

There is no excuse for not having your
Workbench disks. Get them all. Seriously,
this box of disks gets more use than
any other. And make multiple copies.

Also have a tools set of disks with all
those essential programs on them. You don't
want to be trawling the internet for stuff
when just a basic set of tools on disk will
always, and I say always save your life.

Essential tools... SysInfo and DiskSalv.

Essential tools... A good text editor
that lets you cut and paste. Like CED.

don't then start learning now.

A good icon editing tool, icon stash,
image viewer, data types for most of
the common file types, ADF Blitzer,
Decrunchers, installers, C Tools...
When you come across useful stuff
stick it in your tool box.

Not really bothered how you acquire
your Workbench disks. The Amiga is
nothing without them. Just get them
already... ALL OF THEM.

Most important get the INSTALL disks.
This little disk will boot into its
own version of Workbench and not only
give you access to your computer but
let you interrogate the drives.


Get all the INSTALL disks.

Get all the Workbench types.

A little known gem is AmigaGuide.
Learn what it is and how to use it.
Set up your computer to use the GUIDES
They appear all over the place and you
need to be able to read them.

I have said that there is no excuse
for not using DOPUS. This is the only
disk that you need..

My DiskSalv disk also has the entry
needed for the MaxTransfer figure
when using IDE drives. If you have
important data, stick it on a disk
label. Other good tools are SnoopDOS
and SCOUT. Plus ARestaure and ReORG
plus Quarterback.

I big problem with the Amiga is the
tint of the screen. ProTracker lets
you check if your Amiga is reading
the colours correctly.

Games are fun. They are also useful for
checking your computer is running
properly especially soak testing
and checking the sound.

If you are going to leave disks lying
around stick them in a plastic sleeve.

This guide applies to the other Amiga models.

For the heavy stuff get a folder.

Relokick lets you degrade a 1200
so it functions as an A500. Very useful.

OK so you have assembled your tools
and its ready to troubleshoot.


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Last updated 18th May 2020

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