Saturday, February 6, 2016

ACA500 on Amiga 1000

One of my "wonder if it actually works" projects recently made significant progress on the Classic Amiga 1000. I got the ACA500 working on the Amiga 1000!

I saw a YouTube video from someone who managed to get it to work. I was keen to try it out so I found an ACA500 for sale on Ebay and soon enough it arrived.

I was glad (and worried) about the case that covered the ACA500 - primarily because on an Amiga 1000 the expansion needs to be fitted the wrong way around, which means the case would get in the way of the mouse and joystick ports, which are on the same side as the expansion port on the Amiga 1000...

You can see the two CF slots with some rather bent pins...I did fix them but they are very fragile, as I have seen reported elsewhere on the internet forums before.

Lucky for me the CF cards are formatted and already have Kickstart 1.3 and 3.1 installed from the previous owner (who had an Amiga 500), with a base Workbench 3.1 HD setup too.

This means that the Amiga 1000 with the ACA500 should have an automatic Kickstart 1.3 or 3.1 (no longer need a kickstart disk), and able to run Workbench 3.1 on a Hard disk! Very cool!

Previously I have been using a Gotek with the Kickstart 1.3 ADF installed on it in position 001 to boot the Amiga 1000 without the need to use a physical floppy disk:

Up front I will say that the ACA500 doesn't work very often on the Amiga 1000...

You have to power off/on the Amiga 1000 many times for the ACA500 to be recognised, but when it does get recognised on power on, it works perfectly. For this reason I can't recommend trying it yourself because it is a bit flakey. Your mileage may vary of course!

I connected the CF cards to the appropriate slots on the ACA 500:

Next I connected it to the A1000 minus any memory expansions to make sure it worked by itself

And yes, I realised later that I had the mouse plugged into the wrong port (smacks head). On the other hand it was useful to determine the issues with the ACA500 case when connected to the Amiga 1000:

As it turned out I could lift the plastic on the case just enough to run the mouse cable through it:

Not sure if that would work with an accelerator installed, but for now...

I powered on the Amiga 1000 and the ACA500 worked and presented the initial boot menu!

I then explored the options menu on the ACA500:

In expert mode you can change a lot of settings, PAL/NTSC mode, mapping the ROM (essential in this case on the Amiga 1000), and option L to load an Amiga 1000 kickstart disk. Clearly this device has been setup with Amiga 1000's in mind...

I should also mention that the ACA500 has 1MB of fast memory include on it, which allows for mapping kickstart images. 

I then kicked off the boot process into Workbench 3.1 Hard disk from the ACA500:

The CF cards light up furiously while booting off the hard disk on the CF card:

And there it is, Workbench 3.1 on my Amiga 1000 - who would have thought I would ever be running Workbench 3.1 on it!

That done, I then added the Comspec memory expansion (covered previously in my blog here), and this extra bulk had the additional benefit of the ACA500 case no longer getting in the way of the joystick and mouse ports.

Quite busy around the Amiga 1000 now, with the Comspec memory card, Gotek, VGA scandoubler, AV out and ACA500 all connected to it:

For those curious I use the Gotek floppy connector I normally use on the CDTV floppy port as it includes the power needed to boot the Gotek. But because the Gotek needs to be on DF0 on the Amiga 1000 to boot the kickstart disk, the floppy cable runs from inside the Amiga 1000 to the gotek separately (shown well in the shot above). I covered more on the Gotek on my Amiga 1000 in my earlier blog post here.

In any case, the great news is that after connecting everything the ACA500 worked again on power on:

I then selected to boot into Workbench 3.1 from hard disk:

Workbench 3.1 on my Amiga 1000 booted quickly from CF hard disk on the ACA500. I also now get the additional memory from the Comspec memory expansion too. Fantastic:

I ran DOpus 4 on it since it was on the hard disk - just playing around really:

I then added another old Amiga 1010 external floppy drive (and disconnected the Gotek) to be able to copy stuff from floppy disk for installations, and to check the ACA500 worked to boot kickstart via mapped rom without the Gotek present, which it did!

Copying to the hard disk from floppy was nice and fast. The ACA500 means I don't need the Gotek to boot kickstart anymore!

As usual though, I didn't leave it there...

I wanted to be adventurous and see if I could add an Amiga 1200 accelerator to it! Specifically, a spare Apollo 060-66 accelerator I have - I no longer have an Amiga 1200 as I gave it to a friend, but I still have this accelerator for some reason! time to put it to use again!

So, I pulled apart the ACA500 case so I could put the accelerator in:

And here she is, the Apollo 060 ready to go in:

All connected up to the ACA500:

Unfortunately though the case wouldn't fit with the Apollo installed in the ACA500 accelerator connector because of the bulky extra board on top of it. It is clearly designed for the thin Individual Computers ACA1XXX accelerator surprise really.

So I installed the ACA500 with 060 accelerator into the Amiga 1000 expansion slot pass through minus the case, utilising a highly professional disk box to hold it up to the correct height to line up with the expansion connector:

Hmmm, gotta love professional installations - don't breathe on it:

I had already installed the Apollo 060 libraries from the setup disk before I powered down the Amiga 1000 for this part of the installation. they are needed to boot the Apollo in Workbench 3.1.

I thought how cool would it be to have an 060 Amiga 1000 with hard disk and Workbench 3.1? I even started thinking about running AmigaOS 3.9 on it if I could find some more memory! Hmmm, should stop thinking as it keeps costing me money :-)

Anyway, I powered on a few times and eventually the ACA500 came to life - you can see I have both the AV out and VGA functioning (to different screens):

Just to prove it does pick it up, here is the system information screen on the ACA500 showing the Apollo 060 accelerator detected.

I read somewhere that the ram on the Apollo 060 is not detected by the ACA500, but the board is detected fine.

So it did what they said! In any case the system refused to boot with the Apollo 060 card installed. It was a shame!

So, I took the accelerator out of the ACA500 and got to work making the stock Workbench 3.1 standard vanilla hard disk install a bit prettier:

MagicWB always does wonders for any Workbench 3.1 install, as does using DOpus 5.82 Magellan in Workbench replacement mode (as I had both on floppy disks ready to install easily):

Being forever ambitious I also tried (and failed) to get the USB working on the Amiga 1000 via the clockport on the ACA500 - I loaded in the Poseidon drivers:

I then attached the working subway USB card from my Amiga 600 to the ACA500 clockport, taking care as usual about the cable orientation.

But, it didn't work.

Not sure what the problem was exactly - Poseidon couldn't find the Subway device. Perhaps I need a different Subway USB driver - there is a separate one for the A604n card on my Amiga 600 when I set it up last year, so maybe there is another one for this? I didn't look into too much as I had run out of time to muck around with it for that day.

In any case I was very satisfied that I got the ACA500 working on the Amiga 1000, and in so doing got myself a booting Workbench 3.1 system and no more need for kickstart disks!

Maybe another day I'll give the USB and accelerator another go!


  1. Very interesting experiment, thanks for documenting it. I was very afraid you would be frying the Amiga 1000 at some point.

    I have a question though: I'm a Debian Developer and one of the main driving forces of Debian's m68k port. For that, I manage both emulated as well as real hardware machines that automatically build and upload packages.

    Since we're always in dire need for hardware, I would be very interested in your Apollo 060 accelerator to use it for my Debian work.

    Would you maybe willing to sell it to me to help us with the Debian m68k port?


    1. Possibly I am interested in selling it, especially if it will be used for something useful. Please let me know your contact email so we can continue this chat via PM. Thanks.

    2. Alright. You can use genki-adrian at hotmail dot com.

  2. Hello! thanks for documented this, its Amazing!, I own x3 A1000 (one with out the commodore Logo in the case) I´m looking/thinking for add an ACA500 and I found this, helps a lot so many thanks for the "cacharreo". my websites : and


  3. It is a very interesting configuration and experience !
    For the USB, why you don't try ANAIIS ?
    ANAIIS is able to find a Subway via the clockport at 0x00d80001 but also at 0x00d90001, or other locations if necessary.

    1. Thanks for the tip - I might have to give this a go! :-)

  4. Thanks for the documentation! I've found your blog helpful in figuring out what to do with my own A1000.

    Have you considered buying a Vampire accelerator as well? It's largely redundant with the ACA500, but I've been reading the latest developments on Apollo's projects and it looks like it will be a very promising new direction in the Amiga scene. I'd love to see your style of step-by-step documentation on getting one to work in an A1000, not to mention a comparison review with the ACA500!

  5. anyways we will be soon trying a aca500+ with mediator/micronik z3i with a Rapture-G4/sonnet PCI co processors