Saturday, June 17, 2023

Perth Amiga group meeting May 2023

 I found out recently about the Perth Amiga User Group (you can find them on Facebook here), and decided to go to one of their meetings in late May 2023 and make a weekend getaway out of it!

However, I couldn't go there empty-handed, so I decided to work some more on my Amiga 600 build, as it is the smallest Amiga and therefore the easiest to bring in my luggage on the 3 hour flight to Perth.

This Amiga has a two tone paint job, red on the top, and black on the bottom. I bought it from back in 2021. They replaced the internal disk drive with a gotek with OLED display on the top and a 9.5MB fast memory expansion that sits on top of the 68000 CPU.. 

Internally I have upgraded it already with AmigaOS 3.2 kickstart rom, A604n memory expansion card (with clock port and Indivision ECS scan doubler with VGA out. Also installed AmigaOS 3.2 on a CF card hard disk connected to the IDE port with a converter.

I had previously bought a Furia 020 accelerator and I was thinking to install it in the Amiga 600 for the meeting in Perth. I came to regret that, but more on that later!

Before I get into the upgrade work, I cranked up the nearby Amiga 500 I have built recently (links here to Part 1 Part 2 Part 3), to play some modules in the updated Hippoplayer while I work on the A600. I also use it to help with copying files I need along the way thanks to the hot swap CF card port on the ACA500 plus.

First things first, I want to upgrade the Kickstart 3.2 rom to the latest 3.2.2 rom released in 2023.

The reason for this (yes I know I can soft kick 3.2.2) is because I want native support in the rom for booting earlier OS3.x version hard disks, which is a new feature in 3.2.2. So, I am changing them all over.

Thanks to my chip extractor, here it is safely installed:

I fired up the Amiga 600 without a hard disk to confirm that the kickstart rom 3.2.2 is working correctly, which I am pleased to say it does!

In order to install the Furia accelerator on top of the 68000 CPU on the A600 board, I have to first remove the 9.5MB fast memory expansion that is currently on it.

With that done, I can now install the furia.

I got it from, and it came with the floppy disk (which I optioned), and some screws to help prevent it moving once installed on the 68000 cpu.

Here is a look at the underside, you can see the socket that you need to push onto the 68000 cpu which is surface mounted on the A600 boards.

There are no instructions included with the Furia. For such an expensive expansion with complex setup requirements, this doesn't make any sense to me at all.

Another thing that made no sense is the screws provided don't screw into the main A600 board, and no nuts are included to secure it to the Furia either. No instructions either on what to do. 


I located some nuts from my Checkmate 1500 plus case spare parts, and luckily they fit the supplied screws.

With that, I could then attach the screws to the Furia board correctly. Well, I assume it is correct as there are no instructions...I checked the Czech support page on the Furia board, but it didn't mention about the screws. 

It did talk about the commands for tuning the Furia configuration, called Furiatune. I used the Amiga 500 next to my A600 to copy the required files to the CF card I use in the A600, so I can use it.

The ACA500 plus is so useful at times like this. I could copy over a bunch of newer games, demos and mods to the A600 CF card too while it was inserted in the Aux card slot  :-)

With the copy being done, I mounted the Furia on the 68000 cpu on the A600. I can see straight away I need a solution for the IDE cable/CF converter as it is obviously not a good idea to rest it on top of the heat sinks of the Furia!

Close up of the screws resting on the A600 board. On the ACA630 it came with securing screws to screw it down using the IDE cage holes. No chance of that here. It is clear that any major movement on the A600 is likely to cause the Furia to pop off the 68000 cpu.

Now I need to do something about the CF card/ide cable issue. The Furia board is too close to the connector to use the current setup.

In my A1200 system, I have a neater solution that sits on the IDE connector horizontally, and repositions the CF converter 90 degrees so it is cable free. The Indivision AGA board gets hot too, so I needed a solution for that.

This machine is also due for an AmigaOS 3.2.2 rom upgrade as it is using Workbench 3.1 ROMS at the moment still. All in good time.

Bugger it, I'll do the AmigaOS 3.2.2 upgrade on the A1200 while I am here:

New roms installed:

I put the old A600 ide converter and cable into the A1200, and bent it back 90 degrees so it doesn't sit over the Indivision AGA.

I checked and confirmed the new 3.2.2 rom works on the A1200 too.

I then decided to relocate the ide converter from the A1200 to the A600 to resolve the issue with the Furia.

This is much better - I'll need to get another one of these ide converter boards for the A1200 now I think, so I can keep this one in here.

The A600 is very busy internally now. IDE to CF converter, Furia 020 accelerator with Fast memory, Indivision 604n chip memory upgrade board with Indivision ECS scan doubler on it, Gotek floppy drive emulator with LED display, with space in between to add the clockport Rapid road or subway usb in the future into the clockport on the A604n. Whew!

Using the Amiga 500, I edited the s:startup-sequence on the A600 CF card to run the Furiatune section, as per the recommended setup.

That done, I put the 32GB CF card back into the A600.

I tested the new AmigaOS 3.2.2 kickstart roms, on the A600 and the A1200 - working great.

The system however fails to boot up using the CF Card into AmigaOS 3.2 with the Furia installed! I booted using a AmigaOS 3.2 Install disk and can not see the drive on the workbench.

I can see the extra fast memory on the Furia, so it is running, just not working with the CF card.

I ran the HD toolbox and confirmed it didn't see the IDE CF device at all. Since it works fine when the Furia is not installed, I know the culprit.

I read up online about this, and that is something I really wish I did before I bought the Furia.

Turns out that the Furia is extremely picky about what CF cards and SD cards it will work with. Since I had a AmigaOS 3.2 microsd prepared by Amigastore for another Amiga, I decided to try that, since some people reported the Samsung MicroSD is more compatible.

I tried it in two different ways - one way with the CF to SD card converter, and one with the IDE to SD converter.

Here is the CF to SD solution installed.

It wasn't detected by the Furia either. It works fine when the Furia is not installed.

I then tried the IDE to SD solution. It also was not detected by the Furia. It also works fine when the Furia is not installed.

I then read that most people who have tried have been flat out unable to get the Furia to work with AmigaOS 3.2 AT ALL. Including me it seems. Apparently it works fine with AmigaOS 3.1...

I am not willing to go backwards to crappy small drives and small partition sizes just in order to use the Furia. It was a total waste of money and I am quite disappointed with that. Don't buy a Furia unless you are happy running AmigaOS 3.1 and also have a definite confirmed working CF or SD card solution.

What a waste of time.

Anyway, I decided to go back to my older ACA630 accelerator, which still works fine. You can't buy this anymore, so I am glad to have it still.

I removed the Furia and confined it to a spare parts bin (let me know if you want one as I will never use it again!). I then installed the ACA630 in it's place. 

It recognises and boots my A600 from the ide converter no problem. I tested SD and CF and both worked fine.

Thanks to the ACA630, I now have an 030 accelerator, with 32MB Fast memory in my A600.

I set to work installing software I wanted on the A600 for the Perth Amiga group meeting. The time wasting with the Furia reduced the time I had to prepare the machine...

I wanted to get the networking happening with a PCMCIA card, but ran out of time before I needed to pack the A600 for the trip to Perth for the meeting.

It does look nice though. Would have liked to have done more....

I then packed up the Amiga 600, and travelled across to Perth after work on Friday night, ready for the meeting on saturday afternoon!

I used to live in Perth before, it is a beautiful city. Coming back again in 2023 just reminded me how beautiful it is.

The weather was perfect, surprising in late Autumn! 

I went into the City in the morning to look around. Below is London Court, a place I have fond memories of from when I lived here. Glad it is still there. I used to walk through here in the late 1980's after catching the bus into the city, headed for Valhalla Games, and Bruining Headlam computers to gaze at all the amazing Amiga games and applications I could never hope to afford!

I then took a taxi to the meeting in the afternoon, excited to meet everyone! I couldn't fit a screen into my luggage, so I had arranged for one of the helpful attendees to bring a spare TFT screen with them so I could borrow it for the night. Thanks Ian for that - you are a star!

I got it setup eventually, along with the new wireless Tank mouse, Arcade R joystick, and the latest Amiga Addict magazine I received only a day before I went to Perth.

I think the setup looks pretty good! I had demos and new release Amiga games running through the evening for people to try out.

I also did an video interview that night with the Perth Amiga group organisers, which you can see about 2 minutes in on their YouTube video of the night here

There were a lot of Amigas at the meeting - below is an A1200 and CD32 setup with Dual player Gloom Deluxe, Banshee, playable with large arcade Battlestation II joysticks!

Next up was an Amiga 1000 with the PC sidecar and external gotek:

On the raffle table was three prizes with tickets purchased and raffled on the night - Amiga 500, C64 and a Megadrive. I bought a few tickets as I really wanted the Amiga 500 for another project - fingers crossed!

Some beautiful modded Amiga 500 cases and keycaps also on display - very nice:

Next up was an Amiga 500 with Pistorm installed, running CaffeineOS RTG Workbench, with CRT for the standard resolution gaming needs!

The meeting was extremely well organised and organisers kept attendees well informed about everything throughout the night, when raffle would be drawn, the quiz night timing, and auctions for Amiga and other hardware.

An interesting modification was this Mac Classic which has had the internals removed and replaced:

Replaced with - An A500 Mini and Beautiful Screen!

There was also an Amiga 2000 and another upgraded Amiga 500 on display too:

On another desk was some more interesting Amigas on display, a new A1200 motherboard with some interesting upgrades on it, alongside an Amiga 600 and Amiga 1200.

Here is a closer look at the full on Amiga 1200 setup, not in a case yet, presumably due to the cooling needs of the attached expansion board!

Closer look at that expansion board - spotting a Blizzard PPC board with something else in the socket...Raspberry pi emulator perhaps? Didn't get to ask the guy who brought it in!

Close up of the remade A1200 motherboard with clockport expander installed - interesting white colour with purple Indivision AGA mk3 scan doubler board - no idea you could get them in different colours!

A CDTV was also setup using a projector too:

In addition to the obviously large Amiga presence, there was also a few Commodore PET and C64 machines too:

Even a Radio Shack TRS-80?

There was more than one of those TRS80 computers too, along with a Commodore Plus/4. Back at home, I have a Plus/4 here too.

A Commodore SX-64 was also at the event, complete with Perth Amiga User Group logo running on it!

BBC Electron also was setup, alongside an MSX - seems the BBC owner wants to swap for an Amiga 500 - I get it! 

A Sinclair ZX Spectrum +3 was also setup, along with a PC Engine and Toshiba laptop (I remember setting these up for company use in the late 1990's!):

There was even a Vectrex (I really miss my failed one) and a black Mac Plus:

Plenty of two player gaming going on - here is IK+ on a C64 projected on the wall:

Project X was also running on an A500 Mini:

Plenty of interesting bits and pieces to buy on the day too - Gold A1200 case anyone?

Perhaps some C64 bits and pieces?

Retrokit (based in WA) was also present at the meeting, selling new Amiga cases, keycaps, Amiga upgrades, replacement Amiga power supplies and lots more. 

As our only local Amiga dealer in Australia, I try to support them and have bought my A1200 blue case, and multiple power supplies from them in recent times. If you are in Australia, please consider them the next time you want Amiga parts and avoid all those horrible overseas shipping charges!

The event was very well attended, with over 65 registered people attending the meeting.

As mentioned earlier, there was an auction on the the night - someone got a very cheap re-capped Amiga 600!

With huge amount of Pizza then arriving and the Quiz night portion of the event underway, I managed to prove I know Amiga trivia quite well, but WA local politics not so much. So sadly I didn't get any of the prizes for the Quiz!

But making up for that small disappointment missing out on the Quiz prizes was three great things!

One, the Perth Amiga user group meeting was fantastic, and I loved every minute of it. I met a lot of great people and got to spend a night playing around with lots of different cool Amigas.

Two, I won the raffle 1st prize on the night! To be fair I bought a lot of tickets which increased my odds quite a bit :-) So I got an Amiga 500 which I then had to safely pack in my luggage back to Adelaide! It survived the trip luckily. You will see more on what I do with this Amiga 500 in a future blog post!

Three, I met Chris at the event, who is a guy I went to school with in Perth back in the early 1990's, and haven't seen in over 30 years! It was wonderful to see him, catch up and talk about everything that has happened since - he even gave me a lift back to the hotel afterwards - thanks so much mate!

If you get the chance to go to the Perth Amiga user group meeting, please do it - it is definitely a fantastic event and the organisers have a right to be proud of what they have created here. I hope to come again another time soon!

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