Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Resurrecting an Amiga 500

 A buddy of mine is emigrating and while going through all of his stuff came across his old Amiga 500 and Commodore 64 which he very graciously has donated to me! SCORE!

I love old computing hardware, already owning an Amiga A1200, Atari, ZX80 and various other bits and pieces so these two machines were a welcome addition to the fold.

The first thing to do was obviously to boot the machines up, so I started with the A500 and was greeted with the 10-short 1-long Blink Code of Death. A little Goolge-fu revealed that this indicates various severe issues, one pointing at a leaked battery and another at a chip RAM issue.

So I did the next logical thing and opened the miggy up. What I found was that (thankfully!) the main board was clean as new but an expansion card had a battery that had leaked (the miggy boots without this card, so another win):

It seems this might be an ActionReplay of some variety. Having a closer look at the problem revelead this:

Traces looking a bit dodgy and battery acid has leaked along the traces into the chip (RAM) socket.... oh dear... so I guess its time to clean it all up, but first a closer look at the damage:

Time to whip out the iron and get to work. After a fair bit of struggle (the battery contacts were well corroded and needed to be cleaned before I could de-solder them), the board now looks like this:

Looking not too bad in fact! The traces are intact, its just the lacquer on top that has gone. A really good clean with some isopropyl alcohol and a pretty thorough test with the multimeter indicates that all is OK. Unfortunately the other battery contact point was not so good:

Bit of missing trace there, but easily repairable. So off to eBay to get another battery and to the local electronic supplier to get another socket (why is it that you always have every other chip socket but the one you need!!!).

The battery is in transit and should arrive in a week or two (the joy of living at the bottom of Africa) and the socket I'll pick up this weekend. Hopefully the actual RAM chip is okay and once I've sorted out these two issues the card will work again.

I'll update with info as it goes. Now I have to find a suitable video-out option for the A500 as B&W composite is just not doing it for me, the best looking option is a bit expensive though...