More User-created hardware projects

The ingenuity of the Amiga userbase is amazing! Here are a few new hardware projects I’ve spotted online recently.

USB harddrive for any Amiga using the printer port. The project creator included driver and instruction for building it using the Arduino hardware he used in this post: –? here <–

Here's another image of it in action:

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Many Projects on this page: –> here <–. On it, he has an ECS Scandoubler homebrew project:

As well as as Amiga 500 sidecar RAM and CF IDE controller card:

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I’ve mentioned them before, but here’s a link to someone building and selling plipbox’s in the USA. A plipbox is a parallel port -> ethernet adapter. With the latest softawre from the original creator’s website(–> here <–), burst mode can achieve good download speeds.

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Majasta has returned to the Amiga scene, promoting the version 2 of his successful Vampire board, seen here:

It will initially be like a 68020 upgrade until the apollo phoenix core is ported to it, then it will be faster than a 68060.

Speaking of the Vampire board, Kipper2k was helping construct version 1 of the board before and his website has other custom projects, including RAM and CF card adapters for the 500 and 2000, an HDMI adapter for the AGA Indivision card and also other great projects.

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Anyone who has tried to towerize an Amiga 1200 knows that the hardest part is finding a case that has a custom backplate to fit all the a1200 ports. Well, someone is making custom backplates for standard sized PC towers –> here <–. Pictures here:

It seems like there is no end to Amiga creativity!

Some interesting news in Next-Gen Amiga-land

MorphOS on x5000 – again
So, after my last post about the rumors of MorphOS on x5000, it appears that it wasn’t an April fool’s joke after all. Here are a couple more pictures:

Also, porting MorphOS to 64bit Intel/AMD is currently underway, as described by famed MorphOS developer Mark “bigfoot” Olsen:


When MorphOS gets ported to AMD64, we will not be supporting Macs. AMD64 Macs have all the wrong hardware for that to make any sense. When such a time does come, expect us to support one desktop motherboard (with one family of CPUs and GPUs) and one laptop. We’ll of course make sure it’s hardware that’s actually available one way or another.

Does this mean PowerPC development will stop? I would think it would sunset at some point, but I don’t think they’d immediately cut off PowerPC users, unless they have resource/staffing problems. I’m all for the switch to either x64 or ARM as either have a roadmap for the foreseeable future and in the case of x64 (and eventually ARM) will provide a huge amount of horsepower for apps.

Hyperion Entertainment breaks the silence

Hyperion Entertainment finally broke the silence on their website. The relevant parts indicates that they are NOT bankrupt and that development is ongoing:

Contrary to some news items posted on certain websites, Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is not in a state of bankruptcy. Due to an unfortunate set of cirucmstances, the company was temporally listed as “bankrupt” despite the fact that the conditions for bankruptcy were never met and that in the eyes of the law, the company was never bankrupt.

Development of AmigaOS 4 (which recently culminated in the release of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) is and has been ongoing albeit that some resources had to be directed away to support the upcoming hardware of A-EON Technology.

The company is in the process of reorganizing itself by opening up its shareholdership and appointing a new executive director. More details on that will follow when all legal formalities are behind us.

However, they did ask that everyone update from older 4.1 to Final Edition as they’d said previously that they didn’t have the resources to update former version, AND Final Edition, AND finish 4.2.

Glad to hear they are still around!

MorphOS on the new A-Eon x5000?

Things have been quiet in MorphOS-land for a while now. I’m speaking in terms of new OS releases. The current release (as of this writing), is MorphOS3.7, which is a fantastic OS. I run it on a G4 PowerBook.

There has only been a single platform that would allow for both Amiga OS 4.x and MorphOS to run side-by-side, and that is the Pegasos II system. At the time of MorphOS 2.3 (around 2009), someone did some benchmarks and found that MorphOS really ran a lot faster than the OS4.1 of that time (not sure which update would have been around then). You can read it here (in French):

A while ago, I pondered about the power of the X5000 that A-Eon was building for OS 4.2. One of the comparisons was the 5040 CPU that a future update to the X5000 would have compared to the fastest G5 from IBM (which is the currently fastest machine supported by MorphOS). The 5040 in the x5000 would outrun the G5, but I think only if more than a single core was supported.

Both the OS4 team and the MorphOS developers have talked about multi-cpu support (SMP), but neither has demonstrated anything.

I think the battle between the two OS’s will heat up when the x5000 is released as we have seen a leaked rumor about MorphOS support for the x5000 coming.

Is this fake or not?

All sorts of Amiga news

Since I took a small, unexpected break at the beginning of the year, there have been plenty of developments in Amiga-land that are of interest. Let’s look at just a few of them, shall we?


Hyperion Entertainment went Bankrupt
Okay, so one of the biggest is that Hyperion Entertainment, current owner of Amiga OS 4.x, has gone into bankruptcy. Not much info about what happened but they’d just released OS4.1 Final Edition. What first happened was that Acube announced on their website that if customers wanted to get OS4.1 FE upgrade for previous SAM boards/ AmigaOne 500’s, they’d better hurry up and order immediately, because once the current stock ran out, it might be a long time before more was available. Then, an entry on Hyperion’s Wikipedia page showed bankruptcy. The main Amiga forums blew up with little response from Hyperion other than someone saying it was a mistake on someone’s behalf and they were going to clear it up. The most recent reports showed up on OldSchoolGameBlog: “The company started an opposition procedure. I expect the decision of the Court at the end of the month. ”

What does this mean for AmigaOS4.x development? Just after this news flooded the big Amiga forums, one of the Frieden brothers posted an update about their progress on Multicore support in AmigaOS 4.2, but didn’t address the current situation.

I guess we’ll have to wait to see if they come back or if AmigaOS gets thrown into the winds again for someone else to pick up.


Community Project: PowerPC PCI for Amiga
This isn’t the UltimatePPC that was announced a few years ago, this is an opensource (there’s even a github available) project to allow a G3 Accelerator card, originally created for some PowerMacs over 10 years ago, to be used on Amigas that have PCI slots (currently Mediator boards). The idea is to be something that will work with WarpOS, so that this card will be like a co-processor, instead of a main processor (at least for now).

In just a couple of months, the guys working on it have made custom built sonnet and pci library files and have gotten the basic card set up and running some powerpc commands. It’s truly a fun project to watch.


WinUAE 3.1.0 continues to march forward
Toni Wilen continues to work his magic, and the latest version of WinUAE works great! I hope to have some previews of some Classic software soon for people to see, using this latest version.

Here’s the latest –>changelist<–.


VBCC Crosscompiler gets an upgrade
After more than a year, the latest version of VBCC is out, and is sporting a huge list of –>changes<–


RapidRoad USB avialable
This is actually from late last year, but Individual Computers finally released their USB host adapter for classic Amigas. It works with clock ports on the A1200 (and other products that provide a clockport interface), as well as an attachment to their X-Surf zorro card. Read a review –> here <–


Custom made clockport expanders available
There is a community project where you can take your single clock port on the A1200 (and I’m guessing others that have clock port aftermarket adapters), and turn that single port into 2 or 4 ports. The 2 port version is for towers that have a GREX-II expansion (due to room I guess). The expander has been shown to work with the USB adapters, serial ports, sound cards and MP3 decoders. It looks like it will be less than 30 Euros with shipping internationally. Check out the link –> here <–


Custom Amiga Power Supplies
A guy named Ray Carlson is building Amiga power supplies for $80. You can contact him at: rcarlsen(at)tds.net


Super-fast Amiga Accelerators coming soon
The Apollo core team are taking a poll to see who would be interested in their new Apollo Phoenix Accelerator for the Amiga 600 and Amiga 500/2000/CDTV. It sounds like they will be about 150Euros. They had previously updated the core on Majasta’s Vampire 600 board for faster-than-68060-speeds results. Majasta is taking pre-orders for version 2 of the Vampire board –> here

The link for the new boards are –> here <–

The performance page (old info) is –> here <–

Pictures of their progess are updated often –> here <–

Update to my blog entries on app stores

Okay, there were a few comments on both Amistore and IndieGo! Appstore blog entries that may clear up some issues I had at the time (I plan to revisit each when they are out of beta).

For AmiStore, I had an issue with being redirected to PayPal and my system defaulted to using NetSurf 3.2. This version of NetSurf 3.2 had limited javascript support and Paypal was complaining about it.

Two solutions were suggested:

1) Change the default URL handler in the system prefs to use another browser, such as OWB
2) Completely disable javascript in Netsurf and Paypal would fall back to a non-JS method of processing the payment.

For IndieGo! I had a few concerns and the author of the program left suggestions for each:

1) When selecting the platform, I could only scroll using the arrow keys. Apparently, if the mouse pointer is over the list, the wheel should work. He said selecting more than a single platform selection will be supported in the future.

2) The download speed after purchasing an item was unbelievably slow. This turned out to be a buffer size setting that he said was easy to fix:

Open with a thext editor the file
Edit the line nr. 10:
[SIN]dlchunksize =
And replace the 64(Kb) of buffer with a higher value like 128 or 256 to speedup the download

Full re-review when final versions come out.

WinUAE with Toccata emulation

Audio cards were a luxury in Amiga computer. Apart from a few clockport models, it was the Zorro slot machines that gave the real high quality option.

One of the oldest and most supported cards for Amiga was the Toccata soundcard. The sound controller IC is well documented. Someone pointed this out on the EAB WinUAE support page and Toni Wilen (fresh off the release of v3.0 of WinUAE, with PowerPC Support) decided to add Toccata emulation support.

Why do this when the UAE sound support is already well handled? Well, why not? I downloaded the v3.1.0 beta 1 WinUAE on that support site and set out to see how it worked.

The link to the thread where the latest version can be found is –> here <–

Then, I looked around to find some driver software. I found that amiga.resource.cx had some links to some diskmasher format installer disks. So I fired up Amikit (v8) on this latest WinUAE and included the toccata 1.1 dms file as a floppy:

and then got into the Workbench and opened the floppy icon to start the English installer:

and it was the standard Commodore installer:

but I ran into my first problem: The toccata.audio driver for AHI wasn’t included in the standard AHI that was part of AmiKit v8 (and I think it isn’t installed by default).

So, after a bit of digging around, I found that I had to head over to Aminet.net to get supplemental AHI drivers:

I manually pulled out the toccata.audio file for the DEVS:AHI folder and another settings file for the toccata card and put it into the right folder.

I then had to download v12 of the toccata library from –> here <–

Then, after a reboot, I set up the AHI Preferences to use Toccata stereo 16.

I then ran into a problem trying to run AmigaAmp. It was complaining that it couldn’t open AHI device. I eventually had to go redownload and reinstall ahiusr_4.18.lha from Aminet.net and this fixed that.

Then, AmigaAmp wanted to use the stereo++ version of the output:

I had tried to set up Toccata as unit 1 and leave the UAE sound device as unit 0. I eventually had to set Toccata stereo++ as unit zero and change AmigaAmp settings to use AHI unit 0.

I was then able to get some sample mp3’s I’d downloaded to play using AmigaAMP.

So, what is the advantage of using emulated Toccata? Not sure yet for a WinUAE user unless there exists some software the specifically uses the Toccata, but I thought it was cool to use.