Most of the Amigas in the wild spend recent years hidden in the attics and cupboards. There are multiple reports of people rescuing A500 computers from skips and garages. Chances are that hardware you got haven’t been stored in optimal conditions. Layers of dust (if only) and ageing components create deadly mix with effects ranging from various errors crippling your machine to serious motherboard failure.
I know you’d like to play games, watch demos or use utility software as soon as possible, but it’s of paramount importance to perform thorough hardware check up beforehand. It will ensure long and healthy life of hardware, preventing future faults and will benefit you with better understanding of Amiga hardware architecture.
1. Power ON
First thing I did after getting A500 home was Power ON test. To my relief I was greeted with classic Workbench boot image from KS 1.2 ROM. Successful start will provide you with Kickstart Revision number. Don’t panic if there’s no boot screen, Amiga have a couple of ways to let you know what failed in your system. Among them there’s Guru Meditation screen and blinking Caps Lock or Power LED on boot.
If you are greeted with Guru Meditation, don’t panic. You can check error code with this Guru Meditation Guide to know exactly what’s wrong with your Amiga. It will give you idea which components need special attention after opening the case.
Power LED Blinking and Screen Colors
In case of Power LED blinking on boot, it’s very important not to use mono video output. Use either A520 Modulator, Amiga monitor or one of many RGB signal converters as color of the display indicate following selftest errors:
- Red: An error was found in the ROM.
- Green: An error was found in Chip ram.
- Blue: An error was found in the custom chips.
- Yellow: The CPU has found an error before the error trapping software (Guru) has been activated.
Most of these problems can be solved by checking if custom chips, Motorola CPU and Kickstart are fitted properly. Note to reseat respective components and check for any bent pins or signs of corrosion during hardware part of the check up. Green display will usually indicate loose or corroded Ram Expansion.
Caps Lock LED Blinking
Amiga keyboards come with their own Flash ROM, timer and 64 bytes of memory. Source of error can be determined thanks to Caps Lock LED blinking:
- One blink – keyboard ROM check error
- Two blinks – keyboard RAM check error
- Three blinks – timer error
- Four blinks – two lines or control keys shorted
Don’t boot floppy drives just yet. You will see why in next part of the guide.