Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
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Thread: A500 failing?
hotdiggity 03:15 17th December 2008
Well, tonight I pulled the ol' Amiga 500 out of the closet. It's been a few years since I powered it on. Unfortunately, it appears that the internal disk drive is failing -- it will start to read, like it recognizes that a floppy has been inserted, but then it stops after a few short noises. The insert-floppy screen goes away, then comes back after a bit. This happens with pretty much any floppy. Occasionally it will get to a flashing red and black screen that says software failure.

I'm also getting weird graphical glitches/artifacts on my screen (see attached). This happens both through the B&W RCA output and color video out via my A520 adapter. I don't have an actual monitor anymore.

Does anyone know what's going on?
Attached: amiga500graphicglitch.jpg (825.3 KB)
Harrison 03:47 17th December 2008
I could be wrong, but I don't think it is your floppy disk drive that is the problem, but instead a fault on the A500's motherboard.

What are the errors you get with the guru software error screens (the black/red flashing screens)? These error codes can often help work out what the problem is.

One of the others here who knows more about the actual Amiga hardware than me will be able to give you a better answer, but with the graphical corruption on screen, floppy drive not working, guru message screens etc it could be faulty ram, a faulty custom or CIA chip, or something else...

Best to wait for Zetr0 to log into the forum. He should be able to help further.

Oh, and welcome to classicamiga
hotdiggity 17:58 17th December 2008
Your mention of faulty RAM led me to try something. I pulled the extra RAM chip out of the bottom and tried booting it up. All I got was solid colored screens and nothing else. It wouldn't boot from a floppy.

I put the RAM back in and I got similar color screens (I think it was dark grey, grey, then white), then for a brief second a black background with garbled red text (it didn't stick around this time, it flashed away after a second).

So then I pulled the A520 off and plugged in via B&W again. I got a readable error message: Software Failure. Press left mouse button to continue. Guru Meditation #00000003.00C01570. I pressed the left mouse button and surprisingly, it booted off of the Workbench disk. I shut it off, plugged the A520 back in, powered it on, and it booted to Workbench again, in color. I don't know what happened, but it's working now. I kind of wonder if it will remain that way, though.

Ahh well, time to play some Firepower!

P.S. I looked up the error code at this site and apparently the 3 means Address Error. My question is: what does Address Error mean?
Attached: a500-error.jpg (335.8 KB)
Harrison 18:09 17th December 2008
Some guru errors are quite cryptic and hard to work out what they mean. Address Error probably means a ram issue, but I could be wrong.

It is good news that you finally got it to work. Maybe the trapdoor ram expansion wasn't seated correctly and you removing it and the putting it back in solved the problem. Long shot and a complete guess.

Other common problems like that are if the Amiga is stored in the attic and has got damp or condensation in it. So when you put it back into a warm room it won't work until it has adjusted to the atmosphere of the room.
Demon Cleaner 19:25 17th December 2008
Originally Posted by Harrison:
Maybe the trapdoor ram expansion wasn't seated correctly and you removing it and the putting it back in solved the problem.
Yeah, or the contacts themselves were a bit dusty and by removing/replacing them, they have better contact now. You can still try and clean the contacts and use contact spray on them.
Fern 14:26 18th December 2008
Hmm, this thread has got me thinking... aside from the corrupted screen this behaviour was very similar to that of my A1200 which is currently in a million pieces awaiting repair.

If I have a motherboard fault as well I am going to be all kinds of angry! I suppose I shall see what happens with a new FDD.
Harrison 18:24 18th December 2008
With the A600 and A1200, if the floppy drive stops working it normally is the floppy drive that needs replacing. This wasn't the case with the A500 because the older hardware was a bit more fragile in design and many things can fail.
Demon Cleaner 18:27 18th December 2008
Didn't Rod Stewart have a song called "I am failing"? But that wasn't about Amiga I think
Harrison 18:32 18th December 2008
No, that was just about his voice!
taunusanden 21:33 18th December 2008
I have seen corroded batteries on A500 ram expansions, causing failures.
Thoose damn batteries kill a lot of our dear Amiga's
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