Classicamiga Forum Retro Edition
Thread: A600 Early Startup vs. Boot Menu?
Quadko 02:29 24th July 2015
I just got my first Amiga ever off ebay after playing with emulation for a few years - happy days! A nice A600 PAL w/ Gotek Floppy, memory & CF hard drive mods.

Sadly, hard drive connector pins apparently broke in shipping, so have to replace that in future, no worries. USB Floppys boot fine - within limit of my NTSC TV monitor, at least.

But my question is, when I boot it and hold both mouse buttons down, I get to a "Boot Menu" screen w/ 2 boot items and [Advanced] button to set them up. I don't get the "Early Startup" screen with "press any key for NTSC/PAL" and so forth.

Everything I read says I should get the Early Startup & NTSC/PAL switch (very interesting to me since I'm in US/NTSC land!). Nothing talks about a "Boot Screen" unless you push a button on that first screen.

Does this make sense for the A600? Is there something I can do to get to the Early Startup screen? Is there a jumper or mouse error or stuck key that might cause this? Thanks for any input!
Harrison 09:41 24th July 2015
Welcome to Classicamiga.

What version of Kickstart rom is fitted to your A600?

Kickstart 3.1 roms give the full early boot menu, and 2.05 roms give a more basic early boot menu without as many options.

Have you tried pressing the space bar whilst at the boot menu screen? Some suggest this switches PAL/NTSC. It's been a very long time since I did this (probably 10 years) so I forget. I only really ever used the A1200 boot menu to disable the cache, which is needed to boot a lot of older early A500 (OCS) games on the A1200.

Also, remember because this is a PAL Amiga it isn't going to produce true NTSC signal. When switched to NTSC in the early boot menu it will actually output a PAL60 signal. This means it will be running at 60Hz (60 frames per second) as it needed for an NTSC TV is sync to the picture signal, but it will be outputting PAL colours (much more accurate than NTSC colours but US TVs might have trouble resolving them properly). In contrast a US Amiga will output the correct 60Hz NTSC signal, but if switched into PAL mode will output a 50Hz signal but with NTSC colour, which is obvious on a PAL TV as the colours look muddier and a bit washed out compared to PAL.

Regarding running NTSC screens, instead of trying to switch the Amiga in the boot menu have you tried changing the screenmode being used once in Workbench? You can select different PAL and NTSC screenmodes. Obviously if your IDE interface is currently damaged it's not so easy to play around with Workbench compared to having a proper HDD installed copy. You really need to get the IDE interface and CF card working, then you can use WHDLoad to boot games directly from the HDD and you can set games, or globally to boot into NTSC mode, controlled through WHDLoad itself.
Quadko 16:10 24th July 2015
Thanks for the welcome, glad to be here!

It's definitely a Kickstart 2x version - 2.05 / 37.350. That might explain it, everyone online seems to be upgraded to Kickstart 3x. (With maybe 1.3 switchable! That's a cool mod.)

I attempted the spacebar in boot menu casually once "just in case" with no luck, but haven't diligently apply myself to making sure that I've done it cleanly. I'll give that a more thorough try.

So far it's always appeared in the same black & white on my composite TV. I haven't but will try it on a fancier TV that should support PAL here soon. I'm thinking I should just look for an Amiga monitor in the long term, budget allowing. Since I'm upgrading from emulation that's more the experience I'm going for anyway.

ScreenMode in Workbench - no, I haven't tried those yet and didn't know they existed! I'll read up on those and give them a try.

I've got parts ordered for the IDE interface, as long as I got the right ones selected at Digikey I should be able to fix that up next week. I was going to ask it in a separate post if the parts I got didn't work, but does anyone happen to know a Digikey part # (or other supply house) for the right IDE part? I ordered these two to try:

Unless I've totally blown it they should both fit the holes, but I don't know what the connector lengths should be to make a good connection with the IDE cable and be easily solder-able to the board. I'll try to report back either way.

I appreciate the guidance!
Quadko 16:56 31st July 2015
(edit: looks like I lost a post to awaiting-moderation or my own error! Short summary: Have latest version Kickstart 2.x series chip, ordered some ide headers from digikey, will report on id of working one.)

More reading definitely seems to say that NTSC/PAL switching is a Kickstart 3 feature. Certainly hitting space didn't do anything for me after more diligent testing.

I've got the broken IDE header off the board and the A600 is still working from floppies; so far (apparently) so good! The shorter digikey replacement seems to be the right piece, though both look like they will work. The ide plug on the CF adapter I'm using snugly fits with this item, but floats a tiny bit with the longer header. I'll solder it on this weekend and see how it goes.

The board side pins still are a little shorter than the original header; there might be other options at digikey, but these will work. I'll report back when completed.

And I've got (what I think is a) GBS 8200 based converter in a nice box "specifically for Amiga" on it's way off ebay, so hopefully that problem solved! Have to see about the snow issue, etc., but hopefully all will be good.
Teho 18:49 31st July 2015
Sorry about that stuck post, we're usually a little more on the ball with them. It's only the first few posts that are easily autoflagged to catch out spambots, so it shouldn't be a recurring problem.
Quadko 21:05 31st July 2015
No worries, I quite understand!

So Digikey Part 609-2608-ND appears to be the right piece and is what I'll be soldering onto the board hopefully this weekend.

I think I covered everything else until I get parts all put together.

Random question: The keyboard ribbon/membrane connects to the motherboard with that little friction socket - are those sockets available somewhere? Are there keyboard mods that connect to either keyboard or the motherboard socket, or do they all just replace the keyboard controller chip? Just curious at the moment, just looking over at all the things that attach to the A600.
Harrison 00:22 1st August 2015
You can get keyboard mods that allow an external keyboard (either PC or A4000 keyboard) and these connect to the motherboard keyboard header where the ribbon cable fits.

And you can also get a Keyrar device which connected to the A600/A1200 keyboard itself and allow you to use it as a PC keyboard. This is cool if you want to turn an Amiga case/keyboard into a PC by fitting a Mini-ITX motherboard inside, then from the outside it looks authentic.