So you bought an A1200
What next ?
I won a Commodore 1200 on Ebay last week..
This was interesting cus I think the guy listed
it incorrectly, and consequently I got an A1200
plus goodies for £11. Anyway, I opened the
big box today, and its not a Commodore, its an
Amiga A1200HD. I thought, surely not a hard-drive.
Anyway, I just fired her up and she`s got a 80MB
hard-drive in. Very quiet also. One partition filled
with games, and the Workbench, well the Workbench
is a bit of a mess. Sadly the guy has screwed the
case back together and punched the screws through the
front face, and the LED lights don`t work. No probs
especially when you think for £11 I also got the following..
Amiga A1200HD 80MB hard-drive ( making it a new revision machine )
The actual Siren Software hard-drive install guide.
Clear plastic joystick.
Black new style Amiga mouse.
Analogic power unit ( new )
Boxed Game: UFO
Boxed Game: Settlers
Boxed Game: Alien Breed
Boxed Game: K240
Boxed Game: Realms
Boxed Game: Sim City
Boxed Game: Premier Manager 2
Boxed Game: Premier Manager
Boxed Game: Premier Manager 3
Boxed Game: Dune II
Boxed Game: World of Lemmings
Boxed Game: Sleep Walker
Boxed Game: Valhalla Lords of Infinity
Boxed Game: Valhalla The Fortress of Eve
Boxed Game: Timekeepers
Boxed Game: Valhalla Before the War
Siren Software Install Disks
Boxed Game: DNA
Official Game (no box ): Elite II
Official Game (no box ): Civilization
Official Game (no box ): Space Crusade
Official Game (no box ): Tetris
Official Game (no box ): Armour Geddon
Official Game (no box ): Detroit
Official Game (no box ): Bograts
Plus a number of cover disks.
And that price again £11 plus postage.
The A1200. The ultimate retro machine. Why?
If you read my post for `Day One` you will see that I
won this A1200 for £11 and today I`ve been
messing around getting her straight. A few
disappointments, the case has these screw marks
at the bottom, the LED lights don`t work and
the floppy is faulty.
Anyway, that aside I give the keyboard a good clean,
banged on another floppy drive, slapped in a 4MB RAM
card through the PCMCIA and connected a Phillips
monitor. She`s just fine.
Next I needed to tidy up the hard-drive. To do this I needed
to check the ASSIGNS on the machine. Already I noticed
some faulty assigns. Anyway, I copied CED, the ultimate
text editor, onto the machine, and going into the user-startup
noted that the guy once had FIFA soccer on the machine.
So I stripped out the lines and saved. Whilst there I created
an ASSIGN for DOpus and loaded that, plus Icon Copy
onto the machine. Icon Copy is great for customising icons
so you feel more at home. ( I like my own icons )
Now I`m firing on rocket fuel. I can check all the files on the
machine through DOpus and iconify any rogue drawers.
A swift change of font and workbench colours and hey-presto
she`s good as a new-one. To celebrate I play a bit of Elite II.
Just wonderful. I`ll get a new floppy and I have some spare
LEDs lying around. I`ll also get an accelerator for her and that`s
all I need to make this Amiga into a classic Retro machine.
As to the keyboard, well, I give all my A1200s a name so this
one is gonna be called `Spike` so the marks on the keyboard
So why is the Amiga A1200 the bestest, greatest, most wonderful
retro machine ever. I think I`ve answered that haven`t I. No other
machine will expand as quickly, tune up as quickly, use extra
floppy drives so easily, and run some of the greatest games ever
created for a computer console. And most important this is a
computer, and there are literally thousands of expansions, games,
peripherals on the market to feed your Miggy. I never worry about
busted parts, cus a) they are easy to get hold of and b) they are so
easy to fit. The only other classic retro machine in the same class
is the A500. With both these machines in your collection you
really couldn`t ask for much else.
And so I believe that that was £11 well spent. You probably won`t
be so lucky as I but for say £35 you can get a decent A1200.
Your shopping list can grow in time, but if your just up for
playing Sensible Soccer then plug her into the telly. For added
beef I`d contemplate the following.
A 1084 monitor or the Phillips monitor.
Extra RAM, not necessarily acceleration say 4MB RAM.
A joystick, preferably the Quickshot brand.
A hard-drive minimum 500MB.
The Phillips and 1084 have built in sound so no
extra speakers. A RAM card with just 4MB is
gonna be fine for all your gaming needs. Worms
for instance struggles without the memory. The
joystick needs to have the longer grip as the
smaller stick is a nightmare with Sensi. A 500MB
hard-drive gives you min 50MB Workbench and
a lot of space for those hd loaded games like
Valhalla, Settlers etc. Thats about it..
If you need help with those software tools like CED
and DOpus then give us a shout. Other software which
is useful is the HDToolbox and DiskSalv. With these
on your machine your ready for anything.
To celebrate I just won James Pond and Batman on the
Bay to give the Miggy something to look forward to.
Ongoing with the A1200, and a great day in the
Amiga Workshop. Got up early to split open the
1200 to see what was going on inside. Found the
problem with the LED, two of the wires had been
severed by the keyboard casing ( can happen )
when closing the case you trap the very thin wires.
Anyway, swapped these out and all works fine now.
All looked clean, and the insulating tape on the
cradle suggests a user with a bit of knowledge.
Thing is the hard-drive had files all in the wrong place,
like games in the C directory, and the contents of the
storage drawer all over workbench. I think either a
novice or kid has been playing with it. Anyway, that
took a while to tidy up.
Next, I emptied the garbage from the machine to give
some nice clear water. Checked the drive with disksalv
to see if any goodies has been deleted by previous owner.
And sure enough, a couple of great PD games had been
deleted Kamikazi chess ( scuse spelling..) A game where
you have to lose, and another couple of tiny games, yet to
play. Disksalv allows you to scan the drive for deleted files.
Next I loaded on DPaint and set the ASSIGNS. Great Amiga
paint package, which I use more for animations. Next up was
Wordworth which I use for spell checking stuff mainly. After
this came VidiAmiga which is great for capturing bits of low
res bw video and messing with in DPaint. Up next Techno
Sound Turbo 2, a music sample capturer. Great for adding
sounds to your keyboard and mouse operation.
On the machine then went Amos Professional ( ultra cool ) great
program creator. Some say Blitz was better, but to be honest
Amos is so user friendly and great for having fun creating your
own little games. Hours of fun.
At this point I decided to install a few classic games. Ishar 2
which is an all time classic roll playing dungeons and dragons
type game. Dreamweb, another roll playing game, this time
a somewhat sinister puzzle solving whilst going on a crazed
murder spree type game. Up next SWOS or Sensible World
of Soccer, and for this I needed the hard-drive installer. So
I ventured into the vault and pulled out disk box 21 and there in
bright pink were the install disks. The Sensible World of Soccer
gives you the opportunity to manage a team from any of the
divisions from anywhere in the world and take them as high as
you like. You can buy any player as long as you have the money,
but beware, fail and you get the sack. There are updates available
to make the teams as current as possible. Still very popular.
Having done this I decided to add ToolsDaemon to the toolbar
so I can launch programs from the drop down menu. I also
installed SnoopDOS so I can see where programs fail.
Up next I needed to load onto the machine all my icon collections.
Thing is these are on HD disks, and the Amiga is DD... so I had
to get out of store a PowerXL drive, install the patch and daisy
chain another DD floppy on the back, and hey presto I can now
read HD PC disks straight from the PC.
Starting to feel like a proper Amiga now.
So what next ....
Maybe plug her into the Microvitec so I can use the
multisync facility. Maybe get a small accelerator card
so I can free up the PCMCIA , then I can fit the Squirrel
interface and use a CDRom. My goodness, how things grow.
The next challenge, DATATYPES. many of these can be copied
over, some need to be installed. I then need to set up DOPUS
so I can read files like GIFS and JPEGS and Bitmaps. Then I
will set up a couple of archivers so I can DECRUNCH bigtime
and take advantage of files from the web.
All that would be left then is a modem and YAM plus the TCP stacker
and I`ll be mailing from the machine.
There you go, having fun with the A1200. Creative computing
which is very rewarding. And certainly makes you feel like
your in control.
Replacing the floppy drive..
Remember to earth yourself... very important
And never work with the power connected to the Amiga..doh !
I obtained this replacement DD floppy drive from AmigaDeals.
First thing I checked was the mechanical operation, by
inserting a floppy and ejecting it. The drive workedjust fine.
Next I put down a protective sheet on the workbench to
avoid damaging the A1200 keyboard and unscrewed the case.
Having removed the three screws from the front bottom edge
and two from the sides, I removed the screws shown in the
picture to the floppy casing. These screws have a different
thread to the others so put in seperate place.
Carefully open the case and lean the top section against an
upright restraint to the rear. There is good reason for this
The next item you will lift is the keyboard which slots in at
the front edge. This needs to be supported perpendicular to the
A1200 as the small green keyboard connector can come out if laid
fully back. The keyboard connector is quite simple to fit back
into its white plastic sheath, but for this exercise. I would avoid
Did you note the small wires to the LED display which I replaced
last time around. Quite simple to unscrew and remove connector
from adjacent the floppy power connector, but as with the keyboard
leave the LED in place for now
Three components of note are revealed by lifting the keyboard
The keyboard green ribbon connector at the top of picture, the
small 2.5" IDE hard-drive in its cradle, and the 3.0 ROMS ( the two
black chips you can see protruding through the sheathing ).
Each of these components can be removed without fully lifting
the shielding to the Motherboard. The ROM removal can be tricky
but thats another story.... and not for today
Note the small strips of red insulating tape on the cradle
There may have been problems here with shorting between the
cradle and the keyboard.. quite a common problem
Next we turn to the floppy removal. Note the cable connectors
and the way they fit. Its often useful to photograph the whole
procedure as I have, if you have a digital camera
The cable to remove first is the outer connector adjacent
the connector to the motherboard floppy power supply which
runs to the LED display. Be very careful with the LED wires
as they are very thin.
Note the small bracket clamping the floppy in place, this is the
last fixing you need to unscrew. Carefully unscrew the bracket and
then remove the bracket fully from the floppy drive. Be careful
not to drop the screws into the casing.
Carefully pull out the ribbon connector and power cable
from the floppy and remember which way round they fitted
They really will only go back one way.
Always mark your broken kit with labels, but never throw
away. You never know when your gonna need bits from it
Note the small bracket which you now need to fix to your
replacement floppy drive
And then simply reverse the procedure and you will have
replaced the DD floppy in your machine.
Having reconnected the computer back together test the
drive by formatting a disk as this is a real killer test
that will instantly tell if the drive is OK. In my case
it worked just fine.
It is interesting to to see how many computer systems are
junked because of a failed floppy drive. Honestly, as you
can see they are the easiest thing on the planet to replace
So you`ve bought an A1200
Wanna know what to do with it ?
Here`s what I did with an £11 Amiga A1200 from Ebay
Days 1 to 3 ~ She`s alive !
Day 4 ~ A case of the DDs
Fitting a replacement floppy drive
Day 5 ~ The Blizzard Cometh
Fitting an accelerator
Day 6 ~ Feed the Squirrel
Fitting a CDRom drive
Day 7 ~ Hard drivin` the A1200
Fitting an external and internal hard drive
Day 8 ~ ZIP-it` the A1200
Fitting an Iomega ZIP drive
Day 9 ~ A brighter Outlook ` the modem and the A1200
Modem at the Ready A step by step guide to getting on-line
Day 10 ~ Back to the Future ` ... in need of a new heart
Not just a new OS But new ROMS also
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Last updated 07/10/06