Friday, January 25, 2008

Amiga 3000 - I win, at least for now

I received the Amiga OS 3.1 install floppies I had been waiting for yesterday, and needless to say I was itching to give them a shot.  The I stuck the first disk in, turned the machine on, and finally saw its first sign of bootable life since its original system disk was destroyed.  Straight to the disk utilities I went to get the hard drive set up, but wait - no hard drive was found by the Amiga.  Uh-oh.  Knowing that I sometimes have SCSI hardware just plain configured wrong, I took a shot at changing the jumper settings just a bit.  After a little bit of work, finally the Amiga could see my hard drive.  Unfortunately during the process, though, I found that the machine had trouble reading some areas of both the Install and Workbench disks, which of course did NOT bode well for getting the OS put on the hard drive.  With a little cleaning, the Install disk seemed to get past its issues, but there were 4 blocks still on the Workbench disk that could not be read.  As I expected, this prevented the Workbench from being installed on the hard drive.

After wallowing for a bit, I thought perhaps I should give the emulation idea one more go.  Since I had changed the drive configuration and managed to get it formatted in the actual Amiga, perhaps WinUAE would have more success using the disk.  Lo and behold, and few minutes later, I could see the drive in my emulated Amiga.  All I needed now was a good set of disk images to use for the install, so I went back to my disk supplier (who I now REALLY owe) and asked if I could possibly get him to email me a set of disk images to give this a shot.  By the time I got a reply with the images that might do it for me, I was already falling asleep in my chair and way too tired to give it a go.  That turned out for the best, because later this morning I received a followup email stating something like "Ignore that last email - THESE are the images you want."  It was tough to actually go to work today knowing I was so close to getting this machine working, but willpower won out.

When I got home tonight, the moment of truth was near.  I fired up my emulation host, got WinUAE configured as closely to the configuration of my physical Amiga 3000 as possible, and booted with the 3.1 install image.  The install did its thing (and did it fast at 8x floppy I/O), and I soon had a hard drive ready to run.  There was nothing left to do but move the drive back to the Amiga, turn it on, and cross my fingers.  Could this actually be my victory?  Well, if the thing hadn't booted up from the hard drive, you can bet you bottom dollar I would still be working on it instead of writing this blog entry!

Part I: Revive all the non-functional machines lying around in the retro graveyard - CHECK.

Tomorrow will be photo day - I'll get some shots of all the machines involved in this project and possibly some others relating to my retro collection.  I now have 5 days to get them all doing something "useful".  Will that require putting the Amiga 3000's hard drive back on my PC in order to get the appropriate networking utilities installed?  I certainly hope not, but that has yet to be determined...

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