Garlic, Crosses and a Storm
For quite a long time I have a Vampire V2 in my Amiga600, to be honest I never was really satisfied with it. The main purpose was to give RTG to a transportable Amiga and this was back in the days the only reasonable option (besides the BVision card for A1200 with PPC which is way too seldom and expensive). But sadly the Vampire V2 never worked really well, regularly it crashed even after a complete overhaul of the fitting and grounding and so on. Sometimes it wont boot sometimes it will just crash after some minutes. I often let my Amigas play mods with Delitracker, and if that specific Amiga is not able to do that for 2 hours straight (even better whole day of course) without crashing it’s just useless to me. My A1200 with Blizzard 1260/1230 and now TF1260 is perfectly able to do that all day long. My Draco is a bit difficult in that matter. Sometimes it runs a whole day without problems other times it crashes 2 times in a row in an hour. (I guess some AHI problems, because there are also other sound related issues).
But the A600 with the Vampire, that was a complete different story, it never managed to do a half hour Delitracker playing without crashing. After the card and Amiga600 was completely redone, better grounding, some stuff on the Vampire exchanged (or added?) i had the feeling it became a bit better, but just a bit. Still it never managed to make even 2 hours playtime without crashing. That was the main reason the Amiga600 with the Vampire V2 was never used and finally end up in a pile of stuff in the cellar.
Some weeks before I read some interesting articles about PiStorm and that there is a PiStorm hardware to connect a RaspberryPi to an Amiga600 (PiStorm600). I thought that would be a good chance to revive that poor Amiga600, so I took some garlic, a cross and went to the cellar to rescue the Computer.
Luckily I have a lot RasPis laying around (different Versions), bought them when they were cheap and easy to get 😉 sadly I don’t have a RasPi 3A but I have multiple RasPi 3B which should also work, just the USB port is in the way. I use a short extender cable to place the raspi a bit away from the adapter, therefore the additional USB port does not need to be removed. Until now I did not see and negative effects from the cable.
The software installation was quite easy, and after a little bit try and error I got finally the CF card to boot and to crash…. of course I need to de-vampirize the Workbench on there, which was not that difficult.
I bit difficult was the installation of RTG for some reason it did not work the first time I tried only got a nasty crash directly on bootup. Some days later I tried it again and this time it worked. I’m not sure what I did different but now it works. And this is the really good part. PiStorm shows the RTG screen on the HDMI output of the RasPi so you have a VERY clear and stable picture with for example 720p, (something I was never able to setup for the Vampire to work reliably)
It emulates a 68030 and 68881 in the RasPi. It’s not lighting fast or so, it’s around double speed of an 68030/50Mhz I would guess but the RTG is rather fast, so it feels much faster. But the usual Suspects work, so FreePascal and many of my programs, even MUIMapparium the FPU version works nicely.
Network seems to work, but it is rather slow, my PCMCIA card is much faster, but this is also described as still in development, so no surprises there.
Sound AHI via the HDMI from the Raspi, I never got to work, it seems it plays but I do not hear anything, maybe it’s still going to the headphone jack, I did not try. But this AHI is also not very important to me, for me the Amiga Chinch out is enough to play MODs.
And YES I tried it, let play Delitracker several hours random mods from the HD and it worked flawlessly not a single crash, very nice.
Of course it’s not all nice and shine, of course the Bootup needs rather long (around 30 s, it needs to Bootup the RasPi first) and for shutdown, you should shutdown the RasPi first before turning off the Amiga to prevent the sd-card in the Raspi to corrupt.
Also it seems at the moment it has some problems with the ROM mapping, if I use that Kickstart ROM and not the internal ROM, it has big problems rebooting the Amiga, usually it’s easier to shutdown everything and start fresh. Also the Bootmenu is somehow broken and mostly crash. All that do not happen if I use the internal hardware ROM.
At the moment the RasPi inside the Amiga case becomes rather hot and starts to clock down so I will need to a add a heat sink of some sort, but there should be enough space and I should think about additional power to the Raspi because it complains about undervoltage which also causes clocking down of the speed.
But overall not too bad and a good idea to emulate the 68k on the Raspi. I’m rather satisfied.
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