Amiga 500 Restoration

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by iMic, Apr 28, 2018.

  1. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I sent some photos around, and another metal finisher contacted me. Zinc plating may be possible. It probably wouldn't match the original look inside the machine, but it would be durable and uniform. I'm looking to send the parts out for assessment soon.
     
  2. bYrd

    bYrd Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2001
    Messages:
    2,004
    Location:
    NE Melbourne
    Hi iMic,

    that's a lot of work for an RF shield; I really wouldn't bother getting it plated (especially when it's going to look different) - DIY spray for this would be more than sufficient IMO.

    JB
     
  3. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    It is a lot of time and effort for an RF shield, but there's an element of satisfaction in it too. Some say it sounds absurd, and they're probably right in some sense, but I like to attempt to get repair parts to their absolute best condition possible. If I can make that happen, then I enjoy the machine a lot more when it's finished. Brain quirks, I suppose.

    I'd like to avoid a repeat of what happened during my IBM restoration if possible. The initial spray looked great, but it started to turn powdery and flake off because I both suck at painting and used a subpar grade paint. Ended up having the case repainted professionally a few months later.

    But plating may not be overly expensive. I was quoted around $15 per piece as an estimate, and if the finish can be matched with a more advanced or specialised technique, then excellent. If not and a different finish is needed, it still makes sense if the cost remains low enough and the end results are good.

    Otherwise I'll take everyone's advice, have them sent back and just spray them here.

    Even so, I also need to address another issue. When I removed the rust using the Evapo-Rust solution, it left a tough, presumably corrosion resistant film on the metal that's proving difficult to clean off. Short of sanding, I haven't worked out how to remove that, but sanding thin and bendy sheet metal doesn't sound like it would end well either. A quick dip in a mild acid bath though, standard as part of preparation for plating, would likely take care of it.

    I'm not looking to have the Amiga running tomorrow. My last build started in March 2016 and ended December 2017, just in restoration and finding exact parts, even down to the screws, but it turned out great. The A500 is on track for a completion in a couple of months give or take, so still much quicker than previous projects, and cost or complexity isn't a limiting factor (but rather the stack of MacBook Pros I need to finish repairing for clients first).
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  4. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    I found another Amiga 500 this week. This one has a damaged case, it's heavily marbled and extremely brittle after a Retrobright treatment didn't go according to plan. (Should clarify, I haven't Retrobrighted this machine. It was already in this condition.)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    But the motherboard looks great, and the shielding is rusty, but it hasn't rusted through. The donor machine also has a working keyboard, albeit with shot keycaps, and a working floppy drive.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The leftover components could be assembled in a replacement Amiga 500 case to build a complete second machine as well. Depends if the IndieGogo campaign gets up.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    Grant likes this.
  5. Grant

    Grant Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    1,349
    Location:
    Wollongong
    Nice, I hope you don't get too tormented in the quest for a perfect RF shield :p
     
  6. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Nah, I'll be fine. :lol:

    Honestly restoring the machine is half the fun, watching it come together piece by piece, and appreciating the work and care that went into it when it's completed.

    Besides, If it comes down to it, I'll assemble the second machine as something to mess around with while I finish restoring the first one. Gives me something to do with the spare parts.

    Should have mentioned earlier this spares machine was free, so budget wise it's all still looking pretty good at the moment.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
  7. Flamin Joe

    Flamin Joe Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2001
    Messages:
    4,441
    Location:
    4300
    Didn't go according to plan?? What plan? :lol: It looks more like an advertisement in what NOT to do when retrobrighting! Judging by all the stickers being in place especially the shredded warranty seal, it looks like zero preparation was done on the case to clean it which just goes to show how careless they were. Looks like they just chucked the solution on and crossed their fingers! :rolleyes:

    At least in this case there are replacement cases coming so it's not that bad of a loss, but still please don't try to repair vintage hardware if you don't know that the you are doing. :(
     
    Vanne and adz like this.
  8. DonutKing

    DonutKing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2004
    Messages:
    1,301
    Location:
    Tweed/Gold Coast
    I've had similar results like that myself. After applying retrobright I wrapped the plastic in glad wrap as I've read it helps prevent it drying out. Unfortunately I couldn't get an even concentration across the surface so I got a marbling pattern like that.
    I did remove all the stickers and clean all the plastics first though!
     
    Vanne likes this.
  9. callan

    callan Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2001
    Messages:
    4,861
    Location:
    melbourne
    I'd wind back a bit Flamin Joe: iMic's giving it a crack which is encouraging to see. Retrobriting is a bit of a black art and they don't always work out. The 8bit guy had a right trainwreck with an Osbourne 1 retrobriting a while back and he's done more retrobriting than most, and personally I've had some go awesomely well and some pretty 'naff as well. (I use the bath/oxy bleach / UV lamp method - gentle and slow, but you get there in the end).
    I'd venture that the brittleness was not due to the hydroxide but was pre-existing, from environmental storage conditions.

    Callan
     
    Vanne likes this.
  10. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Probably should clarify, but I haven't Retrobrighted this machine. It was given to me already in that condition.


    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2018
    Flamin Joe likes this.
  11. mrgareth

    mrgareth Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2013
    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Melbourne
    EDIT - Nevermind, I realised where was a link to the new case campaign after I posted this (edited to remove it).
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  12. Sphinx2000

    Sphinx2000 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Messages:
    8,431
    Location:
    Brisbane
    That A500 starter box takes me back, had the exact same one as a kid.
     
  13. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    61,524
    Location:
    brisbane
    same here, i still have everything but the box. Spent so much time on F/A-18, Kick off and Indy - but that horrible joystick that came with it!!!
     
  14. Sphinx2000

    Sphinx2000 Member

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2001
    Messages:
    8,431
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Hmm, these floppy emulators look the goods for A500's..

     
  15. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    61,524
    Location:
    brisbane
    bought an ST with one built in off the forums - yeah they are! Want to get one for my Amiga sometime too.
     
  16. MR CHILLED

    MR CHILLED D'oh!

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Messages:
    146,787
    Location:
    Omicron Persei 8
    Great work OP :thumbup:
     
  17. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    With access to two machines for spare parts, I'm splitting this into two separate projects:

    Amiga 500 Restoration

    The ultimate aim being to restore an Amiga 500 to showroom condition and keep it there, in stock configuration, as a piece of technology history. This would be a much shorter term build, needing little effort and cash to complete with the parts I have. Some modifications are acceptable, mainly a DF0 selector for an external Gotek, as long as they're completely reversible.

    - Stock Commodore Case (Non-Yellowed, No Retrobright)
    - Stock Commodore Keyboard & Keycaps
    - Stock Motherboard (No Corrosion)
    - Stock EM Shield (Repaired)
    - Stock Power Supply (Repaired)
    - Stock Floppy Drive
    - Stock RAM Expansion
    - Stock, Boxed with Accessories (Tank Mouse, A520 Modulator, Cables and Inserts)


    Amiga 500 Enhanced

    This would be an "ultimate vintage computer" build. Intended to be an open, expandable platform to run whatever software I like, with whatever hardware I like, intended as a usable machine for classic games, programming, music, controlling a machine remotely (Telnet / SSH into a newer system) and for fun, something to take to retro computing meetings and building onto over time. But it'll be expensive, and as a completely custom build, depending mainly on parts that aren't available on the market yet, it'll be a slow process.

    - Replacement A500 Case (Black / White / Translucent - Colour Undecided)
    - Replacement A500 Key Caps (Black / Translucent - Colour Undecided)
    - Stock Motherboard (Repaired Corrosion)
    - Stock EM Shield (Repaired)
    - Custom Built Power Supply (ATX)
    - Floppy Emulator (Gotek)
    - DF0 Selector Switch
    - Commodore Kickstart ROM Upgrade (3.1)
    - Accelerator Board (Vampire or Wicher w/ IDE)
    - Scan Doubler / Flicker Fixer (Indivision ECS, if functionality isn't provided by accelerator)
    - Ethernet Interface (Plipbox)
    - Tank Mouse w/ Optical Tracker


    I've made some requests to electroplaters for repairing the RF shield, something I know I said that I was doing much earlier this year, but placed on hold while I completed my Am386 machine build and expanded my Nintendo 64 collection.

    Plating is becoming a more appealing option for another reason - building some contacts and sampling the local suppliers for future engineering projects. An A500 shield is a good sample to test the waters, see who's around and their quality of work.

    I'm preparing for a life potentially without a steady income, so the restoration is doable, the enhanced machine may not be, but it could be fun to do one last maxed-out build before I have to reel in my life significantly for a while.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
  18. nimmers

    nimmers Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    1,238
    Location:
    Sydney
    There's no benefit to keeping the RF shield at all is there?
     
  19. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    It covers the gaps around the rear port connectors, and sits between the underside of the board and the case (along with a plastic sheet), so that makes it worth keeping in my book. Some choose to discard the top half for extra clearance, but the bottom half needs work in this machine too.

    It's not as important for the enhanced machine, since it's all built from custom parts anyway. It's more important for the restoration, where I'm looking closely over every minor detail to bring it as close to brand new condition as possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
    adz, Vanne and nimmers like this.
  20. OP
    OP
    iMic

    iMic Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    Finally found an electroplating process that may be viable for Amiga RF shields. The metal is too thin and intricate to polish to a mirror finish, but according to some professional platers I've consulted with, cleaning it up and coating the plates in silver zinc may be an option. The Floppy Drive cover can be done using the same process, but in a gold zinc coating to better match the factory colour.

    Provided I get enough time tomorrow, I'll be taking them in to have them assessed and possibly do a trial run on one set of shields to see what it comes out like.

    I've actually managed to come across a set of A500 shields in decent condition. Not perfect, but decent, and a bath in a mild rust remover and sealer with some light finishing afterwards would have them looking presentable.

    So experimenting with plating and coating is now more of a curiosity. Because if it can be done with good results and for a reasonable price here, it opens the possibility of using those finishing processes for some other projects. That and it gives me a clean and repaired set of shields for my second A500.

    The last observation is the donor A500 motherboard is an earlier revision 5 board, with a green PCB, two rows of memory chips, a 512KB memory cap and MOS Technology labelled chips as opposed to Commodore Semiconductor in the newer revision 6A board.

    Starting to reach the top end of this build now. Still some thinking to do about which components go into which machine, etc.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
    adz likes this.

Share This Page

Advertisement: