Well actually it wasn’t escape that was broken on my nice click-a-dee-clack Amiga 4000 keyboard, but CAPS LOCK! And bit even the key itself, it was the LED that just wouldn’t show the status. No problem, let’s take it apart
At first I thought the LED might have died after my recent diode intermezzo on the Amiga board. But measuring with my multimeter I see that the LED is just not getting any power. Let’s look at the membrane.
There was a piece of the trace missing. It seems it had corroded away. The previous owner probably spilled Coke on it. My first approach was to scratch the green cover of the existing trace so I can connect to it.
Lots of things happening at work, so it’s good to do a little meditation by soldering in the evening. Guillaume sent me a Greaseweazle kit but the STM32 still looks like the next level of soldering to me. It makes 0805 components look large. I’m missing a 74F257 that was lost in the mail, so the 060 adapter has to wait for a while. But there are other ways to treat an A3640 rev 3.1.
First, a socket for the oscillator will make it easier to test a little overclocking.
Since the A3640 provides the clock for the Amiga mainboard, the chipset and memory will get a tad faster, too. This hack is super easy and will cost you 2 bucks for a socket and an oscillator.
The next and a little more involved one is an upgrade of the v3.1 card to v3.2. Gladly this is a simple GAL update, but unfortunately the GALs are not socketed. This leads to a brief intermezzo with my favorite tool ever, the hot air rework station.
When I got my A4000 late last year, I could not have been a happier kid. I fleas surprised to get it for a fabulous price and it arrived just in time before the holidays.
That joy lasted until I noticed that there was no mouse, a Super Buster r6 (WTH) and a semi-professionally done replacement of all the capacitors on the board. Unfortunately through hole caps were used in the recap process.
You will find enough discussion about this on the internet, and people will suggest all sorts of craziness, like twisting off old caps or putting through hole caps on SMD pads. These are all terrible ideas. Don’t do it. If you have an Amiga (or any 30yr old computer), do it right or pay somebody to do it right. Recap services are not expensive and are definitely worth it.
One of the tricky parts is that the silk screen on the A3640 is incorrectly showing the direction of three capacitors. Make sure to consult the schematics.
It has been 10 years since I have moved to the US and therefore had left all my Amiga gear behind. “I can always run UAE” I thought. But some goodbyes are harder than others, and some are not forever. So here I am, proud owner of an Amiga 4000 again.