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Open Hardware 1 MB Chip RAM Expansion for the Commodore Amiga 600 Computer
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README.md

OpenAmiga600RamExpansion

OpenAmiga600RamExpansion is an Open Hardware 1 MB Chip RAM Expansion for the Commodore Amiga 600 Computer with optional Real Time Clock.

Board

Summary

The Amiga 600 computer by Commodore originally came with 1 MB of Chip RAM. Like all "compact" Amiga models, it has a trapdoor in the bottom, through which a memory expansion can be installed, bringing the chip RAM to a maximum of 2 MB.

Back in the day, some expansions also came with a Real-Time Clock (RTC), which allowed the Amiga to keep track of the current date and time, which is most useful if you use AmigaDOS a lot. While this was mostly ordinary for Amiga 500 expansions, it was not so common on those for the Amiga 600, and even most expansions designed today do not bear an RTC circuit.

OpenAmiga600RamExpansion is an Open Hardware implementation of such an expansion, including the RTC.

Once you have maximized the Chip RAM in your A600, you might be interested in adding some Fast RAM as well: please check out OpenAmiga600FastRamExpansion in case.

Components

Connector

The female connector for the male edge connector on the A600 PCB is probably the hardest part to get hold of. Many people use PCI connectors, which have the correct pitch but are longer and need to be trimmed. They are also hard to solder, most of the time. This project uses a connector that is normally used with the micro:bit educational computer instead. It was discovered by chance to be a perfect fit for the the A600, cheap and reliable.

Memory

The required RAM Type is 4 Mbit (256k×16) DRAM in the SOJ-40 package with up to 70-80 ns access time, e.g.:

Model Maker Tested Working Data Sheet Notes
AS4C256K16E0 Alliance No PDF
HM514260AJ8 Hitachi No
HM514260JP8 Hitachi No
HY514260BJC Hyundai No
KM416C256BJ Samsung Yes Yes Tested by tehKaiN. Used -4 speed variant.
M514260C OKI Yes Yes Tested by tehKaiN. Used -60J speed variant.
IC41C16257-35K ICSI Yes Yes PDF Tested by go0se@AmiBay. -S version should work, too. Do NOT use LV versions.
µPD424260 NEC No
V53C16256HK50 MOSEL VITELIC Yes Yes PDF
V53C16258HK30/35/50 MOSEL VITELIC Yes Yes PDF
V53C16258SHK50 MOSEL VITELIC Yes Yes PDF

Most of these chips can be found on eBay or on AliExpress very cheaply (i.e.: 1-2€ each).

Normally it is not necessary to mount all the decoupling capacitors. I usually skip C2 and C4. All of them are 100nF in the 0805 package anyway. An additional 10uF electrolytic capacitor can be mounted at C9, if needed. Might be a good idea if using a Vampire board or a power-hungry machine.

RAM chips can either be soldered directly on the board or installed in sockets. While soldering the chips might not be trivial for the unexperienced, sockets for the SOJ-40 package are quite expensive and not really easier to solder either, so the choice is up to you.

RTC

The entire RTC circuit is optional. It has been designed for an Epson RTC62421 or RTC72421, which don't need an external crystal nor any calibration. Both can be bought very cheaply from China: they will most likely be second-hand "pulls", but usually they will work fine.

The other components have some degree of flexibility:

  • C7: 100 nF 0805 capacitor
  • C8: >= 2.2 μF >= 10 V 1206 tantalum capacitor
  • R1, R2, R3: 10K 0805 resistor
  • R4, R5: 220-470 0805 resistor
  • D1: BAT721C or BAT54C diode
  • Battery Holder: Some cheap eBay one, usually called BS-7
  • Battery: CR2032 3V Non-Rechargeable Lithium (a new one will last years)

Note that if you plan to shelve your Amiga or not to use it for a while, you are recommended to remove the RTC battery. Failing to do so killed many A500+ computers and many A501 expansions in the past. The CR2032 battery used in this project is probably safer than the barrel batteries used in those devices, but still I would not leave one in an unused Amiga. You have been warned.

Installation

After everything has been soldered, just open the trapdoor on your Amiga, install the expansion (the correct orientation is with the chips closer to the keyboard) and put the cover back on.

I recommend to run Amiga Test Kit (formerly SysTest) then. Use the Memory option (F1), it must show 2 MB of Chip RAM. Then start the Memory Test (F1 again) and let it run for 50-100 rounds: if it doesn't find any errors, you are probably good to go.

Amiga Test Kit also has an option for reading and resetting the RTC (F7 then F3), so try that as well. If you are using Amiga Test Kit or SysTest >= 1.2 you can also set the date and time with it, otherwise you will have to use other tools (Workbench is a good candidate).

License

The OpenAmiga600RamExpansion documentation, including the design itself, is copyright © SukkoPera 2019.

OpenAmiga600RamExpansion is Open Hardware licensed under the CERN OHL v. 1.2.

You may redistribute and modify this documentation under the terms of the CERN OHL v.1.2. This documentation is distributed as is and WITHOUT ANY EXPRESS OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES whatsoever with respect to its functionality, operability or use, including, without limitation, any implied warranties OF MERCHANTABILITY, SATISFACTORY QUALITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE or infringement. We expressly disclaim any liability whatsoever for any direct, indirect, consequential, incidental or special damages, including, without limitation, lost revenues, lost profits, losses resulting from business interruption or loss of data, regardless of the form of action or legal theory under which the liability may be asserted, even if advised of the possibility or likelihood of such damages.

A copy of the full license is included in file LICENSE.pdf, please refer to it for applicable conditions. In order to properly deal with its terms, please see file LICENSE_HOWTO.pdf.

The contact points for information about manufactured Products (see section 4.2) are listed in file PRODUCT.md.

Any modifications made by Licensees (see section 3.4.b) shall be recorded in file CHANGES.md.

The Documentation Location of the original project is https://github.com/SukkoPera/OpenAmiga600RamExpansion/.

Support the Project

Since the project is open you are free to get the PCBs made by your preferred manufacturer, however in case you want to support the development, you can order them from PCBWay through this link:

PCB from PCBWay

You get my gratitude and cheap, professionally-made and good quality PCBs, I get some credit that will help with this and other projects. You won't even have to worry about the various PCB options, it's all pre-configured for you!

Also, if you still have to register to that site, you can use this link to get some bonus initial credit (and yield me some more).

Again, if you want to use another manufacturer, feel free to, don't feel obligated :). But then, you can buy me a coffee if you want:

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Get Help

If you need help or have questions, you can join the official Telegram group.

Thanks

  • Thanks to the guys at the Italian Amiga Page forum, in particular:
    • fpmpaolo for suggesting the idea of making such a board
    • cpiace64 for providing me with a board to use as a template
    • majinga for helping with the testing
  • The RTC circuit was copied shamelessly from the Amiga 500 Expansion designed by PeteAU (which in turn probably copied it from Commodore).
  • Footprint for micro:bit edge connector derived from work by Anthony Kirby.
  • Footprint for BS-7 Battery Holder taken from the digikey-kicad-library.
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