A500 + Checkmate A1500 Zorro adapter issues?

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  • I'm attempting to run the X-Surf-100 with the RapidRoad USB controller with the new Checkmate A1500 case with the Amiga 500 Zorro II adapter board that was produced in the Kickstarter campaign. Processor wise I'm using a Vampire V500 V2+. This Combo worked fine in my A2000, but I wanted to ditch it as the A2000 is massive and I really like the A1500 case. I've tried it with the force Z2 compatibility jumper, my issue mainly is I can't seem to get roadshow or miami to start the network device. The rapidroad controller seems to work for the most part, It works with Mice and keyboards, but mass storage devices don't seem to work anymore.

    I can drop the hardware back in the A2000 and it works perfect, I'm using the same OS image. Could this be an issue with the lack of the Buster Chip in the A500? I have another A500 I can try this weekend, but just want to rule out some inherent issue with running it on an A500. I know this is a fairly unique setup, but as more people are going to be getting the Checkmate A1500 case with the A500 Zorro adapter it may be an increasing issue people may be bringing up.

  • I am already discussing the issue with Stephen Jones, who has contacted me because the ACA500plus also doesn't work with his product.


    So far, he could not answer any of my questions and prompted me to wait for a response from "Rob", who did the design of the adapter board.


    At this point, I can already say that the board inside the Checkmate 1500 case is not a bus board (although called this way by the maker). This is only from bad images I got from a 5-hour-live video session of some British woman attempting to make the thing work with an ACA500plus.


    The X-Surf-100 is made for and tested in Commodore computers. Except for the Z4 board for the A1200 (where I had my share in making and testing the design), I do not know of any other bus/daughterboard that comes close to the quality of the Commodore daughterboards. Pretty much every other Zorro-adapter board is easily falsified by inserting a memory expansion and running a memory test.


    While Stephen Jones does not come forward with any engineering details and even refuses to send me a sample, I have to refuse all support for iComp's hardware in that product. I cannot be held responsible for other people's engineering failures that happened way after my products came out. You already confirmed that they work fine in the original target computers. If you want a solution, please go back to the vendor of the thing and remind him that I have offered help.

  • Thanks you Jens for the quick response,

    I did post something on his Facebook group for the A1500, I'll keep the conversation up there. I sort of hope to see some kind of resolution for this issue as I'm at a standstill with my project at the moment.

  • Hi all


    I have just done a video outlining the sad issue for my customers relating to the ACA500 plus, which as I say is a perfect fit for the A500 owner who wants to build a medium performance Amiga system.


    As the video shows, both of my boards are working fine one a rev 5 A500 that is rock solid and an A500+ which is not 100% stable but generally works OK.


    I have looked through my correspondence with Jens but cannot see a request for a board, but as I have a hardware developer support system in place I would happily send a case and Zorro card Monday if it would help.


    On the slow response with the information Jens has requested, well most people realise I am not the electronics engineer and so I managed to get Rob Cranley to help me on this project and I am very happy with the work he has produced even though this one is frustrating obviously. The problem with the delay is that Rob had to get another ACA500 plus to do the testing and it has not as yet arrived. As soon as it does he will provide the information as we want this problem resolved as quickly as possible one way or the other.


    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5ABieWujOE


    All the best

    Steve Jones

    iMica ltd

  • I have looked through my correspondence with Jens but cannot see a request for a board,

    I recommend to read your eMails all the way up to the end; there have been two requests:


    eMail dated august 13th, 2019, 10:51, MSGID:

    Code
    1. 4f5e5ad3-fa6e-6360-b1b3-118090e17616@icomp.de


    Last paragraph:

    Quote
    So please: Let's turn to engineering. Please share your data. I'm willing to help. I can also do a few measurements if you send me a set.


    email dated august 13th, 2019, 13:41, MSGID:

    Code
    1. a105c92f-a8c2-c724-33b3-2b675c17ebbf@icomp.de

    Last paragraph starts with "Send me a set" (meaning: A set of case, PSU and slot-adapter board, in case that wasn't clear).



    Jens

  • Oh, I assumed you meant a set of drawings (that are released) and the data you wanted from Rob so it was not clear to me, apologies.


    Any way, email the delivery address and if you want the Board alone or a case to go with it :-)


    Steve

  • Just chiming in to say that there are many, many of us hoping for a resolution to things like the ACA500+ and and the XSurf100 working with Stephen Jones new case.

    I was ready to pre-order the 68030/40 MHz card at the time that "The English Ladies" (and my friends) video came out, but I am waiting to see if a resolution can be found.

    I hope the two developers can work together in the spirit of benefiting the Amiga Community, as there are a lot of future sales for both companies if this can be resolved.

    Doug from 10 Minute Amiga Retro Cast

  • Hi,


    due to a database hickup, we had to restore a backup of september 24th, so my posting and a few others in this thread are lost. I remember someone x-posted things to facebook - since I'm not using FB, yould someone please check if the text of my posting is "backed up" there?

  • Here is mine.


    Firstly, I want to apologise to my customers who are having these problems with a couple of these products on this forum.


    It does appear early ACA500+'s work fine but recent ones are not working, and the network card is also not happy on the Zorro slot. I am not saying it is the ACA500+ or network card at fault because they are quality products and the ACA500+ is designed as described on site to only fit on the side of the A500 directly. However as our tests went very well with earlier revision ACA500+ boards I promoted this product as it solves a lot of users wants and needs in one small high quality package. Sadly this was a mistake and I take full responsibility and will arrange returns of the Zorro board products if customers are unhappy and do not want to look at the vast range of alternatives available for storage/ram and acceleration.


    It is key to understand what we tried to achieve with our Zorro board. We have a lowish cost ATX psu adaptor but for the extra cost of 3 Zorro connectors (£5 each) we had a way to have the A500 86 pin edge connector reproduced internally with as short a distance as possible, nothing electrically changed but better than a ribbon cable, plus a way of using an internal SFX PSU to power it all and a nice switch on the front of the machine.


    The extra 100 Pin Zorro socket is based on a very simple design that has been around on Aminet and used successfully by the hacking community for many years and is used to great effect to allow "Most" Zorro2 cards to work. We never expected all to work but hopefully enough, a list will be available soon. For example having a 68030/Ram/IDE board inside the machine (A500 68k socket based) and in the 100 pin slot a graphics card or my Ariadne2 network card both working without any problems. It is not perfect and it is missing the bus arbitration and other circuitry from the big box Amiga's and what we had on our A500 Bus board in the early 90's, but for one Zorro card it is usally fine.


    My problem has been as Jens put it, his emotional responses to something like this, never have I blamed his products for not working and only seeked advice from the seasoned developer that he is. However, he has been less than complimentary to Rob who developed the original board before this and the boards for my system. These boards that I am happy with based on the functionality they provide at their low cost (for this market and order size).


    Jens asked for a Zorro board, sadly I missed the original request but sent within a few days, then he apparantly required a full case to be able to do the testing so I sent a full case a week or two later. After waiting nearly a month I asked how things were going but was told he was busy on other projects and will get to it later.


    It is true I asked him to return the case a couple of days ago, as it was meant to apparantly help his work and afterwards he could have kept it. With the response from Jens I decided this was not helping either of us so I said he can keep the system and wished him luck for the future and left it at that.


    To be clear I have sent a small number of these systems out to other key hardware developers and released ALL design for the case and the schematics for the boards to the community to work with and improve on and have been pleaasantly surprised with the warm response I got and new and modified products in development for the case.


    Finally, if you as a customer of mine feel let down by my product, contact me and I will either refund the Zorro board cost upon return or swap for the PSU adaptor board with partial refund. I have obviously learned from this and I will be soon releasing a list of products that are known to work and will put this on my web site in time for the next batch of cases which are a surprisingly under large demand. Should the issues above be fixable then I look forward to seeing people using these wonderful products in my setup.


    Again I wish Jens all the best with his fine products and warm wishes to this community.


    Steve Jones

    iMica ltd

    Checkmate 1500 Plus designer.

  • Steve wrote me an eMail about two weeks ago claiming that he found a fix for the issue. When I asked for the solution, he wrote that he wanted to "formalize" everything before it gets published.


    Not sure how long that takes and where he wants to publish.