• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Amiga 1000 to microATX mod

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
A childhood friend of mine bought this Commodore Amiga (later rebranded Amiga 1000) in 1985, while I was still hanging on to my Commodore 64. I eventually bought the Amiga from him in 1989 when he went away to college.

A little blurb about the Amiga 1000, for those unfamiliar:

"The Amiga was so far ahead of its time that almost nobody—including Commodore's marketing department—could fully articulate what it was all about. Today, it's obvious the Amiga was the first multimedia computer, but in those days it was derided as a game machine because few people grasped the importance of advanced graphics, sound, and video. Nine years later, vendors are still struggling to make systems that work like 1985 Amigas."
— Byte Magazine, August 1994


I used it for years, until the keyboard became worn and nearly unusable and the floppies began to de-magnetize. I eventually bought an NEC 486sx 33 MHz in 1994 and then briefly re-visited the Amiga in 2003 to put some titles on a short film.
Then it sat in various places until the ABS plastic of the case faded to honey-barbecue brown. I found it in a closet in the basement in really bad shape.
I did not take a "before" picture because I didn't plan this thing very well, but here is a typical aged and faded Amiga 1000:
com-amiga1000.jpg
It really disheartened me, until I stumbled across a homebrew formula for "retrobright".
Basically, retrobright is a mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and Oxy laundry booster which, when applied to stained old ABS plastic, bleaches it back to like-new condition.
Feeling rather skeptical and too lazy to gather the proper ingredients, I found some Woolite heat-activated steam cleaner solution "with Oxy power" in my basement. (I think it was here when I moved in).
I ran and got some peroxide from under the bathroom sink and mixed the 2 in a paper towel and applied it to the Amiga case and let it sit in the hot July sun for 2 hours while I ran some errands.
Upon returning, I was astounded to see the stuff was actually working! Hence, it inspired me to do something creative...and destructive.
I gutted the 28 year-old innards of the old girl and got to work monster-garage style.
One of the first things I saw that needed replacement was the tired old red power LED.
LEDs of yesteryear were...dim and weak.
I replaced it with an ultra bright green Radio Shack model 276-009. After all, power LEDs should be green, not red:
0721131953.jpg
Next, I closed off the old floppy openings (including the eject button) with beige plastic from an old server and mounted a USB port and mic jack in the center of the opening via hot-glue:
0721131951.jpg

I was rolling.
I had an old ECS micro-ATX mobo lying around doing nothing. It sports a conroe Celeron 440, not a bad budget chip, and it runs cool. Light years ahead of the old Motorola 68000, right?
The main thing I was interested in was fitting a board inside, and since I didnt have a nice mini-ITX, I decided to see how far I could go with the micro-ATX. Heck, I figure I can upgrade at any time in the future once I get it retrofitted with standoffs and an I/O shield cutout. This board will do for a V1.0, but ultimately I plan to upgrade to a nice AMD APU system in mini-ITX form factor.

The original rear panel was...rather full of holes.
200089-amiga_05_slide.jpg

My problem was how to adapt the rear of the case to accommodate a modern mATX motherboard I/O panel. I toyed with the idea of closing off the old unusable parallel, video, audio and serial portholes with hot glue and plexiglass, but decided to start fresh.
Typical Amiga 1000 rear, shown with attached A1300 genlock system:
Image36.jpg
My friend Butch, who restores antique cars for a living gave me some white plexiglass and the use of his bandsaw. I simply scribed over the original case rear onto the workpiece and got to cutting right away. Original case rear is below:
0722131808.jpg
I got a great, accurate cut first try and after sanding the rough edges with 400 grit paper, tried it on for size:
0722131807.jpg
An absolute perfect fit. (If your eye is drawn to the gap below, that is merely the Amiga's original power cord port- more on that to come).
 
Last edited:
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
Next, putting the board in place to scribe a line for the I/O shield. Notice the vertical case supports which fasten the lower case to the upper? There are now only four. I had to remove a fifth which resided right in the center of the case, as there would have been no way to fit the motherboard:
0722131821.jpg
Also notice the tiny 40mm fan atop the stock HSF assembly. I have a low profile 70mm on the way from Amazon. Its 1 cm height should give me the clearance I need; the case top section was resting right on the stock fan.

The scribed line for the I/O shield:
0722131825.jpg
Next, I placed the 80mm fan (taken from the Celeron heatsink) to be used as a case fan over the workpiece and scribed a line.
Both holes were hand-cut with a 24pt jigsaw blade, because I did not have a hole saw large enough. I am ecstatic with the results, as getting a hole perfectly round without a hole saw is quite nearly impossible with a jigsaw by hand:
0722131924.jpg
The trick to getting it round? A hand-drill mounted sanding cylinder! Think of a toilet paper roll, covered in sandpaper atop a drill.


Notice anything about the plexiglass that Butch gave me? It was pure white.
I could have left it that way, but Butch suggested I paint it to match the off-white of the Amiga. He threw me a rattle can of almond paint:
0722131926.jpg
After prepping the surface with DuPont 3812s and a scotchbrite pad, I let him spray it because up to this point I had very little experience spray painting plastic:
0722132013.jpg

A shot with the top on, and I/O shield installed:
0722132017.jpg

Another one, showing how round the hole came out:
0722132017a.jpg

What's next?
I have a 300w mini-ITX PSU on the way for power. I will be using some JB water weld epoxy for mounting standoffs, and I plan on replacing the old red floppy LED with another ultra bright Radio Shack replacement.
(I neglected to mention the work that went into replacing the power LED- which involved the need to beltsand down the sides of the replacement LED in order to fit in the slot. Now held in place with hot glue).
More pics to come, if interested.
 
Last edited:
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
I used JB Waterweld to "weld" the standoffs for the mobo to the Amiga case innards:
0727131349.jpg
It dries in an hour to a rock-hard "weld" that you need a grinder to remove. I needed the strength, due to the spingy effect of the I/O shield pushing back against the mATX mobo.

Here's what I was explaining earlier about the LEDs:
0727131707.jpg
Original red floppy led is on left.

Another view from the side which shows why I had to grind down the new Radio Shack model on a hobby belt sander in order for it to fit in the original hole.
0727131706.jpg

Replaced old, dim, floppy led with the newly ground-down Radio Shack ultra bright, which is now the hdd led. Also a good view of the USB port which replaces old floppy:
0724131805b.jpg



Solid Gear mini-ITX 320w psu is held in place with 3m Command velcro, rated at 16lbs:
0727131707a.jpg

I held the case upside-down, and it stayed in place, which is strong enough. When it is out of warranty, I can pop-rivet some angle brackets and throughbolt to the innards:
0726131757.jpg

Low profile (10mm) Startech 70mm dual ball bearing fan came and just barely clears Amiga case top. I also ground down the corners and hit each with a spot of hot glue to fasten it to the original bracket. Laptop 2.5" hdd on right is held in place with upside-down cage and screwed in, 1 from underside up, 2 from topside down into the case floor:
0727131656.jpg

Original Amiga switch was a 120vac cutoff to the power supply- a pretty crude way to shut down a machine in retrospect. But 28 years ago, with an OS that fit on an 880KB floppy and resided mainly in RAM, I guess it was fine.
0728131543.jpg

My favorite piece so far- a momentary contact rocker switch which I ordered from Amazon for 3 bucks and soldered into some leads off of the old eMachine that the mobo came out of:
0727131347.jpg
The momentary contact and spring back click action is perfect since the original switch was a rocker, and modern motherboards need simple momentary contact to power-up. The spring tension is also moderately stiff, which will prevent accidental depressing.

I understand such switches are used in tasers like the one John C. Reilly whips out in Talladega Nights.
John approves:
john-c-reilly-stepbrothers.jpg



I had to file down the opening by hand by about 1/16" but I got a good, tight fit and the momentary contact, springback and "click" sound is pretty trick. I oriented it so that it is pulled toward you to power up:
0727131710.jpg
I would like to remove the "off on" with a Mr. Clean magic eraser and find an I/O decal. If anyone has ideas about this, please let me know.

Joystick ports and expansion slot were covered over with beige plastic from an old server, cut on Butch's bandsaw and hot glued:
0727131709.jpg

Still to come-
Fan grill for rear case fan installed, (shipped, to arrive soon) and original power supply cord port adapted to fit new mini-ITX psu and cord.
 
Last edited:
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
And the finishing touches.

80mm fan grill installed. Note hacked original power cord port down below, now wired to the mini-ITX psu. Cord plugs right in, smoothly, as original:
0729131659.jpg

I had a Samsung 206BW LCD whose capacitors became leaky enough to prevent it from powering up. I set it aside and replaced it with a nice hp x20LED on my main rig. I eventually replaced the capacitors to bring it back to life, which made it a perfect match for the Amiga. So that's about it for v1.0:
0728131634a.jpg
There is no more appropriate GRUB splash than that for an Amiga!

Running Harlan Ellison's "I have no mouth and I must scream" using ScummVM. Perhaps the greatest video game of all time:
0728131626.jpg
0728131609.jpg
Running Mint 13 and KDE 4. Psensors indicates 28 degrees C at idle:
0726131852.jpg

Total project cost thusfar: $50.
Maybe this winter, finishing touches like mouse, keyboard, a slim line DVD burner and a 10,000rpm hdd or ssd will be on the menu.
A fun, if unorthodox project that I really enjoyed.
Thanks for viewing.
 
Last edited:

pcgamer4life

Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2004
Nice work! It just goes to show that a nice, clean retrofit doesn't always require a ton of fab work and bondo. Scrap parts, plexiglass, and a rattle can work just fine. :)
 
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
Well done! Brings back memories... :)
Thank you!
Yeah, great memories for me too. I'm actually really happy to have the case holding a useful, modern machine rather than collecting dust and doing nothing.
Nice work!
Thanks!
It just goes to show that a nice, clean retrofit doesn't always require a ton of fab work and bondo. Scrap parts, plexiglass, and a rattle can work just fine. :)

Heh..don't forget the hot glue!
Seriously though, how did I miss out on the hot glue thing for all these years? What a great tool.
 

dostov

Overclockers.com Reporter
Joined
Apr 1, 2010
Location
Wakefield, QC
Seriously though, how did I miss out on the hot glue thing for all these years? What a great tool.

LOL I wouldn't bet my life on its strength... Serves pretty much the same purpose as duct tape but in a slightly more elegant form. ;)
 
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
LOL I wouldn't bet my life on its strength... Serves pretty much the same purpose as duct tape but in a slightly more elegant form. ;)

Hehe.
I'll tell you what though, with bonding textured plastic parts, the strength is quite impressive.
 
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
Update.
Even though I was initially happy with the Retro-Bright results, I wanted an even brighter appearance, but was hesitant to paint the unit for a few reasons. First, even though I had confidence in using my hands, I doubted the ability of paint to stick to plastic.

When I was a kid, I tried painting models with abysmal results; the paint would wrinkle, run or lift off the surface. My pal Butch, who restores antique cars for a living taught me a lot about painting in the last few months and the importance of technique, choice of product, surface preparation as well as following directions!. It's good to learn a little something every 43 years or so..!

So, after complete dis-assembly and careful masking, I prepped the parts with a Scotchbrite pad, followed by wiping down with DuPont 3812s and shot the desktop and Samsung monitor with Krylon Fusion white satin to brighten up the whole unit:
Before paint:
0726131852.jpg
After:
0915131635.jpg

Krylon Fusion is a dream to work with- an absolutely excellent product. It dries in 10-15 minutes, sticks perfectly to plastic and the results speak for themselves. Note the carefully masked, rear-illuminated power button on the monitor, which remains high gloss silver.

I got the Amiga Boing-Ball logos from amigakit.us and re-embossed the AMIGA lettering with a chisel-point Sharpie to give a more modern look:
0915131634a.jpg

A shot of the back of the Samsung 206BW, now painted white, with AMIGA logo decal from Amigakit.us. Note the UL listed power information decal, which was masked to appear original:
0915131633-1.jpg

A shot of the new 80mm Green LED ball bearing fan, which gives an eerie glow at night- a nice touch when playing old retro games:
0915131709.jpg

Still to come: AMD APU hardware upgrade, new, white Boing Ball keyboard (if I can find one , otherwise aftermarket white keyboard with Boing Ball decal), possible Boing Ball mouse.
 
Last edited:
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
Update.

Added creepy green cold cathode which shines down through ventholes:

1012131636.jpg
Notice something odd? A desktop computer could really use an optical drive! Picked up a low profile LITE-ON from the Egg for $26.
1012131640.jpg

This was the old, original front RAM expansion port on the Amiga. Note the 256k expansion RAM stick in place.
3549685443_89c7df5de8_z.jpg

After gutting and fabrication, removing the expansion cover now reveals the low profile DVD burner ever-so-carefully shoehorned in place!

1012131639.jpg

Getting it on there took some time and creativity. Finally, after thinking about it for a few days, I took the bezel off of this old DVD drive:

1012131638.jpg

I painted the bezel, again using Krylon Fusion plastic paint. Then, I cut out another bezel from my old salvaged server, painted that, and then glued both together with hot glue. With the thicker bezel assembly moving the drive forward about 1/4", I was able to clear the RAM stick, which was smack-dab in the way before. Then I glued the whole assembly to the hidden area of the front panel of the Amiga.

1012131637a.jpg
1012131637.jpg
And it works..
1012131638a.jpg
And gets hidden away when not in use..
1012131636.jpg
 
Last edited:

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
That is so amazing what you did there.

Its like taking an old school muscle car, kept the frame and modernized it. Very cool. I felt like I was watching Chip Foose in action just now. lol

Thanks for sharing this adventure. :salute:
 
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
0u0 more please

Hehe. I'm thinking of some major hardware upgrades over the winter. I want to be able to do some moderate gaming on this thing, so I'm looking at a mini-ITX AMD APU.

I love this build. Great attention to detail.

Thanks so much for the kind words.

Souvenirs, souvenirs...

That brings back memories!

Yeah, there's a real nostalgic element to this thing for me.

That is so amazing what you did there.

Its like taking an old school muscle car, kept the frame and modernized it. Very cool. I felt like I was watching Chip Foose in action just now. lol

Thanks for sharing this adventure. :salute:

Really cool, thanks man.
 
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
Slight upgrade.
After some careful masking of the unit as well as the green LED, I painted the DVD burner satin white. I again used Krylon Fusion:
1020131317.jpg

1020131314.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
Misfit138

Misfit138

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
Jersey
........and project completed with minor finishing touches.
DSCF1664.jpg

I rebranded the monitor, an I-Rocks mini-keyboard with blue led backlight, as well as a blue laser mouse with the Amiga boing-ball logo decal. (Amiga boing-ball logos thanks to amigakit.us.)

Thanks for viewing.

Coming next is a Commodore 64 retro case mod!
 
Last edited: