Installing a CF Hard Drive on Amiga 500

I took the plunge and decided to try to get my Amiga 500 operating on an internal CF hard drive. This was an interesting excursion! Originally my intent was to utilize Kickstart 3.2.2 with the Amiga OS 3.2 - but fate had other plans.

My board is a revision 6A board, which does claim to be a willing candidate with some TLC and patience. I’m also running 1MB ram (I do have another 512KB expansion tied to the hip, but that’s not currently working and is for another blog entry). - and this proved to have limitations.

For one, Workbench 3.2 will not install with this configuration. Unlike my original Kickstart 2.04 I had onboard, Kickstart 3.2.2 requires around double the amount of memory that 2.04 does and that makes it slim pickings for other programs to have the RAM they need, including the 3.2 installer. It yelled and screamed and refused to run. So at least in my current configuration, OS 3.2 is out.

So then I reverted back to Kickstart 2.04 and was going to go after OS 2.1. Unfortunately, Kickstart 2.04 doesn’t have the drivers needed to access the CF card. I researched and saw there were some suggestions on how to get this infused with this version of Kickstart, but I opted to move back to Kickstart 3.2.2 that has the drivers included.

The CF card partition sizes are a big deal when formatting. It’s easier to do the formatting in WINUAE or Amiga Forever, but I was able to accomplished this rather easily by keeping the partitions at a more 1987-ish partition size - around 1.8G.

To install OS 2.1 with Kickstart 3.2.2, there are some tricks you will have to play. First, you will need OS 3.2 Install disk available as Kickstart 3.2.2 is looking for LIBS/icons.library and LIBS/workbench. Library. After that, get back to INSTALL 2.1 disk and use expert mode. Make sure the installer is correcting the right disk partition (DH0 for me) - using Intermediate mode, the installer tried to install on my second (DH1) partition.

After the install is complete and reboot is ready, you will need to copy those two library files mentioned above over to your system LIBS folder. After that, you are running!

Running in this configuration leaves about 470K remaining in a 1MB configured system after desktop has initialized. It remains to be seen if this will be an issue or not for me, and if so, I may need to delve further into looking into getting Kickstart 2.04 working in this fashion - or figure out what is going on with my expansion board. Will update as I learn more in this!

Amiga 500 with REV 6A motherboard - 1MB onboard with ECS FAT ANGUS 8372A
AmigaIDE Interface installed - Amiga 68000 DIP-64 socket IDE interface
IDE to CF Card Interface - AmigaKit Internal 44-pin CF IDE Adapter A1200 / A600