Amiga A1200 new housings Kickstarter campaign
Aug13

Amiga A1200 new housings Kickstarter campaign

There have been quite a few ‘new housing for vintage computer/console’ Kickstarter campaigns of late but this one caught our attention because it dares to be a little bit different. Let me elaborate… With less than a week to go at the time of writing this particular campaign by Philippe Lang is to produce new Amiga A1200 housings from new molds in a range of colours. Unlike previous campaigns such as for the KS64C and the Atari Jaguar case remake, original molds are not available so they are remaking them. But what makes this particular campaign really special in our opinion is the fact that they are not just recreating an original Amiga A1200 case as it came 22 years ago. They are taking the original case design and adding ports, holes for buttons and break out panels for contemporary upgrades that already exist; like USB ports, compact flash adapters and HXC floppy emulators. They are even making the case Raspberry Pi, A1200 reloaded and MiST FPGA board compatible. On top of all these enhancements they have upgraded the expansion bay ‘trap door’ with ventilation slots and the rear ‘trap door’ with a slot that will be able to house DVI/HMDI and VGA ports. It’s the modern hardware compatibility approach to this project that really makes it stand out from others. This really is as future-proof a retro computer housing as you can get! See more and back the campaign here:...

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PAL Sega Megadrive Region Switch Mod – how to
Jul12

PAL Sega Megadrive Region Switch Mod – how to

Many a tutorial has been written regarding the Sega Megadrive Region Switch mod. This modification will release the true power of the MD and enable you to play Japanese and American games on your PAL console with the flip of a switch. Most tutorials you find will use two toggle switches, however I prefer to use a single switch. The switch we will be using a on/off/on switch and I opt for a black rocker switch to try and make it look like it was always meant to be there. We shall assume you have basic soldering skills and that you are versed in undoing screws!! Tear down Begin your mods by flipping the console over and undoing the screws on the underside. Put them safe in a handy pot and remove the top half of the console. To separate the top from the bottom you will need to unplug the power led, you can change that if you fancy, my personal Megadrive has a white power led. To unplug you will need to straighten the legs sticking out of the white plug and gentle wiggle until its free. Put the top to one side for now. Next up is to remove the metal shield. Its held down with several screws and hooked under a tab on the bottom shield. To remove the motherboard, there is one screw on either side of the cartridge connector. Lift the headphone jack out to reveal another screw and there is a few in the thick aluminium angled piece. Remove the motherboard, it is also hooked into the bottom tin piece. And the bottom tin lifts out. Cue cleaning, I give mine a gentle scrub with a sponge in the hot soapy water and leave it to dry. Be careful using a scrubbing brush or the scratchy pad on sponges, this will scratch up the console and leave a matt finish. Not the end of the world but it takes elbow grease to re-polish it. Whilst this is drying, use a wire brush to remove any rust from the tins, mine where quite bad where they had sat in a loft or shed for sometime. Give it a spray with WD40 or something to help protect them in the future and pat dry. Work can now begin on the soldering. I like to prepare my switch and wire first, so fire up your iron and grab a beer whilst you wait. On the switch itself I give the contacts a light emery to reveal the copper, because the solder will not work on the plated surface. Apply the heat and melt some solder...

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Amiga 500 plus battery removal – how to
Jun03

Amiga 500 plus battery removal – how to

Got an Amiga 500 plus? Haven’t removed or replaced the motherboard battery yet? Well if you haven’t here’s the bad news; it’s got a good chance of having leaked on your motherboard. And if it has, and isn’t rectified that battery electrolyte could well eat away at the tracks on the PCB eventually rendering it useless. The good news is that if it hasn’t got too bad in there, you can easily remove the battery and clean up your board. This how-to only applies to Amiga 500 plus models and not the Amiga 500 which can have a battery on a memory expansion board in the trap door (you still might want to replace/remove it mind you!). This short tutorial only covers the removal of the battery, either by breaking away or desoldering. It does not cover the replacement of the original battery with a modern ‘coin battery’ and holder which can be purchased from the Amiga Kit store. I personally have never found a need to have a clock battery on my A500+ motherboard, therefore removal is all I cover here. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any damage you do to yourself or your A500+ during this process. You proceed at your own (and your Amiga’s) risk! What you will need: A ‘Torx’ T10 driver Long nose pliers Soldering iron and desoldering braid (if you want to desolder) Step 1: Dissassembly A. B. Turn your Amiga over and remove the six T10 screws in the positions marked on Pic A. Once removed turn your Amiga back over again and lift off the top casing. Put that on one side. Pic B – The warranty seal was still intact on this A500+ which is how I knew the battery would definitely need replacing. A nervous time ahead as we find out what damage has been done! C. D. The keyboard is pretty much loose as soon as the top casing is removed. The keyboard is only connected by a cable that goes through a hole in the shielding and can be removed by gently pulling and wiggling the cable until it comes free (Pic C). Remove the keyboard and put to one side (Pic D). E. To remove the shielding you must first bend 4 tabs up and remove 4 T10 screws marked in purple and green respectively on Pic E. Once done the shielding will lift off but be aware of the 2nd small piece of shielding by the expansion edge connector on the left hand side which will now be loose too. Put the pieces of shielding to one side. Step 2: Battery removal F. You...

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Simple ZX Spectrum composite mod – how to
Dec10

Simple ZX Spectrum composite mod – how to

Ever wished you could use your ZX Spectrum on that big LCD screen you have in your living room but have had trouble tuning it in? Well, since I posted a couple of images on Instagram showing a few of my composite modded Spectrums, I’ve had a number of requests asking for instructions on how to perform a simple ZX Spectrum composite mod. Note that this mod is only useful for the ZX Spectrum 16/48K and ZX Spectrum+. Later models had RGB output for which there are SCART cables aplenty for sale on the interwebs. As the Spectrum already has a perfectly good composite signal and there is no need to use the RF circuitry anymore, the process is simple; bypass the RF modulator with three cuts and 2 joins. I’m far from the world’s greatest solderer, in fact I class myself as pretty poor so if I can do it, anyone with moderate soldering skills should find this pretty easy. I’ve even performed this mod without solder at all, just by twisting the wires together and, while this worked, I would recommend a bit of solder just to make things a bit more secure. Also worthy of note is the fact that this is a non-destructive mod. If you so wish, the RF modulator can be reinstated quite easily if ever, or whenever you see fit. The result? Well, once done (and all has gone to plan) you will have a ZX Spectrum that you can connect to a modern TV via composite input. This means no more having to tune your Speccy in and you should be able to switch to an AV channel and use your Spectrum with a much steadier and clearer picture. Disclaimer: I take no responsibility for any damage you do to yourself or your Spectrum during this process. You proceed at your own (and your Spectrum’s) risk! What you will need: A crosshead screwdriver A small flathead screwdriver Long nose pliers Small wire snips A short length (about 3cm) of single core wire Soldering iron Solder Step 1: Dissassembly A. B. C. I will be doing this mod on a ZX Spectrum+. The process is the same for an original rubber keyed Spectrum all apart from the number of screws you need to remove. Firstly, make sure your Spectrum is unplugged. I know this sounds obvious but with the lack of a power indicator light anywhere to let you know it is on, it is really easy to forget you still have it plugged in. Turn your Spectrum over to expose the screws that hold your Spectrum together (8 on a +...

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Custom Game Boy Advance by 8bit Evolution
Jul14

Custom Game Boy Advance by 8bit Evolution

We were thrilled to be contacted a short while back by 8 bit Evolution, a US based company specializing in supplying custom modded and fully refurbished consoles to retro gaming enthusiasts. Established 3 years ago, 8 bit Evolution has 11 people on their team, all of whom are dedicated gamers themselves, enthusiasts intent on breathing new life into old consoles.  At the time of writing the 8bit Evolution website has dozens of different modded Game Boy Advances, Game Boy Micros, Nintendo SNES, Nintendo 64 and Sega Genesis consoles in stock, in addition to T-shirts, custom enamel pins and and Perler bead art.  The stunning and varied custom paint work on the handhelds and custom consoles is undertaken by Carly, Ryan and James, who will also mod machines to your individual specifications. “ 8 bit evolution breathes new life into retro game consoles, giving them the second chance they deserve! We meticulously clean and refurbish every console we touch, putting as much love into each piece as the enjoyment they have brought to our lives as life long video game enthusiasts. “ They were kind enough to send along one of their beautiful custom backlit Game Boy Advances for us to try out and when it landed on our doormat we weren’t disappointed. The one-off GBA we were sent has been meticulously refurbished from the ground up, with a brand new shell, new buttons, a scratch resistant lens upgrade, a full internal clean, a new backlit upgraded LCD and custom 8bit Evolution holographic sticker. “Well,” I hear you say. “How does it stack up?” True to their philosophy of bringing old consoles back to life, upon opening the 8bit Evolution box there is no sign at all that the console has been previously used. From the custom airbrushed paintwork over a brand new case (in this case a space scene) to the new buttons and shiny new label on the back, the machine is as fresh as it was when it first left Nintendo’s factory back in the noughties. And there is something slightly different looking about that screen… which hints at its best feature, and one which can only be truly appreciated when you switch the unit on. The biggest let down of Nintendo’s otherwise wonderful 32 bit handheld was its lack of a backlit screen, something the guys at 8bit Evolution have succeeded in putting right. Behind the new scratch resistant lens lies a fully backit LCD screen which enables you to play under all lighting conditions. I tried the GBA outside in bright light and indoors in subdued lighting the new screen worked a treat, lots of...

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Modded GameBoys by Joe Heaton AKA joeteach
Jan28

Modded GameBoys by Joe Heaton AKA joeteach

I’ve been following Joe’s Game Boy modding exploits on Instagram for some time (@joeteach) and was more than delighted when he agreed to aggregate his modded GameBoys for all to see here on RetroGamesCollector. Ranging from the subtle ‘Grey Boy’ to some of his more striking combinations, one thing remains true, that he is breathing new life into ageing handhelds. I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the talking, and at the bottom of the article you will find a short interview with Joe himself. When did you become interested in video games and what was the first video game you played? Joe: I became interested in videogames when my Dad bought a secondhand Amstrad CPC6128 around 1988.  Before that I’d play games at friends’ houses but I never really thought I was any good at them and that put me off.  I can remember playing my first videogame though, it was some sort of pong clone on a huge computer in primary school, the thing had to be wheeled around on this great big trolley.  Must have been around 1984 I think.  I was terrible at it! What was the first games console or computer you owned and how old were you? Joe: The first computer we had as a family was the Amstrad, however it was when we got an Amiga 500+ that I really started to realise how much fun could be had with a computer.  I was at high school then and I used to spend hours mucking around with random shareware programs I’d get from magazines or market stalls; I played a lot of games but my fondest memories are just from exploring all those weird and wonderful programs.  It sounds a bit clichéd but it is the Gameboy that really got me hooked on videogames. I’d heard about them from a friend and just imagined it as a Game & Watch type LCD handheld; when I saw that dot matrix display I was just blown away! I can still remember seeing it and having that pang of need – I had to have one. I loved it; I had independence, could play it anywhere and it was all mine (a real treat when you’re one of four kids). It was playing on the Gameboy that got me over my insecurities at being able to play well; it became more about enjoyment.  I completed my first ever game, Super Mario Land, on the Gameboy and got pretty good at Tetris too. Very fond memories. What is your favourite hardware manufacturer (Sega, Nintendo, Atari Commodore etc.) ? Joe: I’ve always loved Nintendo stuff, mainly...

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