For about three years now I used to run my Amiga 1200 with different OS installations on various CF hard disks by passing the CF/IDE adapter through the PCMCIA slot on the left side of the computer to the outside.
This way I could swap hard disks quickly and effortless, without having to open or even unscrew the computer’s case every single time. This solution I came up with was satisfactory for me, although admittedly not really pretty.
Two weeks ago I stumbled across a tweet from Eric Nelson showing off a pretty neat solution that consists of a matching CF/IDE back plate adapter for the rear trapdoor of the A1200.
Since this slot was not yet occupied in my A1200, for example by a video port, it would also be an ideal solution for me, I thought. Thankfully, Eric also revealed the source of supply for the adapter and pointed his followers to the webshop of Amiga Kit, where I quickly found and ordered the adapter kit right away.
Delivery took a bit longer, but the adapter arrived safe and well packed at my home. I have been looking forward to the weekend for days, when I finally found the time to carry out the installation.
As it turned out, the procedure is not particularly complicated, but since the adapter doesn’t come with any instructions on how to do it, I thought a short illustrated blog post would be a good idea.
After unscrewing and opening the Amiga, the first thing I did was to remove the keyboard. To do this, carefully pull the white plastic holder of the ribbon cable upwards to be able to release the cable without any noticeable resistance.
Next, pull out the plug of the cable for the LED lights so that it will not be in your way in the following steps.
If your Amiga 1200 still has the metal shielding covering the mainboard, of course you will also have to unscrew that before you can continue.
Since the IDE cable of the adapter is going to be laid underneath the floppy drive, we will also have to remove the drive before we can go on. Unscrew it from the mainboard (one screw) as well as from the backside of the case (two screws) and carefully unplug the IDE cable and power cord that are connected to the drive. There’s no need to unplug those from the mainboard.
Before the carriage of the adapter can be installed in its intended position, the small screw that may be located there, has to be removed.
It is also advisable to clean the bottom of the housing with alcohol at the area where the adapter is finally going to get installed. This way, the two adhesive strips located on the underside of the adapter will stick better to the case.
Now remove the plastic strips from the self-adhesive surfaces and place the adapter at a slight angle so that its upper edge is parallel to the upper edge of the Amiga’s rear trapdoor. Then slowly and carefully press the adapter at an angle towards the bottom and the rear side of the housing.
It should fit exactly into the recesses of the housing. Afterwards, gently press the adapter against the bottom of the case to ensure that the adhesive holds well. It now should look pretty much like in the picture below.
If you want to reinstall the computer’s metal shielding, you should do so right now. Lead the IDE ribbon cable of the adapter all the way over to the IDE connector of the Amiga 1200 (on top of the shielding, if installed), so that the red (or pink) marking of the cable points downwards, i.e. to the front side of the computer. The cable will forgive if it is bent a little, but don’t overdo it. 😉
The reason for that is simple. The red mark means this side of the cable is connected to pin 1 of the IDE port, which is located at the bottom. You can also recognize this by the „1“ on the mainboard, right next to the lower end of the port.
Connect the cable accordingly to the IDE port of the Amiga. Once this is done, you can mount the floppy drive again so that the cable runs underneath of it, just like in the picture below.
Finally, reconnect the cable of the Amiga’s three LED lights, as well as the keyboard and screw the case of the computer back together again. Case closed, literally.
The whole installation process took me about half an hour and my wife noticed that I did not curse in the meantime, not even once. And that means something. 😉
The adapter works perfectly of course, as does the HDD LED of the Amiga. The latter is unfortunately not the case with every CF/IDE adapter. But Amiga Kit has obviously taken care to only use adapters with which the LED still works.
The whole thing is a much nicer solution than my previous one and as a side effect the PCMCIA slot is now free and usable again.
Finally, the most important at the end – thank you, Eric! 🙂