I loved the style of the Amiga 1000 – the desktop case with the keyboard “garage” underneath where it can slide away out of sight.  However it’s running pretty old tech now – even by Amiga standards.  They only have 512k RAM as standard and no expansion slots other than the same edge connector an A500 has – but upside down, just to make it even more difficult to fit expansions.  So, when I came across the GB-A1000 motherboard (designed by Georg Braun, hence the name) I immediately decided to try and source one.

The GB-A1000 is a motherboard using the orginal Amiga chipset but with 8MB RAM, a Flicker-Fixer, an IDE controller for Hard Disks and a 68030 processor (plus a 68882 FPU) to take the Amiga 1000 well into A3000/A4000 territory.

I came across an unbuilt kit on Amibay and set about tracking down all the various components required to build a working board.  It was the largest project I’d ever taken on with lots of surface-mount soldering required – quite a challenge.  These are some pictures from the motherboard build process.  I started this in 2013 and just about finished by the end of 2015!

Motherboard received – wow, that’s quite large..

GBA1000 Bare Board

I built up these Video Hybrid kits first to get me used to the SMT soldering before working on the mainboard

Video Hybrid 2

Start by soldering all of the small surface-mount components first

GBA100 Board birdfeed

and then.. well nothing for 2 years according to my image archive.  I built the board up quite slowly, had a few issues sourcing parts here and there, just worked in small chunks and then left it alone for a while.  Apparently I didn’t take any pictures either – until..

Tada! Ready for the first power-up.

GBA1000 ready for power up

Will it work first time? ..

GBA1000 first power up

Of course it will!  Just a quick power-up at this point to make sure it all appears to work before mounting the board inside the A1000 case.  I also programmed a newer Workbench 3.1 and the IDE ROM and added a lithium battery (along with a small diode to prevent charging).  The 2.5″ IDE connector for the onboard hard disk was particularly tricky to find – eventually I had to hack down another 2.5″ connector to make it fit the board properly.  Looks ok though.

GBA1000 44ide connector

I’m using that with a 32GB Compact Flash card via an IDE converter.

When I mounted the board into the Amiga case it wouldn’t sit quite flush.  When I looked closely I could see why – the motherboard D-plugs had pronged mounting pins which went through the board but these were hitting the posts in the case.

GBA1000 D plug pins

I had to cut these off in order to get it to mount flush against the case standoffs and then I could use the self-tapping screws through the top of the D-plug to secure the plug – and the board – to the case.

GBA1000 D plug pins 2

So, trial fit of the motherboard into my A1000 case:

GBA1000 trial fit

Everything seems to fit ok, let’s carry on fitting the PSU

GBA1000 board fitted with PSU

and then the rear panel

GBA1000 board fitted with rear panel

The complete system up and running.

GBA1000 running

Right now it’s booting Workbench 3.1 from a CF card and I’m in the process of loading up WHDLoad and a chunk of old games.