A DIY Journey with a 555 Timer

I want to share my recent journey in reviving my beloved Amiga 2000 using a bit of modern tech and some creative engineering. It’s been quite the adventure.

The Power Supply Hack

It all began with the power supply. After my Amiga’s original power unit gave up, I decided not to settle for an expensive or hard-to-find replacement. Instead, I went for a modern solution—transplanting an ATX power supply. This not only gave my Amiga a new lease on life but also made it more robust and reliable.

Crafting the Tick Generator

The next step involved the heart of the Amiga’s timing mechanism—a tick generator. Using a simple 555 timer IC, I initially hacked together a basic circuit to fulfill this role. However, the DIY spirit in me wasn’t satisfied with just a makeshift part. I wanted something better, something that looked the part.

Enter JazzTick – Just Good Enough for Jazz

This led to the creation of “JazzTick” my reimagined version of the original 555 timer hack. This new circuit wasn’t about creating a perfect solution but rather a good enough one that was both simple to assemble and effective. The design was straightforward, incorporating multiple resistors to fine-tune the resistance, thus adjusting the frequency more precisely.

I experimented with various resistors, aiming for the optimal frequency. In the UK, where PAL systems like the Amiga operate at 50 Hz, getting this right was crucial. After some trial and error with different configurations, I settled on a combination that gave me just under 400-ohms of resistance, and a 49.6Hz signal.

PCBWay: A DIYer’s Best Friend

A project like this could have been daunting, but thanks to PCBWay, it was a breeze. They offer PCB fabrication for as little as $5 and have a vast library of shared projects which is incredibly helpful. For those who are a bit shaky with a soldering iron, PCBWay also provides assembly services. Their CNC Machining and 3D printing services further enhance the possibilities for custom DIY projects.

The Final Swap

With the new JazzTick board ready, it was time to swap out the old hack. Replacing it with the new, neatly designed board was satisfying. Not only did it fit perfectly, but it also stuck to the power supply almost like a tick—a neat and tidy installation that I was very proud of.

Looking Ahead

The best part? This setup is flexible enough to be adjusted for a 60 Hz NTSC signal, should the need arise. For now, my Amiga is running smoothly, and the tick generator is ticking away without a hitch.

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