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Disclaimer:
All the information presented here, was taken from the following sources:
Brain Bagnal's Book
On the Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore.

Available at Amazon.ca
The new edition had been delayed at Amazon until Feb.2010

Also, a lot of information has come from Video interviews with Bil Herd and Dave Haynie. Dave has a lot of videos on You-Tube. Search them out.. I wish I could post them here, but I don't have permission.

Lastly, more sites on the net have information. There are even a few dedicated sites to the C16. Do a Goggle search, because Bing is just a flash in the pan.:)

 

 

Please help keep the lounge alive and donate Today.Your donation helps keep an Computer from ending up in a Landfill, and keeping the history Alive for future generations!

This is the Commodore A500 Page.The A500 was an instant hit and classic.
I suspect Commodore looked at the A1000 and said they could do better. Reduce the cost, and sell the unit as a more "family Friendly". I also suspect that the overall design of the A500 was to keep close to the aging C64 (which was still selling strong and directly competing with the A500)
The 500 was first released in 1987, It quickly became know as a gaming machine. It's "all in one" design or "wedge" made it impossible to "lose" anything for out of the box, you only had a mouse hooked up to it.
The A500 was replaced eventually with the short lived A500+. The A500 plus had more Ram capabilities and an enhanced Display mode and shipped with OS 2.1. Fun Fact is that Commodore shipped many A500+ just labeled as A500. The A500+ mostly went to Europe and is not seen all that much here in North America, although it is very common overseas.


Amiga 500
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Type Home computer
Release date 1987
Discontinued 1991
Media 880 KB floppy disks
Operating system AmigaOS 1.2~1.3
CPU Motorola 68000 @ 7.16 MHz 7.09 MHz (PAL)
Memory 512 KB (9.5 MB maximum)

The Amiga 500, also known as the A500, was the first “low-end” Commodore Amiga 16/32-bit multimedia home/personal computer. It was announced at the winter Consumer Electronics

Show in January 1987, at the same time as the high-end Amiga 2000, and competed directly against the Atari 520ST. The A500 was released in mid 1987 at the price of 595.95 USD

without monitor.

The original A500 proved to be Commodore’s best-selling Amiga model, enjoying particular success in Europe. Although popular with hobbyists, arguably its most widespread use

was as a gaming machine, where its advanced graphics and sound were of significant benefit.

Releases


In late 1991, an enhanced model known as the A500 Plus replaced the standard A500 in some markets.

The A500 series was discontinued altogether in mid-1992. The similarly-specified and priced Amiga 600 was marketed as its replacement, although this new machine had originally
been intended as a much cheaper budget model, the A300. In late 1992, Commodore released the “next-generation” Amiga 1200, a machine closer in concept to the original A500, but
featuring significant technical improvements. Despite this, neither the A1200 nor the A600 replicated the commercial success of its predecessor as, by this time, the market was
definitively shifting from the home computer platforms of the past to commodity Wintel PCs and the new low-cost Macintosh LC and IIsi models.

Technical description

Like its predecessor, the Amiga 500 uses a Motorola 68000 microprocessor running at 7.15909 MHz in the NTSC version or 7.09379 MHz in the PAL version. While the 68000 is a 32-
bit chip internally, it has a 16-bit data bus and 24-bit address bus, providing a maximum of 16 MB address space. Also like the Amiga 1000, the 500 uses the OCS chipset.

Graphics can be of arbitrary dimensions, resolution and colour depth, even on the same screen. Without using overscan, the graphics can be 320 or 640 pixels wide by 200 (NTSC
standard) /256 (PAL standard) or 400 (NTSC interlace)/512 (PAL interlace mode) pixels tall. Overscan mode enabled 700 x 600 resolution in PAL machines. Planar graphics
are used, with up to 5 bitplanes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 colour screens, from a palette of 4096 colours. Two special graphics modes where also included: Extra
HalfBrite, which used a 6th bitplane as a mask that halved the brightness of any colour seen, and Hold And Modify (HAM), which allowed all 4096 colours on screen at once. Later
revisions of the chipset made PAL/NTSC mode switchable in software. Sound is 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit PCM sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to two fully left and fully right stereo outputs. Each channel is designated another channel for which it can optionally
modulate both volume and frequency using its own output. A software controllable low-pass audio filter is also included. The machine came standard with 512 KB of Chip RAM and
AmigaOS 1.2 or 1.3. One double-density floppy disk drive is included, which is completely programmable and thus can read 720 KB IBM PC disks, 880 KB standard Amiga disks, and
up to 984 KB with custom formatting (such as Klaus Deppich’s diskspare.device). Breaking with the Amiga 1000, and in keeping with the home computer tradition established by the
VIC-20 and C64, the A500 had its keyboard integrated with the CPU unit, although the floppy disk drive is also integrated, unlike the 8-bit models. The 500 used the standard Amiga two-button mouse.
Despite the lack of Amiga 2000-compatible internal expansion slots, there are many ports and expansion options. There are two Atari 2600 DB9M sockets for joysticks or mice, stereo audio (RCA connectors 1V p-p). There is a floppy drive port for daisy-chaining up to 3 extra floppy disk drives via an DB23F connector.[5]. The then-standard RS-232 serial port (DB25M) and Centronics parallel port (DB25F) is also included. The power supply is (+5 V , +/-12 V).[6] The Amiga 500's graphics are output in analogue RGB 50 Hz PAL and 60 Hz NTSC video output, provided on an Amiga-specific DB23M video connector. It can drive video with 15,75 kHz HSync for standard Amiga video modes but this is not compatible with most VGA monitors. A Multisync monitor is required for some higher resolutions. This connection can also be genlocked to an external video signal. An RF adapter was bundled with the machine to provide output on regular televisions. Monochrome video is available via an RCA connector. There is a Zorro II bus expansion the left side behind a plastic cover and a trapdoor slot under the machine, for RAM expansion and real-time clock.
Somewhat unusually for a budget machine, all chips are socketed rather than through-hole soldered so if the casing is opened up (voiding the warranty), they can be replaced by hand. The CPU can be upgraded to a 68010 directly or to a 68020, 68030 or 68040 via the side expansion slot. The Chip RAM can be upgraded to 1 MB directly on the motherboard, provided a Fat Agnus chip is also installed to support it. In fact, all the custom chips can be upgraded to the ECS chipset. 512 KB of “Slow RAM” or “Trapdoor RAM” can be added via the trapdoor expansion. Such upgrades usually also included a battery-backed clock. If further expansion is desired, up to 8 MB of “Fast RAM” can be added via the side expansion slot. Hard drive and other peripherals can also be added via the side expansion slot. So many options vying for one expansion slot can have made for difficult choices, but several companies provided combined CPU, memory and hard drive upgrades, or provided a pass-through expansion slot so multiple devices can be chained. Expansions are configured automatically by AutoConfig software, so multiple pieces of hardware did not conflict with each other. The Amiga is plug and play.

Technical specifications

* OCS chipset. Later revisions of the chipset made PAL/NTSC mode switchable in software.
o Graphics can be of arbitrary dimensions, resolution and colour depth, even on the same screen.
o Without using overscan, the graphics can be 320 or 640 pixels wide by 200/256 or 400/512 pixels tall.
o Planar graphics are used, with up to 5 bitplanes (4 in hires), allowing 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32 colour screens, from a palette of 4096 colours. Two special graphics
modes where also included: Extra HalfBrite, which used a 6th bitplane as a mask that halved the brightness of any colour seen, and Hold And Modify (HAM), which allowed all 4096
colours on screen at once.
o Rhett Anderson developed the so called Sliced HAM or SHM mode, which was a standard 32-color mode, but allowed each video scan line to have its own, independent 32
-color palette. This was possible because of a special co-processor that could reprogram the color palette registers at the beginning of each scan line. The advantage of SHM
files was the ability to display all 4096 colors while eliminating the color blur of HAM compression.
o Sound is 4 hardware-mixed channels of 8-bit sound at up to 28 kHz. The hardware channels had independent volumes (65 levels) and sampling rates, and mixed down to

two fully left and fully right stereo outputs. A software controllable low-pass audio filter is also included.
* 512 KB of Chip RAM.
* AmigaOS 1.2 or 1.3
* One double-density floppy disk drive is included, which is completely programmable and thus can read 720 KB IBM PC disks, 880 KB standard Amiga disks, and up to 984 KB
with custom formatting (such as Klaus Deppich’s diskspare.device).
* Built in keyboard.
* A two-button mouse is included.
Graphics

* PAL mode: 320 x 256, 640 x 256, 640 x 512 (interlace), 700 x 600 in overscan. Max 6 bpp.
* NTSC mode: 320 x 200, 640 x 200, 640 x 400 (interlace).

Connectors

* Two DB9M sockets for joysticks or mice (as popularized by the Atari 2600).
* Stereo audio (RCA connectors 1V p-p).
* A floppy drive port (DB23F), for daisy-chaining up to 3 extra floppy disk drives via an DB23F connector.
* A standard RS-232 serial port (DB25M).
* A parallel port (DB25F).
* Power inlet (+5 V , +/-12 V).[6]
* Analogue RGB 50 Hz PAL and 60 Hz NTSC video output, provided on an Amiga-specific DB23M video connector. Can drive video with 15, 75 kHz HSync for standard Amiga video
modes. This is not compatible with most VGA monitors. A Multisync monitor is required for some higher resolutions. This connection can also be genlocked to an external video
signal. An RF adapter (A520) was bundled with the machine to provide output on regular televisions. A digital 16 colour Red-Green-Blue-Intensity signal is available too on the
same connector.
* Monochrome video via an RCA connector.
* Zorro II bus expansion the left side behind a plastic cover.
* Trapdoor slot under the machine, for RAM expansion and real-time clock.
Expansions
* Expansion ports are limited to a side expansion port and a trapdoor expansion on the underside of the machine. The casing can also be opened up (voiding the warranty),
all chips are socketed rather than through-hole soldered, so they can be replaced by hand.
* The CPU can be upgraded to a 68010 directly or to a 68020, 68030 or 68040 via the side expansion slot.
* The Chip RAM can be upgraded to 1 MB directly on the motherboard, provided a Fat Agnus chip is also installed to support it.
* Likewise, all the custom chips can be upgraded to the ECS chipset.
* 512 KB of “Slow RAM” or “Trapdoor RAM” can be added via the trapdoor expansion. Such upgrades usually also included a battery-backed clock.
* Up to 8 MB of “Fast RAM” can be added via the side expansion slot.
* Hard drive and other peripherals can be added via the side expansion slot.
* Several companies provided combined CPU, memory and hard drive upgrades, or provided chainable expansions, as there is only one side expansion slot.
* Expansions are configured automatically by AutoConfig software, so multiple pieces of hardware did not conflict with each other.

My Collection (as Of January 1, 2010)
3 Units- 1 for parts, 1 in pieces getting a professional paint job. 1 unit I am debating to fix up (future project)
all 6 units are regular A500's

2 mint in box and 1 good loose unit

One Very Important detail on the A500's. The A500 have a "tv out" jack on the back that you can hook up a RCA cable to the TV. This will ONLY give you a Black and White picture. In order to have a full color Picture on a TV, you must use an A520 video adaptor. The A520 was included with MOST A500's
EBay

These units are the most easily obtained on Ebay. The average price on should pay is between $40 and $50 USD. You should look for a A520 INCLUDED, for they can fetch up to $30 separately. Included should also be a mouse and a power supply. Most Ebay units also have the A501 Ram expansion, but be forewarned. The A501 has a barrel battery and 99% of units I have seen, the battery has exploded and cause corrosion all over the expansion board.

Notes:
The Downside to the A500 is if you want any expansions (CD rom's , Hard drives, Accelerators Etc), be prepared to pay through the nose. This is almost a paradox, as the A500 was easily the most popular unit sold, so the expansions should be cheap and easily obtained also.
You want to get a second external floppy drive. Saves so much time and headaches, keeping the workbench disk always in the main floppy drive.
I recommend this unit for all the "non-hardware" people, that want a simple unit to learn, that they do not have to mess with. Just plug and play. You will have to boot this unit from a floppy always, but that is a small price to pay.


 

 

 

 

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