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2024 Jul 15 07:47:51
Hi all, extended SimCity2000 through to August to give us all time to have a good go at this!  :D


2024 May 30 07:31:48
Hi all, it's almost June.  Guess what!?  I've got my 'arcade' room almost set up, to a point where I can actually sit down in front of my Amigas to play games!!!  I am keen to start up GOTHEM again, and plan to post a couple of new games this weekend!


2024 May 28 13:55:52
Amazing New Things are happening on the forum!


2023 Dec 03 18:01:16
Sadly.. GOTHEM has.... For the present!


2023 Nov 29 19:04:54
Last chance! Get those GOTHEM's in!

I recently got the Vampire V2 working on my A500, the following is some of my learnings and musings.

First, be aware that as far as Apollo are concerned the V2 is old news.  They haven’t sold it for over two years, and are concentrating on the V4 line - I got one of the two last ones (the other is also in Brisbane) and it’s sat on my shelf until a week ago.  It means you’re kind of on your own.  There is a discord chat but I found it a waste of time, and there is a forum on the Apollo-computing page but to be honest it was easier to just figure everything out on my own.  If you’ve set up a Pi or another Amiga by writing an image to a card you’ll probably be fine but do be aware some assistance may be needed if you haven’t done it before.

Also be aware that you will end up with two video outputs – one for the RTG from the vampire (HDMI), and one from the Amiga native video (RGB).  I haven’t finalised my solution for this yet, but for the time being I will be using a 15 kHz monitor with an HDMI input and switch between as needed.  At some point I might change to a TV and use an RGB2HDMI for native video, and switch between to HDMI inputs.  Stay tuned.

It's pretty simple to install, remove the ROM and CPU ICs from their sockets and put the Vampire in the CPU socket.  If you switch it on now you should see a boot screen on the native output, and should be able to get to an early boot menu.  After that's working, write the OS to a CF or SD and plug into the Vampire's IDE port.

The Vampire in the Amiga

My V2 came with an ApolloOS core (FPGA firmware and ROM), not a vampire core CoffinOS.  Don’t know why.  This led me down a path where I thought I should be using ApolloOS.  If you have a V2 don't waste your time with ApolloOS, it's totally geared around the Vampire V4.  It looks like a great product but doesn’t run great on the V2, all sorts of odd things don’t work.  Just get CoffinOS from https://getcoffin.net/.

Also don’t worry about using the ApolloBOOT software if you’re only using Coffin.  If you intend to run a standard Workbench the ApolloBOOT will set everything up for you, but bear in mind it will not work with Coffin or ApolloOS with the V2 – I guess multi-boot is a V4 thing.

Initially had problems booting Coffin from CF; I switched to an SD using an SD to IDE adapter and it worked fine.  It was odd because the CF worked fine booting ApolloOS.  Later, after I changed to the GOLDv2.15 core, Coffin worked with CF.  Strange but it is what it is.

When I did change the core I was going to use version GOLD2.16. Flashing the core was painful with my device.  I couldn’t do it at all in software using vampireflash or apolloflash, presumably because it had an ApolloOS core.  I ended up flashing it with the USB Blaster and Quartus II programmer, but it failed with v2.16 so I ended up using v2.15.  Such is life, it works fine and I’ll worry about v2.16 later.

The ApolloOS defaults to a German keyboard layout.  If you do use ApolloOS (or you're on a V4) change the keyboard layout otherwise all your colons (at the end of device names) will be o umlauts, and your z’s will be y’s.  Coffin gives you the choice when you boot for the first time.

I recommend getting the enc28j60 ethernet module, they are super cheap modules that are primarily used with the Arduino, but also work with the Vampire.  It’s super easy to set up on Coffin, there’s a networikng wizard.  Use v2expeth.device for the driver.  The driver is also meant to work under WB 3.1 and 3.2, I didn’t test it but I see no reason why it wouldn’t.

Be aware that CoffinOS automatically uses NTP to update the time, but it keeps displaying an hour ahead (i.e. Sydney time).  It works fine when I use my own server manually, but I have not yet figured out how change the NTP server to my one.  Patience!

Egress of cables is relatively trivial.  There are two 3d printed projects on Thingiverse (here and here) that output cables via a new side expansion door.  I’m still waiting on parts from AliExpress before I build mine.

CoffinOS itself is really well polished.  I like it very much, it plays movies, MP3s, it’s got two TCP stacks built in (AmiTCP, and a demo of Roadshow), built in browser (also a demo), FTP and Samba clients set up out of the box (not demos).  All the hard work is done, MUI is there and just works, so is AHI and the graphics drivers.  There are a ton of other features I haven’t played with yet, and importantly there’s a pretty big WHDLoad library already set up.  You don’t need to do anything; everything is ready to go just like when you set up a Raspberry Pi.  It's way easier than setting up AmigaOS 3.1 or 3.2 - if anyone from Hyperion is reading this, that's how an OS should arrive - set up on an image ready to go (I'd even pay an extra $50 so I don't have to stuff around and set it up, but I digress). 

Coffin is also really pretty, and I particularly like the icon set.  I didn't think it would happen but this is fast becoming one of my favourite setups.  If you only have one Amiga you could do a lot worse than upgrade it with a Vampire and use Coffin.

I know I’m several years late with my little review, but I think it’s a really good product.  I might well end up with a V4 at some point in the future.

The desktop. I just met you and this is crazy!

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