For the purists, replacing or modifying Amiga cases might be seen as a dark art best practiced away from the community or not at all. It’s not for everyone but it’s great to see Amiga enthusiasts doing something different and purposing their machine for their own needs.
Whilst we’ve never been big fans of drastic changes to the Amiga form factor, we’ve recently been in contact with a fellow Amiga enthusiast who has chosen to rehouse his 600 in a see-through perspex case from the German based company, Plexilaser. They offer a range of see-through replacement cases for the entire Amiga (keyboard) machines, the Vampire V4 standalone even the C64. We had the opportunity to get to grips with one such case and see how it’s new owner (Darren) went about this sacrilege 🙂
We spoke to Darren about his Plexilaser case project to find out a little more
What made you decide on a case replacement?
The whole Plexilaser case project came about after I saw a user on one of the Amiga forums who had rehoused an A500 and added a Vampire card. I thought “WOW!” this is the project for me as I wasn’t keen on the whole case retrobrighting idea and then trying to clean or find new caps for the keyboard.
How did you go about sourcing an Amiga for the project?
I sourced a rev6a A500 bundle and was all set to purchase the Plexilaser case but I thought a black or dark grey keyboard would fit the smoked perspex the best. After lots of research I found this would prove to be a difficult task. It was either spend a fortune buying a CDTV keyboard or wait for the new prototype replacement keycaps. After deciding against that idea, the A500 was sold on to make way for a nice recapped A600. In the long run, this would suit my set up better as the A600/A1200 cases required an external keyboard and they look a lot neater IMHO.
What will you be using your newly housed Amiga 600 for?
My main uses for the Amiga will be playing masses of games, demos, diskmags etc (without relying on WinUAE) and using Workbench for various tasks including creating ascii art for the demoscene in CygnusEd.
Have you got any plans for the Amiga 600 shell you took the Amiga motherboard from?
I was going to use the A600 case as a piece of wall art but now I’ve got the Amiga bug again, I can see me buying another board and Gotek and throwing those in. I already have spare LEDs and a power supply so I am partway there already.
It looks like the case had to be assembled, was it easy enough to do and what plans do you have for it now it’s in a new home?
Overall the Plexilaser project was fun and fairly easy to build but the supplied German instructions didn’t translate too well in Google Translator. 🙂 The next things to add to the 600 are an IDE-CF adapter, extra Chip + Fast RAM and/or maybe an accelerator card at a later date. A few cosmetic changes will also be made: like a black floppy cable and a new black perspex LED bracket, as I’m not overly keen on the existing arrangement with the bolt thread and nut showing. An alternative bracket is included in the kit but this isn’t compatible with the standard LED’s.
Did you experience any issues after the case swap?
After powering up and testing the system, I started having power issues with the USB keyboard and the Amiga shutting down. After a bit of head-scratching, I came to the conclusion that the extra power draw from the SUM600 adapter had found a weak spot on my lightweight PSU (3amp max on 5v rail), so I switched to a type 2 brick PSU from the A500 (4.5amp on 5v) and that seems to be spot on so far. If this sounds familiar to anyone then please let me know
We understand it’s been a while since you had a real Amiga, how are you finding it?
It has been great catching up with the current Amiga hardware scene and I’m impressed how far its progressed and how well it is still supported. It’s been over 10 years since I last used a REAL Amiga so it’s nice to blow away the cobwebs and relearn things I’ve long forgotten.
The future is bright!
** Update 08/07/2020 **
I added a pre formatted/partitioned 4GB CF card to the system but it wasn’t showing at the boot menu. So after much head scratching and forum surfing, I noticed the v2.05 ROM fitted to the board was actually an older v37.299 revision, which didn’t allow booting from either IDE or PCMCIA. Shame on you Commodore!
Apparently, a v37.300 version was released shortly after to compensate for this shortfall but for a system fitted with ports that you couldn’t actually use, this was a massive oversight.
Also, the actual ROM chip fitted to my system was labelled v37.229 which was actually a production typo on the chip. Another mishap much discussed on various Amiga forums.
After upgrading to 3.1 ROM (40.063) the Amiga sprang to life and it saw all the data partitions on the CF card. Thankfully it wasn’t a dodgy IDE header, which I first suspected before I gained the additional knowledge about the ROM chips.
With so many “abused” machines out there it would have been easy to discount this project, however, it’s a very elegant and affordable way to house an Amiga which has been “modified” or damaged over the years. It might not be for you but there’s no denying that being able to see the working of the Amiga is quite an appealing thing. Considering the costs and availability of many “reproduction” cases, we’d certainly consider buying one.
Check out Darren’s own website dedicated to this Ascii projects below
Find out more about the Amiga 600 Plexilaser Case in the link below
Let’s hear from you
What do you think of the Plexilaser Case? Is the Amiga best left untouched? Have you rehomed your Amiga in a 3rd party case? Let us know in the comments below