Subscribe via RSS

Amiga 500 – Internal IDE Port

Whilst looking for side-car Amiga A590 Hard drives for the Amiga 500, I found this deisgn at PCBWay of an internal IDE interface. The design seemed pretty straight-forward, but it did have its caveats. The main one was that this device does not Auto-Configure and therefore needs a boot floppy to use it. This wouldn't have been such a bad problem, if it wasn't for the fact that I wasn't able to write a bootable floppy disk. I therefore got my Goteks working in the A500 first.

In case you didn't know, PCBWay is a fully-fledged PCB design and fabrication site. They even provide a community side (similar to Thingyverse for 3D printing) where users can upload their designs and anyone can have them made! After finding this design on their site, I followed the checkout and a few of boards created. I wanted to save money, so I had two other designs created at the same time... but I'll talk about them in later posts.


With the PCBs now in my hand, it was time to fill them up and test the devices. Using the shopping list of parts provided at the original site, I purchased everything I needed from either Digi-Key or Jaycar.

This all arrived at around the same time and, thanks to being locked up at home due to a bug floating around the entire world, I now had time to get this thing built! First-thing's-first... take your bloody time doing this, otherwise ... or, as I did on the very first build ... you'll solder items in backwards. I quickly put that first attempt aside and started again.


Jaycar only had horizontal 50-pin IDC headers, so I cut it down to fit... not the prettiest!

DSC04072 DSC04080 DSC04081

I also purchased pin strips of both male and female thinking that the board had two individual areas for the male and female pins that the CPU plugs through.


Turns out that was totally wrong and you need to make sure you get the 'triple-length' female pin strips! Here's the item at Jaycar.


They're not cheap, but you want absolute stability when you're dealing with a piggy-backed CPU!

DSC04096 DSC04099 DSC04103

Note that if you look closely at that middle photo.. you'll see that I failed to solder two pins. Sure, the strength of the solder on the neighbouring pins will probably force contact... but... again... take your time!

The IDE header required a re-think back to my 386 upgrade. There's an issue here between providing a male or female pin header on the board. Officially, this is the 'host' of the IDE channel so, like any motherboard, it should provide male pins. You can then use a cable to provide a female IDC connector if your device has male pins. Also note that some units (like the transcend disk-on-a-stick in over here) are built to plug straight into motherboards and therefore will plug straight into this unit.

The only real thing you need to worry about is that if you're using a CF to IDE adapter, make sure it has a female header on it, i.e. on that's meant to go straight into a motherboard, or, if it has male pins, that you have a short IDE cable to go with it. Look over here for the logic on how to run the IDE cable... making sure that you get the pins in the correct order.

Mounting it

It was now finally built! Mounting it into the A500 I had open on the workbench took a little more effort than I expected. It turns out the legs of the piggy-back pin header are quite a bit thicker than the legs of the standard 68000 CPU. This meant that the whole unit required quite a shove to get it into the socket. It also made me wonder if the CPU would happily sit back in again afterwards if I ever had to revert this work. Firstly, anyway, I had to remove the cpu!

DSC04108 DSC04112 DSC04116

I'm pretty sure I mentioned something about taking your time with these things... After successfully removing the CPU from the motherboard, I also successfully bent two pins when mounting it onto my new PCB. Relax, breathe, grab a set of tweezers... realign the pins without snapping and try again!


It was in and, without a disk connected, the machine still powered up. Make sure you test this scenario as a milestone during your build!


Connecting the disk required a little trickery with the power cables. Thankfully there's a 5v header on the adapter and that's all this disk needs.

Testing it

In the zip file provided on the original site, you'll find bootable disk images that have the IDE device driver included. Or do they? It turns out Kickstart 1.3 also had the IDE driver inside... but 1.2 didn't? At first, I connected my Transcend disk-on-a-stick and booted the unit using the Boot_WB13.adf from the original site. I got the following:


Ok, c/assign can't be found. From what I've learnt, c is a folder on all Workbench installations with standard binary tools. Something like the DOS folder in MS-DOS or the /bin folder in Unix. It's trying to run the assign application which creates temporary symbolic links to paths on disks so that the shell knows what to run. The fact that it's failing isn't good, but let's try work out why.

Firstly, where is this line even being called from? It turns out it's the startup-sequence in the s folder on the boot: disk, which happens to be the disk image we downloaded and booted from. We can use the type command to work out what's in this file...


Ok, so it's tried to mount the HDD on DH0:. It's then changed to it, and succeeded? It's then tried to run the assign application from the c folder on the HDD. Uh, there's nothing on this HDD... actually, I have no idea what's on it! Quick way to find out...


Uh, yeah.. that'll never work! The delete command will come in handy here... I went ahead and whacked each of those useless files. Sorry DOS! Note that I could have also formatted the partition at this point... I had tried to do so during this adventure, but I couldn't work out how to format it as FAT (or FAT32) from the Amiga. Whenever I formatted it, it came up as an unknown DOS disk... so I slapped it into a Windows PC and formatted it there.

DSC04178 DSC04179 DSC04181

That last image above shows the Mountlist file located in the devs/ folder. This is super important as it tells mount how to understand what each partition is. It's similar to the /etc/fstab in Unix. Above you can see that it would try to use the fat95 library located in the L folder. Hence, when I formatted it and it became an Amiga partition, the fat95 driver would then throw an error indicating it wasn't a DOS drive. I would still love to know how to fix this Mountlist after a format... what parameters do I need to give the rest instead of just the driver being FastFileSystem?

Anyway, we're getting lost... leave it as FAT and then run copy boot: DH0: to copy the contents of the bootdisk to the HDD. Once done, reboot!


Hmm... still the c/assign error? Switching to the disk saw that only the root files copied... is there a -R switch? Turns out I should have run the following: copy boot: DH0: ALL...

DSC04146 DSC04148 DSC04149

Cool! The next error!? It's trying to map a fonts folder? Checking the bootdisk, there is no such folder. Oh, right, the bootdisk doesn't actually have WB1.3 on it! It's just a booter to get WB1.3 running off the HDD. Go and purchase the Floppy & Hard Disk Image Pack from Amiga Forever, download the ADFs and get them onto your USB stick. Boot the machine with the IDE bootdisk, swap the ADF via the Gotek change disk button to WB1.3 and run the same copy, but this time with the differing drive name: copy workbench1.3: DH0: ALL


And reboot!


Holy moly... my HDD is visible! Note that this was tested on both a Kickstart 1.2 and Kickstart 1.3 Amiga 500! I quickly booted up SysInfo to see what the system specs were.

DSC04170 DSC04172 DSC04171

Yup, it's still a lowly A500. I no longer have any components for sale.

Finally, for more thorough instructions on IDE formatting, view the tutorial I've written over here.

Filed under: C64/Amiga Leave a comment
Comments (46) Trackbacks (2)
  1. How does the keyboard fit? It looks from your pictures that it would be a tight fit.

    • Sean,

      Super-tight. I ended up shaving the pins down to set the whole unit as-low-as-possible to get both the RF shield and keyboard sitting flush.
      I’ll shortly be doing a Kickstart upgrade, so I’ll make sure to update this post with the findings when a slightly-taller ROM chip is sitting to the right of the CPU.


  2. Very nice! I am building the same one. Can you tell me which voltage capacitors you used? I don’t see it specified in the components list on the PCB way page. I assume 16V would do?

  3. Hello, I would be interested in one, how much would it cost?

  4. Hi can i ask for some help, when i boot from the floppy disk on a 1.3 wb a500 its just keeps listing Device DH0: already mounted, if i remove the mount HD0: from startup-sequence the disk wont boot many thanks

    • Do you have anything attached to your Amiga already? The disk is designed to specifically to boot a hard disk containing Workbench. The disk isn’t really worth booting by itself unless you’re trying to initialise a hard disk.
      Regardless, what’s in your startup-sequence? Maybe send me an email at and we can discuss further.

  5. I want one of these :-)
    Please get in touch.

  6. Greets can you please contact me. I would love to get one of these from you.

  7. Hi,

    I’m also interested in one of these. Please get in touch with me :-)


  8. Hi! I think I’d like one of these boards as well if you still have some. I just got my first A500 – I don’t want to go too far with upgrades right away but some mass storage would be really nice…

  9. Hi Steven, I have been looking at something similar for a while, they remind me of the ols CPU68K IDE. If it is available , i would be interested too. Im based in Sydney Aust. Andrew

  10. Hi Steven
    I too would be interested if im not too late.

  11. I may be interested in one and was wondering on cost. I can be contacted on Also could you provide your address and phone number. Cheers

  12. hi
    i’m interested
    in Sweden I can assemble the parts

    BR Martin

  13. Yep interested as well, in France. I don’t need the fully assembled stuff, I know my way around a soldering iron and hot air station :)

  14. Hi, I’m interested in a copule of PCb… thanks

  15. Can it work on 3.1 as I have a Amiga 500 ver 6A with a kickstart 3.1 I install workbench 3.1 but the Active led is not on can you help me

  16. I would like one of these too.. how much will it cost fully assembled, I just got my Amiga 500 and it is one of the first ones made.

  17. Hi there, I would like one of these!

  18. I would like one Unit if it is possible.
    Could you tell me how much is it, please?

  19. How can i order one of these? :) My old eyes have a hard time soldering things anymore :(

  20. Hi
    i’m interested of your IDE port card. Living in Sweden and I can assemble the parts myself

    Best Regards

  21. Hello! will it work with an external 4MB fast?

    • Hi Stefano, this is a good question and I unfortunately don’t have an answer. Everything sits internally, and doesn’t use the other data lines, so I don’t see why it shouldn’t.

  22. hi! I’d love one if you have any left over! thanks!


  23. I’d like one if possible


  24. hello there iwould like to buy one of theese cards as well, dont mind building it all myself if you could send all the parts. many thanks

  25. Hello, this seems a very nice project.
    One question: Is it possible to use a IDE-CD-Drive with this adapter?
    The reason I ask: I have a CDTV with defect CD-Drive (not repairable, previos owner already tried). So I deactivated it and removed Extended ROMs. I addad a Pistorm, wich works great and adds more speed, RAM and HD as .hdf (standard instalation) or patitions on the SD-card (EMU68). But of course a CDTV without a physical CD-Drive is a bit silly. So I thought about using a slim slot-in IDE notebook CD/DVD-drive (with adapter to normal 40 pin IDE), as this could easy be mounted behind the slot for the caddy. So I want an IDE-Adapter just to add a CD-Drive. I tried IDE64k, but it’s autoconfig process does not work with the CDTV and result in black screen. So best would be an adapter without autoboot, so I boot from the Pistorm’s emulated HD, load the driver and mount the CD/DVD-Drive on boot. So while still loosing special CDTV-functionality (wich I never used anyway, as I have no CDTV-Titles and audio-cd are more comfortable in a normal cd-player), I can at least could use CD on the workbench – f.e. the new Amiga Future Cover CD every two months.

    • Hi Ole,

      Unfortunately I can’t help with this quest. I have never had a CDTV and no longer have any other Amiga equipment. The best thing I can do is to point you to the original author to see if they have any further advice.

      But I notice you’ve already asked him! So please do respond back here and tell me if you manage to get it to work.


  26. Hi. Great work ! This ID controller work with PiStorm and ake AutoBoot ? Thanx !

Leave a comment