Buffered IDE Interface (A1200/A600)

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Buffered IDE Interface

Buffered IDE Interface
Created 2008
Creator Tiago/Harrison
Based On A1200/A600
Kickstart 2.05/3.X
Operating System 2.1/3.X
CPU any
Memory any


What is a Buffered IDE Interface?

The Amiga A600 and A1200 models come with an internal IDE Harddrive port, originally designed to accept a single 2.5" laptop style harddisk drive. This IDE port is unbuffered as it was only ever designed to attach a single device.

A Buffered IDE Interface overcomes this single device limitation, allowing up to 4 devices (drives) to be connected to the A600/A1200's internal IDE port. This allows you to have multiple Harddrives, CD-Rom, CD-RW, DVD and CF card readers.. etc connected to the Amiga at the same time.

Hardware details

A Buffered IDE interface is usually a small circuit board which connects to the internal 2.5" (44pin) IDE port inside the A600/A1200 via an IDE ribbon cable. The devices are then connected to the IDE ports on the Buffered IDE Interface and work in conjunction with special software to allow the Amiga to access and use up to 4 devices connected to the Amiga's single IDE Port.

To show an example of a Buffered IDE Interface on this page, we are going to look at the Eyetech MK4 Buffered IDE Interface. Most similar Buffered IDE Interface's from other makers will look and work in a very similar way.

Taking a look at the Hardware

The "Eyetech MK4" Buffered IDE Interface cames with:

  • The circuit board (Buffered IDE interface)
  • A 2.5" IDE cable (to connect the interface to the Amiga's IDE port)
  • 1 floppy disk with drivers/software (IDEFix'97)

Installing a Buffered IDE Interface

note: when one of the ports on the Buffered IDE Interface is mentioned by name, other makes of Buffered IDE Interface may name the port differently, so please check exact connection details using the documentation provided with your Buffered IDE Interface.

In this example we have a standard A1200 case and are connecting an Eyetech MK4 Buffered IDE Interface. The location of the IDE port and the process is the same for the A600.

  • To begin installing the Buffered IDE Interface
  • Open the A1200/A600 case - Be carefully! A lot of cases have screws that are hard to remove, and you could easily damage the case if you use too much force. Also take the case apart slowly checking for cables. For Example, in the A600 the LED cable needs to be disconnected from under the front right of the keyboard before the case can be fully lifted up.
  • Locate your current HardDrive, if any - In a standard A1200 or A600 case this would normally be a 2.5" IDE HD and it will be located at the back left of the case fitted into an IDE cradle. This cradle is only pushed into the motherboard via 4 metal legs and it can be lifted up, out and away from the system to remove the HD. note: it is also possible to fit a 3.5" HD inside an A1200, but this will have been custom fitted and will use a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE cable plus an additional power cable.
  • Remove the IDE cable from HD (noting the orientation and direction the cable was connected to the HD (and where the red wire was on the cable). This cable can be used to reconnect the HD to the Buffered IDE interface.
  • If the Amiga doesn't currently have an HD installed it should already have a 2.5" cable connected to the IDE port ready to be used. And so this can be used to connect an HD to the Buffered IDE Interface. Otherwise you will need to purchase a cable.
  • To connect the Buffered IDE Interface
  • Find the 44 pin IDE Port on the motherboard (located at the rear on the left), and insert the IDE cable that came with the Buffered IDE Interface.

  • Connect the other end of the cable to the Buffered IDE interface where it says "internal HD"* (it has 44 pins the same as the motherboard IDE port). Make sure you get the orientation of the cable correct at both the Amiga motherboard and the Buffered IDE interface ends. The Red wire on the IDE cable should be connected to the IDE port where the IDE port pin is marked with a number "1".

  • Next connect the HardDrive to interface. If it is a 2.5" HD connect it to the other 44 pin available on the interface. If you have a 3.5" HD connect it to one of the two 40 pin connectors available on the interface. (You can also use an adapter cable from 3.5" to 2.5" to connect a 2.5" HD to one of the 3.5" ports)
  • You can also connect a CD-ROM or other optical drive. To do so, connect it to the "ch2s"* and leave the "ch2m"* for the HD.
  • Remember to make sure all cables red pin 1 stripes are connected the correct way around matching the 1 marks on the interface's connectors. For the Eyetech interface these all go to the left (see gallery pictures).
  • Providing Power for 3.5" devices
Important! A 2.5" IDE device uses a 44-pin IDE cable which also provides the power needed to run the device. If you are connecting 3.5" devices such as IDE HDs and CD-Rom drives these use the larger 40-pin 3.5" IDE interface cable. This type of cable does not provide any power to run the device and the device will instead have a separate power connector (Molex 4 pin connector or floppy drive power connector).
You will therefore need to supply the 3.5" IDE devices with power to run them. In the A600 and A1200 the easiest way to do this is to buy/make a Y-Splitter cable that connects to the Amiga's Floppy disk drive power connector on the motherboard. You can then connect one end of the Y-Splitter cable back into the floppy disk drive to power that, and the other connector from the Y-Splitter into the CD-ROM or other 3.5" IDE device to power that.
(further details and pictures of how to do this to follow)
  • Software Installation
Once you have the buffered interface connected and the devices you wish to use (HD, CD-Rom etc) connected correctly it is time to switch the Amiga on and get everything working. As standard the Amiga will probably only see the main harddrive connected to the 44pin connector on the Buffered IDE Interface. This is normal.
To allow the Amiga to see the other devices connected to the Buffered IDE Interface you need to install special software which intercepts the boot process as the Amiga loads Workbench and adds support for the Buffered IDE Interface, and for the devices that might be attached.
The most common software used for this is called IDEFix'97. This is commercial licensed software, but normally a copy is included with most Buffered IDE Interfaces as standard. If not you can download a demo version from aminet.
To install the software use its installer and follow the on screen installation steps, making sure you enter all information correctly as you go. If you have a CD/DVD drive connected this software will also install support for this, allowing you to then insert discs and access them from Workbench. IDEFix'97 also includes a CD32 emulator allowing you to directly run many CD32 games on an A1200 with CD-Rom drive connected.
  • Example of a buffered interface being used
An example of using a buffered IDE Interface can be seen in the Micronik Infinitiv A1200 Tower Case Project.

* The port may be labeled different on other makes of Buffered IDE Interface. Please double check all documention included with your IDE Interface.

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