Commodore A2386SX PC Bridgeboard

As a poor student back in the mid 90Β΄ies I always thought about getting my hands on this card – simply because it would be awesome to show those PC-fanboys at school how my Amiga would be superior. Running PC-Task, even with an accelerated CPU, did not quite make that. Also not with an Emplant card πŸ™‚

It should take years before I got one from EBAY, probably around 2002, before prices went insane there and before too many VartaΒ΄s had yet exploded πŸ™‚ I got one in decent condition, removed the Varta after checking the card worked. My deal was including a VGA ISA card, 5 1/4″ floppydrive and all the needed internal cables and driver disks. I had this up and running with OS 3.1 and (although pretty slow) Windows 3.11. Later when I upgraded to OS 3.9 I only got to fiddle around with installing the driver disk, but never got the entire system up and running again. Real life took over πŸ™‚

Well, now it is 2019, and I am re-installing my AmigaOS Unfortunately the intaller of the latest Janus 2.1 driver which I found on Amiga Resource website online is the last work from Commodore. The installer does not work properly, since it does not like my 2GB SYS: partition. My pretty bad skills at modifying the installer script failed; I do know where things goes wrong, but I am simple not familiar with creating or editing those scripts to make it work…….

So, I copied the content of my OS 3.9 installation to my OS partition – but the card constantly failed to be initiated when c:binddrivers was run in startup-sequence, and I even got a Workbench: read/write error when trying to start the Janus Prefs πŸ™

It took me a while to figure, that I had copied the janus.library to libs: – the only working location is sys:expansion – AND – it is very important that you actually get the tooltypes included.. otherwise the board ID is not read by binddrivers, hence, the card wonΒ΄t be found. So – finally I figured if I copyed the janus.library from the expansion folder on the install floppydisk to the workbench:expansion folder.. it worked! πŸ™‚

Ofcourse I could have copied it in AmigaDOS adding “clone” at the end of my copy string, but I think the icon dropping is faster πŸ™‚ – and I spend hours to figure out this stupid little thing.

There is alot of more work to do on this Bridgeboard to get it up and running at some point, but at least I can now run prefs and I can get a POST + enter the BIOS.

.. Probably to be continued one day if I get the time to play further around with this ..

Edit 20.12.2019:

After grinding around in this and talking to various Bridgeboard experts around the world, I still have not found a solution. The card works perfectly fine in my A2000 and A3000, just not in my A4000. I have stripped the system down as much as I could, the only thing I have not tried is actually using it in the original desktop chassis with the original daughterboard, since my A4000 is in the Micronik tower and it is going to stay that way πŸ™‚

I have decided to remove the card from my A4000 and will use it in one of my other systems instead. It would just have been awesome to have this ultimate kick-ass A4000 with this little gem inside, but probably not in this life I guess πŸ™‚

My last attempt was to try a dedicated IDE controller, and still use the Bridgeboard with A000 address space, which disables Janus, but with that I could boot from both attached 3.5 and 5.25 floppydrives. The IDE controller actually made it possible for me to install DOS 6.22 – however, booting from the installed HDD failed, I believe due to the fact that it 100% requires address space D000 with Janus enabled in order to work. Bummer.

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Henrik Matzen
Henrik Matzen
4 years ago

Seems like my A2386SX bridgeboard is having issues in my Amiga 4000. I can only boot from the floppydrive when I disable the Janus Handler by setting the memory location to A000 in PC Prefs. D000 is needed for this to work. This problem also means that I am unable to boot from a virtual hardfile. I have been spending many evenings trying to sort this out, and so far, I have not found the solution πŸ™ At some point I thought it was a hardware issue on my bridgeboard. Fortunately I also have a basic Amiga 3000 with a… Read more »