How to Burn a Kickstart ROM for an Amiga 500

How to Burn a Kickstart ROM for an Amiga 500

  • Posted by DIY Chris
  • On March 13, 2022
  • amiga 500, amiga 500 boot hard driv, amiga 500 ide, amiga hard drive, fast ram, kickstart, kickstart 1.3, kickstart 3.1, kickstart ide, kickstart scsi

I found myself needing to update my Amiga 500 to Kickstart 3.1 to support my IDE device, which is a combo IDE / 8MB Fast RAM and uses an SD to 2.5 inch IDE adapter to utilize a 2GB micro SD card.

That aside, I know that its possible to patch the 1.3 Kickstart with SCSI device drivers and then be able to boot Workbench 1.3 from the IDE but I didn’t want to mess with all of that, didn’t have the patience and just really needed to test if the IDE part of my IDE / 8MB Fast RAM combo worked.

As with all things that I try to do, I find bits and pieces of information that I tend to compile into a fully working solution.

So here’s my setup:

  • BP Microsystems BP-1200 Parallel port programmer
  • Windows XP Computer
  • BPWin Programming Software
  • Marconix MX27C4100 EPROM chip
  • Kickstart v3.1 rev 40.63 (1993)(Commodore)(A500-A1600-A200).rom
  • A Mac mini, this is what I use to do most of my day-to-day stuff. The XP machine is really only for programming, its not connected to the internet and is isolated to only be connected to my local LAN.

MX27C4100 as well as other compatible EPROMs have 512K-bytes of space so depending on the version of Kickstart you plan to burn, you have to make some additional preparations.


Kickstart v0.7 to v1.4a

These ROM images are all 256K-bytes so we must first concatenate them into a 512K-byte ROM in order to fill up the space of the EPROM. On my Mac in a terminal window I just use the following to concatenate multiple files into one. You can use this on Linux as well.

cat Kickstart-v1.3-rev34.5-1987-Commodore-A500-A1000-A2000-CDTV.rom KickStart-v1.3-rev34.5-1987-Commodore-A500-A1000-A2000-CDTV.rom > KickStart-v1.3.rom


Kickstart v2.0 to v 3.1

No additional preparations are needed for these versions.


Byte Swapping

If you downloaded your revision of Kickstart from the internet then chances are that the ROM needs to be byte swapped first before we can burn it. One easy way to tell is to open the file in your burning software and see if you can read the first few lines of ASCII, if the letters are jumbled up then your good, otherwise we need to byte swap.

For byte swapping, I just do this on my Mac in a terminal window. You can also use this process in Linux. On Windows I’m not sure, so you’ll have to look that up.

dd if=Kickstart-v3.1-rev40.63-1993-Commodore-A500-A600-A2000.rom of=Kickstart-v3.1-A500-Swapped.bin conv=swab

Now our file is ready to be burned.

I’m not going to cover this process because it will depend on which type of programmer / programming software you use. For me, I copy the ROM to the network and then hop onto my XP computer and launch BPWin. From there, I select the device MX27C4100 and then open the ROM file to program. I then hit program and wait.

That’s really all there’s to it. The internet tries to make this process seem much harder than what it should be. As an example, you’ll find hundreds of forum posts telling you that you must byte swap the ROM file before burning it but then don’t give you any examples of how to do that with the assumption that you know how to do this already.



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