Comments on: Cleaned Basement - Original Amiga Prototypes
REBOL Technologies

Comments on: Cleaned Basement - Original Amiga Prototypes

Carl Sassenrath, CTO
REBOL Technologies
22-Oct-2010 18:29 GMT

Article #0491
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(Updated 23:17)

I cleaned out the basement recently and came across all kinds of original Amiga prototypes, including an original A1000 black box (what I used to develop the Amiga Multitasking kernel, 1984) and original CDTV prototype (what I used to develop the Amiga CD-ROM set-top box, 1990.)

I should mention that the main reason I was keeping most of this was for prior-art computer HW/SW patent proofs (because Amiga and CDTV were ahead of the curve.) If I were a collector, I'd probably sell on EBay, but who has that kind of time?

I'm going to pack it all up into my Chevy and take it over the AmiWest tomorrow (Sacramento, CA). I'd be happy to autograph, certify it, date it; you decide. I've kept all this stuff buried for almost 20 years. It's time for someone else to do something with it.

Some of what's included:

  • Original Amiga prototype (With Exec 23.002 ROMS and write-protectable RAM expansion board), but NOT functional because does not have the Amiga chips in it.) Although Dale and RJ have the first running Amiga prototypes with wire-wrapped towers, this box was the first to say "hello world" when I got a very early prototype "Exec" (kernel) to boot on it for the first time in 1984.
  • An original Amiga prototype keyboard in a black wooden box (hand made by the hardware team.)
  • Some original prototype Amiga chips... that Jay, Dave, Dave, and Glenn worked on, but had a few problems.
  • My original CDTV development board (1990) that I used to build and test the CDTV OS, drivers, libs, etc. Although it does not look like much, oddly, this is one of my most valued possessions because it represented a solid year of my life where we had so much fun building CDTV. This card plugged into the side of an A500 and was originally hand built by Don Gilbreath, hardware designer of CDTV.
  • Various prototype CDTVs... in various stages of splice and hack.
  • Three Amiga CDTVs, brand new in the box. Factory sealed.
  • A CDTV/CR ("Cost reduced"). One of very few ever made.
  • One CDTV Professional (CD1500) new in the box, and one with a box that's opened. This is a kit containing extra features to enhance your CDTV. Not sure how many were made.
  • The original CDTV prototype wireless mouse (the pre-production proof, ~1991.)
  • A CDTV wireless trackball/controller. I'm not sure if these were ever sold.
  • One CDTV Genlock card (that fits in the video slot). Extremely rare. I don't know if I'm the only one that has one of these or not!
  • Several DCTV CDTV Video cards (fits in video slot). This rare card produced higher quality video output for CDTV when encoded using Digital Creations video encoding technique. This (along with CD-XL) was the secret to how we could show full color NTSC motion video running off a CDTV around 1991! I'll never forget the first CD-ROM multimedia show where Intel Corp. was showing NTSC black and white video, and we were running beautiful color.
  • An Amiga Spellbound (CD32) hardware prototype system on plywood board. Includes the debug board.
  • An AA3000 (A4000) hardware prototype system on plywood board.
  • Two of my Amiga 500s, signed for collectors. One of these I used for testing the CDTV OS by plugging in the card above to the side bus.
  • A pile of Amiga Guru's Guides #1, Interrupts (the only issue), that I'm willing to autograph.

A lot of other stuff too, but I've got to figure out what I've got here...


  1. Very sorry about the late notice... I just decided this morning. Like I said, I'm not much of a collector and I need the space for my ham radio station (KB6ZST).
  2. I'll be keeping my first Amiga A1000. Now that I cannot part with. What a great computer!
  3. I've got several boxes of old SigGraphs, SigPlans, and OOPSLA publications (ACM) from the 1980s and 1990s. I left ACM in mid-90's. Not sure what to do with all this stuff.



Steven White
22-Oct-2010 13:50:31
I feel your pain. A few years ago I got rid of my Amiga 1000 and Amiga 2000. I was almost 60 at the time, and I finally realized they would stay in the basement until I was dead, so I have them to a local Amiga store (there still is one) that might be able to use them. Why does superior technology not always win? (That's a rhetorical question.) Someone once joked that IBM stands for Inferior But Marketable.
Carl Sassenrath
22-Oct-2010 14:20:15
Well... I think of it in terms of someone who perhaps designed one of the original shortwave radios from 1920's... and was able to pass it along for future generations to appreciate its unique qualities.

Yes, many old brands were knocked out of the market by bigger and more powerful rivals, but the original product was often much better in design and function. The concept that market value is attached to technical superiority is fiction. But very few people realize that.

Carlo Pastore
22-Oct-2010 14:34:07
Hi :) i'm organizing many expositions of old Commodore's hardware in Italy. I'll be present in a Museum with old Commodore's on 24th October (for Linux Day at all). It will be very pleasant to have one of your jewels for exposition...

Take care

Carlo -

23-Oct-2010 19:58:26
Hi Carl :-)

isn't it the stuff you promised to give to the Amiga Museum I'm setting up, last time we met at Toulouse ? :-(

JF "voxel" Bachelet
23-Oct-2010 20:00:04
Hi Carl :-)

isn't it the stuff you promised to give to the Amiga Museum I'm setting up, last time we met at Toulouse ? :-(

Magic of Nah-Kolor from
23-Oct-2010 23:32:40
Hi Carl,

The amigascene is very much alive still even in 2010!

I would like to request a (small) interview with you per e-mail for the free, digital diskmag I am writing for called hugi. see Which is released on Amiga OS4 and on the PC.

I would like to focus on the time you joined amiga inc in 83 and left in 85.. i hope you can help out..

please send me an email if you are interested to magic_nah(at)

Greetz from Holland!

amiga rulez ;-)

24-Oct-2010 9:18:21
yep it seems a Real world class Museum that will catalog and write up the REAL story behind this real innovation is the RIGHT PLACE to put this collection, Not some mass collection of AmiWest dweebs to fight over and break up the contents for bragging right's.

if your that hard up for money or space, offer it to a real HW Museum and they may take it and care for it for Many Years to come allowing people to point to the Real facts and point out the flaws of revisionist MS/MAC etc computer history.

25-Oct-2010 11:06:43
Put a sock in it you fool. I'm glad the products went to a dedicated Amiga fan and not some up his own arse "museum"!

P.S. No, I wasn't there at Amiwest, just a fellow Amiga user for 20+ years.

P.P.S. Respect to Carl Sassenrath :)

Carl Sassenrath
25-Oct-2010 11:51:44
I am very sorry, but I do not recall any promise regarding the Amiga museum you mention.

Although I did meet with REBOL developers and a few Amigans in Paris and Mosaic in 2007, the last time I met with anyone in Toulouse regarding the Amiga was back in 1991 (or perhaps it was 1992.) And, I do not remember much about that trip.

Over the last couple decades there have been several people who tell me that they have plans to build an Amiga museum, but I've heard no more from them, and I think such museums are never actually built. It is an expensive and time consuming process... usually outside the resources of even the most serious collectors.

The only request that I do clearly remember was from a computer museum in Germany about ten years ago that wanted to purchase one of the CDTV/CR units. So, although I made no promises regarding that, I only took one of my two CDTV/CR units to AmiWest. I kept one here. But again, I make no promises about what I will do with it.

I think it is important to understand that AmiWest/SACC is more than just about advancements in Amiga-related technology, but also about preserving the history, both software and hardware of Amiga.

In fact, I am quite sure that the various artifacts I provided this weekend are in much better hands now, than they were hidden away in my dusty winery of a basement. And, if someone does eventually build a world-class Amiga museum, it is more likely now that these items will still exist. While they remained in my basement, their future was in certain jeopardy.

PS: The AmiWest show as quite amazing this year. I was very impressed with the hardware and software advances, and it's great to see the Amiga dream lives on.

Glen VanDenBiggelaar
25-Oct-2010 13:28:55
Thank You Carl for giving these back to the Community and letting people that will really appreciate them have them, and not letting them go to "the richest bidder" on Ebay, who will just turn around and sell them again to churn a profit. It was too bad I couldn't be there, to see them. Hopefully, who ever got them will document them and share the info with the whole Community. You should be praised for this, and we thank you
JF "voxel" Bachelet
26-Oct-2010 5:32:32
Hi Carl, We met two times at Toulouse or nearby, one in 1991 for the "Amiga conference" set by Bill Buck when he wanted to buy the Amiga, and the last time in 2006, too bad you've forgotten this one.

Perhaps this will makes you remember it :

btw, I don't blame you in any way, I'm so small beside you.

The Amiga Museum I'm setting up is slowly evolving, there is still an enormous work to do, the hardest will be to find a place to make it live (and money ! a lot of !), I have only just find a place big enough to store and catalog / prepare / makes photographs / do repairs in good conditions all that I have been able to collect, and there is so many Amiga stuff still missing from the collection... I'm still searching of All that's ever been produced for the Amiga since the very beggining to complete it. Then there will be a website before the real thing.

Amigalement, JF "voxel" Bachelet, jfbachelet AT free DOT fr

28-Oct-2010 10:44:02
You should have given the hardware to a real computer museum. Tired of these greedy collectors who give nothing back to the community.
29-Oct-2010 18:37:01
All I can say is thanks Carl and Cindy. Outside of the 1000, guess what I won in the raffle? The 500 and a 1084. It helped that Kevin was in the game contest until 5:00 and we were some of the last to be there. The 500 and the 1084 are destined to be sold (so I can make an impact on the 1000 purchase :-) ). Again, bless you two.
Allan Hartigan
5-Nov-2010 21:06:38
Really Carl, I can't think of a better way to have given away this stuff. Kudos to you for giving it back to the community.
7-Nov-2010 11:33:06
I think the best part of the AmiWest show was the video of the presentations which can be viewed by all to give everyone the feel of that event.

You coming and sharing all your toys and memories was a bonus I wasn't counting on and then you topped that by releasing REBOL 3 for AmigaOS4. It just made my trip to AmiWest for the 25th Anniversary of the Amiga so special.

Thank you so much.

16-Nov-2010 2:28:46
I know that at least one of these prototypes is in better hands... than mine!

I was really tempted to buy the Merlancia A5000/Walker prototype or whatever it was called, with AAA chipset iirc. What a unique piece of hardware, and Carl wanted very little for it, but what would I have done with it?

I'd have looked at it from every angle, then perhaps tried to hook it up to see if it worked, and finally I'd have stuffed it in my closet as I'm not a collector and wouldn't have a display case for it nor anyone to display it to anyway.

So instead, I though really hard about who would be the best "caretaker" for this item and brought it to Jens Schoenfeld as he seemed like the best match for it. Sure enough, he didn't even have to think about it, it was love at first sight :-)

The point of this story isn't about me not being selfish or Carl caring more about the sentimental/historical value of the hardware than what it could fetch on ebay. The point is that in a museum that prototype would be "dead", a silent witness to an otherwise forgotten past, while in Jens hands it find a new life and purpose by becoming a source of inspiration and motivation, hopefully leading Jens to create new hardware he would never have considered otherwise.

26-Dec-2010 16:12:04
As one of the lucky ones that attended AmiWest 2010, I also wish to thank Carl and Dale for their attendance. Carl bringing his gear to sell was a huge bonus that I did not expect, but took full advantage of and I am now the proud owner of a brand new CDTV (which I was looking to buy earlier in the year when my own CDTV died).

All said and done, the 2010 AmiWest Show was a great success and I hope that it will encourage more people to attend in 2011. You never know what is going to happen there, but it will always be fun.

Thanks again Carl (& Dale) for making 2010's show special.

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Gordon Spencer
17-Aug-2013 11:33:02
Hi Carl. Many moons ago I contacted you from Germany about your CDTV/CR and if you were willing to sell it. We exchanged a couple of eMails around 2002/2003. Do you remember ? I wanted the machine to give it to our computer Museum, which is the largest in the world, here in Paderborn, Germany. Well time has passed and not Long after our email contact I won an eBay auction with a CDTV/CR. Sadly our computer museum showed no interest when I eventually went there with a portfolio on the CDTV/CR. I sold it on later to another collector here in Germany.It was the only working CDTV/CR in Europe at the time (2005/2006). What a fine machine it was ! Thanks for your time at Commodore and making all the things possible that we love about Commodore ! Thanks very much !!!

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