31 March 2006, 22:52 by mark hoekstra

How-to turn an Amiga 500 into a lamp

The Amiga 500, stuff where dreams were made of… at least my dreams, somewhere around 1987… I used to own a Commodore C16 from when I was nine years old and from a software point-of-view I was totally incompatible with my classmates, who all owned (or their dads did) a Commodore C64.

The commodore C16, the first computer I ever owned…
click to enlarge, pictures courtesy of the home computer museum

When I finally collected the money (by saving up pocketmoney and washing cars and such) to be able to buy a C64 or C128, I thought “Let’s make a smart choice here and be the first one to own an Amiga, the rest will probably follow”... The Amiga 500 was just on the market and a lot more expensive than the C64, but I was able to convince my parents to sponsor me a little bit to be able to buy this promising platform instead of some obsolete C64 which been around for as long as I could remember. (I used to play around on a friends C64 from when I was eight years old, I’ve had the C16 from when I was nine and I bought the Amiga when I was thirteen (that was december 1987)).

the brilliant Amiga 500 and subject of this project
click to enlarge, pictures courtesy of the home computer museum

But I was dead wrong, my classmates kept their C64s and I kept having an incompatible platform compared to them, but this time I had a platform which made them drool instead of laugh at me… Anyways, I guess when I would’ve had a Commodore C64 all the time I was in high school, I, at this point, wouldn’t have had this page… *^-^*

Well, that was a little background information on my own Amiga 500 back in the days.

Back to this project. I actually use this Amiga 500 as a lamp for about 4 years now. I don’t have any pictures of taking the Amiga 500 apart, but I was able to collect it, along with a Commodore 1084S-monitor for 5 euro somewhere in 2002. I guess, when you look carefully, you should be able to pick up yourself from eBay, craigslist (or in Holland, marktplaats).

Next to the Amiga, I used a lightbox which is normally used for viewing negatives or slides. I picked it up for 2.50 euros. I guess you should be able to pick it up for something like that too.

For starters, the Amiga 500 motherboard. Like I said earlier, I don’t have pics of taking it apart. I did that back in 2002 and used it as a lamp ever since…

Oh, and mine’s got the optional 512K module, which fills up an otherwise missing spot in the rectangular shape.

...it says artwork... I guess I’m not the only one who considers this art… *^-^*

...and an Amiga 500 is a joy to look at, for instance because of all the strange names and such on it… B52/Rock Lobster ...right…

Fat Agnus, one of the co-processors…

Agnus was responsible for – Providing DMA for sound and graphics – Handling memory (Memory that can be accessed by the processor and the chipsets) – Video timing – The logic for the copper and blitter coprocessors.

Paula and Gary, Paula is responsible for the I/O and sound, I’m not sure what Gary does… ;-)

Denise, yes another co-processor and along with Agnus and Paula, she was part of the OCS (Original Chipset). This was back in the days when a chipset actually was a set of chips instead of just one…

The CPU, a Motorola 68000 or 68K if you like… I’m a big fan of anything Motorola 680×0. I do have a lot of 68K Macs also, like a Classic II, two SE/30s, a chipped LC475 (from a 68LC040 to a 68040)(which, if your lucky, responds to this address... it’s a webserver) and a Quadra 800 running A/UX...

The backside of the motherboard, which isn’t that interesting…

The lightbox which is normally used for viewing negatives or slides…

...it contains …a light! *^-^*

Well, this must be the hardest how-to ever…

step 1:
put the motherboard on the lightbox

TADA! done…

One of the reasons this works so well is because the motherboard of an Amiga 500 isn’t some modern multi-layered non-transparent kind… Somehow it’s beautifully semi-transparant.

Well, you could of course make a better, more solid construction out of this lamp. This is something I planned on doing for a long time, but now, after four years of service I thought “let’s put this online just like it is now…”

Oh, by the way, this lamp is located next to my bed, so even after almost 20 years, an Amiga 500 is still stuff where my dreams are made of… *^-^*

(and even though I use this one as a lamp, that doesn’t mean Amiga is dead imho, I keep an eye on projects like this and also would love to get my hands on an AmigaOne motherboard one day, when the price is right...)

If you’ve got any tips or ideas or such, please put them in the comments below…

DIY trackback
Engadget Japanese *^_^*


  1. Mike @ 1 April 2006, 08:25 :

    Very nice. A beautiful hack.

  2. Alex @ 1 April 2006, 13:31 :

    Nice hack, but where did you get this table cloth? I want one!!

  3. pork @ 2 April 2006, 00:23 :

    you are the stupidest person alive

  4. agreed @ 2 April 2006, 02:20 :

    that is the funniest comment ever.

  5. jack dausman @ 2 April 2006, 03:16 :

    I loved my Amiga 500, and built a SCSI interface for it for a g-i-a-n-t 5 M hard drive. It was such a cool system. Much better than my C-64 portable (4” color CRT).

  6. scott korman @ 2 April 2006, 08:31 :

    ..but does it play ogg?

  7. Sensei Marc @ 2 April 2006, 17:11 :

    Still more useful than a Windoze

  8. zack @ 13 April 2006, 18:46 :

    ha ha ha i love it

  9. bonZi @ 4 May 2006, 00:04 :

    Innovative.. I like your idea.. its cool ;)
    carry on with the good stuff..

  10. Zalzer @ 26 July 2006, 01:18 :

    Alot of your projects are way cool but this is SICK … I mean who the hell takes an Amiga and turns it in to a lamp thats just SICK

  11. mark @ 26 July 2006, 01:41 :

    what’s sick about it? I rescued it from the trash… so otherwise this Amiga would now be on a dumpster somewhere… Anyway… I recently did the same to an Atari… same story, but the lamp isn’t quite finished yet o_0

  12. amigalynx @ 20 October 2006, 19:36 :

    rev. 5 motherboard? Quite an early one, it’s a bit of a shame to see it ending like that…anyway, this piece of art is beautiful, and you say “now I can see this dream machine all time” and not “That’s all one can do with that all thingy”. So it’s good! :)
    Interestingly, more people prefer putting modern PC hardware in old cases rather than displaying the original hardware. I prefer your vision, it shows more respect IMHO :)

  13. ovl123 @ 22 November 2006, 09:42 :

    Hi!Have you see so beautiful ultra thin light box?

  14. sam @ 14 April 2007, 17:10 :

    why ? do ? you ? over-use ? the ? question marl ? ?

  15. Thomas Gutmeier @ 15 May 2007, 10:06 :

    Now i know what to do with my old-computer junk … :-)

  16. Amiga-Aktivist @ 18 June 2007, 00:00 :

    Totally crazy, a real bulb lamp inside?! I really suggest my way of illuminating:


    best regards,
    Andi áka Amiga-Aktivist @ a1k.org

  17. Rob @ 1 July 2007, 00:12 :

    nice work but also sad cause of the incomplete amiga!

    i own a c64 and an amiga 500 too but i like to use them in lonely night to play something like oil imperium or kickman -

  18. g @ 26 September 2007, 08:07 :

    wonderful!! love that! :)

  19. XIII @ 20 January 2008, 21:25 :

    Wow, a howto even I can do. Now if it were an Atari ST it would be an improvement. Ah, the old computer bashing, it was amusing.

    De groeten,

  20. stefan @ 2 April 2008, 21:32 :

    I think that you should not destroy your Amiga like this. This i is a little bit stupid. You should buy an new Ferrari and build a dog house.

  21. Orbay Tirben @ 12 April 2008, 17:31 :

    I had an Amiga once when I was a kid. Then windows came up. The end. We left the Amiga to the ones who bought our house. Never thought anything like it and even I did I cant do that. Brilliant work!!

  22. chris @ 6 July 2009, 15:27 :

    I used to have an amiga 500 when i was a kid.
    there where some really nice games.
    still miss it sometimes.
    oh… memories.
    anyway, nice to see that there is a 2nd life for an amiga 500 as lamp.

    can do this too with an panasonic msx? :D

  23. Raindance Rob @ 20 August 2009, 21:13 :

    i think that you are kind of dumb to ruin your A500 like that, alot of people still own them (i do for one) & you should of sold it instead of destroying it, shame on you !

  24. Zip @ 24 August 2009, 08:34 :

    Ridiculous dissenters. It isn’t destroyed. It’s beautiful, creative, and could easily be put back together.

    Good work. I still have my Amiga 500 on my desk. :)

  25. moncler enfant @ 18 December 2010, 12:26 :

    Bien fait. Merci

  26. replique montres de luxe @ 26 December 2010, 16:00 :

    une assurance de la qualité à la marque. Avant

As mentioned in the Message from Mark's family this site has been made static. This means that it will be no longer possible to comment on his ideas and projects, but that we all can continue to cherish his creativity.

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