Over the last few weeks I’ve been putting the finishing touches on several small projects that have been sitting on the sidelines. I plan to have these projects up for sale by Cyber Monday.
One project was started over two years ago, but I kept stalling out on it, or my time got switched to other projects. I’m finally now going to offer it up for sale. That’s the long rumored and promised XF551 Control board. This modification will allow on both my re-imaged boards and Atari’s original XF551 floppy drives to have a track display and some front panel controls. More info will be available on it’s product page.
Another offering will be a simple 1200XL cartridge extension board. I’ve always been aggravated by Atari’s funnel shaped cartridge port that was too narrow to allow the Polish cases to be inserted. I finally got off my duff to do something about it. Further info is also on it’s product page.
Something that came up on a AtariAge.com thread a few weeks back also sparked my creative juices. Some people were grousing about the problem of the Atari 130XE’s cartridge port being awkward to use because a person sitting in front of the computer couldn’t see the connector when he/she was inserting the cartridge. It seemed to become a feel_to_insert situation. It became a particular irritation when someone frequently changed cartridges. While it’s not a perfect solution, I decided to try a dual right angle cartridge extension board. With it you can insert two of your most commonly used cartridges and switch between them without having to physically remove the cartridges. You still will have to reboot the computer after the switch. tf_hh was invaluable in developing a functioning prototype. More info is also on it’s product page.
Another thought I just had was a modified RA SDX cartridge. Essentially instead of the horizontal cartridge slot at the end of the internal pcb, put a vertical cartridge slot there. It should be doable. The tricky part’s going to be the cartridge case design. But it might help the unstable stacking effect on 1200XL/800XL/130XE computers. Since I already have functioning prototypes, hopefully I can have a preliminary rendering up by Cyber Monday as well.
There’s still a few small projects on the drawing board so to speak. Hopefully while waiting for the parts and boards to come in for these projects, I can finish them as well. At this point I am only planning one big project for next year, the 1090XLR. Not sure yet just what shape it will take, but hopefully I can come up with a prototype box by mid year 2017.
I know you’ve been chomping at the bits for this and I hate to keep torturing you with delays. I want the process and the boards to just work. So we are taking the time to cross our t’s and dot our i’s so to speak. I can give you a look at what we believe to be the final boards. We will be offering two versions. One will be the full shelled cartridge and the other is just the pcb for insertion into the SpartaDOS original cartridge shell.
Here’s the KM-20 shelled printed circuit board:
and here’s the pcb that will fit into the original SpartaDOS cartridge shell. Sorry if it’s missing some parts. Eagle wants to charge to convert their board format to 3d. And the roundabout SketchUP method is tortorous beyond belief. I’ve decided I don’t like SketchUp. Who needs another 3d Cad program that won’t allow import of parts in any other format in the free version?
Final preparations are underway. Until then hang onto your horses! 🙂
The SDXCart reimage project I’ve been working with tf_hh has finally hit a milestone. And what a milestone. We have a fully functional prototype now. Here are some pics:
Now the next step is developing an enclosure. I’m going to be offering the KM-20 shells heavily modified of course. But I will also offer the pcb without a shell. I have a quote out with Itead to see what they will charge to make the boards and partially assemble them at least as far as the SMD parts are concerned.
The current features are fixed:
Current version SDXDos 4.47
Flashable with Ultimate1MB and UFlash flashers
GALs and ROM are socketed for future upgrades and easier repairs
RTC with replaceable CR2032 battery backup
Cartridge Reset Button
External and SDXCart on/off button
Stay tuned. I’ll have some more info on the XF551 Control board and display in the next few days too.
Yes, I know it’s been more than a month since my last update. Sorry about that. Life kinda got in the way. Finances are starting to get a little thin too. So I am having to spread out the testing, board orders and parts purchases etc. I am really close now. I have what I hope is a small production order into the board house ITead now. They go on holiday in a few days and the pcb fabricator will shut down for about a week. I hope I made the cutoff. If I did I should recieve my board order by the end of next week. If not then I don’t expect the order to come in until the middle of Oct. I’m crossing my fingers. 🙂
I will have various board configurations depending on which version of my boards you purchased, currently three versions are out in the wild now. I’ll also have a generic board for anyone adventurous enough to attempt soldering on the original Atari XF551 board.
This is actually a kit. It will include the main board and two smaller boards to be fitted to the left front side of the case and in the drive faceplate. This board will allow front panel selection of a dual OS configuration, front panel display and selection of the drive number, front panel drive CPU reset and a LED dual digit track # display. Definitely some assembly required. I am trying to keep the case modifications, soldering etc to a minimum.
Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as I have fitted the boards into the case.
I also have two other projects on going right now. I am closing in on a reimaged Super SDX cart that I hope will include not only the original ability to stack carts but also have battery backup included too. It’s a joint project with tf_hh from AtariAge and myself. This order hopefully will produce a working version sans the battery backup.
The second project is still in testing phase. I am venturing into the 1050 drive world with it. Guus Assmman and I are working on reimaging CSS’s Bitwriter board with the Super Archiver chip builtin. This board will be the first prototype and mostly likely will be pretty rough around the edges, if it works at all.
That’s all for right now.
Yes it’s been awhile since my last post. Not that I haven’t been busy. Far from it. Over the last few years along with developing the reimaged XF551 main board I have also been working on a secondary board that would add additional nice features. At times I explored adding various leds, switches to change drive # and OS, reset drive, adding SDrive option, USB2SIO, CSS’s XF551 Enhancement etc. I’ve had productive email/IM sessions with several others active in the Atari community, Igor Gramblicka, Pasiu, 1050, Bob1200XL and Larry. I wouldn’t have had the success I’ve had without their involvement. At this point I am reaching the final testing and refinement of that mod board. Hopefully in the next month, I’ll be able to offer it for sale. Nothing earth shaking here, but I wanted to give an update.
Since before Guus Assmann released his beautiful 1050 Mega Speedy I have been wanting to design a bezel that would fit the 1050, be as original as possible and be modifyible. It’s not really realistic that the bezel could be mass produced since there is probably only about a thousand or so 1050s that would need something like that and injection molding would still be out of sight cost wise. But I thought that maybe the bezel could be 3d printed on an individual basis with what ever modified design to accomadate the various 1050 external mod controls.
When Guus released the Mega Speedy, he also kicked that project out of the closet and into high gear. Over the last few weeks I have been plugging away, fighting with Solidworks to come up with a prototype design. This is initialy just going to be a vanilla design of the bezel. Once the fit is tweaked and then confirmed, any modifications can be done to the model. Then printed out on a 3d printer.
Wouldn’t you know Murphy would make an appearance. I do have a Flashforge Creator Pro 3d printer. However I have had problems with the dual extruder nozzels. They are not level. As long as I only did small objects that wasn’t a problem, but the bezel is almost at the max of the printer’s build size, so when I go to print, the nozzel that hangs a few hundredths of a mm lower drags across the print area, destroying the build. The set screws controling the level of the nozzels are frozen and not adjustable. I have ordered a replacement nozzel mount and am waiting for it’s arrival.
In the meantime I have decided to release the prototype .stl file. This will allow anyone with a 3d printer to print their own. You need to make sure that your build size is large enough. Dimensions are at least 200mm L X 100mm W Be advised that although I have measured and remeasured, I would be surprised if the bezel is an accurate replacement yet. What would be nice is if you can report back how much off it is.
This is a work in progress so all the dimensions are subject to change. I will be printing a prototype once my printer is up again.
Well….. the new year is nearly two months old now. I’ve been in my new house for a little over three months. Things are beginning to settle into a routine. Things are becoming comfortable. 🙂
I am toying with several ideas for my next projects. They seem to be a split between electronics and 3d design/print. I suppose I’ll add to and edit this list some. But for now….
Electronics 3d design/print
[column size=”1/2″] Reimaged SDX cart, Pass Through Cart [/column]
[column size=”1/2″] SIO Connector, Atari 8bit cartridge shell, 1050 Front Bezel [/column]
No I didn’t die, or run off to South America or turn into a monk or anything like that. I was busy, busy working to finish this darn project. 🙂
I now have functioning versions of the modern power supply and the original power supply XF551 boards. All that remains is for the final testing of the mods and some cleanup of the pcb design. I will be sending one proto board to Igor Gramblicka for the mods testing. I’ll be sending my other proto board to Jonathan Halliday to work on the panel cutout templates. As soon as I get their feedback and incorporate it, the mods portion of the project will be done. At that point I’ll add them to the store for purchase.
The XF551 main board is almost ready for sale. There is a 1 board limit on the number of boards per person. This is due to the fact that I only have SIO connectors enough to do 20 boards. I will offer SIO-less boards later. The boards will be fully populated, except for the heat sink on the original power supply board and the mounting hardware for the case.
Here’s a nearly final view of the original power supply version:
And another look at an early version of the modern power supply version:
I’m still alive. I know it’s been almost a month since my last update. Sorry. I took a much deserved break and vacation to visit family in Phoenix Az. Once I land a job I doubt I’ll be able to get out there for a year or so. One of the things I’ll miss from my old job is the built up vacation time I had. So that took about ten days. The last week has been spent recovering and taking care of problem areas. Doing some spring cleaning and filing for unemployment.
Oh…. but this is a XF551 update post. Sorry I don’t have a lot to report. So far the current status is that I have a working modern power supply version prototype. I have been working on getting an original power supply version working. I think I’m just about there. I’ve also been working on designing and building the modifications board and front panel display. As well as the alternate OSC circuit since the 8.3333 MHz OSC isn’t exactly common. I wanted to prove that I am still working on this. Thank you for your patience.
Well, sorry about the silence. It’s not that I haven’t been working. I am finalizing what I hope to be the production models. I will be selecting two people one here in the US and one overseas to do final testing and review. For something this big and expensive I want to make sure I didn’t foul this up. They’ll be able to look at and use the finished product and make recommendations etc. They will also be helping with front panel display designs so they will need to have the ability to draft a cutting template and make quality cosmetic mods to the XF551 top case. Something I am not very good at. I tend to take a blow torch approach. Not very cosmetic I’m afraid.