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Proposed Projects: Please vote by donation

Okay here are the three projects that I am wanting to pursue this year and hopefully finish. The first two are a continuing variation on work I’ve already done, but with some extra refinement. The third is something of a radical departure from what I’ve done in the past, but at least it is off the drawing board and into the actual testing phase already.

To repeat parts of my previous post. Whichever project gets the most donations in the next 60 days is the one I will focus on to completion. The highest donor will get the most discount on the final product and the most say in design. It won’t be completely free, but you will see a 50% discount. The second highest donator will see a 25% discount. Final design decisions still rest with me, but only because you can want all you can, but that doesn’t make it realistic, doable, or sell able to other people, which is kind of the point.

I’ll keep track of the amounts for each project and towards the middle of April I’ll declare the winning project. To have a winning project I need at least $100.00 donated for that project. If no project reaches that mark, then I’ll distribute the monies donated to the various projects and continue working on them in the background.

Atari XF551 compatible 3.5″ 130XE internal and Hammond Cased External Floppy Drive Boards

Currently I have reached beta testing phase on both versions.  A few bugs to work out given the new 26pin interface to the Slimline drives and some display board refinement needs to still be done.

I hope to offer the 130XE internal main board and display auxiliary board as a semi-finished set of boards (you would need to supply the slimline drive and data cable, and the WD1772 and Intel 8040/8050 chips.  Since this is a combination SMT and TH board, I would think this would be beyond the ability of many purchasers to assemble.   Extensive 130XE case modding will be needed.

The externally cased XF551 3.5″ version right now is expected to be housed in a suitable Hammond case and sport a 2 digit track # display, reset, front drive ID and bios selector switchs. I will be providing the main and front panel board with front panel. You will need to purchase the Hammond case and WD1772 and Intel 8040/8050 chips and the drive and data cable for the type of drive you want to use.

I got this idea from work that was done by Zaxon last year.  He provided a short run of both standard 5.25″ and 3.5″ externally cased drives and a version that would fit in a 130XE internally using a Dell Slimline 3.5″ drive.    Kudos to him.   My design is a little more refined, with a few extra features.  It borrows from work I’ve already done on earlier XF551 type boards.  It also would be produced domestically, thereby reducing shipping time and cost.

This is the beta version of the external XF551 3.5″ standard/slimline floppy drive board with proto track display,reset, bios select and front drive id selector.
This is a beta version of an internal 130XE 3.5″ slimline XF551 compatible floppy board

Atari SIO2IO Externally Housed Combo board

This project is still in the beta design phase and it’s exact specs will change. In general it will include the MIDI2SIO in/out connections by Mytek, DB25 parallel printer adapter by Supra Microprint, a basic DB9 Rverter serial port and the finished FujiNet wireless hardware project and be self powered. It should be compatible with nearly all Atari 8bit machines and be connected via a single SIO dongle. At this point it should be able to be sold either fully assembled or as a bare board with BOM.

This is a design mockup of an externally housed SIO2IO board.

Atari Wireless CX-40 Modification

This project is a little past the paper design phase and into the alpha proto board stage.  I have verified basic wifi connection between an unmodified Atari CX-40 joystick connected to Arduino Pro Mini and a nRF24L01+ for a transmitter and a Arduino Pro Mini and nRF24L01+ receiver connected to the Atari 8bit computer joystick ports.  There is some lag and I still need to work on optimization in the software, but the basics are there.

I am also working on a drop in board for the CX-40 joystick that has a minimum amount of case mod.  I plan to have USB recharging ability for the battery and a led that indicates battery status, with an ON/OFF button to save on battery usage.   On the receiver board that plugs into the Atari 8bit computer port, I plan to offer a version for the Atari 130XE, 800XL and hopefully the 1200XL.  That board will sport a small OLED display indicating status of connection.

This board is almost exclusively SMT and I don’t feel comfortable selling any thing but a fully assembled set of two joystick insert boards and a Atari 8bit receiver board. I plan to eventually have a receiver board that will fit all Atari 8bit machines.

This is still a little rough in design, but it is getting closer to a final design.

Understand no monies will be returned and unless there is a winner no discounts given when the project reaches the release date. Hopefully there will be no tie breaker needed.

Vote donation has ended. The Atari SIO2IO externally housed board is the winner

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New Hardware Coming…….

XF551s

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.

 

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Super SpartaDOS Cartridge/PCB is almost here!

XF551s

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:

PanosVersionSpartaDOS  PanosVersionSpartaDOS2

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?

SpartaDOSOriginal2  SpartaDOSOriginal2back

Final preparations are underway.  Until then hang onto your horses!  🙂

 

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SDX Cart Reimaged update

XF551s

Great news!

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:

20151110_212427 20151110_212451

20151112_201540sdxcartbacksdxcartfront

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 Passthru

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.

 

 

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XF551 Mod board update others too

XF551s

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.

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XF551 Mod Board update

XF551s

 

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.

 

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Preliminary 1050 Front Bezel 3d Model

XF551s

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.

Enjoy,

 

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New projects and ideas

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

[row]
[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]
[/row]

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Nearly final XF551 update

XF551s

 

Hello,

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:

DSC_1800  DSC_1801

DSC_1802

 

And another look at an early version of the modern power supply version:

DSC_1715M

 

 

 

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XF551 small update

XF551s

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.

DSC_1717

DSC_1719