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XF551 Update

XF551s

Decided against doing the OSC and LED test boards.  The OSC mod just allows a 33.333MHZ OSC to be used instead of the Atari specific 8.333MHz.  Igor has already tested his LED mods.  So I sent what I hope to be the final proto board to the board house.  I should get it in sometime next week.

I have to say that using the Diptrace PCB software is such a joy after struggling with Eagle for the last two years or so.  Even the free/trial version is light years ahead of Eagle.  I will never go back.  Maybe it’s because Diptrace acts like a Windows app and Eagle like the DOS based program it is with a Windows 3.1 GUI tacked on.  Sorry about the dig, but I stopped using Windows 3.1 about 20 years ago.   Atari is the only retro I want to do now.  🙂

In the mean time I am sourcing parts and trying to shave as much cost off the board production as I can without losing quality.  Right now it’s looking like the board costs are running around $80.00 for the basic board with $20 more getting you the front panel parts and boards.   Stay tuned.

 

 

Posted on

XF551 Update

XF551s

 

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]kay time for an update.  I recieved the modern power supply test board about a week or two ago.  Soldered everything in and it is working with a 24V 1.5 A DC wall plugin.  So that is a big step for the modern version of the XF551.  I am currently about ready to send the alternate osc circuit and the LED test boards to Itead for manufacture.  In about two weeks or so when they come in I can test them and if they pass, that’ll be the final phase before sending the complete modern XF551 board in.

DSC_1705

Not so good for the original power supply test board.  I got the test board in yesterday and finished soldering the parts in tonight.  It didn’t blow or let out black smoke but there is no voltage at the drive connector.    I know the Atari transformer is working because I can power a 1050 with it.  So either I wired the DPDT switch wrong or something else in the wiring is wrong.  So it’s back to the schematics to see if I can rewire the test board to see if I can get it to work.

***Edit****

Yipee!  It was in the schematic.  Had the switch wired wrong.  Cut the wrong trace and wired it right.  Success!!!  Now both the modern and original power supplies are working.

 

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Convert Diptrace gerber file extensions for Itead Studio

XF551s

 

While waiting for the new boards to arrive I got to playing with an idea I’d had for awhile.  I use the board house Itead Studio and I’d recently changed from using Eagle to Diptrace for my PCB design software.  Well Itead requires a specific file extension for each gerber file.  I was getting tired of manually changing the extension on the gerber files Diptrace creates and occasionally getting the wrong extension on the right file.  Horrors!!

So I decided to dust off my Visual Basic programing skills and create a little program that would do that for me.  Along the way I added the ability to change the filename to a custom filename and added the abiltiy to zip all the files up ready to be sent to Itead.  It will do both 2 layer and 4 layer boards.   I have tested it on Windows 7 64bit.  But it should work on Windows XP 32bit on up.  It does require Microsoft .Net Framework 4.5 installed.  Sorry……

Here’s the link for .Net Framework 4.5.  Download the setup file and install.  You will need to be connected to the internet.  Then go ahead and download my program Diptrace2Itead and unzip.  Run the setup.exe.

It’s a simple little program.  No documentation to speak of.  It sticks the zip file in the project directory by default.  I’m sure someone will discover a bug.  🙂  I may upgrade features later,  but for right now it does what I need and I don’t need anything else for it to do.