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XF551 Issues Update 2

XF551s

Okay another couple of weeks gone and some clarification.  The person who was having problems with his SIO2SD when connected to my XF551 remade board has reported that it is happening randomly when not connected, so that seems to clear my board of that issue.  He also is still having problems with his XF551 original power supply.  His XF551 modern power supply is working.  The other person who was reporting SIO slowdown and misreads on both his reimaged XF551 original power supply boards is still having them and I still cannot duplicate it on my test board.  The individual who just wanted to return his boards to be retrofitted seems not to have sent them yet, at least I haven’t recieved them yet.

I see that Igor Gramblicka has tested the XF551 board and daughter board I sent him some time back before I went public.  I am using a Google translation of his post and from what I can determine his test board is also working.  Some issues with the daughter board, but I expected that.   I did find some minor issues myself and one major that seems to be affecting some and not other people.  I will be working to implement fixes and upgrades to version 2 of my board and daughter board.  Test boards are currently at the board house being made.  They should arrive here in another two weeks.

I am also working on a version that will fit a 1050 case, an XF551 in a 1050 so to speak.  You would need to do some mods to the 1050 housing to accomodate the drive mech.  But those mods would normally be internal to the case, not seen on the outside.  Of course all fixes to the original design will be implemented on this new project.  This will be sold as a DIY kit, because of the needed mods on the case.  More info after I finish testing my fixes.

 

 

 

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XF551 Issues Update

XF551s

It’s been a couple weeks now since the discovery that there is a problem with previously released XF551 boards.  I have heard from four people.  One said he wasn’t having any problems no fix needed.  Great!

One said he was having problems with both his modern and original power supply boards.  He robbed the correct part off one of his original XF551 and place it in his modern power supply remake and it seemed to solve the problem.   The board now will read/write/format disks.  Then he indicated that he was now getting intermittant garbling in his SIO2SD video display when my board was connected but not when he used an original XF551.  And no problem with normal computer video with either XF551 connected w/o the SIO2SD.  Not sure what’s going on there.  Trying to nail down exactly what’s connected and how it’s configured.  Even the slightest thing could be creating a problem there.   His original power supply remake board seems to be having more problems after the fix parts I sent.  Again trying to nail down what it is or is not doing.  The time difference between Europe and the USA slows down communication.

The third has two original power supply remake boards and while one has the fix and the other doesn’t he is saying both are supposedly having SIO errors that is slowing reading and writing down by a third.  I cannot duplicate his issue on my test board.  I may have made an error on the first board I sent him, but I tested the hell out of the second since that was when I discovered the write/format problem.

The fourth person is unwilling to troubleshoot and simply wants me to retrofit the fix.  I have advised him to send the board back and I would fix/verify that the drive board is functioning properly.

The fix works.  But….   Thirty plus years of wear and tear on moving parts and electronics, 3rd party devices never dreamt of when the Atari computers were first manufactured and simple human error are conspiring to create a confusing picture.

Arghhhhhh……

 

 

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Warning: XF551 board write/format error

XF551s

Just when you think you are riding high and taking no prisoners.  (Yea, I shoulda known)  I have discovered a fatal error on my XF551 boards.  I believe it affects both versions, modern and original.*

It’s not that it can’t be fixed, but it’s the loss of trust and extra expense I hadn’t counted on that’s going to hurt me most.  Not to mention the hassle to my customers.  I have posted on AtariAge.com and will try to send notification to those who have purchased via the email used when they purchased.

Any new boards sold will include the fix.

Damn….

*Update…..  At this time it seems to be only affecting the original power supply boards.  Possibly a consequence of the anemic power supply design for the original Atari XF551.  Anyway some people are reporting the problem, others are not having a problem.  To date noone has reported the problem with the modern power supply model.

 

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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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Reimaged XF551 Control Board is Done!!!

XF551s

 

Well the mainboard is finally done.  No more changes. troubleshooting etc.  Not the same to be said about the mod board and the enhancements.  I was hoping to be able to offer both the board and the mods at the same time, but now my tester/creator of those mods is otherwise occupied with life.   So we move on.  I have decided to offer the boards anyway.  Once the mods have been tested and finalized, I can offer them as a plug in upgrade.

Due to the severe shortage of SIO connectors I will be limiting the number to 1 per order.  That at least will give everyone a fair chance I hope to purchase.

I am looking into possibly an alternative to the SIO connectors (board redesign?) or having them 3d printed.  I am thinking that the state of 3d printing might have progressed to the point that the metal pins can be incorporated during the printing process.  It seems possible.  3D printing is appealing, but still just a little out of my price range for the quality I want.

I started this project a little over 2 years ago.   Working part time through two different pcb board design software suites, my own inexperience and a desert of information on the XF551 I have come out on the other side a changed person.  Along the way I have been helped and tutored by several  people that if not for them, I would not have succeeded.  I want to publicly thank Guus Assmann(guus.assmann), Igor Gramblicka, and Jonathan Halliday(flashjazzcat).

Give me a couple days to get the boards photoed and the site setup to sell them.  In the meantime  here’s something to wet the whistle.

 

 

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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

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XF551 Updates

XF551s

 

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.  Laughing

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Sea Change update

XF551s

Well one chapter of my life is ended and another is about to begin.  My last day at work was this past Sunday.  It was a strange feeling. Not to many people were there. There usually isn’t on a Sunday. The usual irritable customers were though. A customer that thought that she was the only person alive that should be able to surf the net and a tech visit that afternoon was unacceptable. I should be able to fix her dead data modem remotely and have her up and running right now. A customer that wanted to get a good deal on his current services without adding another service to qualify for the current promotion. He didn’t like it when I also had to reminded him that he was 30 days overdue on his current bill and I would have to collect before I could change his service anyway.

The severance package was reasonably good.  The company has a hard to find nowadays defined retirement package and I was vested. So it looks like I’ll get a early retirement check in a few months. It won’t be much, but every little bit helps. I might not have to liquidate my 401k afterall. Finding a job in this environment is not going to be easy. I’m just at that right age that I’m too young to retire and most people won’t hire me because I’m too old. Age discrimination laws not withstanding.

To quote a saying I don’t know who said  “It’s been real, sometimes it’s been fun, but it hasn’t been real fun.”