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Cases for the Mini-ITX based Atari 8-Bit Motherboards

ÉclaireXL 1088XEL Atari 65XE on miniITX

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#1 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:54 PM

2017 will certainly be a year to remember, with not one, not two, but 3 Mini-ITX motherboard projects in the works.

 

Of course none of these were meant to go inside a standard Atari 8-Bit case, although I'm sure that won't be a deterrent to the talent that exists in the Atari world today. So my thinking behind starting this topic was to provide a venue for either using a commercially available Mini-ITX case, or using something of the more DIY variety, either 3D printed or modifications made to a commercial case. I would also like to see people post cool new cases and links to sources of such on the open market, as well as pictures of completed projects. So to start things off I'll post a few to begin with.

 

This has got to be my favorite example of what can be done by modifying an existing case and keyboard.

 

Owner: 917k     Motherboard: ÉclaireXL     Case: iStarUSA S-21

 

917K_EclaireXL.png

 

And here's what can be done by having custom panels manufactured to replace the originals on a commercial case.

 

Owner: Mytek     Motherboard: 1088XEL     Case: Realan H80

 

Mytek_1088XE_overview.jpg Mytek_1088XEL_back.jpg

 

---------------

 

A few other commercial case possibilities.

 

A20-600-00.jpg

GEEEK A20 (not too big, but still presents possibilities of adding in real hard drives)

 

prodigy_m_45a.png

BitFenix Prodigy M (rather large for a Mini-ITX board, but loads of room for whatever)



#2 DrVenkman ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:02 PM

Great thread! I know for sure I won't have my own 1088XEL running until at least mid/late January, perhaps later if I screw up more than I think I will already during assembly, but this thread will be a great resource when I finish tinkering and decide to put it into a case. :)



#3 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:25 PM

Great thread! I know for sure I won't have my own 1088XEL running until at least mid/late January, perhaps later if I screw up more than I think I will already during assembly, but this thread will be a great resource when I finish tinkering and decide to put it into a case. :)

 

Thanks  :) .

 

Yeah I got some new case projects in the works now that I'm freed up from motherboard design  ;) .

 

Here's a preview of another Realan based project I just started working on, although this time I'm shooting for almost as small as I can get it, so I'll be using the H60 model (60 mm tall). It's not much higher than the rear connector panel, and has lost 20 mm as compared to it's larger cousin the H80.

 

Realan_H60_case.jpg

Realan H60

 

I'll be getting the black one, but I've decided to pimp it out with custom machined blue anodized aluminum top and rear panels (courtesy of Front Panel Express).

 

Realan_H60_custom_top.png

 

Realan_H60_custom_bezel.png

 

You'll notice that this one doesn't have a Cartridge port, but it does sport a Dual CF card drive which I feel more than makes up for not being able to use carts. After all this is a modernized version of the A8, and with the U1MB under the hood taking care of my language needs via it's soft slots, everything else can pretty much be satisfied with either an XEX or an ATR served up from the built-in CF drive.

 

Yep Dual CF drive capability is coming down the pipeline, and the adapters can be bought for around $10 each (includes FREE World Wide shipping).

 

Dual CF-IDE44 2.0mm Adapter V.H0.jpeg

Brando Dual CF to 2.5" IDE Male Adapter (44 Pin)

Product Code: UCABL007500

 

So keeping with the more modern theme, there will also be a DVI (Digital Video Interface) output provided by Simius's new Sophia RevC-DVI board.

 

DVI-Connector.jpg

 

Edit: yeah I know PS/2 keyboard and mouse, CF drives, and DVI are not at the leading edge of modern, but compared to what a stock A8 came with, it certainly is a huge step in that direction.



#4 AtariNerd OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 1, 2017 12:36 AM

^Think using the vertical, normally unused marginal space around where the motherboard sits in the Realan case, is a good choice for optimizing use. Thought the CF Reader should be able to squeeze in there, vertically. icon_smile.gif Remember, if you need a sturdy anchor, the posts holding the momentary ON/OFF switch might provide a place to help secure, co-opting the screw-ports, if needed. Also, without the physical cart port, the HDD tray can now be put back to use for suspending whatever. If you want smol, It might be possible to get something similar to the Realan, in a "slim" profile. To use it and have space for your preferred connectors, you might need to give up some things on the back panel - probably legacy a/v (composite, s-video), putting DVI in their place, which might be considered controversial. icon_mrgreen.gif  _Think_ the mouse / kb ports will just squeeze under the limit for that profile. (Just leave those legacy a/v connectors off your board build, while not changing the design, but modify the back panel, somehow scrunching the rest of the connectors in. )

 

EDIT: Heh, found a thin M-ITX case that fits that scenario to an eerie degree (looks like it's a Realan knock-off. RE-EDIT: Err, it is a Realan. icon_mrgreen.gif), replete with a USB port in the same space. icon_mrgreen.gif  (Realizing the CF Drive may or may not fit vertically, here, though -maybe as a two part...)

 

http://www.minicase....duct_E-N44.html

 

/-crazy design mode icon_wink.gif



#5 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 1, 2017 1:37 AM

Yep with the Realan H80 there's quite a bit of vertical space for whatever. However with the H60 the ceiling is getting pretty low, so some options like having the IDE44-CF adapter mounted vertically over the motherboard is no longer an option. Thus the reason it's been positioned where it is on my top panel layout, so that it can sit down into the hole between the board and inside the front of the case. Luckily this was the only clearance issue I really had to contend with, since there was still ample room to place whatever connectors I needed on the rear panel (sometimes called a bezel).

Overall I think it'll work out very nicely, and may get repeated a second time if I have a need for an additional unit.

I think Realan also has a H35 case, but that might be a bit too snug. Also heat could start to become a problem due to poor air circulation, thus requiring a fan.

 

Edit: That Realan N-44 case looks real nice. But it probably wouldn't work with a standard rear bezel, so could be problematic to fit things like the joystick ports.



#6 David_P OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 1, 2017 7:12 PM

Just got this in from NewEgg:

 

Elite110-dimensions.jpg

 

 

All I need now is time, which wasn't on sale on Black Friday or Cyber Monday...



#7 Dropcheck OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 1, 2017 8:19 PM

Just to put in my 2 cents:
 
You could say both of these options are very similar.
 
Rosewill RS-M1-01 BK
 
RosewillFront.jpgRosewillBack.jpg

And Apex MI-008
 
ApexFront.jpgApexBack.jpg

Either of these include a ATX power supply and have the option of internal XF551 floppy drive or front loading cartridge if that is your desire.



#8 gozar OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 2, 2017 2:28 PM

I don't think a mini-ITX board will fit: pi-top

 

pi-top-front.9b851c1e.jpg

 

pi-top-open.c6a9b0d0.jpg

 

A pi is 85MM long, which means there would need to be at least 65MM under the keyboard to fit a mini-itx motherboard. And then the motherboard will probably have vertical clearance issues.

 



#9 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 2, 2017 4:52 PM

I don't think a mini-ITX board will fit: pi-top

 

attachicon.gifpi-top-front.9b851c1e.jpg

 

attachicon.gifpi-top-open.c6a9b0d0.jpg

 

A pi is 85MM long, which means there would need to be at least 65MM under the keyboard to fit a mini-itx motherboard. And then the motherboard will probably have vertical clearance issues.

 

 

Unfortunately not enough vertical clearance  :( .



#10 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 2, 2017 10:01 PM

 

Unfortunately not enough vertical clearance  :( .

Had to say goodbye to a very cracking lass for that same issue.  I felt bad.



#11 AtariNerd OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 3, 2017 9:33 PM

Not sure if PS/2 converter compatible, but found that someone had created an A8 k/b to USB converter, that might work as a kludge for those still intending to use Michael's board and shoe-horn it into an original A8 case. Most of the main connectors on Michael's board, have headers that may have leads connected and drawn out to the traditional ports, the standard keyboard ribbon cable being the one exception; for the reasons inherent with this being a specific purpose-built design, with certain intents in mind. Anyways...

 

Eh, what am I thinking (getting ever-older) - probably would need custom firmware, but at least a semblance of a workable design is there.

http://blog.tynemout...pberry-pi3.html


Edited by Standard User, Sun Dec 3, 2017 10:07 PM.


#12 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Dec 4, 2017 12:36 AM

Not sure if PS/2 converter compatible, but found that someone had created an A8 k/b to USB converter, that might work as a kludge for those still intending to use Michael's board and shoe-horn it into an original A8 case. Most of the main connectors on Michael's board, have headers that may have leads connected and drawn out to the traditional ports, the standard keyboard ribbon cable being the one exception; for the reasons inherent with this being a specific purpose-built design, with certain intents in mind. Anyways...

 

Eh, what am I thinking (getting ever-older) - probably would need custom firmware, but at least a semblance of a workable design is there.

http://blog.tynemout...pberry-pi3.html

 

Very nice  :thumbsup:  :) .

 

However for using a stock A8 keyboard on the 1088XEL, the easiest method would be to add a precision 18 pin socket underneath the TK-II chip on the bottom side of the 1088 motherboard, then use some sort of ribbon connection from that up to the top side that would plug into a fairly simple adapter board with a 1200XL keyboard connector. So in essence parallel all of the required signals from the TK-II chip and adapt that to connect up to a 1200XL keyboard. Since that keyboard already has all the required scanning circuits on board, the actual interface becomes a lot simpler and passive in nature. And hey if you're going to do this, then you may as well give it the best keyboard Atari ever produced.



#13 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 5, 2017 3:29 PM

I'm getting close to pushing the order button on getting this custom panel set made for my Realan H60 case.

 

msg-42561-0-46808200-1512456997.png

 

msg-42561-0-56058900-1512457005.png

 

This is definitely a personal choice version, and does not support cartridges, but I intend to have all the video options on at least one of the builds based on this case. It'll be costly, having two Sophia boards (RGB & DVI), and the panels alone will run around $150 shipped, but it'll be a sweet little unit when completed.

 

- Michael



#14 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:00 PM

Hi, been on Tinkercad and designed the case I had in mind, this pays homage to the XL and ST range.  It features a cutaway rear panel for any additional mods, plenty of room being 200mm x 200mm x 76mm (This could be revised) . I haven't added anywhere for LEDs but it would be a simple matter of adding MKs Status Panel to the front. But I'm thinking maybe just two LEDs, TX and RX I don't want to clutter it. This version doesn't sport a cartridge port, i think there is room for one in the middle, depends on clearance from the components underneath. Waiting on prices from the 3D printer. Any thoughts? Tim.

 

1088XEL Tikidays Case Mk1.PNG

 

1088XEL Tikidays Case Mk1 Exploded View.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#15 mytek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:38 PM

I like it a lot :thumbsup:  :)

 

Was wondering what it would look like with the bottom side corners rounded as well?

 

If those are not functional cooling slots towards the back on the top panel, perhaps a few more 'real' cooling slots should be added to the bottom and top (don't want to overheat).

 

BTW, nice placement for the joystick ports.



#16 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:49 PM

I like it a lot :thumbsup:  :)

 

Was wondering what it would look like with the bottom side corners rounded as well?

 

If those are not functional cooling slots towards the back on the top panel, perhaps a few more 'real' cooling slots should be added to the bottom and top (don't want to overheat).

 

BTW, nice placement for the joystick ports.

 

 

All those vents along the sides and back are all functional. Great suggestion for the bevel along the bottom case, looks a lot better,  also changed the 1088XEL label to the Atari Classic font.

 

1088XEL.png



#17 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:01 PM

Bevel along the front bottom? 

 

1088XEL.png


Edited by Lavalamp, Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:02 PM.


#18 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:41 PM

slight bevel the 28?-30? degree slope edges just for fun maybe

(3) 800 XL option key style switched on the right?

 

left side..

XE angle style led slots and

(1) xe angle style switch on the left?


Edited by _The Doctor__, Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:48 PM.


#19 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:58 PM

slight bevel the 28?-30? degree slope edges just for fun maybe

(3) 800 XL option key style switched on the right?

 

left side..

XE angle style led slots and

(1) xe angle style switch on the left?

 

I see a power key header Is there an option key one?



#20 AtariNerd OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:03 PM

Well, being greedy for a moment (heh, hush)..maybe a cut-out / recess for an aluminum strip along the top-front edge, to echo XL design cues and  break up space. It would also allow the detailing to label any indicators or If someone were to become really ambitious, someday, maybe functional console keys.



#21 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:46 PM

Power button added, with a simple mechanism underneath to tap a micro-switch , this could be cut out and mounted on your preferred keypot etc, LEDs next 

 

 

1088XEL.png

 

 

button.PNG

 

 

1088XEL2.PNG



#22 Lavalamp OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 2:53 AM

Resigned power button to be slightly raised above the case and support a power LED and stronger spring/mount

 

 

button.PNG

 

led.PNG

 

 

Moved the power button to the side and added 5 option buttons along the top in the style of the XE. A PCB would need to be deigned to make use of these, I will add mount points under the top case for the PCB under the option buttons and a separate one for the power button.

 

XE_Buttons.PNG


Edited by Lavalamp, Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:37 AM.


#23 _The Doctor__ ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:48 AM

that works better than what I was thinking, If some one put in a sio2sd they have exact need of 5 keys... my though was xl style on the right for the joy port mode toggles etc. your idea is better

 

The XE power button is now exactly how I imagined when offering that idea :)


Edited by _The Doctor__, Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:49 AM.


#24 Brentarian OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:06 AM

Looks great! If I had to change anything, I would prefer the original Atari fuji rather than the Hasbro one.

Attached Thumbnails

  • 859px-Atari_logo_alt.svg.png


#25 AtariNerd OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:07 AM

Oh, that is very nice indeed - far better than anything I could create. I now just need to convince my significant other that this is a much needed thing. :D


Edited by Standard User, Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:27 AM.






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