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I'm pleased to announce the release of the v.2.0 'alt' firmware for the Ultimate 1MB, Incognito, 1088XEL and SIDE/SIDE2. The update had been slated for release late in 2017, but the emergence of the 1088XEL and the requirement for custom U1MB firmware for the new motherboard heralded a prolonged period of firmware development and redesign for all supported devices. Since the 1088XEL's XEL-CF compact flash adapter can handle dual physical disks, I redesigned the U1MB PBI BIOS to accommodate primary and secondary devices, which in turn prompted significant alterations to the XEX loader. Many useful changes and augmentations were carried back to the 'standard' firmware builds (targeting the SIDE cartridge). Since releasing the 1088XEL U1MB firmware here a couple of weeks ago (which has been subject to a minor fix pertaining to DracOS compatibility since then), I realized that the SDX "soft drivers" (for SIDE, MYIDE, Colleen, etc, which hadn't been updated since 2014) could also benefit from some fixes and augmentations. Likewise the various APT tools (FDISK, ATRMNT, MOUNT, etc) on the 'toolkit' disk, many of which required amendments in order to work with the updated PBI BIOS. Then I remembered that the APT Toolkit manual and the APT API Programmer's documentation hadn't been updated in years either... It seemed imprudent to relase - say - the new SIDE/SIDE2 ROMs with old versions of the soft-drivers and outdated documentation, so the past couple of weeks have been spent on documentation and toolkit/driver updates. I finally started assembling the ROMs and ATRs a few days ago, and even this was a painstaking process. I closed my website down imagining that the site updates and media uploads would be completed within twenty-four hours... five days later, it was still closed. In any case, I completely underestimated the sheer volume of software, firmware and documentation, so I can only apologise to those who have recently been gently pestering me for the U1MB update via email. Many complain of poorly documented hardware and software products in the A8 community, so I hope the time I've spent on four fairly lengthy PDF manuals has not been wasted. Not everything is complete. The MYIDE SDX ROMs and drivers are not yet uploaded and many download sections have placeholders for the moment. But U1MB, Incognito, SIDE and 1088XEL owners may download the latest firmware and tools and consult freshly updated documentation: Download here: https://atari8.co.uk/firmware/ Installation instructions and readme files will be updated in due course. I reached the stage this evening where not uploading everything would delay release by another week or more. As usual, please use this thread to discuss any installation or usage issues. The updates to the SDX soft-drivers (SIDE.SYS, COLLEEN.SYS, etc) have not been subjected to testing by anyone but myself, so if any early adopters encounter problems, please let me know. Also released is the RAPIDISK driver (which allows faster HDD transfers at 20MHz) and Rapidus-specific BIOS plugins for U1MB (also on the 1088XEL). I hope to make some 'quick-start' videos and general guides over the coming days/weeks, but as usual it's all a question of available time.
This thread has been created for the brave who are embarking on this 1088XEL project alone. This is a place to share your updates, questions, and issues during the course of your journey. Some have already started as others will begin later. Please share what you have done, and anything else that can be of value to everyone completing this board. I have my boards from McRorie, my BOM components from Digi-Key (1 item on Back-Order), UAV Rev D from Bryan, Sophia Board (requires updating, U1MB board (Candle version), which requires an update from v1 to v2. I will be also completing several XEL-CF-][ and JOY2PIC-STIK as well. I will provide updates on those builds too. I will be using a Xytronic 137ESD Solder Station. For the solder I'm using .015 diameter low residue flux core solder with 2.2% flux. It is great to solder with especial with small boards and tight areas where a flux mess is not appreciated. Below, I have soldered the 24 CAP 0.1UF (digi-key 399-9870-1-ND). More to come..... Special Thanks to Michael St. Pierre (mytekcontrols) for which none of this would have been possible!!!
2017 will certainly be a year to remember, with not one, not two, but 3 Mini-ITX motherboard projects in the works. ÉclaireXL: FPGA based 1088XEL: Original Atari VSLI chips Atari 65XE on miniITX: Original Atari VSLI chips 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 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 --------------- A few other commercial case possibilities. GEEEK A20 (not too big, but still presents possibilities of adding in real hard drives) BitFenix Prodigy M (rather large for a Mini-ITX board, but loads of room for whatever)