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New Hardware Offering: XF551 Control Board Bundle Pre-Order

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Just curious -- how many hours would you estimate you have invested in this project up to now? Looks like a pretty involved offering.

 

-Larry

 

 

I started this about 2 years ago. Not that I've worked on it constantly since, but I would estimate about thirty hours in design and testing and somewhere around ten hours in selection of parts and placement design. I originally started out designing with through hole components and then gradually shifted to smd as it became clear that there might be a clearance problem under the drive mech.

 

The original rough prototype track display was created by Pasiu about 10/15 years ago. I discovered a posting about it from his brother Voy on a polish website and contacted him through AtariAge. He was kind enough to get me in contact with his brother and a marathon picture/question and answer session took place as I tried to develop a schematic to work from. At no time did I ever have the prototype board/drive in my hands to test with. It definitely made it interesting and I know I drove Pasiu nearly crazy with my questions. ;)

 

The additional features of the reset button and drive # selection came from Gramblicka's series of XF551/1050 mods he did on his website about three years ago. The OS selection came from the need to have a easy way to switch between OSs on my reimaged boards.

 

I believe other than the OS selection switch, my main contribution was designing a relatively easy to install add on package for those features Atari should have put on the Atari XF551 to begin with, but didn't. ;-)

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Hello Lenore

 

I'm not sure where I want to add the display. Is there an option where I can order two different versions with one bundle? And I guess it's not possible to place the display to the left of the access light or on the exact opposite position?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy (who wished he'd be better in Photoshop and the like....)

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Hello Lenore

 

I'm not sure where I want to add the display. Is there an option where I can order two different versions with one bundle? And I guess it's not possible to place the display to the left of the access light or on the exact opposite position?

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy (who wished he'd be better in Photoshop and the like....)

 

Hi Mathy,

 

I suppose you could swap the left control and the right display boards. I haven't gamed it out. You might run into issues with the cabling due to the locations of the connectors on the main pcb. But nothing says that you have to do it the way I show on the pic. ;)

 

As far as getting both drive and right display boards, I can add it to the list. Give me about half an hour to set it up right.

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Final update:

 

This project fell short of the the needed 10 orders to make. :(

 

 

Unfortunately at this time I will be refunding the monies for those who did purchase.

 

 

Perhaps in a few months I will again offer this, but for now the project is on hold. :(

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Sorry it didn't make it.

 

FWIW, the "turn-off" to me was cutting those holes in the case and dealing with the attachments and connections on the removable lid. Just a thought -- the XF551 has a nice recess below the drive mech. & upper case area. Would it be possible to put part or all of the displays in an add-on "bar" that would fit below the mech. Sort of like the MegaSpeedy control panel (but would look a bit 'cleaner") and eliminate most all of the cutting?

 

-Larry

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Sorry it didn't make it.

 

FWIW, the "turn-off" to me was cutting those holes in the case and dealing with the attachments and connections on the removable lid. Just a thought -- the XF551 has a nice recess below the drive mech. & upper case area. Would it be possible to put part or all of the displays in an add-on "bar" that would fit below the mech. Sort of like the MegaSpeedy control panel (but would look a bit 'cleaner") and eliminate most all of the cutting?

 

-Larry

 

There's no easy solution. :(

 

If you tried to put the controls/display along the bottom, now you are dealing with uneven internal structures to cut through. I'm not even sure you would have enough room there either.

 

Sadly, nothing is easy on the XF551. :(

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Not thinking of cutting. Just attaching with a couple of screws or foam tape. You would need a piece to make the add-on parallel.

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Here's a solution that would work:

 

Sell a replacement upper portion of the case that already has your mod fixed in place. It could be squared off like a Percom, and not look like the original, but the main thing is that the original case is not destroyed, so the user can store the original away safely, while enjoying the use of your modded case. As long as the screw holes are lined up, the new upper case with the mod would be a quick install, and people would like it. I'm sure that a dual-drive or quad-drive config case made in this way would really sell well, also.

 

 

There's no easy solution. :(

 

If you tried to put the controls/display along the bottom, now you are dealing with uneven internal structures to cut through. I'm not even sure you would have enough room there either.

 

Sadly, nothing is easy on the XF551. :(

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Not thinking of cutting. Just attaching with a couple of screws or foam tape. You would need a piece to make the add-on parallel.

 

What about the 16 conductor led display ribbon cable and the control board wires? How do you connect the main board with the controls and the LED display?

 

Are you saying that you can lay a ribbon cable between the drive mech faceplate and bottom case lip? :?

 

There's no gap there normally. It's flush if the top and bottom case parts are properly closed. Ribbon cable is thin, but it's still at least two mm thick. That's going to leave that much gap across nearly the full length of the front. Not to mention the the slight vibration and weight of the drive mech and being squeezed between the bottom case lip and faceplate eventually wearing through the protective coating of the ribbon cable or breaking the wires internally.

 

Let me rephrase. You can, but it's not going to be very aesthetic and you are almost guaranteed to have shorting/breaking of the wires eventually. As well as having to devise a housing to protect the LED display and controls now external to the case. :(

 

Even the Mega Speedy 1050 has the same issue.

 

I hate cutting into cases too. But, based on the current design of the XF551 case, you almost have to do some cutting. It's just a question of how much and where. :(

 

This is on a standard XF551 with the 5 1/4" drive, not a 720k drive. I don't have a 720k to visualize what you can do with it and you may have other options. Definitely lighter drive mech too. :)

 

Sorry to beat a dead horse. I just don't see how you can avoid cutting some. ;-)

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Here's a solution that would work:

 

Sell a replacement upper portion of the case that already has your mod fixed in place. It could be squared off like a Percom, and not look like the original, but the main thing is that the original case is not destroyed, so the user can store the original away safely, while enjoying the use of your modded case. As long as the screw holes are lined up, the new upper case with the mod would be a quick install, and people would like it. I'm sure that a dual-drive or quad-drive config case made in this way would really sell well, also.

 

 

Except that I know of no known matching upper case parts that would fit. The length and width of the top part is bigger than most consumer 3d printer beds. Definitely bigger than mine. And injection molding is way out of reach economically speaking.

 

Good idea though. ;-)

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Here's a solution that would work:

 

Sell a replacement upper portion of the case that already has your mod fixed in place.

 

 

If running plastic shells/molds were that cheap and easy I would be selling 1450XLD cases.

And at that point instead of just selling the top case, just sell a whole new floppy drive w/o a mech.

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User kheller makes a good point, just go with a floppy enclosure that the guts of XF551s can be installed into.

 

This way you can use bent aluminum, and don't have to mess about with plastics. You could make a prototype in an evening by just hacksawing the middle section out of an obsolete PC case & chasis, only retaining the 5.25" drive bays and the base of the computer case.

 

A 5 CD tower case would be the easiest to mod... just fill it with four XF551s, and use a drivebay cover plate in the top drivebay to install all of your modded controls. You would just need to make sure that your ribbon cables were long enough, but the whole thing could be put together to look like a professional product in less than a weekend.

So there's your prototype picture, to show how it can be used.

 

You just need to sell a plastic drivebay cover with your mods installed and trays to mount XF551 guts, & let the user transfer their own drive mechs into an enclosure of the user's choice. No headaches, and it's easy enough.

 

 

Except that I know of no known matching upper case parts that would fit. The length and width of the top part is bigger than most consumer 3d printer beds. Definitely bigger than mine. And injection molding is way out of reach economically speaking.

 

Good idea though. ;-)

 

 

 

 

If running plastic shells/molds were that cheap and easy I would be selling 1450XLD cases.

And at that point instead of just selling the top case, just sell a whole new floppy drive w/o a mech.

 

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I would be interested in ordering a replacement logic board if you have any more or willing to build some

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Wayyyyyyy to complicated and expensive! If it could even be done. :!:

 

The mod is $40 for a basic LED display and three or four controls. A small amount of assembly and cutting of the case required. The Atari style is mostly retained. Shipping is $8 domestic.

 

That case by itself would run that and the user would have to mod the case for at least 2 XF551 original mainboards (the 8040/8050 and WD1772 chips on each board will only handle up to 2 drives) with Atari SIO connections on back. Then you'd have to have drive select controls for each drive, reset buttons, etc. By the time you designed a Frankenstein board mod to handle 4 drive track displays and controls and get it to work with 2 XF551 original mainboards, cabling and panel you've far exceeded the price that ten or more reasonable Atari users would be willing to pay for. :-o

 

You might after quite a lot of effort and money come up with a prototype that worked. Maybe..... :?

 

All that just to avoid a minor amount of cutting.

 

You're welcomed to dream. But if it were so easy, someone would have done it by now. ;-)

 

 

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I would be interested in ordering a replacement logic board if you have any more or willing to build some

I have three left on my website. See my byline for the address.

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Hmmm,

 

thought of a single external HDD or CD/DVD/BD case - but most of these housings have become so damn small & slim nowadays (3,5", 2,5", 1,8", looks like 5,25" external housings are no longer available for cheap)... :-(

 

This bigger one looks nice, but is, alas, way too expensive: http://www.ebay.de/itm/Externes-SAS-Laufwerks-Gehause-3-x-5-25-Zoll-SFF-8088-beige-/162155324382?hash=item25c135e3de:g:b4YAAOSwpdpVaKeg

 

But maybe it fits for a 1090 remake... ;-) ;-) ;-) (You said we are allowed to dream...)

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IDK about you, but I know that if I had one of these $60 enclosures, I could have four Atari compatible 5.25 drives working in it by the end of the night. Maybe you should consider drinking more coffee.

 

 

Wayyyyyyy to complicated and expensive! If it could even be done. :!:

The mod is $40 for a basic LED display and three or four controls. A small amount of assembly and cutting of the case required. The Atari style is mostly retained. Shipping is $8 domestic.

That case by itself would run that and the user would have to mod the case for at least 2 XF551 original mainboards (the 8040/8050 and WD1772 chips on each board will only handle up to 2 drives) with Atari SIO connections on back. Then you'd have to have drive select controls for each drive, reset buttons, etc. By the time you designed a Frankenstein board mod to handle 4 drive track displays and controls and get it to work with 2 XF551 original mainboards, cabling and panel you've far exceeded the price that ten or more reasonable Atari users would be willing to pay for. :-o

You might after quite a lot of effort and money come up with a prototype that worked. Maybe..... :?

All that just to avoid a minor amount of cutting.

You're welcomed to dream. But if it were so easy, someone would have done it by now. ;-)

 

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I was looking at your site. Confused on how this new board get installed. Why do you have to install the heatsync and regulator?

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Also, at the risk of beating the dead horse, my idea was that the pcb(s) would need to be reshaped to fit underneath -- long and narrow as opposed to the current shape. Maybe smaller track displays? Sort of like the little control panel & PCB on the Rana? Might well be too much work to do it. Just a thought as to another possible way. (Or maybe not...)

 

I presume all the rotary switch does is to change the OS? So if you didn't want/need that feature, then it does not need to be installed? Just an IMO, but I would think the most popular features would be the track display and maybe the power switch.

 

-Larry

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IDK about you, but I know that if I had one of these $60 enclosures, I could have four Atari compatible 5.25 drives working in it by the end of the night. Maybe you should consider drinking more coffee.

:arrow: Go for it.

 

And the make all the case mods to handle the two XF551 mainboards you will have to have and the four XF551 compatible 5 1/4" drives. Make sure you implement the adaption to use two drives off of one board. Make it look professional both front and back. You won't have my mods to work with, but add up all the costs of the other parts. Let me know how much it's going to cost in time and money, just to get one prototype up and running with the standard setup. It should be doable with very little modification of the boards. It's just physical fit mostly.

 

The key is actually do it. Don't estimate. That just means you're guessing. :twisted:

 

I understand your desire. But that doesn't necessarily translate into possible or financially viable. ;-)

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