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1088XEL Alternative Mother-Board Project

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The case in use is the Realan H-80 which can be picked up on Aliexpress for $27.50 plus shipping (one unit cost's about $65.00 shipped)... The W-80 has two USB ports on the side and the H-80 only one, this would only be an issue for mounting the Mouse select switch as the board is designed for the single hole case (the H-80)

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I just assumed you posted three times because you were just as amazed as I was. :)

 

Allan

I too would like to post three times how much I want one of these :D

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Glad you liked it.

 

Yeah Bob and I had fun poking around with the O-Scope seeing what the signals looked like, and I could tell he was impressed by how clean and noise free everything was. So what Atari club are you talking about?

 

I just figured it out... must be the SLCC (went to the website and saw a meeting for yesterday scheduled). BTW found this pic on the site, and I see Bob at the far left. Which one is you, and who are the others?

 

2015-09-01-slcc-group.jpg

 

Most of the chips are already identified on the silk screen, but for the Atari specific chips I'll be removing part numbers and just referring to them by name on the production boards since there were different part numbers used in many of the chips. Which chips did you think lacked identification?

 

- Michael

 

Yes that's out club! I'm the tall guy in the tie. The gentlemen in the Atari shirt is our club president Robbie Bridges. The other two guys have not been to a club meeting in a long time, and I don't recall their names. If you are in the area, we'd love to have to come to the meetings, first Tue of each month at the San Leandro downtown library.

I most likely missed the silkscreen id's for the chips. May be a bit bigger text? Our eye are not what they used to be. But just the large chips, 6502, Antic, Pokey, GTIA, Freddy, etc.

Yes Bob did mention that he was very impressed with the low noise. He was also impressed with the very clear video output. I think that will be a big selling point. (well the whole thing is it's own selling point, but good built in video, so you do not need to buy or build video add-ons, is very important. imp)

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The case in use is the Realan H-80 which can be picked up on Aliexpress for $27.50 plus shipping (one unit cost's about $65.00 shipped)... The W-80 has two USB ports on the side and the H-80 only one, this would only be an issue for mounting the Mouse select switch as the board is designed for the single hole case (the H-80)

:slaps forehead:

 

In the images of the case I saw, I didn't notice that the openings he used were all purely there, already and I thought he had modded it by cutting the holes, so was looking for alternatives. Well, then - I might have to see about getting one of those. icon_mrgreen.gif

 

 

EDIT: And ordered! :D

Edited by Standard User
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Simply WOW!

 

So far I did not read all this because I was under the impression this was a project which was like a pc running an atari emulator...

 

But wow.... this is simply AMAZING. This is actually a real atari.

I would love to buy a few when ready.

 

I hope it will be easy to hook up the freezer when it is done.

 

I think MacRorie said it best...

 

It is "real iron" and allows for expansion.

 

So everything that truly makes it an Atari has been retained, sporting a 'real' Sally, Antic, GTIA, and Pokey(s). Whereas much of the original glue logic and analog video circuits has been eliminated through the use of SRAM and 3rd party plug-ins (U1MB, UAV). But for all practical purposes it's still an Atari, and should be expandable as such.

 

 

Seeing these updates inspire me, your personal journey along with the little mods that you come up with, that suite your needs / fancy. Seeing your mouse / joystick toggle mod, liking it, along with the re-purposing of the ports on the case you selected, made me wonder if I could competently create something similar. So, I went looking for the model of case you had selected or at least something similar in design and while doing so, came across this case. It looks very close in design and looks like it might be created by the same OEM, just under a different brand. Take a look at the back panel and notice a rather strange coincidence. It's a powered version of the board, so it has a rounded power connector, but also has antenna holes on the back, the same size as the LED holes on your toggle switch. icon_wink.gif

 

https://www.amazon.com/EMC-810B-Mini-ITX-Aluminum-Server-Fanless/dp/B01BXV0FVS/ref=sr_1_45?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1493879813&sr=1-45&keywords=mini-itx

 

Same case, under the Realan brand:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Realan-Aluminum-Supply-Adapter-computer/dp/B01GLDALGW/ref=sr_1_104?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1493880386&sr=1-104&keywords=mini-itx

Yep the W80 is nearly same, but as orpheuswaking pointed out, it has two USB port holes punched into the side, and yes it comes with a DC/DC 5v converter and a 12v power adapter. We had a discussion about this very case in our beta test group and unless you need the 12v (which some people might) it's probably better to stick with the 5v power adapter plugged directly into the XEL's power connector, since adapters of this sort can be gotten for as little as $5-6 new. Here is the AliExpress link for the Realan H80 case at a more reasonable price ($65 including shipping). Keep in mind that the H80 does not come with a power supply. Also doing a quantity buy can drop that 'shipped' price down to <$50 a piece.

 

I also recently came across this alternative Realan H60 case which has a lower profile, but the same single USB port as the H80...

 

s2xB5Tn.jpg

It's missing the DB9 port holes, so some sort of alternative arrangement such as a custom rear panel bezel including these missing holes would be needed in order to retain the Joystick ports. And obviously there is not a lot of internal room left for expansion. But having the lower profile could be attractive for certain applications. There are numerous other Mini-ITX cases out there to choose from, so it really depends upon what the end user decides they need and/or like.

 

As Standard User pointed out, the re-purposing of things such as the holes associated with the USB port to allow for a mouse port select switch is part of the fun and challenge of putting a case around the XEL.

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols
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Yes that's out club! I'm the tall guy in the tie. The gentlemen in the Atari shirt is our club president Robbie Bridges. The other two guys have not been to a club meeting in a long time, and I don't recall their names. If you are in the area, we'd love to have to come to the meetings, first Tue of each month at the San Leandro downtown library.

I most likely missed the silkscreen id's for the chips. May be a bit bigger text? Our eye are not what they used to be. But just the large chips, 6502, Antic, Pokey, GTIA, Freddy, etc.

Yes Bob did mention that he was very impressed with the low noise. He was also impressed with the very clear video output. I think that will be a big selling point. (well the whole thing is it's own selling point, but good built in video, so you do not need to buy or build video add-ons, is very important. imp)

 

Nice to see a face attached to the name (thank you). I did visit a couple of your meetings back in the early 90's when I was demoing some of the Gen-Locking boards I was working on at the time, were you a part of SLCC back in that time period?

 

Yep one of these days I will have to revisit, and bring one of the completed XEL's for show and tell. Nothing like seeing the real deal in action.

 

- Michael

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There is something wrong with AA last days on my Android phone. Posts do not want to save so it looks like a problem. When i press post again it still hangs stuck. But now it seems it posted my msg three times. Sorry for that.

 

 

Same thing happens on the iPhone. After I get the first error, I assume it posted. :-)

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That's coming together nicely!

 

Stephen are my eyes playing tricks on me or does that cart connector have mounting ears on it? The connectors I got are without.

 

Don't forget to bolt that SIO jack down with a couple of 4-40 screws and nuts. Wouldn't want to see an XF551 problem occuring with the trace connections breaking due to a rocking connector.

 

- Michael

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went with precision round instead of double wipes? Thought you were doing the doubles for the legacy chips and precisions for the upgrade add on boards / cards.... at least I thought I heard that somewhere...

Edited by _The Doctor__
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went with precision round instead of double wipes? Thought you were doing the doubles for the legacy chips and precisions for the upgrade add on boards / cards.... at least I thought I heard that somewhere...

 

These boards are for development testing so some of this is at the discretion of the Beta Testers (Stephen in this case), but yes on the production boards all of the non-Atari chips will be implemented with double-wipe sockets which is also what I did on my prototype board. Whereas the machine pin sockets do allow for a better piggyback situation (i.e., upgrades). And in one particular case (Pokey U6) a piggyback is a requirement due to the socketed TK-II chip that resides below it (accommodates the additional clearance required).

 

- Michael

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The video on the board, will it connect to any vega monitor, or will it need an upscaler/converter ?

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That's coming together nicely!

 

Stephen are my eyes playing tricks on me or does that cart connector have mounting ears on it? The connectors I got are without.

 

Don't forget to bolt that SIO jack down with a couple of 4-40 screws and nuts. Wouldn't want to see an XF551 problem occuring with the trace connections breaking due to a rocking connector.

 

- Michael

Yeah - they do have ears. I got some connectors many years ago, I don't recall what project they were for. I'll definitely be screwing down the SIO connector. I need to find a good flux remover.

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went with precision round instead of double wipes? Thought you were doing the doubles for the legacy chips and precisions for the upgrade add on boards / cards.... at least I thought I heard that somewhere...

I just prefer machine pin sockets, it's all I keep in my stock.

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The video on the board, will it connect to any vega monitor, or will it need an upscaler/converter ?

Yes, an converter/upscaler is required on monitors lacking RGB/Component or Svideo/composite ports. I have my Sophia on a 600xl going to a cheap GBS-8200 and it does a decent job converting RGB 15khz to VGA.

 

I've thought about squeezing in the GBS-8200 into the XEL1080 case if space permits, convert RGB-->VGA and routing it to the DB opening (instead of 9pin RGB from Sophia). RGB is already routed to the 13pin round ST plug if ever need it.

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Yes, an converter/upscaler is required on monitors lacking RGB/Component or Svideo/composite ports. I have my Sophia on a 600xl going to a cheap GBS-8200 and it does a decent job converting RGB 15khz to VGA.

I've thought about squeezing in the GBS-8200 into the XEL1080 case if space permits, convert RGB-->VGA and routing it to the DB opening (instead of 9pin RGB from Sophia). RGB is already routed to the 13pin round ST plug if ever need it.

I like this idea, and might try the same thing on one of my XEL builds. I'll have to look at possibly adding some switched accessory power headers to the production version XEL board design so that this can be better accommodated.

 

 

EDIT: Done :)

 

ZgvlU2E.png

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols
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I just prefer machine pin sockets, it's all I keep in my stock.

 

Fancy, wish I had the big bucks like you ;-)

 

Also looks like I wont need to take any pictures either

Edited by orpheuswaking
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I just prefer machine pin sockets, it's all I keep in my stock.

I only use machine pin socket SIP break-away strips anymore. http://www.ebay.com/itm/250675207383

They only require a very little extra care when soldering and are cheap in bulk on Ebay, $0.80 per '40 pin DIP socket' and much less per smaller 'DIP sockets', 16 pin DIPs workout to $0.32 each. By having the 40 pin strips on hand, I can make up any sized 'socket' I might need :)

Yogi

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Luckily I have a strip left over from a previous project for the one spot I'll need to use these in. But that is a good link (Sits by mailbox waiting on the mail from China)

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Another very suitable Mini-ITX case for the XEL...

fe1Lx7m.png

 

Comes in 3 different flavors...

MI2CokX.png

And it also has Com Ports that will serve nicely as Joystick Ports...

 

76JjSqU.png

 

Found a source for the Gray one at AliExpress for about $47 shipped.

 

The CD slot can be removed and replaced with a custom panel that could be used for the mouse port select switch and some of the other status LED indicators's. Or :? :ponder:

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols
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^I guess one could try to find a way to mount some sort of console interface through the gap left in the front-plate, as well, allowed by the removal of the drive, with the main console and a few function keys, instead of or inclusion of toggling them through the keyboard.

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It will be interesting to add WiFi to the Atari... Just kidding.

 

With these motherboards going into one of those cases, you certain need something that matches up with all the Atari 8-bit ports.

 

I am assuming those are the cartridge and eci ports on the left side. I did not have the time to go through this whole thread. Will those be relocated as well?

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^I guess one could try to find a way to mount some sort of console interface through the gap left in the front-plate, as well, allowed by the removal of the drive, with the main console and a few function keys, instead of or inclusion of toggling them through the keyboard.

Yes lots of possibilities including the potential to use it as a CD drive as intended, assuming an interface card were to be made to support that (IDE or SATA via parallel bus).

 

It will be interesting to add WiFi to the Atari... Just kidding.

 

With these motherboards going into one of those cases, you certain need something that matches up with all the Atari 8-bit ports.

 

I am assuming those are the cartridge and eci ports on the left side. I did not have the time to go through this whole thread. Will those be relocated as well?

There are some WiFi projects being worked on by a few other individuals, so that isn't all that crazy of an idea.

 

Yes a 130XE style parallel interface (cart/eci) is present on what would normally be the expansion slot side of the board assuming this were a 'real' Mini-ITX motherboard. External access to it is optional depending upon how this board will be implemented by the end user. For instance the cart can be accessed by having a hole machined out of the top panel, and I have a custom 3d printed cart tunnel complete with cart door opening fingers in the development stages that would support this idea. Another possibility is to not even use the cart, and instead install a CF or SD drive (could use that front case opening for changing cards). And yet another variation would be to tether this to a PC via the built-in SIO2PC (or via BlueTooth, or maybe even WiFi). Basically the end use is meant to be flexible and not locked into any particular notion as to how things should be. But to be clear this project was never about creating a drop-in for the 'stock' Atari motherboard, and has always been seen as custom in nature.

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols

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