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mytek

1088XEL Alternative Mother-Board Project

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I'll help out with documentation as much as I can.

 

Here's my current progress (please feel free to link to my Flickr album for this project here. I'll be re-flowing any joint that doesn't look good top-side as well as fixing up many of the joints on the solder side. I'm insanely OCD that way. I'm super close to being able to do a 5VDC test and then pop in the chips to see if I get video!!

 

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One of my other hobbies is CNC machining, and I have a small CNC milling machine in my basement, as well as access to a larger one at the makerspace that I help run, I'd like to see what I can do for a proper ATX back panel plate once the next run of the XEL's becomes available and I can build one up. May also be able to do something nice for cartridge ports and other case customizations.

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That back panel looks awesome, that along with a custom top and cart tunnel will make a complete unit for me. The second one I build I think I will be doing as an all internal machine without cart access

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I just checked it out and I like the wiki aspect. I'll have to dig in a bit more to get a better feel for what was done, but I could certainly see this working for the XEL docs.

 

 

 

Another option is readthedocs.org or Sphinx. Both use a git repo to hold the website, and changes can be pushed/pulled with the regular git tools. http://firesidefiction.comrecently switched to this workflow, here's their repo.

 

The beauty of this process is that everything can be hosted by Github. I use Pelican to create my https://gtia.comwebsite and host the website and the repo on Github.

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Working on Rear Bezel in Front Panel Express Designer Program...

 

uSoPApk.png

 

There will be two versions, one with DB9 connector holes for the Joystick Ports, and one without (some Mini-ITX cases already have these ports).

 

Here's a test fit made out of paper...

 

RmdKOG9.jpg

 

In reality it'll be made from 2.5 mm thick black anodized aluminum with a recessed 'stepped' edge that will be 1.25 mm thick. a thin bead of glue will be applied to the step to hold the bezel in place. Lettering is engraved into the aluminum and will appear silver-gray in color.

 

It won't be cheap, but I think it will be the best looking and strongest option. Of course the FPE files will be released for others to play around with, or they can be exported into other standard CAD formats via the free software (runs on Windows, MAC, or Linux). These files could then be used to create a 3D printable version. There is about 5 mm total thickness possible in the Realan case's I/O area which might make the 3D printed version strong enough.

 

- Michael

Slight suggestion for the "joystick-port-free panel" version, that might sound counter-intuitive, at first, but thought I'd throw it out there, since usable space is an issue and trade-offs have to be made. In that version, maybe keep one of the "Joy" ports on-panel, , but leave it unlabeled or label it something like "definately Not A Joystick Port" or list it by connector type, but remove the other one and leave the space blank or re purpose that space for another possible connector, like another SIO port, or maybe, if there is room (probably not), a way to hook up another ECI/ PBI pin header or at least a slot to snake a cable through, in or out. In some scenarios I think that can actually open up more options.

 

The reasoning? Just cludgeabilty. :D

 

For example, I see that on the case you've chosen, one of the on-case ports is being used for the output of the Sophia and two others are used for Joysticks. The all use a similar connector that fits in those openings.

 

On the larger cases, it isn't uncommon to find multiple or at least find spaces that have inserts that are workable as places to bodge them in. Most of these smaller cases usually don't have three or more of these types of ports, though and one or two is more common, if they have them at all. Two isn't too difficult to come up with and there are more choices. There are plenty out there with one. But why include one and not none and if you need both, why not just go for the panel with two? Well, from an aesthetic perspective, splitting up joystick ports between one on-panel and to another on the case, might look a bit aesthetically off, but is doable at a pinch. If they have one on the case, having another on-panel would still give them two ports, being able to have two Joysticks if the opt to use the RGB or standard video. If they use one of the ports, either on-case or through the panel for the Sophia connection, then they still have a port for one Joystick.

 

If the case has two, then they can opt to use Sophia, as well as two Joys and it might wind up looking aesthetically nicer to move the Sophia connection to the panel with the other like connectors and use the cases ports for the Joy connectors. Plus, if the freed space is opened up for a different kind of connection, more functionality may be possible. This is that case scenario that I was referencing above.

 

Alternatively, I guess if one wanted to use Sophia and had a case without extra ports, one could use the two-joy panel and purpose one for that and use the other for a single Joystick. Or go with the regular video and two Joys as normal. Yeah for typical use. :)

 

From a flexibility stand-point, even if a case has three or more, It's still a useful port, employable by other devices,

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My Flu eased off enough to let me finally get started on this. (although the big hold up is waiting on the u1MB)

 

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Standard User I will probably just leave it as I have it shown, because to purchase a panel means you'll have to download and install the FPE design software, and then you as the user (no pun intended) would decide if you wanted to keep either joystick port and/or change the label. I've already done the hard work, deleting an object or editing the labels is very simple. So when the project releases the FPE file will be included.

 

Orpheus sorry to hear you had the flu, hope you feel better soon. Nice pics of your board with the black background.

 

- Michael

Edited by mytekcontrols

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Working on Rear Bezel in Front Panel Express Designer Program...

 

Here's a test fit made out of paper...

 

RmdKOG9.jpg

 

- Michael

BOLLOCKS. Why do I keep missing minor details, like the joystick ports are male while the video pass through is female. I guess not a big deal ATM since I'll be using VBXE and won't have need for the Sophia video pass through.

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Are these boards being sold as a kit or just the board and are there any more left or should I wait for the updated board?

Still a prototype being tested at this time, and not available to the general public. When testing has been completed and any required changes have been integrated into the design, then it will be released as V1.1 (early Summer). As for distribution either in a kit or as a possible assembled board, that is outside of my interest and control, although I think it would be great to see that happen. At any rate anyone who wishes to do a complete DIY process will be able to do so from the files provided in the official V1.1 release. However I can say that there is the intention to do some kind of pre-order by one of the guys in my Beta Test Group, I just don't know whether that will be for a kit or assembled, or both.

 

- Michael

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Still a prototype being tested at this time, and not available to the general public. When testing has been completed and any required changes have been integrated into the design, then it will be released as V1.1 (early Summer). As for distribution either in a kit or as a possible assembled board, that is outside of my interest and control, although I think it would be great to see that happen. At any rate anyone who wishes to do a complete DIY process will be able to do so from the files provided in the official V1.1 release. However I can say that there is the intention to do some kind of pre-order by one of the guys in my Beta Test Group, I just don't know whether that will be for a kit or assembled, or both.

 

- Michael

Cool, okay, hopefully I'll be able to get one of these too :)

 

So I officially add my interest in one when v1.1 is ready as either a fully assembled unit, kit or mobo :)

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You know, I have 12 A8 computers, 5 2600's and 2 7800's - I need another Atari 6502-based 8-bit system like I need a hole in the head. But boy howdy do I ever want to build up one of these ... SOOOOO BADLY! I would buy a board + parts kit in a heartbeat. Well, as soon as my wife let me anyway! I wouldn't even really need the Atari-specific chips. I could easily salvage what I need from my spare systems.

 

Guitarists and gun enthusiast describe "GAS" - Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, or Gun Acquisition Syndrome. If there's not an AAS, there is now: "Atari Acquisition Syndrome!"

​#WANT!!!

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I just ran a 1088XEL external ATX PSU test, and I am glad to say it seems to work as advertised. So what am I talking about? As part of the XEL project, it was decided that it should be able to derive it's power via a standard PC type power supply so that we could also have a source of 12 volts available for things such as floppy drives, zip drives, or even a CD-ROM. So there is a built-in option to do just that via a 3-pin header on the XEL labeled 'PSU'.

 

0bf1hoJ.png

 

An ATX PSU has two wires of interest on the main power connector. The purple wire (Standby Power) has an always active 5VDC @ 2 Amps available, and the green wire (/ON) is the main power activation signal, which when taken to ground turns on the high current 5 and 12 volt power supplies of the ATX PSU. The XEL has a latching power circuit that allows a momentary switch to toggle the XEL motherboard's 5VDC logic supply on and off, and at the same time provides the /ON activation signal through the PSU header (pin-2). Normally when the XEL is being supplied 5VDC power from a wall wart power adapter, this /ON signal is only used locally to turn on the power mosfet switch (Q1), which in turn directs the 5VDC power to the main bus. But in the event that we wish to use an ATX PSU instead, it can be wired up to the XEL via the PSU header (J1), so that it both provides power to the XEL (purple wire) and also controls the ATX PSU's Main Power ON/OFF action via the /ON signal (green wire) being toggled by the XEL's momentary power switch.

 

eEG0WYF.png

 

Here's a short video showing this in action...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJV_VK27ndI

 

- Michael

 

EDIT: I just wanted to point out that on the V1.0 XEL PCB (first run prototype) the labeling of the PSU header is incorrect. So what is shown in the first picture in this post is the correct labeling of that header.

Edited by mytekcontrols
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I have to admit, the thought of piggybacking off of a standard supply, with hopes that it may allow more expansion in the future, had crossed mine and apparently others minds; I think personally back when the momentary switch power-on was mentioned and with thoughts of how that normally would work in a modern PC. Sort of a "Hey, what if...?" , but I thought better of mentioning it , as it might have been seen as a "bit much" and I do well-enough in that category ( icon_wink.gif ) there were many other things in play and it might serve better as a "some day" option, for future projects. I like the idea of using a regular PC power cable and an internal power module, without the need for an external dongle for "power user" set-ups, but the option of the smaller external for "Standard User" type set-ups. On the Mini ITX , PSUs can be pretty smallish, as the type of power requirements, even for a tricked out A8 , wouldn't be too taxing.

 

I assume this can power off of the PC supply completely, without the need for the external brick for impulse? (Nevermind, I see from reading the XF drive add-on project thread , that it will - huzzah!)

 

Note, however that an internal PSU will probably generate more heat, that might need to be dealt with.

Edited by Standard User

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I assume this can power off of the PC supply completely, without the need for the external brick for impulse?

 

That is the only recommended way to do it. In the demo I am completely powered by the ATX PSU, no power dongle what-so-ever. The power for the XEL comes directly from the ATX PSU's purple wire which is the 2 Amp 'Standby' power that the ATX puts out all the time.

 

So to make this even clearer imagine that there are 4 power supplies in the ATX PSU (actual there are sometimes more depending upon the PSU) as follows...

  1. Purple wire = 'always on' 5Vdc @ 2 Amps
  2. Red wire = 'switched' 5VDC @ 18+ Amps
  3. Yellow wire = 'switched' 12VDC @ 18+ Amps
  4. Orange wire = 'switched' 3.3VDC @ 18+ Amps

We would use the purple wire to provide power to the XEL because we need a source that is 'always on' to feed the power control/latching circuit. And since the XEL power requirements are small, it will also use the standby power as its only supply.

 

When the XEL is booted up by pressing the momentary power switch, the standby power is allowed to flow onto the XEL's logic power bus, thus firing up all of the chips. At the same time this is happening the green wire (/ON) is shorted to ground, thus activating the 3 high current power supplies (items 2-4 on my list) which will provide power to external devices.

 

If and only when we choose to not use an ATX PSU, then the power dongle comes into play to provide the 5VDC that the XEL needs. Never use both at the same time.

 

Does that make better sense?

 

- Michael

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Note, however that an internal PSU will probably generate more heat, that might need to be dealt with.

 

Most of the PSU's have fans, and if not, one can easily be added somewhere else in the case. I know Steve Jobs would hate it, but there are some pretty quiet fans available now days.

 

- Michael

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