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

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Update: Added rear panel used Michael's rear panel as the cut out, added DVI and two additional DB9s as optional pop-outs at the rear, still sticking with the cartridge at the top aligned directly with the socket at this stage, tweaked the design slightly to accommodate the cartridge slot.

 

 

attachicon.gif1088XEL_Front.PNG

 

attachicon.gif1088XEL_Back.PNG

 

 

For those that were following my case just an update that I 3d Printed a draft of the back panel to ensure the ports aligned and that the pop out panels worked.... and it did, perfectly!

 

 

post-61762-0-48341400-1519442243_thumb.jpg

 

The USB connector was 100% that was the big test, the pop outs worked as designed, and I placed my RGB connector from the Sophia in one of the spare DB9 pop-outs, holes aligned too! Im adding three DB9s now in case someone wants 4 joystick ports and the Sophia running.

 

Just waiting on some new printer parts to trial a print of the whole case.

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Just wanted to let everyone know of the sub-site I have chronicling my 1088XEL build in a Apex MI-008 mini-ITX case and the modifications I've done to include extra stuff. The website is still under-construction, but it is workable. No downloads as yet.

 

You can point your browser here: Apex MI-008/1088XEL Build

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Has anyone modified one of the 3 DB connector openings on the back of the H80 case to accept the DVI connector from the Sophia DVI video mod? The rear panel I currently have doesn't have an opening for a DVI connection so I am trying to figure out how best to proceed. I am considering attempting to Dremel one of the existing openings wider.

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Just wanted to let everyone know of the sub-site I have chronicling my 1088XEL build in a Apex MI-008 mini-ITX case and the modifications I've done to include extra stuff. The website is still under-construction, but it is workable. No downloads as yet.

 

You can point your browser here: Apex MI-008/1088XEL Build

 

I'm really enjoying reading your posts on the Apex Build :thumbsup: :) .

 

 

Has anyone modified one of the 3 DB connector openings on the back of the H80 case to accept the DVI connector from the Sophia DVI video mod? The rear panel I currently have doesn't have an opening for a DVI connection so I am trying to figure out how best to proceed. I am considering attempting to Dremel one of the existing openings wider.

 

Someone (I don't remember who?) did what you are suggesting and it came out very nice. Check the: 1088XEL Atari ITX Motherboard DIY Builders Thread.

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A case idea in the making...

 

msg-42561-0-10817100-1531783037.jpg

 

Not saying anything more since it's just something weird kicking around in my head. But if it really happens there will certainly be more to come :) .

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Ok call me a tease :) .

 

Ok scratch that idea portrayed in the previous post, but retain the idea of using a re-purposed 1050 drive case.

 

This new case project will be much more than trying to piece stuff together and fit it into a 1050 case. I am visualizing something new that has that in mind from the get go. Basically a drop-in board that incorporates all of the goodies in the right places to take full advantage of all the existing openings and cut-outs in the 1050 case, with only minimal modification required. So we're looking at a next generation 1088XEL single motherboard design fully adapted to the 1050 case design, and able to use the stock 9 VAC power adapter.

 

Of course this will need a new name. I was thinking of something like this to pay homage to Atari's ultimate system that never made it into production.

 

msg-42561-0-73302500-1531839172.png

 

However unlike that ill fated product, this one would be much more compact and utilize an external keyboard just like on the 1088XEL (or the Atari XEGS). It'll have the XL styling due to the 1050 case, and the 'D' in XLD would represent the built-in CF Drive. Of course it'll be 100% compatible with flashjazzcat's new 1088XEL Bios, and built for better compatibility with Rapidus.

 

But..... development won't even happen until next year, since I have a lot of non-Atari stuff going on to fill the rest of 2018. And even then it'll probably be a good year of R&D, so we really won't see a release until 2020. But it will be so cool :) .

 

Anyway when things begin to materialize I'll start a new topic for the 1088XLD.

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built in modems and drives? where's the votrax..... :) not only ducks and looks for a hiding place but runs clear of the facility!

Edited by _The Doctor__
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built in modems and drives? where's the votrax..... :) not only ducks and looks for a hiding place but runs clear of the facility!

 

A CF Drive is all you need internally, and far superior to anything the 1450XLD would have ever come with. Any other drive will plug into the SIO as per usual. Remember this is no longer going to be considered a disk drive in it's new life, although it will have a powerful one built-in.

 

The built-in 300 baud modem was obsolete even in the time period when the 1450XLD was suppose to be released, and now days I think this will be far better handled via a wifi chip or external modem via SIO.

 

A speech chip although cute, doesn't have much use today. If it did I would expect that there would have been a more recent upgrade for such. Covox makes more sense, and Lotharek's P-Covox upgrade would be a good way to go for that.

 

In the 1088XEL, I believe I made a good compromise on what made sense to integrate into the project, and what to leave out. Remember all the failed attempts at creating a new motherboard for the A8's? Everyone of those died on the vine and/or hardly even got started. The lesson that was learned by those early attempts was to not try and integrate every friggin bell and whistle, but to stick to the essentials keeping it simple, but capable. I did that with the 1088XEL, and will follow the same logic in this new project.

 

My intention has never been to recreate the 1450XLD, but I do respect what Atari was attempting to do at the time, and I would have loved to be able to buy one back in the day. However based on what I understand it's capabilities were, it's pretty weak compared to what has come after it. Even the floppy support wasn't great (and had problems), and was easily outdone in roughly the same time period by the Black Box floppy board.

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lol, the XLD's suffered from great ideas paired down to uselessness or sometimes during development an example only to be fleshed out to something better later, but of course that didn't happen... the Drive sides being point in case (like how case in point is reversed)... double density great , sides being drive ID selected and other wacky implementations stupid...

300 baud again, a stupid thing to do but a faster modem and it's a hit ( today that would be a true hardware flow pbi linked Ethernet device or slot etc. etc. lantronix devices are now the size of the port itself almost these days....

voice is still cute and distinct... all war games like and all

 

like every thing else an XLD clone could be revamped with more practical things along the same veins as what was intended but certainly modern counterparts implemented instead. The XEL's connectors aren't far from the that being nearly card slots as it is. Remember the PC days of different slot type in one machine...

 

I bet an XLD like machine could be pretty mean, slim drives, sd/whatever slots etc.. an extension of the XEL so to speak, that being said... what of the expansion box, has that napkin been brought to light or tossed aside?

Edited by _The Doctor__
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The expansion box idea is still alive in general, and I know of two active projects at this time (Dropcheck's and Spaced Cowboy's), but I won't be supporting that in this project. No place to break out the parallel bus I'm afraid, not without radical mods to the case which I don't want. However there will be an MPBI like the 1088XEL has, but that's really aimed at internal upgrades. ECI won't be supported. This project is going to be sweet and to the point, but still pack a good punch. The nice thing is that there is a lot of room for internal upgrades, and I intend to make sure what's out there plays well together as far as sharing space is concerned.

 

 

lol, the XLD's suffered from great ideas paired down to uselessness or sometimes during development an example only to be fleshed out to something better later, but of course that didn't happen... the Drive sides being point in case (like how case in point is reversed)... double density great , sides being drive ID selected and other wacky implementations stupid...

300 baud again, a stupid thing to do but a faster modem and it's a hit ( today that would be a true hardware flow pbi linked Ethernet device or slot etc. etc. lantronix devices are now the size of the port itself almost these days....

voice is still cute and distinct... all war games like and all

 

like every thing else an XLD clone could be revamped with more practical things along the same veins as what was intended but certainly modern counterparts implemented instead. The XEL's connectors aren't far from the that being nearly card slots as it is. Remember the PC days of different slot type in one machine...

 

I bet an XLD like machine could be pretty mean, slim drives, sd/whatever slots etc.. an extension of the XEL so to speak, that being said... what of the expansion box, has that napkin been brought to light or tossed aside?

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The expansion box idea is still alive in general, and I know of two active projects at this time (Dropcheck's and Spaced Cowboy's), but I won't be supporting that in this project. No place to break out the parallel bus I'm afraid, not without radical mods to the case which I don't want. However there will be an MPBI like the 1088XEL has, but that's really aimed at internal upgrades. ECI won't be supported.

 

 

That's a bit of a shame - it's your call (of course [grin]) but it would be nice to have support for the expansion box - not that I'm biased or anything... It doesn't have to be a standard ECI port, it just has to have the pins brought out (MPBI+ ?). The 1088XEL solution is already 3 boards:

 

[host connector, for which I'm using the ECI] <=ribbon-cable=>[VHDCI panel-mount]<---VHDCI--->[expansion box].

 

The idea being that the expansion box is always the same, the panel mount is always the same, and the host-connector varies based on the host (XE, XL, XEL, C64, TI, ...) personality. Worst case, all you need is a grommet-able U cut-out along an edge, and you can just have the cable coming out the back [yes, this isn't ideal] :)

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That's a bit of a shame - it's your call (of course [grin]) but it would be nice to have support for the expansion box - not that I'm biased or anything... It doesn't have to be a standard ECI port, it just has to have the pins brought out (MPBI+ ?). The 1088XEL solution is already 3 boards:

 

[host connector, for which I'm using the ECI] <=ribbon-cable=>[VHDCI panel-mount]<---VHDCI--->[expansion box].

 

The idea being that the expansion box is always the same, the panel mount is always the same, and the host-connector varies based on the host (XE, XL, XEL, C64, TI, ...) personality. Worst case, all you need is a grommet-able U cut-out along an edge, and you can just have the cable coming out the back [yes, this isn't ideal] :)

 

Best I can do is provide a pin header on the board and leave it to the end user as to how they'll get from there to an expansion box. Tell me what you minimally require for signals, and I'll try to incorporate it. Board real estate wise I have plenty of room, the issue is one of getting from inside the case to the outside world, without having to mod the case (I'm trying to do minimal damage). Of course the end user is free to do whatever they want, but I personally don't plan on promoting it. Besides I thought your idea was centered around incorporating the 1088XEL? That would always be an option, since this new project is not meant to circumvent and/or cancel that board's availability.

 

Edit: something to keep in mind, is that I'm like a guy that creates custom cars for fun, only in my case --- custom Ataris. It's a hobby, and something I do for enjoyment. As such I don't feel bond by other peoples requirements or preconceptions. My 'real' job comes with plenty of such restrictions, but that's like that for most people's jobs. It would of course be different if I was in business to sell this stuff to the public. Then the customer would in essence become my boss, and of course that would allow them to influence the design of what I sold (assuming I wanted to stay in business).

 

The 1088XEL morphed into a product that became a commodity item that is manufactured and sold by a 3rd party (although to be clear, by my choice, I receive no share of the proceeds). And while it was in development it became apparent to me that something like this was going to happen, and I also knew that other people were going to put in lots of personal time along the way. So because of that, it's design was allowed to be greatly influenced by other people, including ones like flashjazzcat that were investing considerable time and energy into the process.

 

Anyway long story short, not everything I create is going to be aimed at being a product for sale, and/or made compatible with someone else's device. Some of what I do will be just plain weird, a personal quest, and not always make sense to someone else's way of thinking. And I reserve the right to do that, just like I'm sure Ben Heck does with his creations. The proposed 1088XLD is one of those weird personal quest kind of things, so don't be surprised if the outcome doesn't always play well with others.

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Hopefully some of these people will come up with an FPGA or CPLD solution to the SC01 problem: http://www.redcedar.com/sc01.htm

 

It would be great for Q*bert.

 

The MPBI would likely work well for interfacing a speech chip or an FPGA alternative, and it also provides a way to mix the audio into the main stream. I plan on supporting that bus in this new board, identical to the one in the 1088XEL.

 

But I think I've taken this thread quite a bit off topic, since this is no longer about enclosing any of the Mini-ITX alternative A8 motherboards ;) . Let's move this discussion to a new place, but give me a few days to decide exactly what that will be :) .

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Best I can do is provide a pin header on the board and leave it to the end user as to how they'll get from there to an expansion box. Tell me what you minimally require for signals, and I'll try to incorporate it.

It wants to integrate with an ECI (because I originally started it to work with the 1088XEL), so, put a pin header on the board with the ECI signals (which is why I was calling it MPBI+) and that'd be perfect. That's all I was after, to be honest :)

 

Board real estate wise I have plenty of room, the issue is one of getting from inside the case to the outside world, without having to mod the case (I'm trying to do minimal damage). Of course the end user is free to do whatever they want, but I personally don't plan on promoting it. Besides I thought your idea was centered around incorporating the 1088XEL? That would always be an option, since this new project is not meant to circumvent and/or cancel that board's availability.

I think, with a little bit of dremelling, you could fit a VHDCI connector into the space previously occupied by an SIO connector (the SIO has a widest dimension of 28.5mm, the VHDCI is 32mm). The old and the new, side by side :)

 

To address your point re: the 1088XEL - sure I definitely want it to work with that, and if the 1088XEL hadn't existed, I'd be working with an XE or an XL (I even have an idea which needs a lot of work yet for it to work with an 800). I didn't think you were replacing anything, I just thought that some (most ?) people might not get *both*, and it'd be a shame to deny even the possibility of expanding it, if someone only owned the disk-drive-case version.

 

To be honest, *I* prefer the look of the 1050 case to the mini-ITX case, it seems more "real" to me, and as soon as I saw it, I wondered (a) if there'd be space for an internal version of the expansion chassis (nope, doesn't look like), or (b) if I could do a similar thing and cannibalise a 1050 to make an expansion chassis (looks difficult). I've got enough on my plate at the moment though :)

 

Edit: something to keep in mind, is that I'm like a guy that creates custom cars for a living, only in my case --- custom Ataris. It's a hobby, and something I do for enjoyment. As such I don't feel bond by other peoples requirements or preconceptions. My 'real' job comes with plenty of such restrictions, but that's like that for most people's jobs. It would of course be different if I was in business to sell this stuff to the public. Then the customer would in essence become my boss, and of course that would allow them to influence the design of what I sold (assuming I wanted to stay in business).

 

The 1088XEL morphed into a product that became a commodity item that is manufactured and sold by a 3rd party (although to be clear, by my choice, I receive no share of the proceeds). And while it was in development it became apparent to me that something like this was going to happen, and I also knew that other people were going to put in lots of personal time along the way. So because of that, it's design was allowed to be greatly influenced by other people, including ones like flashjazzcat that were investing considerable time and energy into the process.

 

Anyway long story short, not everything I create is going to be aimed at being a product for sale, and/or made compatible with someone else's device. Some of what I do will be just plain weird, a personal quest, and not always make sense to someone else's way of thinking. And I reserve the right to do that, just like I'm sure Ben Heck does with his creations. The proposed 1088XLD is one of those weird personal quest kind of things, so don't be surprised if the outcome doesn't always play well with others.

Which I totally get. And I also get that coming up with a great idea and then having 100 other people pile on and say "could it just do this as well" is probably irritating :) ... that said, if there's one thing I've learned over the last 50 years or so, it's that if you don't ask, you don't get. I'm fine with the answer being "no", that's up to you as the creator. I'd think I was being remiss if I didn't put in the request though :)

 

Simon.

 

[whoops, just saw your call to take it elsewhere - oh well, next time :]

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Simon I'll just hop in here with one more off topic post (which I'm allowed since I started this topic :grin: ).

 

All your points are well taken, and I do appreciate, listen, and consider all of them. Hence the reason I will add what you call the MPI+ in a pin header form. Or in essence an enhanced PBI having a few more signals such as the stereo mix inputs and the extra decoded outputs that are present on the 1088XEL MPBI. looks like it will be a 50 pin header, so my thinking would be to have the first 34 pins of it being an exact clone of the MPBI, and then the rest just adding in the 8 missing address lines plus some extra grounds, 5 VDC, and 12 VDC that will be uniquely present in this system (I figure it's easily gotten from the 9 VAC coming in, so why not, and it can be used for the color pot circuit as well). I believe this was your thinking when you made the MPBI+ suggestion.

 

So I'll start a new 1088XLD topic a bit later today, where we can continue this discussion if you like :) .

 

A new topic was created here.

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Finally bought a case for my 1088xel. Wanted to show off the board so bought a clear case from lcdmod. Hopefully I'll be able to easily mod the panels some more. Just put it together, more work to do of course.

 

 

20180720_232131.jpg?psid=1&width=3483&he

 

 

20180720_232119.jpg?psid=1&width=3483&he

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^Saw that clear case during my searches on Ebay and was curious if anyone would glom onto it. icon_smile.gif FPE, of course, does offer a clear perspex material option in their material offerings , if you want to print a back panel to match that, or , depending on your tastes, something more unique. icon_mrgreen.gif

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