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19 minutes ago, MacRorie said:

Finally, in discussion with the Beta group, bare boards will be released to the public with a BoM with the caveat that any one who purchases them does it with the expectation that they have the necessary skills to troubleshoot the board as well as the physical dexterity to build it.

This is the right decision I think.  The amount of work to assemble a kit is only a few hours shy of building the full thing. 

 

Two choices; fully built or bare boards and a downloadable BOM. If you aren't up to building this without hand holding; buy a fully built one. 

 

Digikey, Mouser, RS etc. can supply the parts, we all know where the hard to source parts can be purchased ;) 

 

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Folks, the XLD is not a simple or easy build. There is more involved than poking components through a board and soldering. There are physical case mods and some pretty careful fitting of parts - especially around the front I/O boards - to get everything lined up and still electrically connected and also matching up to a custom front panel. It’s, to put a fine point on it, fiddly. 
 

And that’s assuming you get all the boards assembled correctly to begin with. It took work with an oscilloscope and 4 days of banging my head on the metaphorical desk to figure out I had installed a single diode in the clock circuit backwards before I could get my “finished” machine to boot. 
 

Having said that, a bare-board build with the BOM in hand is fully do-able. That’s how the beta team built our machines, after all. But it will take time, dedication and some reasonable degree of expertise in building and  troubleshooting. 

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I'd just like to say I haven't seen a complete one of these with a cart tunnel yet, who's going to be the first brave soul?

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9 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

I'd just like to say I haven't seen a complete one of these with a cart tunnel yet, who's going to be the first brave soul?

This might be a cue for @Dropcheck  :)

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27 minutes ago, Mr Robot said:

I'd just like to say I haven't seen a complete one of these with a cart tunnel yet, who's going to be the first brave soul?

I don't think you will.  A regular cart will not fit due to clearance issues.

42.thumb.jpg.349490f89557b770a74e9d3c6364a1a4.jpg

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4 minutes ago, Stephen said:

I don't think you will.  A regular cart will not fit due to clearance issues.

42.thumb.jpg.349490f89557b770a74e9d3c6364a1a4.jpg

I assume that means an extension cable would be needed to relocate the cart slot to a more viable location on the case. Maybe horizontally poking out the rear right side of the case (Dremel needed at that point)

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Sorry to disagree with all of you.

All I hear is: This is too complex to build, it’s better to buy it assembled.

Just one question to all of you who got a board for the beta program: If you had no XLD as of today, would you buy the fully assembled version ?

I am pretty sure to know the answer.

 

I disagree about the risk of failing to build the board. Of course it is hard to build the board. But this is a matter of risk. If i want to take the risk and I fail to build the board, that is my responsibility and my choice.

 

Believe it or not, I built 2 XEL which are working with absolutely no knowledge of electronics. I watched videos about soldering. I followed fjc video to build XEL. I asked for help on this forum. I get help at one point from tf_hh.

 

What is the point of this story: I learned many many things with this project. (Soldering, customizing the rear panel) This was a real challenge to do it. I could not achieve it without all your help but I am proud of my XEL. And I have built relations with some guys on this forum. And this is one very important point. I am not a consumer who need another computer. I have already too much Atari that I will probably never use. I want to be part of the adventure by trying to build my XLD.

 

What adventure will it be if i just pay for it ?

What would I learn in buying something fully assembled ?

What is the challenge in buying something fully assembled ?

What human relation do I buid when buying something ?

 

I am sure that all of you would have told me to not even think about building the XEL.

 

I hope you get my point.

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I suppose it's like buying a kit car vs one brand new from a dealership isn't it? There's the people who just like to drive the thing and others who like to know how it all works and put it together themselves, i'm the latter ;-)

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15 minutes ago, ebiguy said:

Sorry to disagree with all of you.

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.

.

 

Calm down Eric, you will be able to buy the board and make your own, there just won't be kits available. You will have to source the parts yourself. That, for me, was half the fun of the XEL build.

 

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Wow!!! I wasn't expecting such an emotionally charged response to not offering this in kit form. But do keep in mind that MacRorie is free to do as he chooses in this regard, and has my blessing and support. And to tell you the truth after kitting up a couple of boards for Jon (both the XEL and the XLD), I can honestly say it would probably almost have been easier to just build the damn things myself. And I wasn't even very nice and organized like MacRorie when I kitted those up (sorry Jon, but I gave you a rather mixed up mess of components).

 

Like Mr Robot just pointed out, the bare boards have now entered the equation. So if you still wish to do this DIY, then by all means have at it. Although as was also pointed out, there is no obligation that the original beta builders including myself will be there to hand hold if things go wrong. Not that we probably won't pop in and help where we can, but speaking for myself, it might not be as timely or forthcoming as some would like to see.

 

As the creator I love that people might like to duplicate my creation, and I thank you for that :) .

 

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1 hour ago, ebiguy said:

Sorry to disagree with all of you.

Everyone is free to have an opinion, no need to be sorry that you disagree.

1 hour ago, ebiguy said:

 

Just one question to all of you who got a board for the beta program: If you had no XLD as of today, would you buy the fully assembled version ?

I am pretty sure to know the answer.

From my point of view if I wasn't on the beta team I would absolutely buy a fully assembled version. The reason being that I believe in the hardware and would do whatever I could to obtain one. 

1 hour ago, ebiguy said:

I hope you get my point.

Your points are valid, and I applaud you for putting them in a well written and cogent post. Lately there have been some threads that have gotten out of hand with demands and requests. 

 

It really is good to see so much interest in the project and the desire for people to obtain the XLD. As you can see the decision was made to offer a fully built unit as well as a set of boards, so you will absolutely be able to obtain those and build your own from scratch. You will just have to do some of the work locating the BOM (which to be fair a lot of the beta group did too). 

 

I wish you the best of luck with the build and I'll be looking forward to seeing some pictures when you get it fired up. 

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I just want to take a moment to remind everyone as well that when @Albert implemented the new forum software, I took advantage of the new features to create a Club for XEL/XLD specific discussion or questions. I did this in the hopes that people can have a specific place to discuss their own personal issues, their own personal construction projects, whatever, in a personal thread they create themselves, where any concerns or problems won't get buried in general discussion or project threads and people who might be able to help will might miss a post.  

 

I don't know how active or useful this has been - there hasn't been a post in almost 2 months since I created the Club, but it's there and I at least intend to try to help people as much as possible and to the extent my own knowledge and experience will benefit others. As you may have seen on my posts in the XEL thread 18 months ago, or in my posts trying to get my Scott Baker Masterplay clone boards working, I am not shy about providing details of my own failures and mistakes - I think it's helpful to give a lot of info so that others searching for solutions to similar problems will have as much data as possible to get them through. So I'll certainly do that for anyone who wants to start a build thread in the Club or here in the main A8 forum. 

 

1 hour ago, ebiguy said:

Sorry to disagree with all of you.

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.

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I hope you get my point.

It's your right to disagree and your points are valid. You want the enjoyment of doing it yourself. I totally get that. I like building stuff - frankly the building is as much or more fun for me these day as using it, and nothing beats the satisfaction I've felt as the first successful boot of my XEL and XLD machines, the first nice sharp image from a UAV-modded 7800, or the super high-score I achieved using a 5200 thumbstick controller I built with my own parts, my own soldering iron, and my own hands. 

 

So that is to say, I get it. I think a lot of us do. That's why Marlin has decided to offer bare boards. You'll get those, plus your own wits and the help of the forum at large (for good, bad or indifferent!).  :) 

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21 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

I just want to take a moment to remind everyone as well that when @Albert implemented the new forum software, I took advantage of the new features to create a Club for XEL/XLD specific discussion or questions. I did this in the hopes that people can have a specific place to discuss their own personal issues, their own personal construction projects, whatever, in a personal thread they create themselves, where any concerns or problems won't get buried in general discussion or project threads and people who might be able to help will might miss a post.  

 

I don't know how active or useful this has been - there hasn't been a post in almost 2 months since I created the Club, but it's there and I at least intend to try to help people as much as possible and to the extent my own knowledge and experience will benefit others. As you may have seen on my posts in the XEL thread 18 months ago, or in my posts trying to get my Scott Baker Masterplay clone boards working, I am not shy about providing details of my own failures and mistakes - I think it's helpful to give a lot of info so that others searching for solutions to similar problems will have as much data as possible to get them through. So I'll certainly do that for anyone who wants to start a build thread in the Club or here in the main A8 forum. 

SO sorry - I keep forgetting about the club feature 😟.  Guilty for not posting there.

 

I will certainly do anything I can as far as providing detailed pictures, or help with assembly on this, for anyone deciding to do so.

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I for one can not wait to start on a build up of a XLD,  I'll be buying 2-3 board sets :)

Already have a full set of working Atari Chips,  not like the XEL build that had some questionable chips...

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3 hours ago, Mr Robot said:

I'd just like to say I haven't seen a complete one of these with a cart tunnel yet, who's going to be the first brave soul?

Not complete yet.  Still need some testing with the final board release, but nearly there.  Basically I moved the Midi connections to the rear and added a printer interface and Both's Wifi2Serial ESP07 setup.   The front space vacated by the midi connectors and a very precise positioning along with some internal case modification finally got enough room to close the lid.  This kind of mod is not for the faint of heart or a noob.   MacRorie will be offering this as a completed option.  At this point I am not confident releasing bare boards for this.  There's eprom and esp programming on top of the physical build and more case modification.  It's a level of complexity all it's own.  All in all this will be a five board upgrade in total with the need for a custom front and rear I/O panel. 

DSC_3298.jpg

DSC_3311.jpg

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Dropcheck has put a lot of thought and work into that board set. It'll be nice to see that in its completed form with all the custom panels in place.

 

I also just resumed work on a carrier board to mount a GBS-8200 RGB-to-VGA converter in the XLD, fed by either Sophia or the VBXE. However unlike just slapping in a stock GBS-8200 board and fiddling with the adjustments as well as dealing with the very looooong start-up sequence with the Chinese symbol splash screen, this will run custom firmware that makes the experience much more seamless and of a higher quality.

 

Not shown in this picture, is that I plan on having a small ribbon connected sub-board that will mount in place of one SIO jack and provide a high-density Dsub 15 VGA connector instead. This way no case mods would be required, and you would have a clean easy to connect rear panel VGA jack.

 

First prototype RGB2VGA board set (new board in the works).

GBS.JPG

 

I first talked about this project HERE and shared several images on the VGA monitor. Here's but one example.

 

closeups.jpg

 

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11 hours ago, Mr Robot said:

Calm down Eric, you will be able to buy the board and make your own, there just won't be kits available. You will have to source the parts yourself. That, for me, was half the fun of the XEL build.

 

 

I hope my previous post did not hurt anyone.

There was a timing issue when I posted it: I started to write the message but I was interrupted and then I submitted it later but in the meantime, the availability of the bare board was published.

Anyway, now you know my motivations.

Thanx again to McRorie to let us buy a bare board.

I was not aware of this Club that I joined a couple of hours ago. I am afraid I won’t be of any support for others but I am pleased to join.

People in this forum are just fantastic and just for that I am happy to be an Atari fan.

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18 hours ago, DrVenkman said:

I just want to take a moment to remind everyone as well that when @Albert implemented the new forum software, I took advantage of the new features to create a Club for XEL/XLD specific discussion or questions. I did this in the hopes that people can have a specific place to discuss their own personal issues, their own personal construction projects, whatever, in a personal thread they create themselves, where any concerns or problems won't get buried in general discussion or project threads and people who might be able to help will might miss a post.  

 

I am not sure which place to use ?

There is several threads in the forum and also the club so this is not easy to choose the best place.

For example, I am building the MIDI-XEL II for my 1088XEL.

I have a H60 case (the one with no DB9 on top of the rear panel).

And, of course, I already have a rear panel (one of the standard panel with DVI) that I ordered long before the availability of the MIDI board.

The issue is that I can not attach the MIDI-XEL II DB9 to the rear panel as the 2 DB9 are already used by the Joystick ports.

So, I have changed the layout of the rear panel to have a third DB9 where the MIDI-XEL II can be directly attached (not easy with the S2 daughter board) and I ordered a this new rear panel (not received yet).

I can share picture of it (when I receive it) and the file for the rear panel for other guys interested in it.

 

My question is which thread (or maybe the club) should I use to post picture and rear panel file in ?

It is related to 1088XEL but also to MIDI which has another thread on its own and the club seems to be there for personal issue (this fits well) but the solution is for everybody (which maybe fits better in this thread)

And the visibility of the club is a concern because, before today, I knew nothing about it and I would have missed important information if it was only in the club.

What is your recommendation for this particular situation ?

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1 hour ago, ebiguy said:

I am not sure which place to use ?

*

*

*

What is your recommendation for this particular situation ?

It is entirely up to you. My thought with creating a club was that if someone started a single thread about THEIR OWN PERSONAL BUILD, posts would be less likely to get missed. For instance, I see lots of things throughout the day but I am rarely home with the freedom to think about a thoughtful response, dig out pictures for comparison, etc. So by the time I get home, the main forum threads have often had dozens of new posts about all sorts of things and I often forget to follow up. 

 

However, an individual discussion thread in a club would likely have fewer posts, and so each person’s particular questions or comments are more likely to be seen by people with a particular interest who are members of the club. 

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On 8/16/2019 at 2:19 PM, Mr Robot said:

I'd just like to say I haven't seen a complete one of these with a cart tunnel yet, who's going to be the first brave soul?

In addition to Dropcheck’s work-in-progress “real” cartridge tunnel project for the XLD, there’s a second option I meant to post about yesterday and in the crush of things I simply forgot: an UNO Cart in the original small shell - or a simple bare board - juuuuuust fits into the cartridge connector on the main board and allows the top to close. Barely. :) 

 

There’s one caveat to this approach, one easy work-around and one more elaborate one I haven’t tried myself.

 

First, the caveat: there’s no access to the UNO reset button to get back to the ROM selection menu.

 

The easy workaround: power-cycle the XLD. That’s really not such a big deal, since you have to power-cycle a vintage Atari when you swap cartridges around anyway.

 

The more elaborate work-around I haven’t tried: remove the UNO reset button and wire in a push button switch. You can drill a hole into the 1050 case, or figure a way to run it to the edge of one of the existing vents, and use that to trigger a cart reset. 

 

There’s also really no downside to installing an UNO Cart permanently inside your XLD, since Jon’s new U1MB BIOS allows turning off cartridge ROM access entirely. I’ve been using my XLD all summer this way and it’s worked perfectly for me.

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10 minutes ago, DrVenkman said:

In addition to Dropcheck’s work-in-progress “real” cartridge tunnel project for the XLD, there’s a second option I meant to post about yesterday and in the crush of things I simply forgot: an UNO Cart in the original small shell - or a simple bare board - juuuuuust fits into the cartridge connector on the main board and allows the top to close. Barely. :) 

 

This topic brings me back to the previous discussion about the availability of the bare board.

I think the main board does not have the same status as the IO boards.

I mean that I understand that MyTek and McRorie keep their hands on the main board as it is the heart of the system and it should be the same in every system built.

But the IO boards are part of the customization. This is where the diversity starts.

This is what we already have with the 1088XEL where there exist many different rear panels, different locations of the CF cards on the case, different layout...

In the 1088XLD, I think the customization is here: I wish I can also put the MIDI at the rear because these 3 connectors are used once in a life (I speak for me).

That's why a remote board like the MIDI-XEL II interface board is very clever for the 1088XEL to avoid loosing space in the rear panel with 3 DIN.

On the 1088XLD side, it would be easier to get the material to avoid starting from scratch (for example, the IO board physical diagram file, the front panel file) in order to change them and create new ones.

In this kind of project, creation and invention are the key words. It would be a shame if all 1088XLD looked the same as if they were coming out of a big factory !

I like looking at other's 1088XEL picture for example. It gives some ideas about how to setup the system.

 

I don't know what is or what will be available for the 1088XLD so this is just a thought I wanted to share.

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9 minutes ago, ebiguy said:

these 3 connectors are used once in a life (I speak for me)

I may be able to undercut that frequency. :)

 

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16 minutes ago, flashjazzcat said:

I may be able to undercut that frequency. :)

 

Yes but you need more than one life to get reliable statistics

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9 hours ago, ebiguy said:

I am not sure which place to use ?

There is several threads in the forum and also the club so this is not easy to choose the best place.

For example, I am building the MIDI-XEL II for my 1088XEL.

I have a H60 case (the one with no DB9 on top of the rear panel).

And, of course, I already have a rear panel (one of the standard panel with DVI) that I ordered long before the availability of the MIDI board.

The issue is that I can not attach the MIDI-XEL II DB9 to the rear panel as the 2 DB9 are already used by the Joystick ports.

So, I have changed the layout of the rear panel to have a third DB9 where the MIDI-XEL II can be directly attached (not easy with the S2 daughter board) and I ordered a this new rear panel (not received yet).

I can share picture of it (when I receive it) and the file for the rear panel for other guys interested in it.

 

My question is which thread (or maybe the club) should I use to post picture and rear panel file in ?

It is related to 1088XEL but also to MIDI which has another thread on its own and the club seems to be there for personal issue (this fits well) but the solution is for everybody (which maybe fits better in this thread)

And the visibility of the club is a concern because, before today, I knew nothing about it and I would have missed important information if it was only in the club.

What is your recommendation for this particular situation ?

I would recommend this topic:

There are already several panel files by other builders that got uploaded there.

 

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I agree that the Level 2 I/O board should always be optional, and that there will eventually be variations made available by 3rd parties. As for adding a second deck of connectors on the rear, I have yet to see what is fully required to bring that into reality. I know Dropcheck for one is working on something, and we have seen the boards (they are real), but the finished result has yet to be seen, although I know she is working on it and she's pretty good, so I know whatever she comes up with will look great.

 

The 1088XLD version as shown is my imagineering at work, and as part of that I set some pretty strict requirements at the beginning of the project. Number one was to do the least possible modifications to the original 1050 plastics as humanly possible. In that aspect I think I succeeded. Number two was to make the end product look like something that could have come straight from the Atari factory. In that I also succeeded. And in keeping with that theme, choosing a pre-existing Atari product case made this look even more like a real Atari product instead of some modern piece of no brand name gear like the XEL. Not that the XEL isn't good, its just not recognizable as something Atari might have produced BITD.

 

I have said it before, and I will say it again this was a personal project this go around, and not something I thought would be seen outside of a show or on my desk. So for obvious reasons it reflects my wishes to a great degree. Over the years I got spoiled by hard drives, so I wanted something that had a mass storage device, and one that was as easy to use as something seen in a PC at the end of the 90's, as well as being open to the possibility of a graphical operating system like the Apple Mac or GS that could eventually access it. So for me the idea of a Cart or even a floppy drive was a very, very low priority. Hence the reason you don't see support for either directly built into my XLD or incorporated into its I/O boards. However I did leave the necessary hooks to allow this stuff to be added by 'other' individuals if they so chose, and of course we still have SIO. So without a built-in cartridge port what was going to reside in the extra space available on the front panel once all the normal stuff was accommodated? It wasn't a lot of space mind you, but then I thought MIDI, and why not. So MIDI and a Dual CF took up that level 2 space at the front, and that's where it ended up.

 

So here we are approaching the end of Summer 2019 just barely over 1 year since this project was first conceived. It's gone from a personal endeavour to something that will now be manufactured, thanks in large part to AtariAge members requesting that this happen, and even more so to MacRorie for taking it on. But please do keep in mind its origins, and the decisions that were made because of that. I personally like it very much, and it as well as a few more like it, will become my Atari machines of choice (sorry XELs, but you might get relegated to a shelf pretty soon).

 

Why MIDI?

People might question why I made MIDI so central to this system, but to me it's more than just about the music, although that will be very nice to have. The MIDI interface also gives us a very robust optically isolated network that can be expanded up to 16 computers or devices on a shared interconnected ring, that can reliably send and receive data up to 75 feet between hubs, with each hub acting as a repeater. Between this and the now very inexpensive stand-alone SIO2MIDI devices, our Atari's for the first time ever have the means to be networked for cheap, even crossing the boundary between 8-bit and ST. And all it'll take is applications to be written with this in mind, while MIDI-MAZE serves as a good example of how that could be done.

 

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