Sunday, March 7, 2010

A1200: It has began :)

I thought of posting about my A1200D PPC mod since I've been working it for quite some time and just recently thought of finishing it since all hardware was on a drawer waiting to be modded
My first will was putting as much as I can inside the desktop shell being as much beautiful, functional and securely I could!
Fitting inside A1200 Desktop shell the following...
  • Blizzard PPC, 060@60MHz/603+@330MHz (thanks to Stanislaw),
  • Blizzard Vision RTG Card,
  • Elbox FastATA mkIII IDE controller,
  • Subway USB controller,
  • Indivision 1200 SD/FF
  • UMON monitor AGA/RTG monitor switcher,
  • PicoPSU 120W,
  • Hard Drive
...clearly isn't an easy job, especially if you got similar experience (due to different clip-on pcb layers, much cabling and inefficient air flow for cooling)
Of course many people have done that in the past (as my friend r0jaws), but wanted to be able to have a more stable system with as much airflow as I could without sacrificing all the hardware I wanted to put inside in the first place
Since I'm a bit of a perfectionist, I asked the help of one close friend of mine that happens to be an electronic type of guy (Chris) who likes modding like me, but never used to have nor known much stuff about Amigas...

Let's cut to the chase then...

We started from the hard stuff, which meant putting PicoPSU (including Ian Stedman's ATX connector) inside the case. Since there aren't many spots available of putting them, I chose the place where the normal Power connector, TV Modulator and Composite connector exist as the best option. These connectors had to leave so away they went quickly!
Our only issue, was a capacitor that existed behind the Composite connector...

No harm done! Away he went carefully (with heat shrink tube) behind the 23pin RGB connector when it was attached with hot glue.

That way we were very comfortable in attaching Ian's connector (with some insulation base underneath pcb not to have connection with mobo parts)... Some low quality photos shot from my Blackberry that night follow:

You must have seen the blue connectors hehe. There are just 6 triple connectors which were soldered in a pcb to power supply anything needed (floppy, mobo in the floppy connector for extra power supply, fans for BVision, fans for the case etc). The first triple connector holds the Output that comes from PicoPSU. The other 5 triple connectors are Inputs (for devices) with +5V,GND and +12V to be able to get whatever power supply we want. The PCB of course was insulated with another PCB underneath and hot glue, and the whole PCB with connectors was hot glued in the case without disturbing the upper shell in closing.

For information, we putted it that way (along with the strapped cables) so that it doesn't disturb not even by mistake, keyboard's flat ribbon cable since I wanted to be totally free.

I discovered that after connecting PicoPSU's power cables underneath mobo (in old power connectors place)... that it was leaving me a really nice empty spot!!! Time for more hackery... and what a hackery! Kinda difficult to find exactly what I want for the job ... Well, after many hours of research... EUREKA!!!

Of course I removed the metal frame and also cut the plastic brackets. Dremel was used to trim it enough for my taste. One problem was that since the insulation was pretty thick, I couldn't bend the cable as much as I wanted... That's why I removed some insulation at specific spots that I wanted, moved the cable where I wanted, and glued it with Hot glue :O Some photos presented bellow:

Nice huh? Clearly, the connector sits ONLY to mobo's pcb and not to the rest shell (making that way, the removal of the mobo easily in case some hackeries will be needed lol).
If you were observing, you should have saw 2 more stuff in the pictures.

1. One black thick heat shrink tube strapped to the wires of PicoPSU... through it, some cables go to U12 chip soldered and safely glued with hot glue... Looks familiar?
Yep, it's DJBase's S-VHS adaptor that I simply insulated with some heat shrink tube for safety

And just for the external satisfactory...

(I haven't figured it out yet what I'll put in old's TV Modulator hole but I'll find something, or I'll close it beautifully in the future)

2. Ok, the first connector goes where the old Power Connector was... the second one where does it head to???

Time for the next hackery...
Right from BPPC I made a square hole to host the second double USB header along with a hole to host the button that will make the switching of between RTG/AGA through UMON! I have to confess that this was the most time consuming and hard hack in this project for it to be exactly in the size needed for the USB header. Crazy cutting with Dremel and lot of patience. In the end... It was awesome!!!

As the previous header, some insulation was cut to be able to bend the wire since being thick. Don't worry I'll insulate it later on. The black button in the right side is the Power switch (Push-on switch).

Since you saw UMON's switch... that just gives +5V to UMON (bypassing the horrible default switch with the double color LED of UMON) you ought to see the hacked and naked UMON into the expansion slot

Yep, it resides along with the power connector and the push-on Power button.

Note: You can't see it clearly, but if you look carefully, you'll see the necessary cutting in the metal plate that holds the floppy drive into position, so non of the wires that pass underneath the floppy will interfere

Continuing, i present one picture of UMON connected with the Indivision through the total custom connection inside the heat shrink tube. The truth was that the selected mod pretty time consuming since the VGA connectors of Indivision and UMON were huge and horrible inside the case so they had to be removed! Thats why we checked with a multimeter which cable goes to where carefully... cutted the connectors and connected one-by-one the ribbon cables with heatgun and heat shrink tube per connection! In the end, we tested the cabling with multimeter again and once we were sure of our work... we also included a small pcb just to hold the connections inside the external heat shrink tube. That's what the result was...

It also made it more easy to sit on mobo with hot glue!

Next, I added BVision it's own ribbon that followed Indivision's ribbon path (Yeah I know I'm a fan of Zorro LOL)...

Let's see if the floppy with the rest cabling fits???

Oh yeah, they fit like a glove

You can get a panoramic view with everything on (except of my CF to IDE 44pin female angled adaptor that will sit on top of FastATA, and the upper shell with the fans).

Also one more photo (although a little blurry) with the back side of the case with all the custom mods.

The only thing that's left, is to cut with the Dremel the metal frame of the keyboard which touches 3 spots without being able to sit firmly in the predefined place...

  1. Kickstart ROM (the lower one) sine it got lot higher with the double Kickstart sockets to be able to fit with BVision and Indivision. (Note: I already changed the sockets with better/more expensive ones which instead of flat pinned, they're round pinned with gold sockets, that apart from quality are half milimeter thiner that the old ones... something that fitted just fine for my use!)
  2. Lower Part of Subway USB (some capacitors)
  3. One mini heatsing that resided on one chip that gets really hot on BPPC.

I'll update you with extra information, and some last photos and videos once I got the case closed and Boot in 3.9, 4.0 and MOS that already run just fine in my 16GB CF card :P

Just for info, I present 3 updated Photos from miggy in use...

16GB CF Card in CF2IDE 44pin angled adapter (on top of FastATA):

Cybergraphx4 Boot Pic :P

OS 3.9 + AfAOS 4.6...

For those who wonder how on earth the upper shell gonna close...

As I said earlier... keyboard touches kickstart roms and the lower part of Subway (some capacitors) making unable to sit firmly in the prefefined position. Not to mention... that also touches one mini heatsink that I've putted on top of a chip that gets really hot on BPPC.
Today was Dremel's day... (Ι gave it a first spin also since I got a new original one hehe)
Here are the results:

I thought it was fine and fits perfectly and securely
One thing that always bothered me was the floppy holster which always made my Memory Simms not being able to fit (excpet from one hyper slim that I got). So we also cut here to be just fine:

At last!!! lower shell is ready (changed also the 2 fans in BVision with 2x4cm, 14db which simply are totally silent), also both Memory Simms are mounted without any issues, and of course my beloved mini heatsink mounted as it should be (persistence huh?) lol.

Lastly, here's the keyboard mounted and connected without absolutely no problem!!! Upper shell was tested and everything close perfectly. I must supply it though with 2 more silent fans which you'll see in a next update... That's all for now

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