Sunday, October 6, 2013

Raspberry Pi: Some accesories and mods for my Pi

Not something Amiga related by all means, but since I love my Pi I thought about sharing some mods I done some days ago.

Well my Pi isn't something special. It's a normal Rev.B from the first batch.

  • It uses a tiny USB WiFi NIC for connecting to my home network.
  • It's housed in a ModMyPi case.
  • It also uses a 16GB MicroSD card for it's OS via an MicroSD card adaptor

Everything's fine so far :)

Some time ago I pledged for a nice and tiny ON/OFF switch adapter for the Raspberry Pi. You can see the Kickstarter page here:

After the project being funded, sadly I haven't received anything, so I email Mausberry Circuits where they were very polite and send me another one, and also one more switch of their new line for free :) Lotsa kudos guys! Their switches was these...

I decided to use the second switch they sent me cause it was mounting directly to the Pi, and the same PSU (micro USB) plug was also needed to power the switch. Win-Win situation. After giving it a test on my Pi and everything was working... I desoldered the header for the GPIO pins, and soldered the wires directly to the mini PCB.

Also I soldered both it's wires to pins 23-24 of GPIO connector as I wouldn't use them at all (at least for now). I can desolder these anyway whenever I want as it's too damn easy :)

So this is how it looks with the power switch attached :)

Some time ago I got an Sony Vaio US UMPC which had 2xZIF HD's. One 32GB SSD and one 40GB HD. As I wanted to increase my storage, I got an 128GB SSD so I had both these ZIF storages sitting doing nothing. Ofc, because I always want to use spare stuff, I ordered some time ago the appropriate ZIF2IDE and also ZIF2USB adapters to be able to setup and use these ZIF HDs for other machines.

Time has come and I discovered that the 32GB SSD HD would be awesome as a external storage for my Pi. If only it could fit inside that tiny case!!! (Damn I shouldn't have said that...)

I saw that I could remove the innards of the SSD by simply removing 4x screws on the back of the metal case. That was it! The SSD was really thin and awesome! After putting the thin ribbon and positioning carefully the ZIF2USB adapter, everything was placed safely inside (ofc some insulation with tape was put for safety) :)

You must have seen the custom USB cable that was stripped from a USB to Mini USB cable that I had after cutting it, making a small hole to the case.
WHY DID HE MADE A HOLE ON THE CASE (you might wonder).
Well for three reasons actually...
1. First because there isn't a TINY bitsy space or hole in order to bring the cable
2. Because there isn't a TINY bitsy space or hole in the PCB in order to bring the cable on the bottom side of the PCB if I wanted to solder it directly to the USB connector.
3. Because bringing a cable outside, could give me the possibility to just disable it, and mount the USB connector to a PC/Amiga etc and use it as an external 32GB HD :)

So this is what the hole looks like and this is how the USB cable is connected simply in the original connector.
Whenever I want, I simply disconnect the USB cable (even with Pi powered off) and attach it to anywhere I want as a mass storage device :)

This is how it looks from the outside... It's tiny and powerful shiz LOL.

And this is my Pi working and seeing perfectly the 32GB NTFS partition...

I hope you like it (although non Amigish) :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

A600: Some recent upgrades and additions

Hey my friends,

It's being a long time since I posted but I was rather busy mostly from work. Thankfully I never stopped tinkering my lovely Amigas but the time was limited sadly.
Also two weeks ago the AmigaHellas website hosted the 12th Amigathering here in Greece in which my A600 took place. That will be covered in a next article though.

For some time I wanted to put some labels for the HxC buttons, the MicroSD lock switch, the NMI switch, and the Kickstart switch. Not something important but I didn't like only me knowing what everything does :)
Maybe in the future I will make something else but for the time being, I decided to print the labels using blank white stickers and this is how it looks:

In the following picture you can see the Pseudo eject floppy button that hosts the MicroSD card and also right to it the Lock/Unlock switch for the MicroSD Card. On the bottom you can see the 3x push-on switches that control the HxC SD Floppy Emulator.

Here you can see the switch for selecting either Kickstart 1.3 or a special 512KB custom version of Kickstart 3.9. Also on the bottom you can see the NMI switch that controls the HRTMon module.

Not anything fancy, but at least now the mods are more informative lol.

Apart from that I also ordered a new Indivision ECS and an A604n adapter as the second A600 I have was naked (although it has the Furia S628 acclelerator) and I want her ready for either the new Vampire 600 FPGA accelerator which will be hosted in another article, or the new Furia 020/FPU accelerator that will be hosted in another article as well :)
Damn, I can never have enough A600s :)

Anyway... I decided to put both the new and shiny adapter in my current A600 beast replacing my old Indivision and A604. Here is how they look:

So here are the tiny and non important additions to my beloved miggy. In the next article I'm gonna show some pictures from the Amigathering 2013.

Stay tuned :)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

A500: A590 SCSI controller mods

Hey peepz.

Since I haven't done anything important (except softwarewise) on my lovely Amigas I though about testing for fun an A590 that I have (which might be the host of my future FPGA Arcade or not).
As I didn't have an external PSU to test it, I thought of performing the Selfpowered mod as the well known website clearly explains:

This is how the mod looks on my A590

As I don't have a SCSI HD and because I had a spare PCD-50B SCSI Multicard Reader so I thought about attaching this instead :)
Ofc in order for all LUNS to be fully recognized (and not only the first LUN that is the PCMCIA port) you need to switch the Pin 4 of the Dip switch to ON!
Manual as long as BBOAH say that it's reserved but Mechware after fiddling around he realized that Pin 4 enabled parity!

Anyway, I put some spacers by cutting some hotglue material (lol) and glued them in place. It doesn't look bad :)

After upgrading my Version 6.6 EPROMS to 7.0 (regards to my Willem) we were down to business.
Success, Power led opened and also my custom ClassicWB 68k booted just fine! :)

Time to remove the humongous thick Fan and put a silent Scythe/Kaze 40x40x10mm fan instead.

And voila. Mod is ready and A590 works like a charm :)

Here are some screenshots from the ClassicWB 68k running on my A590.

Dunno if I'm gonna keep that in the future, but at least I know it's working properly.
Only annoying part is that A590 blinks 30 times before CF boots but I guess that's something to do with searching through the other SCSI ID and LUNS which I haven't tinkered on how to disable (if possible).
Also I haven't put any passive termination which might be the cause as well (sorry I didn't have 25pin terminator handy).

That's all for now :)

Friday, May 31, 2013

A600: Mounting HxC & Floppy Internally (Part 4)

Hey my friends...

After my last article about my dual floppy internal mod I had two more mods in order to finalize this project.
The first was to do something about the slim floppy's eject button that was really small and didn't give enough room to press it. Also it needed some alteration to the case in order to be able to push it :)

So... I took the eject button and attached it to a spare beige floppy button from a PC drive that I had lying around. With some instant glue and hotglue for the rest... it was easy.

The result was really nice as you can see. This is how it looks when there is no floppy inside...

...and this is how it looks when the floppy is inside. You can see that the eject button is inline with the original eject button that now hosts the MicroSD card as you saw on my previous article.

The hard part now as always is to cut the upper case, in order for the eject button to be usable :)
Hard it was due to the fact that you can't use a dremel as the area is really tight and because there is the plastic from the floppys hole's lower part that gets in the way.
Lots of cautious cutting and sanding and this is how it went.

Not bad at all. After attaching the upper to the lower case this is how it looks when no floppy is inserted...

...and this is how it looks a floppy disk inserted.

From the side this is the whole picture of the mods. Both eject buttons one of which is the MicroSD slot and the lock switch :)

The first mod was done and the only mod in order for the project to be finalized was the LCD screen mounting.
I left this task for the end because I wanted to think about it a lot as cutting the upper case was always the worst thing as it's something that is always viewable. Something ugly or not properly mounted would cause me grief (LOL).
So... after measuring exactly where to put the LCD horizontal-wise (not to interfere with the lower side and the HxC-Floppy combo, I needed to find the best vertical alignment for best visual feeling.
My measuring showed that the cut I needed to do, had the same height as the A600 logo alas I thought about putting it EXACTLY at the same orientation verticaly! That was it :)
I made the necessary markings with a pencil...

...and then I begin cutting with a blade as dremeling was kind risky for melting the plastic as it's a 3mm height.

After a lot of effort... the cut was done. You can see the initial cut without any sanding.

Some may have noticed it, some may not... but as everyone makes mistakes... I cut by mistake a small area next to the upper right of the cut... You can see it by flash but still is annoying. I tried to cover it as much I could but still is noticeable with a flash or bright light. Not something too important but annoying nontheless. I might give it some try with a dremel and some soft brush but for now I'll leave as it is (Grrrr).

Anyway... in the meantime, I ordered a Plexi Glass from a nearby store as I wanted a laser cut of exactly 3.9x1.3mm (and 3mm thickness) as I wanted to fill the hole of the cut. The plexi glass was ready the next day so I sanded the cut as much as it required for the plexi glass to fit nicely! What a pain in the butt that was!!!
This was the final cut ready for the plexi glass to be mounted.

After applying some careful drops of instant glue I attached the plexi glass on the case and it fitted like a glove!

Because the LCD screen has a black frame by default, I didn't like how it would look underneath the plexi glass so I thought about spraying it with a light beige color. I had a spray ready from my A4000 custom bezel and this is how the frame turned out after 2 coats of spray. Of course I dismantled the whole LCD in parts (I didn't think it would play after this but I had a spare one so I had to try).

After everything was ready and the spray was dry, I hotglued carefully the LCD in place.

And VOILA! This is how the LCD looks now :)

I wanted to try it as soon as possible so AT LAST I wanted to close the case! The keyboard ribbon was put in place and then the custom LCD connector was attached to the LCD screen.

Case closed and I fired up the miggy!!! W00h00!

Everything worked like a charm and I was a happy man! Mission accomplished after a month of work :)
You can see now how it looks completed

Even the plastic protector had room for the Slim floppy's eject button (this was by pure luck as I was thinking to also mod the case). Awesome stuff!

This concludes this custom mod for fitting internally both an HxC SD floppy emulator and a slim floppy drive.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.