464+ Mod

Started by Bryce, 15:34, 08 June 12

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TFM

Quote from: Bryce on 15:28, 09 November 12
Not unless someone invented black LEDs while I wasn't paying attention? :D

OMG! I tried them out, just switched one of them on, and immediately eveything was dark! So I stept on a C64 on the floor ;-)
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

Bryce

I hope you were able to wipe it off your shoe. I hate when I step in things like that :D

Bryce.

Bryce

Small update:
       I didn't have all that much beer last night, so the hands were steady enough to get some case drilling done. Time to mount the buttons and LEDs. The control panel is made from a few pieces of vero-board. The flat cable will have a connector on the end to make it a bit easier to open or remove the upper case.

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I had to keep the buttons and LEDs pretty compact, because there is a stabilising strut right in the middle of the area where the buttons and LEDs should go. Not only did I not want to remove this for stability reasons, but I could even use it to my advantage to mount the panel without any externally visible signs.

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The panel is held in place by two screws in the strut.

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As these buttons will probably get a lot of use, they need to be pretty solidly mounted.

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From the outside you just see buttons and LEDs. The three buttons and first three LEDs are for the HxC. The red LED is for the MegaFlash (write-mode) and the last green LED is for the USB AMX Mouse.

Bryce.

P.s. The beer can in the first picture is for Gryzors benefit :)

Bryce

#128
Hi All,
        this weekend I had the rare situation of two full days of CPC hardware time! So I wasted no time and managed to finish the 464+ mod! So here it is (sorry picture is a bit blurred, I need to make a better one):

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For those who haven't being paying attention, here's a summary of what's been done. Starting from the top left you can see the internal HxC with the SD Card that protrudes out the back (If Jeff or Lotharek are reading this: Sorry, I had to seriously canabalise the HxC to allow external LEDs etc). This floats above the main PCB on two brackets mounted to the Centronics port. Below that you can see the floppy controller components that were added to make this possible. Beside them are of course the extra 64K (hidden under the floppy cable). On the right above the tapedeck you can see the new external floppy port and the S-Video converter. The USB Port (for the mouse) is right beside the S-Video port, but it can't be seen in this picture because it's actually mounted in the top half of the case. On the right hand side of the tapedeck is a header mounted on the tapedeck frame that supplies all the connections needed for the buttons and LEDs, this makes opening and servicing the CPC slightly easier. There's 18 wires needed for the buttons and LEDs and 4 for the USB port, all of which are on the upper half of the case, a nightmare to open if you don't have a connector. Under the keyboard are the MegaFlash on the left and the AMX Mouse adapter in the centre. There is also a further possibility to add another expansion (extra RAM or whatever) under the keyboard.

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As requested by the owner, everything has been done extremely discretely, so that from the front of the CPC, there's barely any sign that anything has been changed.

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Of course, from the back you can see all the new ports: USB Mouse, S-Video, external floppy and the SD Card peeping out above the expansion port. The HxC Buttons and LEDs and the MegaFlash and AMX Mouse LEDs can be seen at the side and underneath there are switches to switch the AMX Mouse on/off, MegaFlash Read/write and to enable/disable ROMs 0 and 7 of the MegaFlash. Even with all this stuff packed inside, the cartridge slot, all existing ports and even the tapedeck are all still fully functional. I think I can safely say, that this is one cool CPC. I'm almost sorry to have to put it in the post. But first I will spend the next week testing everything to the limit, to make sure that everything works as expected.

Bryce.

db6128

Brilliant stuff. I've barely even seen the Plus range in the past, but they're very nice-looking machines. Especially, I must say, when you know that they've been upgraded inside to such an extent as this! :D
I just have to keep telling myself that I don't need to pay anyone to do things like this for me, because the only things I need to get are an external HxC and a SCART lead. Must stop self from thinking about all the other possibilities... Must! Stop!
Quote from: Devilmarkus on 14:04, 27 February 12
Quote from: ukmarkh on 12:38, 27 February 12[The owner of one of the few existing cartridges of Chase HQ 2] mentioned to me that unless someone could find a way to guarantee the code wouldn't be duplicated to anyone else, he wouldn't be interested.
Did he also say things like "My treasureeeeee" and is he a little grey guy?

Bryce

#130
It's tempting, but to be honest (hard to believe), most of my retro computers are completely original and mod-free, I use a few external expansions, but I rarely integrate stuff. I don't even own or use some of the expansions I've designed :D

Bryce.

beaker

Very nice! mr_lou is a lucky chap!

When are you taking orders for the 512k version with HxC screen built into case?  ;)

Bryce

#132
Personally, I would have done a few things differently, including putting a display on the HxC, but it's not my computer, MrLou wants to use the HxC Browser and no display. The 512K RAM might come later, there's still space inside for it.

I ran a few tests last night just to check the basic functions:

Extra RAM - Works
Disk Controller - Works
Tape loading - Works
MegaFlash - Read and Write - Works
AMX Mouse - Works
S-Video - Works
External Floppy port - Works

I have a question about the function of the HxC, maybe someone here can tell me. When I am using the HxC ROM software, I've configured the SD Card as required (Autoboot Config File and Autoboot.hfe installed). I was kind of expecting the thing to autoboot to something, but it doesn't. Is this because the Plus blocks it with the annoying F1/F2 menu? Or what exactly should happen differently. Up to now I've only ever used the HxC with a display.

Bryce.

beaker

It does look very nice as it is  :D

Sorry I can't help with the menu thing, I bought my 6128+ with a hacked Parados cart which I use with my 6128+, HxC and Megaflash  :(

Gryzor

Damn I'm jealous. If it wasn't for the poor CPC I'd hope for the thing to get lost in the mail :D


lynwen

Bryce, this post is amazing, really good job, it looks like that is what it should look like originally!


Would be good to have photo side by side of before and after of the back, I've never seen a cpc+ before  ::)

lynwen

Quote from: Bryce on 16:11, 17 November 12
From the outside you just see buttons and LEDs. The three buttons and first three LEDs are for the HxC. The red LED is for the MegaFlash (write-mode) and the last green LED is for the USB AMX Mouse.


What do the buttons do?

db6128

From the website by the manufacturer (note: not designer) of the HxC:
QuoteUser Interface:

       
  • 3 LEDs ("Power LED","Floppy access LED"," SDCard access LED ").
  • 3 buttons ("Next","Select/Eject","Previous").[/l][/l]
[/list]
Quote from: Devilmarkus on 14:04, 27 February 12
Quote from: ukmarkh on 12:38, 27 February 12[The owner of one of the few existing cartridges of Chase HQ 2] mentioned to me that unless someone could find a way to guarantee the code wouldn't be duplicated to anyone else, he wouldn't be interested.
Did he also say things like "My treasureeeeee" and is he a little grey guy?

lynwen

So how would you actually load a program from the SD card?

Bryce

The SD Card is loaded with HFE files. Each one is a virtual copy of an entire floppy disk. With the Next/Previous buttons you can scroll through the files (and sub-directories if you've sorted them that way) and the HxC will mount/un-mount the current file when you click select. As soon as a virtual disk is mounted, the CPC "sees it" as a normal disk in a normal drive (A or B depending on how it's installed / setup. So CAT / Load / RUN etc works as normal.

Bryce. 

Gryzor

I think you're forgetting the intermediate step: the SD card is mounted on the HxC floppy emulator we've been talking about, Lynwen. Bryce's instructions[nb] can you really do directories with the buttons? Didn't remember that!![/nb] apply to the HxC.

Bryce

Oh yeah, I kind of assumed we were talking about how to access files on an SD Card using a HxC.

Yes, pressing the select button when you are on a sub-directory enters that sub-directory. Pressing select on the "." file goes back out to the parent directory. I use A,B,C.... Directories to sort my games disks :)

Bryce.

Gryzor

Makes sense, it's only that I go the software way to access subdirs...

TFM

Shouldn't be a problem to use the HxC as kind of 'floppy speed' like hard disc, it seems to work for ST.
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

Gryzor

That is actually a brilliant use of the HxC on the ST; have been meaning to try it out, but no time... :(


beaker

You can do what now with the ST? I've just used a HxC in place of the floppy drive....

Gryzor

Oh yes. Check this:
HxC mount

QuoteHxCmount is a piece of software for your Atari ST that transform your HxC Floppy Emulator SD card into a hard disk emulator. Once loaded, you will be able to use a new disk letter (C: for example) exactly as a hard disk partition, the only thing is that the partition resides on a image file on your SD card.

Seriously cool!

lynwen

Hi Bryce if there is no LCD screen to tell the user what is currently selected how do they know what buttons to press (previous next select) or am I missing something?

TFM

Hi, you can use a software solution. For the CPC there is a ROM which allows you to select a DSK on the HxC.
TFM of FutureSoft
Also visit the CPC and Plus users favorite OS: FutureOS - The Revolution on CPC6128 and 6128Plus

lynwen

Quote from: TFM/FS on 02:55, 02 February 13
Hi, you can use a software solution. For the CPC there is a ROM which allows you to select a DSK on the HxC.

Thanks for the explanation that actually sounds like a better option than having an LCD screen

So much I don't know!

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