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General Category => Amstrad CPC hardware => Topic started by: Bryce on 14:20, 25 October 14

Title: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:20, 25 October 14
Hi all,
     I decided to start my "Winter project" and as discussed in an earlier thread, I thought I'd take a go at making a decent CPC Laptop. So here's the plan...

The Laptop I've chosen is a Compaq LTE Lite/25E:

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Craigsbar kindly sorted out two 6128+ PCBs, both of which are supposedly fried, but I'm hoping to get at least one of them back to life. If I get one working, here's plan-of-attack:

1 - Get one of the plus PCBs working.
2 - Swap LCD and build a controller interface (it currently has a mono 10in which I need to swap to colour).
3 - Find some way of using the laptop keyboard with a CPC.
4 - Build an 18V to 5V / 12V switch-mode PSU so that I can use the original Laptop PSU.
5 - Beat the PCB and new bits into the laptop case.
6 - Build an interface to allow that cool trackball in the lid to work as an AMX mouse.
7 - Add the expansions: X-mem and HxC - Possibly a CPC booster with bluetooth module too.

Other than that my goals are: All original CPC ports available at the back. No external parts. Laptop must be closeable as designed.
Use original power button, use the original LED points for the HxC, power and AMX LEDs, ie: it should look like original on the outside, except for an Amstrad badge :). I've dropped the idea of using the laptop batteries because the originals are both dead. I also don't think I can get the floppy to fit inside, so the HxC will replace it. I will hardwire a cartridge inside with AmsDOS/ParaDOS.

This will be a looooong project, but I'll document it here as I progress.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Dr Tiger Ninestein on 14:45, 25 October 14
Nice one Bryce, can't wait to see the finished product.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:22, 25 October 14
Just started the investigation... Unfortunately the previous owner or person who attempted to repair it didn't own a Torx screwdriver, so it took a while to get the damaged screws out, but here's what's inside:

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At the top you can see the computer module, below from left to right is the battery (12V 2.2AHr - now 0AHr), in the middle is a dinky Seagate ST9144A (120MB 44pin IDE, haven't checked whether there's anything on it yet) and on the right a Citizen VIDA-15B (26pin, but with ready signal and seems to work fine). Just incase there's any Compaq fans out there, cursing my children because I'm destroying a perfectly good laptop, I'm not - It's fried. The LCD inverter is dead, the flat cable to the lid is torn and the power PCB is fried. Here's the space I have inside. It's 270mm wide, 200mm deep and 25mm height, so a plus PCB will fit inside if I remove the cartridge riser and cut off the "finger" with the external floppy connector. There's some internal walls that I'll have to remove and I might need to add some other support then for the keyboard. Luckily the keyboard mounting point are on the case and not on the PCB like newer laptops.

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10in my arse! The viewable screen area is 8.4in diagnal. The lid is 20mm deep though, so any modern LCD will fit inside. On the right you can see the inverter which will be scraped and below it is the trackball - Seperate PCB: Win! Alps controller, probably RS232 or PS/2: Second win!

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The keyboard is rather flat with a membrane that obviously won't match the CPC matrix, so I'm thinking of making a PCB with microswitches to lay under it, hopefully there's enough space for that.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 16:06, 25 October 14
Just in case anyones interested, here's the actual PC that was inside that module:

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That black box is a 7.2V battery, there's also a CR2430 for the RTC and BIOS. There's three PCBs sandwiched on top of each other. On the second picture you can see the socket for a co-pro which wasn't fitted. Right underneath it is the 386SL with zero cooling :D What were they thinking! (Starting to sound like Dave in one of his EEVBlog teardowns, must resist using words like Fair-dinkum, Hum-dinger and Bobby-dazzler :D - Greetings Dave). You can see the regulator under that plastic strip too. It's made to be easily replaceable through a door on the side, so they obviously weren't convinced about its reliability, and rightly so, this one is fried too.

But enough waffling about 386s, time to check out the two 6128+ PCBs that arrived this morning :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 18:08, 26 October 14
Quick update: After the disappointment of the first donor PCB having a dodgy ASIC, I took a look at the second one and hoped it wouldn't be the same. It had some strange mod which involved several cut tracks, jumper wires to the back of the floppy port and a chip (74LS32) piggy-backed onto IC7 (74HC14 which also had a pin cut). Not sure what this mod did, but because of all the messing about on the PCB and the fact that the CPU, AY and NR02 had all been removed from the board, I though this would be in a worse state than the first one. However, it booted to a blue border with yellow window - A classic sign of dead RAM in the lower 64K. One quick swap later and re-installing an AY and CPU (I also replaced the cut 74HC14 just for good measure) and we have a fully working plus PCB!! Yaaaa the laptop mod can continue! The floppy hardware works, but it seems the upper 64K is dead too, so I need to swap that later when I have time.

Next step after that is to remove the right section of the PCB (the bit with the floppy port and filter with red wires). Without removing that it wouldn't fit in the case. Luckily this can be removed as it only contains the wires to the port (no longer needed) and a single power track which I can bridge.

Bryce.

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: EgoTrip on 18:26, 26 October 14
Can I have it when its done?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 18:35, 26 October 14
Ehhh, no :)

My main reason for building it is because I want to be able to write software for  hardware expansions when I'm away from home. I could write it on an emulator of course, but I can only test it with the expansion connected, which isn't possible with an emulator.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 18:37, 26 October 14
Yay, at least a 50%success rate. The piggyback on the disc circuitry is the sts copymod, as used by xexor to slam the brakes on the drive motor to make the 8k sector discs copyable and it works a treat.

I have one in my main 6128plus as well.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: EgoTrip on 18:39, 26 October 14
Worth an ask  :D


If its a success, how much would it set someone back for you to build another for them? I doubt I'll ever have the money spare (CPC is pretty low down the list tbh, especially with decent emulation available) but its worth finding out in case someone I know wins the lottery and is generous towards me with their winnings.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 20:14, 26 October 14
Compliments Bryce! This looks very doable. My biggest concern is actually to get the RGB from the 6128 Plus to the LCD screen. But glad to see that the PCB works.  :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 20:32, 26 October 14
Yessss. Pinning this, a must-watch.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 20:50, 26 October 14
@egotrip : Until it's finished I've no idea what it will cost :)

Compliments Bryce! This looks very doable. My biggest concern is actually to get the RGB from the 6128 Plus to the LCD screen. But glad to see that the PCB works.  :)

Actually the LCD (RGB to LVDS) is the least of my worries, I've done stuff like this before. The keyboard is going to be the real headache.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Zoe Robinson on 21:20, 26 October 14
This is such a cool project. Makes me wish I knew what the hell half of what you were talking about meant, so I could do it too. :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: MacDeath on 22:01, 26 October 14
Bryce... please... stop this retro-techno-porn madness...
I'm just coming back from the "µAlchimie 2014" retrocomputer party near my home, with Overflow and Hermol...

And now I see that?

 I... I...

www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pXfHLUlZf4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pXfHLUlZf4#ws)

(one more thing : I'm gonna pay by check...)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 23:17, 26 October 14
For the keyboard there are some solutions already, I just don't know if it helps in this case...
Can't find a link, but somebody should know.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:50, 26 October 14
For the keyboard there are some solutions already, I just don't know if it helps in this case...
Can't find a link, but somebody should know.

Really? We're not talking PS/2 or anything here. It's a completely unknown passive matrix with a flat cable.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 23:53, 26 October 14
Really? We're not talking PS/2 or anything here. It's a completely unknown passive matrix with a flat cable.

Bryce.
Is anyone running a book on this? Can I have €5 on Bryce solves the keyboard by...... The end of the week?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 00:03, 27 October 14
Nah, you'd loose your €5 :) I'm looking at the LCD possibilities at the moment. I've found a few 8.4in LCD but they are all 640x480. This doesn't give you enough pixels for mode 2. The 640 on the LCD includes the border, so the actual pixels for the screen would be less than the CPC resolution which could cause a blurred picture. There doesn't seem to be 800x600 in 8.4in, just 8in, so the screen would loose 8mm horizontally and about 12mm vertically. I think I'd prefer slightly smaller but sharper? What do you guys think? 9in seem to be all widescreen versions, I definitely want it to be 4:3 aspect ratio. 10in 4:3 are around, but the cost starts to climb expotentially.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 05:10, 27 October 14
Well, sleep over it, check out the net (even ebay) and maybe you find such a screen. Maybe it's not produced any longer but somewhere available!?  :)

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 10:01, 27 October 14
8.4" VGA screen (640*480) : G6486H-FF
8.4" SVGA screen (800*600) : G084SN03

The first should allow you to not lose in display size by full removing left/right borders and display fine 256*2xx games.
The second will add a big border... But, allow a nerd touchscreen feature. (sure, the first is the best choice for a laptop)

About the keyboard, yes, building a PCB using the good matrix with micro-switches is fine, because that should allow you to add on its some extra electronics to manage your connectors.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:45, 27 October 14
8.4" VGA screen (640*480) : G6486H-FF
8.4" SVGA screen (800*600) : G084SN03

The first should allow you to not lose in display size by full removing left/right borders and display fine 256*2xx games.
The second will add a big border... But, allow a nerd touchscreen feature. (sure, the first is the best choice for a laptop)

About the keyboard, yes, building a PCB using the good matrix with micro-switches is fine, because that should allow you to add on its some extra electronics to manage your connectors.

Thanks I'll check out those screens. I'd still prefer to go for 800x600, just because it will give a less blocky picture with no "blended" pixels.
My plan with the keyboard has a few other advantages too. I can assign some of the un-needed keys to things like HxC control and maybe even a digital volume control :) I have some 0.5mm high micro-switches that I think will work, I just need to remove the 40+ tiny screws from the back of the keyboard to find out how much space I have inside. :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: MacDeath on 14:34, 27 October 14
I guess too a 800x600 display would be better for a CPC fullscreen-able display.

384x280... basically it is 400x300 so you can be sure it will fit well, magnify in 2x2 (mode1) and just get a little border.
but of course speccy's 256x192 would look like post-stamp unless you then switch into a 3x3 magnification (not good for Mode2 though).

Of course you would have almost the same border as on real CPC screen (even bigger) and always those lines on the top/bottom, on most softwares, but Batman Demo-able screen is good.
And if you can arrange a manualswitch to be able to go the 3x3 way in case of speccy-ports or spanish games (smaller displays) this could be great.
That's the point : if you can get a nice 800x600 you should try to have different magnification settings and it will be the most accurate option then.

With a 640x480... you can't actually display proper fullscreen unless 1x1 pixels or really stick to native CPC display (640x200)... still can have slightly upgraded vertical (y=240 pixels)

Yeah, CPC was "almost 800x600" before it even existed...


To me, the "full screen" capability of the CPC was perhaps its biggest feature despite not being really a feature to begin with but a by-product of the hardware.

CPC really is the 8bit computer with biggest actual resolution of its generation...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:48, 27 October 14
The border ratio won't change no matter what mode you use. LCD displays on PCs are pixel-for-pixel, but connecting one to an analogue signal means the picture is resampled and slapped up on the screen exactly as it would look on the monitor. So the border stays the same, but the 640 pixels are then shown across about 580 pixels through a method of averaging. 640x480 might be ok in mode 2, but you have less pixels than the CPC is producing, 800x600 will definitely give you a sharper picture.

Murphys Law seems to effect LCD purchases too by the way. I can buy a 15.6" widescreen panel for €12, but a 800x600 8.4" panel will set me back about €80 and that's without having built the controller - turning out to be an expensive screen.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 18:16, 27 October 14
The idea with a 640x480 panel is more to be able to keep the 1:1 pixel ratio and remove those big borders that finally made the picture so small on a CTM. (and even smallest on a 8" screen)  :D
Sure, overscan screens will be cut, but... overscan means what it mean.  ;D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 18:20, 27 October 14
Nice idea...
I also think about doing the same with my old Compaq Armada... But as I have no idea, how to connect the LCD display, I forgot the idea ;)

It has a 1024x768 LCD display...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 19:06, 27 October 14
Yes, connection of the LCD is the problem for me too. Anything else would be no problem.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 21:39, 27 October 14
The idea with a 640x480 panel is more to be able to keep the 1:1 pixel ratio and remove those big borders that finally made the picture so small on a CTM. (and even smallest on a 8" screen)  :D
Sure, overscan screens will be cut, but... overscan means what it mean.  ;D

How would a 640x480 panel reduce the borders? It would still display the main window / border in the same ratio as the CPC did. I would have to intercept and modify the analogue signal to remove any border. Massively complicated. A 640x480 LCD won't give a 1:1 pixel ratio, it will reduce the entire "picture" which includes the borders in the same ratio as always.

Bryce.

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 21:40, 27 October 14
Nice idea...
I also think about doing the same with my old Compaq Armada... But as I have no idea, how to connect the LCD display, I forgot the idea ;)

It has a 1024x768 LCD display...

Looks like a cool Laptop to convert. How big is the screen and how deep is the lower section? Will a plus PCB fit inside?

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 21:44, 27 October 14
Just a thought. When did all these light (as in colour not weight) beige laptops die out in favour of the black, impossible to type on in the dark, machines we have today? At least my mbp has an illuminated keyboard to resolve that issue.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 21:44, 27 October 14
Or maybe a PCB of the cost down CPC? Could it be an alternative to the Plus PCB?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 21:48, 27 October 14
Or maybe a PCB of the cost down CPC? Could it be an alternative to the Plus PCB?

Yes it smaller, but I really wanted the plus advantages. My plan at the moment is to have a "permanent cartridge" (with disable switch) inside, but under the expansion cover on the right I will have a cartridge port for playing games :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 22:31, 27 October 14
How would a 640x480 panel reduce the borders? It would still display the main window / border in the same ratio as the CPC did.
Hum... You can't crop the picture area?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 23:20, 27 October 14
Looks like a cool Laptop to convert. How big is the screen and how deep is the lower section? Will a plus PCB fit inside?

The display is about 15" I think... Max. resolution is 1024x768px.
I have no real idea if the plus PCB would match, I once opened the laptop but just to swap the cmos battery. (It's hard to find under all these little boards which are put one on another etc...)
I'm sure you need to remove the drive, and also the harddrive. (I have both: CD-Rom and also 3,5" floppy drive, you can swap these components)

Actually I still have W2K and W98 running on it. (P-I, 200mhz)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:21, 27 October 14
@TotO (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=290)
No, pretty difficult to do actually. Would probably mean reprogramming the LVDS video processor, not something I want to take on. They are documented all that good either.

I've been checking out the G084SN03 which you suggested. This would be perfect, it would even fit in the original laptop LCD mounting bracket! But there's several versions. Version 0 to 2 all have CCFL backlights, the entire display, inverter and controller pull almost 4A! Version 3 is with LED Backlight and the entire setup pulls barely 600mA. So obviously I'd prefer a V3, but they are rarer and twice the price of the others (wrong side of €100). I don't suppose you have a cheap source to suggest? :D

Bryce.
 
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 23:28, 27 October 14
Simpliest way to transform a laptop into a CPC (plus):

Use Win98 (Or, in my case, WinMe)
Remove Explorer.exe in system.ini and replace by WinApe.exe (Executioner compiled a special version for me, which has the ability to shutdown the stupid win-thing when you quit it)

Result:

Erstellt von Camtasia Studio 8 (http://cpc-live.com/cpc-laptop/)

:P
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:33, 27 October 14
The display is about 15" I think... Max. resolution is 1024x768px.
I have no real idea if the plus PCB would match, I once opened the laptop but just to swap the cmos battery. (It's hard to find under all these little boards which are put one on another etc...)
I'm sure you need to remove the drive, and also the harddrive. (I have both: CD-Rom and also 3,5" floppy drive, you can swap these components)

Actually I still have W2K and W98 running on it. (P-I, 200mhz)

Most LCDs are easy to find controller boards for. Just check the model number (on a sticker on the back of the LCD panel). Then search for that number and "controller" on ebay. They cost about €30 or so. That gives you a VGA to LVDS (50pin flat cable) converter. I intend to use my S-video adapter feeding one of those €16 S-video to VGA converters. I know that's complicated, but it gives the best picture for the lowest price. I'll solder the PCBs directly to each other to keep it compact.

Unfortunately, the VGA to LVDS converter needs to be in the lid, which I doubt would work with your laptop. The Compaq has a 200mm thick lid :D

Bryce.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:34, 27 October 14
Simpliest way to transform a laptop into a CPC (plus):

Use Win98 (Or, in my case, WinMe)
Remove Explorer.exe in system.ini and replace by WinApe.exe (Executioner compiled a special version for me, which has the ability to shutdown the stupid win-thing when you quit it)

Result:

Erstellt von Camtasia Studio 8 (http://cpc-live.com/cpc-laptop/)

 :P

Yes, but I want to have the expansion port and real joystick / printer ports to develop hardware on. No emulator can give me that.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 23:36, 27 October 14
Yes, but I want to have the expansion port and real joystick / printer ports to develop hardware on. No emulator can give me that.

Sure, but I also have a 3,5" floppy drive attached (or 2x accu or 1x accu and 1x DVD drive) and I can also transfer DSK easily in this way to 3,5" :P
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 23:42, 27 October 14
@Devilmarkus (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=93) :
If I remember well, it exist a DOS CPC Emulator that handle 640x480 screen mode and access to the real 3" & 3"1/2 floppy drive.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 23:43, 27 October 14
...that handle 640x480 screen mode...

See the bug? ;)

The CPC has more than 640x480 pixels :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 23:48, 27 October 14
See the bug? ;)  The CPC has more than 640x480 pixels :D
No, the CPC had a big border that made 99% of programs displayed in a little window.  :-*
That is an opportunity to remove them... (for the 1% overscan demo, use a real CPC)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 23:50, 27 October 14
So obviously I'd prefer a V3, but they are rarer and twice the price of the others (wrong side of €100). I don't suppose you have a cheap source to suggest? :D
Sure... If you buy 100 of them.  :laugh:
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 01:33, 28 October 14
No, the CPC had a big border that made 99% of programs displayed in a little window.  :-*
That is an opportunity to remove them... (for the 1% overscan demo, use a real CPC)

Oh, Arkanoid was a 1% demo? :D  :laugh:
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 09:34, 28 October 14
No, it was 0.1% games.  :-\

You won more than you lose... Because you continue to see them in overscan, with less borders. (nice on a little screen)
On a 256x256 veltical overscan game, only 8 pixels up/down will be cropped.

My god, Arkanoid is no longer playable!!!!

[attachimg=1] [attachimg=2]
[attachimg=3] [attachimg=4]

Hum... No, it look bigger overscan and that for all games...  :o 
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Devilmarkus on 13:05, 28 October 14
Your shots are 320x240 px which is wrong ;)

Should be 320x200 px.

But anyway...  :-*

I don't know any DOS emulator, which is at least 90% accurate, so this is not an option.

But lets get back to topic please :)

I really like Bryce's idea and I hope, he can get it working
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 13:55, 28 October 14
Not much to update on. My friend who collects old PCs/Laptops is going to go through his pile of spare LCDs and see if he has anything suitable. I've also found a bag of these: http://sigma.octopart.com/21354265/image/ALPS-SKQGABE010.jpg (http://sigma.octopart.com/21354265/image/ALPS-SKQGABE010.jpg) (probably about 200, so enough) in my stock. They are 1.5mm high and I'm hoping I can use these instead of the membrane under the keyboard.

The next step is to prepare PCB. The PCB is only a few millimeters too long to the case, so here's my plan (see photo below). The red part needs to be cut off, meaning that the floppy port has to go, but the remaining part can still be used to mount something different. So what I intend to do is remove all the ports on the left side of the PCB. The Lightpen can go, I've never seen anything that I could connect it to. The Analogue Joystick also isn't required so much, so I will leave that out too. The sound socket will be removed and wired directly to a small stereo amplifier / speakers inside the case. That just leaves the two digital Joystick ports. I'm hoping that they will fit in the space left where the floppy port was. To do this I need to sand down the part shown in green, to remove the copper tracks. Then I can drill the appropriate holes and mount those ports securely and wire them with leads from the original positions. Then the entire left side is free of connectors and I don't need to modify the side of the case :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 14:12, 28 October 14
You definitively not read me (640x480) ... And don't remember your own answer (640x480).  :laugh:
But OK, if today you prefert to troll, better to not continue to speak on the Bryce topic.  :-*
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 14:14, 28 October 14
Not much to update on. My friend who collects old PCs/Laptops is going to go through his pile of spare LCDs and see if he has anything suitable. I've also found a bag of these: http://sigma.octopart.com/21354265/image/ALPS-SKQGABE010.jpg (http://sigma.octopart.com/21354265/image/ALPS-SKQGABE010.jpg) (probably about 200, so enough) in my stock. They are 1.5mm high and I'm hoping I can use these instead of the membrane under the keyboard.
Haha!
I have watched the sames on ebay 1 month ago.
My idea was to build a new CPC PCB with the keyboard matrix on the upper side, and the computer circuits to the other.  ;D
(sure, the tracks should be merged at end... I hope that will be doable)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:19, 28 October 14
You'll see how doable it is in a few weeks :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 14:20, 28 October 14
Hehehe !  ;D (I'm just afraid about the key noise sounding arcade stick)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 14:29, 28 October 14
If you don't need to put parts on the other side, you should have better to directly use keyswitches, if compatible...
It will be faster to install and sure to be the good usage.

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/NjAwWDYwMA==/z/dukAAOxyUylTVcXa/$_35.JPG)

30x Microswitch Tactile Push Button Switch Momentary Tact Yellow 12x12x7 3mm SMD (http://www.ebay.com/itm/30X-Microswitch-Tactile-Push-Button-Switch-Momentary-Tact-Yellow-12X12X7-3MM-SMD-/151285001989?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item233949ef05)

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:35, 28 October 14
There's a very robust metal plate under the keyboard which I'd obviously like to keep and it also has the mounting points on it. If I use through-hole parts the buttons are way too high and would also need an additional layer to avoid short circuits. I think I only have about 1.2mm under the keyboard as it is!

My plan is to glue the buttons to a 1mm sheet of plastic and wire them manually.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 14:40, 28 October 14
Sure, I understand well.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:03, 28 October 14
I'll do a few pictures when I'm trying things out, then you'll see how little space I have to pack it into. I really thought that older laptops had pretty chunky keyboards, but this keyboard is almost as flat as the brand new laptop I'm using at the moment.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 15:21, 28 October 14
If at end, your switches are to thick (1.2mm), take a look to those... (should produce less noice too)

0.8mm tack switch:
30pcs Membrane Switch Tact Switch Button SMD 4 4 0 8mm 4x4x0 8M | eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/30pcs-Membrane-Switch-Tact-Switch-Button-SMD-4-4-0-8MM-4x4x0-8M-/371144338633?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item5669ed2cc9)

0.3mm membrane switch:
30pcs Membrane Switch Tact Switch Button SMD 4 4 0 3mm 4x4x0 3mm | eBay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/30pcs-Membrane-Switch-Tact-Switch-Button-SMD-4-4-0-3MM-4x4x0-3MM-/131298450067?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e91ff5a93)


Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:24, 28 October 14
Yes, I have some of those too which I can try. It will all depend on what sort of "pointers" (the rod that pushes the membrane) are under the buttons and how much travel they have.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 19:41, 30 October 14
cool project, also you will need a model number or a name for it!
hope it all works out well for you
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 19:45, 30 October 14
LCPC6512  ;D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:18, 30 October 14
Na, it would have to be PCPC128+ to keep in line with the Amstrad PPC numbering.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 00:37, 31 October 14
how about CPL128+
could you imagine back then having a colour personal laptop - prob would have been the size of a suitcase lol - just don't get any ideas of trying to fit your reworked board into one of them creaky old Amstrad word processor thingies - they looked awful  :o
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 19:41, 31 October 14

Na, it would have to be PCPC128+ to keep in line with the Amstrad PPC numbering.

Bryce.


The PPC hat no Z80, so L for LCD would make sense.  ;)


how about CPL128+


No, Bryce will have (I guess) 576 KB RAM. So CPL576+ would do it.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:39, 06 November 14
I'll worry about names later. Now I've got this to play with :):):):):):):):):):) :

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

It's an 8.4" 800x600 Monitor. According to the Datasheet it has Composite, S-Video, RGB and VGA inputs, but the menu just lists PC, S-Video and VGA. Unfortunately only the VGA socket is separate, all other inputs are in this 22way connector and I don't have a pinout. The two large pins are obviously power (It takes 12V at about 1A).

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

The PCB is from a different company, need to check if I can find data on it.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

It should fit in the lid with those PCBs in place if I remove the two connectors and wire directly to the PCB. I hope I can find RGB/Sync points in the circuit so that I can wire directly to the CPC without any adapters. Second choice is S-Video which should be very sharp too.
I haven't tested it with a source yet, but the screen works, it just complains abut the lack of signal:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

It's an industrial LCD for security cameras. They sell new for a few hundred €, but I picked this one up from Insolvency Auction (ie: Stuff from a company that went broke) for an extremely reasonable price :)
Unfortunately the previous owner hacked up the cable to the 22way and it now just has the PSU and a BNC socket at the other end. I need to open it up and check what other cores were there.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 22:44, 06 November 14
Have you tried to input the RGB signal into the VGA connector?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:50, 06 November 14
Haven't connected anything yet. I just opened the hack and there's 6 other cores in the cable which is promising:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

I'll track them back to the PCB and see where they go. At least I know where power and composite are.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 23:12, 06 November 14
OK !
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 11:14, 07 November 14
After some Interweb research, I've found a picture of the original cable, before hacking:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

So it has:
1x Audio Out
1x Composite In
1x S-Video In
1x Power (12V@1A)
2x Audio In (one for Composite and one for S-Video)

So no RGBS on this cable. If the monitor has 15Khz RGBS, then it must (as TotO suggested) be on the VGA port, but I'm starting to doubt this due to stuff I've read in other Datasheets I've found. However, this doesn't mean that there aren't points on the PCB where RGBS could be fed in.
If not, it should still be quite easy to find out which wires are the S-Video for "Plan B".

I don't intend using the monitor audio at all as it's only mono. I'll build a small stereo amp in the base of the laptop and install some small speakers there.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 20:03, 08 November 14
I was about to ask about using its sound until your last line :D Still, if its speaker is of good quality (doubtful) you could consider it... maybe both its own *and* two more speakers?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:07, 08 November 14
No point really, what's the use of a third speaker? It messes up the stereo effect and is very difficult to control the volume.

Today I did some fitting in the base. As you can see, both the case and the PCB had to be hacked modified.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

As well as removing the three joystick ports, the Lightpen port and the Floppy port, I also had to remove some of the board itself. Luckily, both of these areas are just ground plane with no other tracks. I'll bridge these areas with a wire later to keep the whole plane intact.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

On the case I had to remove part of the two internal "walls" (these held the battery, HDD and floppy on the original). Unfortunately this removes two pillars used to hold the Keyboard, but it's still pretty robust. If the keyboard wobbles later I'll add some sort of support in the middle.
On the back I just did a rough hack to get the connectors through. This area will be covered later with a new piece of plastic, cut exactly for the sockets that are remaining.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

This is how the PCB now fits. The keyboard fits fine with about 6mm space above the components, so lots of space for expansion :)

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]  [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Next up I need to get the PCB back into shape, add the upper 64K, file down the copper on the right and install the Joystick port there. Only one Joyport is going to fit, but that doesn't really bother me.

Bryce.

 
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 22:21, 08 November 14
Instead of destroying the back right round connectors to fit the printer port, it had been better to remove it and embed a DigiBlaster to out the mixed audio using stereo RCA and a composite video in that place. (but, it's late now)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:25, 08 November 14
Instead of destroying the back right round connectors to fit the printer port, it had been better to remove it and embed a DigiBlaster to out the mixed audio using stereo RCA in that place. (but, it's late now)

The laptop will be used to develop hardware, so I need the printer port as original with no Digiblaster attached.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TotO on 22:27, 08 November 14
Nice to see that should fit and your project goes ahead.
But, if others want to do the same... Now, they know.  ;D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:28, 08 November 14
If it was aimed to be a gaming CPC laptop there are many things I'd do completely different.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 23:58, 08 November 14
<snip>
Next up I need to get the PCB back into shape, add the upper 64K, file down the copper on the right and install the Joystick port there. Only one Joyport is going to fit, but that doesn't really bother me.

Bryce.
Had you thought of wiring up both joysticks to the one port. CPC style? That way all 3 buttons on an AMX Mouse will work ;)


Craig

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: radu14m on 09:28, 09 November 14
Looks Great Bryce :)
Can"t wait to see the rest  :o
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 21:57, 09 November 14
Had you thought of wiring up both joysticks to the one port. CPC style? That way all 3 buttons on an AMX Mouse will work ;)


Craig

Yes, definitely. I think I'll do a CPC Classic Joystick port. I had a few minutes time to do some more today. As well as fitting the upper 64K, I also filed down the tracks on the floppy port and drilled new holes to mount the Joystick socket. It's not wired up yet. I'll do that later this week.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]  [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 17:06, 11 November 14
Spoke to the company who makes the PCB in this monitor today. The VGA socket will definitely only take a 31Khz signal, so RGB is out of the question and I'll be removing that socket completely and going to plan B - connecting via S-Video. It will still give a very sharp picture :) I'll upload some pictures of the CPC screen on it later this week.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 18:53, 12 November 14
Very cool that the company shares info...

Regarding the third speaker, not sure why it would make volume control difficult but I'll take your word for it. As for the sound: I think that total channel separation is not very nice, a central speaker would probably enrich sound. But that's such a detail/luxury...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:08, 12 November 14
Well I'd want all speakers at the same level, I'd have to control 3 speakers at the same time. My initial plan was to make a digital stereo volume control that used two of the original keyboard keys, so I don't need some ugly knob sticking out somewhere. Making a 3 channel digital volume control is too messy.

Anyway, some more progress today. I've ordered the HxC for it :) Lotharek is going to supply it with the small LCD that's used on the Rev F version, which I intend mounting either on the front of the laptop or above the keyboard. Haven't decided yet.

Tonights task is finding out some more about the track ball:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]  [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Despite its tiny size (about 40mm x 15mm), it's piled with info:

Compaq Spares No: 138340-001
Made by Alps - Alps No.: KGBCBA011A
PCB No.: 56AA1556C
Chipset: Alps with the following Markings
9233K (Production date / location)
3JA1DT002
TB6012CF
Other than the Alps IC and the ball sensors, there's a 4Mhz crystal, 2 capacitors and 2 resistors on the PCB.

Unfortunately, other than 10000 Chinese sites that want to sell me one, there's not a lot of data to find on the web about it. Due to its 8way connector and age, I'm guessing it's a serial mouse, but I need to find the pinout. This also means that I can't use my AMX adapter, I'll have to make a serial to CPC adapter, but that shouldn't be too much hassle. Time to do some serious web research.

Bryce.

Edit: Sorted :) Isn't it nice when you find someones already done it for you :) I can easily interface that to emulate AMX. TrackBall Interfacing - TrackBall to PIC microcontroller (http://www.romanblack.com/trackball.htm)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:19, 13 November 14
Assuming his information is correct and assuming the two "nc" pins are actually the buttons on my version, then this simple circuit should solve the issue:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Although the trackball only has 2 buttons I can make the PIC firmware emulate a third button when both buttons are pressed :) The PCB would be tiny and could be easily mounted where the Joystick socket used to be.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: EgoTrip on 15:09, 13 November 14
Nice to see my xmas pressie nicely taking shape.  8)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:31, 13 November 14
Dream on :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 00:26, 14 November 14
Hey Bryce, look what's coming my way for review ;)


Rod Hull op Twitter: "#C64p about to go traveling..  (https://twitter.com/futurewas8bit/status/532872224509018112)


So depending on how this one goes, I'd be grateful for the chance  to review your CPC if you are up to it
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:15, 14 November 14
Hi Niel79,
       looks like the guy did a really neat job. Although he did have the "easy option" of using a hacked C64DTV instead of a real C64 which means it's for gaming only, no chance of adding hardware expansions. Mine will still take quite a while before it's finished, but I'll consider how robust it is for travelling and let you know.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 10:40, 14 November 14
No worries matey, just give me a shout if you need any feedback  8)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 13:23, 14 November 14
:)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 19:57, 14 November 14
Something tells me this won't be a patch on our own...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 20:51, 14 November 14
Something tells me this won't be a patch on our own...
LOL, I like the way Bryce's project has become a CPC Wiki owned machine. So when is my turn?


Craig

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:05, 15 November 14
Hi all,
     this morning I decided to tackle the screen some more. I connected it via Composite first off to check it's working at all. It works (has one stuck pixel which doesn't really bother me). Due to the re-sampling done, composite is a bit fuzzy and a ripple can be seen going through the background: Usable but not ideal.

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Then I found the S-video inputs  :) Very sharp picture, no ripple and due to the 800x600, even mode 2 is very readable. Unfortunately it's very difficult to take pictures of an LCD, so the pictures don't really do it justice:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Close up of mode 2:

 [ This attachment cannot be displayed inline in 'Print Page' view ]

Next up I'll remove the header connectors and solder directly to the PCB. Then I'll make one of my S-Video PCBs, remove the CPCs monitor connector and mount the PCB directly on the mainboard.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 20:37, 15 November 14
Wow, that looks awesome. When are you taking orders?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 21:47, 15 November 14
Full screen stretch would also be good, I'll bring up that reason why in my review of the C64 lappy
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 01:31, 16 November 14
Full screen stretch would also be good, I'll bring up that reason why in my review of the C64 lappy


Why? With a stretched screen you can't play overscan games or use FutureOS.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:10, 16 November 14
I like it having borders, otherwise you loose the CPC feel. I've bigger problems at the moment anyway :(

After removing as much as I could from the LCD PCB (Connectors etc) it still doesn't fit in the lid, it's about 2mm too thick. I can move the inverter PCB (backlight step-up PSU) to a space beside the screen, but the controller board will have to be in the base of the laptop :( This means that instead of just 4 wires (12V, GND Y and C) I will now have to route the 40pin LVDS connection through the hinge. Not having a suitable flat cable to do this, means that I'm going to have to try and squeeze a bundle of very small guage wire through it. The controller PCB will also be an extremely tight fit in the base. It will have to be mounted on top of the CPC PCB.

I also bought a small 12V 5A switchmode PSU to power the laptop. Unfortunately (as usual with switchmode PSUs) it's rather noisy and causes the LCD to give a shit picture. I'll have to add some filtering to see if I can still use it, otherwise I'll have to use a heavy linear PSU.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 18:42, 16 November 14

Why? With a stretched screen you can't play overscan games or use FutureOS.


That is a personal choice by the customer, it is up to them if they require a stretch or not. If a game looks off stretched, unstretch it. Some games look better full screen without borders :)


The C64P has a standard zoom and a stretch zoom touchable through control device and it works wonders on most games, whereas some demos need to be set to detault, this is what needs to be done :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 21:22, 16 November 14
Here you go Bryce



(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mfTaCtg7Fio/VGjhU3yqdVI/AAAAAAAAQVw/x3yoVaqYW6k/s1600/OpenedUp.png)


Quote
So far we have done a number of hardware reviews now from products such as the UCassette, to The Future Was 8bit's SD2IEC. Well now we have something incredibly special to show you, a hardware device which is sure to be the next best thing in portable C64 retrogaming. It's the C64P; a C64DTV based laptop that has been sent to us by The Future Was 8bit! (Please note that this is an early press build and any issues are likely to be addressed for full retail )


Indie Retro News: The latest free games, indie games and retro news: C64P - The (http://www.indieretronews.com/2014/11/c64p-next-stage-in-c64-retro-gaming.html)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: opqa on 22:27, 16 November 14
I also bought a small 12V 5A switchmode PSU to power the laptop. Unfortunately (as usual with switchmode PSUs) it's rather noisy and causes the LCD to give a shit picture. I'll have to add some filtering to see if I can still use it, otherwise I'll have to use a heavy linear PSU.
I'm wondering from the very beginning why you need 12V. If I understood right, you're not going to put a real 3.5" drive inside the case but an HxC instead, and IIRC the standard CPC only uses 12V to power the 3.5" drive motor, not for anything else. So... why do you need this voltage in the internal PSU? If you plan to plug external drives you could use a simple 12V wall transformer to power them separately.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:40, 16 November 14
Simple: LCD panels need 12V unfortunately :( Otherwise 5V would be fine.

@Niel79: Are you talking about 16:9 / 4:3 stretching? My screen is a native 4:3 so this type of stretching isn't an option.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 22:51, 16 November 14
Simple: LCD panels need 12V unfortunately :( Otherwise 5V would be fine.

@Niel79: Are you talking about 16:9 / 4:3 stretching? My screen is a native 4:3 so this type of stretching isn't an option.

Bryce.


Correct User selectable 4:3/16:9, like the c64p
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:54, 16 November 14
I deliberately looked for a 4:3 laptop so that it's correct. No need for 16:9, it doesn't add resolution or any advantages, it's just a warped version of what the programmer intended. Who needs that?

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 23:00, 16 November 14
I deliberately looked for a 4:3 laptop so that it's correct. No need for 16:9, it doesn't add resolution or any advantages, it's just a warped version of what the programmer intended. Who needs that?

Bryce.


As long as it doesn't have wasted TFT space either side of the game screen such as the C64P did pre zoom, then that's perfectly fine :) . If the TFT screen is a 4:3 and the game is 4:3 then that's all good
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:23, 17 November 14

As long as it doesn't have wasted TFT space either side of the game screen such as the C64P did pre zoom, then that's perfectly fine :) . If the TFT screen is a 4:3 and the game is 4:3 then that's all good

Well the CPC screen is/was 4:3, so the aspect ratio always fills the screen as it would on a CPC.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Neil79 on 16:20, 17 November 14
Well the CPC screen is/was 4:3, so the aspect ratio always fills the screen as it would on a CPC.

Bryce.


Then it's all good, just assumed you were using a 16:9 screen, but as you explained it's a 4:3  8) 8)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 18:48, 17 November 14
.... and IIRC the standard CPC only uses 12V to power the 3.5" drive motor, not for anything else. ...


Actually the 3" drive of the CPC oG needs 12 Volt. But not a 3.5" drive of the Plus 3" drive.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Jckf on 18:59, 17 November 14

Actually the 3" drive of the CPC oG needs 12 Volt. But not a 3.5" drive of the Plus 3" drive.
I'm guessing he made a typo. No "standard" CPC came with a 3.5" drive, as far as I know. Some replace their 12v 3" drives with 5v 3" plus drives, but I hear those have an issue where the head will move while it's still writing unless you are careful with your code. Ordered a step-up circuit for my own machine to keep the stock drive.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 19:01, 17 November 14
I'm guessing he made a typo. No "standard" CPC came with a 3.5" drive, as far as I know. Some replace their 12v 3" drives with 5v 3" plus drives, but I hear those have an issue where the head will move while it's still writing unless you are careful with your code. Ordered a step-up circuit for my own machine to keep the stock drive.
Both of my Cpc 6128 machines have plus drives now. 5v only and no issues at all.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 19:06, 17 November 14
I'm guessing he made a typo. No "standard" CPC came with a 3.5" drive, as far as I know. Some replace their 12v 3" drives with 5v 3" plus drives, but I hear those have an issue where the head will move while it's still writing unless you are careful with your code. Ordered a step-up circuit for my own machine to keep the stock drive.


There is a port for a B-drive. And some drives actually take their power form the CTM. Different models exist. Also a 3.5" drive would be neat in a laptop case.


The error you talk about works different, I described that in the other thread. It's only an issue with very efficient FDC code (means some games and FutureOS). No problem for slow FDC code.

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: opqa on 20:06, 17 November 14
I'm guessing he made a typo. I'm guessing he made a typo. No "standard" CPC came with a 3.5" drive, as far as I know.
Right, it was a typo, I was talking about the internal 3" drive. I know that modern 3.5" drives usually don't need 12V either.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: steve on 20:25, 17 November 14

Actually the 3" drive of the CPC oG needs 12 Volt. But not a 3.5" drive of the Plus 3" drive.

3.5" drive or the Plus 3" drive.

There fixed it.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: seanb on 20:47, 17 November 14
LOL, I like the way Bryce's project has become a CPC Wiki owned machine. So when is my turn?


Craig

Reading these updates I feel like I'm making it with him so if there is a diode put in backwards or an important lead comes loose due to dodgy soldering you'll know my contribution.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 21:34, 17 November 14
I'm guessing he made a typo. No "standard" CPC came with a 3.5" drive, as far as I know. Some replace their 12v 3" drives with 5v 3" plus drives, but I hear those have an issue where the head will move while it's still writing unless you are careful with your code. Ordered a step-up circuit for my own machine to keep the stock drive.

I hope you have a good 5V supply and direct wiring to the step-up. A DC/DC conversion to 12V 750mA (about what these old drives pull) is going to pull about 2A on the 5V rail.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 21:48, 17 November 14
And the CTM only supplies 1.7 A. So one needs an extra PSU.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Jckf on 01:13, 18 November 14
I hope you have a good 5V supply and direct wiring to the step-up. A DC/DC conversion to 12V 750mA (about what these old drives pull) is going to pull about 2A on the 5V rail.

Bryce.
Yep. I'll of course be using an external after-market one.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:58, 24 December 14
I thought I should give an update on this as I haven't posted any in a while...

At the moment I've hit a bit of a major issue that I haven't been able to solve yet. The LCD controller PCB won't fit in the lid no matter how hard I try (and I've even considered heating the plastic to mold a curve into the outer surface!). So the controller PCB needs to go in the lower part. This means connecting the 30way connection through the hinge. The Flat cable that came with the screen is too short and wouldn't fit. The pitch is 0.75mm. I can't find a replacement so the only solution is hand soldering a flat extruded cable (Floppy / hard-drive type), but they are 1.27mm pitch and the 80way cable used on later IDE drives is 0.7mm pitch. So my only solution would be to use this and spread the wires at the end. This would be extremely messy and difficult to do, which is why I've spent so long looking for something better.

If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 17:13, 24 December 14
no chance of nicking the right pitch wire from some other old junked item you can lay your hands on?
bit of a sod when you cant get the right stuff and keep it tidy
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 18:41, 24 December 14
It's not a standard pitch for extruded wire, only for flat cable which would need to be the exact length and have some sort of feature for the hinge. Chance of finding that... Zero.

Bryce.

Gesendet von meinem Motorola DynaTEC 8000X mit Tapatalk 2.

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 21:01, 05 January 15
If anyone has any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Add a level of space! How to explain??? Ok you got this

XXXXXXXXX
SSSSSSSSS

X is the Lid and X is the keyboard, now you make the keyboard taller, so it looks like:

XXXXXXXXX
SSSSSSSSS
SSSSSSSSS

Sorry, can't explain it better ;-)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:10, 05 January 15
Hiding the wire isn't the issue, I can fit that through the existing hinge. It's having to remove the two connectors and hand-solder 60 tiny wires is what's putting me off.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 18:11, 06 January 15
yep, so best thing is to shelve it for a while and wait till the enthusiasm comes back.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:19, 07 January 15
I kind of have done, but I want the laptop to be finished for Revision 2015 :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 19:29, 08 January 15
sounds interesting. What stuff would you demo on it?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:43, 08 January 15
It'll have a HxC installed and a cartridge port, so anyone who brings something along can try it out. I don't do Demos, but I'll have an SD Card full of games with me :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: seanb on 12:23, 03 February 15
Like outrun?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 12:35, 03 February 15
Why Outrun? (which I think is on the SD card already anyway).

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: seanb on 21:49, 03 February 15
Because it's awful.
Perhaps something else that'll showcase it more  ;)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:29, 03 February 15
Well technically it's still "just" a CPC+ with some more memory and a HxC, so it's not going to do anything more than a standard CPC+ can do.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 22:42, 05 February 15
If you take Outrun you'll have to take the recording of the audio tape with you, too :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:47, 06 February 15
Unfortunately (mainly due to work). I won't be going to Revision 2015 :( Nor will I have the laptop finished by then.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop (not so serious...)
Post by: HAL 6128 on 00:27, 02 April 15
...inspired by Bryces "CPC Laptop" approach, I was working on mine. Ok, ok, this statement is such thing exorbitant!! :P

It's only a LCD panel attached to the CPC.

I'm not an electrical engineer, so I have to work with available stuff: A LCD Panel with driver board and 1360x768 Resolution, a GBS 8200 CGA to VGA converter and a new PSU with 5V/12V in one unit.
Here are some negative aspects of the project: It's a very, very simple assembly, its ugly painted. The attachment to the CPC is a big failure: I can rotate the LCD but it's vibrating, because the whole Panel with boards inside and frame are very heavy. The next disadvantage is, that the GBS converter produces a lot of heat. Therefore the topside of the PCB with the heat sink looks out of the back (and that's really ugly, and I didn't want to show), otherwise it produces signal failures after a certain time (maybe active cooling could help). And, of course... the GBS is not able to convert the right signal of every game, especially those which works with "hard effects" (e.g. scrolling of Edger Grinder, Ghost'n Goblins etc.)

...But it works! I'm satisfied. The GBS converter can do the 1360x768 Resolution of the LCD. The Picture is pretty clear, even in Mode 2, almost like the CTM Monitor. It's a neat laptop for programing and working in a quick way, and with the MiniBooster attached I can transfer quick data from PC to CPC. :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 17:45, 02 April 15
Nice work! I would love to do the same one day, but with a bigger monitor.  :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 17:37, 07 April 15
Despite all your "dissatisfactions" I think it looks rather good.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: HAL 6128 on 22:10, 07 April 15
Thank you, Bryce.

But it was a pain in the ass. It started with the frame which is out of a simple and cutted aluminium L-profile. I had to work very precise to get the frame good. And the paint doesn't adhere very well. And then the back with a it's cuttings and holes and wiring inside. Always a try and error.
I wish I had better experiences or toolings for a professional work like e.g. yours or Tot0s!

Oh, and here's my next finished project. A "small" Joystick for my CPC. It's "80ties style". The reason for having two Buttons left and right is that I can change my hands if it's necessary. I'm right handed! E.g. playing "R-Type" or "Edge Grinder" I need a very fast firing and a steering with my left. In contradiction for a precise working (e.g. Zap'T'Balls) and less firing or Action on a button I shift the Hands and press the buttons with my left and steer with the right.

See you!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:13, 07 April 15
Aluminium is probably one of the easier metals to work with, but I still prefer to stick with plastic when possible. Metal is just too much work if you don't have "heavy tools".

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 23:34, 07 April 15
@HAL 6128 (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=365) : You need an auto-fire button.  :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 13:14, 06 May 15
Aluminium is probably one of the easier metals to work with, but I still prefer to stick with plastic when possible. Metal is just too much work if you don't have "heavy tools".

Bryce.


outsource it to the local blacksmiths, I did!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 21:17, 24 May 15
Any progress? Not at the MiST's expense, mind you, just wondering :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 22:24, 24 May 15
No, I put it on ice to get my backlog of repairs finished and I want to get your MiST finished first before continue on it.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Ygdrazil on 23:02, 24 May 15

My German might be a bit rusty but MIST = CRAP  :) ?


/Ygdrazil

No, I put it on ice to get my backlog of repairs finished and I want to get your MiST finished first before continue on it.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:05, 24 May 15
Yes, an unfortunate choice of name. But I didn't name it, I've nothing to do with the project.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 12:53, 25 May 15
I've nothing to do with the project.


...except for making it better :)


But yes, how unfortunate for the German-speaking users...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: TFM on 22:22, 01 June 15

...except for making it better :)


But yes, how unfortunate for the German-speaking users...


That stupid guys from commodore did far worse. First they called it Vixen (means fucking or "shooting drugs"), then they called it VIC (means fuck). Yes, commodore didn't do that well in naming.....  :laugh:
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Singaja on 15:23, 15 September 15
Wouldn't Piotr's JustCPC board be useful for such kind of project?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 15:32, 15 September 15
Wouldn't Piotr's JustCPC board be useful for such kind of project?
Bryce is building a 6128plus laptop, not a CPC 6128.

;)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Singaja on 15:38, 15 September 15
This is an important project scope difference indeed ;-) Anyway the VGA output + PS/2 keyboard (not to mention a quite compact working board) seems like a reasonable start for a "poor's man cpc6128 laptop diy project"  ;D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:38, 15 September 15
Yes, it will be a plus. CPC boards isn't what I'm lacking, it's free time that's holding up this project!

I have a BBC / Acorn and a PC project to finish first, then I'll get back to this one.

Bryce.

Edit: I have already added S-Video out, but only for testing. As the laptop has it's own screen, it's rather pointless. And again, it's a laptop, so it has it's own (non-PS/2) keyboard, so that wouldn't help either.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: CraigsBar on 23:17, 15 September 15
This is an important project scope difference indeed ;-) Anyway the VGA output + PS/2 keyboard (not to mention a quite compact working board) seems like a reasonable start for a "poor's man cpc6128 laptop diy project"  ;D


The Just CPC Is scart output not VGA.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Lazy Dude on 11:17, 04 October 15
Yes, it will be a plus. CPC boards isn't what I'm lacking, it's free time that's holding up this project!

I have a BBC / Acorn and a PC project to finish first, then I'll get back to this one.

Bryce.

Edit: I have already added S-Video out, but only for testing. As the laptop has it's own screen, it's rather pointless. And again, it's a laptop, so it has it's own (non-PS/2) keyboard, so that wouldn't help either.

You got to have the video out so you can plug it in to a huge telly. 8 bit looks great on a 50" screen.
Back of the build queue for the Amstrad lappie, and I bet its because we are waiting for those nice tin badges @Gryzor (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1)  is looking into!!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: zhulien on 22:35, 13 August 16
How about keeping the 6128plus shell and make it a little larger to fit a nice 17inch TV on top closable... then it will be about the same size as an alienware or Asus rog.. and no need to forgo the nice CPC keyboard.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 23:59, 13 August 16
If I had the time to do anything at all with this project I'd be pleased. As it stands, the project and all parts have been sitting in a box for over a year! :(

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: tjohnson on 00:03, 22 March 18
Hey Bryce, did you ever finish this project or is it still languishing in to be finished at a later date status?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 09:16, 22 March 18
Sadly I never continued with this, however, it has made it back out of the box it was stored in and it's back on my To Do list.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 12:38, 07 April 18
No time like Easter time? :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: dionisisg on 20:35, 20 August 18
I have an omnibook X3 laptop just sitting around and collecting dust for over a decade now, i'm willing to donate it if anyone wishes to make it a portable cpc, it is this behemoth of a laptop
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: GUNHED on 18:53, 21 August 18
Sadly I never continued with this, however, it has made it back out of the box it was stored in and it's back on my To Do list.

Bryce.


Have you had the time to continue? Would be nice to see it being finished.  :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: robcfg on 19:45, 21 August 18
I agree!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:08, 22 August 18
Well it's at least back out of storage and close to the work bench... getting there inch by inch :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: LambdaMikel on 08:21, 17 October 18
Some progress on this thread...  ;) :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 10:09, 17 October 18
Eeeeee(k)!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:13, 17 October 18
That's emulated, doesn't count. Believe it or not, there HAS been progress. At the weekend I prepared one of the battery packs. They slide in the front, so if removed you have a gapping hole and when inserted you lose 1/3 of the internal space, so I've cut the front face off one of the packs so that it can be glued in place.

Next plan is to re-build the keyboard.


Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 10:20, 17 October 18
Turning it into a Frankenstein's monster, are you? :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:39, 17 October 18
I did toy with the idea of fitting batteries (not the original, but LiPo's) to make it portable, but I decided that it was too much work for the novelty.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 11:25, 17 October 18
Oh, so batteries are removed, didn't catch that. By the way, how long would it last running off the batteries?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:05, 17 October 18
A good Sony/Murata 18650 battery can theoretically supply around 2600mAh, but they only supply a nominal 3.7V each, so to power the CPC properly you'd need two of these in series. This would give 7.4V at 2600mAh. With a decent LDO (Low Dropout Regulator) this would possibly give you around 60 to 90 Minutes of use at best.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 14:07, 17 October 18
Eh... not so bad, but not great either, I guess it's not worth keeping them cells.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:15, 17 October 18
The original cells were NiMH and even when they were new, wouldn't have kept a CPC running for more than a few minutes.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: GUNHED on 23:40, 17 October 18
Well, one could think about an external battery pack or some kind of USV/UPS.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: LambdaMikel on 08:59, 18 October 18
https://www.amazon.com/DieHard-02838228-38228-Advanced-Battery/dp/B0777768HP/ref=sr_1_6?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1539842421&sr=1-6&keywords=car+battery&dpID=41FjTeIOnDL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch


Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 09:34, 18 October 18
https://www.amazon.com/DieHard-02838228-38228-Advanced-Battery/dp/B0777768HP/ref=sr_1_6?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1539842421&sr=1-6&keywords=car+battery&dpID=41FjTeIOnDL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch (https://www.amazon.com/DieHard-02838228-38228-Advanced-Battery/dp/B0777768HP/ref=sr_1_6?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1539842421&sr=1-6&keywords=car+battery&dpID=41FjTeIOnDL&preST=_SX300_QL70_&dpSrc=srch)

Surely this would be more fitting. It even says so on the side!https://www.amazon.com/Hilti-B18-3-3ah-Li-Ion-Battery/dp/B007JX6ZBY/ref=sr_1_cc_3 (https://www.amazon.com/Hilti-B18-3-3ah-Li-Ion-Battery/dp/B007JX6ZBY/ref=sr_1_cc_3)

@GUNHED (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=2029): An external battery is always possible, even for a standard CPC, but not exactly an elegant solution when everything else is inside the laptop.
Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: LambdaMikel on 09:37, 18 October 18
Surely this would be more fitting. It even says so on the side!https://www.amazon.com/Hilti-B18-3-3ah-Li-Ion-Battery/dp/B007JX6ZBY/ref=sr_1_cc_3 (https://www.amazon.com/Hilti-B18-3-3ah-Li-Ion-Battery/dp/B007JX6ZBY/ref=sr_1_cc_3)
Oh yes! A CPC battery - how cool!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: GUNHED on 15:24, 18 October 18
Why? You wife can carry the battery instead of her purse. Saves the money for the fitness center.  ;D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:40, 18 October 18
Why? You wife can carry the battery instead of her purse. Saves the money for the fitness center.  ;D

That's a bit unfair, she was already carrying the laptop! :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: LambdaMikel on 17:19, 18 October 18
That's a bit unfair, she was already carrying the laptop! :D
Oh come on... after all, you are building the laptop so she no longer has to haul the CTM monitor and CPC arround  :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: GUNHED on 18:18, 18 October 18
However, great to see that this project does advance. Even with womenfolks help  ;)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 09:56, 19 October 18
Oh come on... after all, you are building the laptop so she no longer has to haul the CTM monitor and CPC arround  :D

Actually, carrying around the portable generator/inverter annoys her the most, which is why she was all for the LiPo battery idea. I don't know what's she's complaining about, I had to carry all the software!


Bryce.

Yes, I actually managed to find a picture of a generator with CPC on the side too :D



Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 14:53, 19 October 18
The colours are all wrong...
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:54, 19 October 18
The colours are all wrong...

I uploaded it from a C64 :D

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 15:01, 19 October 18
I have blocked Commodore machines from the site.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:05, 19 October 18
I have blocked Commodore machines from the site.

I connected via a CPC proxy :)

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 16:33, 19 October 18
Damn your technology.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: ibisum on 13:58, 04 February 20
Face when reading the first post: :)
Face when reading the last post: :|


I wanna see a CPCLaptop project!  C'mon Bryce, what's next?

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:13, 04 February 20
Hi ibisum,
     there's good and bad news regarding the laptop. The good news is that I have actually restarted the project and have put in a few hours over Christmas. The bad news is that like many projects, when you give it a "fresh-eyes review", you discover a gapping issue that you missed first time because you were bogged down in some other details (in this case I was focused on the screen too much).

The issue I found was that the original laptop had a big chunk of metal attached to its PCB. I removed this with the original PCB and modified the CPC PCB to fit inside the case, not realising how critical that chunk of steel was to the stability of the lid, frame and case. The laptop case would be in danger of snapping in two quite easily without it. Now I need to find a way of getting that chunk of metal back into an already extremely tight package.

There is also another (positive) difference to when I last visited the project. I now own a 3D printer! :) So I am also looking at what parts I could design to help the overall build. Including a modified rear panel for the lid, to allow me to get the entire LCD electronics into it.
This is my focus at the moment.

Bryce. 
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: ibisum on 15:33, 04 February 20
Awesome that you've still got a bit of attention for it, given all the other things you do - thanks for the update!  :) I remain glued to this thread for any further progress you might make ..
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 15:38, 04 February 20
As soon as I have beaten the PCB into the case with an suitably sized copper hammer, I'll post some more pictures.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 12:55, 01 July 20
Just when you thought you'd never hear anything about the laptop project again...

I finally managed to beat the PCB into the laptop case with the hinge frame in place. There was much aluminium and PCB hacking involved, but it's not the first time that bits had to be hacked of the plus PCB to get it into the case, as anyone who's ever taken a close look at the PCB will have noticed :D

Now I can get on with converting the keyboard.

Bryce.


Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 13:05, 01 July 20
Looks awesome really! More, please :)
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 13:28, 01 July 20
The keyboard is going to take a while, but I have lots of time at the moment. As soon as I have that sorted, the lid will be going back on so that I can finish the video side of things. Once that's done I can start adding things like the cartridge port and the HxC.

Bryce.

Edit: Just to give you an idea of how batshit crazy the keyboard solution is: Obviously, the laptop has a different layout and matrix, the plan is to glue these micro buttons onto the membrane and free wire them according to the CPC matrix. Let's see how that goes.


Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Zoe Robinson on 13:58, 01 July 20
This project continues to amaze me. I know I don't need a CPC laptop but every time you post an update, I want a CPC laptop. :D
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 13:59, 01 July 20
I meant, more photos please! :D

Oh. So you're actually using the membrane only as a base? Theoretically you could change it with any other material?


Zoe is right, of course. Even more than Zoe though, somehow I *need* one. I'll fill in the actual "need" part later.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:02, 01 July 20
I could of course use a different base material, but it's thin enough, has markings where I need to glue the switches and has 5 LEDs on it that I can use for power / HxC etc. If it all goes wrong, I can always start again with another material.


Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 14:54, 05 July 20
Well that was a pain in the arse to do, and I still have to solder the entire matrix! This could take a while...
Luckily, Mitsumi were really good on their tolerances, so every button is perfectly centred. The Keyboard is 0.5mm higher than before though, so I will have to file some off the keyboard mounting posts to bring it back the the position it needs to be.

Bryce.

Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 12:32, 06 July 20
Looks pretty. Will it actually be wires?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 12:54, 06 July 20
Yes, there's no other way of doing it. I'm trying different types of wire at the moment, as they will have to be extremely thin.

Bryce.
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Gryzor on 13:00, 06 July 20
Looking forward to the end result!!
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: VintageAdvantage on 00:06, 17 August 20
Yes, there's no other way of doing it. I'm trying different types of wire at the moment, as they will have to be extremely thin.

Bryce.
Did you figure out the wire by now? How is it going?
Title: Re: CPC Laptop.
Post by: Bryce on 10:42, 17 August 20
I had to put the project on hold for a while, other more important priorities at the moment.

Bryce.