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General Category => Amstrad CPC hardware => Topic started by: Bryce on 17:24, 12 September 10

Title: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Bryce on 17:24, 12 September 10
Hi all,
      for obvious reasons, as a hardware person, I rarely buy other peoples hardware. But I was truly impressed by Jeffs HxC SDCard, so I made an exception to the rule and bought one (OK, also cause I was too lazy to build one myself :) ). Obviously the features and functionality are impressive, but from a hardware point of view, it's a really efficient design keeping parts to a minimum and cramming an unbelievable amount of function into a relatively limited PIC. An awful lot of thought and work must have gone into this project. To Jeff: Congratulations, that's one seriously good piece of design.

Anyway, while browsing the interweb, I came across this Box, which had a really 80's look to it and I decided that this was the (almost) perfect box for my newly acquired HxC:

The Plexi-Glass is dark red and is meant for LEDs, and even the brightest LCDs aren't visible through it, so I had to make a copy in clear Plexi-Glas. The original blue LCD was also too big, so I swapped it for a smaller green LCD a had lying around.

After that, I removed some internal posts that were in the way and added holes for new mounting posts, a power switch, power socket, power cable (to CPC) and the floppy cable.

Then I had to "adjust" the buttons. Ok, call me cheap, lazy or whatever, I could have replaced the buttons with proper angled ones, but I decided  just to unsolder and bend the original ones and add a pin to connect and support the top contacts.

After making an adapter cable for the new LCD (Warning: LCD pinouts are NOT standardised so compare datasheets if you change the LCD on a HxC), it was time to cram everything into the box for a trial fitting.

Then it was just a matter of soldering the power connections and putting it all together.

I may try to source some green Plexi-Glass later, to give it a more retro look.

Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: robcfg on 19:07, 12 September 10
Wow man, this mod is so great!

Nice retro look and very functional. I'm looking forward to think a design that makes easy to replace the data ribbon because the amstrad one is slightly modified and I'd like to use it with more systems.

Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Bryce on 19:25, 12 September 10
It wouldn't be too difficult to extend the ribbon cable header to the back of the box, then you could easily change the cable to suit the system you're connecting to. I might do this later, because I also intend using this on several machines.

I also want to tint the plexi-glass a slight green, either with varnish or find real green plexi-glass, the clear glass is almost invisible. I might add some green LEDs behind the LCD so that the whole panel glows green?

Oh Rob, did I mention that I was so busy doing this, that I had no time to make your PCBs :D Sorry. Will make them later in the week, maybe tomorrow.

Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: nurgle on 22:26, 12 September 10
Very, very cool! I wish I could do stuff like that instead of piling caseless pcbs around my CPC.

Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Gryzor on 14:04, 13 September 10
Oh wow. Another thing I want and will never get...
Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Bryce on 15:02, 13 September 10
Look, you got the girl. You can't have everything you know!

Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: norecess on 21:28, 13 September 10
Actually, sorry to be that dumb, but I dislike your "mod" !

Looks too "retro" for me, does not fill at all with CPC Old gray case,..   :-\
Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Bryce on 22:51, 13 September 10
Hi norecess,
       no it's not that dumb, in a way I'd actually agree with you. The box is the typical cream colour which you'd normally associate with C64 / Atari etc. The annoying thing is, the company who makes the box (Teko) actually do one in almost the CPC dark grey colours (see attached photo), but I couldn't find anyone who sells it. I really wanted to have it in CPC colours, but I eventually gave up and settled for cream. But... I also use Atari, so if I do manage to get a dark grey box, I will make a new one for the CPC and use the cream one just for the Atari :) Either way, the mod stays the same, just the colour varies.


Btw, should anyone find this box (Teko D12) for sale in dark grey, let me know where I can order one.

Edit: Cool phrase by the way, I didn't realise something could be "too retro" :D
Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Gryzor on 11:11, 14 September 10
Actually, this kind of material is, I think, very easy to spray-paint... why not do that?
Title: Re: Keeping it retro (A HxC Mod)
Post by: Bryce on 16:10, 14 September 10
Cos I'm too lazy and it's a messy job, that would probably flake off after a while. I'll just wait until I find a supplier for the dark grey version and be happy with the cream one until then :)