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AuthorTopic: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??  (Read 2389 times)

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  • Guest
Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« on: November 07, 2002, 10:43:27 PM »
Struck upon an idea whilst thinking about the new CatWeasel 3 card. It struck me so hard  I had to go get a beer and drink it before I could feel my feet again ;)

I like the fact that such inginuity has been devloed that you can do hair-brain stuff like fit 6 PCI slots to an A1200 ( onlywith a PPC upgrade right?) and mouth the whole shabang in an ATX Tower. However I have a few problems wit hthis genius stroke.

1 - ATX towers are *dull* and *boring*, no matter how cool your A1200 becomes it doesn't look like one any more.

2 - It costs a lot - esp to fit the PCI slots (£180 - youch!!).

3 - I'd miss the old casing, I grew up on Acorn Arhimedes computers and used to have an Acorn A3000 (nothing to do woth Commadore - bloody confusing I know) and before that I had a BBC Master 128 Micro. I always stick by the fact that the keyboard/case combo, although a little cramped at times, is the most efficient way to pack a computer.

Scuse me if I'm going over old territory but here's my idea (not for those affraid of a soldering iron and a bit of case hacking):

Buy/nick a knackered old 486 in a full hieght destop case.

Remove the motherboard and any nafareous bits, hard disk and floppy might be useful - keep them also don't chuck the mother board.

Lash up an adapter to get the voltages required off the PC AT PSU (I've done it and i get the idea a lot of other ppl have to). I intend to put a page up on my site with instructions. Involves copious amounts of soldering and volgaes which might hurt ur paws etc. don't blame me if you get hurt yadda yadda...

When you've stopped trying to kill yourself/blow up your Amiga (I have a free A600 to do my testing on) with the PSU you should have a cable to power your Amiga 1200, quite a lot of it if you use a good PC case.

OK here's where it gets interesting and a bit theroetical. you need to find some IDC cable (flat ribbon), and some crimp on plate mountable 40-pin and (however many pins the A1200 clock port is - I don't know yet)-pin male sockets. Make up good long IDE cables that go from the drive bays in the case to the front panel, where you crimp ont he sockets. Cut holes big enough using plasic surgery and bring them out of the plastic facure (I suggest using those removable blanking plates as they are easier to swing about than a whole case/font panel). Put the case back together.

Now fit a 4 port IDE buffer card in your A1200. Get some good length IDE cable (one plug at each end is all you really need) that will reach from he trapdoor, out forwards and down to the ports you mounted on the front of the PC case. Ping off the trapdoor and lead the cables from the IDE card outt othe case, plug them into the case, plug the IDE connectors inside the case into a couple of IDE devices you want on your A1200. Also take cable from the clock port to the front of the case and in via a socket. Add a CW3 card (hang it in a PCI slot with something plastic protecting the contacts on the bottom from the bare metal case floor and maybe something propping up the in-board end) plug the cable that leads to the clock port into the CW3, the CW into the old PC floppy and there you have it.

With no motherboard to get in the way you could fit a great deal of stuff in the case. Develop a racking system and you could fit all sorts in it.

Idea is still devoloping and I'm no Amiga expert by FAAARRR so please hit me over the head and call me stupid before I try it. I thin kthe most appealing thing is it doesn't involve any modding of the A1200 casing. I suppose you could adjust the trapdoor cover so it would allow out an IDE cable while it was shut but that wouldn't be anything major or cosmetic.

OK I'm done.
 

Offline The_Editor

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2002, 10:49:36 PM »
Easier way ....

Get one of these...[img align=right]http://web6.scan.co.uk/Products/images/lores/39267.jpg[/img]

I just ordered it a minute ago.  Ready for my new Ami based system.
The Reluctant Pom
 

Offline Mickey

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2002, 10:51:54 PM »
Hey ed where do you get one of those?
 

Offline The_Editor

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2002, 10:56:34 PM »
HERE

But be warned... Its NOT cheap.

Just ordered it from Scan (or should that be SCAM) computers.

Cost...     £99
V.A.T.      £10
carriage £10    Bloody shame Ebuyer dont do it as carriage is free if you spend over £100.
The Reluctant Pom
 

Offline Kermito

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2002, 11:39:23 PM »
Hi ed,

Do you know if it is possible to find something similar here in the land down under?

:pint: Cheers! :pint:
- - -
Armakuni, The Last Ninja
 

  • Guest
Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2002, 11:47:37 PM »
 :-o :-? :-(

Quote

Easier way ....
Get one of these...
But be warned... Its NOT cheap.
Cost... £99


Ohhhh guys.... get in the spririt.

This isn't the point. I was trying to suggest a low cost alternative to investing huge £££/€€€€/$$$ in a twoer conversion. It;s a nice case - I wouldn't mind one like that - but the reality is some poeple can't afford to walk out and buy a £100 case, £189 PCI externder and all the trimmings.

My suggestion was you used a 486 AT case (most likely free), a bit of wiring (probably about £15 max) and some of the commonly available add-ons for the A1200 (or any other old skool Amiga) to make an extension chassis. The toal cost as I calculate it is about £50. That includes a buffer card to split the A1200 IDE into 4 devices. I was not for 1 mintue suggesting you transplant the A1200 into the case or anything stupid. That'd practically be Amigacide.

When I joined the Amiga community yesterday I thought I was joining a community founded on initiative, inginuity and flexibility with a skill for developing genius equipment for improving old machines. To be honest as an Apple devotee your stuff makes me insanely jealous becuase, with 68k Macs, we have to struggle with crapply designed boards, scarce 040 upgrades and nigh-on non existant PPC601 upgrades. You guys are actively selling stuff to upgrade an old 14MHz 68020 machine to a PPC or 68060@66MHz.

Now when I try to apply my own sense of initiative (which has already produced an adpater to plug a PC AT PSU into an Amiga 600 without bloing it up ;) ) to a problem you just dismiss it like a little fly crap on your visor.

I'm starting to wonder wether all this new AmigaONE 'goes straght into an ATX case and has all the trimmings on the board - ready made' stuff isn't sending a few of you soft around the egdes. I sure hope not. I like AmigaONE - I think it's great and a big jump forward.

Those who forsake their ancestors forget those who built their empire, trained their armies, and raised their very souls, and become complacent in their seats as the floor crumbles beneath them.
                      - Mark Benson 2002

Anyway - does anyone have any suggestions or shall I just pretend I never posted this??  
 

Offline Doobrey

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2002, 11:54:48 PM »
Wow, nice case Editor.

Do they do them without those yucky perspex windows?

I`ve never understood why PC users bung plastic windows into cases..(maybe it`s more exciting to watch the CPU fan than it is using windows ;-) )
 Do PC users who have these windows also have windows cut into the bonnet of their car too ?
 Or maybe PC users are jealous that they can`t do half the hacks that the amiga can handle, and a bit of plastic is all they can come up with ?

Anyway, back to the original post, one comment I gotta say is to make sure the desktop case is wide enough..1200 mobos are long, stick an accelerator card in and they`re a couple of inches longer still.
 
Yonks ago, I hacked (literally) a PC tower case to take my old 1200, and had to mount the PSU sideways in the case to get enough room to take it!
 This was in an old AT case, 3 external 5 1/4 bays, and there was only 1/2 an inch between the end the Apollo 030 card and the top of the tower.
On schedule, and suing
 

  • Guest
Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2002, 12:07:55 AM »
Quote

Anyway, back to the original post, one comment I gotta say is to make sure the desktop case is wide enough..1200 mobos are long, stick an accelerator card in and they`re a couple of inches longer still.


ARRGGHHH!!! Oh god no - save me!!!


I don't WANT to put the 1200 board IN the PC it's supposed to be an *expansion chassis*! The drives and CatWeasel ive i nthe AT cas ea the A1200 sits on top. SEE??? I didn't think I explained it THAT badly, or is everyone just assuming that I mentioned a PC case so I must be doing a crazy 'move everyhing into the case? - it's never going to work' project?

What do I have to DO?

 

Offline WarPiper

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2002, 12:13:19 AM »
It looks just like an Antek case, they could be had for about $80. US dollars.  check Antek web site and also ebay and amazon.com. you could get them with the clear side and a neon light for about $130. also.
 :pint:  :ak47:  :destroy:
There was a time I can remember computers were fun...I miss my A1200.
 

Offline WarPiper

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2002, 12:37:21 AM »
Quote
I`ve never understood why PC users bung plastic windows into cases..(maybe it`s more exciting to watch the CPU fan than it is using windows  )


Come on Doobrey, you cant be serious, you dont think it nice to mod up the dull boring case? give me a brake,  I am a Amiga and a PC user, and I have to say that I have not seen anything real earth shattering about any Amiga case modes except that they either are nasty looking hacks that are held together with crazy glue and duct take or they are Brand spanking new, custom made cases that cost about an arm/leg, maybe your first born ect ect.....
There was a time I can remember computers were fun...I miss my A1200.
 

Offline SirStimpalot

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2002, 01:09:00 AM »
@MacMiga

It's a fair enough idea. In fact several people have done similar some time ago. I know that, for example, Unitech Electronics offered a product called the Power Tower (or maybe it was the Tower of Power? Not quite sure).

At the time the 486 was a current machine, so it was a new case, with a cable coming out of it to plug into the power connector on the back of an A1200 (or any other 'wedge' Amiga, I guess) and it was wired up for SCSI. This was before all the various clock port expansions became available, so that's not an aspect it addressed.

A possible issue comes to mind with regard to cable length limitations where IDE devices are concerned. But apart from that, sure, an old PC could quite well provide some free/extremely cheap space for a couple of devices and electrical power.
 

  • Guest
Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2002, 01:30:24 AM »
@SirStimpalot

At LAST - somone actually read it ;-)

Quote

It's a fair enough idea. In fact several people have done similar some time ago. I know that, for example, Unitech Electronics offered a product called the Power Tower (or maybe it was the Tower of Power? Not quite sure).


See - I'm not mad ;-)

Quote

A possible issue comes to mind with regard to cable length limitations where IDE devices are concerned. But apart from that, sure, an old PC could quite well provide some free/extremely cheap space for a couple of devices and electrical power.


Well I reckon the cable lengths would be acceptable if you sropped them out of the trapdoor and almost straight down to the front oft he case. I have a G3 Mac and the internal CD cable is long enough to practically mummify an Amiga 600 so I don't think the length is that critical, especially at the low speeds and A1200 is doing, unlike SCSI that gets excessively picky about cable length at higher speeds.

Thanks for banging heads on the idea. :-)
 

Offline The_Editor

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2002, 06:10:23 AM »
Sorry  MacMiga.  I speed read your article (I was on a bit of a buzz having just ordered the case).

Actually my A1200 is in a PC tower along WITH my pc.

Its called a EZTower from eyetech and it involved quite a bit of "Cut & shutting".  But even this wasn't a cheap alternative.

The main problem with mounting a A1200 Mobo is, as has been pointed out,  the width.  I dont think you can get a smart looking desktop that wide enough to take the mobo.... Maybe those old IBM cases might (But here not pretty) and you gotta be careful what tower you use as they put the psu halfway up them these days.


Anyway heres the link to the case I just ordered.

http://www.thermaltake.com/   The case is a   "Xaser"  

For our Antipodean friends.. If you hunt the the posts.. or ask him directly...

VortexAU posted some links to these very cases from your shores.
The Reluctant Pom
 

  • Guest
Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2002, 10:44:38 AM »
@Ed

LMAO -

Try reading it all again, I still don't quite thiunk you as getting my drift.  :-D
 

Offline Korodny

Re: Cheap A$$ tower kit alternative for 1200??
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2002, 12:02:46 PM »
@MacMiga:

Quote

I don't WANT to put the 1200 board IN the PC it's supposed to be an *expansion chassis*! The drives and CatWeasel ive i nthe AT cas ea the A1200 sits on top. SEE???


Yeah, but what's the advantage? Just put the A1200 motherboard in the tower case and use a keyboard adaptor to connect your A1200 keyboard to it -> this way you'll only have one cable between tower case and A1200 case and there won't be any problems with cable lengths.

If you don't want to use a PCI bus board (which is also available for A1200 computers that are not equipped with a PPC accellerator btw.), you can use pretty much any tower (a long as it's big enough) and place it in the case any way you like. Just remove some parts of the cases's backplane (like the slot cage) to feed your cables (serial, parallel, joy+mouse ec.) to the A1200's ports.