Jump to content
IGNORED

Personalizing one of my 1200XLs


Recommended Posts

Good evening, everyone!

 

I'm still in the planning and ideas stages of personalizing/customizing on of my 1200XLs that I'll be modding with the VBXE, dual Pokey, and U1MB mods for personal use, but thought I'd get some input on the casing contemplations I've been entertaining. It took some time, but I took a high resolution image of a 1200XL and broke it into the Photoshop layers which would allow me to manipulate the look.

 

At this point, I'm down to these two styles included with this post. I do have some junked out XL equipment to test methods on so that I don't out-and-out ruin one of my treasured 1200XLs. After watching YouTube videos covering plastics, it looks like my options for the yellowing plastic are 1) staining; and 2) spray painting. Does anyone have any suggestions or experience they could offer after reviewing the look I'm going for? Ultimately, I'd also like to have backlit keys, too, but we can't have everything, lol

 

My other notions are:

 

1. LCD display that can report available RAM, which memory bank is currently in use, current date and time, and a couple other things.

2. A read/write LED for non-1050 drives (memory r/w, for example, or flashcard r/w)

3. A hard reset button so the 1200XL doesn't have to be switched off/on. But I think the U1MB has that already as a feature, so maybe setting the push button to replicate the necessary keypresses? Not sure on this one, yet.

 

There were a few other on my ultimate 1200XL wishlist, but I don't have it nearby to reference.

 

Anyhow, what are my best options for achieving IRL what I can achieve in Photoshop with the style/look?

 

Thank you, in advance!

Tim

 

post-46210-0-27607500-1465161118_thumb.png

post-46210-0-94181000-1465161135_thumb.png

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I looked at the photos about three times before I realized that's my desk and my 1200XL. :)

 

My initial reaction is: don't do it. Put the upgrades in there and leave it be, since the original aesthetic is so good it can hardly be improved upon. But it's your machine...

 

A lot of the visual goodies can either already be done in software on the screen, using existing lights, or won't provide much useful: for instance, an LCD display showing which RAM bank is currently in use will usually just be an unreadable blur of information as the CPU rapidly switches between one bank and the next when accessing RAMdisks and SpartaDOS X drivers. SDX has a time/date line which can optionally be placed at the top of the screen. The notion of "available RAM", meanwhile, implies some kind of clearly defined and measurable memory allocation scheme (which the Atari doesn't have, aside from applications and operating systems which cook one up in software).

 

The two LEDs to the right of the power light can be repurposed as HDD activity lights, etc, if you do a bit of rewiring. I fitted an IDEa (KMK/JZ) HDD host adapter inside one of my 1200XLs, and disconnected the two rightmost LEDs from PIA and connected one up as a hard disk R/W light and the other as a hard disk on/off indicator.

 

There are several ways to implement a hard reset button, but you're right: Ultimate 1MB has this facility built-in and you need only press Select+Reset to invoke it.

 

In the photos, I guess the darker brown looks better but be aware that chipped paint is going to look awful after it takes a few knocks. That said, I've contemplated resorting to paint in the past, simply because of the plastic's propensity for yellowing. The Peroxide route (Retr0Brite: see the sticky threads on restoration in this forum) is reliable and effective, but be prepared for annual re-treatments and there's a risk of disaster until you practice enough to get the method down pat.

 

I've done a few case-modded machines for people (never 1200XLs, however: the owners always want them restored to factory condition) including SIO2SD LCDs put in holes in 800XL cases with buttons underneath, etc, and they can look good if done well. Upgrades have a habit of going out of date, however, and being replaced by something smaller or better, so regardless of what you do to the machine, have one eye on the possibility that you might want to make changes in the future.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I looked at the photos about three times before I realized that's my desk and my 1200XL. :)

 

My initial reaction is: don't do it. Put the upgrades in there and leave it be, since the original aesthetic is so good it can hardly be improved upon. But it's your machine...

 

A lot of the visual goodies can either already be done in software on the screen, using existing lights, or won't provide much useful: for instance, an LCD display showing which RAM bank is currently in use will usually just be an unreadable blur of information as the CPU rapidly switches between one bank and the next when accessing RAMdisks and SpartaDOS X drivers. SDX has a time/date line which can optionally be placed at the top of the screen. The notion of "available RAM", meanwhile, implies some kind of clearly defined and measurable memory allocation scheme (which the Atari doesn't have, aside from applications and operating systems which cook one up in software).

 

The two LEDs to the right of the power light can be repurposed as HDD activity lights, etc, if you do a bit of rewiring. I fitted an IDEa (KMK/JZ) HDD host adapter inside one of my 1200XLs, and disconnected the two rightmost LEDs from PIA and connected one up as a hard disk R/W light and the other as a hard disk on/off indicator.

 

There are several ways to implement a hard reset button, but you're right: Ultimate 1MB has this facility built-in and you need only press Select+Reset to invoke it.

 

In the photos, I guess the darker brown looks better but be aware that chipped paint is going to look awful after it takes a few knocks. That said, I've contemplated resorting to paint in the past, simply because of the plastic's propensity for yellowing. The Peroxide route (Retr0Brite: see the sticky threads on restoration in this forum) is reliable and effective, but be prepared for annual re-treatments and there's a risk of disaster until you practice enough to get the method down pat.

 

I've done a few case-modded machines for people (never 1200XLs, however: the owners always want them restored to factory condition) including SIO2SD LCDs put in holes in 800XL cases with buttons underneath, etc, and they can look good if done well. Upgrades have a habit of going out of date, however, and being replaced by something smaller or better, so regardless of what you do to the machine, have one eye on the possibility that you might want to make changes in the future.

 

Wow! Thank you for your thought-provoking response, FJC. In all honesty, I'm in no rush to change the color of the 1200XL, but it was lots of fun to play with the colors in Photoshop through the layers I was able to create from the picture. And awesome that you had the highest resolution pic Google Images offered for a 1200XL!! The fact that I'm dragging my feet on not only the coloration, but the inserting of the mods just goes to show my weird reverence for the 1200XL model. If it was an 800XL I was contemplating, I'm positive I wouldn't be this reserved. Not that it stops me from re-imagining the 1200XL, lol.

 

I really appreciate everything you discussed!

--Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's always plasti-dip which can be removed if you don't like it. I did it to a rough button I have on a Roland studio workstation and it turned out awesome after a 2nd try - so I would suggest testing it on some other similar plastic and learning how to apply it properly before jumping in and doing it to this. I completely agree with the paint though. I used a paint specifically for plastic on my 800XL (Krylon Fusion) to make it white and while it looked great for the first few years, has definitely been scratched and now looks wrecked.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's always plasti-dip which can be removed if you don't like it. I did it to a rough button I have on a Roland studio workstation and it turned out awesome after a 2nd try - so I would suggest testing it on some other similar plastic and learning how to apply it properly before jumping in and doing it to this. I completely agree with the paint though. I used a paint specifically for plastic on my 800XL (Krylon Fusion) to make it white and while it looked great for the first few years, has definitely been scratched and now looks wrecked.

 

Thanks, Clint,

 

I've never heard of plasti-dip, but I did watch several videos where individuals were showing how to color-by-dye ABS plastic components. Up until then, I thought my only option was spray paint, but that can scratch, peel, and fleck and thus makes the whole point of it moot. At the same time, I've seen some pretty horrible results in several cases of people retro-briting that got me thinking that hey, that yellowing isn't so bad after all, lol. Having to re-retrobrite every couple years or so isn't a big deal if I were to go that route, but ending up with a striped result, or similar, would have me hating myself in unhealthy ways, lol.

 

Approaching coloration from a dye standpoint seemed reasonable. It eliminated the hassles associated with spray paint. But at the same time, it wouldn't work (from what I can tell) on dark components-- for example, the brown of the 1200XL.

 

And, as I mentioned in my follow-up to FJC's post, I'm not dog-determine to do it. I just liked the fresh look I was able to get in the Photoshop layering, and thought that with the additional modding, it would be a very unique, great-looking system. I recently saw where someone had gone the straight-up black route as part of their re-design and modding, and that looked sharp!

 

If ever I do proceed, I have junked out XLs that would fall victim to my testing of coloration before I EVER dared proceed to the 1200XL with the worst yellowing.

 

--Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience with retrobrighting (once) on the sliders for the very same Roland Workstation turned out incredible and I feel any kind of starchy looking whiteness after is a million times better than any sort of yellowing but that's just my personal opinion. The off red button I retrobrighted, because it had a white layer on it to be whitened, seemed to bleach out a little on the sides but nothing I can't overlook, so it's fine! :)

 

I'll see if I can post a picture of my plastidipped knob from the Roland later to show you what it looks like. It was awful before and had some sort of scuffed sides and I wanted it to pop a little bit to match the rest of the restoration I was doing.

Edited by Clint Thompson
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My experience with retrobrighting (once) on the sliders for the very same Roland Workstation turned out incredible and I feel any kind of starchy looking whiteness after is a million times better than any sort of yellowing but that's just my personal opinion. The off red button I retrobrighted, because it had a white layer on it to be whitened, seemed to bleach out a little on the sides but nothing I can't overlook, so it's fine! :)

 

I'll see if I can post a picture of my plastidipped knob from the Roland later to show you what it looks like. It was awful before and had some sort of scuffed sides and I wanted it to pop a little bit to match the rest of the restoration I was doing.

 

I'll be pretty OCD about my 1200XLs, lol. But I might give the R/B a go on one of the junk cases (1027s, for example), just for personal experience. I've seen the before and after pics posted by others, and find them very impressive. But I'm an infant Atarian in a well-matured community with years of experience, and I'm realistic enough to realize that my mileage will vary until I have done it enough times to get my own process down. O.o

 

--Tim

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paint won't chip, scratch or peel so easily, and last years and years longer if you just spray with a clear-coat over the paint.And you can have it in matte or glossy or flat, just like the paint.And of course, several coats of paint and clear-coat.

Edited by Gunstar
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paint won't chip, scratch or peel so easily, and last years and years longer if you just spray with a clear-coat over the paint.And you can have it in matte or glossy or flat, just like the paint.And of course, several coats of paint and clear-coat.

 

Good point!

 

@Tim - here's my plastidipped Roland knob - it's got a nice texture rubbery feel to it:

 

post-985-0-30170800-1465293397_thumb.jpg

 

Or I guess it could be to my secret time machine. The world may never know...

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Good point!

 

@Tim - here's my plastidipped Roland knob - it's got a nice texture rubbery feel to it:

 

attachicon.gifIMG_0088.JPG

 

Or I guess it could be to my secret time machine. The world may never know...

 

Very nice! I tried finding out more on this plastidip, but could only find auto-related sites "dipping your car."

 

Any suggestions?

 

--Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

No idea, honestly I just picked up a can from WalMart for less than $10 and had a go at it.

 

Thank you, Clint! That was just enough info for me to track down more information. I have no idea how this would play out on an Atari case, but I'm adding it to the list of "Might wanna try this" and see what happens.

 

--Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This thread got me thinking. If you embedded a small Bluetooth module in an 8-bit, you could move all your switches and displays to an external enclosure. It would be kinda neat to control all that stuff from a disconnected box and not touch the original enclosure.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...