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600/800/600/800XL/1088XEL Cart Slot Extension Set Order


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I have been working with this project for about a month or so. I think it's finally ready for prime time.



One of the few issues still remaining with the 1088XEL board is the reality of no easy way to access the cartridge slot in a normal miniITX/microATX standard case. Previous efforts at extending the cart slot access focused on pcb only extension and with some limited success ribbon cable only extension with a dumb pcb at each end to connect the cartridge with the motherboard slot. The ribbon cable by necessity had to be rather short, no more than 12" or you started having problems with PHI0 signal loss.


After working with tf_hh on the issue, we've come up with what I believe is a better solution that will allow longer ribbon cable lengths. I have tested up to 18" of ribbon cable on multiple game carts, language carts, SIDE 1 cart, and Super SDX carts. I cannot say everything in cartridge format will work, since I do not have every cartridge ever made, but it's probably going to be a small # if any.


This version also has the added advantage that it can be used with any Atari 600/800, 600XL/800XL 8 bit computer motherboard. It's not limited to the 1088XEL motherboard.


This version consists of two pcbs joined together by either a 12" or 18" ribbon cable. It is single cartridge capable. The external cartridge pcb consists of a 30 pin card edge connector with cartridge guide mounting holes and 30 pin boxed header connector on back. The board also has the dimensions to fit inside a 5 1/4" drive bay in a standard ITX/ATX case and/or mounting holes for placement elsewhere in the case. The buffer pcb is inserted into the motherboard cartridge slot and provides buffering and buss conversion circuitry with it's own 30 pin boxed header connector for the ribbon cable connection.


The picture below is of the prototype. The production model will be very similar, except I will be using all TH parts. No SMD. The connectors will be keyed, boxed headers instead of bare pin headers.




I have sent a pricing request to Best Electronics for the cartridge guide part, but have not heard back on what the cost would be. I suspect it will be around $5 per guide part. Due to the uncertain cost and that it can be scavenged from a non-working motherboard, I am only going to offer it as an optional addon when you purchase extension set on my website. I'll have a firmer price soon.




I elected not to produce an assembled 130XE Cart/ECI extension set, due to the expected low demand, but I will have bare boards with a BOM available on my website for those who feel they absolutely need it.


This again is the prototype version of the 130XE Cart/ECI extension board. The external pcb will have a single cartridge/ECI pinout with mounting holes for mounting the board and be all TH parts. It will not have the mounting holes for the cartridge guide since it will not fit the XE version computers.






$35.00 per 600/800, 600XL/800XL, 1088XEL Cartridge Slot Extension Set plus shipping


$15.00 per 130XE Cart/ECI bareboard set plus shipping




In the US: Standard Flat Rate for upto three sets = 8.00


International: Varies depending on country.


Time frame from order window close to shipping will be the standard three to six weeks.


Minimum sold must be at least 10.


10% ABBUC discount applies on assembled board set only.


Orders placed on my website www.bitsofthepast.com


Order window should open tomorrow morning.


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Recieved a pricing quote on the 600XL/800XL cartridge guide part from Bradley. He is quoting $4.95 plus shipping, so I have added a $6.00 extra charge to cover the extra cost for that part. Just choose the correct option in the options dropdown if you want it.


The order window is now open. Should be up for at least two weeks, perhaps three.

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With the XEL not yet ready for prime time will you be offering these again when people start building them?

It depends on a couple of factors. This is not strictly a 1088XEL only accessory, so there is a broader appeal and demand. If the initial run sells out, then I would probably make it a part of the permanent store inventory. But I wouldn't keep a large number available, due to space and inventory cost issues.

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  • 2 weeks later...



As of today:


All assembled initial sets have been sold.



The board and parts order is going in for the first 10 sets.


At this point I don't know if there will be a second set. I'm not ruling it out, but I have three pending orders going right now and I think it's time to pull back and get them out the door before I do any more. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Running into data corruption with some cartridges on the longer ribbon cable option. Works fine with 12" cables. I've tried every thing I can with the ribbon cable and connectors I have. I have ordered different cable and connectors from Digikey and they should arrive Tues/Wed.


That is going to delay the shipment of those who ordered the longer cable option unfortunately. :(

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Okay final update on this run:


All orders have been filled and will be posted this morning. :)


I am opening up the order window for a second run this morning as well. :)


The main difference is that I will not be offering the cartridge guide with this run. Also between a slightly higher price for the different speed 645 chip and extra cost for ribbon cable above 12" I've added 1 extra dollar for the 18" ribbon cable option. :(

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Thanks for the update. Are you just going to be offering the S-Drive boards and not floppy/combo boards?


I haven't been able to fully test the combo boards on a 1088XEL board and ATX case/ps, so until Michael releases the final specs and gerber files I'm going to hold off offering them. I don't expect to have problems, but you never know. To my knowledge, no one has tried to marry a floppy drive and a floppy drive emulator on the same board. :)

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