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Old 03 April 2014, 22:36   #1
voyager
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The Fractal Define r4 amiga tower experience

Do you know what time it is?!

It's lets put your miggy in a tower because you are getting sick of the stupid keyboard ribbon getting destroyed al the time, time!

When I first got this 1200 it was a really sad miggy with a bad keyboard and ribbon. So I ordered a brand new keyboard on Ebay. But after a lot of tinkering time with my delfina, subway, clockport expander etc it became bad again and yes I know al the tricks in the book to get it working again but sometimes a row of keys stopped working and it annoyed the living crap out of me. So I tough lets tower it.

It's always a difficult subject, what makes a Amiga a Amiga.. For me it's a lot of thing one thing is the look of the machine, and that's why I never did a conversion. So I found this old pc case and in a hour or so I replaced the back panel.



But for me this is still a pc, so I tough what would make it a little less a pc and more a Amiga. For me (and this is al personal) A Amiga is white not black. There are not a lot of white cases around, but I knew Fractal design had one. I have a black big tower from the same brand and Fractal makes really great cases. used to sell pc's in the past seen a lot of cases but this is one of the best in many years, so I looked at the dimensions and it seemed that the Amiga motherboard would fit.







As you can see I now finally have enough storage space (sarcasm mode)

So time I get the drill into this new case and take out the back panel!



That took about 20 minutes



It looks like a wet cat, it's a bit sad, the once mighty Fractal R4 reduced to just the bones. Maybe put some sad music under it.

[ Show youtube player ]

Here you go!



I did not want to mount the motherboard on the back tray of the case directly, there are just to many holes and bumps. The miggy wants a nice flat surface. I got the Dremel out and make a new bottom plate, drilled some holes for the hex spacers and painted it white.



Normally I use old pc cased to create back panels, but this fractal it a little higher then the normal pc case and a little more fat as well Agnus will feel right at home in this case!

So I ordered some online 0,75 MM steel on-line.





And tada! a new back plate!

Well yes and no, it is a backplate but it does not look like it's original
So I tough it need the same exact sites as the original does, and I dremeld the site strips of the original back plate.





But how to get them on there....
I can weld them on but I could net get my hands on a welding machine so I chose cold soldering. And that's were the first sad backs were.
It was very hard to keep things in place. As the metal heats up it will expand. In the end I managed to solder the 2 site bars on but it's not pretty so I will not show it here. However it hold on very well. Looks like a bad welding job.



Time to measure it al up. This took al lot of time because you have only one chance to do it right.



I have done better jobs, but the shapes a very complex, and you have to cut, drill and file (is that how you call it?) to make the shapes. And one thing buggers me and that is that it seems they are not in one exact line. But the motherboard is flat against the back plate of the case. So I think the fractal has a small offset of 1.0/1.5 MM.


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Old 03 April 2014, 22:37   #2
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For the first time a motherboard mounted inside the case!

[ Show youtube player ]

Time for some happy music, of you were still listening to the sad stuff turn it of I don't want you to get depressed! It's sad enough that we have a hobby that no one understands.



Luckily I starts to look like a case again.



And that's the back after a paint job, still some offset in the colour paint is still fresh.

Up next!

Paint the floppy drive, and try to make a longer FDD cable, save up some money for a miggy to ps/2 converter.

Did you know there is no way to convert a usb keyboard to a ps/2 one?!
Yes you have a little green passive adapters but then the keyboard still has the ps/2 protocol inside. I found one really expansive solution from a KVM switch like product but that's about it.

So yes ps/2 it is not happy about it. I was planing to use a nice mac usb keyboard but we are stuck in ps/2 world. Time to get some attention on the subject maybe mister schoenfeld can create something.

I was thinking of using a arduino with a USB host shield, but my programming is to bad to pull that one off.

Don't know that to do yet with the PSU, will it ever get a mediator.. they are sold out.

So until next time!
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Old 03 April 2014, 23:09   #3
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nice, you know you'll end up with 060 and mediator. start saving this is addiction.
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Old 03 April 2014, 23:16   #4
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Great work so far, voyager!
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Old 04 April 2014, 10:39   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lukassid View Post
nice, you know you'll end up with 060 and mediator. start saving this is addiction.
...But he hasn't got any PCI slots on the back panel now
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Old 04 April 2014, 14:42   #6
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Excellent job!

Now that you used a fractal define case, you can probably sell your A1200 to A-EON for 3000 USD!

The cool thing is that this one is really an "Amiga" computer
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Old 04 April 2014, 15:56   #7
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@ jbenam

adding the PCI bracket is 20 minutes work. It's just cutting a square out the back panel.
But it's quicker to first install a mediator to line op the PCI cards and then cut the hole.
At this moment the PCI option is not really a concern, first things first :-)

@ lukassid

Well I had a 040 with a upgrade kit and a mach 131 at one time, but I hated the incompatibility with a lot of old demo's and games. So I sold it and got a ACA@56 and I really love this card.

The biggest question now is, what to do with the PSU....
I think it will be a pico PSU but I also want to use the switch on the top of the case.
That switch is a momentary push button and to turn on the ATX PSU you need a latching switch.

I am also building two digital to analogue converters and I also used momentary push buttons. I made a latching switch circuit using the CD4013 IC. It contains two separate D-type flip flops. I have 5 volts standby on the ATX PSU so this could work, but again this is a few days work.
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Old 05 April 2014, 21:20   #8
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LED there be light!

The floppy drive build in and working.
Used a pc floppy cable and de-twisted the cable but still its a bit so short for my taste.



Made a cable for the 3 led's power FDD and HDD



The fractal case has no HDD led, I still think it's a handy feature to have so I drilled 2 5mm holes in de case. Flatted the leds with a piece of sandpaper and hot clued them into place.



And there was light!




Bit hard to make a good picture but you get the idea :-)

Last edited by voyager; 05 April 2014 at 23:07.
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Old 06 April 2014, 07:48   #9
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Looks great! I'd love to have the skills and a steady enough hand to do something like this. Keep us posted
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Old 09 April 2014, 19:45   #10
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Originally I wanted to go the pico PSU route, that's why there was no ATX hole in the back panel. The pico PSU would have more then enough power for the amiga, but I was unsure if it would be enough to power the mediator and some power hungry 5v cards.

Cutting the hole resulted in new paint job, the heat just destroyed the white paint.

I ended up with a SFX form factor PSU, It's really small and is not a "be in the way" when tinkering with the system itself.







I'm also trying to switch the PSU on and off with the momentary push button on top of the case. Using a BC547 transistor to pull the power-on signal to ground. this resulted in unstable operation of the PSU. It will go on but when turning off after a few seconds it turns on again by it self.

I ordered a small 5v relay and be done with it. I have to wait till next week before it arrives.
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Old 10 April 2014, 06:25   #11
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Brilliant work, well done. I'll be checking back on this thread for updates.
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Old 10 April 2014, 21:42   #12
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My first attempt was not a big success, I don't know why it did not work but the ATX PSU did not stay off and all kinds of weird stuff happened.

I found 2, 5v reed relays on a old ISA modem, and they are perfect for the job. Still a lot of things to try out. I don't know how much current the standby line has to offer and how stable the 5v line is.

Another interesting thing is what we call "dender" If a momentary switch is pressed in there is a little piece of metal in there that vibrates a little before it settles in its final position. The CD4013 IC I use will see this as a turn on and very quickly turn of signal. So you press the switch the system go's on and off again. So you also have to play with some capacitors in the schematic to get it right. There is a chance that it will not play nice with the switch in the big tower, we will have to see :-)

Tomorrow I will find out if this works or not.

Thank you for all following this project!
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Old 11 April 2014, 08:12   #13
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Great thread and a great case.
The fractal R4 houses my X1000 and it is a truly solid case.

Last edited by DDNI; 11 April 2014 at 09:25.
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Old 11 April 2014, 21:01   #14
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It worked and remains stable!



The first try-out



The blue LED, means that there is power on the relay. A strange thing still. If there is not enough load on the PSU the LED won't come on, but the relay still switches. That could indicate that the standby rail drops a little with no load. Did I tell you I more or less hate switching power supplies

anyway



It's not pretty but there is noway to mount the ATX connector in a nice way on a piece of proto-board.



I solderd the 4 wires onto the mainboard using the more or less standard colours. You can also see the audio tab for the delfina sound card.
In the same time I solderd the reset header



I used some double sided tape to stick it to the back of of the case.
A big NO in the molex connectors to remind me that it's NOT a ATX standard connector. Sometimes I forget what I did a few years back.



The inside of the case still remains very tidy and clean.



And now we wait for the PS/2 interface. I am going the find a nice place for the delfina and the subway. I need to order some IDE cables. I don't know if I go the harddisk way or the CF route. Having some music on my system to use with the delfina is always nice. But a CF is easy to switch.

Not sure about the cdrom drive also. I don't use optical media any more, but if I would build a retro system I would install a cdrom so ... I don't know yet.

Still it's a strange feeling turning a amiga on and off with a push switch.
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Old 11 April 2014, 21:06   #15
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I'm sorry but why having big case and external gotek?
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Old 11 April 2014, 21:20   #16
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Because I want to hear the system boot. It's part of the Amiga feeling for me.
(and it's a nice HD drive) Thats why the power LED of the case is powered by the Amiga it self and not by the PSU. I want that green LED to go dim and bright again, and see it flash if I have a software failure :-) The LED was red but I changed it to green.

I know it still a PC bigtower but at least I can try to make it feel more like a Amiga :-)
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Old 14 April 2014, 00:31   #17
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And if you had gotek mounted internally in the second floppy bay that would change that?
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Old 15 April 2014, 18:48   #18
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If this case came with 2 floppy bays then yes I would have installed the gotek as well but only got 2 5,25 slots.. And the other one is now occupied by the cd-rom drive. It was this or a CF card reader. But I have a load of small harddisk's so I can now store some music on it as well.



Reused one of the HDD brackets and mounted it under the cd-rom.

Most of the work is done inside. I spent more time soldering cables then cutting and drilling. I made a longer IDE cable, longer then the IDE specs would allow but he' it's just pio 0 and it works fine. Did have some floppy drive troubles, I think is a bad power connector but have to look into it.



Spray painted the cd-rom drive. Note to self, first check if the drive is working and THEN paint the drive.



And yes there are some party lights. They can also turn off or make then any colour. If red gets out of fashion we just select blue on the remote.



I think there will be a problem with the PCMCIA angle adapter, they are sold out and expensive btw. I think I can make one myself but 68 connections to make pfff :-(
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Old 15 April 2014, 20:03   #19
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Arghhhhhh!!!!

That red dont look right. Rest of it looks awesome.
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Old 15 April 2014, 21:13   #20
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Are you happy now?, I made It pink :-)



By the way, is there a chance that there will be more pcmcia angle adapters?
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