1088 XEL Mini-ITX 8-Bit Motherboard
XEL-CF-][ MPBI Compact Flash HDD
This is a complete ground up redesign of the Atari 8-Bit Computer Motherboard still utilizing the standard Atari VLSI chips, but recreated in a Mini-ITX Form Factor (17 cm x 17 cm). The idea behind this project was to take several devices I had been working on (i.e., TK-II, MouseTari, and VGATE), along with the U1MB and UAV upgrades by Lotharek and AtariAge member Bryan, and integrate them into a cohesive package that would fit a plethora of readily available Mini-ITX enclosures.
To be truthful those original A8 upgrades I had been working on over the last 2 years, were simply a precursor leading up to the 1088XEL project which was really my ultimate goal all along. As for choosing the Mini-ITX form factor... that came about from a suggestion made by AtariAge member TXG/MNX posted on the very first day of a forum discussion started back in January 2017. As time passed, and the forum discussions grew, numerous suggestions made their way into the project culminating into a prototype build around the end of March 2017. I then chose a team of 6 people to build up their own boards so that we could do some parallel development testing, and also enlisted the help of a few other key people to assist with some of the design decisions and troubleshooting.
Those version 1.0 boards which were never meant for general release, and required numerous modifications in order to iron out the bugs, ultimately culminated in the version 1.1 release to follow. Taking exactly 9 months to the day for a fully developed Mini-ITX Atari 8-Bit motherboard to be born.
Simon Wells and Mopar Stephen demoed their modified 1088XEL version 1.0 boards at VCFMW 12 earlier this year.
General Build Information
This project is now considered fully released, and all of the pertinent files to get started with a DIY build are now available from this page. But please check back occasionally to see if any of the files have been updated (check date) or revised (check version number).
If you plan on doing this yourself, and not getting in on a group buy, I would recommend using either EasyEDA or ALLPCB for the PCB board manufacturing. I have done several board runs with both of them, and always found their process to be easy to use, reasonably priced, and with speedy delivery (7-10 days). However just be warned that this is a very complicated board having 180 components that will need to be soldered, several of which have up to 40 pins each (we're talking about a lot of soldering).
News Flash: ALLPCB now has free DHL shipping, so be sure to comparison shop before settling on any one PCB manufacturer.
AA member MacRorie has started a pre-order page for a group buy, and is talking about offering bare boards, kits, and fully assembled boards with the option of a 3D printed case. I will not be involved with this aspect, so please don't ask me about any cost related information, which I will simply have to defer to MacRorie anyway.
Also thanks to AA member flashjazzcat, there is now a special build of the U1MB BIOS that is specific to the features of the 1088XEL and the XEL-CF MPBI adapter.
Special builds of the firmware for all of the PIC devices used on the 1088XEL Motherboard (Keyboard, Mouse, and GTIA V-GATE) are now provided in the download section. Warning these will presently be XEL specific versions which are absolutely required for proper operation in the 1088XEL, so don't flash with any of the other files on this website assuming you want your board to work. Eventually I'll migrate these files over where applicable into other areas of this site.
A new version of the JOY2PIC has been released called the JOY2PIC-STIK, and offers a much easier and cheaper way to program the PIC MCU's needed for this project. Be sure to go to the JOY2PIC page to see what this new device is all about.
Michael St. Pierre
AtariAge Member ID: mytekcontrols
Check Out the AtariAge Discussions
Microchip PIC MCU Firmware
There are 3 MCU's on the 1088XEL Motherboard, and a single one on the optional Mouse Port Select board. The ZIP file contains individual Flashing ATR's for use with the JOY2PIC A8 programmer, as well as the individual hex files for use with a 3rd party programmer such as the Microchip PICkit series. These are to be used to flash the firmware into the PIC chips (16F1847: TK-II and Mousetari, 12F1571: V-Gate, 12F629: Mouse Port Select). Source files have also been included, but are not required.
PCB Manufacturing Gerber/NC Files
These downloads also contain a ReadMe text document with specific manufacturing details. To order boards: drag and drop entire Zip file to EasyEDA or ALLPCB order page, and then fill out the remaining parameters in the PCB order form based on info contained in the ReadMe document. Please note that after dropping the file into the order page on ALLPCB, you may see a strange file name in the upload box, but just ignore that and press the submit order button anyway and your file should upload.
PCB Schematic Capture/Layout Source Files
Here's where it all began. These downloads contain the actual PCB Schematic Capture and Layout source files that were done in ExpressPCB, which later got translated into the manufacturing Gerber files by Copper Connection, to be used to produce real boards.
Custom Mechanical Parts & Panels
This download contains all custom panel and Cart Tunnel files, some of which are specific to the Realan H80 Gaming Mini-ITX case. However the rear bezel panel is the exception, and will fit any Mini-ITX case. All the panel files were created in Front Panel Express's Panel Designer application, which you will need to download separately to view, edit and/or order panels (use download link button below to get it). The Cart Tunnel is a 3D printable STL file, and it is best to use a Polyamide material for the print due it's better flexibility which allows the cart door opening fingers to bend without breaking.
Cut-Away View of 3D Printed Cart Tunnel for Realan Case
Created at: TinkerCad
1088 XEL Mini-ITX Alternative Atari 8-Bit Motherboard
1088 XEL Mini-ITX Alternative Atari 8-Bit Motherboard
XEL-CF-][ MPBI Compact Flash IDE Interface for the 1088 XEL
This is the first peripheral device to take advantage of the 1088XEL's unique MPBI expansion port (J17), allowing for an internal Compact Flash HDD to be deployed while not stealing cartridge port access, or having to use conflicting drivers or a patched OS.
The new 2-Piece design keeps the electronic interface close to the MPBI port, while attaching to the CF-IDE44 adapter board(s) via a ribbon cable. The IDE44 side of the interface is fully buffered, thereby supporting long cables and multiple (Master/Slave) drives. And so that this doesn't become a dead end device, MPBI pass-thru has also been provided through an extended pin female connector.
If you only want 1-3 boards OSHpark is sormewhat reasonable, but when looking at greater quantities it's better to go with someone like EasyEDA or ALLPCB, especially if you combine shipping with the 1088XEL.
Watch out for Fake Knock-Offs being sold on eBay -- Only buy from trusted seller
By utilizing the left side of the panelized break-away PCB, along with a few pieces of hardware, facilitates easy panel mounting of this adapter board.
Independent XEL MPBI Project In Development