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11.Oct.2004



Hardware hack: CD-ROM, HD and disk drive in an A1200 case
Update (26.10.2012, cg): Integrated article into the news item during database migration)

After seeing what Egon Kohlschütter had done to his Amiga 1200, Bob Wicksall decided that there was a way to make an internal CD-ROM blend better with the original A1200 case. Egon goes into better detail on some of the technical aspects of the hack so make sure you have a look at his report aswell. Here's what Bob's version looks like:



The following is a detailed report from Bob, describing how he managed to fit everything (including the disk drive) into the A1200 desktop case. Feel free to email any questions about this hack to rwicksall@rochester.rr.com.

First things first

I was able to find a spare TEAC CD-224E in an old Gateway desktop PC. I've also seen several of them on ebay. Just search for Teac and slimline and you probably find a hit. The next step was to open the case and remove the top half of the RF Shield. After this was done I took my CD-ROM and started to eyeball the new location. I found that I could move the harddrive and place the CD-Rom in the back left corner of the case. All I would have to do is build a mount and cut a hole in the case.

The next thing you need to acquire is an adapter to connect the Mini-IDE connector on the CD-Rom to a standard IDE cable. Again, you can find these on Ebay most of the time. Here is a picture:



Cutting and Mounting

Cutting the hole was a little tricky. Basically I put the top of the case on a table upside down and then placed the CD-ROM snug in the corner so that I could trace the outline. This told me exactly where I wanted the hole to go. I then measured the location and transferred the outline to the outside of the case. I'm never too sure of my measuring ability so I drilled a fine pilot hole in each of the corners. Once I was sure I had the outline as accurate as possible I started cutting the hole with a Dremel. The hole was finished with a nice wide file to straighten out the lines.

Mounting the CD-ROM drive was next. The mount was made up of three pieces that I cut out an old plastic hard drive case. The first piece is Z shaped, about 5 inches long and supports the weight of the drive. This piece runs down the middle of the drive, is attached to the back of the case and the other end rests on the motherboard. The second piece is a leg glued to the upper left of the case to support and level the drive. The third piece is simply a stop on the right of the drive to prevent it from moving when ejecting the disk. When the case is open the drive just floats loose but as soon as you close the case it is held in firmly. Here is what it looks like from behind:



Note: The mounts are supporting the case of the drive. They are not touching the door.
Note2: The Z mount is removable. It is held into place by three scraps of plactic glued to the 1200 case.

Moving the harddrive to its new position

I didn't want to lose the internal floppy and I was lucky enough to recover an old 4GB 2.5" harddrive from an old laptop. The Hardrive mount is made up of two pieces of sheet steel. The first is simple an L bracket bolted to the back of the case with two screw holes for the drive. The second piece is basically a hook with a screw hole. This uses the keyboard tray to support the other side of the drive. This of course means you have to unscrew the drive to remove the keyboard.



Note: The harddrive is just resting on it's mount. I had to remove the screws to remove the keyboard.


And from behind:



IDE Cables and Power

I attacked the power harness first. I had already built a replacement power supply from an ATX power supply so I didn't have to worry about the load. I hacked some connectors from an old PC and built a power harness to fit the location of the drives. The power is pulled from the floppy connector on the motherboard and split off to the floppy and the CD-ROM.

I could have folded the IDE cables but I found they were too bulky and I was already afraid of having heat problems in the case. I ended up splitting the cables by hand. It was actually easier than I could have imagined. I used a sharp knife to cut a small hole between each wire and then I carefully pulled each wire free.

I used an Elbox Fast ATA 1200 IDE adapter to get the extra IDE connections. I bought it new from Software Hut for the project and I couldn't be happier. Just stay away from the IDE splitters that stand virtically from the IDE connector on the motherboard. They don't fit under the drive. As you can see from the picture the CD-ROM comes very close to resting on the IDE adapter. I had to actually bend the pins on the circuit board to make room and then insulate the bottom of the drive with electrical tape.

Closing it all Up

The first thing is to place the keyboard. It slides in without a problem. The harddrive can then be screwed into place:



The case is actually very easy to close. You simply hinge it down from the back:



The finished product:



Further notes

I'm a little concerned about heat but so far I haven't had a problem. I've left it running for several hours with no issues. I don't really like the idea of installing a noisy fan so I'll probably leave things alone for now.

Make sure you give the drive opening plenty of room. If the hole is too small the drive will bind up when you are trying to eject the disk.

I would like to add some additional things like a flicker fixer but my choice of IDE adapters has limited my space. I think with a smaller IDE adapter you could probably fit a PPC card and a Bvision video card. Since I will probably never be able to get my hands on one it's not an issue for me. This IDE connector does give access to the clock port so a future USB adapter is a possibility. (cg) (Translation: cg)

[News message: 11. Oct. 2004, 22:38] [Comments: 0]
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