tcat wrote:[a] RE serials, are these UART compatible, I read earlier in the post about `6502'?
what would be connector terminals for SER1,2, BT plug, or D-Cannon style 9-pin (like US QL)? Or is it something around FTDI chip (Serial over USB)?
Maybe you're thinking 68681? There is a separate project to get a half-way modern UART working on the QL, with driver support. I
We're using 9 pin D-SUB connectors, like on the US and German QLs. Two reasons: the 631 BT style connectors are not available, and they are also an abomination. The serial levewl conversion hardware is all new and based on the ADM208EAR 5V device instead of an MC1488/1489 pair - those require +12V and -12V and needlessly complicate the power supply design. One goal of this board is to have it run off a single DC supply as there is a chronic shortage of QL power supplies. Anything we can do to free up even a few will help greatly.
tcat wrote:[b] RE MDV, I have not developed SMD skills, but I read that a new design of MDV head board available, if not SMD, I feel up to populating new boards myself, head assembly, mounting screws, ULA, head reseating, motor adjustment, the skills I have got.
I designed a replacement microdrive board that was 4-layer and mostly SMD. It did provide cleaner signal paths. It took some time to make a jig so the heads could be absolutely properly aligned, and this turned out to be the only critical part of the process. That is not something the average person would be able to do at home. As there are no new heads, it involves non-destructively recovering the heads from low-mileage microdrive units, removing the ULA, then porting those onto the new board and remounting/aligning it onto the original frame. It is not for the faint of heart.
I will be porting that PCB design to my current PCB design software later in the year and will make 15-20 available. I have already disassembled that many microdrives, but got completely sidetracked when I had my heart attack.
tcat wrote:[c] RE TK2 toolkit, I have on std 16K CARE ROM cartrige, is this ext. port availlable?
The Issue 8 has a standard ROM port, with one minor change. The plastic molding is black. I plan to discontinue the ROM port after Issue 8 as the image can be saved in flash and relocated. I found the connectors to be very difficult to source, and quite expensive at £5/00 a piece. Therefore, I will be offering it as a built time option - if you don't want it, your Issue 8 board will be £5 cheaper.
We've done another small yet big change with the ROM port, but we're not ready to discuss it yet. It doesn't affect compatibility but improves flexibility of expansion options.
tcat wrote:[d] RE casing (non h/w), will it fit in std black case, is Sinclair QL `casting die' available so we could get new plastic mouldings?
The Issue 8 fits in a standard QL case.
Currently, you'd have a QL that is broken or in need of upgrade. You'd open it and remove the microdrives and QL PCB. You'd transfer the 8301, 8302 and 8049 across to the new board. You'd take the supplied template and mark up the back of your QL case, then alter the slots where Ser1, Ser2, Joy1 and Joy2 are to match a German QL.
On the current board, we implement in order the ROM port 100% compatible, Joy2, Joy1 in Kempston pinout (now protected by diodes), Ser2 and Ser1, reset in the UHF hole, RGB 8 pin DIN (signals now buffered and protected), power in, QL net 2 and 1, the reset button location is now a proper on/off rocker switch. Power and microdrive LEDs match. The EC1 microdrive expansion connector is implemented. We're implementing QIMI on board, and will include either an Atari 9-pin D-SUB or a Microsoft Inport (9 pin mini-DIN) connector in a new location. This will likely be beside the power socket (mini-DIN) or by the RGB port (D-SUB). We will mount it so if you do not want to use it you do not need to expose the miniDIN connector, or the D-SUB can be supplied loose. If you do not want the QIMI port installed as a build time option, we'll knock a bit off the price.
The J1 DIN41612 connector is implemented, but some signals have been changed. We've converted some to ground, and others to extend the address bus. Also, the 68SEC000 does not implement the 6800-style interrupt system, so we made useful changes there. The only card we're aware of that used the 6800 interrupt system is the QEPIII programmer - that will not work with Issue 8.
Super Gold Cards, Gold Cards, Trump Cards, Floppy/IDE cards will work. QL-SD will work, but you might need to get a slightly longer ribbon cable, depending on how long yours is. If this proves to be a problem, we'll make one available. There will be a LOT less RF noise inside the QL with an Issue 8 board, so long cable runs will not pick up noise like they do in Issue 5 or 7.