After the front panel session last week, I spent the rest of the week preparing to cable up the control surface. This included mounting the rest of the circuit boards to the keyboard frame and making more connector casings. As it turned out, I had miscalculated the amount of connectors needed (I made some when starting out with this project) for the control surface. I had also forgotten to add a connector for the C64 power LED to the power supply board. With all these out of the way I was finally ready for the cabling! This is what the underside looks like with all of the boards installed:
Continuing on the more visible bits of the project, today I completed the measuring, drilling and sanding the front plate! Needs just a bit of base paint and it’s ready for Petri to do all the labeling.
As you can see from the close up, the switch holes have the concave part (I mentioned about it in this post) made with a flush-mount drill bit. Nothing too fancy or smoothly transitioning with the surface, but I can now safely say that the approach works! \:D/
Despite this, it’s not like the front plate was a complete success either.. I managed to hit few drill holes slightly off mark and there were a few slightly deeper dents that surface sanding couldn’t fix/remove. To patch these up, I decided to solder them. Not the best approach as it requires quite a bit of heat, but I wanted to test this method instead of using some filling compound. The patched spots are visible in the overall picture as well (darker areas).
And (whoomp) there it is then.
As the post topic suggests, I finally got to move on to something a bit more visible this week. Instead of lengthy ramblings, I’ll just present you with a set of photos:
So plenty of LED soldering and drilling done this week.. :)
Recovering from my christmas holidays, I decided to continue this project early this week by doing quick mockups of the switch boards for the display section (LED/button matrix, SID selection, menu navigation). After all, this switch board section was the second most critical block after the display element. The mockups would help me to fine tune the final board placement and I could also use them as drilling templates for the front panel at a later stage. So once again, pieces of empty circuit boards to the rescue! Choosing a 1cm (test) spacing for the LED grid, I drilled some holes to the boards to simulate the buttons and LEDs.
And what a great idea this was! In no time it proved itself a good one as it became instantly apparent that I had mounted the display to the wrong place! There was just no way to fit the entire button/LED grid below the display. Yay \o/ .. Somewhat sucks that I didn’t think of making these mockups at a earlier stage, but anyway good that I did it at this point (before drilling the front plate or other less reversible tasks) . Anyway, after relocating the display mounts (other DOUT-module needed to be moved as well) and cutting the top half of the enclosure to accommodate the changes, I continued shuffling the buttons around in order to end up with the final panel layout. And guess what? It turned out that the switches bought for the project (panel mount type like this one here) are mechanically too big to fit the keyboard frame, even despite the relocated display element left a lot more room to manoeuvre. Hence, a new switch model had to be selected as there was no more room to move the display element. Back to square one it is then, double yay for me. \o/
I’ve spent most of this week figuring out the layout of the control surface. The LCD element is most important, as its placement will also determine where other operational blocks (f.ex. VCF/VCA controls) will locate to. As the display to-be-used in this project is a four-row one, it’ll require a bit more space than what Thorsten’s original design uses (two-row LCD). Furthermore, I think Thorsten’s layout (picture here) is impractical in the sense that, assuming both hands are used and you wish to operate the data encoder (display menu navigation / value control) or the switch matrix, your left hand will most likely block the display. To work around these issues, the display could be simply located more towards the top of the control panel and the data encoder placed to correspond with the chosen hand configuration (located on the left side of display for left hand configuration and vice versa).