64HDD in a 1571 case

This page describes how to install and configure a PC into a 1571 drive case. Its a tight squeeze, but with the right donor bits, it should be possible to fit PSU, circuit boards, FDD and HDD. The 64HDD software can then be installed on the PC to complete the project.


Build the system:

PSU Installation: - a small PC PSU is installed towards the rear of the case. The type shown comes from a 386 Compaq PC. There are some PSUs which are smaller than this, but this particular one requires that a hole be made through the bottom of the case because of the PSU's height. Depending upon the other components you will have to make fit into the case, you may also need to remove some of the plastic drive mounting posts which held the 5.25" drive in location.

Also shown in the photo is the location of the external ports (a RS232 serial and a GAME port) for future functions.

Modifications to the LPT I/O card: - the wiring for the X1541 (or XE1541) connection can be terminated directly to the LPT connector on the I/O card. The neatest method is to use a small length of ribbon cable. This particular installation has a second cable for the parallel connection.
I/O board installation: - if the PC motherboard you are using has no "on-board" I/O port and connectors, you will need to use a low profile I/O card as shown. This sort of low profile card should just fit height-wise into the case.
Drive Mounting Plate: - a thin sheet of tin plate or any other sturdy material can be used as a mounting board for the FDD and HDD. The size of the board should be shaped to fit the case. Two 3.5" drives will fit side by side, but you can also sometimes fit them top-and-bottom. A 2.5" HDD will result in more free room within the case. The FDD is optional, but its a handy feature to have.
Installation and Connection: - the mounting plate can be conveniently supported by the ledge in the 1571 casing. Ribbon cable for the FDC and IDE controllers should be as short as possible as there is not a lot of space. I found mounting the drives in a staggered and opposite facing way gave me the easiest result.
Main PC board: - you need a micro-AT or micro-ATX form-factor motherboard if you are going to fit within the case and have a PSU installed. You could use a standard AT/ATX form-factor board, but the PSU will have to be external. The power leads from the PSU to the mainboard may need to be extended (using another set cut from a bad PSU). Low profile memory SIMMs are best. The micro-AT boards can be found in old 386 class machines, usually with an AMD386DX40 processor which is good enough (most of the time they have no "on-board" I/O though).
Final PCB Assembly: - it was most convenient in my set-up to mount the mainboard upside-down over the other components. This installation ensures that the PCB will not short-circuit on the metallic drive casings!! Ensure also that the I/O card is properly seated.

Also shown in the photo is the small cutout in the side of the case for the power cable. The choice of power switch is up to you, but remember you will be dealing with mains high voltage. The safest thing is to ensure the case push-button switch is "on" and to not have an external switch.

The Finishing Touches: - If you have a FDD in the case, you need an access hole cut in the front panel. Also power and activity LEDs can be connected (usually there are connections on the mainboard or I/O card). The LED sub-assembly may need a track-connection cut for it to work with your specific installation. If you have to pass wiring across the PCB or foresee any other potential short-circuiting thick cardboard can be used as an insulator for the low voltage areas.