IECATA in a 1541-II case

This page describes how to install and configure the IECATA board into a 1541-II drive case. My original hope was that with a 2.5" drive mechanism from a laptop I could install the controller and drive into a C64c case (BTW: these need very little power and can run from only 5V). Unfortunately, I could not configure any in my small drives (biggest being a mere 120MB) to work with the IEC-ATA as it needs a "master" drive with LBA support. So, I came up with this package as the next best thing.


The IEC-ATA is a dedicated controller for attaching a ATA-IDE type drive to the C64. The project is a build it yourself project powered by a AVR microcontroller which talks to the HDD and translates the information into the serial format needed by the C64. The project is in early days, and although the controller is Ok with most simple stuff it is incompatible other things; for example most DOS wedges. I had a few problems building my controller despite buying the PCB and pre-programmed AVR, so I would recommend the project only for experienced hardware hackers.

Build the system:

PSU Installation: - a small PC PSU is installed down one side of the case. This particular PSU needed to be reconfigured to have two PC type power connections (one for the drive, one for the controller).

Also shown in the photo are the two IEC serial port connectors.

External Connections: - alternate view of the IEC connectors and the mains power connector and switch.
Controller Board Installation: - the controller board fitted perfectly next to the PSU. Some GAFF tape was attached to certain edges of the board to ensure no short-circuiting would occur. The board itself will be held into place by the custom made HDD mounting bracket.
Electrical Connections: - the IEC ports are connected to the IECATA board. Likewise connectors to the front panel are added. The front panel provides the two LEDs, a push-button reset switch and I had my AVR chip configured to use the second jumper as a device number switch (8 or 10). I used header pins and connectors rather than soldering connections directly to the board as this allows easy removal of the controller.
Drive Mounting Plate #1: - a thin sheet of tin plate or any other sturdy material can be used as a mounting board for the HDD. The size of the board should be shaped to fit the case. I chose to Z-fold the two sides so as to provide enough height to go over the PSU, yet allow use of the standard 1541-II drive mounting holes. The drive mechanism is screwed to the plate first, then the plate to the case.
Drive Mounting Plate #2: - the close up shows the mounting plate in more detail. Connect the IDE ribbon cable (if your layout and cable suit, you will not have a twist) and then connect power to the drive.
The Finished Drive: - once the lid is put back on the case, the drive almost looks like a standard 1541-II; the only thing missing is the drive door closing latch.