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V4 Mini-ITX Expansion Board - Specs, Registrationpage  1 2 3 4 

Kenji Irie

Posts 70
09 Aug 2021 22:10


- V4 mini-ITX Expansion board - specs, registration -
 
  Hi Team Amiga!
 
  This is the formal thread for the V4 mini-ITX Expansion Board that my team and I are currently developing for the Apollo V4. Note that this is currently a personal project that is being developed by our company in New Zealand.
 
  Note that there is no timeline for completion - we are progressing the board in between our other projects. This board has been in development since May, and I expect it to be available early next year. I am satisfied that we have now ticked off all off the critical feature tests, and so we have been pre-purchasing key components (for those that aren't aware there is an electronics component crisis at present) and are committing ourselves to production. Please visit this post for status updates (further below in the post).
 
  Specifications:
  ---------------
  I have had a desire to produce a premium expansion board for the incredible Apollo V4, to expose extra ports and functionality for those who want to invest more in their beloved pride-and-joy.
 
  Key functionality includes:
 
  - 16-bit high-quality analogue audio output (for all audio: PAULA and ARNE)
  - Buffered serial UART in/out for FTDI cable (serial.device)
  - RS232 in/out (limited to RX/TX lines) (serial.device)
  - MIDI in/out (serial.device; using beat-buddy format connector due to space constraints)
  - Mini-ITX form factor, for install into any Mini-ITX compatible case
  - Smart power/reset for integration with standard ITX front-panel case buttons and LEDs (power LED, or Power LLED+HDD LEDs)
  - Pass-through of analogue audio out to case 3.5 mm audio jack
  - 12V input from standard barrel jack supply (external) or standard Molex connector (internal)
  - Provision of SAFE +5 and +12 Molex connector for powering other components like HDDs and CD-ROMs for the V4
  - Internal USB headers for connecting the V4 USB keyboard/mouse ports to the ITX-case USB ports
  - Exposure of 9-pin Amiga keyboard/mouse ports to the rear ITX I/O panel
  - Internal mounting of USB blaster with USB mini socket on the rear ITX panel, for easy FPGA programming
  - Exposure of 2nd USB gamepad via internal USB header (compatible with both V4 and V4+, providing 2nd gamepad for the original V4)
  - Internal programming header for on-board microprocessor
  - Expansion header for possibly future add-ons (none confirmed at this stage, TBC)
 
  The V4 mounts on top of the mini-ITX expansion board (170x170 mm in size), with the rear ports of the V4 exposed on top of the read I/O panel of the expansion.
 
  Progress status (will be updated live as progress is made):
  -----------------------------------------------------------
  - Design concept [COMPLETED]
  - Testing of serial, midi, and analogue audio [COMPELTED]
  - Product specification (v1) [COMPLETED]
  - Schematic design [IN PROGRESS]
  - Mechanical layout and design [IN PROGRESS]
  - Production of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED]
  - Testing and revision of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED]
  - Programming of microcontroller [NOT STARTED]
  - Finalise Product specification (V2)[NOT STARTED]
  - Final revision and testing [NOT STARTED]
  - Production of 100x boards, documentation [NOT STARTED]
  - QA, packaging, shipping [NOT STARTED]
 
  As stated, we have already begun procurement of key components, and have 100x high-quality audio DACs delivered to us. This will be ongoing through the development phase, to ensure we have the components to manufacture to boards when testing is completed.
 
  Cost:
  -----
  Note that this is a premium board, and is not designed for low-budget. We have already invested over a thousand Euros in this, and I expect outgoings will be in the 10-15k Euro range by the time 100x boards are produced. There are at least 8 cable assemblies for connecting to the V4 and providing the necessary I/O - some hand-made, along with mechanical components, with most costing several euro each. Expect this expansion board to be over 100 Euros, to cover costs.
 
  Registration of interest:
  -------------------------
  We need to know what demand there is for this mini-ITX expansion board, as this may change productions numbers for this first run. If you are seriously considering whether you would like to purchase this board, can you please email the below address.
 
  Register interest by sending and email to: v4expansion@gmail.com 
  This address will be checked occasionally, so please do not be worried if you do not receive and immediate response.
 
  I will try to answer as many questions as possibly in this forum thread, though I may post some links to photos etc on the Discord channels from time-to-time as appropriate.


James Husted
(Needs Verification)
Posts 81/ 3
10 Aug 2021 14:33


can we see some pictures?



Kenji Irie

Posts 70
10 Aug 2021 23:04


James Husted wrote:

  can we see some pictures?
 
 

 
  There are no physical images yet. I have an *early* layout concept showing where the *current* I/O and connectors are positioned:
 
 
 
  Kenji.


Roger Andre Lassen

Posts 141
11 Aug 2021 06:06


Interesting


James Husted
(Needs Verification)
Posts 81/ 3
11 Aug 2021 10:10


I see - so this is basically the Mister Multisystem board but for Vampires? I like it!



Lord A1k

Posts 52
12 Aug 2021 16:28


Really great, will the board officially get the blessing from the Vampire Team?


Henry Johnstone

Posts 1
13 Aug 2021 14:23


Hi! will there be a mount for the cf card board that will allow easy change/replacement?



Steve Hodson

Posts 21
13 Aug 2021 17:35


Henry johnstone wrote:

Hi! will there be a mount for the cf card board that will allow easy change/replacement?
 

I agree, should definitely consider bring CF slot to the back panel via a short cable.


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
14 Aug 2021 03:24


Sorry for the delay - I will respond to this very shortly :)


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
14 Aug 2021 03:26


Henry johnstone wrote:

Hi! will there be a mount for the cf card board that will allow easy change/replacement?
 

I have been testing options here and have bought several components to experiment, and it is hard to find stable extensions that work reliably. So at this stage the CF card is best left as it is, with a high-quality adapter and no extension cable.


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
14 Aug 2021 03:26


[mistake]


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
14 Aug 2021 03:41


Lord A1k wrote:

Really great, will the board officially get the blessing from the Vampire Team?

Sorry for the delay - I will respond to this very shortly :)


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
14 Aug 2021 22:21


Lord A1k wrote:

  Really great, will the board officially get the blessing from the Vampire Team?
 

 
  Hi Lord A1k,
 
  I am part of Apollo Team, and development is being done in conjunction with the amazing V4 engineers to enable this board to be fully integrated with the V4. But as of now this is an 'unofficial' expansion board until such time as the boards have been fully tested, passed QA, and given the 'Apollo-certified' sticker of approval.
 
  Cheers,
 
  Kenji.


Michael Piano

Posts 37
18 Aug 2021 17:35


It'd be great is there was at least a slot for us to add an extension if we choose. It's kinda of a deal killer for me personally. I don't want to have to take the thing apart.
   
    Nice concept though.
 
  Edit:  or maybe a port at the top or bottom to make the swap.
 
  Edit:  If only the v4 board goes in there, will the v4 be able to be ordered without the case it comes with? That should certainly somewhat offset the cost of this case.


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
22 Aug 2021 12:05


Michael Piano wrote:

It'd be great is there was at least a slot for us to add an extension if we choose. It's kinda of a deal killer for me personally. I don't want to have to take the thing apart.
   
    Nice concept though.
   
    Edit:  or maybe a port at the top or bottom to make the swap.
 
    Edit:  If only the v4 board goes in there, will the v4 be able to be ordered without the case it comes with? That should certainly somewhat offset the cost of this case.

Hi Michael,

I have ordered some other components to do more testing with extending the drive cable - I do not have high expectations here though. I am trying to keep the board to the smallest height mini-ITX case, so space is the issue when trying to fit a potential CF slot at the rear. However, it could fit if there was extra room above the back panel area (and the extensions work). It will be some time before the parts arrive from overseas, but I will keep you posted after tests.

Ultimately, if the board achieves Apollo certification then I would not be opposed to 'expanded' V4s being sold as a SKU from Apollo Computer, in a certified mini-ITX case, as I would have bought one if it was an option ;)  A lot of water to go under the bridge before then, though.



Bartek Kuchta

Posts 41
22 Aug 2021 12:20


I really enjoy your maritime analogies, Kenji! That includes Kraken ..


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
27 Aug 2021 07:56


[UPDATE 27/08/2021]  V4 mini-ITX Expansion board - specs, registration -
 
  Hi Team Amiga!
 
  The first major milestone has been completed - we have signed off on the first draft schematic! The PCB layout is now in progress.
 
  Thanks to all that have registered to date. If you are interested in this board, please register to help us determine demand:
  Register interest by sending and email to: v4expansion@gmail.com   
 
  I can confirm the specifications now for the first prototype, updated as per below.
 
  Specifications for first prototypes:
  ------------------------------------
  - [Updated] 16-bit HIGH-QUALITY analogue audio output, with ultralow-noise LDO regulator. 112 dB SNR, and -93 dB THD. Playback both PAULA AND ARNE audio at high quality!
  - [Updated] Buffered serial UART in/out suitable for both 3.3 OR 5V FTDI cable (serial.device)
  - RS232 in/out (limited to RX/TX lines) (serial.device)
  - MIDI in/out (serial.device; using beat-buddy format connector due to space constraints)
  - Mini-ITX form factor, for install into any Mini-ITX compatible case
  - Smart power/reset for integration with standard ITX front-panel case buttons and LEDs (power LED, or Power LED+HDD LEDs)
  - Pass-through of analogue audio out on rear of PC to HDAUDIO header for cases with 3.5 mm jacks*
  - [Updated] 12V input from standard barrel jack supply (external), standard Molex connector (internal), OR ATX 24-pin header
  - [Revised] Provision of SAFE +5 and +12 power supply terminals (screw) for powering other components like HDDs and CD-ROMs for the V4
  - [Updated] Internal USB 2.0 AND USB 3.0 internal headers for connecting the V4 mouse port to an ITX-case USB port**
  - Exposure of 9-pin Amiga keyboard/mouse ports to the rear ITX I/O panel
  - Internal mounting of USB blaster with USB mini socket on the rear ITX panel, for easy FPGA programming
  - [Updated] Exposure of 2nd USB gamepad via internal USB 3.0 AND 2.0 header to an ITX-case USB port** (compatible with both V4 and V4+, providing 2nd gamepad for the original V4)
  - Internal programming header for on-board microprocessor
  - [NEW] 3-pin fan header for supply of 12V to standard case fan
  - [NEW] POTENTIAL NEW FEATURE 1 - TBC. Watch this space!
  - [NEW] POTENTIAL FEATURE 2 - TBC. Watch this space!
 
    *  = requires a case with 3.5 stereo jack
    ** = requires case with at least one USB port (two ports required for both mouse and gamepad 2), built in or via an expansion backplate (not provided)
   
    The V4 mounts on top of the mini-ITX expansion board (170x170 mm in size), with the rear ports of the V4 exposed on top of the read I/O panel of the expansion.
                                                                 
    Progress status (will be updated live as progress is made): 
    ----------------------------------------------------------- 
    - Design concept [COMPLETED]                                 
    - Testing of serial, midi, and analogue audio [COMPELTED]   
    - Product specification (v1) [COMPLETED]                     
    - [UPDATED] Schematic design [COMPLETED]                     
    - Mechanical layout and design [IN PROGRESS]                 
    - Production of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED]           
    - Testing and revision of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED] 
    - Programming of microcontroller [NOT STARTED]               
    - Finalise Product specification (V2)[NOT STARTED]           
    - Final revision and testing [NOT STARTED]                   
    - Production of 100x boards, documentation [NOT STARTED]     
    - QA, packaging, shipping [NOT STARTED]                     
                                                                 
      I expect to provide another update relatively soon, once PCB layout has been completed.
     
     


Jakub H.

Posts 39
27 Aug 2021 13:18


thanks for the update! great project


Mårten Björk

Posts 8
31 Aug 2021 14:02


Very exciting project! Good luck och thanks for updating us!


Kenji Irie

Posts 70
03 Sep 2021 20:16


- V4 mini-ITX Expansion board - specs, registration -
 
  UPDATE
 
  Hi folks, progress update time :) We have now completed the initial PCB layout for the prototype boards, and I can show some renders, as per below. Note that not all connectors are shown, as we are not spending time looking for connector 3D models if they aren't available by default. Also note that there are 7 cable assemblies not shown, so it's a busy board.

Next up, finish silkscreen->review board->produce prototype PCBs.
 
  As always, please register interest by sending and email to: v4expansion@gmail.com
 
    This address will be checked occasionally, so please do not be worried if you do not receive and immediate response.
 
 
    Progress status (will be updated live as progress is made):
      -----------------------------------------------------------
      - Design concept [COMPLETED]                               
      - Testing of serial, midi, and analogue audio [COMPELTED] 
      - Product specification (v1) [COMPLETED]                   
      - Schematic design [COMPLETED]                   
      - [UPDATED]Mechanical layout and design [COMPLETED]               
      - Production of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED]         
      - Testing and revision of first PCB prototypes [NOT STARTED]
      - Programming of microcontroller [NOT STARTED]             
      - Finalise Product specification (V2)[NOT STARTED]         
      - Final revision and testing [NOT STARTED]                 
      - Production of 100x boards, documentation [NOT STARTED]   
      - QA, packaging, shipping [NOT STARTED]     
 
 
 
 
             

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