Time Flies When You're Having Fun
Let's take a walk down MiSTer memory lane *extends hand*.
Most of you have heard my backstory but I've been involved with MiSTer hardware sales since 2018. It's been a wild ride. One thing I've learned along the way is that cases are crucial for opening MiSTer up to a broader audience.
2019/01 - 3D printed case:
I started out with NegSol's great MiSTer case. At the time, I didn't have ANY CAD skills so I paid a co-worker to draw it from scratch so I could modify it to my liking. After months of running printers non-stop, and hand-tapping M3 holes, I needed a change of pace. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3647626
2019/03 - Acrylic case:
This was really my first standalone creation and I was so anxious to open the box containing sample panels. I purchased a 300x500 mm laser cutter that nearly set my house on fire, followed by another one of the exact same model because I'm a genius. There were many sweaty days spent in my garage with a respirator, like something off of Breaking Bad.
2019/08 - PCB case:
Sorg saved me from my garage when he shared his PCB case files with me. I traded garage time for solder bench time as I carefully pressed and soldered PCB mounting tabs into side panels. It was better, but still a buttload of work. I made a few variations of the case which took me a long time as I was fairly new to PCB design.
- Price: TBD
- Availability: Early 2022?
- ~150 mm x 150 mm x 50mm (see size comparison below)
- Anodized aluminum OR powder coated steel (not sure which)
- Fully compatible:
- Custom PCB to replace USB hub
- Uses official IO board, and SDRAM
- Supports all current configurations including dual SDRAM should PS1/Saturn need dual SDRAM
- Front/bottom/rear case will be either standard OR digital
- Room sub-PCB surrounding the 2.5" drive
- 40 pin header to extend signals
- Openings in the rear case possible for extra IO ports
- Active cooling
- Possibility of passive cooling add-on
- USB-C power in - everyone's favorite port!
- ESP-32 microcontroller
- 16 addressable RGB LED for solid or animated under-glow
- Using modified WLED firmware
- IR receiver with code for popular LED remotes
- (Experimental: audio reactive LEDs - ok, put down the glow stick, Porkchop)
- Other system functions are firmware dependent and TBD
- Possibly connected to MiSTer via USB
- Power switch rated for 4A of current - enough for all accessories including a SATA drive
- Controlled by front switch
- Goal: also controlled by onboard microcontroller via IR
- Goal: also controlled by onboard microcontroller via wifi
- ESD protection and resettable fuses on inputs for maximum protection
- Socketed USB hub in case of damage or failure in the future (untested)
- 2.5" SATA drive mount
- Goal: integrate SATA2USB circuit onboard (circuit design done, awaiting testing)
- Fallback: internal USB header for third party SATA2USB adapter
- Decent amount of space left on the PCB and in the case - what am I missing and what would YOU like to see?
First up, size comparison; approximately 15 mm (~1/2") bigger than a PCE Core Grafx in all dimensions:
Rear View: USB-C Power in, 1 or 2 USB ports in rear (depending on whether SATA is used), User IO port (for SNAC, MT32-Pi, etc.), Network port, Audio Out, Analog Video Out, HDMI Out, Debug port. Room for extra IO below?
Left View: On/Off switch (only useful for standard IO since power is controlled from the microcontroller or front power switch), Primary SD card, ADC-In port fits neatly into one of the vent holes (If you have an ADC-In, it blends in, and if you don't, you don't have an awkward hole.), and CURSED Secondary SD card
Top vent with possible mount for passive cooling heatsink