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The Icon Bar: General: Replacing my Iyonix computer
 
  Replacing my Iyonix computer
  svrsig (12:29 25/3/2015)
  nunfetishist (13:05 25/3/2015)
    adrianl (02:24 4/4/2015)
      nunfetishist (13:30 28/4/2015)
        adrianl (21:45 28/4/2015)
          nunfetishist (22:52 28/4/2015)
            adrianl (16:01 29/4/2015)
              apacketofsweets (22:30 5/5/2015)
 
Chris Hall Message #123533, posted by svrsig at 12:29, 25/3/2015
Member
Posts: 17
I have been using an Iyonix computer as one of my main RISC OS machines since 2003, receiving e-mails (no nasty Windows viruses), processing images (lots of disc activity) etc. running RISC OS 5.16. My other 'main RISC OS machine' is Virtual Risc PC running on various PCs (they seem to last for a much shorter time before being obsolete) on which I do most of my programme development. The Iyonix is beginnng to show signs of its age (replacement power supply, occasional refusals to start up) and I currently have two contenders for a machine to replace it.

One is a pre-production ARMX6 I acquired as a developer and one is the Pandaboard ES. Both have the latest R-Comp disc image and ROM but neither has a case. The Pandaboard is my second Pandaboard, the first lived in a nice compact metal case and run happily at 1500MHz with no heatsink (there was no room in the case for one). It happily reported temperatures of no more than 65°C until it died of heat exhaustion. I have therefore downrated my Pandaboard to 1200MHz.

I therefore decided to make a case that could accommodate either. The case is transparent polycarbonate and includes space for a mains power supply, CD/DVD drive, USB hub and SATA solid state disc drive. All of this is in a case 5½" wide, 4½" tall and 8" deep. Apart from some front USB sockets, all connections are made at the back.

A drawing of the assembled case is here: http://www.svrsig.org/AX6.pdf

The case is built around an external USB-connected CD/DVD drive (as that is the single largest component) with space for a 240V/5V power supply. To facilitate construction, I produced a vector-graphic image for each plastic sheet (example reproduced below) showing the necessary drilled holes and cut-outs. This can be printed onto an A4 sheet containing a full-page sticky label. This acts as a template and can be removed once the drilling and cutting is complete.

The construction drawings are six sheets of A4 and may be found on the links below: templates for ARMX6 and Pandaboard ES are here:
http://www.svrsig.org/ARMX6.pdf
http://www.svrsig.org/Panda.pdf
produced by the programme PCB44 here:
http://www.svrsig.org/PCB44.zip

The basic structure of the case is formed from eight polycarbonate sheets bolted together. Each sheet is rectangular and can be ordered cut to size. It comes with a protective, peel-off film applied to both sides. The printed label shows the exact position for holes which are drilled and tapped for brass 6BA bolts.

I did consider bringing out the various sockets directly by aligning the edge of the PCB with the edge of the case on one or two edges but decided that I wanted a single power supply to feed both CD drive and PCB and have an 'on/off' switch. That edge is therefore set back so that HDMI and RJ45 connectors have to be slid into the case and onto the socket.

The left hand side has ventilation holes and the warm air exits at the top of the case. The rear has all the sockets and cut-outs for HDMI, audio, RJ45, USB. I have taken some pictures with Pandaboard or ARMX6 fitted to the case. The solid state disc sits to one side of the circuit board to clear the SATA data cable and two USB hubs are fitted into the remaining space with three sockets brought out at the front and one at the rear with three sockets left internal, one used for the CD drive.

The construction is therefore quite simple: an example is the rear piece which has cut outs for the RJ45, HDMI, USB and audio sockets. The 6mm polycarbonate sheet that will form this piece will therefore look like this when it is ready for drilling:

http://www.svrsig.org/images/cp.jpg

Ordering the plastic sheets is simplicity itself: the web site http://www.plasticsheets.com lists various types of plastic sheet. Polycarbonate is suitable for drilling whereas acrylic is not. I chose 2mm and 6mm thick sheets and just entered the size I wanted and was quoted £1.50 for a sheet about 4" x 5". I use a simple hand-held low voltage mini-drill to drill the holes and use a 6BA tap to tap the holes. The solid state disc has M3 tapped holes in its side for fixing and the circuit board is supported on plastic feet (with M3 tapped holes) available from Maplin.
The whole project cost just over £440, including circuit board, AC adaptor, keyboard, mouse, SSD drive, USB hub, micro SD card, case, bolts, nuts etc.

The contest as to which machine would be the replacement for the Iyonix - Pandaboard or ARMX6 - was not as difficult as I thought. The ARMX6 won hands down and I am writing an article for Archive giving my 'first impressions' of that machine.

I have taken some photographs of the finished case with both Pandaboard and ARMX6 installed (holes for the PCB supports are drilled to suit either circuit board) and have connected it up with a USB KVM switch from CJE Micors so that my Iyonix or the ARMX6 is auto-selected depending which is powered on. Now all I have to do is to transfer my data....

HT067 - Top/front view with CD/DVD drive removed showing the Pandaboard installed - the front USB hub is not connected while I look for a short USB A to USB A female cable to extend its short lead to the rear USB hub. It was placed so that it could easily connect to the ARMX6 PCB.
HT073 - right hand side/rear view showing ventilation holes and rear closure piece drilled for Pandaboard. The shelf allows the HDMI cable to be slid onto its connector from the back without dismantling the case.
HT074 - front view with CD/DVD drive in place - four screws allow the front to be removed for access to the SD card slot on the Pandaboard.
HT076 - the ARMX6 revealed (or not!) - view of right hand side view with ARMX6 and SATA drive installed
HT077 - rear view showing power supply, cutout for HDMI and RJ45 cables, somewhat untidily extended to the right hand edge to accommodate the Pandaboard.]
HT081 - the case with rear section removed to show power and audio connections.

[Edited by svrsig at 12:34, 25/3/2015]
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Rob Kendrick Message #123534, posted by nunfetishist at 13:05, 25/3/2015, in reply to message #123533
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
Aha, so R-Comp's ARMX6 system is the £90 WandBoard QUAD.
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Adrian Lees Message #123546, posted by adrianl at 02:24, 4/4/2015, in reply to message #123534
Member
Posts: 1565
Aha, so R-Comp's ARMX6 system is the £90 WandBoard QUAD.
You've missed a couple of words "...is based on the .."
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Rob Kendrick Message #123574, posted by nunfetishist at 13:30, 28/4/2015, in reply to message #123546
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
Aha, so R-Comp's ARMX6 system is the £90 WandBoard QUAD.
You've missed a couple of words "...is based on the .."
http://www.svrsig.org/images/HT087.jpg

The above suggests it's a £90 Wandboard with an RTC widget.

Sadly the power line to the iMX6's built-in RTC is not exposed on the Wandboard, otherwise it'd just be the case of attaching a battery.
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Adrian Lees Message #123576, posted by adrianl at 21:45, 28/4/2015, in reply to message #123574
Member
Posts: 1565
Aha, so R-Comp's ARMX6 system is the £90 WandBoard QUAD.
You've missed a couple of words "...is based on the .."
http://www.svrsig.org/images/HT087.jpg

The above suggests it's a £90 Wandboard with an RTC widget.

Sadly the power line to the iMX6's built-in RTC is not exposed on the Wandboard, otherwise it'd just be the case of attaching a battery.
*sigh* I thought an ever-so-slightly oblique reply was enough to make my point, which is that you equated the two and they clearly are not the same. There was an whole lot of software development work done to make RISC OS run on it, and there are additional hardware costs of course - hard drive, PSU and case, at the very least. And additionally, Andrew (of whom you are clearly not a customer, or you would not know this) does a lot of support work, runs emails and a web store, puts together the disk image, which includes some code specific to the i.MX6/complete machine, and releases and tests ROMs etc, to name but a few.

And, no, I am not on commission; I earn nothing from its release, or the i.MX6 port, though I am very grateful for the existence of both. I have contributed a little free software development latterly, but sadly not very much.

It irks me (to say the least) that you seem to equate the engine with a finished car sold through a dealer with a support warranty etc. Now, I hope you will see that the two words 'based on' are entirely justified. Some people may try to take much of the work for free buy sourcing the baseboard and their own components, and still not get the same end result, whilst others may see that as unfair (I'll decline to use a stronger word here). Of course the same situation entirely applies to every OEM from PC builders through to the other RISC OS machines, both past and present. It was possible to buy IYONIX pc motherboards, and I'm sure you could have bought a replacement RiscPC motherboard when those were the current top-end machines.


[Edited by adrianl at 22:48, 28/4/2015]
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Rob Kendrick Message #123578, posted by nunfetishist at 22:52, 28/4/2015, in reply to message #123576
nunfetishist
Exposing morons since 1981

Posts: 484
So it's the £90 Wandboard that R-Comp have paid Castle to let them keep the changes secret for 2 years?

Right, OK.
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Adrian Lees Message #123581, posted by adrianl at 16:01, 29/4/2015, in reply to message #123578
Member
Posts: 1565
So it's the £90 Wandboard that R-Comp have paid Castle to let them keep the changes secret for 2 years?

Right, OK.
I'm really having trouble understanding, and even parsing that question. But I'm not the person to ask anyway; I have had one of the boards for six months, kindly loaned to ensure that Aemulor can be updated and optimised for it, but I really don't know much of the back story.

I must, however, admit to being baffled that you still follow the RISC OS scence these days, and monitor the forums, given your responses/attitide. It's your prerogative, of course, but it seems to be providing you with much pleasure.
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Sion Message #123625, posted by apacketofsweets at 22:30, 5/5/2015, in reply to message #123581
apacketofsweets
RISC OS, too cool for Javascript.

Posts: 110
Andrew Rawnsley's talk at the Wakefield show goes into some detail on the work that's gone into the ARMX6 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGztZhuhjEY
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The Icon Bar: General: Replacing my Iyonix computer