New Front Panel Build

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Terry Smedley

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Jul 1, 2021, 11:34:41 AMJul 1
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Here are some pictures from building Norberto's new front panel.  Construction was quite smooth.  One minor issue with the BOM noted (only affects the connection to the 3mm speed indicating LEDs).

A few notes:

- The attached .pdf  shows a wiring diagram for the three Molex KK to KK cables that are required to use the new front panel.  The +8v (pins 48,49 at top) and GND (pins 0,1 at bottom) connections should be made with 20AWG wire.  The other connections can be whatever you prefer.  I used 26AWG ribbon cable.  Norberto used discrete conductors bundle with ties.  I used pairs of 10+15 circuit connector shells to makeup each 25-circuit connection.

- The new board is thicker (much!) than the original Heath board.  I didn't find any stiffener bar was needed.  It will be interesting to see if others also feel the stiffener can be eliminated.

- My suggestion would be not to try to use the Heath clip that supported the front panel circuit board from the metal front cover.  First off, the clip doesn't immediately fit the thicker board.  But more importantly, the +8v trace at the top front of the board could be shorted to the ground plane on the back of the board or to the metal front panel.  (Ask me how I know this.)  With the thicker board, I didn't see a need for the clip anyway.

- I used 7 segment LEDs from Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00EZBGUMC).  Same ones I had previously installed into the Heath front panel.  Other alternatives for the Liteon LTS-6980HR have been discussed in another thread.

- Experimenting with a smoke (neutral) acrylic lens for the front panel.  It gives a nice "blackout" appearance to the 7-segment LEDs, and it allows colors other than red to be used for the indicating LEDs.  I tried some color arrangements with the 3mm speed indicating LEDs.  The green, blue, and yellow LEDs appear true-to-color through the neutral acrylic.  My sloppy pTouch labels will get cleaned up if this is the long-term solution.

- Custom keycaps on order, more sloppy pTouch on the blank keycaps for now.

Another beautiful board from Norberto!

Terry

FP Cable Assemblies.pdf
multi-color_LEDs.jpg
front_panel_wiring_cleanup.jpg
smoke_acrylic_8MHz.jpg

Norby

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Jul 1, 2021, 2:51:20 PMJul 1
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Thank you for verifying that the board is fully functional after late changes to it. I really appreciated your support along with the testing that you have done. 

Norberto 

Sent from my iPhone

On Jul 1, 2021, at 8:34 AM, Terry Smedley <terry....@gmail.com> wrote:

Here are some pictures from building Norberto's new front panel.  Construction was quite smooth.  One minor issue with the BOM noted (only affects the connection to the 3mm speed indicating LEDs).
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<FP Cable Assemblies.pdf>
<multi-color_LEDs.jpg>
<front_panel_wiring_cleanup.jpg>
<smoke_acrylic_8MHz.jpg>

Terry Smedley

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Jul 1, 2021, 3:21:47 PMJul 1
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A quick video showing the CPU speed indicators toggling between 8MHz (blue) and 2MHz (red) during H17 access.  Speed indication (as will be implemented on the System Support I board) is entirely in hardware, so it works regardless of the OS being used.

Also....THANKYOU Norberto for the silkscreen on this card that keeps both the component identifier and component value visible after the part is installed.  A really big help for troubleshooting or board testing.  THANKYOU!

Terry

Video Cutter_1_7_12_16_55.mp4

Norberto Collado

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Jul 1, 2021, 4:31:12 PMJul 1
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norberto...@koyado.com

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Jul 1, 2021, 5:13:29 PMJul 1
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- My suggestion would be not to try to use the Heath clip that supported the front panel circuit board from the metal front cover.  First off, the clip doesn't immediately fit the thicker board.  But more importantly, the +8v trace at the top front of the board could be shorted to the ground plane on the back of the board or to the metal front panel. 

 

Ouch! I missed that. Please no clips as the board is thicker. And no need for the bottom/top metal stiffener bar unless you are using the 7805 regulator as it serves as a heatsink as well. We highly recommend to use switching regulators and to be installed on side 1 of the board. Side 2 will be for the 7805 regulators on bottom stiffener bar.

 

Norberto

s shumaker

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Jul 1, 2021, 6:12:29 PMJul 1
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Out of curiosity since I haven't started on any of my new boards yet, are all these highly useful tips, tricks, suggestions and comments going to be available in some sort of "Lessons Learned" doc?

steve

norberto...@koyado.com

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Jul 1, 2021, 6:32:46 PMJul 1
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Yes, on the buildout board doc.

 

Norberto

Glenn Roberts

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Jul 1, 2021, 7:51:36 PMJul 1
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Perhaps a REMarks issue too.

Glenn Roberts

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Jul 1, 2021, 8:13:38 PMJul 1
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First of all congratulations and thanks for leading the way Terry.

 

I don’t recall seeing many ideas/suggestions here for replacements on the acrylic lens.  The smoky acrylic looks great!  I love the visible speed LEDs (and the video you shared that shows the “step down” to 2Mhz when needed for H17).  Since the lenses are often missing or damaged on older H8s we’ve needed a good replacement solution.  You could consider using dry transfer lettering instead of the pTouch labels.  Or I guess we could silkscreen these? (can you silkscreen acrylic? Is that how Heath did it?)  I’ve often thought that small allen head screws would be a nice way to secure the lens but haven’t yet been willing to drill into the front of the chassis to do that!

 

Curious if you’ve tried installing the DUART/VDIP daughterboard on the CPU?  How’s the clearance with the new front panel board?

 

I notice your 7-segment LEDs still have the plastic protectant sheet on them. that can be removed with no issue.

 

The instructions for the Z80 4.0 board jumper say “When installed, sends 2 MHz clock to the H8 backplane regardless of CPU speed. This is to support the new H8-Front-Panel V1.2 if users want to sync with the CPU clock.”  Is this to essentially make things work like the original H8 design (vs the new approach of putting a 2.048 Mhz oscillator on the FP board?)  not sure if/when one would want to do that?

 

Wow. It’s been a whirlwind year so far with all these new boards!  I’m sure it’s hard for many in the group to keep up.  We’ll need to make sure we capture and share all the knowledge as many of our members may not get to these builds for a while…

 

  • Glenn

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Terry Smedley

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Jul 1, 2021, 9:01:35 PMJul 1
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Glenn:

I need to come up with something better than individually-applied pTouch labels for the LED indicators.  Is there a graphics artist in the house?  I am just not knowledgeable about what alternatives there are for (very) low volume labeling/printing/silkscreening like that.

The clearance issues with the VDIP1 on the DUART really aren't changed.  I ended up pulling the VDIP1 off the DUART and putting it on the H17 portion of the Storage Controller board.  Having the VDIP1 further back in the cabinet makes the USB cabling easier, and it eliminated the CPU-FP clearance issues.  I know that will not be a universal solution.  I did try eliminating the socket for the VDIP1 on the DUART.  That also solved the clearance problem, but I still prefer it to be located further back in the cabinet since that's an option with the Storage Controller.   Right now,  I'm "DUART-less" so I can easily experiment with ROM options.  Actually, one of the earlier DUARTS without the USB option might be ideal for my purposes - I think the EEPROM socket clears under the earlier DUART board sans USB?  Norberto - any of those still around?  

About the protective tape on the LEDs - I'm still in experimental mode and find I frequently have the board upside down for one reason or another.  Just haven't wanted to expose (or scratch!) the flat black surface of the LEDs until I'm through experimenting.   

The feel of the Cherry MXs is very solid.  Not a hint of the occasional bounce seen with the aging Heath FP.   And as a side note ..... those bright white backlight LEDs will light your entire workroom when you power it up without the keycaps!   When I saw how bright they were, I feared that there would be a lot of stray light coming from around the double-shot custom backlit keycaps.   In my mind, that would ruin the backlit effect.  But stray light is barely noticeable with the plain opaque keycaps, so I don't think that's going to be a problem.  Norberto posted some better pTouch labels than my grade-school artwork.....but he has a much nicer pTouch labeler than I do (mine can't be externally programmed).  The custom keycaps will be here soon enough (I hope).

Terry

Steven Feinsmith

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Jul 1, 2021, 9:38:01 PMJul 1
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It is possible to clone the front panel plastic window. I do not know where Heathkit used to order, along with the chassis assembly manufactured 41+ years ago. There is some kind of factory in the USA that can create silkscreen for electronics cabinets for businesses. Perhaps you can find it and ask them. They may tell you where and what name a company can do that job. I presume it will be expensive because Heathkit ordered thousands of pieces.
Also, it is possible somewhere in China can do that kind of thing for a lower price.

Steven

norberto...@koyado.com

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Jul 2, 2021, 4:19:41 AMJul 2
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The clearance issues with the VDIP1 on the DUART really aren't changed. 

 

I will provide guidance on this as it is working for me.

 

Norberto

Norberto Collado

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Jul 3, 2021, 12:20:35 AMJul 3
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Updated Front Panel BOM as two typos were encountered during build-out.

  1. Fixed 6 pin header instead of 5 pin header (for the speed 3mm LED’s)
  2. Fixed 6 pin housing instead of 5 pin housing (for the speed 3mm LED’s)
  3. Added MX Key Switch Dampers (Highly recommended to add them to avoid plastic against plastic friction when pressing on the MX switch).
  4. Added Keycap Removal Tool (The keycaps are hard to remove from the MX switch if inserted into the wrong switch position – recommended)
  5. Fixed some broken links to 74LS74 and 74LS123.

 

Link to updated BOM: http://koyado.com/heathkit/New-H8-Website/download/h8-fp_v13_bom.xlsx.zip

 

Thanks,

Norberto

 


Reply-To: "se...@googlegroups.com" <se...@googlegroups.com>
Date: Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 5:13 PM
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Terry Smedley

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Jul 7, 2021, 11:44:43 AMJul 7
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I ordered custom keycaps from maxkeyboard.com using Norberto's instructions (http://koyado.com/heathkit/New-H8-Website/download/ordering-h8-custom-keycaps%20(1).pdf).  The caps were received in about a week.

Here are photographs of the backlit set installed with clear LED backlights.  Also a photo of the complete opaque set (not installed).  I think I will try to lay some black felt around the Cherry MXs bases to eliminate the "between the key" glow. 

(Dry transfer decals are on their way to cleanup the labeling on the display lens)

Terry

Backlit crop R1.jpg
Backlit FP.JPG
keycaps_opaque.jpg

geneb

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Jul 7, 2021, 12:21:45 PMJul 7
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On Wed, 7 Jul 2021, Terry Smedley wrote:

> I ordered custom keycaps from maxkeyboard.com using Norberto's instructions
> (http://koyado.com/heathkit/New-H8-Website/download/ordering-h8-custom-keycaps%20(1).pdf).
> The caps were received in about a week.
>
> Here are photographs of the backlit set installed with clear LED
> backlights. Also a photo of the complete opaque set (not installed). I
> think I will try to lay some black felt around the Cherry MXs bases to
> eliminate the "between the key" glow.
>
Those look amazing!

g.

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Terry Smedley

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Jul 12, 2021, 11:28:10 AMJul 12
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At Glenn's suggestion, I looked for sources of dry transfers to label the front panel lens.   I ordered one 8x10 sheet with ten sets of labels using the attached .pdf.
The transfers were mailed the day after I ordered them.  The results look pretty true to the original.  I like the smoked acrylic because it allows for LED indicator colors other than red, and it gives the LED 7-segment displays a "blackout" appearance. 

I have a few of the dry transfers left over - PM me if you want a set.

SOURCES:


Terry

FP Lens Dry Transfer 8x10.pdf
FP_drytransfer2.jpg

norberto.collado koyado.com

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Jul 12, 2021, 12:34:16 PMJul 12
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Very Nice! Any plans to label the new 3mm LED's?

I will take one set of dry transfers letters.

Norberto


From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Terry Smedley <terry....@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 8:28 AM
To: SEBHC <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: Re: [sebhc] New Front Panel Build
 
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Terry Smedley

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Jul 12, 2021, 3:48:11 PMJul 12
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Norberto

I struggled with what to do with the  3mm LEDs.  I decided to do nothing, because I didn't want the space to be crowded and the different colors I was using provided the speed identification at a distance without a label.   What labeling would you like to see for the 3mm (speed) LEDs?  It would be easy to make a small sheet of transfers with labels just for those.

Terry

Glenn Roberts

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Jul 12, 2021, 4:29:55 PMJul 12
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Since the color indicates the speed I feel like it may not be necessary to label the 3mm ones.  Could clutter the look.

 

I use the 5th LED position (5mm LEDs) on my system for the disk access LED.  It would make sense to label that.

 

From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> On Behalf Of Terry Smedley

norberto.collado koyado.com

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Jul 12, 2021, 5:53:26 PMJul 12
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I agree with Glenn.

Norberto


From: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com> on behalf of Glenn Roberts <glenn.f...@gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 1:29 PM
To: se...@googlegroups.com <se...@googlegroups.com>
Subject: RE: [sebhc] New Front Panel Build
 

Glenn Roberts

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Jul 12, 2021, 6:52:13 PMJul 12
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Perhaps label the 5th position just “I/O” ?  would be cool to aggregate all the board I/O signals to one LED but that sounds like a challenge. As it is I have the VDIP/USB I/O light, I/O lights for floppy drives, Z67 IDE, etc…  currently I use it for the Z67 IDE

norberto.collado koyado.com

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Jul 12, 2021, 9:04:13 PMJul 12
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Yes, we can do that, but it has to be on one of the Bx slots. We will need to find the better 25-pin connector to center the board.

But Heathkit did that for us already. If you watch carefully the Z67-IDE blink rate, it matches the "ION" LED blink rate.

Norberto


Sent: Monday, July 12, 2021 3:52 PM

terry.smedley

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Jul 13, 2021, 1:31:58 AMJul 13
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In the mail to you!



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