Commotosh Project Part 5: Initial Assembly

After unboxing the internal components for the Commotosh project I had a startling discovery. The mini-itx motherboard does not fit very well inside the 1541 case. Dimensionally it s OK, but the problem is that it interferes with the screw holes that keep the case together. After fooling around with modding the internal frame; cutting and grinding and thinking about how to make it work for an hour or so, it hit me to try it in the C64 case. Surprise! It fits beautifully. In fact, all the components fit inside the actual Commodore 64 case. It’s tight, and will require some creative wire routing, and case mods but when all is said and done, I’d rather have it all housed in the C64 case than the 1541 case. I still want to keep the CD/DVD drive in the 1541 case because I just like the idea of feeding the disc in the original slot for floopys. I’ll also put a second 2TB hard drive in the 1541 case to use for backups through Time Machine.

This new discovery has me super excited, but a couple of concerns remain. It looks like I will not have room for a dedicated video card in the C64 case. There is only about an inch and a half clearance from the PCI slot to the inside of the top case. Fortunately the 2500K processor I am using has integrated HD 3000 graphics so hopefully that will be adequate to run the video processing tasks I want to do with this machine. Let me know if anyone has any ideas.

A second concern is with the keyboard. Ever since I first thought of building this computer, my desire has been to use the original keyboard. Obviously there are considerable differences in key mapping between a 30 year old Commodore keyboard and an Apple operating system hacked to run with PC parts. Keyrah might be an option, but I still don’t see a way to make the original keyboard physically fit. Right now the CPU heatsink fan is nearly touching the inside of the top case. The keyboard hangs down a half inch lower than that, so I don’t think it will work. This issue is going to take a little more time to think through. Maybe a smaller heat sink, or a modification to the fan shroud? Or maybe I’ll just fit an Apple Bluetooth keyboard into the case. It’ll be a different look than using the original keyboard, but since I’ll be running OSX, it might be kind of cool to have the keyboard give a hint of what is lurking inside. Maybe I can pop the while key caps off the Apple keyboard and affix the brown C64 keys to make it look at least a little more authentic. We’ll see how this progresses. In the meantime, have a look at some pics of the first phase of assembly:


I fabbed this metal plate to secure the PSU, hard drive, and solid state drive


Here are all the parts (sans CPU/heatsink/fan) secured to the bottom case. The motherboard is sitting on ¼ nylon spacers to keep it off the plastic and allow airflow underneath the board. A ground wire runs from a mounting bolt on the motherboard to the metal palate under the drives and PSU.


Another shot with some wires run.


And here it is, mostly wired up with the CPU, heatsink and fan in place.


Posted on April 4, 2012, in Hackintosh Project Blog Entries and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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