Not only this would give us a way to completely ditch the analog board and the CRT altogether if desired (or simply if they're not working anymore) and put the SE into a smaller case, but I think it would also open up the possibility to build a more "modern" compact Mac.
If one could modify the SE case just enough to fit a small 10 to 12" LCD, an ATX power supply and some intermediate device to act as a host (instead of OS X, let's say a Raspberry Pi or something like that), then it should be able to have a lighter and more robust system that wouldn't die so easily as time goes by.
It would kind of destroy some of the historical value of the machine, but on the other hand it would let the owner keep it in working order for much longer!
Yeah, we've talked about using the Beaglebone Black of dougg3's localtalk project as a termination point for the USB connection, outputting the video to the BBB's HDMI, creating kind of an all-in-one legacy to modern adapter.
At the moment, I'm kind of waiting for the PCB for this to arrive from China (it's processed, and in transit now) and then I'll start hacking on it some more.
Wow, that's awesome! I had no idea such a thing existed. I wonder how they handled the video out - that must be an old TTL (?) monitor, not even VGA.
For all its iconic coolness, I wonder if the all-in-one compact design wasn't a mistake for Apple. It made it really hard for customers to upgrade the machine, and it just looked weird and unbusinesslike. And a 9 inch monitor is just too small. But maybe that very weirdness helped them in the early days of the Macintosh, by preventing direct apples-to-apples comparisons (no pun intended) with PCs of the same era that were far less expensive.
I think by "proprietary" he means they have non-standard connectors. I'd be surprised if they weren't otherwise compatible with the real pre-ADB stuff. Either that or the Z8 microcontroller that's visible in the motherboard shot does protocol conversion.
I'm curious how the parallel port is hooked up, and if they actually included drivers for Mac OS to support it.
Only unfortunate news. I had some construction going on in my office, which required tearing down the setup I had, which I thought was OK because the PCB was on its way. The PCB was delayed as part of the dock labor disputes recently, but they arrived yesterday. When they arrived, I found that all the holes on the PDS connector were essentially the same size as vias, and not terribly useful. I'm giving it another go with revised holes, and we'll see how it goes, but it seems like it'll be another few weeks.
I know it wasn't your intent, but I'm starting to get excited about the idea of a pizza box compact Mac, built from the guts of a Mac SE or even a Plus. For video you could use a board like the one you've developed, modded to directly output a VGA or HDMI video signal. For the analog board replacement, once you get rid of the video stuff I think a standard mini-ATX power supply could do it, with the right cable adapters. I'm not sure where you can buy the molex (?) logic board connectors though - somebody asked about it a few months ago, and I couldn't find them. In the worst case, you could probably build your own out of individual molex crimp connectors and some kind of glue or wood to hold it all together.
I just remembered the speaker is on the analog board too. I assume that wouldn't be hard to duplicate - although it's more than just the speaker itself, and there's an amplifier circuit and some other stuff too, if I recall correctly.
I think the toughest part would be designing a new chassis and case. If you were willing to get rid of the internal floppy drive and use an external drive or Floppy Emu, then the case wouldn't really need any special mounting hardware - just enough room for a logic board, ATX PSU, and the new video board. But it would still be pretty big, around the size of a Mac LC. Way too big for 3D printing. You could build a case with six laser-cut sections held together with screws, but it wouldn't look very Mac-like.
For the logic board connector on the SE, if you can't find an exact connector, the ATX20 connector always works, just with excess hanging off. For the Plus, I don't know of any solutions there. It would be cool if someone found one though.
max1zzz is powering his LC with just a 12V PSU, and going to use a small switching DC-DC converter for 5V. Seems like something similar could be used for this too, although a miniatx psu should work just as well, and with a small circuit also support soft power.
Designing the case would be a bit of a challenge. I have dreams of a case with 2 floppyemus built into the front of the case.
For video out, I'd like to eventually get to the point of hdmi out, with bonus points for audio over hdmi. I think I mentioned coupling up with dougg3's localtalk BBB as a possible hdmi solution. I'm not terribly interested in VGA, although I do have several LCDs with VGA capability, it seems like almost everything worth buying these days has digital only inputs.
New PCB's arrived today. There were a couple mistakes, but I was able to patch it into working condition.
I added some rudimentary mouse capture to the existing app & firmware, so I'm able to transfer relative mouse movements across USB. Here's a terrible video of it in action.