In January 2017, Michael St Pierre (mytek) embarked on the project he’d been contemplating for two years: a completely redesigned Atari 8-bit motherboard, with an Mini-ITX form factor and using the original VLSI chips. After only nine months of gestation, the fully debugged version 1.1 boards arrived.
From the outset, the 1088XEL was built around the TK-II, Mousetari, UAV and Ultimate 1MB. Having already seen and used my alternative Ultimate 1MB firmware, Michael soon invited me to become involved in the 1088XEL testing process and asked if I could customise the BIOS in order to support the new motherboard’s unique features. Of course, the new firmware’s plug-in architecture made the creation of a drop-in 1088XEL module easy, although as time went on, a few modifications to the base code were also made.
Eventually, customised versions of the U1MB main BIOS, PBI BIOS and XEX loader were developed for the 1088XEL. Some changes – such as support for dual physical disks (used with the XEL-CF adapter) – proved highly challenging, but by the close of 2017, the new firmware was taking shape, although bug fixing and further development of the 1088XEL continued until April 2018. As the firmware neared completion. the task of updating the user manual and technical documentation began. By the beginning of June 2018, everything was finally completed.
The User Manual contains installation instructions and usage notes for the Main BIOS setup utility and XEL Loader:
Technical documentation describing the firmware memory map, configuration data layout and Plugin architecture is provided below:
Plugin Source Code
To complement the Technical Documentation, you can also download the source code for the U1MB BIOS plugins:
To learn more about the 1088XEL project, please visit the 1088XEL project home page, where you’ll find links to schematics, Gerbers, PIC firmware, and documentation.
As well as the 1088XEL and XEL-CF, Michael offers many other interesting projects at AtariBits.
If you’d like to purchase 1088XEL in ready-built or kit form, you can find ordering instructions at The Brewing Academy.