Following his recovery from illness, Dave Park has taken up the mantle of designing new QL hardware once more.
A random hardware ideas thread on QL Forum led to the design of the miniplane, a compact three slot backplane with two slots facing left away from the QL and one facing right upside down over the CPU. This would allow, for example, a Super Gold Card and Qubide to be used together.
The card is quite compact, 96.3mm x 20.6mm and comes with small plastic shields to protect cards from touching against each other, or against the keyboard backplate in a QL.The fit inside a QL case is pretty tight and one suggestion is to add a washer on the front and back screws on the left side of the QL case to give an extra 1mm, which gives a small air gap and helps the QL run a little cooler due to the increased power demand of using more than one card at a time.
Dave has produced a small initial run of these and mailed them out to first customers already – the first small batch sold out pretty quickly and more connectors have been ordered for a further small batch of miniplanes. The cost was $29 for a two slot version, or $36 for a three slot version plus postage. For anyone already owning the DIN 41612 connectors, Dave was willing to supply the bare PCB to save on postage costs.
Dave is hoping to send out PCBs to someone in Europe to assemble, to make it cheaper to produce these devices for supply this side of the Atlantic, as he’s doing this on a non-profit basis.