Mounting the F18A VGA Connector

Mounting the F18A VGA connector to your system case is *highly* recommended!  The F18A is not designed to withstand any pulling on the VGA cable and requires good strain relief.  One good “tug” can easily rip the F18A out of the socket and bend or break the PCB pins on the bottom of the board.

Even though the hole needed to mount the VGA connector is small, the shape of the connector makes it tedious to cut.  I have found that using the included back-plate as a template and drilling holes to remove the bulk of the plastic works best.  The process I use goes something like this:

1.  Use the back-plate to draw the connector outline on the system case where you want the hole.

2.  Drill the two outer holes where the mounting screws will go.

3.  Drill the corners of the main hole to get the inside radius of connector shape.

4.  At this point getting the rest of the plastic out of the hole is the hard part.  I have a small rotary tool that I use for this, or sometimes I abuse my drill and use it like a router.  The last time I did a hole I kept using larger and larger drill bits to until I cleared most of the hole, I then used a file to remove the bumps.  If you are lucky enough to have a laser, you could use that… J

The good thing is, most cases are plastic.  The bad thing is, most cases are plastic…  It is easy to mess up when working with plastic, and I have found it is easier to just go slow and take my time.  You want it to go fast, but it takes about 30 minutes to do a decent job in my experience.

The last hole I did was particularly tricky because the plastic was so thick that the socket was too deep and the monitor connector could not make a good connection.  I had route out half the thickness of the plastic case for the mounting screws.  That was a pain!  I don’t currently have a lot of photos of the process, but it is not terribly difficult and I’m sure everyone will have their own way of doing it.  I would be interested to hear some feedback and what works well, or not so well, for you.

F18A in the TI-99/4A

This is my sacrificial 99/4A that I use to test everything, and I don’t have the top shield in place so the exact placement of the hole might vary.  I do not recommend running a 99/4A this way since nothing has any support (the keyboard and power supply for example), especially the cartridge bracket.

MSX1 HX-10 with F18A Installed

MSX1 HX-10 F18A VGA Connector

The HX-10 has a metal back-plane so the hole was a little harder to cut, and wow does it look like crap up close! 😉 The camera really shows all the scratches, but to the naked eye it actually looks pretty nice.

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