Author Topic: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!  (Read 200 times)

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Offline torrind

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Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« on: 01:16, 24 October 18 »
Hi All,


I've just joined this wonderful forum and have resurrected my beloved PCW8256 last used around 25 years ago. I discovered that the drive didn't work and so after searching around, replaced the drive belt which seems to have fixed it.


However I have some issues. My Locoscript system disk intermittently loads but more often than not, I get a "disc address mark missing" error loading "script.joy". Sometimes if I keep pressing <enter> to reboot, it can work.


I'm not sure if its the drive or the disk is failing as I have no other system disks to use.


My other option is to use a Gotek drive and I know they've been used but I have no idea how to connect it. I do have one flashed to the latest FF firmware and have bought a 34 pin to 26 pin adapter but cannot get it working.


I've searched this forum for help but from what I've found assumes experience in these matters I don't have.


Can anyone help provide me with a step by step idiots guide for connecting a Gotek drive to a PCW and what files I need on the USB stick please?


Any help would be most appreciated.


Darren

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« Reply #1 on: 01:50, 24 October 18 »
What you describe suggests that the floppy drive is probably OK now, with the new band, but there is a fault with the disk.   If it's just one file, then you can get around this.   Assuming that it's the data area of the disk, then just rename the file, and write a new version of the same file onto the disk, the old file, still there, will cuntinue to 'reserve' the possible damaged bit of the disk.

In case you're interested, the error message means that the format data is damaged, which might or might not incl the actual data.   The fact that it will, after numerous retrys or restarts,  read the data suggests the problem is marginal rather than total.   The act of 'formatting' the disk writes a lot of markers onto the disk, in fact creating a lot of numbered/marked 'boxes' on the disk for data to be inserted into later.   Hence the 'disk mark missing' error

Of course, if you got the system booted, you might find other files with a problem as well.

What version of LocoScript is it?   If you've got SCRIPT.JOY this suggests an older version.  I have an original system disk with that file, but it's not for sale or anything!   But, if it's the right version, something could be done.

Do you have the CP/M boot disk?   Your posting suggests NOT.

I have a Gotek drive, just sat here.   Like you, I understand that it should be possible to get it working, but I've not YET bothered to persue this.   As I have a fully working 3" disk A, and disks, and optional working 5.25 and 3.5" B drives, and 13 @ 8 Mb virtual HDs attached via JonB's uIDE add-on, I don't really need the Gotek.

Any way I can help get your Loco boot disk working?

Geoff
« Last Edit: 02:19, 24 October 18 by GeoffB17 »

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« Reply #2 on: 02:18, 24 October 18 »
Regarding the Gotek, as I understand it, you need to connect the drive in a special way as the idea is that the Gotek appears to the PCW as a normal 3" drive.   Not sure how possible it is to connect as A: or B:, but if it's A: then I'd assume you can use ONLY 170k images, but if it's B: then you should be able to use 170k or 703k images.   You'd need it as A: to be able to boot.

Then you can have xx separate image files on the USB stick (or SD card ?) and whichever image is selected is the disk that appears to the computer.   I don't think there need to be any specific files on the stick, or loaded on the computer, things are handled by the firmware in the Gotek.   It's all in the connection so that the PCW sees the drive as a normal drive, and I assume the getting of the original boot image onto the stick.   But if it's used as a B: then it doesn't need a boot image.

I think some people use them with an A/B switch so it can be used as either A: or B:?

Geoff

Offline torrind

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Re: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« Reply #3 on: 00:11, 25 October 18 »
Hi Geoff,


Thanks for the reply.


I am using Locoscript v1.20 and TBH, it does point to a dodgy system disc. I do have CP/M on the other side but that does not load at all. I get sector 0 errors etc.. with an Abort Retry or Ignore error message.


I know nothing about the "JonB's uIDE add-on" Is this an SD card based HD? If so, that sounds like a good option to pursue. Do you have any further info on how I obtain one and how to connect it?


Again, many thanks for taking the time to respond, it's very much appreciated.


I'd like to keep the 3" floppy option, so I may try to make further enquires as to buying working system disks if I can...


Darren

Offline GeoffB17

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Re: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« Reply #4 on: 00:46, 25 October 18 »
The errors you mention could easily be caused by a floppy drive that isn't tracking the tracks correctly, or even a drive head that needs a clean.   No way to be sure unless you've got a known good disk to check, and your disk clearly isn't reliable anyway.

I'll see what I can find re Loco 1.20, that may well be later than the version I've got.  But I've got various versions incl SPELL and FILE and MAIL, but these may not be compatible with any documents you already have?

I could just stick the versions I have onto a disk, and send you that.   It'll answer the other question, is your floppy drive working OK?

Yes, the xIDE thing is VERY neat.   Check down this section of the forum and you'll find a chunk of info about it.   I was able to get a complete one, Maybe only kits available now?   The device attaches to the expansion interface on the back of the PCW, and the little card with the works on uses a DOM, 128 Mb (Disk On Module) which is a sort of industrial variant of a CF card.   CP/M cannot access 128 Mb, so the card formats to 13 @ 8 Mb drives, which CP/M can access.   So I have drives C thru P (excl M: which is present already).   Using these drives is significantly faster than the floppy drives, on a par with M:, but of course permanent.   8 Mb is still pretty large for a CP/M drive, so it's well worthwhile using the USER areas to give, in effect, the function of DOS sub-dirs, and 208 separate 'disks' on line (13 drives, each with 16 user areas).   You need to use a later version of CP/M that supports FID extensions.   I use a J15CPM3 file, Jon supplies a .FID file which loads at boot and announces drives C:,D:,E: etc.


Geoff

Offline torrind

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Re: Can my PCW live again? Gotek / FDD query!
« Reply #5 on: 00:56, 07 November 18 »
OK So whilst I now have a twin Gotek system on my 8256, all works perfectly and I'm a happy bunny!


However, what is driving me insane with frustration is AUTOBOOT mode.


When I select AUTOBOOT.HFE, it boots perfectly and I can see all my files. I can assign different .hfe images to the 15 slots....


....BUT


How do you load a specific image from a certain slot (eg slot 8)? Pressing the 'logical keys' like ENTER or RETURN just add the currently selected image to a slot.


I have tried every key but to no avail - Obviously i'm missing something!




Darren