Author Topic: Formatting a 3.5" disk  (Read 2108 times)

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Offline tjohnson

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Formatting a 3.5" disk
« on: 00:27, 07 May 17 »
Hi All, I've made some progress and have wired up the 3.5" disk drive to the CPC, the motor starts, the head tracks however it hung on CAT.   I think this is because the disk I have is MSDOS format - confirmed as it has pgagolf on the disk - remember that!  So I'm looking how to format into AMSDOS format for use on the CPC.  Thought I had a solution with CPCDiskXP but that isn't compatible with my usb floppy drive - the driver says that usb floppies do not support the required firmware access - and of course my PC doesn't have a floppy drive and I can't think of anyone who has a PC that does.  So my question is how can I format a floppy in Windows or linux using my usb drive.
Cheers Trevor

PS I should say I currently have it rigged up as the internal disk and the 3" is disabled.
« Last Edit: 00:37, 07 May 17 by tjohnson »

Online Bryce

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #1 on: 00:41, 07 May 17 »
If you can set it up to be drive B: with the 3in drive as A:, then you can boot into CP/M and just use the format command.

Bryce.

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #2 on: 00:55, 07 May 17 »
Going to be tricky as I don't have an edge connector or cable yet. I was trying to prove that the disk drive would work before buying the bits to rig it up properly.  My motherboard doesn't even support the old floppy interface otherwise I would rig it up like I have th CPC, thought USB would do it but appears not.....:(

Online Bryce

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #3 on: 01:16, 07 May 17 »
Unfortunately not. I keep and old 486 laptop just for this. Alternative format programs need raw access to the drive. This isn't possible on USB drives.

Bryce.

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #4 on: 01:35, 07 May 17 »
Damn does that mean I won't be able to use the 3.5" USB drive at all?

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #5 on: 05:26, 07 May 17 »
Damn does that mean I won't be able to use the 3.5" USB drive at all?

Your only other option is to see if you can borrow another USB floppy from someone? I was lucky with my one that it was compatible, but I just figured a USB floppy was a USB floppy! Granted, I bought my one way back in 2001 and I'm shocked it still works.  ;)
« Last Edit: 05:32, 07 May 17 by Shaun M. Neary »

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #6 on: 09:40, 07 May 17 »
I've no idea how old my floppy drive is, i was given it sometime ago.  Ill have a word with someone today who may have a computer with a floppy drive

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Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #7 on: 10:11, 07 May 17 »
Your only other option is to see if you can borrow another USB floppy from someone? I was lucky with my one that it was compatible, but I just figured a USB floppy was a USB floppy! Granted, I bought my one way back in 2001 and I'm shocked it still works.  ;)

Hi Shaun, what make is your usb drive?  Mine is Teac FD-05PU it doesn't work.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #8 on: 11:11, 07 May 17 »
You can replace your AmsDOS rom with parados 1.2 then format the discs on the cpc directly. Added bonus of 800k formats!

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Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #9 on: 12:39, 07 May 17 »
Cool is that a desolder the ROM and replace job?  Where do I get a Parados ROM from as I don't have any means to burn one myself?

Offline Cholo

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #10 on: 13:36, 07 May 17 »
As i understand the trouble with usb floppy drives and CPCDiskXP is that the amstrad natively only supports up to 720kb floppies and the usb drive are mostly all lazy 1.44mb only compatible. The trick with CPCDiskXP is that it does a special format of the 720k make it compatible with cpc 180k.


However there still is USB floppy drives that supports 720k you just gotta look for the ones that properly mentions it in the "specification".


If i recall right this is the one i have and it work ok with CPCDiskXP and everything (i recognize the dull noname drive, box and mini-cd):
http://www.dx.com/p/fdd-11-usb-external-fdd-floppy-drive-black-227238#.WQ7mYVXyhpg


However that one may cost high import taxes. Probably a lot cheaper to try a local one first like:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-USB-External-Floppy-Disk-Drive-3-5-FDD-1-44Mb-Data-Storage-For-PC-Laptop-/172271121118?hash=item281c28b2de:g:HwIAAOSwHMJYExBp


Do try to use genuine 720k floppies as well, at least at first when you are trying to figure out if you have a working setup or not. Aka using a 1.44 floppy with highdensity hole taped over may work just fine but wait with it for later. Also beware that floppies can have very bad quality .. like the ones that came out in the early days was 10 of 10 working, but later when floppies got dirt cheap you could open a 10 pack and 3 of them was so bad they went straight into the trash.


Note that once you can transfter over floppies, then the first thing you might want to transfter is the 2 Symbos floppies as Symbos automatically support 720k pc dos formatted floppies (all you need is a joystick to use as a "mouse"). That way you have 2 ways of transftering data.

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #11 on: 15:49, 07 May 17 »

As i understand the trouble with usb floppy drives and CPCDiskXP is that the amstrad natively only supports up to 720kb floppies and the usb drive are mostly all lazy 1.44mb only compatible. The trick with CPCDiskXP is that it does a special format of the 720k make it compatible with cpc 180k.


However there still is USB floppy drives that supports 720k you just gotta look for the ones that properly mentions it in the "specification".


If i recall right this is the one i have and it work ok with CPCDiskXP and everything (i recognize the dull noname drive, box and mini-cd):
http://www.dx.com/p/fdd-11-usb-external-fdd-floppy-drive-black-227238#.WQ7mYVXyhpg


However that one may cost high import taxes. Probably a lot cheaper to try a local one first like:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/New-USB-External-Floppy-Disk-Drive-3-5-FDD-1-44Mb-Data-Storage-For-PC-Laptop-/172271121118?hash=item281c28b2de:g:HwIAAOSwHMJYExBp


Do try to use genuine 720k floppies as well, at least at first when you are trying to figure out if you have a working setup or not. Aka using a 1.44 floppy with highdensity hole taped over may work just fine but wait with it for later. Also beware that floppies can have very bad quality .. like the ones that came out in the early days was 10 of 10 working, but later when floppies got dirt cheap you could open a 10 pack and 3 of them was so bad they went straight into the trash.


Note that once you can transfter over floppies, then the first thing you might want to transfter is the 2 Symbos floppies as Symbos automatically support 720k pc dos formatted floppies (all you need is a joystick to use as a "mouse"). That way you have 2 ways of transftering data.


So it looks like some USB floppy drives work, mine definitely doesn't but it does definitely support 720kb as I used a 720kb disk in it yesterday.  Maybe I'll buy one as you suggest, the other option is to find an old computer that still has a floppy.  Shame I threw my 386 away a few years ago, actually that was a long time ago, wish I had kept it now.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #12 on: 19:58, 07 May 17 »
Hi Shaun, what make is your usb drive?  Mine is Teac FD-05PU it doesn't work.

It's definitely Teac something... let me check.
Teac FD-05PUB.

I'm wondering if the OS used has anything to do with it as it's what provides the drivers automatically. Maybe download Virtual PC and install a copy of Windows XP on it? But I'm running that above drive on XP with CPCDiskXP and it works fine.

Also plug it directly into the laptop and not via a hub or something, hubs can make certain USB devices do strange things.  :laugh:
« Last Edit: 20:00, 07 May 17 by Shaun M. Neary »

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #13 on: 20:02, 07 May 17 »
WAIT A SEC!

Have you blocked off the HD tab on the floppy? Use a piece of sellotape to block off the HD tab (other side of the write protect tab), It's probably trying to format 720k to a 1.38MB floppy. You need to trick the program into believing it's an older 720k floppy.

Edit: Nevermind - Cholo beat me to it...

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #14 on: 20:28, 07 May 17 »
 I have 2 usb floppy drives and none of them work but they can format 720 from dos.


format a: /t:80 /n:9


There is something more than that.
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Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #15 on: 20:52, 07 May 17 »
WAIT A SEC!

Have you blocked off the HD tab on the floppy? Use a piece of sellotape to block off the HD tab (other side of the write protect tab), It's probably trying to format 720k to a 1.38MB floppy. You need to trick the program into believing it's an older 720k floppy.

Edit: Nevermind - Cholo beat me to it...

The disk is a DD disk, so there is not a tab to block off!  Trying to format it just normally in Windows 10 it says Windows doesn't support formatting this type or something to that effect, so MS doesn't support formatting 720kb but can read it.   I've connected the drive to a Windows Vista machine and CPCdiskXP can't format with the same drive.  I think the issue is that its a USB floppy.  I don't want to randomly start buying USB floppy drives on the chance one will work.

To make matters worse I've managed to hook the drive up via the external edge connector but can't get my 3" drive to read the CPM disks to try and format it that way.  I suspect the drive needs some calibration even though it is working with some disk.  This is being a tricky little so and so.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #16 on: 21:12, 07 May 17 »
I have a Win 7 virtual machine. I'll give it a try and see what happens, might give us something to go on.

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #17 on: 21:16, 07 May 17 »
Open a cmd and type the command I wrote above in the previous post.
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Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #18 on: 21:33, 07 May 17 »
Tried my TEAC USB drive on Win 7. Only issue I had was there was no AMSDOS compatible format that works with USB.

It's either IBM format or ROMDOS formats that can be formatted via USB using CPCWinXP. In which case, you're out of luck unless you have ParaDOS

... although I'm certain that IBM - Single Side - 65 Tracks - 64 Dir Entries - 260K (254K Free) [Works With USB Floppy][3.5" Hack] read fine on the 3.5" hooked to the drive connector.
« Last Edit: 21:35, 07 May 17 by Shaun M. Neary »

Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #19 on: 21:34, 07 May 17 »
Open a cmd and type the command I wrote above in the previous post.

will that put it into a CPC readable format?

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #20 on: 21:35, 07 May 17 »
No, I was referring to this:

Windows 10 it says Windows doesn't support formatting this type or something to that effect,
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Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #21 on: 21:37, 07 May 17 »
No, I was referring to this:

Windows 10 it says Windows doesn't support formatting this type or something to that effect,

yep that works on Windows 10, what i need is a disk in a format that I can test on the CPC

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #22 on: 21:40, 07 May 17 »
Sorry, except the cpc format problem I thought you meant that it can't also format 720 but only read.
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Offline tjohnson

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #23 on: 21:43, 07 May 17 »
Sorry, except the cpc format problem I thought you meant that it can't also format 720 but only read.

I assumed the format message in Windows was Microsoft deliberate obsolescence which clearly it was, I hadn't tested the old fashion way so that was useful thanks.

Offline VincentGR

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Re: Formatting a 3.5" disk
« Reply #24 on: 21:46, 07 May 17 »
I know, same tells the win7-8 versions  >:(
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