Vortex Disc Drives
Disc drives from Vortex, with 80 tracks and 720K capacity (704K available).
Vortex -S and -D Drives (720K/disk)
- F1 - S Single 5.25" drive with power supply connected via ribbon cable to interface with NEC765 and VDOS 1.0
- F1 - D Double 5.25" drive with power supply connected via ribbon cable to interface with NEC765 and VDOS 1.0
- M1 - S Single 3.5" drive with power supply connected via ribbon cable to interface with NEC765 and VDOS 1.0
- M1 - D Double 3.5" drive with power supply connected via ribbon cable to interface with NEC765 and VDOS 1.0
These are the original drives from Vortex, for use on CPC 464. The interface supports one or two 80 track drives, additionally a 3" FD-1 can be connected as third drive, ie. unlike most other CPC disk interfaces it supports more than 2 drives. With VDOS only two drives are accessible at one time.
TO BE CONFIRMED: Does the interface fully decode US0/US1 from NEC765 and if you select unit 3 which drive is accessed.
TO BE CONFIRMED: The motors of each drive can be controlled individually. How is this done?
TO BE CONFIRMED: One of the Vortex interfaces with it's own FDC can be used with the CPC6128 and uses different I/O ports. How was this implemented?
Vortex -Z Drives (180K/side or 180K/disk?)
- F1 - Z Single 5.25" drive with power supply with ribbon cable (does not come with interface containing FDC or VDOS)
- M1 - Z Single 3.5" drive with power supply with ribbon cable (does not come with interface containing FDC or VDOS)
These are the Low-Capacity drives from Vortex, for use on CPC 664/6128 or CPC 464 with DDI-1 (ie. on computers that already have a FDC and AMSDOS). There doesn't seem to be anything special about this product, just an off-the-shelf disk drive, shipped with a CPC-specific connection cable.
AMSDOS can only access 40 tracks.
TO BE CONFIRMED: Are the drives 80 track, double sided? Is there any way to access the second side with AMSDOS (e.g. side switch??)
Vortex -X Drives (720K/disk)
- F1 - X Single 80 track, Double Sided, 5.25" drive with power supply and ribbon cable which connects to interface containing VDOS 2.0
- M1 - X Single 80 Track, Double Sided, 3.5" drive with power supply and ribbon cable which connects to interface containing VDOS 2.0
- F1 - XRS same as F1-X, upgraded with RS232 interface
- M1 - XRS same as M1-X, upgraded with RS232 interface
These are the newest drives from Vortex, for use on CPC 664/6128 or CPC 464 with DDI-1 (ie. on computers that already have a FDC). The |S command (for accessing a third drive) is no longer used, the new |X command allows to swap drive A and B (same as X-DDOS from Dobbertin)
These drives are well designed and strong. They are housed in a metal case with power supply (which has good protection with fuses) and have good quality drive mechanisms. The drive has jumpers on it that can be configured as needed.
- Vortex X modul (adding RS232 support to -X drives)
- VDOS2.0 (upgrading older drives to VDOS 2.0)
- Second drive unit (for upgrading a single -S drive to a dual -D drive)
Standard Addresses (same as used by AMSDOS): FB7Eh 765 FDC (internal) Status Register (R) FB7Fh 765 FDC (internal) Data Register (R/W) FA7Eh Floppy Motor On/Off Flipflop Special Addresses (secondary FDC): FBF6h 765 FDC (Vortex,ext) Status Register (Read) FBF7h 765 FDC (Vortex,ext) Data Register (R/W) FA7Eh Floppy Motor On/Off Flipflop (same as normal) (The Special addresses are mentioned in the manual for the Vortex -X drives) (but apparently they are referring to other/older Vortex drives, not the -X drives)
The Special addresses are used only on CPC 664/6128 and only if the Vortex drive includes an FDC chip.
The X drive has a different PCB than the PCB for the S, the manual describes connecting the DDI-1 interface to the X drive interface and a 'decoder-ROM' which defines the I/O decoding?
- Note1: The -Z and -X drives do not include FDC chips.
- Note2: The -S and -D drives do reportedly work only on CPC 464 (?).
So, not sure if/when the Special addresses are used at all?
RS232 Ports (for -X drives with RS232) FADC/FADD=Serial Data/Control FBDC/FBDD/FBDF=Counter 0/1/Mode. So it's probably compatible with Amstrad/Pace (and probably also including, but not using, Channel B Ports FADE/FADF and FBDE).
Vortex Disk Format
The Vortex -Z drives do not seem to include any VDOS ROM (so they do support only normal 40-Track AMSDOS Formats, but NOT the 80-Track Vortex format).
Look inside the controller, with 765 chip, connection for F1 disc drive, and VDOS (upgraded to v2.0)
Controller with VDOS mounted
- Vortex Floppy Disk Station F1 für den Schneider CPC 464 - Benutzerhandbuch (Manual for old drives with VDOS 1.0)
- 3-Zoll-Adapter zur VORTEX-Diskettenstation (Manual for Vortex adapter for connecting a 3 inch floppy drive to the Vortex Disk Station F1 controller)
- Vortex X-Laufwerke (Manual for new X-drives with VDOS 2.0)
- Vortex VDOS 2.0 (Manual for upgrading from VDOS 1.0 to VDOS 2.0)
- Manual de las Unidades Vortex (pdf)
- Vortex RS232-C Manual (pdf)
- NEC drive inside Vortex M1-X NEC drive inside Vortex M1-X