3.5" drives - quick question

Started by Xyphoe, 05:37, 09 June 11

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Xyphoe

Hi guys,

Quick question hopefully .... does it matter *what* 3.5" drive you get for your PC to be able to use disks then on your CPC's 3.5" drive?

ie - does it have to be a certain make/brand, or any specific technical requirements to ensure compatibility?

Probably going to get one of these for my 6128+ - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Lecteur-disk-3-5-pour-AMSTRAD-CPC-6128-PLUS-/130527827977?pt=FR_GH_Informatique_Ordinateurs_Ordinateurs_de_Collection&hash=item1e64109809

I then need to get one for my PC, so just want to make sure that the PC floppy drive will be able to do it's job and allow me finally transfer across all my old BASIC crap and music!

I would assume any is fine, but I'm sure I read once that you need to go for specific makes/brands *somewhere*!


Bryce

Hi Xyphoe,
        I have one of these Novatech USB drives, I picked it up at a garage sale for 50 Cents (That was the price, I didn't buy it for a rap singer :) ). It's fine for PC, but you won't be able to attach it to the CPC. The drives PCB has a USB floppy controller IC, so there are no Shugart connections in between to connect the CPC to.

Bryce.

arnoldemu

You need a drive that gives the ready signal, or one which can be modified (a surface mount resistor re-soldered) to give it that.
The alternative is to force ready on, by connecting to gnd, but that's not 100% compatible.

as for usb floppy drives, well if it could format discs to 720k, then you could use doscopy on cpc to transfer files (you also need a 3.5" drive for the cpc too).

My games. My Games
My website with coding examples: Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource

Xyphoe

Thanks for the replies guys :)

Sorry I should have been more specific ... its the 3.5" drive for the PC I'm only concerned about (sorry I tend to waffle or over explain things)

So ... that Novatech USB drive should be fine then? Is there any way of knowing if it can format to 720k? Or is there special software I can get to do that on the PC? (Running Win7)

Jase

It'll probably be fine. I have a toshiba usb floppy drive on my PC. They will format 720 providing you have the right disks. I use Win7, and i just plugged it in and it worked.


However, if you want to use things like CPCDiskXP to write disk images, then you will need an internal floppy.


You may want to scour ebay rather than get new - most drives have never been used and go for next to nowt if you're lucky. I got mine for £3.50 inc postage.

Jase

Oh, and if you want to read 720/800k disks, you will need a parados rom for your 6128...

DrMoffet

Quote from: Xyphoe on 05:37, 09 June 11Probably going to get one of these for my 6128+ - http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Lecteur-disk-3-5-pour-AMSTRAD-CPC-6128-PLUS-/130527827977?pt=FR_GH_Informatique_Ordinateurs_Ordinateurs_de_Collection&hash=item1e64109809

Just a heads up, I bought a 3.5" drive from this guy. It arrived last week, and doesn't work. When connected to my 6128+ it just causes the monitor speakers to produce a loud buzzing noise. I've checked all the connections countless times. No matter what combination of Side A/B, Drive A/B is used, the Plus just shows the disc missing error. In a nutshell - I'm far from pleased with it. Also, what looks like a nice case for the drive on the picture, is actually just a piece of paper glued to a bare floppy drive.

Off topic: Love your YouTube page, by the way - been a subscriber for a while. Looking forward to the next vid!

Amstari

Quote from: DrMoffet on 22:00, 12 June 11
Just a heads up, I bought a 3.5" drive from this guy. It arrived last week, and doesn't work. When connected to my 6128+ it just causes the monitor speakers to produce a loud buzzing noise. I've checked all the connections countless times. No matter what combination of Side A/B, Drive A/B is used, the Plus just shows the disc missing error. In a nutshell - I'm far from pleased with it. Also, what looks like a nice case for the drive on the picture, is actually just a piece of paper glued to a bare floppy drive.

Off topic: Love your YouTube page, by the way - been a subscriber for a while. Looking forward to the next vid!
I got the same floppy drive from the same seller over an year ago now and it has worked perfectly so you might have just been unlucky and got a broken one. Just contact the seller.
I stuck mine on top of the 3 inch drive and put my own label on it.

Xyphoe

Quote from: DrMoffet on 22:00, 12 June 11
Just a heads up, I bought a 3.5" drive from this guy. It arrived last week, and doesn't work. When connected to my 6128+ it just causes the monitor speakers to produce a loud buzzing noise. I've checked all the connections countless times. No matter what combination of Side A/B, Drive A/B is used, the Plus just shows the disc missing error. In a nutshell - I'm far from pleased with it. Also, what looks like a nice case for the drive on the picture, is actually just a piece of paper glued to a bare floppy drive.

Off topic: Love your YouTube page, by the way - been a subscriber for a while. Looking forward to the next vid!

Sorry to hear that, I hope you get it sorted. It looks like he sells a lot of them and doesn't seem to have had any negative feedback regarding these. He was quite helpful when I emailed him asking questions (a long while ago now) - let us know how you get on and resolve this. And thanks for the kind compliment about my YouTube channel :) I've been away for a few weeks but I'll be back on the horse soon!

Xyphoe

Thanks for reply guys, although I admit I'm getting a little confused now.

OK I will try and simplify and summarise for myself -

So because I don't have Parados on ROM then I must  use "CPCDiskXP" instead of Doscopy. Correct so far?

And because then I have to use CPCDiskXP (will that work on Win7?) I then have to get an internal floppy disk drive instead? (why doesn't it like USB ones out of interest?)

arnoldemu

Quote from: Xyphoe on 10:06, 13 June 11
Thanks for reply guys, although I admit I'm getting a little confused now.

OK I will try and simplify and summarise for myself -

So because I don't have Parados on ROM then I must  use "CPCDiskXP" instead of Doscopy. Correct so far?

And because then I have to use CPCDiskXP (will that work on Win7?) I then have to get an internal floppy disk drive instead? (why doesn't it like USB ones out of interest?)
More confusion possibly:


I will start with the USB drives.

The USB drives have their own controller hardware, this can't be accessed by programs on the PC, so you can't control it directly, so you are forced to do what it is limited to.

The drive is therefore limited to standard PC disc formats, which means PC directories, PC files. (using the FAT filesystem), and then you are limited to 720k (double density) or 1.44MB (high density).

The CPC can't read 1.44 High density discs, so with a USB drive, you are really limited to 720K floppy discs for transfer.

CPCDiskXP is a tool on the PC, that directly accesses the on board floppy disc controller hardware of PC's that have it. It can transfer DSK to a real disc, be it 3.5" or 3" either of which *must* be connected to the PC in order for CPCDiskXP to use them.

DOSCopy is a tool on the CPC, this can read PC 720K discs (FAT filesystem) discs. That is all it does. You can use it on the CPC to transfer files *to* a PC disc, or *from* a PC disc. In both cases, you need another disc formatted on the CPC to store the CPC's version of the files.

In all these cases, the requirement is a 3.5" disc drive on your CPC. Normally connected as drive B. You can then use a hardware modification to switch it to drive A - the reason is that a lot of software only runs off drive A because it's loader has not been programmed correctly.

So, if you have a 3.5" drive inside your PC, you can use CPCDiskXP to copy a dsk to a 3.5" disc. Then you must also have a 3.5" disc drive connected to your CPC to then use this disc. This method is best, because you can copy any DSK to the CPC, and it works good.

If you don't have a 3.5" disc drive inside your PC, you can use a USB floppy drive.
But now you are limited:
- limited to files only - no copyprotected disks
- you use windows to format it
- you copy files to it using windows
- you must have a 3.5" disc drive on your CPC.

On the CPC side, you use DOSCopy to read these files and copy them to a CPC disc to use.

Parados is a rom for cpc that can read a number of different *CPC* disc formats. It can't read *PC* disc formats, so it's use is simply down to: *if* you have a 3.5" drive on CPC, can you use the full capacity of the disc (720k-800k) or are you stuck with it using as a single sided 3" disc and getting only 178K. So Parados enables you to get more out of your 3.5" drive on your CPC and allows you to format, and copy files on your CPC. it also works with most software so you can load programs from it's discs.



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My website with coding examples: Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource

arnoldemu

Xyphoe your vids are good. A vid of using a CPC with a 3.5" drive would be good for others who want to try this.
I'm not good at making videos myself.
My games. My Games
My website with coding examples: Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource

Xyphoe

Hi mate!

Thank you very much for the detailed reply. Wow thanks for so much detail, it is very much appreciated :)

OK how about I purchase the Parados on cart for the 6128+?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Parados-GX4000-GX-4000-cartridge-Amstrad-CPC-6128-plus-/230629472627?pt=UK_VideoGames_VideoGameAccessories_VideoGameAccessories_JN&hash=item35b2967973

Will that allow me to use the 6128+ as normal but allow me to access those high density 3.5" disks?

Executioner

Not high density, but 80 track/double-sided (ie. 720K ish) formats. btw, I think this is the guy I bought my ParaDOS cartridge from :)

Devilmarkus

Quote from: Executioner on 02:30, 14 June 11
btw, I think this is the guy I bought my ParaDOS cartridge from :)

This is crazy! Did you tell him, that you coded ParaDOS? (You should think about selling licenses to this guy)
When you put your ear on a hot stove, you can smell how stupid you are ...

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redbox

Quote from: Xyphoe on 21:25, 13 June 11
OK how about I purchase the Parados on cart for the 6128+?


£30 is a bit steep.


Are you any good at soldering?  I'm not so I knackered a few cartridges, but if you are you could open a Burnin' Rubber cart (or something similar, i.e. one you can afford to lose) and unsolder the ROM.  Then I can burn you a 6128+ OS with Parados EPROM and you can solder it back on (using a IC socket).

steve

Some people will cut the legs off the old eprom, leaving them soldered to the cartridge PCB, and then solder the new eprom to the old legs, I don't know if there is room in the cartridge to do this, but it might work.

Bryce

That will work (electronically speaking), but the case won't fit any more. With the EPROM in a socket, it even sticks up slightly higher than the housings outer surface, which makes the cartridge jam a little when inserting or removing it. I prefer to use Flash instead of EPROMs because they are slightly flatter and fit better inside the CPC. If anyone wants a cartridge converted and they are unsure about doing it, they can send it to me and I'll do the conversion.

Bryce.

DrMoffet

An update...

Bertrand sent me another drive which works perfectly, so the first one must have been damaged by the good ol' post office. Great eBayer after all!  ;D

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