Author Topic: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?  (Read 12398 times)

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Offline CPCIak

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I would like to know if anyone has got practical experiences in transferring files between PC and CPC using a parallel cable.
Well, I'm going to play some DSKs on my real CPC. Unfortunately I haven't got a 3,5inch floppy nor experiences in soldering. These specific 3,5" disc drives are sold for about 40EUR at ebay - quiet expensive :( Using a parallel cable seems to be the easiest und cheapest solution...

http://cpcoxygen.fxwebdevelopment.com/magazine/07/cable/cable.html
http://cpcoxygen.fxwebdevelopment.com/magazine/10/parallel/parallel.htm

Thanks for your help!
« Last Edit: 18:02, 03 December 09 by CPCIak »

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #1 on: 20:47, 03 December 09 »
I've done it in the past, and it works everytime... now I use a 3.5" F.D.D drive connected to my PC, copy the game to it and then play it on my CPC's 3.5" disk. One thing to note, I could only get my Parallel transfer to work with my old Dell laptop, refuses to work with any newer PC's I have. The other option is to buy a USB card, stick all your games on it and play them from that. But you need Symbos and a Symbiface card for it to work, expensive but rewarding.
« Last Edit: 20:49, 03 December 09 by ukmarkh »

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #2 on: 20:52, 03 December 09 »
Thanks! The necessary programs, e.g. CPCTrans and CPCPara, only work in real DOS, don't they?

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #3 on: 21:10, 03 December 09 »
The SDCARD HxC Floppy Emulator seems to be interesting. Unfortunately it isn't available yet.

Offline ukmarkh

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #4 on: 22:30, 03 December 09 »
Basically you have to boot your PC from a DOS disk, this is the only way I ever managed to transfer games to and from my CPC. You could either stick the bootable DOS files and games you wanted to transfer onto a CD-Rom or try and fit as many games as possible with the DOS bootable files on a single floppy disk.

The SDCARD HxC Floppy Emulator seems to be interesting. Unfortunately it isn't available yet.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #5 on: 22:33, 03 December 09 »
Ok - I'll try it this weekend

Offline Cholo

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #6 on: 22:46, 03 December 09 »
Ive had the same experience with parallel cable as Ukmarkh. Had to get a really old pc for it to work well. If i tried it on a P4 3ghz the connection would keep dying (im guessing the pc was simply to fast).
Anyways, i bought an ancient laptop with a black and white screen, dead battery, dead hdd, dead bios battery .. but a working floppy drive and parallel port. Was like £10  ;D
Made a DOS boot floppy with nothing on it. Then put Turbotr on the floppy with a couple of Dsk.

Transfer of a Dsk is pretty quick i recall, like 2-3 minutes on both 664 and 6128.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #7 on: 23:00, 03 December 09 »
Maybe it depends on how the LPT port is set in bios; not on the cpu power.
Somewhere (I can't remember where) I've seen it should be set to "standard mode".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_1284
http://ckp.made-it.com/ieee1284.html

The attachment is a screenshot from my mobo-manual
« Last Edit: 23:14, 03 December 09 by CPCIak »

Offline mr_lou

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #8 on: 08:29, 04 December 09 »
The parallel cable was also my first solution when I needed to transfer files.
The cable itself was surprisingly easy to make, but I remember fiddling quite some time in BIOS before I got it working correctly.

Later on I made myself a 3.5" drive, which took a bit longer (because I have a CPC464 which is slightly more complicated than the connections to a CPC6128), but it was definitely worth it.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #9 on: 10:54, 04 December 09 »
Hi all,
       my experiences were similar, although I managed to get PCPara working on a relatively new PC. Although Linux is installed, I made a boot disk with just the minimum files required for DOS and PCPara, if the target files are available on a DOS readable Hard-drive, you can copy all you want accross, but grab a coffee before you start, it's not exactly broadband. PC-CPC onnections are starting to get more difficult, now that RS232 has gone and LPT: fades into the history books. Maybe it's time to build a USB / Windows/Linux version of PCPara?

Bryce.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #10 on: 13:36, 04 December 09 »
Hi all,
       my experiences were similar, although I managed to get PCPara working on a relatively new PC. Although Linux is installed, I made a boot disk with just the minimum files required for DOS and PCPara, if the target files are available on a DOS readable Hard-drive, you can copy all you want accross, but grab a coffee before you start, it's not exactly broadband. PC-CPC onnections are starting to get more difficult, now that RS232 has gone and LPT: fades into the history books. Maybe it's time to build a USB / Windows/Linux version of PCPara?

Bryce.
I think this would be a fantastic idea.
In addition a method through an alternative port on the cpc may be a good choice, something where receiving on the cpc side could be made faster.. through expansion connector maybe?
My games. My Games
My website with coding examples: Unofficial Amstrad WWW Resource

Offline Bryce

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #11 on: 13:49, 04 December 09 »
I'll add it to my list of possible projects. Slightly off-topic, but I'm working on some hardware projects that will be specifically designed for the CPC-Wiki site. So if anyone has any other ideas of hardware they'd like to see as a project, then let me know. My aim is to keep the projects as simple and cheap as possible, rather than Symbiface sized projects, but I'll consider anything.

Bryce.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #12 on: 18:28, 04 December 09 »
It’s too good to last!

Offline Ynot.zer0

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #13 on: 22:06, 04 December 09 »
Bryce: If you could ponder the concept of plugging a USB key into a VDrive 2 ( http://www.vinculum.com/prd_vdrive1.html ) and then connect that to the CPC - I would be very happy!  :o

Offline nurgle

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #14 on: 14:22, 05 December 09 »
I never got the parallel cable to work, also blew my Amiga 3000 with a parallel cable between Amiga and C64 causing a nasty repair bill (at least there where repair shops back in the days).  :-[

This led me to building an RS-232 interface for my CPC (Amssio by Martin Zacho) and writing my own DSK transfer software for it, so I could use all those DSK images form nvg on my real CPC, even without running DOS on my PC (I prefer Linux).

Later on I connected a 3.5" DD floppy to the CPC which turned out to be a no-brainer and worked so well that I never looked back to other solutions. I have a symbiface as well, but the 3.5" floppy method is so easy that I did not even bother with swapping CF cards. I also did not pay big money. I got 2 used DD floppys in exchange for some gummibears (yes, these drive are junk, you can get them for free!) and bought a cheap power supply plus some connectors and a case for the floppy at a local electronics store. There are plenty of instructions in the Wiki and elsewhere on the net. Just be sure to get an old DD drive with ready signal, to make things really really easy.

A good alternative for a lot of folks seems to be using the CPCBooster together with the ArkosROM. This solution makes sending DSKs between CPC and PC via RS-232 extremely quick and comfortable. However you will need the booster plus a RAM/ROM-Box or similar. Quite an expensive solution just for transfering discs, but pretty nice if you already have the hardware.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #15 on: 14:43, 05 December 09 »
Hi ynot.zero,
               I had a quick look at the VDrive2, interesting device, the hardware is not the interesting part, as there are also AVRs and PICs available such as the 24FJ128GB106 which already have this functionality built in and have a processor, ROM and RAM where the magic stuff can take place. Not sure if you are a hardware person, but if so, take a look at Microchips Application Note AN1140 (http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/AppNotes/USB_Host_Stack_01140a.pdf). What's interesting about the VDrive2 is the firmware they supply, which seems to do all the file handling. This could be a neat solution for the CPC, but as I said, I just took a quick look, I've bookmarked the page an will take a detailed look when I have more time.

Bryce.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #16 on: 16:22, 05 December 09 »
Yes, I did it  :)
The performance depends on the LPT setting. I just typed in CPCREC.BAS and transfered several .bas files successfully via the parallel interface. Unfortunately TurboTrans doesn't work on the cpc nor on the PC. Well, this little progy is the must have in order to interpret the DSK-files. Does an alternative exist?
« Last Edit: 22:52, 05 December 09 by CPCIak »

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #17 on: 11:25, 06 December 09 »
Could someone borrow me a 3,5inch floppy, please???

Offline redbox

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #18 on: 23:22, 06 December 09 »
Yes, I did it  :)

Me too - only last week  8)  Haven't soldered in about 15 years so was pleased when it worked!

The performance depends on the LPT setting. I just typed in CPCREC.BAS and transfered several .bas files successfully via the parallel interface. Unfortunately TurboTrans doesn't work on the cpc nor on the PC. Well, this little progy is the must have in order to interpret the DSK-files.

I had this problem too.  I solved it by:

1) Using a DOS boot CD (the programs don't work in Windows) - you can download one here with TurboTrans etc all ready on it
2) Going into the BIOS on my PC and making sure the parallel port (LPT1) is using port 378h - TurboTrans on the PC will only work with this address and the default on my PC was something different

Then I ran TurboTrans on the PC (using TURBOTR EXAMPLE.DSK) and then on the CPC and it worked perfectly.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #19 on: 09:57, 07 December 09 »
Thanks "redbox",
I used a modified MS-DOS boot-CD with some DSKs and tools on it, because I couln't find the connection lead for the 3,5" floppy.
Which operation mode did you choose for the LPT port: standard, bi-directional...?
PCPARA logged several time errors and TURBOTR didn't work at all.

Offline redbox

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #20 on: 13:05, 07 December 09 »
Which operation mode did you choose for the LPT port: standard, bi-directional...?

I used Bi-Directional.  I also had to set the Parallel port in the BIOS to I/O address 378h and IRQ 7 for it to work with TurboTransfer.

PCPARA logged several time errors and TURBOTR didn't work at all.

If you're having problems with C/PC Para then I would think either your cable is faulty or the PC is sending it incorrectly.

I know everyone says about the PCs being too quick, but I'm using a ThinkPad and it's fine (not exactly slow - a 800mhz P3 - considering the original transfer programs were written when people were using 386s!).

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #21 on: 13:20, 07 December 09 »
I used this diagram for my wiring box.
« Last Edit: 13:32, 07 December 09 by CPCIak »

Offline redbox

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #22 on: 17:10, 07 December 09 »
Those boxes are cool - I had to make my cable from scratch.  I can't see you making too many errors with the wiring there!

I used the same wiring connection table and it works for me.  I have a 6128 Plus - not sure if that would make any difference (if you are using a classic CPC)?

Or you could try using another PC and see if that works?

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #23 on: 18:17, 07 December 09 »
I'll try it with another PC at the weekend. Maybe 3400MHz are too much.

Offline CPCIak

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Re: Data transfer via parallel cable - what's your experience?
« Reply #24 on: 21:41, 08 December 09 »
I give up!
I just tried out CPC Oxygen's Boot-CD.
Bios: LPT1 Mode Normal, Port 378, IRQ 7
PCPara <-> CPCPara Testmode: 0 Errors
Turbotrans: nothing happens!
WHY???