Extended clone of the great Vortex F1-D/M1-D Floppy Disc Controller!

Started by GUNHED, 20:09, 08 August 21

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Would you be interested in an additional FDC for your CPC/Plus supporting 4 drives (DOS exists)?

Yes, that would be awesome!
Maybe, let's see...
No, but I'm reading this thread nevertheless, because it's cold out there

GUNHED

Hi there friends of the hardware expansion...

Back the day the ingenious company Vortex released a double 5.25" drive (F1-D) and a double 3.5" drive (M1-D). They had the 0,7 MB Vortex format(s). So basically provided 1,4 MB of space.

Sadly they are very hard to get these days and very expensive.

The floppy controller of the F1-D and M1-D was identical. And it was identical to the DDI-1 controller too. But it had different I/O addresses. So the CPC could use both controllers, the DDI-1 and the F1-D/M1-D. They were available for the full range of the CPCs and Plus computers.

Aside of different I/O addresses:

&FB7E - FDC 0 Status / Amstrad DDI-1 FDC765
&FB7F - FDC 0 Daten /

&FBF6 - FDC 1 Status / Vortex F1-D / F1-M FDC765
&FBF7 - FDC 1 Daten /

The big advantage of the Vortex FDC was that it could deal with four drives! So it added up to four drives to the 6128 for example

Now imagine if we do a remake of this great device?

Is there somebody who would help me to clone the Vortex FDC?
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

TotO

Well...

Amstrad:
---- -0-- 0111 111x

Vortex:
---- -0-- 1111 011x


If you are using discret logic, you may swap the A3 and A7 lines for the decoding through AND / OR IC with a sliding switch to be able to support Amstrad and Vortex on a same interface. (may be A1, A2, A4, A5, A6 are not fully decoded)
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

GUNHED

Great idea!  :) :) :)


Actually it would be great if our new clone could be fully decoded!  :)

Now, the one thing left is a fully 2-to-4 decoder which allows the FDC with two Drive-Select signals (2 bits) to become DS0, 1, 2 and 3 to support four drives.  :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

GUNHED

Hello... sombebody out there how can help me cloning the Vortex F1 controller?
(Cash plays no role).
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Bryce

Quote from: GUNHED on 18:39, 16 August 21
Hello... sombebody out there how can help me cloning the Vortex F1 controller?
(Cash plays no role).

Do you have schematics or a real device or (last resort) high resolution pictures of both sides of the original PCB. If so, let me know and I will clone it for you.

Bryce.

TotO

I imagine that is possible to start from the Amstrad FDC schematic (if the same u765 controller) and update the few changes.
But, there is a real interest to use more than two floppy drives today?
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

SkulleateR

Quote from: Bryce on 21:09, 16 August 21
Do you have schematics or a real device or (last resort) high resolution pictures of both sides of the original PCB. If so, let me know and I will clone it for you.

Bryce.


I got one, sadly it's not working anymore, but I can provide pictures :) Maybe this investigation helps getting my device up an running again :D

Bryce

Quote from: TotO on 21:26, 16 August 21
I imagine that is possible to start from the Amstrad FDC schematic (if the same u765 controller) and update the few changes.
But, there is a real interest to use more than two floppy drives today?

I haven't even a use for 2 drives, but obviously TFM GUNHED has a use for 4, otherwise he wouldn't want it cloned.

Quote from: SkulleateR on 21:29, 16 August 21
I got one, sadly it's not working anymore, but I can provide pictures :) Maybe this investigation helps getting my device up an running again :D
Well I could fix it for you while I have it if you send it to me?

Bryce.


TotO

Quote from: Bryce on 21:30, 16 August 21
I haven't even a use for 2 drives, but obviously TFM GUNHED has a use for 4, otherwise he wouldn't want it cloned.
Sure, I understand that but...I though he already own it.
"You make one mistake in your life and the internet will never let you live it down" (Keith Goodyer)

SkulleateR

@Bryce


I could send it for cloning if this helps out @GUNHED in his project, but since I lost my job due to Corona I'm a bit short of money so I don't think repairing is an option right now :(

GUNHED

Well, mine is not working too, guess it's the power supply. Need to fix it one day.

For Schematics: Yes, as mentioned before the Amstrad DDI-1 controller can be used. It need two small changes:

1. To be able to use all four floppies a "2 to 4" decoder chip must be added, because the FDC765 has two pins for selecting the drive, but drive connectors need to have four signals (DS0, DS1, DS2 and DS3).

2. Simple change of port I/O addresses (see beginning of thread).

3. EDIT: Oh, and of course the ROM-socket is NOT needed, we have X-MEM, MegaFlash, M4 and more for DOS-ROMs today.

BTW: I'm not the only one who would love to have four floppies accessible at the same time. Adding the two 3" drives from the DDI-1 controller you can have six drives all together. So the perfect fast copy station for 3", 3.5" and 5.25" drives - for everybody who loves real floppies instead SD cards  :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Bryce

I'd leave the ROM socketed anyway. Even with all the alternative ROM options, you never know when you might want/need the device working stand-alone with different ROMs.

Bryce.

GUNHED

Very true! And in case the hardware really can be done - I'm going to care about the DOS for it. Maybe it would be even possible to adapt ParaDOS for it (however probably only with the help of its creator, because pretty much every byte in ParaDOS is used). Or DDOS or VDOS (bug free and running without hardware encoding of course).  :) :) :)

If somebody out there has a wish / 'wanted' / idea regarding software ... now would be the time to think about it.  :) :) :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

Bryce

Quote from: SkulleateR on 21:45, 16 August 21
@Bryce


I could send it for cloning if this helps out @GUNHED in his project, but since I lost my job due to Corona I'm a bit short of money so I don't think repairing is an option right now :(

So this morning the heaviest 5in drive I've ever seen arrived at the door. It weighs a ton! I'll take it apart at the weekend and start reverse engineering the schematic. Off to the doctor now, I think I've pulled a muscle in my back :D


Bryce.

GUNHED

Holy steel! You must have gotten the bullet prove version. Hope you feel better soon. And good luck with the work on it. Careful, the data cable between controller and drives does in addition contain GND and 5 Volts to power the controller. This can lead to burning chips if not regarded. I'm sure you know that already, but just to be on the save side.  :)
http://futureos.de --> Get the revolutionary FutureOS (Update: 2022.03.09)
http://futureos.cpc-live.com/files/LambdaSpeak_RSX_by_TFM.zip --> Get the RSX-ROM for LambdaSpeak :-) (Updated: 2021.12.26)

SkulleateR

@Bryce


Hope you're all right, don't sue me, I'm not responsible for that metal case  :-\ ::)

Bryce

It's a scam! A scam I tell you! The biggest scam since the battery hack! There's a DDI-1 inside.  :D

Bryce.



Audronic

Procrastinators Unite,
If it Ain't Broke PLEASE Don't Fix it.
I keep telling you I am Not Pedantic.
As I Live " Down Under " I Take my Gravity Tablets and Wear my Magnetic Boots to Keep me from Falling off.

Bryce

Quote from: Audronic on 06:03, 04 September 21
@Bryce


? Is it a DDI-1 with its own custom Rom ?


Keep Safe


Ray
I haven't opened the DDI-1 yet, but I assume it's a non-modded standard DDI-1. The board it's connected to has it's own ROM and a Z80, so I assume that's where all the magic happens. However, the idiots have filed the part numbers of some of the IC's, so reverse engineering may not be so easy.

Bryce.

Bryce

The DDI-1 does have a non-standard ROM inside. I'll dump it and check if it's different to the original. It's a EPROM, but it has 40015 hand-written on it, so it may just have been replaced.

Bryce.

Audronic

@Bryce


I have had a look in the WIKI and there are some good quality phots of the Vortex Boards, Perhaps some of the numbers you were after are there ?
It would be interesting to see if it is a 40015 or some other wit patches ?


Keep up the good work


Keep Safe


Ray
Procrastinators Unite,
If it Ain't Broke PLEASE Don't Fix it.
I keep telling you I am Not Pedantic.
As I Live " Down Under " I Take my Gravity Tablets and Wear my Magnetic Boots to Keep me from Falling off.

Bryce

The boards on the Wiki seem to be a completely different device and don't contain/require a DDI-1. Here's a picture of the board I have here. You can see the two blanked IC's in the centre above the edge connector for the DDI-1. The empty socket is where the Vortex ROM is located. the board on the Wiki looks like a variation of the DDI-1 and doesn't contain a second ROM or Z80.


Bryce.

Fessor

Quote from: Bryce on 10:45, 06 September 21The boards on the Wiki seem to be a completely different device and don't contain/require a DDI-1. Here's a picture of the board I have here. You can see the two blanked IC's in the centre above the edge connector for the DDI-1. The empty socket is where the Vortex ROM is located. the board on the Wiki looks like a variation of the DDI-1 and doesn't contain a second ROM or Z80.
Z80-DART...
I think the board you have is the https://cpcrulez.fr/hardware-serie-interface_rs232_vortex.htm

Bryce

Yes, that seems to be the one and yes, it's a Z80 DART.

Bryce.

AlexM

I have two F1-D drives and controllers. One controller was working for sure the last time I used it, the other one might have issues. There is a disc stuck in the drive which I cant eject; I cant access the disc so either the disc, drive or controller is not working. But I could make pictures of the working controller if needed.

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