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Author Topic: Extended clone of the great Vortex F1-D/M1-D Floppy Disc Controller!  (Read 3432 times)

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Offline GUNHED

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There were variations of the controller. The one with the serial interface was (iirc) for the F1-X. But here it's about the F1-D controller, which only has the FDC765 (and smaller chips).
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Offline Bryce

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So the device I have here is a standard DDI-1 plugged to a serial port expansion, so what exactly am I reverse engineering? The floppy part of this device is a known circuit.

Bryce.

Edit: I forgot to mention, the ROM in the DDI-1 is the standard 40015 content.
« Last Edit: 14:49, 07 September 21 by Bryce »
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Offline GUNHED

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That sounds very strange!!! I try to take pictures from my controller. However it's not a good camera.

Anyway, IMHO there's no (big) need to reverse engineering. The target is to have a floppy controller being similar to the Amstrad one, but with different I/O addresses and plugs for four drives, properly using DS0-3.
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Offline Bryce

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This vortex drive definitely has the same address decoding as the DDI-1 and can only access two drives. So this isn't the one you are looking to clone. I'll give it a test/repair at the weekend and send it back.

Bryce.
 
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Offline SkulleateR

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Ok, I'm a Bit confused now .... Always thought the difference is in the drives, not the controller ...

After reading again on CPCWiki mine should be an F1-XRS drive and I for sure remember it has VDOS 2.0 inside so (regarding CPCwiki) should allow more than two drives ! As I said .... I'm confused :/
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Offline GUNHED

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Of course the controller is different. That makes the F1-D a drive with 0,7 MB format, two drives, access to the internal 3" drive (so three drives) and few things more.
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Offline Bryce

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Of course the controller is different. That makes the F1-D a drive with 0,7 MB format, two drives, access to the internal 3" drive (so three drives) and few things more.

It wouldn't allow three drives, because it's a 464 only expansion.

Bryce.
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Offline GUNHED

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It wouldn't allow three drives, because it's a 464 only expansion.

Bryce.
Well, I was talking about my setup at the 6128.
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Offline GUNHED

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Eventually I was able to make a good picture of the F1-D controller. This Controller has one cable to the expansion port of the CPC6128, and one cable going to the two 5,25" Floppy Disc Drives. The cable to the floppies is also providing power to the F1-D controller.

The controller has a hardware gimmick which alters the content to be read from the EPROM, so it's worthless to 'just' copy the EPROM to have VDOS 2.11. (not needed to clone of course).

Actually this unit was one of the last to be sold. I assume there is no 'newer' (altered) unit out there.


SORRY! I tried to upload jpg and zip, about 2,2 MB only. But all I get is this:


"Your attachment couldn't be saved. This might happen because it took too long to upload or the file is bigger than the server will allow.
Please consult your server administrator for more information."


However, I was able to put it there:
https://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Vortex_Disc_Drives#Pictures
« Last Edit: 16:46, 10 September 21 by GUNHED »
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Offline Bryce

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The controller has a hardware gimmick which alters the content to be read from the EPROM, so it's worthless to 'just' copy the EPROM to have VDOS 2.11. (not needed to clone of course).

They've probably just swapped some of the address or data lines.

Bryce.
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Offline Bryce

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So I've taken a closer look at the device I have here. Unfortunately the problem seems to be a corrupted EPROM. The Chip is marked X-RS 464. It's not encrypted. Does anyone know if there's an image of this EPROM content anywhere on the interwebs? We don't have it on the Wiki.


Bryce.
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Offline Bryce

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Morning,
       after some contemplation, a large glass of whisky and some soldering, I now have the Vortex expansion working again. Unfortunately the 7 ton 5in drive is completely dead and probably won't be coming back, but the device can still be used with a standard 3in FD-1 and the RS232 is also fully working again.

Bryce.





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Offline GUNHED

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They've probably just swapped some of the address or data lines.

Bryce.
Regarding the real-time-altering of the EPROM data, IIRC it was connected to the M1 cycle of the Z80. Pretty sophisticated, but somewhere I have the adapted EPROM content which works without that protection stuff. It should be in the Wikit too.


The picture you show is probably from the X-Drive. It's controller does use the same I/O address like the DDI-1. So it's not the F1-D.
« Last Edit: 03:39, 13 September 21 by GUNHED »
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Offline GUNHED

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They've probably just swapped some of the address or data lines.

Bryce.
Yes, plus fully decoding DS0, 1, 2, 3 to be able to connect four drives. And that's the gem.  :) :) :)
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Offline GUNHED

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Hi guys!


Now, is one here willing to clone the floppy disc interface with Vortex decoding?

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Offline Bryce

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Hi guys!


Now, is one here willing to clone the floppy disc interface with Vortex decoding?

Does anyone have one to make that possible?

Bryce.
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Offline GUNHED

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I have one here, but neither I do know if it still works. It's also connected to another 5,25" drive (as psu).

But what you actually need are the DDI-1 schematics; an additional '2 to 4' decoder to allow 4 floppies (DS0-3). And change the I/O addresses.

On the Vortex controller there's an EPROM (and decoding and encoding) too. We can completely forget about it. Just put the DOS in your Flash-ROM card. That makes it even more simple.
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Offline Bryce

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Is there any interest in having these built? You already have one, so who else would be looking for one?

Bryce.
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Offline GUNHED

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Is there any interest in having these built? You already have one, so who else would be looking for one?

Bryce.
Lots of users would love to have one, because it's nearly impossible to get the original drive(s) on Ebay or somewhere else.

The advantage to have four drives more is exciting: We could operate a CPC with two drives of each kind. This way it would be extremely quick and efficient to copy floppy discs. Especially with big 3.5" or 5,25" formats this would be awesome!

And yes, some users may not be interested at all in floppies any longer. However others are.  :) :) :)

(At least in Germany I would already have 10 potential customers. Admittedly I would take two of them).
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Offline GUNHED

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Wouldn't this be a very nice winter project?


Imagine: A floppy controller for four floppy disc drives independent of the DDI-1


All you need to do is to clone the DDI-1 (without ROM part), change the I/O for few bits and that's it.  :) :) :) :)
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Offline Bryce

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Yes, but other than you there has been zero interest shown from any other members.

Bryce.
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Offline GUNHED

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Yes, but other than you there has been zero interest shown from any other members.

Bryce.


Bryce, that's fine. You don't need to participate with this project if you have better things to do (and there may be many). But let's see if somebody else is interested then...
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Offline Bryce

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I'm not stopping anyone else from taking it on, I'm just saying why I don't think it will become my winter project.

Bryce.
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Online eto

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Imagine: A floppy controller for four floppy disc drives independent of the DDI-1

In what scenario are 4 drives useful?
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Offline villain

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In what scenario are 4 drives useful?


I think in a „very special“ scenario around 1990 this would have been very useful… ;-)
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