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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

Author Topic: Extended clone of the great Vortex F1-D/M1-D Floppy Disc Controller!  (Read 4980 times)

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Offline GUNHED

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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.
Yes, that would be cool. But if you got better projects (and there may be many  :) ). Now, if people assume you're doing this project, then other hardware constructors will probably not start doing it, because you're very well at hardware. And one person is enough to do such a project.  :)
Also, wenn Leute sehen, dass Du da eventuell Interesse haben könntest das zu machen, dann halten die sich zurück. Das Rad muss ja nicht doppelt erfunden werden. Du weißt was ich meine :)


In what scenario are 4 drives useful?
Thanks for asking. Imagine your CPC already has two 3" drives. So you can make a quick copy from A to B (or B to A).
Now add four more drives, two times a 3,5" drive and two times a 5,25" drive.
This would provide the ultimate copy station.  :)
(And yes, HxC or Gotek should be there too).
« Last Edit: 03:06, 14 November 21 by GUNHED »
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Offline GUNHED

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Hi guys!

Just added a poll to see the actual interest in such a nice project.

If you want some more power & magic for you CPC or Plus, then please vote.
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Offline RetroCPC

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Depending on the complexity (time required) I could be interested on designing the hardware, are there any schematics and is ROM Code available?

I could create a schematic from a working PCB...

Currently, a great concern is the availability of semiconductors - the semiconductor situation has put many projects on hold...
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Offline Bryce

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Depending on the complexity (time required) I could be interested on designing the hardware, are there any schematics and is ROM Code available?

I could create a schematic from a working PCB...

Currently, a great concern is the availability of semiconductors - the semiconductor situation has put many projects on hold...

Really? For modern projects that's true, but I haven't experienced shortage issues with any of the parts I'd need for retro projects.

Bryce.
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Offline RetroCPC

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Without a schematic or pictures of the design we are talking about - I'm not sure which IC's will be required, I found atleast a couple of versions of the Vortex designs - so it be good to have a better idea of the unit being discussed here.

I'm guessing some dodgy source from China will have NOS D765 & FDC9229BT... the rest of the logic IC's should not pose too much of a problem - although I'd still like to get a better idea of the design / schematic...


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Offline RetroCPC

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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).

I can work with this - and can repair if required... Any chance of a photo of the DDI PCB to get an idea of the design / time required?
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Offline Bryce

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765's are still easy to source here in Europe as they were used in thousands of devices. I have a good stock of them here too for DDI-1 and 6128 repairs.

Bryce.
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Offline DoctorCPC

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Think about it, it would be crazy to have a 5'25'' floppy drive, 3'5'' floppy drive, 3'' floppy drive connected externally. and maybe 8'' driver but i didnt see 8'' driver. i have got 5'25'' PC floopy :)
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Offline GUNHED

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Depending on the complexity (time required) I could be interested on designing the hardware, are there any schematics and is ROM Code available?

I could create a schematic from a working PCB...
That's actually very easy (for a hardware person - not for me). You can take the schematics from the Amstrad DDI-1 controller. Now delete the complete ROM part of it. The leftover is the FDC part and that's all we need.  :) :) :)

The card of course needs a change of the FDC base addresses, but that's only bits. Of course it is desirable to have full 16 bit decoding, so that there is no interference to other hardware expansions.

On a PCB you would have:
- I/O decoding logic
- FDC765
- Digital data separator (that SED chip iirc)
- Four plugs for flat cables to four floppy disc drives or HxC/Gotek devices.

Currently, a great concern is the availability of semiconductors - the semiconductor situation has put many projects on hold...
Yes, sadly. But for the FDC765 and the data separator if should be fine.  :)


Think about it, it would be crazy to have a 5'25'' floppy drive, 3'5'' floppy drive, 3'' floppy drive connected externally. and maybe 8'' driver but i didnt see 8'' driver. i have got 5'25'' PC floopy :)
8" is more problematic, because it's more like HD format. Doable, but very nasty. A year ago I sold my 8" drive, which actually had 1,6 MB on one single 8" disc.

But yes, imagine the ultimate copy station for all formats. And also the simultaneous access to lots of data on lots of discs.  :)
« Last Edit: 17:04, 22 November 21 by GUNHED »
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Offline RetroCPC

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1. I'd really like to see how the 4 different Drives are addressed (selected)... I could trace the circuit from the Vortex PCB...

2. in respect to signal integrity - its not a good idea to have 4 individual IDC headers for 4 drives, rather 1 Ribbon cable with 4 drive connection points along its length. If you wanted 4 individual IDC drive headers on the PCB, then I'd have to look into buffering / selecting each drive header which would complicate matters...

Again, a photo of the PCB being discussed here would be great :)

I'd almost consider using a small FPGA, but the level shifting from 5V CPC / FDD BUS to 3V3 adds almost as much complexity as the discrete logic used in the interface...

I'd still leave the EPROM psotions... for those who want a Amstrad DDI interface replacement.
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Offline GUNHED

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DDI-1 clones are available already from different sources. Furthermore they only provide drives A and B.
The great thing here is that we have different I/O addresses, but anything else can be programmed in the same way.
Therefore we can leave the ROM away, it would interfere anyway with other ROM cards or Flash-ROM cards. They got very common today. So leaving the ROM away is not a problem, but makes it cheaper.

The idea of the four cables was connected to the fact that most drives today have only DS0 or DS1 drive select. But few have DS2 or DS2. So I thought it would be a possibility to access all four drives with a DS1 signal, but this is rewired for each one of the four plugs, so that the FDC sees four drives at DS0-DS3.

A schematic of the FDC controller shall be in the wiki, I will look for it.
The links in the Wiki are broken, and only few I can upload here.
But email me for what I have on my computer when interested.  :)

« Last Edit: 22:58, 22 November 21 by GUNHED »
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Offline RetroCPC

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So we can use x2 IDC headers with a pair of drives on each cable.

With regards to the quad drive addressing - the FDC765 selects the drives via the US0 / 1 pins pins - so theres no seprate addressing... (US0/1 need to be demuxed / decoded).

I woudl still realy like to see a Vortex PCB to better understand how the extra 2 drives are slected (decoded US0/US1)?

The schematic you sent is interesting as it uses the FDC 9216 as the clock recovery / data extractor... where as the photos of the Vortex PCB use a FDC9229...


Does anyone have a link for a FDC9229 datasheet?




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Offline GUNHED

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Well, I got around 120 discs in 5,25" format here. It would be to nice if I could copy them to 3,5". Because from 3,5" I can make DSK files. The disc are all in Vortex format with 0,7 MB, so to copy them via 3" would be pretty crazy.

The sad thing is: About 60-80 disc have CPC software on them which nobody in this forum has ever seen. And probably nobody ever will - because of the lack of an FDC for CPC which can use 3,5" and 5,25" at the same time.
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Offline eto

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Well, I got around 120 discs in 5,25" format here. It would be to nice if I could copy them to 3,5".

Would a Greaseweazle be an option to read the raw data and then write a conversion tool to convert it to a standard disk image format?
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Offline GUNHED

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I took a look at it. But how could it help? The answer is sadly: NO.

If some more users would be interested in the project of this thread ... but none of our hardware experts is of help here sadly.
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Offline eto

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I took a look at it. But how could it help?

I thought that with Greazeweasle it might be possible to copy the contents to a raw format and then create a tool which again converts the raw format into a DSK. I don't have any knowledge about the Vortex format except for what I can read in the Wiki, but it looks pretty similar to other formats.

I personally would find that much more convenient than copying files from 5.25" to 3.5" and then converting them to DSK again.
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Offline RetroCPC

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I thought that with Greazeweasle it might be possible to copy the contents to a raw format and then create a tool which again converts the raw format into a DSK. I don't have any knowledge about the Vortex format except for what I can read in the Wiki, but it looks pretty similar to other formats.

I personally would find that much more convenient than copying files from 5.25" to 3.5" and then converting them to DSK again.

I'd be happy to work on the hardware - but as I requested, I need an interface (even non working) to work from which can be return once I've created the schematic...
« Last Edit: 00:25, 01 January 22 by RetroCPC »
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Offline RetroCPC

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in the New Year, I'll be designing a ROM x8 Board + RS232 board compatable with the orginal Amstard RS232 Interface, I can add on the Disc Drive interface if I have a board to work with...
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Offline GUNHED

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in the New Year, I'll be designing a ROM x8 Board + RS232 board compatable with the orginal Amstard RS232 Interface, I can add on the Disc Drive interface if I have a board to work with...
It would be better to have it as stand-alone, because often users do already have a RS232 and a ROM board already.

I need to see for the original interface. However, you can use DDI-! controller without the ROM part and add a simple 2 to 4 decoder. But I will look for the F1-D controller here. Will come back to the topic as soon as possible.  :)
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Offline RetroCPC

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Well I'm primarily designing this PCB for myself, if its interesting for others, then great :)

I need an original Amstrad style RS232 interface & ROM board (to support the RS232 RSX rom)... so I can add a FDD interface (which can be then populated on the PCB or not) - with fully decoded drive select lines to support 4 drives by x2 FDD interface connectors.

I might add a DK'tronics mouse port + maybe a couple of expansion port slots for M4, LambdaMikel sound / speech cards etc...

Its a side project, but one I want to have completed before say Easter - as time allows...

The original Amstrad FDD interface sells now for crazy money - so I want a compatible unit... (I can add the fully decoded Drive select lines for you).
« Last Edit: 20:58, 03 January 22 by RetroCPC »
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Offline GUNHED

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That sounds like a greater project, really with you luck with that. :)

Even if you do, lets say, a DDI-1 clone then four drives will be of interest to anybody I guess, the additional hardware is only a small chip the 2 to 4 decoder for Drive-Select.

What's the topic if this topic here is more to have Vortex F1-D compatible external floppy controller. That's basically a DDI-1 controller with different port addresses and the possibility to use all four floppies (drive select 0 to 3). Such an expansion is needed for the 664, 6128 and 6128plus, because they do have the regular FDC with regular port-addresses inside already.
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Offline RetroCPC

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OK, I didnt realise that the Vortex F1-D has a differant address to the Amstard DDI - I just presumed it had the same CPC Bus address as the Amstard interface - just with extra drive select logic on the uPC765 contorller...

If I have a Vortex F1-D board to work with - then I can make the my design compaibale with both the Amstard and Vortex F1-D FDD contorllers...

The Vortex FDD interfce I've seen is just an Amstard FDD inside a larger case + an extra RS232 interface PCB... maybe somehow there is some modifications to support the extra drive select...

Sorry, without a Vortex F1-D board OR a schematic, I'm working in the blind and cannot help...
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Offline GUNHED

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Yes, that's the great thing about the F1-D controller, it has different port addresses.

So the internal FDC (Amstrad) and the external FDC (Vortex) can be used in parallel.
And this means to be able to add up to 6 physical floppy drives and floppy emulators.
The ultimate copy station if you will.  :) :) :)


Is anybody else here interested in this project? Then please use the poll up there.  :)
« Last Edit: 20:16, 07 January 22 by GUNHED »
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Offline GUNHED

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A potential schematic is here, but it's working as DDI-1 replacement.
https://eb-harwardt.jimdofree.com/8-bit-technik/cpc-kcc-floppy-controler/

As @TotO mentioned it should only be needed to swap A3 and A7 (best with an switch!).

Please have a look at it. Can somebody make PCBs out of it?
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