Author Topic: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?  (Read 10560 times)

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Offline emuola

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Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« on: 08:04, 18 November 10 »
I just realized that it should be possible to hook up a sd floppy emulator with a standard CPC464 (via the external expansion/floppy port). I understood that the floppy port is a "50-pin" edge connector, right? Is there any cables for that available anywhere ? I know that for a 6128Plus at least yo can use a cable originally made for a 5,25" floppy drive (pc), right? But this 50-pin "monster" seems to be something different.

Also I'd like to know what would be the easiest/cheapest/most available CPC computer for playing Amstrad games with real hw and a sd floppy emulator? I'd like to use composite video/scart, no need for a monitor.

Thanks for your guidance :)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #1 on: 10:32, 18 November 10 »
No, not quite right. The floppy connector is a 34/36way connector beside the 50way expansion port which the 464 doesn't have. The 464 would need a DDI-1 connected to the expansion port to be able to use an SD floppy Emulator. The DDI-1 contains the floppy controller and the extra ROM needed to interface with a floppy. more details here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Disk_Drive

If you are looking to buy new Hardware anyway, then get a 6128 (plus or standard) and then you won't need the DDI-1.

Bryce.

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #2 on: 10:40, 18 November 10 »
Quote
No, not quite right. The floppy connector is a 34/36way connector beside   the 50way expansion port which the 464 doesn't have. The 464 would need   a DDI-1 connected to the expansion port to be able to use an SD floppy   Emulator. The DDI-1 contains the floppy controller and the extra ROM   needed to interface with a floppy. more details here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Amstrad_Disk_Drive

If you are looking to buy new Hardware anyway, then get a 6128 (plus or standard) and then you won't need the DDI-1.

Thank you Bryce :) I'll go for the 6128 then. I managed to gather a bit more info in the mean time... I was wondering if it would be better or worse to get myself a Scneider 6128 instead of a "real" 6128 (Scneiders seem to be easily available from ebay.de and there would not be any taxes blaa blaa to Finland)? I understood that the ports are different (expansion port on the Scneider is centronics?) But making a floppy-centronic cable should be very easy indeed :)
« Last Edit: 10:48, 18 November 10 by emuola »
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #3 on: 11:10, 18 November 10 »
I'd recommend the Schneider version, for the simple fact that it's still very easy to get the 36 and 50way centronics connectors for floppy or other expansions, but the edge connectors (especially the 50way one) are really difficult to source.

Bryce.

Offline arnoldemu

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #4 on: 11:30, 18 November 10 »
I'd recommend the Schneider version, for the simple fact that it's still very easy to get the 36 and 50way centronics connectors for floppy or other expansions, but the edge connectors (especially the 50way one) are really difficult to source.

Bryce.
where do you get the connectors from?

I need to make a lead for a schneider cpc, and I was going to break up an old pc parallel printer cable to do it.
I'm especially interested in the 50 way ones, so I can connect both the schneider and the cpc+ up.

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

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #5 on: 11:40, 18 November 10 »
Ok, thanks Bryce one more. I'll go hunting for the Schneider then :D I also found out that making a floppy-centronics cable really is super easy: Just start the ribbon cable from centronics pin 2 onwards :) Even I can do that ;)

Here's a Finnish shop with a suitable product for building the cable:

http://www.partco.biz/verkkokauppa/product_info.php?products_id=8285&language=en
« Last Edit: 11:42, 18 November 10 by emuola »
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Cholo

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #6 on: 19:26, 18 November 10 »
Indeed a probably the best to get either a normal "uk" edge connector 6128 or a Schneider 6128 with centronics. Both are fairly easy to hold of and lets face it .. the majority of the disc software was programmed for the 6128. A 464 with a DDI-1 interface is also possible but less compatible.

Here is some usefull links:
http://www.dataserve-retro.co.uk
- right now got a normal (uk) 6128 for sale.
- also has a DDI-1 interface for 464 for sale too.

http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/urban-retro/
is selling floppy cables, but a bit expensive i think, especially if all you need is the normal pc one for use with 6128 (uk). But also has for Schneider and 6128+ cables too.

http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/retrocomputershack/
is selling Scart cables. But there are also a lot other people selling scart cables in ebay so better look a bit around.

Powering: Well, the trouble is that if you dont have a genuine monitor to power the keyboard, then you need something else. The best option is to locate a MP2 tv modulator as it will provide the 5V and 12V needed. Of cause Retrocomputershack (link above) do have some compatible power adapters. The link also suggest that you could try to find some power adapters yourself.  Sure its possible but do be carefull. I tried that myself and ended up with a dead keyboard. Getting a mp2 or real monitor to power your cpc while using scart is probably the safest.

Hooking up a SD emulator like HxC works great as the emulator has the old "ready" signal used by 3" and 5.25" drives (also some old 3.5" DD pc drives has that too). Just hook it right up and it works. Need to power the emu/drive tho, like using a pc powersupply or similar item. Also possible to hook up a modern 3.5" HD floppy drive but its less compatible and requires you to set the "ready" signal yourself:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Guide_on_how_to_connect_a_3.5

And Welcome!  :)

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #7 on: 21:15, 18 November 10 »
Thanks Cholo, for this comprehensive information package and a warm welcome :) I'll be hunting down some great retro hw in the coming days :D One more thing: Is there +5v available inside the 6128 for the sd floppy emulator? Or do I have to get me a exernal psu for the floppy emulator (also)?

*edit*
The 12v is for the internal floppy, right? So, if I'm not using the internal floppy, +5v is enough?
*edit*
« Last Edit: 21:41, 18 November 10 by emuola »
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Cholo

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #8 on: 22:04, 18 November 10 »
Well, i better leave the technical parts of "borrowing power" to the techy people in here, but i guess its possible but if its possible without a monitor? Donno.
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/urban-retro/ is actually selling such a powercable .. but it looks like its gets its power from the monitor.

Also there is a another reason you may want a external powersource. Usually is best to turn on a external drive first before powering up the keyboard. That way it always recognised by the keyboard.

Before you start looking to buy another power adapter, make sure to look around at home first. Usually  dont really notice but you may already have several usefull sources around the house.

Example:
- external HD case.
- external zip drive.
- external cdrom drive.
- and similar that outputs the (red wire) 5V needed (and a black ground too).

Here is a example how i powered a 3.5" drive using my external HD case. Just took the lid of and used a Y-cable. It the exact same one i use to power my HxC floppy emulator today.

http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/6102/quickyp3.jpg

EDIT: all pictures in http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Guide_on_how_to_connect_a_3.5 should now work properly.
« Last Edit: 22:11, 18 November 10 by Cholo »

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #9 on: 10:21, 19 November 10 »
Hi Emuola,
        If you intend to mount the HxC internally, you can use the 5V supply that the Monitor / MP2 or your own device supplies as long as it can supply enough amps (The Monitor/MP2 can). I left my HxC external and used the same socket that the CPC uses, so my MP2 directly supplies the HxC and a flylead from the HxC then supplies the CPC.
You can see it here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/File:Hxcmod2.jpg

The only annoying thing about it being external is that it is drive B and some (lots of) games only run from drive A. But I might change that when I have time.

Another option for the power is to use a PC power supply. They easily supply enough amps for both 12V and 5V. You'll jest have to make an adapter or solder on some plugs/sockets to connect it up. ATX PSUs are best, because you can use a very small (and safe) power switch to turn it on/off.

Oh, and yes, you're correct with the 12V assumption. The 6128 will work with just 5V if you don't intend using the disk drive.

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 10:23, 19 November 10 by Bryce »

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #10 on: 11:07, 19 November 10 »
Thanks Cholo, once again :) I now realized what kind of a cable is needed for a uk 6128. I know a shop that sells old pc-hw, and they still have those "in stock" :)

Quote
The  only annoying thing about it being external is that it is drive B and  some (lots of) games only run from drive A.

Doh, that's gonna hurt ;) Im eally getting the computer just for pure gaming bliss, so that's an important thing. Thnks for mentioning Bryce :) So, I'd need some modding...
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Jeff_HxC2001

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #11 on: 01:18, 20 November 10 »

Quote
The  only annoying thing about it being external is that it is drive B and  some (lots of) games only run from drive A.


Doh, that's gonna hurt ;) Im eally getting the computer just for pure gaming bliss, so that's an important thing. Thnks for mentioning Bryce :) So, I'd need some modding...

Yes but on CPC it's very easy to make the external disk drive as drive A ! :

page 9:
http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/SDCard_HxC_Floppy_Emulator_User_Manual.pdf

Quote

Emulator as the first disk drive

Note : In this case the internal floppy
disk drive must be disabled.
To do this you can connect wire 23 to the
ground (wire 24), or simply unplug the
floppy cable from the internal disk drive.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #12 on: 01:34, 20 November 10 »
Yes, but it still envolves making changes within the CPC (or at least disconnecting the internal drive), and the ABBA switch is a solution for not just the HxC, but my external 3.5" drive too.

Bryce.

Offline Jeff_HxC2001

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #13 on: 17:22, 20 November 10 »
Yes, but it still envolves making changes within the CPC (or at least disconnecting the internal drive)...

No, this is on the external floppy cable only...
« Last Edit: 17:24, 20 November 10 by Jeff_HxC2001 »

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #14 on: 00:30, 21 November 10 »
Really? Then I completely mis-understood the instructions, sorry. I'll check them again. But how do you manage to change the internal drive to drive B without making internal hardware changes?

Bryce.

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #15 on: 22:46, 21 November 10 »
Quote
Emulator as the first disk drive

Note : In this case the internal floppy
disk drive must be disabled.
To do this you can connect wire 23 to the
ground (wire 24), or simply unplug the
floppy cable from the internal disk drive.

So, all I need to do is to short two pins in the floppy cable? Can I short them permanently? I ask this, because in the wiki there's the pins 11 and 12 "hack" that needs to be done before the powerup or something like that.

If it really is that easy, that's just brilliant :)

@Cholo: I ordered the "uk" 6128 fro  dataserve.retro.uk :) Should get the comp here in the next week :) Thanks for the tip :)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Cholo

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #16 on: 21:29, 22 November 10 »
Well, about the drivechange/abba/primarysecondary drive thingy, i think its best to install a switch. I recall that the "switching" needs to be done after powerup. If i left the connection on, then on next powerup the 6128 would freeze up. So better not make it permanent and with a switch you cant get into troubles.

Of cause you can also just skip the "switching" and just copy the discs from external to internal floppies first. Sure its less fansy but then again it only takes 30-60 seconds to copy a whole floppy side. You will need some error free 3" tho (and that can be a bit hard to get) and sure it does take another minut to boot the copy program and do a bit of disc switching. Trust me, its much better if you are like me and cant solder unless there is like metres between everything also doing "manual" switching with paperclips/tiny loose jumpers gets really old fast, once you accidentally drop one and use 15 mins looking for it in the carpet  :)

Anyways i noticed this fella in Greece selling 6128 "power adapters" with nice euro power plug too:
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/vasilisv/

Donno £15+5 may seem a bit steep, but then again it would probably cost the same making it yourself i guess. And getting a mp2 or monitor will propably cost at least that too.

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #17 on: 22:08, 22 November 10 »
Ok, I might get into "switching business" ;) I'm terrible at soldering, how did you guess ;) I ordered the psu and the scart from retrocompugter shack as you suggested, thank for that tip too. From urbanretro I got the power adapter to hook up the sd floppy to the psu kit from retrocompouter shack :)

One more thiong about the a/b drive thingy:

Quote
Emulator as the first disk drive

Note : In this case the internal floppy
disk drive must be disabled.
To do this you can connect wire 23 to the
ground (wire 24), or simply unplug the
floppy cable from the internal disk drive.

Quote
Yes, but it still envolves making changes within the CPC (or at least disconnecting the internal drive)...

No, this is on the external floppy cable only...

This is kinda misleading: Does this really refer to the pins on the external floppy cable or the internal one? Are they using the same bus?
« Last Edit: 22:11, 22 November 10 by emuola »
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Jeff_HxC2001

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #18 on: 00:46, 23 November 10 »
So, all I need to do is to short two pins in the floppy cable? Can I short them permanently? I ask this, because in the wiki there's the pins 11 and 12 "hack" that needs to be done before the powerup or something like that.

If it really is that easy, that's just brilliant :)

@Cholo: I ordered the "uk" 6128 fro  dataserve.retro.uk :) Should get the comp here in the next week :) Thanks for the tip :)

Yes you can short them permanently. Tested here a lot of time without problem (in fact a use only this here ;-) ).
This a feature in the CPC design : shorting these wires disable the internal disk drive selection to allow an external "A" disk drive.
There are no other mod to do with the hxc floppy emulator : the right ready signals is done by the emulator.


Ok, I might get into "switching business" ;) I'm terrible at soldering, how did you guess ;)   I ordered the psu and the scart from retrocompugter shack as you   suggested, thank for that tip too. From urbanretro I got the power   adapter to hook up the sd floppy to the psu kit from retrocompouter   shack :)

One more thiong about the a/b drive thingy:
Quote
Yes, but it still envolves making changes within the CPC (or at least disconnecting the internal drive)...

No, this is on the external floppy cable only...
This   is kinda misleading: Does this really refer to the pins on the external   floppy cable or the internal one? Are they using the same bus?

The external floppy cable ! No need to open the CPC !
« Last Edit: 00:53, 23 November 10 by Jeff_HxC2001 »

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #19 on: 00:52, 23 November 10 »
But the internal drive is then disabled, not B ? as it would be with the switch?

Bryce.

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #20 on: 08:00, 23 November 10 »
Quote
This a feature in the CPC design : shorting these wires disable the   internal disk drive selection to allow an external "A" disk drive.
There are no other mod to do with the hxc floppy emulator : the right ready signals is done by the emulator.

Quote
The external floppy cable ! No need to open the CPC !

Great! I don't mind "losing" drive b  :) Plain brilliant! :D Now I'm anxiously waiting for all the bits and pieces to arrive...
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #21 on: 22:09, 27 November 10 »
One more question: Any suggestions for a suitable case for the hxc floppy emulator? I know there are thousands of plastic cases around, but if someone has already found a suitable one, I'd be glad to know :)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Gryzor

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #22 on: 00:03, 28 November 10 »
I think Bryce had found some nice ones... try searching the forum!

Offline emuola

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #23 on: 19:57, 28 November 10 »
Ok, the case-issue is solved (partially...) The problem is: I don't know if the buttons on the pcb are really needed when a manager software is used? I could not find this info enywhere. I know that I can navigate the floppy images etc with arrow keys, but is there some function(s) that need the actual buttons on the pcb? This info would of course affect the case selection gamble a great deal :)
Amstrad CPC 6128+ and internal HxC floppy emulator

Offline Bryce

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Re: Newbie question: SD floppy emulator and CPC464?
« Reply #24 on: 11:03, 29 November 10 »
According to Jeffs "Readme" for the Manager Software:

Quote
After this the new SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator buttons behaviour are:
  Right button : Next Slot
  Center button : Slot 0 - SDCard HxC Floppy Emulator Manager floppy image.
  Left button  : Previous Slot

So the buttons have new functions when using the manager and seem to be still required.

Bryce.