Author Topic: vortex disc interface  (Read 2750 times)

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Offline arnoldemu

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vortex disc interface
« on: 12:31, 03 September 10 »
In the documents for the vortex disc interface it says that it can be used with cpc6128, and when it is it can be accessed with fbf6, fbf7.
In all the vortex roms I have downloaded they all use the standard addresses fb7e and fb7f.

I have found more than one version of both vdos 1.0 and vdos 2.0 and I plan to upload them.

But I have a question:

When the interface is plugged into the cpc6128, I understand that there would be up to 2 drives connected to the cpc6128's disc controller and then 4 more drives that can be connected to the vdos controller.
How can I choose which drives I use using the ROM software? Is there a way to say "use vdos interface and drive 0 here" and then say "use cpc6128 interface and drive A". Or to use all drives must I then use my own loader code?

I don't have an interface so I can't test this :(


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Offline Cpcmaniaco

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #1 on: 14:31, 03 September 10 »
For the 6128 models, you need the X-modul, because on these models you have yet the disc controler.
 
The other vortex interface is for the 464 models without the disc controller.
 
These interfaces are like the DDI-1 interface have the disc controler inside.
 
Diferent models, diferent interfaces.
 
And about the Vortex OS : Vdos 1.0 and Vdos 2.0.
 
There are diferent versions, Exits the spanish version too.
 
And on the X-Modul there is like a Hardware protection an a jumper that makes uses the x-modul like a ROM-board of only 1 normal ROM (without use of the hardware protection).
 
And on the other position use the hardware protection and the original Vortex ROM, that is prepared for use it.
 
If you dump directly this ROM is not valid for use  with emulators for exmple.
 
On one german mag there is an article about it, and tell how can you try to convert it.
 
When Robercfg and me have more time, Rober wil make scans of my X-modul and the rest of hardware that I have.
 

Offline nocash

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #2 on: 14:45, 03 September 10 »
Hi Kevin

Confusing me, too. The normal situation should be standard amsdos-style port addresses - either the vortex controller mapped to that address (on a 464), or the amstrad controller (on a 664/6128). In the latter case, on a 664/6128, one would normally buy a vortex drive without controller (=plain drive and vdos rom). I think the situation where one has two controllers is very-very rare.

There seems to be not too much support for more than two drives. VDOS 1 allowed to use 3 drives (with the vortex controller on 464), using the |S command to map 2 of the 3 drives as |A and |B, so only two drives could be used at once (third drive wouldn't fit into the RAM black at A700h-AC00h). In VDOS 2 they seem to have dropped the |S command, and seem to support only 2 drives in total under BASIC. Maybe one can use more drives with special CP/M versions.

My guess: They wanted to avoid port-conflicts in the (rare) situation when somebody wanted to connect a drive with controller to a 664/6128 - to solve that they could either disable the vortex controller, or map it to other address.

I guess they did use the latter solution because it provides "more" functionality, but I'd doubt that they did actually support the extra drives on software side. Seems to be only a "theoretically you could connect a robot, a power plant and a washing mashine to our hardware" feature.

---

Hi Cpcmaniaco

You wrote your message same time than I did (so sorry if above contains some duplicated info). Yup, the X-drive (without controller) on a 6128 would be the "normal" situation, the confusing part is the "special" situation, apparently one can use M and F drives on 6128, too.

The spanish ROM dumps aren't yet uploaded on cpcwiki, or are they? I did only see the spanish manual (with spanish responses on CAT command). Before seeing that manual, I thought VDOS messages would be always in german. Are there more languages supported? English maybe?

Btw. what is the hardware protection?

Cu, Martin

Offline TFM

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #3 on: 20:41, 03 September 10 »
In the documents for the vortex disc interface it says that it can be used with cpc6128, and when it is it can be accessed with fbf6, fbf7.
In all the vortex roms I have downloaded they all use the standard addresses fb7e and fb7f.

The addresses &FBF6, &FB7F are correct for the Vortex F1-S and F1-D floppies.
You can play with them using the FutureOS Porting-System (goto MONitor icon, then press "p"). The Vortex FDC ist called FDC 1 (whereas the internal FDC is called FDC 0).
 
Your ROM is probably from the Vortex F1-X drive, which has indeed the FB7E and FB7F (Amstrad compatible) ports.
 
The good thing of using different FDC I/O addresses is that you can add more drives to the CPC.
 
For example: My CPC6128 has an internal 3" A drive, an external 3.5" B-drive and the Vortex F1-D controller, which controls two 5.25" inch drives. (all supported by FutureOS, clapping on the own shoulder ;-).
 
You need a particular Vortex ROM? Which one? PM! But attention, they are all protected by a wire eh... weird mechanism. (How this works is offtopic here... ).
 
I have found more than one version of both vdos 1.0 and vdos 2.0 and I plan to upload them.

But I have a question:

When the interface is plugged into the cpc6128, I understand that there would be up to 2 drives connected to the cpc6128's disc controller and then 4 more drives that can be connected to the vdos controller.

This is exactly right! The F1-S and F1-D drives have their own FDC765 (I/O &FBF6, &FB7F) controller and can handle four drives.
 
Sorry for talking about FutureOS again (I really shouldn't mention is that often, but here it fits...). You can play with these drives, they are called E, F, G, H. See icons E-H.
 
How can I choose which drives I use using the ROM software? Is there a way to say "use vdos interface and drive 0 here" and then say "use cpc6128 interface and drive A". Or to use all drives must I then use my own loader code?
I don't have an interface so I can't test this :(

The Vortex VDOS 2.1 (or 1.0 or 2.0) can access these drives by default with !A or !B.
The command !S decides which drives (internal 3" or external Vortex A or B) are used with the RSX commands !A or !B.
Under BASIC/Amsdos/Vdos (and very other DOS) only two drives can be managed at the same time. Therefore the !S RSX command (of the VDOS ROM) let you decide which one of the 2-4 physically connected drives are named A and B / accessed by !A and !B.
 
Hope I was able to explain this properly... In German I could do better...
 
 
BTW & EDIT: Under CP/M you can handle more drives and you can do it a bit more easy. Vortex also supplies help for CP/M 2.2 support for example.
 
« Last Edit: 20:50, 03 September 10 by TFM/FS »
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Offline TFM

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #4 on: 20:55, 03 September 10 »
For the 6128 models, you need the X-modul, because on these models you have yet the disc controler.
The other vortex interface is for the 464 models without the disc controller.
These interfaces are like the DDI-1 interface have the disc controler inside.
Diferent models, diferent interfaces.
And about the Vortex OS : Vdos 1.0 and Vdos 2.0.
There are diferent versions, Exits the spanish version too.
And on the X-Modul there is like a Hardware protection an a jumper that makes uses the x-modul like a ROM-board of only 1 normal ROM (without use of the hardware protection).
And on the other position use the hardware protection and the original Vortex ROM, that is prepared for use it.
If you dump directly this ROM is not valid for use  with emulators for exmple.
On one german mag there is an article about it, and tell how can you try to convert it.
When Robercfg and me have more time, Rober wil make scans of my X-modul and the rest of hardware that I have.

Sorry for using no multi-quote, but this would confuse even more...
 
I have to make some things clear:
 
- It's not a problem to use the F1-D with a 6128. It has it's own controller and own two 5.25" (or 3.5") drives. I run a F1-D on my CPC6128 since decades successfully.
 
- There is already a VDOS that is "converted" to be usable for Emulators
 
- There is also VDOS 2.11 not only 1.0 and 2.0
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Offline TFM

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #5 on: 20:57, 03 September 10 »
There seems to be not too much support for more than two drives. VDOS 1 allowed to use 3 drives (with the vortex controller on 464), using the |S command to map 2 of the 3 drives as |A and |B, so only two drives could be used at once (third drive wouldn't fit into the RAM black at A700h-AC00h). In VDOS 2 they seem to have dropped the |S command, and seem to support only 2 drives in total under BASIC.

No, VDOS 2.11 still has the !S command. And I'm using it very successful with my 6128!
Use the !ROMCAT,v command where v = number of VDOS ROM.
 
My guess: They wanted to avoid port-conflicts in the (rare) situation when somebody wanted to connect a drive with controller to a 664/6128 - to solve that they could either disable the vortex controller, or map it to other address.

There was a time in which a lot of 6128 users had a F1-S or F1-D. This situation was not rare ;-)
 
The internal FDC of the 6128 and the external FDC of the Vortex controller (F1-S or F1-D) are working in perfect harmony together. You can use 6 drives or (with a small modification on the CPCs circuit board) up to 8 drives (A-H).
 
« Last Edit: 23:28, 03 September 10 by TFM/FS »
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Offline arnoldemu

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #6 on: 23:15, 03 September 10 »
Some versions of vortex dos I found ;)

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Offline nocash

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #7 on: 02:18, 04 September 10 »
> VDOS 2.11 still has the !S command.
Didn't knew it was kept supported. The VDOS 2.0 manual doesn't mention it.
At least not the X-drive version of the manual (where one has only the amstrad-controller, so |S command may not work in that case, even if VDOS supports it).

> There was a time in which a lot of 6128 users had a F1-S or F1-D.
Most of the people I knew had only one single 3" drive.
For 664/6128, I would have thought that users would have bought X drives, not the S or D drives.

Offline TFM

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Re: vortex disc interface
« Reply #8 on: 05:34, 04 September 10 »
> VDOS 2.11 still has the !S command.
Didn't knew it was kept supported. The VDOS 2.0 manual doesn't mention it.
At least not the X-drive version of the manual (where one has only the amstrad-controller, so |S command may not work in that case, even if VDOS supports it).

Right, the X drive don't need the !S command, because it's connected to the internal FDC. The !S makes only sense with the F1-S, F1-D, M1-S and M1-D (god damn, they built a huge variety ;-) where it works fine.

> There was a time in which a lot of 6128 users had a F1-S or F1-D.
Most of the people I knew had only one single 3" drive.
For 664/6128, I would have thought that users would have bought X drives, not the S or D drives.
There was a time when Vortex made "fighting prices", 1987 I think. You paid still several Hundred marks for it, but it was absolutely cheap compared to the year before. At this time half of our computer club bought the F1-D drives. VDOS is btw a pretty good DOS. This included machine monitor is nice too.
 
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