CPCWiki forum

General Category => Technical Support => Hardware related => Topic started by: Kevin Quinn on 23:31, 23 September 15

Title: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 23:31, 23 September 15
What is the best brand 3.5" floppy drive to use with an external adaptor cable please?  I've tried a Samsung that did work but will now only read CAT and a Sony 920 that doesn't do anything.
Which brand would you recommend please?


Thanks



Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: KaosOverride on 23:42, 23 September 15
Did you hack the READY signal? The Samsung SFD-321B should work fine, but you have to change some solder points to change the Disc Change signal to READY signal.

Also you have the generic trick of joining pins 33 and 34 at the floppy drive side.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Singaja on 23:44, 23 September 15
I have a high suspicion you are using HD (aka 1.44 mb) 3.5 inch floppy disks. To trick Amstrad that the floppy disk is a DD disk you need to cover the hole in the corner of the disk (not the hole for write protection, the other one on opposite edge). You can either use a common household glue tape or alternatively a tiny ball of paper and put it in there.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Singaja on 23:46, 23 September 15
Did you hack the READY signal? The Samsung SFD-321B should work fine, but you have to change some solder points to change the Disc Change signal to READY signal.

Also you have the generic trick of joining pins 33 and 34 at the floppy drive side.
CAT would not work on one of his drives if the ready signal was not provided.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 23:49, 23 September 15
I'm using HD with tape over and DD disks.  Neither work.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 23:50, 23 September 15
I found an old post by Bryce that the Sony 920 wasn't a good drive to use. Seems that might be my problem. I'm thinking the Samsung is just old and dying.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Singaja on 23:52, 23 September 15
I know it may sound obvious but did you try another cable?
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 23:52, 23 September 15
The Samsung did work but has since stopped. It loaded Gryzor totally once,  the second time it died on the loading screen and now it won't get as far as the loading screen.
The Samsung will load License to Kill as far as the loading screen and then gives a load error.
I've done copies of both games on HD and DD disks.
The Sony won't with any.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 23:54, 23 September 15
I only have the one cable. It was off eBay and has the switches for A and B and disk sides.
The cable should be working as the Samsung will read the CAT.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: CraigsBar on 01:32, 24 September 15
I know this won't help you much. But I have never had any problems with the Samsung models listed. Just rejumper them (solder bridge) for ready not disk change. Some I have seen are hard wired to 1.44mb discs tho. For these you need to mod where the switch should be. Again jumper it to set all discs to 720k.

Craig
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Kevin Quinn on 07:57, 24 September 15
So basically I need to be proficient with a soldering iron to get a floppy drive to work?
FFS!!!  >:(

Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: chinnyhill10 on 08:19, 24 September 15
I have a high suspicion you are using HD (aka 1.44 mb) 3.5 inch floppy disks. To trick Amstrad that the floppy disk is a DD disk you need to cover the hole in the corner of the disk (not the hole for write protection, the other one on opposite edge). You can either use a common household glue tape or alternatively a tiny ball of paper and put it in there.


Do not put a ball of paper in there.


The best option is a thin opeque label covering the hole on both sides. This can't come lose and get lost inside the drive.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Bryce on 10:25, 24 September 15
So basically I need to be proficient with a soldering iron to get a floppy drive to work?
FFS!!!  >:(

Yes, the drive needs modification to work properly, so some basic soldering is required (or find someone who'll make one for you).

@Singaja (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1284): Balls of paper are not a robust solution, unless you're a qualified Gynocologist you're going to have a hard time getting it back out when it falls out.

Bryce.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: Singaja on 10:33, 24 September 15
Yes, the drive needs modification to work properly, so some basic soldering is required (or find someone who'll make one for you).

@Singaja (http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1284): Balls of paper are not a robust solution, unless you're a qualified Gynocologist you're going to have a hard time getting it back out when it falls out.

Bryce.
My balls are big  :P . Jokes aside that's probably not a proper approach indeed.
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: TFM on 22:38, 24 September 15
So basically I need to be proficient with a soldering iron to get a floppy drive to work?
FFS!!!  >:(


Or just buy one at Ebay, Amibay or where ever. Or post something here, like 30 Euros for running 3.5" floppy with real Ready signal.... I would send you one, but shipping overseas would be too much.

Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: GeoffB17 on 03:12, 25 September 15
Hello,
 
A number of points regarding this discussion (and related one).
 
Firstly, my understanding is that using HD disks as DD is not reliable.   If you look at them closely, you can usually see that the material inside the HD is much thinner, almost transparent.   The write/read process at HD uses a different sensitivity to DD, this is fine on the thinner material.   If you try to use the DD sensitivity on HD disks, you risk problems, although I'd guess that the actual effect may vary with different manufacturers of the HD disks.  Try to find some DD disks.   I've got a few spare, if need be.
 
There is a fair bit of info on the web about doctoring drives.   A lot regarding Amiga, as well as CPC.   Every type of drive seems to need a different 'fix', and some of the 'fix'-ing is pretty drastic, like trying to unsolder one pin on the main IC and separating that pin from the pcb and linking that pin to another point with a wire!  Not something I'd dare try.   Do a search regarding 'ready signal', and CPC/amiga.  Check the web page regarding the PCW - http://www.fvempel.nl/index.html (http://www.fvempel.nl/index.html) (Joyce User Group), there is a page listing various drive designations that are OK, including a reference to 'if it's OK for the CPC then it's OK for the PCW' which I assume can be read in reverse too!
 
There's the separate problem of making the drive A: instead of B:.   Some of the older drives may have a jumper, but all later ones don't.   Better makes (like TEAC) might have.   You can easily do the twist in the cable mind you, just like PCs do.
 
Also, check via Amstrad PCW (http://www.pcwpage.co.uk) regarding the cable.   The details given there show a cable that does everything in the cable, so you don't need to mess with the drive (although it assumes you need a B: drive for the PCW - if you need an A: then you need the twist as well - I assume).   I needed a 3.5" drive for my PCW, I looked with horror at all the mods required and decided this cable was a far better option.   There's only one problem I've had so far, everything works OK, except the situation in (say) DISCKIT where the software insists that all disks are removed.   This mod does not see the disks removed.  The cable gets around this by including a push-button switch linking a couple of the wires, so when using DISCKIT you hold down the button and press a key on the keyboard and it's OK.  And, as you're dependant ONLY on the cable, if the drive plays up, you just unplug it and attach another one!
 
For the drives, check your local computer shops.   The little shop near me does upgrades etc, and takes in old machines when selling new ones.   They 'salvage' various parts from old machines as a matter of course.   They usually have a little pile of things like floppy drives, CD roms, etc.   I got 3.5" drives there for £5 each!
 
Geoff Barnard
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: dragon on 13:34, 25 September 15
Sincerily is best learn solder. Its not complicated, and when you made your own mod, and your fdd live, you are the most happy person in the world. And you can say, take a look i build this.

Here are shops selling the samsung new. I prefer a new drive to a old drive.

I broken the first fdd,but i learn with the experience, and thanks to the fdd i can later building my own gx4000 cartridges building my own fdd plus cable. And building my  Own plus/gx4000 rj11 gun.

My fdd is al litte rare, but i like it, i take another fdd and i use her down plate in the upper plate of the samsung. I use the holes in the other fdd to put two interruptors one to a:  b: and another to side a/b. I put the signal rdy in the samsung. Solder four wires from fdd pins to interruptors. And  i have a compacted external fdd with all interruptors included in the unit.

Time ago i found in a trash a computer with other samsung but i not have try if the fdd works :).
Title: Re: 3.5" Floppy Brand
Post by: KaosOverride on 00:24, 28 September 15
CAT would not work on one of his drives if the ready signal was not provided.

In my experience with PC drives, a non Ready hacked drive can work a few seconds after inserting a disk, because the Disc Change signal is raised at the Ready pin. Enought for a CAT. That' s why I asked, to have some background of the situation :)

Yes, I agree that soldering skills are needed for these things. Also searching for all the info about modding PC drives for PCW, CPC and +3 because some drives need basic soldering, other just switch/jumper settings, other more elaborated mods like using the density sensor as a direct Ready generator, or just making a short between 33 and 34.... Info is out there, and you have to choose what is at your skills.