Author Topic: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?  (Read 4726 times)

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Offline JonB

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Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« on: 11:06, 22 December 14 »
I'm sure this has been asked before, but are there any options for hard drive (or flash) solutions on the PCW other than trying to find an old add-on (which seem to be rare)? I want a proper implementation (not a floppy emulator) that looks like a hard drive and runs under CP/M.


I think the answer is no, and that surprises me. Why are these great CP/M boxes so unloved?
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Offline robcfg

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #1 on: 12:00, 22 December 14 »
Well, it may be the case that there's something going on... :D

Also, I'm working with Habi (creator of the CP/MBox emulator) and several other users in a PCW wiki (pcwwiki.amstrad.es).

Feel free to join and give the PCW some love!
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Offline JonB

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #2 on: 20:24, 22 December 14 »
Well, I have 8256, 8512 and soon a 9512 so there's enough to go round. They all need it.

Now what about that z80 shim that zetr0 was working on? CP/M drivers should be doable (not that I'd know how!) and IDE takes all the hard work out of it as it incorporates the drive controller.

I have this interface card for my TRS80 model 4 and all it is is 4 74 series chips and a CF card, plugs straight into the expansion bus. Something like that?
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Offline MacDeath

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #3 on: 20:28, 22 December 14 »
PCW16 has something to plug an HDD on the motherboard if I remember well
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Offline JonB

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #4 on: 00:11, 23 December 14 »
Shame I haven't got one of those! :)
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Offline robcfg

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #5 on: 10:57, 23 December 14 »
@MacDeath You're right, the PcW16 has an ide socket and several soldering pads for supporting chips.
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Offline steve

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #6 on: 14:43, 24 December 14 »
Shame I haven't got one of those! :)

Very few people do. :(
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Offline Prodatron

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #7 on: 23:09, 29 December 14 »
I wonder why nobody does HxC direct SD card access drivers for all these computers, which can use it (so more or less everyone). Then you have a giant harddrive with such a great availability, I think you can still buy it in 10 years :)
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Offline JonB

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #8 on: 14:11, 05 January 15 »
HxC's purpose is to emulate a floppy drive so it only has a Shugart type interface. I'm not sure if it is even capable of pretending to be a HDD given the interface but I'm not an expert. I'm looking for an easy, cheap IDE interface, so that I can connect a CF card to it but naturally there would be a need to produce drivers.


Alternatively, the GEM drive specs might provide a starting place (especially the schematics of the interface) as these drivers already exist.


Does anyone own a PCW hard drive that we can clone?




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Offline Bryce

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #9 on: 14:13, 05 January 15 »
There are already solutions for the HxC to "pretend to be a HDD" for the Atari ST, so I assume it's possible for the CPC too.

http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=631

Bryce.
« Last Edit: 14:16, 05 January 15 by Bryce »
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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #10 on: 14:45, 05 January 15 »
There are already solutions for the HxC to "pretend to be a HDD" for the Atari ST, so I assume it's possible for the CPC too.

http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=631

Bryce.
yes. And symbos on the CPC does it too.
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Offline Prodatron

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #11 on: 16:22, 05 January 15 »
HxC's purpose is to emulate a floppy drive so it only has a Shugart type interface. I'm not sure if it is even capable of pretending to be a HDD given the interface but I'm not an expert.

HxC let you access the SD card directly. When you implement a simple driver you can use it like a HD. Here it's running on the CPC with SymbOS:


SymbOS with HxC Direct Access FAT32 support

The only problem is, that the SD is usually formatted in FAT32, so the OS of the 8bit machine has to support this filesysem, too, which isn't usual (FAT32 implementations are very rare on 8bit systems contrary to FAT12/16 implementations). But it shouldn't be a problem to create an additional partition with a different filesystem.
As soon as I have my PCW up and running again I will try to connect my HxC here as well, as want to add direct SD card support in SymbOS on the PCW, too.

CU,
Prodatron
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Offline Bryce

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #12 on: 16:28, 05 January 15 »
Would it be possible to isolate the FAT firmware (without the need for SymbOS) on a single ROM and make it accessable within BASIC?

Bryce.
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Offline Prodatron

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #13 on: 18:23, 05 January 15 »
Would it be possible to isolate the FAT firmware (without the need for SymbOS) on a single ROM and make it accessable within BASIC?

I had a look at it some time ago, and it's quite different compared to Amsdos. SymbOS uses a lot of buffers for caching and preloading cluster numbers etc. to speed up the handling/streaming of large files (>64K) and loading small file fragments (e.g. "line input") in a faster way. The whole data structures wouldn't fit into the Amsdos ram at all. So either it would have to use an additional 16K block, which would make it incompatible for 128K software (and which requires several modifications, too), or I would have to rewrite a lot of stuff. Nilquaders FAT routines have been designed especially for beeing integrated into Amsdos since the beginning without crashing the compatibility, which is a better approach.
Hope that we will have some news here, soon.
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Offline sucram

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Offline TFM

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #15 on: 21:29, 09 March 15 »
Just thought about the GIDE from Tillman too. You posted more quick :)

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Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #16 on: 22:56, 09 March 15 »
Hello everybody,

 possibly the following links could help to use a normal IDE harddisk with the PCW or other Z80 systems:
GIDE: IDE drive for Z80
http://forum.z80.de/showtopic.php?threadid=95
KC-Club.GIDE-Interface
http://www.kcclub.de/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=119&Itemid=131
All about the GIDE interface
http://www.ngsystems.z80.de/pages/z180/ide.htm
would mass storage on a pcw ever be bootable? I guess an HxC A: drive might help. But basically you'd still need a floppy right? A shame as symbos native pcw from cold start would be slick.
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Offline Prodatron

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Re: Mass storage solutions for PCW8256/9512?
« Reply #17 on: 23:18, 09 March 15 »
would mass storage on a pcw ever be bootable? I guess an HxC A: drive might help. But basically you'd still need a floppy right? A shame as symbos native pcw from cold start would be slick.
When you replace drive A with an HxC you can boot from a disc image. It would be probably possible to boot SymbOS directly from the PCWs 512byte boot sector, but I am not sure if it would be worth the additional effort.
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