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General Category => NC100, NC200, PCW, PDA600 - the rest of the Family! => Topic started by: P5ychoFox on 20:32, 06 March 20

Title: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 20:32, 06 March 20
I have studied the posts here http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/amstrad-cpc-hardware/guide-to-connect-a-3%27-drive-to-a-pc/ and have made a 26 pin to 34 pin (card edge) adapter to connect a 3" drive to the 5.25" shugart connector in an old PC.

Before I start testing (with an aim to be able to create .dsk images of 3" disks) I wanted to know if anyone had ever successfully connected a 180k 3" disk drive in this way. The guide here: http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/Connect_a_3_inch_drive_to_a_PC only mentions connecting a 720k B drive from a PCW 8512.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 22:43, 06 March 20
You can just modify a PC floppy cable to achieve it.


Anyway, if the adapter/cable is right, you can configure the 180KB unit on your bios as 5.25" 360KB, and the dumping software like Samdisk, Omniflop, CPDRead or the HxC Floppy Emulator software should read it without problems.


Edit: Here's a diagram (in spanish, easily translated with google) of how to modify the PC floppy cable: http://zonadepruebas.org/deepfb/ordenadores/amstrad/3enpc.htm (http://zonadepruebas.org/deepfb/ordenadores/amstrad/3enpc.htm)
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:00, 07 March 20
There's also the page on the Dutch PCW site, although one of the others you've already referred to might have linked to this already, as it contains quite a bit of detail.

http://www.fvempel.nl/3pc.html

This is primarily using a 720k drive, but reference is made to the CF2 as well.

Geoff
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: jevicac on 10:30, 07 March 20

Here is another Spanish link on how to assemble the unit. I think that with all this and the above, you can mount a CF2 unit without problems. regards


https://wiki.speccy.org/hardware/unidad_de_disco_de_3p_en_pc (https://wiki.speccy.org/hardware/unidad_de_disco_de_3p_en_pc)
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: JohnElliott on 12:05, 07 March 20
In this age of 3D printing, has anyone designed a bracket to mount a 3" drive in a 5.25" drive bay?
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 12:55, 07 March 20
Many thanks for all of the above. There are some differences in the Spanish method but both ways should work. I thought the 3" drive had to be hooked up to a 5.25" drive connector but it seems not. I suppose connecting before or after the twist just depends on which drive number you want the 3" drive to be. My cable can connect either to a 34 pin shugart card connector or a standard 34 pin connector so I can try both. I also have a cable to swap the 5v & 12v lines so I don't damage the 3" drive.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: jevicac on 13:17, 07 March 20
In this age of 3D printing, has anyone designed a bracket to mount a 3" drive in a 5.25" drive bay?


Hi John, the truth that until today I have not seen any. I think it would be a good idea to design it. regards
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: jevicac on 15:11, 10 March 20
In this age of 3D printing, has anyone designed a bracket to mount a 3" drive in a 5.25" drive bay?


https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=amstrad+pcw&dwh=495e6791f2d73af (https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=amstrad+pcw&dwh=495e6791f2d73af)
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 20:07, 11 March 20
Before I start hooking up my 3” drive I just wanted to ask:


In the Dutch method (using the 3” drive as drive B) for making the ribbon cable pins 13 & 14 are left unused (13 is ground & 14 is Drive A select).


In the Spanish method (using the 3” drive as drive A) pins 15 & 16 are left unused (15 is ground & 16 is enable drive B motor - I think).


I have made my cable following the Dutch method and wondered if the difference in unused pins means my 3” drive can only be used as a B drive.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 12:12, 12 March 20
I have had some success: I hooked up a 720k PCW 3" B drive as drive A (after the twist) in the PC cable (PC is running Win 95) and set the PC A drive BIOS to 720k 3.5". The PC recognises the drive and asks if it can format the disk. This is the case if using either the standard 34 pin connector or the 34 pin card connector on the PC ribbon cable.

However, when attempting to get the PC to recognise a 180k PCW 3" drive all I get is a "Not accessible. Device not ready" error. I have tried as both A and B drives and as 360k 5.25" but no luck.

I would really like to get a 180k 3" drive running on the PC. Perhaps the ribbon cable adapter I made is the issue and while it works for 720k drives it doesn't for 180k. I may make another that leaves out pins 15 & 16 as described above.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: GeoffB17 on 14:42, 12 March 20
What software are you using to try to access the disk?

Please, don't forget that you're dealing with a PC, which will be expecting a PC format disk, or if not, a disk that needs formatting (i.e. put a PC format onto the disk).   It will NOT be happy with a CP/M format disk!

You need some software that will bypass such things, and will understand about CP/M format disks, that WILL be happy to deal with the disk.

One possibility will be 22DISK, for which you will need a Format Definition for the Amstrad 720k, I have this if you need it.   There are other progs available.

If you're getting the problem before using a disk, then what lights do you see.   If you're trying to access A:, does the A: drive light up (try to do something) and when you try B: is it the B: light.   Or the other way around - in which case, there's a problem with the cable, or the say the actual drives are assigned (but I'm not sure how that happens on the Amstrads with the 3" drives, if they are hard set to A: or B: which PC drives ARE).

Geoff
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 18:01, 12 March 20
At present I have no program on the PC to read 3” discs. I’m just hoping to see the PC try and access the drive to prove my set up is good. The PC asks to format a disk in a 720k 3” drive so I take it that it sees the drive ok.


With the 180k 3” drive the external LED doesn’t light up at all (it does on the 720k drive) so I’m thinking it’s not connected right.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: JohnElliott on 18:27, 12 March 20
If you're using a cable that works on a PCW B: drive, I wouldn't expect it to work on a PCW A: drive. The drive needs to be reconfigured to respond as drive 1 rather than drive 0, either by changing the option link (I can never remember which one it is) on the drive, or rewiring the cable so the 'drive select' line from the PC goes to pin 4 rather than pin 6 of the drive's connector. Maybe shorting pins 4 and 6 together would work, but I take no responsibility if that fries your drive or your PC.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 18:39, 12 March 20
At present I have no program on the PC to read 3” discs. I’m just hoping to see the PC try and access the drive to prove my set up is good. The PC asks to format a disk in a 720k 3” drive so I take it that it sees the drive ok.


With the 180k 3” drive the external LED doesn’t light up at all (it does on the 720k drive) so I’m thinking it’s not connected right.


That won’t work. Which OS are you using?


You can try CpcdiscXP or samdisk if you are on Windows XP or higher, or cpdread if you are on windows 98 or lesser, or ms-dos.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 20:58, 12 March 20
Success! I have now connected both a 180k & 720k 3” drive to my Windows 95 PC (not at the same time). Both drives light up and state that the disk needs formatting (as it’s in PCW format).


I’ll get CPD Tools onto my PC and use it to read the 3” disks.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 13:24, 17 March 20
I have got CPDread running in DOS and while it accesses the 180k 3” drive, it then stops and shows “unexpected floppy disk controller error”.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: GeoffB17 on 20:56, 17 March 20
Hello,

First of all, when you refer to running from DOS - I understand that for this sort of thing it's better to be using DOS as in the machine was booted with DOS, and Windows has NOT been run, rather than running from DOS (command prompt) within Windows.

Secondly, there are, I understand, different FDC chips (Floppy Disk Controllers) is use.   They are mostly compatible, but not necessarily 100% compatible.   All 'normal' functions may work fine, but software like CPDread might be using some special tricks, and there might be something that is not supported by the FDC chip your computer uses.   Which PC are you using, which motherboard have you got, any idea what the specific FDC chip is?

Thirdly, the software will be using some VERY low level code to access the disk.   If there is anything at all strange about the format on the disk you're using, then this may give rise to a problem.   The disk you've tried has a problem.   Can you try other disks, maybe something fprmatted at a different time, or even on another machine (i.e. an original software disk) and does that have the same problem in the same place?  When and where (i.e. which machine) was the disk you're trying formatted?

Geoff
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 20:39, 18 March 20
My PC is running Windows 95 but I’m restarting in MS-DOS mode. I’ll try other disks but I think the problem may be that I’ve not used the config file to set the step to 2 (for 3” drives).


I’m not used to DOS so do I just open the CPDread.cfg file in DOS and set the configuration there? Thanks!
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 21:43, 18 March 20
Yes.


You can post the contents of your cpdread.cfg file so we can check that all the parameters are correct.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 17:39, 22 March 20
In DOS all I get is a floppy drive controller response error when trying to run cdpdread cfg. I get this no matter what drive I have attached. If anyone knows how to open the config file please let me know. I read on a French forum that CPDread.cfg could be edited using notepad but in Windows 95 the CPDread.cfg file can’t be opened with any program I have installed.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 18:37, 22 March 20
Try typing "edit cpdread.cfg".
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 18:49, 22 March 20
Thanks. I got it open using notepad and changed the step to 2. Everything in the config is now set correctly so I’ll try again to read a 3” disk.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 19:58, 26 March 20
I'm so close to getting this working but have run up against another stumbling block. I have configured CPDREAD to step 2, 40 tracks, 1 side, A drive, media type 2 and can get the program to read a 3" disk in a 180k drive. CPDREAD reads the 3" disk fine and creates a .dsk image. I have done this for the following games / programs (reading from original disks): Batman, Tomahawk, Time & Magik, Newsdesk International & a RAM Test program (All PCW 8256 programs).

I then saved the .dsk images to a 3.5" floppy and moved them onto my laptop to test they run in CP/M Box emulator. But the emulator won't run the .dsk images. When attempting to look at the image in CP/M using the DIR command I just get the following error: CP/M error on A:Disk I/O BDOS Function = 17 File = then a line of question marks.

Does anyone have an idea as to what the problem might be?
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 22:45, 26 March 20
That's weird as I know positively that CP/M Box supports dsk images.


Can you share one of the non-working images so we can analyze it?
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: GeoffB17 on 00:28, 27 March 20
I'm not sure as I don't know much about CPDread, but..

You've started with a 180k disk, which is single sided, 40T.   You've created a .dsk image file, which I suppose is 180 something k.  You've then put the .dsk file into a 3.5" disk - 80t 730k DS?  I assume a PC format disk?  The emulator accesses thi image ok, I assume it sees the file as an image, and is happy?  When you use CP/M, then it gets confused, it's reading the disk as a complete disk, but it's a PC disk not a CP/M disk so CP/M will not find a dir.   I'd guess that if you come out of dosbox to the DOS prompt and do a DIR then you'll get a bettwer result?

Yes, it would be a help to get an image to check that it's OK.

Geoff
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 09:52, 27 March 20
Thanks Geoff. All the .dsk images I created seem to be around 95Kb (should be 180k).

I'll take another look at my PC BIOS settings regarding boot up floppy seek to see if that's causing the problem.

Once the .dsk image was created I saved onto a 1.44Mb 3.5" floppy. I then put this in a USB floppy drive and from there onto my Windows 8 laptop running CP/M Box. Could this have caused problems? I didn't think moving the .dsk file around using such methods would affect the file as it had already been created. I may be wrong though.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 13:47, 27 March 20
It looks suspiciously half of the required size, so maybe removing the double step may help.


Can you make an image of a regular CP/M disk that we have a good image for? That way we could compare the data on the dsk and figure out if double-stepping is the root cause for the problem.


I think that definitely it is the double step, try removing it first.
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: P5ychoFox on 18:37, 27 March 20
That's it! The step needs to be 1 for a 180k drive. I've just made .dsk copies of CP/M, Time & Magik and a RAM Test program and all run perfectly in CP/M Box emulator. Many thanks for all the assistance; I have been wanting to create .dsk images from 3" disks for about 10 years so it's so great to have finally succeeded  :D
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: robcfg on 19:06, 27 March 20
Glad you managed to do it!


Cheers,
Rob
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: geebus on 15:07, 15 July 20
Fantastic to see this knowledge. I might need to delve in here at some point in the future for making my own system with a 3" drive.
Well done!
Can you use this to make .dsk to physical 3" disks too? I'd like to be able to do this for programs that i have written on an emulator to then use on a real machine (CPC or PCW).
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: GeoffB17 on 19:09, 15 July 20
I assume that you mean that you want to write a .dsk image onto a real 3" disk in a real 3" drive, so that you can then use the 3" disk in a real CPC or PCW?

Yes, assuming you've got PC prog to write the data from the .dsk onto the floppy.   Not sure which prog you need, but I thing one of John Elliott's progs, DSKWRITE, is a hybrid prog that will work on both a CP/M machine and on a PC, but I think it will do standard CPC .dsk images only, and not the extended variety.   I don't know what will do the job running on a PC with extended format images.  Maybe there are options in the SAMdisk system?

Geoff
Title: Re: Connect a PCW 3" Disk Drive to a PC
Post by: geebus on 16:56, 16 July 20
Currently I use cpcdiskxp to write my .dsk files onto 3.5" floppies for my external drive on the 6128.
However, If I can add a 3" drive to a computer so that I can write 3" disks too, that would be fantastic.


Just need to work out a way of getting some new 3" disks made..