Discussion in 'SIG: 8-Bit Hardware' started by Andy Barr, Aug 16, 2020.
How's things going with Andy's Microdrive to Gotek conversion?
Have finally got a bit of time off this week to take Bev out for some days exploring the nearby country houses/stately homes to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.
I've also finally got my Acer laptop rebuilt with a non-persistent-screaming-for-a licence-number copy of Windoze 7 running on a solid state h/d - much whizzier and the 1st time I;ve used one so that's another bonus.
Meanwhile, the plasterboards and insulation are going up/in this week and the sparky has rewired our kitchen so at long last things are beginning to look the part here...still, a good way to go yet though as we still need: kitchen windows, kitchen underfloor heating and tiles, new electric consumer unit, extension skylight, middle room outer wall and windows pulling down and new french doors fitted and finally...new staircase up to the loft - which I'm dreading as that's where my refuge is under that staircase so when that area gets nuked - that's my inner mancave gone and we've got sweet F.A. space to put any of the computers, peripherals, software, books, mags and heaps of other junk anywhere else so where I'm to temporarily store it remains to be solved!
Anyway, whatever, worse things happen and thanks very much for continuing to try and solve the 3" drive dilemma, fellas.
Last time I spoke to Richie, I believe my faulty Oric-1 was working and was being soak-tested - I'm sure Rich has made a real sweet job of that - and the microdisc was being "fitted up" to take a temporary GOTEK solution but with the option to revert back to a working 3" drive should a reasonably priced compatible replacement drive appear as I would lurve to see the old gal back to her working original condition and state - but am inclined to think that is probably a long shot so long live Gotek for now.
Anyhow, I'm very very grateful to you both and will make sure that both you chaps are properly recompensed for all the effort you've put in to this project and continue to put in.
I'm sure I can come up with some retro goodies for Richie in the long run in either the Dragon, Beeb/Elk and or Oric departments and what I can do for you, Graham, is one day get you a decent priced Atmos. As Richie points out, right now the blatant overpricing going on on Feebay etc amounts to daylight robbery. I wouldn't pay more than £90-100 for an unboxed working Atmos and for a boxed model in great nick, I believe £150 to be the absolute max - and then I'd expect a decent selection of software, books and mags (being a Yarkshireman, you wouldn't expect anything less of me!)
Any road, onwards and upwards. There's no rush whatsoever and I'm presently exploring the other drive options I have here for the Oric so standby 1-2 new posts on ORIC OPTIONS...
Once more, many thanks Rich & Graham for all your help, energy, expertise and enthusiasm to the Oric cause!
It’s not going to work sadly, the bracket for the Gotek is too small and it doesn’t look good behind the Microdisc cover plate, too many gaps.
I think the way to use a Gotek going forward would be to set the Jumper on the 3” to drive 2 and connect the Gotek externally as drive 1. I am going to try this today so I can test if it can format or read a disk. It might be out of alignment.
I don’t have the kit to fabricate a bespoke fascia for a Gotek to fit internally so my options are a bit limited on that front.
The Oric-1 is fixed and works well. It’s a very early production run model ( probably less than 2000 ) although it’s serial number is missing. It’s a issue 2 PCB with two 8K EPROMs as the ROM. Which means no ROMDIS pin ( only the mask ROM had this ) so no external upgrade will work as they cannot disable the internal ROM. Only very early Oric’s have this setup. Most are issue 3 boards with a 16K V1.0 mask ROM. I haven’t been able to work on it as much as I’d like as I have had several falls and have been incapacitated for several days.
Lovely to hear from you and thank you for the update.
Fascinating to hear of where that particular Oric fits in, historically, in the production run timeline: a ruddy early beast, eh?
Right now retro retrograde microdisc fittings can take 3rd/4th/5th place backseat priority as health and you and yours are 1st.
No worries, many thanks for all you've done so far and just take darn good care mate and go steady on those feet.
Falls are bloody nasty shocks to our systems (I take much more care now on our staircase) and can really knock us back so please go uber careful on those pins, Richie.
Cheers once more, guys.
Just a little footnote I read tonight (I think you mentioned this briefly once before, Rich - maybe you'd been talking to Steve Marshall on the subject?)
Anyway, here's an English translation from an article which appeared on Microdisc problems in the Jan-Feb edition of Theoric back in 1986:
"Since December, we have been receiving a lot of correspondence from Oric users who after having chosen to buy a MICRODISC to complete their equipment, they were forced to realize that it did not work with their ATMOS. Returning to the dealer ... who took care not to specify that the MICRODISC manufactured by EUREKA only works correctly with the new ATMOS. The solution?
Disburse good people! We propose the exchange of the ATMOS card against 533FF which places the MICRODISC at 3000FF. Obviously, if you have an ATMOS "made in Normandy" this does not concern you.
In conclusion, before buying arrive at your favourite dealer with the ATMOS under your arm, it will save you a lot of trouble later. A little test in the store will help you choose."
I think the top and bottom of this is that there are indeed cases whereby certain "motherboard issues" inherent in some Atmoses will cause problems as they are not always compatible with "timings" etc on the Microdisc board - in other words, one Atmos might work fine with a given Microdisc drive...but yours/someone else's just might not so TRY BEFORE YOU BUY!
Sheesh...in other words, it's Russian Roulette dependent on when/where your Atmos was manufactured.
That's an annoying issue, makes buying an utter lottery, I presume there's no check and fix?
Exactly, Paul - their advice was literally try before you buy.
...and moving on to the going rate these days for a microdisc 3" drive for the Oric...
They're gonna set you back £200.
Yeah I saw that one, no PSU and untested
So, for a PSU - which are as rare as hen's teeth - and to have one in working condition, you must be looking at £250 plus, Rich, yeah? Eye-watering...
Guys, just a couple more files to assist in the microdisc 3" disk drive repairs in the future at Graham's end as I know he's busy at the mo with quite a few projects and Brenski's 800XL mobo etc so as ever - no rush whatsoever and just wondered if the 2-3 files here might come in handy if they are relevant?
Cheers once more, Graham and Richie, for all the work, effort and expense you've put in already.
Nice One Andy
At Hospital with Mum today But did briefly check 800XL, and powered straight up with no issue at all, certainly not what it was doing .. Shorter wiring and a 74F08 replacing the 74LS08. I think there may have been an issue with the GITA Socket. so I'll be changing that, the LS138, LS08 , MMU sockets to be sure. A fair bit of work but I'll be happier sending it back to Martin with those bits sorted, hopefully stops anything working loose in transport back.
Brenski will be delighted - nice one, Graham and of course my best wishes to your mum.
Hope she's coping through these very challenging times.
Take care, folks and hopefully, with us all pulling together, we'll all get through this COVID crap.
As Andy's MicroDrive has made it back to me I/F fully tested out but the Drive not playing ball, I've also got a Gotek to pass on that Richie has worked his magic on, a few 3" disc's with Sedorc the ORIC DOS on.
Now I have an Atmos I can at least replicate the issues with the drive, and hopefully replace it with a I'll call it a similar unit but that's only because its 3" Single sided and made by the same company ... and physically the same size ...
The similarity stops there...
Have a look...
Good luck Graham...
Thanks Paul .
More info on the drives https://atari-owner.com/club/resources/hitachi-3-disk-drive-information-oric-amstrad-sinclair.71/
Great having a long bank holiday weekend so inbetween sorting out brews for the plasterers, was flicking through a few Oric mags and came across an article or two on the microdisc.
I also hope to have a catch-up with Graham soon when we're both free just to see how things are going as I know these drives have a long history of being "temperamental".
Anyhow, onwards and upwards as they say and enjoy a bit more reading material as reported in Oric Owner back in July 84:
Apologies if the text is too small.
If you require a clearer image then try zooming in on the x2 imgur uploads:
Hmm Yes tempremental ... thats a bit of an understatement ..
Well with Physical disc drives at least.
I've not been doing that much to be honest, I've been back in work for a few days a week, I've recieved the PCB's I'd got from JLCPCB for various bits and bobs some have been sent of to Matt. Also had a problem with my 800, the incognito didn't want to work, now solved (thought it was the additional PIA board but no, something entirely different.
I've also been gradually moving bits from Martins original 800XL to another board but due to the nature of each addon, been very slow in doing this and allowing to just be on soak test in between..
The microdrive however .. well it's certainly working with a gotek, as soon as physical drives are added weather 51'4" 3.5" or 3" (including both Hitachi drives and a bunch of Amstrad drives via adapters.. well thats not so positive, maybe I should try a 8" as well, but none to hand ... hehe
And yes Andy would be good to catch-up.
In between I've also been trying to improve my coding skill's the USB version of TK-II has a bug only 99.98% reliable. and I can't find why not 100% (AVR C) .. very annoying so I've left it for assembler programing in 6502 and a bit of Z80 thrown in for good measure (and just to confuse me) on a CPC6128.
I guess the amount of time I spend on Retro has dropped a lot, as I used to 'play' for the two days I'm now working.
Running into this weekend I've had a bit of a mare. The 'IT' system I have uses all professional Ubiquity network hardware, along with fairly high end Synology NAS with about 24TB of hard disk space..
Well some software update rendered my two Win 7 laptops unable to connect to the NAS. been like it for a few weeks.. sorted that out and would you know the Win 10 and Linux boxes now didn't connect to any of the drives, worse I could no longer log in as admin to the NAS. BUT the win7 laptops started seeing the files on the NAS.
had to buy several rather large Harddrives to back up the NAS vis the win7 laptops..
Backed up now. going to start rebuilding the NAS afresh tomorrow. and have multiple ways of recovery, likely another NAS to back up the first (even though this has a spare 'redundant drive') its no good when the O.S locks you out
I may use my HP Micro server as I don't run multiple virtual computers as I used to. (I used it as an ESXi box if anyone knows what that is)
I've now read through the release information you posted Andy good to know that the micro drive supports 4 drives.
My, you have been busy and I'm sorry to hear about some of your IT hiccups due to updates and of course work and family life require your time too.
I'm just about to "hit the pit" but if anyone wants an online natter either this coming Sun afternoon or later in the evening, just holler else I'll give you a buzz, Graham.
I don't want this drive to bog you down forever and a day so please don't worry if it won't play ball as I'll just have it back and come up with a plan B, eg. stick an 8" floppy in it, as you suggest, or a cipher tape drive!!
Cheers, Graham and thanks for everything you've done/tried so far.
Just a quick update on this thread (which really merits its own new thread - GRAHAM's GREAT GROOVY GIFTS), as I just wanted to share with you the kind of care and attention Graham shows when sending packages.
Tip top - as many of yours are too when I'm lucky enough to get something sent through the post.
Graham's attention to detail with all the individual components all enclosed in foam strips as well as in boxes within boxes is just a joy to behold - many thanks, mate.
As soon as I get chance to get set up again I will give the Gotek a go! Thank you for all your time and effort spent on this project - it's massively appreciated, Graham.
One groovy Gotek to run off the microdisc controller board - thank you very much, Graham.
Box brimming with goodies but note although Graham's mega generous - he did not send the radiators that are bubble wrapped in the background!
Microdisc and PSU back "home" to Baz's biome and new cave (hopefully) to appear shortly...watch this space, folks.
Next up, parcel 2 received this week - RICHIE'S REGAL RETRO RELEASES..!
Thank you the 'Thank You', however Richie deserves the 'Thank You' as the Gotek and the replacement bezel as from him..
I only added the usb stick, a cable from micrdrive to gotek, and the power leads for same. Also note that the files on the usb stick are from Richie as well.
I'd Like to Thank Richie on your behalf... BIG THANKS FELLA..
Without Richie's assistance I'd not have been able to test the Gotek without a lot of fafing about trying to procure software etc.
A big thumbs up and thank you to both Rich and Graham for both going the extra mile and providing all these wonderful goodies.
Guys, you are both extremely generous and both extremely decent when it comes to trying to source parts to fix this problematic drive.
Couple of 3" drives came up on Feebay the other day but I doubt they were an exact match for this particular Hitachi model.
Never mind, in the meanwhile we have this splendid Gotek to play with - thank you so much, fellas.
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