1. Not old. Vintage. :)

ORIC (drive) OPTIONS

Discussion in 'SIG: 8-Bit Hardware' started by Andy Barr, Sep 14, 2020.

  1. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Evening, Oricians.

    This is just a wee start-up thread with more to be added as we go along but it's basically to show what can be added to your basic Oric system in order to give it a bit more oomph and instant access to all that lovely jubbly juicy Tangerine software out there!

    The first rapid access/micro SD card drive solution I'm going to look at is the...

    1) EREBUS

    Which is advertised over on Feebay for £35 plus P&P (great value for money) at:

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Erebus-O...579582?hash=item288a6531fe:g:wWIAAOSwRIlejNd5

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ABOVE: The rear of the Erebus has a little reset switch which is handy and saves on the power jack of the Oric having to be pulled out/stuck back in again to reboot.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see above, a menu of games appears once you have simply added .TAP Oric software files to a root directory on a micro SD card (tucked into the back of the Erebus) and then, whilst your Atmos is switched off, plug in the Erebus to your Oric's expansion port. Switch on and as it says on the tin on the Erebus sales page:

    "To load the files all you have to do is type cload"" and press enter and it will load a little menu up on the Oric which you then choose your game by pressing the down or up arrow key on the Oric and pressing enter to load the game. Please note this will not load multi file games. Upon purchase you will recieve an Erebus a lead to connect to the Oric and a 2g sd card. The sd card will be formatted to fat16 and will contain a homebrew game on it. You will have to source your own .tap images. This device will not accept any card over 2g. Now with a reset button."

    So, in summary, on the downward side, it doesn't like multi-part games and seems incompatible with Oric-1 software (and Oric-1 hardware) so you aint gonna get anything like 100% success or compatibility with all Oric software.

    The upside is that it is quite affordable and loads games within seconds so you can wave bye to long and often troublesome tape loading. Once you "tap in" to the libraries of 100s of Oric TAP files out there, you have an instant pretty large and pretty instant loading Atmos-compatible software collection.

    Does anyone else on here have the Erebus and maybe they can add their opinions and comments too?

    Full instructions (and it really is simplicity itself to use this little gizmo) can be found over at:

    https://b8f1525c-83e5-474b-bd9f-dc4...d/dbcc85_af6d38ac789c4e6aac8c1bb738186962.pdf

    [​IMG]
    Further, 8bit-Tronics (devices designed by Kenneth Auwers and marketed by Simon Gould, I believe?) offer other instant access/memory expansion/tape loading and mass storage devices for other systems too (incl Atari, Texas Instruments and Dragon/Coco) over at:
    https://www.8bit-tronics.com/?fbclid=IwAR12o-FBoHmjV2BMTjXphruBUNBMVrRplBArqf4eVZvcapyJVbcr9aTiUWo

    A few pics of Erebus and Atmos in the Baz cave in action:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ABOVE: Software loads in a matter of seconds

    [​IMG]
    ABOVE: The promise of "enlightenment" with Oric software(!?!)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    ABOVE: Ocean's Road Frog was one of the very first Oric titles I ever played - shame it's a poor version of Frogger but there you go.

    [​IMG]

    ABOVE: Finally, all this could be instantly loading on your Atmos... with an Erebus!

    More next time, Oricians, as we look at another Oric (drive) option to expand and greatly enhance your system.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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  2. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    OK, folks, this is the next part in this not very many series of ORIC OPTIONS - ie. what else, aside from a biscuit tin/cookie jar, can you attach to your Oric and getaway with, without a nasty 9V burn mark on yer ass.

    As well as the Erebus (see earlier post) you might want to contact mon ami Fred in France (let me know if you want his contact details...he advertises his wares via Feebay from time to time) and request he makes/sells you a:

    2) 3.5" floppy disk drive with microdisc controller board fitted

    OK, back in the late 80s & 90s when the infamous Oric microdiscs never ever came to fruition for the Oric-1 - and the 3" ones arrived late for the Atmos and furthermore didn't really make any huge impact on the market - Oric users, decided another real disk solution lay in the guise of 3.5" drives which featured a more reliable and larger storage area medium - not to mention a more plentiful supply of this type of disk as everyone was going 16bit and PC nuts and so the 3.5" floppies were now king and just about everywhere by now.

    So, as long as you could get your hands on a disk controller for the Oric, you were just about in business as folks took to modding their spare PC floppy disk drives, piggybacking these to a controller board, and basically Oric was ready to really rock n roll...

    upload_2020-9-16_15-24-22.png


    [​IMG]
    ABOVE: the flip of the Fred FDD - the microdisc controller

    So, what do you get with it, Baz, and how (well/badly) does it work?

    Well now, here's the basic set-up:

    [​IMG]

    You get a converted PC floppy disk drive and some discs...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Disk directory (and menu - below) from a CEO floppy from the Summer of 97 - a classic year for Oric!?

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    You get a FDD 5V power supply

    [​IMG].
    ...and here it all is under the stairs at the Baz Biome awaiting a system disc / boot.

    For about £70 (I think Fred incl postage to UK from France in that), you get a floppy disk drive and Oric microdisc controller with a 5V power supply plus a couple of floppies with some software on to demonstrate the drive in action (including a Sedoric DOS master boot disc). Overall then, not bad really, in terms of value for money and Fred also supplies a CD of software with hints and tips on how to get more out of the set-up and how to use the PC disk utilties and so transfer software from a PC's 3.5" drive to an Oric's 3.5" drive. All in all, very useful so merci beaucoup, Fred.

    [​IMG]

    Fred's utils CD needs to run on a Windows 98 PC with a "proper" floppy disk drive fitted - not a USB external model. Further, there are hints and advice on how to do this over at sites such as:
    http://romualdl.oric.org/oric2pc/oric2pc.html

    Moreover, Fred's utils CD also contains stacks of Oric software goodies such as:
    - 113 Oric 3.5" disk images
    - Over 1400 game files (67mb)
    - Over 1800 cassette instructions, inlays etc (520mb)

    Again, value for money-wise, his utils CD is probably worth a fair few quid to those Oricians who don't already have this treasure trove of treats.

    How quick is it, booting up software Baz?



    ABOVE - Space 1999 loads up on an Atmos in a few seconds.

    Any gripes?

    I just wish the ribbon cable from the back of the Atmos' expansion port to the back of the FDD was a little longer. As it stands, you can't really place the drive anywhere else except under your Atmos as the lead's length prohibits this (there must be technical reasons for this - ie. problems with data transfer if you extend the ribbon cable?)

    [​IMG]
    ABOVE - Whoa! You won't get very far with the FDD attached to your Atmos - about 6" is about the max.

    Overall, is it worth getting one, Baz?

    Yes, dear Oricians, it is - you can't beat a hard drive or a solid state/Gotek/SD card solution but the very next best thing is a real life working floppy disk drive as it simply takes you right back to the good old days and is a million times better than a tape deck and Cloading errors!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2020
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  3. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

    Vyper68 Deckhand

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    All these lovely Oric disc solutions, I really need to get an Erebus. My Cumana boards still will not work and for the life of me I don’t know why. So next best thing is an Erebus.
    Or another Disk Interface, I know about the Cumana Reborn but I don’t use that seller anymore so that is not an option.
    Silicebit was going to send me a Microdisc PCB but not happened yet.
     
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  4. by Andy Barr
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    You never know, Richie, Retro-micro Santa might get you one for Chrimbo?!?

    I definitely give it the thumbs up - in fact both of these solutions are pretty damn neat, mate.
     
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  5. by Graham
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    Hi Andy
    A few questions in regard the microdisc solution from Fred, does this act exactly the same as your original microdrive? it looks like it does. Can you take some pictures of the interface board, we see just the edge but nothing more, there should be no reason why longer cables won't work if its a copy of the original controller, either Cumanas or Tangerines. but attached to a 3.5" drive. ( like the insides of the microdrive interface sat over 3" drive)
    Nice to see all the pictures and video you put together :D:D

    Question for you all, if a new post is added or started from new do you get any indication? I once again had no idea this was posted until I started searching for same against new posts, but never get an email or alert, kind of pisses me off as I get to miss things, sometime much longer than a day or so. :(:(
     
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  6. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Hi, Graham.

    Yeah, I'm the same. I sometimes stumble upon posts which you guys have made from weeks ago that I was never alerted to but maybe we need to flag it somewhere. Perhaps, if we have not been the originator or replied to a thread previously, we can thus easily miss it if we don't log on for a week or so - Tim will know.

    Fella, I will indeed take more shots of the microdisc controller board as we're just sat around here reading, watching a bit of telly (and the cat's big belly) and listening to the plasterers downstairs, waiting for that bloody call to say "You're OK" from the hossie as re. Bev's COVID test results.

    I know I read somewhere, mate, that certain Oric peripherals do have this length constraint on certain-ribbon cabled peripherals...I just can't remember what and where I've read this...another sign I'm losing the plot these days(!)

    Keep safe, alert n well, folks.
     
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  7. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Hi, Graham.

    Some extra shots of the interface microdisc controller board:

    Having to shoot out now - thankfully we're all CLEAR now here!

    upload_2020-9-17_11-18-23.png

    upload_2020-9-17_11-18-41.png

    upload_2020-9-17_11-19-7.png

    upload_2020-9-17_11-19-29.png
     
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  8. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Sorry, Graham. Yes, it does - it behaves just the same - comes up with the INSERT SYSTEM DISC routine etc and looks for a DOS to boot from
     
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  9. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    That looks like a modern replacement for the Microdisc PCB Andy. There is no reason to not have a ribbon cable as long as your Microdisc has now. A 3.5” Drive is way better than a 3” would you not rather have that in your setup instead of a Microdisc?
    The way things are playing out you will have a Gotek sat on top of the Microdisc, I set up the 3” drive as the secondary drive and the Gotek as the primary. I booted Sedoric off the Gotek and tried to access the 3” drive and kept getting drive fault I/O errors so I think it’s banjaxed. Given the SMD components and age of the drive I’m not sure if I can fix it.
    I think in theory a Gotek will fit where your 3.5” drive is on Fred’s Microdisc but it depends what your software is primarily stored on.
    Graham’s Gotek has arrived so I will press on and fit the OLED, Rotary controller and Sound mod. I have some Molex plugs coming and I’ll run the 5V from inside the Microdisc so there are no more power supplies needed. It’s not ideal but until we can find a replacement 3” drive it is the best use of your Microdisc PCB.
     
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  10. by Graham
    Graham

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    Thank You both.
    Yes looks like all the individual logic chips condenced into the Alterra FPGA barring the buffer chips.
    Note EPROM on board suggests can be changed to any alternative if ever required.
     
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  11. by Andy Barr
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    Many thanks, Richie and Graham.

    Just about to go out for a (late) birthday meal for Bev so I'll have a think and get back to you, Rich.

    Cheers once more.
     
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  12. by Graham
    Graham

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    I found this shortish video comparing two possiable Oric / Atmos drive alternatives, one I'd previously mentioned.



    Think I've also found a 3.5" drive mechanism meant for a Laptop that's very narrow, allowing it to fit where the original 3" disk would go and stil allow for another three drives stacked on top (if the Oric supports that many,) or a Gotek and display.
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/IBM-33P3...Black-Bezel-Teac-FD-05HG-36L8645/143580480626
    I think the Amstrad drives could also be engineered to fit and as you can 'bodge' a 3.5 or 5.25" drive to the CPC, then the reverse is true, 'bodge the wiring to allow the amstrad drive to work on the microdrive. (drives appears different in size but a suitiable surround could also be made.
     
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  13. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    You can buy an adapter the allows a Amstrad 26 way cable to connect to a Gotek drive ( or any 34 way drive )
    So if you were to change the gener on the 26 way side and connect an Amstrad drive to a 34 way ribbon cable would that work?
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/193437730933

    There are a couple of 3” drives on feeBay but they look shoddy or are listed as not working, plus I don’t have the funds right now to buy one on the off chance it works ( either in an Amstrad or otherwise )
     
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  14. by Graham
    Graham

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  15. by Andy Barr
    Andy Barr

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    Hi, Graham.

    Nice one - thanks for posting what I am now calling options 3 and 4 in this series of ORIC (drive) OPTIONS - so great spots there on the one video review -

    3) Cumana Reborn

    and

    4) Cumulus

    I will next list another disk option for Oric users - Oricians, I bet you never knew there was so much out there, did you - you're bloody spoilt you lot in the underdog corner!

    5) The Oric Atmos MultiMedia (Dual) Drive



    - Featuring a Gotek AND 3.5" drive system.

    This wonderful piece of kit was created by one George Dramcheff. In addition to the two drives in a very smart dual case unit, the rear features a VGA out port - hence the term "multimedia" takes on an extra twist.

    IIRC, it costs about £200-300 so it's easily the most expensive disk option (3" drives are also rare and so dear to buy but you should be able to eventually track one down for less than this). You would need to check this price by contacting him - his email address appears in the comments of his You Tube clip.
     
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  16. by Graham
    Graham

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    Thats the kind of idea I had but using your original Microdrive case, using a miniture 3.5" floppy, and create a front panel that can take the Gotek screen and controls, and maybe a AB to BA swap switch.
    I liked his idea though, not sure you can buy those cases anymore. and what of the VGA output, is there a mod to add this to the Atmos ? or do you think it can some kind of Scan converter built in.. there's unlikley to be enough room for that in your microdrive case ..:D

    However Gotek with upgrades about £30 Mini Floppy £10-15 , a purpose designed high quality front panel, £25
    a switch and cables / connectors to attach both drives internally maybe as much as £20 due to cable adapter for mini floppy drive. This uses a 26 way strip connector so I'd guess care soldering required and don't bother with the adapter. The drive is 13mm height and 95mm wide so very slim. The only 3" drive I have is 95mm wide and 34mm tall, the Oric drive was definatly taller than this more like 40mm or so. that means an area 95mm by 27mm to fit in custom gotek panel ( or maybe more depending on width and height.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The cable seems to have the same connector both ends rather than 26 Pin to 34 pin standard floppy connector. hence the soldering ..:(
     
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  17. by Graham
    Graham

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    Although I just found this
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. by Graham
    Graham

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    Oh Well
    Put my money where my mouth is Drive cable and adapter ordered... best see if it works ..
     
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  19. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    You’ll need the Microdisc back then Graham along with the Gotek I started to do the modifications on. If Andy wants to go ahead with this then I’ll send it with my Oric-1 as it has the mask ROM version 1.0 inside and will mean you don’t need to create a ROMDIS signal. I’ll stick my Cumana boards inside as well. You’ll be able to compare the Microdisc and Cumana and possibly see where it’s hanging up.
    I had changed the dip switches on the block on the 3” Drive to make it a secondary but if it’s coming out then it’s a moot point.
    So far with the Gotek I have fitted the OLED and programmed it with Flash Floppy 3.17, I will email you some .hfe files with some Oric disk images for a usb stick, am I right you have speakers and rotary encoders for this?
    I will post your Oric-1 back to you Andy on it’s own so you get it back toot sweet. So if you can let me know what you want to do Andy I can pack them up.
     
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  20. by Graham
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    I guess if Andy is happy for me to try that, I'm up for it, :) One thing, can you check the diamensions of the drive face for me? I'd guess at the same width, but would be nice to confirm. Needs to be 95mm or wider as I dont want to modify the micrdrive case in any way.
    Yes I have encoders and piezo speakers, the ones I was going to send you, I also have some on order from China to top up.
    One other thing, do you or anyone reading use any modelling software for designing 3D printed parts, as thats not something I've ever done. I can download the basic gotek 'STL' files but they would need to be modified for Andy's unit weather we go standard Gotek or Gotek Plus 3.5" drive depending on experiments.. And IF of course Andy will allow these experiments ?? Andy ?
    It goes without saying that this alternative maybe of use for the Amstrad CPC and Spectrum community Hmm .. better keep quiet about that as use dodgy processors :eek: and if it works may start running out of miniture floppy drives.
     
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  21. by Graham
    Graham

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    I've been checking on the price of professionally printed gotek face plates, by uploading some of the 'stl' files I've downloaded to 'i.materialise.com' as I used these to produce the 1088XEL cartridge slot, and can vouch for there quality, seem to be about £24-£25. not sure what the P&P is as yet.

    EDIT
    A minimum order value of £25 so if its 24.77 you still pay £25 like wise if its £8 but you can order multiples of course and different designs. so one for an spectrum , another for Amstrad Oric etc ..
    all at the same cost as shipping is FLAT rate.
    Flat rate shipping via UPS euro12.30
     
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  22. by Vyper68
    Vyper68

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    I have found a .stl file set for an Einstein Gotek mount and this is 41mm High compared to the 36mm of a CPC or Spectrum +3 Gotek mount. So it will fill the gap whereas the CPC Gotek left too much room.
    It doesn’t leave any room for a 3.5 drive though.
    I have no experience in designing my own 3D projects and lack a 3D printer too.
     
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  23. by Andy Barr
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    Fellas, it's 23:51 and the 1st chance I've had to log on today and it's now... time for bed!
    Many, many thanks for all your investigations, suggestions and research into sizes, prices of drives, faceplates, mounts and connectors etc etc.
    I will have a good think and get back to you chaps in the next 24-48 hrs but yes, I am happy in theory to proceed with both Graham's and Richie's suggestions in terms of trying to get something perhaps unique/novel conjured up out of the microdisc case as otherwise it just becomes nothing more than a paperweight with a dead 3" drive in it.
    I'm just trying to get my head around how you could possibly fit two drives in there though - surely there aint the room to have two drives (3.5" and Gotek out the front fascia?) I'm possibly missing something (it is late/1st day back at work and I've had a few Guinness' so I'm ready for me pit).
    Yes, if you could send me the Oric-1, Rich, that would be great (your electronics parcel left Hull earlier today bound for you - hopefully you've received some tracking). That's very kind you offering Graham your Oric-1 to play with - else he can have a dabble with mine for a wee while - whatever.
    Once more, cheers again, chaps, for all your prep work - much appreciated as ever.
     
  24. by Graham
    Graham

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    I've found similar as well, I have no experiance but I've been having a bit of a play today, I don't have a 3D printer, and to be honest, all what I'd call home setup's unless a lot of money has been spent don't produce particularly good results, however the parts I've ordered from "I Materialise.com" I've been very pleased with, I don't mind paying extra if I'm getting something that's well made. Mind you the cost of a titanium ones are pretty high ..

     
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  25. by Graham
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    He He I was going to bed earlier however we have a new Purdy Cat, curtsey of a good friend of Pam's; circumstances not so good as she's in hospital.. Said Purdy Cat now called 'Eeow' is doing just that and keeping us awake...

    To help Andy when his more with it ;);)

    The interface within the Microdrive supports two drives, currently one internal and a connector on the rear for an additional one or a Gotek whatever you want to use. So let’s look at space..
    Well I’ll start off with the broken 3" drive , this has a front face area measuring 95mm wide (I hope) and 41mm high.
    I've just found 3.5" drives at 95mm wide & 13mm in height. In theory this should fit across the width just fine..
    that leaves the height , 41mm - 13mm for the new miniature drive leaves 28mm , actually more than needed for a Gotek type drive, although narrower, however the electronics of the Gotek are narrow and should fit fine, worst case if we wanted, all the connections could be made remote from the board.

    Somehow we need to mount the drive and the Gotek electronics, there are several ways to achieve this including the use of a 3D printed panel and mounts, all printed as one. it picks up the original floppy drive mounting points, those of the Gotek and the new mini drive.
    Other solutions or combinations exist such as using thin blank PCB material and solder bits together..
    Can even solder brass nuts on so great for some mounting jobs.

    I think the main thing is to try it all out first

    Re you're repaired Oric1 Andy, Richie reports that the /ROMDIS signal is not available on this model, so the external ROM within the Microdrive will not run. It could be modified however ( the Oric that is)

    And thats why Richie has so kindly offered me the loan of his Oric, I'll also be looking at two Microdrive interface boards, with a hope of getting these working.

    If the Gotek + 3.5" works for you then you have two items to sell if you chose..
     

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