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DREM FDD/HDD Emulator


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#51 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Sep 6, 2018 6:16 PM

Well, the DREM is now working with two hard disk images on a TI-99/4A.  I have not added the other unit to the Geneve yet as I need to backup some files first on the Geneve.  Likely to be done sometime this weekend as time permits.

 

There were two issues with the last issue I mentioned above.  One, I had one line in a CFG file that needed to be removed, and another line that needed to be added.  Also, turns out there was a malloc issue with memory I apparently uncovered that is being fixed with an update in a few minutes.

 

I am right now formatting a 1024 cylinder, 16 head, 32 sector per track image.  My attempt to use a MAME HD image stripped of the header was initially unsuccessful.  Not sure if this is tied to the malloc issue and will allow easy migration between the two systems or not.

 

Ksarul (or anyone else with a DREM), write to me at beery at USWingNuts dot com and I will be happy to share the binary files and appropriate cfg files to get you up and going.  

 

The one thing I am up in the air about at the moment is mounting the DREM.  I thought it would mount as is in a 3.5" floppy drive mount that goes into a 5.25" bay.  The mount I have will not work due to some chip locations on the back of the card.  I am trying to find out if there is a recommended mount other than what I have that is suitable.  Then, I will be able to have 2 hard drives and a floppy drive in m PEBox.  

 

Beery



#52 RickyDean OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 7, 2018 5:51 AM

:thumbsup: Drool!!, Drool!! :thumbsup:   :grin:



#53 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Sep 8, 2018 12:47 PM

Been learning some limitations to the HFDC and DREM.

 

I've always thought the HFDC by default could support 16 heads.  Nope, it is 8 heads, unless you do a Barry Boone modification that was published in Micropendium.

 

I've got a good 40 MB image of the contents of my existing MFM hard drive on the Geneve and will be moving things across sometime in the next few  hours.  Once I connect it to my Geneve, I will be able to assemble some source files to confirm the MDM5 copying process was good.  Spot checks displaying source files have thus far been good.

 

Trying to create a 8 head x 32 sectors/track, 1024 cylinder image at the moment.

 

The DREM does some caching before writing to the SD card, and using two large capacity drives may be exceeding some of the onboard memory that created some issues I was experiencing.  After I get this single large image created, I am going to limit myself to that one drive on each system.

 

Beery

 



#54 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 9, 2018 6:40 PM

Well, I got the DREM attached to my Myarc HFDC in my Geneve system.  I would say everything is working as it should at the 99% level.

 

The only issue I have come across is in a dual hard drive emulation where one drive may "time out" if it is accessed after a lot of work has been done on the other drive.  At present, I have 2 x 40 MB drives being emulated.

The only time I saw the above issue is when I do a COPY Filepath\* to the current path.  MDOS attempts to buffer as many files in memory before it writes to the other path.  After the files are written and it goes back to the input path for more files, it sometimes comes back with a device error because of the timeout.  Using Clint Pulley's Directory Manager and I had no problem. 

 

I was able to use Mike Maksimik's CFORM as well from MDOS to format an image besides using MDM5 on the TI-99/4A.  It does report "ECC Errors" and attempts to fix them with Mike's CFORM.  When all was said and done, it had a good image.

 

Anyways, more testing as I seek out the optimum drive size (largest suitable for use) for a single drive setup.  Most of the last bit of work was identifying the various commands that needed to be either implemented as "default" in the HDC9234 cfg file to resolve the various nuances between all the MFM controllers out there.

 

If you need something to replace an aging MFM drive, this is the route to go.

 

Beery

 



#55 sparkdrummer ONLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 9, 2018 8:00 PM

My trigger finger is getting itchy to pull for my second TI-99/4A system. I sssume it will work well with it?

#56 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Sep 9, 2018 8:10 PM

My trigger finger is getting itchy to pull for my second TI-99/4A system. I sssume it will work well with it?

 

I have seen no issues with a single drive.  With dual drive images, there is a timeout issue with the way it handles the cache that is an annoyance.

 

The DREM is advertised as having a future of using both emulated floppies and hard drive images simultaneously.  I have not tested any floppies yet.  I suspect there may be a bit of trial and error to get the settings right for it as well.

 

Users getting one should get an all plastic 3.5" housing for a 5.25" drive bay.  They are available for about $5 and will need some #6 plastic screws for mounting in the plastic housing.  I picked some #6 plastic screws up at Ace Hardware.

 

Beery



#57 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:34 AM

Oleksandr sent me another update late last night.  This latest update appears to have resolved the timeout issues I was describing earlier.  I am now formatting a 128 MB image at 8 heads, 2048 cylinders, 32 sectors/cylinder.  On the DREM side, things are progressing well without errors. CFORM is going to take probably a couple of hours to finish this up.

 

Also, with last night's update, hard drive speed is now faster than the real hardware.  Previously, it took 80 seconds to assemble and save an image of a program I have on real hardware.  It now takes 60 seconds.

 

Beery



#58 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:58 AM

And as of about 9 pm last night, Oleksandr chased down and fixed the timeout issue.  I am successfully running 40 MB hard drive images without issue now.

 

Beery



#59 BeeryMiller OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Sep 12, 2018 5:14 AM

At this point, I am not aware of any issues with the DREM and use as emulating a MFM drive on the TI-99/4A.  MDM5 last night formatted a 8 head by 1024 cylinder by 32 sector per cylinder image (64 MB) and an 8 head by 2048 by 32 sector per cylinder image (128 MB) without issue with the DREM emulator.  I've now got over 500,000 sectors free on the 128 MB image.

 

I was using two MFM images for drive 1 and drive 2 without issue.

 

I will take the 128 MB image tonight, make a copy, and do testing on the Geneve 9640 with two images.

 

Things look good.

 

Ksarul, not sure if you have been in contact with Oleksandr or not.  If you need copies of the updated bin files or copies of formatted images, or all the cfg options I have setup, let me know.  Oleksandr can be reached at info@drem.info 

 

I know I am using some config options he added I know was not in the original manual.  He has been updating the online manual, just not sure where it is with the recent changes of the past few days.

 

Beery






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