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Was there a reason why US 3rd party A8 compat. disk drives didnt come to UK

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Actually, the magnetic flux direction will be reversed depending on which side of Greenwich you're on at the time.

 

This presents a conundrum for drive manufacturers since in the UK you might be on one or the other, or in fact travel betwen the two.

The simple solution is to incorporate a switch to allow the user to select the correct polarity depending on the longitude of their location but increases the cost of the drive to the point where it might have been more expensive than the Atari offering.

 

Modern day manufacturers have the benfit of GPS which is incorporated into the controller chips of HDDs and the firmware can simply detect location and switch polarity to suit.

 

Wouldn't it be easier just to use the back side of the floppy. If you bought the correctly aligned floppies for your longitude, reversing it should be as simple as taking the floppy out of the drive and flipping it over. Or does the polarity on the ac plug also need to be reversed?

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On 3/19/2013 at 4:21 PM, idavis said:

 

Wouldn't it be easier just to use the back side of the floppy. If you bought the correctly aligned floppies for your longitude, reversing it should be as simple as taking the floppy out of the drive and flipping it over. Or does the polarity on the ac plug also need to be reversed?

Its like water down the sink, the rotational direction of the disk needs to be changed as well.  Southern hemisphere drives spin backwards 🙂

 

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I'm assuming this is a joke... magnetic flux directions is North To South and shouldn't be affected by longitude location.  Unless I'm really off...

 

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Necrobump, but at the time I thought they would not work due to US 110V power supplies, but that would not have been a major issue as with most 3rd party drives having external PSUs importers could have sourced local PSUs (just like I do today when buying US 3rd party drives).

Today I think it was a money/market thing with the majority of users using cassettes in the UK. I don‘t remember any cassette users here but then you‘d only swap with floppy owners.


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Slightly off the subject, where is Carmel?  Over 6 years since last active.

 

I can recall someone having an Indus GT here but no other 3rd party drives.

We had the same shitty situation as UK and EU until the 8-bits were superceded in that disk drive prices were ridiculously high.

I paid something like $450 for a 1050 in 1984 and when the 810 was the only option it was probably closer to $800.

Chances are most of the 3rd party drives once imported and partnered with suitable PS would have cost close to the OEM drives which would have discouraged buyers.

Not to mention the distribution network being poor before the Tramiel era, and even worse for 3rd party products.

 

UK I believe was big on tapes as mentioned previously - by the time the 1050 and XF551 prices dropped to general affordability levels, the price advantage if any for 3rd party drives probably would have vanished.

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Yeah, price advantages would probably have been eradicated by smaller batches, no dealer network, etc. Main selling point for me would have been DD (I had an 810 that cost more than the 800 IIRC), but with the 1050 that came into reach with upgrades for those who needed or at least wanted it.

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In general, there seemed to be less money around for home computers in the UK and Ireland at least. Disk drives were a massive luxury that often cost more than the computer itself. And, given most owners at the time were kids (and mostly only used them for games), the stores and even the manufacturers took to bundling a machine, tape deck and a couple of games for Christmas purchases. Which is how most people in these parts came to own their 8-bits. You'd have to have very rich parents to end up with a disk drive - I never even saw a disk drive in the flesh for an A8 or Commodore 8-bit until the retro revival started a few years back and people finally had the disposable income to buy the hardware they coveted as kids.

 

Aside from that, when all your friends only have games on cassette, a disk drive doesn't really make sense for swapping and copying games. In my school, the C64 was king, with a few Speccy users and the odd A8 user like myself, but everyone swapped tapes in their own platform groups.

Edited by Daedalus2097
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In the Netherlands between 1986-1991, 65% of my small group of friends (20 people) had Atari 1050 diskdrives. 3 friends had drive upgrades (Us-Doubler and Happy).

Edited by Stormtrooper of Death

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Around 1983 I there would have been 5 of my group (including me) with Ataris but only 2 with drives, within 2 years all but one had drives.

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I only knew Happy Drives or US Doublers from US magazine ads and can't remember seeing them in any shop here. I can't even remember seeing the German Happy equivalents but maybe didn't care that much either with my 810. 

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I cant remember exact years but we had a 400 first,I think in '1982 probably when the XL's were about to be released because I remember them being mega expensive.
Later we upgraded the 400 to 32k.
I remember using the 400 with a 1050 before we upgraded to an 800XL.
The 1050 we had modded by a guy in a dodgy part of town with a lazer mod  (probably a clone) 
This was handy to run all the backups from the guys at Marconi Radar that my Dad knew 🏴‍☠️
I had never heard of Percom, Astra,Indus etc until I joined up here many many years later.

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4 hours ago, Rybags said:

Slightly off the subject, where is Carmel?  Over 6 years since last active.

 

 

 

Hmm.. I had the same thought too...

 

For me (Ireland), the disc drives were never affordable. In fact, the drives where more expensive than the computer system themselves. As such it was all casette drives 1010, XC11, XC12 as the final.

 

When it came that I could afford, I managed an XF551 in 1989, but even then it was circa £299 versus a 130XE with XC12 (bundle) that was £149! If Atari was this expensive all others were going to be worse... so no effective market. 

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Last time I heard from Carmel was around the 6yr time, he was going on about him and Noel Daniel (coder of Thunderfox and one of the coders of Sidewinder) being mates which was true as we both knew Noel, me via Atari User and we both were customers of Silica Shop in London where Noel worked. Never knowingly met Carmel although he was sure he'd met me. Seemed a nice bloke but like me as of late, he often got his facts skewed.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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Don't know about Carmel, but I am still here. Pop in every now and then to check on things. My 1050 has a US Doubler in it. Always wanted a Happy Drive, but was pleased with the Doubler.

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On 3/17/2020 at 11:21 AM, Mclaneinc said:

Last time I heard from Carmel was around the 6yr time, he was going on about him and Noel Daniel (coder of Thunderfox and one of the coders of Sidewinder) being mates which was true as we both knew Noel, me via Atari User and we both were customers of Silica Shop in London where Noel worked. Never knowingly met Carmel although he was sure he'd met me. Seemed a nice bloke but like me as of late, he often got his facts skewed.

Factorial drift, the struggles are real!

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Worst thing is that I'm suffering from the drift myself these days...The times I sit there utterly stumped at a person's name...Sigh...The knackers yard is looming for me...

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On 3/17/2020 at 9:10 AM, JayoK said:

 

Hmm.. I had the same thought too...

 

For me (Ireland), the disc drives were never affordable. In fact, the drives where more expensive than the computer system themselves. As such it was all casette drives 1010, XC11, XC12 as the final.

 

When it came that I could afford, I managed an XF551 in 1989, but even then it was circa £299 versus a 130XE with XC12 (bundle) that was £149! If Atari was this expensive all others were going to be worse... so no effective market. 

I think that the North American market collapsed too quickly in 1987-88 to give American drive makers time to pivot to an international market where a tight budget was key and margins on disk drives (probably) appreciably smaller than in North America. It's worth remembering that the California Access CA2001 did make it to Poland, though. 

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On 3/12/2013 at 7:34 AM, Bryan said:

Home computers took a while longer to take off in Europe/UK, so there wasn't much of a market for costly add-ons. Also there were many other machines more popular than the US brands. Atari was still shipping cassette drives to the rest of the world long after they were considered obsolete in the US.

Yeah, and by the time disk drives started selling any quantity in Europe, the US manufacturers had probably moved on.
16/32 bit machines were taking off in the US.

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