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Le Derp

Floppy Drive without PEB

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As the nanoPEB and CF7+ are no longer available, is there any way to connect a 360k/720k 3.5" floppy drive to the TI-99/4a without dealing with the shipping costs of the PEB?

 

Thanks in advance!

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There are several options for connecting a floppy drive without the PEB, but none of them are easy to find. TI made a sidecar disk controller peripheral that would connect up to three drives--but the controller was limited to 90K disks (Single-Sided Single-Density, SSSD). These come up on eBay once every month or two. Note: the disk drives it uses are 5.25 (and you can connect a couble-sided drive, it just won't see the second side--compatible drives are generally identified as 180K (single-sided) or 360k (double-sided)). These usually sell for $50 to $100.

 

Percom Data also made a sidecar plug-in (TX-99) that worked in a similar fashion to the one from TI, but would also work with Double-Sided drives (DSSD). These are pretty hard to find, but they work nicely (and they usually sell for less than $100).

 

CorComp made the CC9900 sidecar. It comes in a couple of configurations, so you have to be careful. The base configuration has just an RS-232/Parallel port combination in it. There is an additional board that adds 32K and a Double-Density Disk Controller, but it is not always present. This disk controller will format disks to 360K, and it can control four of them. These show up on eBay two or three times a year, but rarely go for less than $250.

 

There are other sidecar disk options--one from Myarc (the MPES-50), and one from Atronic (the CPS-99), but neither of these come up for sale very often. Between the two of them you might see one system for sale every two or three years. . .and the price will be above $300.

 

It would also be possible to build a three-slot PEB using some Australian plans and put a PEB disk controller in it. . .

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I honestly can't invest in an option more than about $30-$40 at the moment. Is there a way to use a CompactFlash/SDCard in place of the floppy drive, or maybe connect an HxC floppy emulator to the TI99?

 

EDIT: Even better, is there a way to let me play cartridge games from an SD card/ CompactFlash? Something like a custom cartridge with a card slot on it, or a way to connect it to my PC and add games to it?

Edited by Le Derp

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There is Flashrom99 if you just want a plug in cartridge/SD card reader. https://endlos99.github.io/flashrom99/You can build one or get a built one. It's pretty new and exciting.

 

The stock TI-99/4a has no disk controller inside it. It is a peripheral option via PEB, NanoPEB or Sidecar. The HxC would plug into whatever disk controller option you went with.

 

This was one of the reasons the TI struggled in the home computer since making the jump from cassette to disk was so much more expensive than on machines like C64, Atari etc. Of course it's a lot less expensive now since you can get your hands on a populated PEB for much less than they were back in the day.

 

I don't think $30-$40 will get you to the result you are looking for.

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