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manterola

Idea:External Atari ST drive transformed to 8-bit (XF551 internals)

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I really like the aesthetic of the XE line (I also love the XL one, but not mixed up) which is the same as the ST line. So why not to use a SF3x4 drive 3.5" mechanism and case, and then create a XF551 PCB with new smaller dimensions, like the new XF551 PCBs produced by Dropcheck but everything squeezed.

I would love to see that drive working along with a 130XE, XM301 modem or XC11 cassette recorder, for example.

The xf551 with 3.5 mech just look weird.

It is just an idea, no real practical use, but it should be very very cool.

What do you think, pals and gals?

 

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I don't see why not, if the boards are made. Plus, the ST drives style matches the XE line better with the slanted lines where the XF551 they did straight venting and only the basic shape matches up ok next to XE computers. Back before the days of MyIDE II and SiDE 2, I had the original MyIDE cart connected to a 3.5" laptop HDD and had it installed in an SF314 case powered by the SF314's board and the ribbon cable coming out where floppies usually went in. It looked pretty good, though if I did it again I'd run the ribbon cable out the back somehow and use the floppy slot to mount and SD card drive too. But that was when I had a 130XE still. I've gone all XL since and want all my peripherals XL styled and colored. Now I have an 800 again, so some stuff for it I'll want to look like the 800 line.

Edited by Gunstar

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Atari did have a prototype 3.5" drive for the 8-Bits, the XF-351, Single Sided, double density (80 tracks, 18x256byte sectors per track, for 360K) but was never released. Same mechanism as the ST's SF314. Very similar operation / hardware to the XF551, probably only firmware differences.

post-53052-0-13390300-1544589131.jpg

 

a small number of the prototypes are 'out there'...

quite a number of previous threads about the XF351, but this one is a good read: :) http://atariage.com/forums/topic/231674-xf351-for-sale-on-ebay/

and on Igi blog: http://blog.3b2.sk/igi/post/ATARI-floppy-disk-drive-XF351-part2.aspx

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BTW, does anybody have better pictures of an XF521 -- or better yet, the driver itself that they can picture?

 

I know it's just a recased 1050; but it'd sure look nicer than a standard 1050, next to a 130XE.

 

The only pictures I have so far are a couple of blowups from a 130XE and XEGS system box,

and this other not too great pictures where it was apparently seen floating through space...

 

post-6369-0-66588100-1544590001_thumb.jpg

 

post-6369-0-41588600-1544590006.jpg

 

post-6369-0-05335000-1544590011.jpg

 

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Very similar operation / hardware to the XF551, probably only firmware differences.

 

We have the firmware, btw. Bob1200XL dumped and posted it when he was selling his drive on Ebay a few years back.

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Thanks for all this info. The thread of Bob1200XL was great. At the end everything boils down to: 1) is the mech compatible? (depends on the different versions of ST 3.5 drives, different connectors, etc). 2) Can we fit xf551 components in the space available? 3)if yes (I believe we can since Atari corp. already did it) someone need to design the PCB (or PCBs depending on which ST3x4 we need to transform or modify).Then we can populate the PCB.

I'll start trying to put a ST mech in the XF551 case and see if I can make it work (question #1). That already is a lot to do at least in my case

pixelmischief: could you explain the obtacles and give us some insights? what things have stopped you to complete this project? (I am almost sure the question is not in proper English grammar ;-) )

 

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With the advent of MIDI for the 8-bit, along with this, why not just rebrand a 520/1040 ST case, as an 8-bit one. I always thought the aesthetics fit better with the 8-bit era, on those early models. icon_smile.gif

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With the advent of MIDI for the 8-bit, along with this, why not just rebrand a 520/1040 ST case, as an 8-bit one. I always thought the aesthetics fit better with the 8-bit era, on those early models. icon_smile.gif

Yeah - we can hook most all of the keys too. The extra num-pad would be nice, as would the extra internal space for mods.

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AFAIK, the ST drives are standard PC compatible mechanisms, the only thing special was the long oblong eject buttons. And the 314 (single sided) vs 354 (double sided).

 

Dropcheck has reimaged XF-551 PCB's: https://www.bitsofthepast.com/?product=xf551-control-board-bundle

 

and there's a selection of ROMs to give 80 track support, ie Bob Wooley's slightly modified Atari ROM, the ground-up Hyper-XF. there's also CSS ROM's, but they require (maybe optional?) additional hardware components for flippy timing hole sensor, and 2nd drive connections.

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This might do the trick. Dropcheck made a small XF board for mounting the drive in a small case (along with a 1088XEL). You'd have to add SIO ports and power.

post-8513-0-20335200-1544676423_thumb.jpg

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Atari did have a prototype 3.5" drive for the 8-Bits, the XF-351, Single Sided, double density (80 tracks, 18x256byte sectors per track, for 360K) but was never released. Same mechanism as the ST's SF314. Very similar operation / hardware to the XF551, probably only firmware differences.

 

Theoretically such a solution is easy to made.

 

1. Dropcheck makes a new PCB of the re-imaged XF551 PCB. Because no power supply part is needed (the SF354/SF314 has 5 and 12 volts), the PCB can be much smaller and, more important, must NOT require a XF551 as a organ donor. All parts are availible except the special oscillator, but Dropcheck has also made a fine solution.

2. With the Hyper-XF O.S. you can attach any 3.5 80 track mechanic. No other changes possible, and Hyper-XF is much better than the genuine firmware

 

Just my 2 cents.. I would do that way :)

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And the 314 (single sided) vs 354 (double sided).

 

 

Actually it's the other way around.....which always seemed weird to me.

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Actually it's the other way around.....which always seemed weird to me.

Really? Indeed, thanks for correcting. haven't touched one in a very long time.

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This might do the trick. Dropcheck made a small XF board for mounting the drive in a small case (along with a 1088XEL). You'd have to add SIO ports and power.

 

Looks like you could mount that board in an old SX212 case.

 

The back of that unit already has cut outs for the SIO connector, and the DB25 could probably be easily replaced with a 34-pin floppy disk connector.

 

Then just run a Shugart 34-pin to Atari 14-pin connector cable to a stock SF314.

 

If the power draw from this board is low enough it could even be run off the SIO's 5V power line.

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Maybe it would be possible to just make a 'converter box' that has the board internally, with SIO plug, and then an ST Floppy drive 14 pin DIN port exposed, where you could plug an SF314/354 external drive un-modified into it? SX-212 type box sounds like a good candidate.

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On the above Dropcheck PCB -- where do the SIO jacks go? Was there another small board that connected to it?

 

Once upon a time, I adapted an Indus GT1000 (IIRC the number) -- it was a 3-1/2" 720K drive for the ST, but I had to hook it to a Black Box/Floppy Board for it to work.

 

-Larry

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J1 connector bottom right. Those are the Sio signals. Problem is Dropcheck doesn't have any available.

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Hello ZuluGula

 

Something like this?

 

Please tell us more about the PCB you are using.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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FYI:

 

manterola, tf_hh and I are working on a modified XF551 pcb for the Atari SF314/354 line of floppy drives. But with Christmas coming on, we probably won't have a prototype for a couple of months.

 

Preliminary info:

 

Will use some original parts from the pcb, namely the power connector, Inductors and power supply for the drive. Since the data connectors are almost impossible to find in numbers, that most likely will have to be changed to something that is available. That means a custom SIO cable. My goal is to make as little changes to the case as possible. We hope to make one pcb that will fit both case styles, but worst case will do one version for each. The assumption is that an industry standard 720 3 1/2" floppy drive will be supported. More info as design and testing progresses.

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