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ldelsarte

Best DOS to use with 3"1/2 clone of Atari XF551 floppy drive?

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Dear all,


I've indulged myself with a great new 3"1/2 disk drive that I bought from "Sell My Retro".
Until I can find and afford a true XF351 prototype, I'm truly happy with this disk drive.
It's a hand-made clone of the XF551, with a 3"1/2 mechanism.
I got it with a bootable DOS II+ disk (Stefan Dorndorf). It works fine.
I tried to operate the drive with the SpartaDOS X cartridge, and formatted a 720kb disk, fine!
Now, I'd like to get your expertise: SpartaDOS X allows me to format the diskette but not to make it bootable with a copy of the DOS... For a 3"1/2 disk drive, what do you think would be the best DOS, to create "bootable", 720kb formatted 3"1/2 diskettes?

 

I would also like to get any documentation about this motherboard, to figure out what this J6 section (S1/S2/SIDE/STEP/DIR/TR00/VCC) is useful for.


Thank you!
Laurent

 

(I've got more pictures of the drive and its motherboard if anyone is interested)

inside 01.jpg

inside 02.jpg

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SpartaDOS and MyDOS for the win...

I could take you down the DOS XE path one day... but no... we won't go there... nah...

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, ldelsarte said:

I tried to operate the drive with the SpartaDOS X cartridge, and formatted a 720kb disk, fine!

Just check if the disk's capacity is really 720 KB after that. Just recently I had a chance to play for several hours with one of these drives, and in seemingly identical configuration: XF551 + 3.5-inch floppy drive, by Zaxon. All was fine except that the drive did not really format the diskettes to 720k, when told to do so, just 360k.

 

EDIT: it must be added, that this behaviour is unfortunately pretty common in disk drives, i.e. accepting impossible geometries then returning no errors whatsoever neither on that nor on the subsequent format command. I remember that my TopDrive 1050 was happily buying 80-track SSDD geometries, but the floppy really was of course formatted to a 40-track SSDD.

 

Also, the firmware in the XF drive I was dealing with did not handle the PERCOM commands correctly: the WRITE PERCOM was accepted (hence there was no problem in formatting floppies to whatever density was selected), but the READ PERCOM always returned the geometry for a SSDD-formatted disk (180k). The symptom of that is that the SDX 4.4 formatter complains about invalid parameters when e.g. 360k formatting is being ordered...

 

Edited by drac030
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11 minutes ago, drac030 said:

the firmware in the drive I was dealing with did not handle the PERCOM commands correctly

I presume were not using the Hyper-XF firmware then? Sounds like maybe one of the many patches done to the original Atari XF-551 firmware?

 

 

1 hour ago, ldelsarte said:

SpartaDOS X allows me to format the diskette but not to make it bootable with a copy of the DOS... For a 3"1/2 disk drive, what do you think would be the best DOS, to create "bootable", 720kb formatted 3"1/2 diskettes?

 

After a disk is formatted with SpartaDOS X, you can copy a Disk-Based SpartaDOS to the disk, and use the "BOOT" command to set it as the bootable DOS. IE For SpartaDOS 3.2f, copy X32F.DOS to the floppy D1:, then type BOOT D1:X32F.DOS.

 

Sparta3.2 should work well with the Hyper-XF ROM as it supports ICD's UltraSpeed protocol. If you are using a drive ROM that is a patched derivative of Atari's original firmware, there is a patched version of Sparta 3.2 out there that suports the XF highspeed protocol. Or, there are versions that remove all DOS based HSIO support like 3.3, which allow you to use OS ROM based routines, like Hias's highspeed routines without help from DOS.

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my understanding is you need to provide a WD1772 floppy controller chip and replace the WD1770 to be able to get to the 720kb.

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2 hours ago, manterola said:

my understanding is you need to provide a WD1772 floppy controller chip and replace the WD1770 to be able to get to the 720kb.

According to the WD datasheet, the only difference between WD1770 and 1772 is the 1772 can do faster stepping rates...

wd.png.4b40fdbb4608ca7717daf3db0ed78b26.png

This document also has more readable specifics: https://www.chiark.greenend.org.uk/~theom/riscos/docs/ultimate/a252wd.txt

   r1,r0 = head track-to-track stepping rates.               (all)
              r1   r0   1770/3           1772
               0    0    6 ms             6 ms
               0    1   12 ms            12 ms
               1    0   20 ms             2 ms
               1    1   30 ms             3 ms

Stepping rate has no connection to ability to read/write 80 tracks 720K DD, but the 1772 would be better suited for 3.5" mechs which are capable of the faster step speeds.. According to the FAQ, only later model XF551's had 1770's.

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he says on the site that the "HYPER" ROM doesn't work with the 1770 and you have to us a 1772.  There should also be a switch to swap between ROM versions.  Whatever that means...

 

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23 hours ago, _The Doctor__ said:

SpartaDOS and MyDOS for the win...

I could take you down the DOS XE path one day... but no... we won't go there... nah...

I genuinely tried for two weeks to use DOS XE.

 

It feels way way way too awkward.

-Thom

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Posted (edited)

Exactly,

it is very awkward,

 

1) the shift to high speed needs to happen sooner

2) if a good CP were provided it would make it a very nice DOS

3) a more streamlined menu system is needed where you don't have go 2 levels of related hierarchy to get to something

4) more modules provided through the mythical good cp would be a plus

5) just because you have start select and option doesn't mean HAVE to use them all the time.

6) In the menu help key should bring up the manual, or HELP file prompt so you can query for for something... but you should be able to do the same typing from CP

 

Edited by _The Doctor__
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53 minutes ago, tschak909 said:

I genuinely tried for two weeks to use DOS XE.

 

It feels way way way too awkward.

-Thom

 

Are you sure?

 

Press Start to continue or Select to abort.

 

🤣

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Hello ! ;-)

 

When questionned about the fact that my drive didn't have the switch depicted on the site (front panel, above the drive), Zaxon, the vendor wrote to me:
    Hi, the switch was for Normal ROM/Hyper in my first drives.
    But, Unfortunately, WD1772 is difficult and very expensive to buy, so I started installing WD1770.
    They don't work with Hyper. Only with normal ROM. So I cancel also switch.
    Hyper is still in ROM, but is disabled.
    To upgrade drive, you must instal WD1772 controller and add switch to J3 inside drive.

    
The thing is, does anybody know how to cable/how to use the J2 jumpers and J6 connectors?

 

Please find enclosed a new picture, with flat ribbon cable removed, so that you can see more.

inside 03.jpg

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I know there is a language barrier going on here, but what is the "normal ROM"... the standard XF551 Rom?

Knowing nothing about this device (although I considered buying one at one point in time) I would think you don't need to worry at all about J6.  Those lines are on the FDD connector.  My eyes are going, I don't see a J3 on this board.  But as long as you have Zaxon's attention, have you asked him what those connectors are for?

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"Normal" ROM would probably be one of the original Atari ROMs + patches by bob wooley for 3.5" 80 tracks. So it's probably only "highspeed" capable - 38400bps.

 

If you can dump your 2764 and post here that can be confirmed...

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On 3/29/2020 at 4:15 AM, Nezgar said:

If you can dump your 2764 and post here that can be confirmed

I'll be happy to help if it's a simple operation to perform... I'm not an electronic circuitry expert, I don't know how to dump a chip.

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2 hours ago, ldelsarte said:

I'll be happy to help if it's a simple operation to perform... I'm not an electronic circuitry expert, I don't know how to dump a chip.

Easiest method is using a cheap EPROM programmer to read it, such as the popular TL866, or inserting it into an Atari EPROM cartridge PCB. But thinking about this, its probably easier if I just email Zaxon and ask for a copy of what he's using. :D

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No need to email apparently. 8) With a little bit of searching, I found the ROM file they're using posted at the bottom of this page:

http://www.eightbitclone.com/xf551.html

 

The 16KB ROM, when split into two 8KB blocks has these 2 CRC32's:

First: The first 4KB has CRC F3EEF923 - Which matches Bob Woolley's XF 720k, 2nd 4KB is blank

Second: E6D8F679 - Matches 8KB S.Dorndorf's Hyper-XF "B" for 720K 3.5" drives. (2nd 4KB is blank)

 

So yes - locked in the "first" bank, you're using A "mostly" stock Atari XF-551 ROM, with Bob Wooley's patches for 3.5" use, as described here:

https://www.atarimax.com/freenet/freenet_material/5.8-BitComputersSupportArea/7.TechnicalResourceCenter/showarticle.php?65

 

So indeed, you'll be limited to 38400bps "XF" highspeed protocol.

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I also thought that there was a problem making any disk over 360K with that FDC... there is another thread here on AA about that.

 

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