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How do I use disks? Complete NOOB.

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I've gotten my hands on a PEB with 32k and Disk controller + 2 drives installed, but I have NO idea how to use a disk drive on a TI.

 

I have a Flashrom99, and I've tested the drives with drivemanager 3, and I can write images to the disks using my greaseweazle.

But how do I load anything? Is there a tutorial on getting started with disks for the TI?

 

Thanks.

 

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I've gotten my hands on a PEB with 32k and Disk controller + 2 drives installed, but I have NO idea how to use a disk drive on a TI.
 
I have a Flashrom99, and I've tested the drives with drivemanager 3, and I can write images to the disks using my greaseweazle.
But how do I load anything? Is there a tutorial on getting started with disks for the TI?
 
Thanks.
 
How about the FAQ?

https://www.arcadeshopper.com/wp/ti-99-4a-faq/

Sent from my LM-V600 using Tapatalk

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Be sure to note that characters for device and filenames MUST be in uppercase when reading and writing.

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So, the disk drive part of the faq leaves a lot out..

 

Is a cart required to use the drive with the peb?

What cart is used for what? Do some disks require extended basic? What cart is needed for commercial applications?

What extensions are usually used per cart?

 

 

 

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Pickup a Finagrom as the flashrom99 is an older technology and you're sure to ask questions that the finalgrom will answer.

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So, the disk drive part of the faq leaves a lot out..
 
Is a cart required to use the drive with the peb?
What cart is used for what? Do some disks require extended basic? What cart is needed for commercial applications?
What extensions are usually used per cart?
 
 
 
I added some content lmk if you still have questions

Basically you need to disk manager to format discs. That can be loaded with a disk manager cart extended basic or editor assembler can be used to load a disk manager from disk.

Otherwise no cartridges required to load and save files from disk

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Different programs use different carts yes, but the finalgrom tries to solve that issue by supplying carts images.

Edited by GDMike

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Disks are storage. To do storage administration, you need a module (like the disk manager), or some disk manager program you can load and run.

But apart from that, it's not the disks that use various modules or programs. It's the other way around. No matter if you use BASIC, Extended BASIC, Multiplan, TI Writer, the p-system or whatever, these programs/languages will then use the disks to store files and later retreive them again.

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3 hours ago, dabone said:

I've gotten my hands on a PEB with 32k and Disk controller + 2 drives installed, but I have NO idea how to use a disk drive on a TI.

 

I have a Flashrom99, and I've tested the drives with drivemanager 3, and I can write images to the disks using my greaseweazle.

But how do I load anything? Is there a tutorial on getting started with disks for the TI?

 

Thanks.

 

Dabone,

 

You have asked a question that for the majority of us, we learned how to do 40+ years ago.

 

There are programs and data files on diskettes.  How to load them is often times described in the manuals that came with the program.  As you likely do not have too many manuals, there are a "must have" modules that you can focus on using to load a program that is identified as PROGRAM when viewed with a disk manager program.  That is Extended Basic and the Editor/Assembler module.  Extended Basic is used for programs where you can do a LIST and see the program contents while the Editor Assembler loads assembly language programs using Option #5.  There is also an Editor/Assembler Option #3 for DIS/FIX 80 files that may be on the disk.  My comments above are for "general" consideration and use as there are special loaders for Extended Basic that can load assembly programs and more.  There are just so many programs, data files, and variety of loaders, etc. that no one answer is going to cover all your bases.

 

Some programs have documents on the disks as DIS/VAR 80 files that are loaded with an editor program like TI Writer.  TI Writer requires both a module as well as a disk to load files to use it before loading programs.

 

A useful program if you can find the disk setup, would be FUNNELWEB for 40 columns for your computer.  It has a lot of functionality and flexibility to accomplish.

 

You can also go to ftp.whtech.com and look down at "datasheets and manuals" and find a lot of content there for documentation.  I would suggest finding the program TIDIR for running on a Windows system at https://www.ti99-geek.nl under projects that will allow you to catalog many disks and if they have documentation on the DSK image, you can read things that way instead of using TI-Writer as mentioned earlier.

 

If you can't figure out how to load a particular disk that may be of interest to you, PLEASE speak up here and inquire for the specific disk.  Maybe even post the file/disk image if you have a question about how to use it.  Then, as you become more and more familiar with the system, things will be more obvious.

 

Please also be aware that any file you may find for the TI-99/4A that has a ZIP file extension, means it must be unzipped on a PC, then the individual files copied over to the TI System before use.  

 

As I said, feel free to post specific questions if you are having an issue after you have taken time to read the FAQ above, and looked at some of documentation files mentioned on Whtech.

 

Beery

 

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One thing that has been assumed, but not yet explicitly said, is that the first step towards using any given disk is learning what is on that disk. A disk manager will let you catalog the disk so that you know the names of the programs on it. Many things in "PROGRAM" format are vanilla TI BASIC programs, although some BASIC programs may require the Terminal Emulator II cartridge, the Mini Memory, the Editor Assembler, or TI Extended BASIC. Other PROGRAM files may require TI LOGO, Adventure, or Tunnels of Doom cartridges. Often, the key to understanding what you need there will be hidden within the contents of the disk--and when that doesn't work, try loading with Extended BASIC first.

 

Some folks have suggested using a Final GROM. That's a really good idea if you don't have the cartridge you need to load something, as the Final GROM will load and run almost any cartridge made for the TI. Then you just need to parse out the disks to see which program will load and execute the software on them.

 

One other note: a disk with a program on it named "LOAD" has a special quality. If you put that disk in drive 1 and start Extended BASIC, it will find the load program, load it, and then execute it. This may help to identify a lot of the programs on some disks, as the LOAD program may give a menu of available programs or it may bootstrap into the main program on the disk.

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On 11/4/2021 at 1:01 PM, dabone said:

I've gotten my hands on a PEB with 32k and Disk controller + 2 drives installed, but I have NO idea how to use a disk drive on a TI.

 

I have a Flashrom99, and I've tested the drives with drivemanager 3, and I can write images to the disks using my greaseweazle.

But how do I load anything? Is there a tutorial on getting started with disks for the TI?

 

Thanks.

 

"I can write images to the disks using my greaseweazle."

 

Can you tell what format you are writing to? 

 

I think you'll get the most out of Double Sided Single Density at 40 Tracks. 

There is an 80 Track mod depending on what kind of floppy drive you have and success will depend on what kind of floppy Disk you are using.

 

 

 

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Unless it's an original TI disk controller, double density is what you should head for: double capacity, double speed (almost).

 

(For compatibility with other people's disk systems, single density is the safer option, though.)

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9 hours ago, mizapf said:

Unless it's an original TI disk controller, double density is what you should head for: double capacity, double speed (almost).

 

(For compatibility with other people's disk systems, single density is the safer option, though.)

And if the drive in the PEB is an original TI disk drive, you can only read/write to Single Sided, Single Density disks (90K). There are still a lot of PEBs out there with one of the original drives (an MPI-51 or the single-sided Shugart drives). An easy way to double your capacity in that case is to get a standard 360K 5.25 drive. It will format both sides and give you 180K with a TI controller--and if you find a CorComp, Myarc, Atronic, or BwG controller, the full 360K will now be available on that drive.

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Single side is clear if you have a drive with only one head, but why not double density?

The drive itself usually does not care what you send over its read/write head; they are really dumb devices, almost like a cassette recorder. The difference between SD and DD is a more efficient encoding; you have almost the same count of cell changes on the same way, but they encode twice as many bits. It's more an issue of the controller chip which must deal with the 250 kbit/s rate (instead of 125 kbit/s), and only if you switch to high density you need new surfaces of the disk and higher magnetic forces.

 

Edit: From my own lecture slides; upper diagram (green) is FM encoding, lower diagram (blue) is MFM encoding, both sequences encode the same data byte 0x1B. Note that the FM encoding used for single density has twice as many level changes than the MFM encoding for double density, so the MFM encoding can make use of smaller cells (2 ms instead of 4 ms) with roughly the same amount of level changes in the same area on the surface, hence you get twice as many cells in a track.

Screenshot_20211107_212415.png

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Single side is clear if you have a drive with only one head, but why not double density?
The drive itself usually does not care what you send over its read/write head; they are really dumb devices, almost like a cassette recorder. The difference between SD and DD is a more efficient encoding; you have almost the same count of cell changes on the same way, but they encode twice as many bits. It's more an issue of the controller chip which must deal with the 250 kbit/s rate (instead of 125 kbit/s), and only if you switch to high density you need new surfaces of the disk and higher magnetic forces.
The disc controller controls density the ti one only has a single density controller chip

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Yes, but Ksarul referred to the disk drive, not the controller.
True mostly because we assume if you have an original expansion box drive likely you have a Ti controller..

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2 hours ago, Ksarul said:

--and if you find a CorComp, Myarc, Atronic, or BwG controller, the full 360K will now be available on that drive.

Isn't that supposed to be 320K?

I believe that's what I used to get out of my CorComp setup.

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Double density is - except for TI's own (rare) DD controller - 18 sectors/track, which yields 360K (4·90K). I think there is an option to format to 16 sectors/track e.g. with the Myarc DDCC-1 and the MDM program.

 

Or does the Disk Manager 2 also format to 16 sectors/track? I'm not sure whether I ever used it with the later controllers.

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17 minutes ago, HOME AUTOMATION said:

Isn't that supposed to be 320K?

I believe that's what I used to get out of my CorComp setup.

 

No. It truly is 360 KiB (1440 sectors), though, I believe you can set it up for 320 KiB(?).

 

...lee

Edited by Lee Stewart
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1 hour ago, HOME AUTOMATION said:

Isn't that supposed to be 320K?

I believe that's what I used to get out of my CorComp setup.

The original DSR for the Myarc DDCC-1 formatted to 320K,and could neither format nor read 360K disks. Later revisions would also format to 360K to compete with CorComp offerings. Atronic and BwG controllers followed the CorComp 360K mode from the start, as it had become the de facto double-density standard. Myarc originally built their cards to be compatible with the TI specification, which was 320K. The only problem there was that the TI DSDD controller card using that format was never released, and the other TI offering that used it, the Hex-Bus Floppy, wasn't released either. As Myarc was the only manufacturer that had hardware in the field supporting the standard, they had no choice but to change to conform to the rest of the market. One note, they didn't abandon the 320K format entirely, as it always remained an option with DDCC-1 cards, and it was an available formatting option on the later HFDC and the Geneve9640 Master DSR. In the case of the Geneve, the Master DSR made the 320K (and 80-track, 720K) option available to any installed floppy controller capable of double density operation.

 

I do have one of the TI DSDD cards, one of the Hex-Bus drives, and a Myarc controller installed various systems at my house.

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I use the goteks drives, if I'm going to use a floppy drive other than a standard drive. They offer more. Did you get that? Hello?....

operator did we lose connection?

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By the way, the 320K format is by no means better than the 360K, possibly only when calculating a position on the disk (multiply by 16 is easier than by 18). You cannot even hope for a more robust recording; the 320K just has larger gaps between the sectors and at the end of the track.

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43 minutes ago, mizapf said:

By the way, the 320K format is by no means better than the 360K, possibly only when calculating a position on the disk (multiply by 16 is easier than by 18). You cannot even hope for a more robust recording; the 320K just has larger gaps between the sectors and at the end of the track.

Definitely true, @mizapf. I seem to remember there was a push back then for 320K as more reliable than the alternatives (even the IBM PC had a 320K disk formatting option), but in practice, that falsehood was very quickly put to rest and nearly every system out there was using 360K disks without issues.

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I have the original TI controller, and the disk I wrote with the greaseweazle are readable on the ti. (Well Disk Manager 3 lists the directories).

But this did answer my question, that there isn't really a dos like on the Apples, Ataris, or Commodores.

 

I think I'm just going to sell off this thing, and grab a Tipi 32k + FinalGrom99.

I don't keep systems hooked up all the time, I get one of the collection out and leave it hooked up for awhile to play, then on to a different one.

(I have way too many types of vintage machines to have them all connected)

 

My current play TI has a 32k internal sram mod with a older 2048 Games cart I bought off here a while ago. I'm going to pass that one off to a friend, with my Flashrom cart.

 

I also have 2 other TIs that are unmodified.

 

 

 

Edited by dabone
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