Hello from Hampshire

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sixedup
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Hello from Hampshire

Post by sixedup » Fri Jul 10, 2020 1:41 am

Hello, I'm Richard. Many years ago my first computer was a BBC Model A, which I eventually upgraded with a single floppy drive. For the last 35 years it's all been securely boxed up, moving between a succession of lofts. Like many of us, I've got a little time on my hands at the moment, and decided I wanted to get it back in action. So here I am!

I'm building a plan of action, and making a shopping list ...
1) Recap the PSU
2) Add an EEPROM (or two?!) so I can change ROM images on demand
3) I've acquired an old LCD TV with analogue tuner, composite and SCART inputs ... so I'm hoping to hook RGB -> SCART ... but long term would like a @hoglet67 / @IanB RGB2HDMI adapter so I can use a modern monitor. Unfortunately my soldering isn't good enough for SMD, so this will need to wait until IanB is able to arrange a production run
4) I'm guessing most of my floppies are dead by now, so would like to add a virtual floppy system (MMC/SDcard or USB?) and re-acquire as much of my software as possible
5) Add an PiTubeDirect co-processor

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Daveo
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Daveo » Fri Jul 10, 2020 3:00 am

Hi Richard. I also live in Hampshire :)

I have a suggestion for point 4, why not try a Gotek Floppy Emulator drive. It uses a USB stick to store disc images on. I'm sure it will work with the BBC Model A and DFS images.
- Dave

RiscPC 700 - StrongARM 233MHz, 96MB RAM, 2MB VRAM, Gotek Floppy Emulator Drive & 20GB Hard Disc. 486 DX4-100 PC Card. RiscOS 4.39.
Raspberry Pi 3B - ARM Cortex-A53 1.2GHz (Quad Core), 1GB RAM & 32GB MicroSD. RiscOS 5.27.

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richardtoohey
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by richardtoohey » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:41 am

I'm a Richard too.

Never lived in Hampshire, but had a mate who lived in Fleet.

Welcome! :D

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Multiwizard
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Multiwizard » Fri Jul 10, 2020 7:07 am

Hi Richard,

welcome to this great Forum... :D


Greetings from my little Dutch Atomic Attic, Wim... :-)

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flaxcottage
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by flaxcottage » Fri Jul 10, 2020 9:49 am

Welcome, Richard. :D

From experience and depending on how your floppies were stored, you should find that they will work just fine. I've archived several thousand 5.25" floppies and less than 1% are bad and can be read. At least 75% of my 5.25" floppies will take a reformat and save/load reliably. 3.5" floppies seem to be much more reliable. Ex-PC HD floppies do tend to not accept reformatting but these are less than 5%. You will need a disk drive cleaner, which for 5.25" drives are as scarce as hen's teeth.

I have cassette tapes from the very early 1980s and these work too.

GOTEKs are good but nothing beats a real floppy for a nostalgia kick. :lol:
- John

Image

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davidb
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by davidb » Fri Jul 10, 2020 10:04 am

Welcome! :D

To add to what @flaxcottage said, it's worth checking the disks to see if they work. Get an idea of their general state first, checking for any obvious signs of mould.

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daveejhitchins
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by daveejhitchins » Fri Jul 10, 2020 12:11 pm

Welcome to the Forum, Richard . . . Enjoy . . .

Dave H :D

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sixedup
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by sixedup » Fri Jul 10, 2020 4:49 pm

Thanks for the welcomes :D

Your comments on floppies made me think more about what I'm trying to achieve. I think where I want to get to is where the BBC can be easily used when I have the time. I don't have the space to leave it set up permanently, so being able to pull it out of a cupboard, plug it in and tinker/play for an hour should be part of my objective.

The PiTubeDirect fits that story well (with a Pi Zero, anyway). Getting an RGB2HDMI adapter gets rid of the need for a separate TV and lets me use my "normal" HDMI computer monitor. The internal EEPROM upgrade to give me 4 programmable ROM slots (for one ROM socket) is a "no-brainer".

While I have an emotional attachment to the floppy drive (I remember how long it took me to save the cash for it!) I think the idea of migrating away from it (and the boxes of floppies) is a better solution for me. Also, having all my BBC content on some medium (whatever that is) that is simple to periodically backup makes a lot of sense. For convenience I'd like to avoid extra boxes that need to be plugged/unplugged to the main computer if possible - so internal/integrated upgrades would be preferable where possible.

So that just leaves the matter of choosing which floppy replacement mechanism to go for. It's clear that I don't even know what all my options are yet - the number of upgrades is a little bewildering at the moment, both in terms of the h/w and the required s/w to drive them, and the impacts that each combination could have on the overall system (eg changes to &page etc). Its going to take a little time to just get my head around the options, let alone make some decisions! Pointers to options I should be considering (like the GoTek) and any good sources of information on them would be appreciated!

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tricky
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by tricky » Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:10 pm

Hi Richard,
Welcome, the popular question of MMC vs GOTEK - the most popular storage solutions for the beeb, there are many more.
MMC solutions are a bit less compatible than GOTEK, but this can be helped by using MMFS (free) and a sideways RAM solution (to keep PAGE at &E00), I would recommend the boobip 32K solution, although you can make your own if you feel like it.
GOTEK runs at floppy speed and requires a working disc interface, although it sounds like you might have one of these and probably its best feature is that you can have a real floppy and a GOTEK as a second (first) drive - not that it sounds like you want a real drive at the moment.
MMC runs much quicker, but as we are generally loading about 16K, it really doesn't make that much difference.

Either way, if you like, you can run my MENU system that makes the beeb more family friendly (if you can get them near it) by allowing you to choose from most of the games on http://bbcmicro.co.uk/ from the keyboard, without having to select/change disc images.

Richard from herts.

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SimonSideburns
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by SimonSideburns » Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:17 am

Welcome to the forum from another Hampshire resident.

Your box of floppies might be able to be salvaged, so don't simply chuck them away. It's always worth someone going through them (even if it isn't you) to see if there's anything MIA (missing in action) that hasn't been archived yet. The process isn't too difficult, depending on how bad the floppies are, but even when I collected some from someone a year or two ago and then spent time cleaning the mould off, there were some gems there that could be considered rare.

If you (depending on where in Hampshire you are) would like me to go through them for you, I'd be more than happy. I'm just outside of Portsmouth, near Waterlooville (you'll find me on the map that has been set up for members of the forum to stick a pin in).

I don't know what your circumstances are with regard to lockdown and self isolation, but we could sort out some distanced collection of the floppies.

Let me know what you think.
Just remember kids, Beeb spelled backwards is Beeb!

Soruk
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Soruk » Sun Jul 12, 2020 11:12 am

Welcome, I'm also from Hampshire. My focus these days is maintaining Matrix Brandy, a reimplementation of BBC BASIC VI with some extensions.
Matrix Brandy BASIC VI (work in progress)

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sixedup
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by sixedup » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:30 am

tricky wrote:
Sat Jul 11, 2020 12:10 pm
Hi Richard,
Welcome, the popular question of MMC vs GOTEK - the most popular storage solutions for the beeb, there are many more.
MMC solutions are a bit less compatible than GOTEK, but this can be helped by using MMFS (free) and a sideways RAM solution (to keep PAGE at &E00), I would recommend the boobip 32K solution, although you can make your own if you feel like it.
GOTEK runs at floppy speed and requires a working disc interface, although it sounds like you might have one of these and probably its best feature is that you can have a real floppy and a GOTEK as a second (first) drive - not that it sounds like you want a real drive at the moment.
MMC runs much quicker, but as we are generally loading about 16K, it really doesn't make that much difference.
You've confirmed a days worth of Googling in a single post!

I'd found a nice looking "MMC" drive here: https://bit.ly/2OhQTu9 (though actually its a micro SDCard attached to the user port) and worked out that MMFS would be a good option to drive it, if I had some sideways RAM (which I'd initially not thought about). Since I already have a small pile of unused 512MB microSD cards, that looks like a good option. But now I need some sideways RAM to make the most of MMFS...

My Googling to date had got me to the BooBip EEPROM adapters (nice design), but I'm less keen on his RAM adapters, which are only 32KB. Lots of digging has led me to the sundby 128KB RAM/Flash adapter, which looks like it might be ideal as a solution for sideways RAM and "ROM" (flash) in a single unit. Except he seems to be in the middle of replacing it with a unit that uses SDcard for the "flash" , rather than a dedicated chip... and it seems that HRMC like delaying inbound packages from him too ... not ideal. :(
Either way, if you like, you can run my MENU system that makes the beeb more family friendly (if you can get them near it) by allowing you to choose from most of the games on http://bbcmicro.co.uk/ from the keyboard, without having to select/change disc images.
No, family have passed the stage where they want to play with my toys ... fortunately! But might be good for me anyway :-)

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sixedup
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by sixedup » Mon Jul 13, 2020 1:40 am

SimonSideburns wrote:
Sun Jul 12, 2020 12:17 am
Welcome to the forum from another Hampshire resident.

Your box of floppies might be able to be salvaged, so don't simply chuck them away. It's always worth someone going through them (even if it isn't you) to see if there's anything MIA (missing in action) that hasn't been archived yet. The process isn't too difficult, depending on how bad the floppies are, but even when I collected some from someone a year or two ago and then spent time cleaning the mould off, there were some gems there that could be considered rare.
Most of my floppies will be self-written software, or standard games from back in the early '80s. I think its highly unlikely that there will be anything exciting in there, sadly. But either way, I'm not going to just throw them away - my plan will be to transfer everything I can to the new medium (whatever that may be) and then preserve/share them as appropriate.
If you (depending on where in Hampshire you are) would like me to go through them for you, I'd be more than happy. I'm just outside of Portsmouth, near Waterlooville (you'll find me on the map that has been set up for members of the forum to stick a pin in).

I don't know what your circumstances are with regard to lockdown and self isolation, but we could sort out some distanced collection of the floppies.

Let me know what you think.
I'm isolating. Not shielding, but very definitely in the "at risk" categories :-(

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Yrrah2
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Re: Hello from Hampshire

Post by Yrrah2 » Tue Jul 14, 2020 7:37 am

Welcome to the forum. :D
Happy with my BBC Master
www.mybbcmaster.nl

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