My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

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stuslayer
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My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by stuslayer »

Hi All,

Thanks to CJE Micros, IanS, DaveH and some lucky eBay finds, I am now enjoying my A3010 like I did back in 1993/4, playing Speedball last night with my new QuickShot Starfighter 1 joypad, an eBay find for a fiver (it's the same one I had BITD). This is wonderful, and having a hard disc is something I could only dream of back then, when an interface was the best part of £100 and the drives were soooo expensive (20MB for £179 if I recall correctly).

At the moment my machine is a 2Mb one, so trying to use ADFFS is hit or misson whether there's enough memory available to load a game. Anything with more than one floppy runs out of space. I'm hoping to have 4Mb to play with in the near future, but until then I was wondering:

I can read DOS disks on the Archie, but I have no modern way of creating and using them on my PC - it's too new, and Win10 makes things even harder in this respect. I've tried out a USB floppy drive but to no avail. If I find an old PC with a floppy drive, should I get one with WinXP or Win7 on? I would have thought WinXP is a little nearer in vintage, but perhaps this isn't quite right? Would I need to go bakc as far as 98 for proper compatibility of formats for floppies?

Is it worth trying to find a ZIP drive for the parallel port, and a USB One for the PC? Are the disc formats for both systems the same/compatible?

Is it worth investing in a Gotek, and would I need to leave my machine open if I did get one?

Thanks in advance!
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IanS
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by IanS »

It's a bit slow, but you can use a serial cable to transfer files.
(I've recently started including a copy of !Connector as part of the software included with a DOM, I think you should have it)
hubersn
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by hubersn »

stuslayer wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 9:36 pm
I can read DOS disks on the Archie, but I have no modern way of creating and using them on my PC - it's too new, and Win10 makes things even harder in this respect. I've tried out a USB floppy drive but to no avail.
I have successfully used an USB floppy drive on a Windows 7 PC without problems. Floppies written can be read by A5000 and Risc PC without problems. Strange that it does not work for you. Is it a general Windows 10 problem?
If I find an old PC with a floppy drive, should I get one with WinXP or Win7 on? I would have thought WinXP is a little nearer in vintage, but perhaps this isn't quite right? Would I need to go bakc as far as 98 for proper compatibility of formats for floppies?
I have an old laptop with a true floppy drive running Windows XP. This ensures compatibility with OmniFlop as well as VirtualA5000 with its direct floppy access. A perfect solution (for me).
Is it worth trying to find a ZIP drive for the parallel port, and a USB One for the PC? Are the disc formats for both systems the same/compatible?
You need to format your ZIP disc in FAT format, then media can be interchanged between PC and A3010. I would recommend to format it on the A3010 (IZipFS can do that from the iconbar menu) to ensure that it is a FAT format variant that DOSFS can recognize without problems.

Have fun
hubersn
stuslayer
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by stuslayer »

Thanks for your replies, Steffen. I think the Zip drive is an interesting option, if only because I yearned to have one during the 90s. :wink:

I don't know what the issue is with the USB floppy, when plugged into the PC it tries to access the disc for at least two minutes, then fails. I'm going to return it.

I've been reading up on the Gotek drives, and this does seem like a potentially great option, and saves an awful lot of storage space compared to floppies! The only issue I can see is getting files larger than 1.6Mb into the A3010, where a Zip drive would be more useful.
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flaxcottage
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by flaxcottage »

From experience Archimedes !Zip format is different from the PC format. The discs cannot be read on both machines.

DOS format PCs can be read and written on the A3010 and a PC with a USB floppy drive attached. I have been using that transfer method for years.

To use .ADFS/.ADL images I use Omniflop on an XP PC which has an on-board FDC to create real A3010 discs and vice versa.

I cannot comment on Windows 10 as my most modern PC runs Windows 7! :lol:
- John

Check out the Educational Software Archive at www.flaxcottage.com
Kazzie
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by Kazzie »

From a brief look around the internet, it seems that Windows 10 did not ship with drivers for floppy drives. External floppy drives can still be used with Windows 10, but you need to install the required drivers, either through Windows Update or by getting drivers from the "manufacturer" of the floppy drive. That may not be particularly straight-forward if it's a no-name floppy drive, but it may be possible to divine some information from Windows 10's Device Manager:
  • Select the unknown USB device in Device Manager, right-clicking and selecting Properties
  • Go to the Details tab, and from the drop-down menu, select Hardware IDs
  • In the displayed strings, you should be able to pick out a four-character Vendor ID (VID) and Product ID (PID)
  • There are online databases of USB Vendor and Product IDs that you can use to find more information about the device and its manufacturer
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stuslayer
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by stuslayer »

The drive is recognized and shows up as A:, the device itself is seen as a Mitsumi drive, so I think it's the format that's the issue. Either that or a duff drive. Either way, I'm returning it. I feel like Gotek is a good solution, especially as you can keep all the floppy images on the one USB stick. Is it easy to set up?
Kazzie
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by Kazzie »

stuslayer wrote:
Mon Oct 21, 2019 9:20 am
The drive is recognized and shows up as A:, the device itself is seen as a Mitsumi drive, so I think it's the format that's the issue. Either that or a duff drive. Either way, I'm returning it. I feel like Gotek is a good solution, especially as you can keep all the floppy images on the one USB stick. Is it easy to set up?
I can't speak on the Gotek issue, but with regard to the format...

I use an external floppy drive on a Windows XP machine to transfer software to my A420/1. This Archimedes only has a Double Density drive, so only supports the 720kB DOS format. (I think your machine sopports the full HD 1.44MB, though.) Windows XP doesn't like to format floppies in 720kB flavour any more, but having formatted the disks on the Archimedes (in DOS format) the Windows machine can read to them just fine.

(My external HD floppy drive isn't so good and deleting then overwriting data on a DD-formatted drive, because it has a narrower write head. It's the same issue that 5 1/2" drives have with disks used on both 40-track and 80-track drives. My workaround is to re-format the disk on the Archimedes, and let the XP machine put its data on an empty disk.)

If you haven't already, try formatting a disk on your A3010 and seeing if your windows machine can read it and copy a file onto it.
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stuslayer
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by stuslayer »

Hi Kazzie,

I tried formatting on the Arc and reading on PC, but the same issue occurred. I'm returning the drive, it may be faulty, but having said that I think the Gotek route may be more reliable anyway (no disc rot to contend with!).
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by AJW »

Which Gotek product works?
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danielj
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by danielj »

There is basically only one gotek model that can be used (U144). You flash it with alternative firmware - either FlashFloppy or the HxC Floppy Emulator firmware and add whichever mods you want. Or buy one that someone has done already (and pay rather more for it).
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Re: My new A3010 is up and running. A few questions...

Post by AJW »

Unless technically adept then it seems best way for small data is to find an old PC with a floppy and USB port for a stick.
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