Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

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6D68
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Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi guys!

I've been researching this for ages but I haven't been able to find a good solution. I cannot simply write an image to a physical floppy disc as none of the computers in my house have a floppy drive, plus my Beeb also lacks a floppy drive. I would prefer a system without an attached PC, like a USB stick or an SD card system, but PC based systems will also be fine.

Thanks in advance!
6D68

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by poink » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:34 pm

6D68 wrote:I've been researching this for ages but I haven't been able to find a good solution. I cannot simply write an image to a physical floppy disc as none of the computers in my house have a floppy drive, plus my Beeb also lacks a floppy drive. I would prefer a system without an attached PC, like a USB stick or an SD card system, but PC based systems will also be fine.
I'd say it would be one of the SD solutions; A bit of cable to attach to the user port, 99p chinese/eBay SD card breakout board plus an EPROM. Probably about a fiver and a bit of leg work.

Search the forum for 'MMBeeb', 'SmartSD', 'MMFS' or 'SuperMMC' among others and you should find some details. Ctwory31 on eBay (used to be IFEL), sells kits as 'TurboMMC', however it's much more expensive than a build your own. IIRC it's slightly faster at writing data but I get the impression that it's really convenience versus cost.

Another alternative is a small adaptor for a CF card (or an IDE hard disk!) on the 1MHz bus, and a replacement ADFS ROM. I think retroclinic and Sprow (and probably others) sell these. The circuit needed is also pretty simple if you're handy.

Retroclinic also sells the 'Rolls Royce' transfer solution in the form of the DataCentre, which gives CF/IDE support, USB ports and a chunk of RAM.

For getting stuff onto the Beeb whilst tethered to a PC, UPURS - essentially, a USB serial cable and a few components - seems popular.
Last edited by poink on Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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danielj
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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Thu Dec 29, 2016 5:47 pm

Hello, and welcome to the forum!

As Poink said (I was typing this at the time :D): The absolute cheapest way is the 99p SD-Card reader coupled with an MMFS or SmartSPI ROM.

Something like this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/161620434019

You wire it up like this:
https://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/bbc/mmbeeb/

Which, boils down to the connections in this post (as you don't need to do the voltage conversions):
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... 90#p102849

You'll need a 20-way crimp IDC connector to connect it to the user port. I just had a check in my box of bits and don't have any I'm afraid. Something like this will work:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/132027368277

Plus a length of 20-way ribbon cable.

If you want a long read, this thread has all the details:
http://www.stardot.org.uk/forums/viewto ... f=3&t=1919

If you can't burn eproms yourself, I'm sure someone on here will be able to oblige :)

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by tricky » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:06 pm

I don't really sell them, but I made plenty of spares last time I was making up some of the 99p "mmc" solutions, so I could sell you one of those. They fit under the beeb/master, so aren't great if you want to keep swapping the card as I use them for shows with a menu for my games and the sth archive.
Admins, please delete this post if it is inappropriate.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:15 pm

Totally appropriate.

I've been pondering the merit of getting some PCBs made up and putting them on fleabay together with a ROM (ATMEL OTPs are pretty cheap still) at ostensibly cost. Just as an antithesis to the vast array of LOLpriced stuff being punted at unsuspecting individuals... (I should say I don't consider the Datacentre/GoSDC to be LOLpriced).

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 6:16 pm

Thanks for all your help.
The SD system looks good, and as I know which end of a soldering iron hurts I will take a closer look and have a go. Even if i get it wrong, 99p isn't too much of a loss!

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:25 pm

What about PC to BBC serial links?
SD card based systems look good but would it be easier to send software from my computer?

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:30 pm

You can do that - you need something to save it onto though - i.e. a floppy disk system. You can get a 1770 controller for the beeb for about £25 from retroclinic on Ebay (comes with a manual). You can then use any PC 3.5" floppy drive with it -> you need it set to drive "0" and use a cable without the twist, or make sure the drive is after the twist.

Downside of this is sourcing double density 3.5" floppies...

The high-speed-serial option of choice is UPURS:
http://www.retro-kit.co.uk/UPURS/

Fairly easy to knock up a cable. Can be a bit more expensive than the SD solution as you need a genuine FTDI USB-RS232 adapter (assuming you don't have a serial port on your PC).

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Thu Dec 29, 2016 8:54 pm

danielj wrote:You can do that - you need something to save it onto though - i.e. a floppy disk system. You can get a 1770 controller for the beeb for about £25 from retroclinic on Ebay (comes with a manual). You can then use any PC 3.5" floppy drive with it -> you need it set to drive "0" and use a cable without the twist, or make sure the drive is after the twist.

Downside of this is sourcing double density 3.5" floppies...

The high-speed-serial option of choice is UPURS:
http://www.retro-kit.co.uk/UPURS/

Fairly easy to knock up a cable. Can be a bit more expensive than the SD solution as you need a genuine FTDI USB-RS232 adapter (assuming you don't have a serial port on your PC).

d.
I already have the adapter, but are you saying I'll still need floppies for this method? In that case I'll stick to the SD card option. My only problem with that method is that I'll need to program an EPROM/get someone else to program an EPROM!

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by poink » Thu Dec 29, 2016 9:16 pm

6D68 wrote:I already have the adapter, but are you saying I'll still need floppies for this method?
UPURS was originally written for doing fast floppy transfers. However, there is UPURSFS, which allows you to use a PC for storage via the UPURS hardware.

Given the size of modern SD cards relative to the Beeb's original storage (and the easy availability of hundreds of disc images[1]) if you're not doing development work, then it's probably best to just shovel a load of software onto an SD card.

[1] Often thanks to people on this very forum.
danielj wrote:Downside of this is sourcing double density 3.5" floppies...
The main reason for bothering with floppies is the delightful sounds they make and the experience of physically using discs. Personally, using them is a significant part of bothering to own the original hardware.
danielj wrote:Fairly easy to knock up a cable. Can be a bit more expensive than the SD solution as you need a genuine FTDI USB-RS232 adapter (assuming you don't have a serial port on your PC).
The other issue is that both UPURS and the SD card solution both want to use the same port (the user port). People have added more 6522s, but at that point the quick and cheap solution is quite a bit less quick and cheap!

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by MartinB » Thu Dec 29, 2016 10:48 pm

poink wrote:The main reason for bothering with floppies is the delightful sounds they make and the experience of physically using discs. Personally, using them is a significant part of bothering to own the original hardware.
=D> 8)

A Beeb or an Elk plus floppy drives and UPURS - probably the best retro experience in the world. Anything else is just the beginnings of a PC..... :roll: [-X :wink:

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by CMcDougall » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:19 am

^yeah, a free time machine to 1984 8)

Is your beeb a tape only machine? If so the 33p MMC interface is the way to go.

If has a floppy disc controller & DFS2+ on it , then a old 3.5" PC drive for £3 (or from crap PC) is also a good option (see top thread for wiring)
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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:09 am

CMcDougall wrote:
If has a floppy disc controller & DFS2+ on it , then a old 3.5" PC drive for £3 (or from crap PC) is also a good option (see top thread for wiring)
My Beeb has a floppy disc controller, but not the 1770 controller. It has the older one that i can't remember the name of! I'm not sure what DFS version it has, is there an easy way to check?

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:16 am

Instead of an EPROM, could I use an EEPROM? These are easier to program I think. I'd probably need to mount the EEPROM on an extra board because it has more pins than an EEPROM, as it has all the write enable pins the EPROM doesn't have.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by CMcDougall » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:00 am

It will be a 8271 then, with either DFS0.9 or 1.2, which don't have the *ROMS command, but *HELP will show.
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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Fri Dec 30, 2016 11:20 am

6D68 wrote:Instead of an EPROM, could I use an EEPROM? These are easier to program I think. I'd probably need to mount the EEPROM on an extra board because it has more pins than an EEPROM, as it has all the write enable pins the EPROM doesn't have.
You can indeed, and no, no carrier board or anything:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7393

There's a patched DFS that will allow the original 8271 controller to work with 3.5" drives. That might be the easiest starting point?

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:06 pm

danielj wrote: You can indeed, and no, no carrier board or anything:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7393
This method requires you to load the software to be written to the EEPROM on a floppy disc, which is off the cards for me. Could you load the rom image to the Beeb on tape?

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by CMcDougall » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:09 pm

^yes sure does, just a tad slower....
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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:13 pm

6D68 wrote:
danielj wrote: You can indeed, and no, no carrier board or anything:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7393
This method requires you to load the software to be written to the EEPROM on a floppy disc, which is off the cards for me. Could you load the rom image to the Beeb on tape?
If so, could someone tell me how to load it in on tape?

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by dhg2 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 2:16 pm

6D68 wrote:
6D68 wrote:
danielj wrote: You can indeed, and no, no carrier board or anything:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7393
This method requires you to load the software to be written to the EEPROM on a floppy disc, which is off the cards for me. Could you load the rom image to the Beeb on tape?
If so, could someone tell me how to load it in on tape?
At the moment the only method I have of transferring data to my BBC is through tapes, so I've been doing this a lot.
This should work as long as the ROM image file isn't too big.

Sorry if this is at all patronising, I don't mean it to be.
Also sorry if any of the information is wrong, or if my copy2t program doesn't work properly. I double checked everything but there could still be a problem.


You'll need BeebEm, and FreeUEF (which can be found here: http://gazstone.com/freeuef.htm )
and a program that loads the file from the disc into memory, and then saves to to a tape.

Open beebem, LOAD the "copy2t" program in this .ssd:
copytotape.zip
(440 Bytes) Downloaded 35 times
Then eject the .ssd and load the .ssd which has the ROM file in it (or import the ROM file into the ssd, if the ROM file is not already in an .ssd.

RUN, and enter the filename for the ROM file, then go to Comms -> Tape Control, click record, and then press return for the RECORD then RETURN prompt.
Wait until it's done, and then click stop.

Then load up FreeUEF, open the .uef file you just made, tick "output to file" and tell it where to save the file, then click play. Then find the file it made, open it in audacity or another sound player, and record it onto tape.

By the way, if you're using two different tape recorders to record and play back the tape, be aware that it can cause problems if they work at different speeds. When I do this, I have to set the playback speed to 1.19x in Audacity, because the tape deck I record on runs faster than the one connected to my BBC.
Regards,
- Patrick

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:24 pm

Thank you very much!
I presume this method could also be used to transfer games from floppies to tape as well, as that would be very useful for me as well.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:38 pm

Floppy versions will often be quite different from tape - don't assume you can do that (at the very least you'll need to work out what order the files are loaded in).

There are a large number of tapes on stairwaytohell.com in UEF format, you can play these back into the beeb using something like tapdancer on your phone: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... r&hl=en_GB or convert them to wav and play back from your PC:
http://gazstone.com/freeuef.htm

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by MartinB » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:47 pm

You can use the UPCFS feature of UPURS to load and play a great many UEF games directly from a host PC :D

(Look, I'm gonna be tedious about this, ok? :lol: )

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:56 pm

Good point - but still gotta get UPURS onto an eprom/eeprom :D

Cylon attack works pretty well.

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by CMcDougall » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:14 pm

^"pretty well" :shock:
more like 90% ace, & another 5% with Goto50 8)

sure there is a MP3 floating about so can use Martins Eeprom utils =D> to load images from tape...
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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Fri Dec 30, 2016 5:49 pm

CMcDougall wrote:^"pretty well" :shock:
more like 90% ace, & another 5% with Goto50 8)

sure there is a MP3 floating about so can use Martins Eeprom utils =D> to load images from tape...
Yup - there definitely is. Not sure where though, I'll have a concerted dig later if no one finds it.

d.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 1024MAK » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:52 pm

Or a kind soul who lives in the West Country can burn (program) a EPROM for you at cost price of the chip plus postage... either UPURS, the hacked DFS for 3.5" drives or whichever MMC/SD system you want.

Mark

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by MartinB » Fri Dec 30, 2016 9:30 pm

Here's the link to those MP3 versions, posted by skinnymatthew, of the eeprom utilities.

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by danielj » Sat Dec 31, 2016 12:19 am

1024MAK wrote:Or a kind soul who lives in the West Country can burn (program) a EPROM for you at cost price of the chip plus postage... either UPURS, the hacked DFS for 3.5" drives or whichever MMC/SD system you want.

Mark
You should admit to that kind soul being you :D

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Re: Cheapest way to load floppy images into a BBC Micro

Post by 6D68 » Sat Dec 31, 2016 5:05 pm

Sorry for not responding for a while; thanks for the kind offers but for now I've decided I'll stick to tape! I'll refer back to the kind offers of EPROMS if I decide to upgrade.

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