The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

discuss both original and modern hardware for the bbc micro/electron
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VMSZealot
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The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by VMSZealot » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:16 pm

The nights are drawing in and I don’t much feel like going for a run in the evenings. It’s time for a project!
I have a Beeb - but I’d like a convenient way of loading software onto it. An SD Card Reader would be perfect. There are a few provisos though:

* I don’t want to block the user port (because that’s where the mouse plugs in)
* I don’t want to block the Tube because I fancy having a crack at that Raspberry Pi Zero - Tube project.

Is there anyway of achieving what I want? What is the best way of going about it?

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KenLowe
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by KenLowe » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:23 pm

If you already have the DFS hardware (8271 or 1770) in your beeb, then I'd recommend the Gotek floppy emulator with FlashFloppy firmware. It plugs into the floppy port like a normal FDD, but has a USB interface to load .ssd & .dsd images instead of using physically floppy disks.
Last edited by KenLowe on Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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tricky
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by tricky » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:24 pm

On the Master there is the modem port, on the B/B+, there are other options, but I don't know of an MMC solution that isn't going to use the user port.
Other options include:
DataCentre (USB etc)
beebSCSI (simulates a harddisk - 1MHz bus I think)
GOTEK (solid state floppy drive - same speed as a floppy, requires a working floppy controller in the beeb)
UPURS (If I have that correct - serial connection the a PC)
Someone has a hardware list linked in their sig.

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geraldholdsworth
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by geraldholdsworth » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:48 pm

There are interfaces available that give you an internal user port. As mentioned above that the Master has a modem port, for which there is a user port interface, or there is one that plugs into the Econet connectors inside - which both the BBC and Master have. This is what I have, and works really well.

Of course, as mentioned, there is a GoTek - I'm still building mine - and a DataCentre...which I'm also still building mine into an old Winchester case (and this takes up the 1MHz bus).
Gerald Holdsworth
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danielj
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by danielj » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:50 pm

+1 for the gotek + disc interface. Details here:

https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy/wiki

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flaxcottage
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by flaxcottage » Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:54 pm

The Gotek drive is a good solution and it is portable between machines.

I think there is also a printer port MMFS solution out there to use one of those cheapo SD card adapters from China. There is for the Electron.
- John

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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by RobC » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:14 pm

If you opt to buy rather than make, another option is GoSDC. It plugs into a ROM socket and allows you to store DFS and ADFS disk images, tapes and ADFS hard drive images on the SD card. It's probably the fastest storage solution available and you can even use it to play video! I use it on the Beeb I take to shows as it's safely tucked away inside the machine.

Before getting the GoSDC, I built an MMC interface that used a PIC and plugged into the B/B+'s speech socket. I can probably dig out the details if anyone is interested.
Last edited by RobC on Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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sweh
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by sweh » Mon Nov 05, 2018 8:52 pm

It's been a long time since I tested it, but you could build a Mhz bus expansion that creates a 2nd user port ( https://sweh.spuddy.org/Beeb/2nd_User_Port/ ) and then use the MMFS ROM compiled for that address.

I'm pretty sure it worked... but I could be misremembering!
Rgds
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sydney
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by sydney » Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:23 pm

geraldholdsworth wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:48 pm
... or there is one that plugs into the Econet connectors inside - which both the BBC and Master have.
The BBC and Master econet setup is physically quite different and I don't think it'd be possible to connect a 6522 to a BBC in this way. I looked into it and there are only 2 address lines on the BBC and 4 on the master and a 6522 needs 4 address lines. I'm sure I read about someone connecting an SD/MMC card using the speech interface though. I may have imagined it though!

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Elminster
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by Elminster » Mon Nov 05, 2018 11:52 pm

There are many storage types on the hardware list in the signature below.

But I usually use gotek or gosdc, or usually both.

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1024MAK
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by 1024MAK » Tue Nov 06, 2018 4:10 am

sydney wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 10:23 pm
geraldholdsworth wrote:
Mon Nov 05, 2018 7:48 pm
... or there is one that plugs into the Econet connectors inside - which both the BBC and Master have.
The BBC and Master econet setup is physically quite different and I don't think it'd be possible to connect a 6522 to a BBC in this way. I looked into it and there are only 2 address lines on the BBC and 4 on the master and a 6522 needs 4 address lines. I'm sure I read about someone connecting an SD/MMC card using the speech interface though. I may have imagined it though!
If you don’t need all the features of the 6522 VIA, you can get away with less than four address lines. This would assume that the software does not use the higher numbered control/interrupt registers though.

Mark

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sydney
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by sydney » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:06 am

You'd only have access to 4 of the registers and I'm not sure this would be enough, I'd need to ask hoglet. Also I no longer have a beeb only a master so wouldn't be able to develop this though if someone decides to give it a go I'd help out where I could.

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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by VMSZealot » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:49 am

I do have a disk controller - a Watford. I quite liked the look of the MMC though because of that natty menu driven interface. From what I understand of the Gotek it doesn’t offer that - if I’ve understood correctly, the user needs to select the image to use on the Gotek itself.

The sideways ROM based solution looks like it might work - could that accommodate an MMC style menu?

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danielj
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by danielj » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:02 am

If you fit the rotary encoder/OLED display to the gotek, you just scroll through and select by name (much as you would on a menu on the beeb) - it depends what you want really. It has the advantage of appearing to the beeb as a proper floppy dive so there are no compatibility issues. I know that moves are afoot to update the gotek firmware to allow software on the beeb to select a relevant disk image, so a beeb-based menu system will no doubt be created there in the near future (I think Tricky's looking at this). You can have an all-singing-all-dancing gotek for under £20.

GoSDC doesn't have a menu system - you could write one, again. Disadvantage is that it lives internally if you want to add additional disc images to the SD card, and I believe you need to use PC-side software to put the images on..

The only system which has an onscreen menu is the SD-MMFS/SMARTSPI system, but as others have said, you'll need to sacrifice your userport for that. You also sacrifice some compatibility, and you again become reliant on having to use PC side software to integrate disc images into the "beeb.mmb" file that lives on the sd-card.

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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by RobC » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:12 am

danielj wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:02 am
The only system which has an onscreen menu is the SD-MMFS/SMARTSPI system...
There's also a version of this for the DataCentre - see here.

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tricky
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by tricky » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:28 pm

A menu system for the gotek is on my to do list, but it requires flashfloppy to support single density meta data mode (not just DD).
PS my to do list moves very slowly!

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danielj
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by danielj » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:45 pm

@Tricky - there's a firmware for testing there! :)

d.

duikkie
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by duikkie » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:31 am

Do not forget that old dutchman😆 there is a mmb solution fit te tube port that i think not a problemen with pi tube it is called usb smart forum tube with a China usb chip . it was a project wit software Finding it in this forum is difficult i know
Last edited by duikkie on Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:33 am, edited 5 times in total.

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tricky
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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by tricky » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:01 am

danielj wrote:
Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:45 pm
@Tricky - there's a firmware for testing there! :)

d.
I got it last night, it looks like 512 byte sectors only and I've been having a lot of pain with changed meds, but I'm hoping to have a look tonight.

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Re: The best SD card reader for the Beeb?

Post by Mekon » Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:37 pm

Since you're not likely to want access to the mouse and the file system at the same time, how about using a switched user port splitter?

Might it be possible to switch between the two devices just by toggling the power between them?

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