Electron modern storage options

discuss both original and modern hardware for the bbc micro/electron
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billlagr
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Electron modern storage options

Post by billlagr »

Hi All
I should soon be receiving my first Electron, and am at a little bit of a loss regarding modern-ish storage options. There's not many Acorn machines here in Australia, so I've mainly concentrated on Commodore and Sinclair up until now.
I know that there's the ElkSD to use SD cards, and that the files need to be in .SSD format - is that the best SD card option?
I have a few Goteks around the place (using them on Amigas) so what controller would you suggest to use one of those?
I also do have a TZXDuino with the latest Maxduino firmware - I understand they are supposed to be able to load uncompressed .UEF files? I've tried a few of those and I can't seem to get the TZXDuino to recognise them. The procedure I have been using is to unzip the downloaded .zip, which gives me a xxx.uef file. I then append .gz to give me xxx.uef.gz, and have been using 7zip to extract the uncompressed file from the .uef.gz archive. I add .uef to that extracted file, and the TZXDuino should be able to load those. However no matter which .uef I try, the TZXDuino always very quickly flicks up an error about not being a recognised file. Am I going about it the right way? I have tried files from the TOSEC collection and also from the GameBase collection.
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flaxcottage
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Re: Electron modern storage options

Post by flaxcottage »

On my Electron I use an SD card interface attached to the Plus-1 printer interface. It is easy to use, quick in Electron terms and has enough storage. The controlling ROM goes in a cartridge plugged into the Plus-1.

You are over-processing the UEF files. The zip file you downloaded contains the UEF file, let's call it Sphinx. The downloaded file should be Sphinx.zip. Inside this zip file will be Sphinx.uef. Extract the file Sphinx.uef and use that. Any further processing on the file Sphinx.uef, as you have done, will destroy the file's integrity, hence your error report.

Enjoy the Electron, they are quite cute. :D
- John

Check out the Educational Software Archive at www.flaxcottage.com
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rmbrowngr
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Re: Electron modern storage options

Post by rmbrowngr »

ElkSD is great solution, not only do you get to use DFS (filing system) disk images e.g. SSD extension, you also get sideways RAM and do not need any addons to the Electron.

If you want to use a Gotek, you'll need additional hardware either a Plus 3 (and an adaptor), or Plus 1 with a disk controller like the Pegasus 400, AP3, or AP4. BTW, the Plus 3 uses ADFS v1 (filing system) by default and there for uses more memory, but it is possible to change this to use a different version of ADFS which uses less memory of the Electron.

TZXDuino are good for playing tape images e.g. extension UEF but can't record. There is some software for playing UEFs, or you can convert them to wave format and use your own media player.

An alternative to the ElkSD would be GoSDC.

If you like harddisk like storage then you'll need a Plus 1, AP5 and BeebSCSI, which uses ADFS v1 (filing system). ADFS uses more memory of the Electron and so less software works with it.
Richard B
Acorn Electrons issue 4 and 6, MRB, Plus 1, AP6, AP5, Pegasus 400, BeebSCSI, Gotek, Raspberry Pi, GoSDC MBE.
BBC B+ 64K (128K upgraded) with Duel OS, Raspberry Pi and Gotek.
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rmbrowngr
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Re: Electron modern storage options

Post by rmbrowngr »

billlagr wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:38 am
I also do have a TZXDuino with the latest Maxduino firmware - I understand they are supposed to be able to load uncompressed .UEF files? I've tried a few of those and I can't seem to get the TZXDuino to recognise them. The procedure I have been using is to unzip the downloaded .zip, which gives me a xxx.uef file. I then append .gz to give me xxx.uef.gz, and have been using 7zip to extract the uncompressed file from the .uef.gz archive. I add .uef to that extracted file, and the TZXDuino should be able to load those. However no matter which .uef I try, the TZXDuino always very quickly flicks up an error about not being a recognised file. Am I going about it the right way? I have tried files from the TOSEC collection and also from the GameBase collection.
I believe UEF file must be in a certain format. Might be worth reading this topic and\or posting a question here viewtopic.php?f=3&t=16473
Richard B
Acorn Electrons issue 4 and 6, MRB, Plus 1, AP6, AP5, Pegasus 400, BeebSCSI, Gotek, Raspberry Pi, GoSDC MBE.
BBC B+ 64K (128K upgraded) with Duel OS, Raspberry Pi and Gotek.
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Mince
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Re: Electron modern storage options

Post by Mince »

Unless you have a hankering for ADFS then it's difficult to justify anything other than the ElkSD64: not only does it do all the things everyone's already described but it uses the SWRAM version of MMFS and so doesn't raise PAGE beyond &E00 (which is where it'd be on a tape-only system) as a regular ADFS/DFS would do, so all your tape software just works.

You also get the Plus 1 utilities ROM for managing sideways ROMs/RAMs and it just plugs straight in the back.

If you want / have a Plus 1, then the ElkSD Plus 1 is the one you want but note that it misses out on the utilities ROM (which you can get by replacing the ROM in your Plus 1 but it's a bit more hassle).

There are several videos about it on YouTube: I won't plug my own, but it has some lovely animated diagrams of the Electron memory map.

I don't really see any reason to muck about with tape images. Some people prefer GoTeks - they have some advantages but not that I'm bothered about, and the disadvantage that you need the rest of the disc system somehow.
billlagr
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Re: Electron modern storage options

Post by billlagr »

I figured out the UEF problem. TZXDuino/Maxduino will only play back uncompressed UEF's, which are in a gzip format. I was doing the uncompressing correctly - the later/latest Maxduino firmware has UEF support disabled because it just doesn't fit on an Arduino Pro Mini anymore. You can go back to an earlier version, or disable something else - I disabled the menu options that you would never use and re-enabled the UEF support and it fits.

ElkSD sounds like a go - I want something straightforward that "just works". I already have too many half done projects on other systems, so this time something pre-built and working is my preferred option! Thanks for all your advice.
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