Sharing a Disk Drive

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PippUK
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Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by PippUK » Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:40 pm

I have just finished 'fixing' and tidying up an ex school Model B. My main reason for this was to run the Island Music System software from disk, because it only works with the Intel 8271 disk controller installed.

Is there a way to share a disk drive (such as a splitter cable)?

I have a nice 3.5/5.25 dual 40/80 unit already for use with my Master and am reluctant to buy yet another beige box to clutter my desk with for this purpose alone, or fiddle around swapping cables etc.

If I have to do so, fair enough but I kind of hope there might be a neater way round.

Peace - Phil

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1024MAK
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Jun 20, 2013 6:41 pm

Yes, you could buy a manual switch box designed for serial RS232 / Parallel printers, the type that has 25 way D sockets.

You would need to build some custom cables though.

Although the disk drive interface uses a 34 way IDC connector, most of these are ground (used to reduce cross-talk in the ribbon cable). So the limitation of the switch box to switch only 25 wires is not a problem.

Mark

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by PippUK » Thu Jun 20, 2013 7:14 pm

Cheers. That's just the thing then.

Thanks Mark.

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by simes » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:30 pm

Yes but its another beige box

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Jun 20, 2013 8:34 pm

Yes, but a lot smaller than a double disk drive :D

Also, if wanted, it can be mounted under the desk...

Mark

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by MartinB » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:04 pm

Also Phil, it'd be well worth keeping an eye out (and try asking on here) for a Watford disc drive sharer. I've used one for years and it's a very nice piece of kit which allows up to three computers to simultaneously share a pair of drives with proper electronic buffering and access queuing. I typically have a Beeb, an Elk and a Master hooked up to mine. (You mustn't of course try to simultaneously mix DFS with ADFS [spit])

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by johnha » Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:27 pm

1024MAK wrote:Yes, but a lot smaller than a double disk drive :D

Also, if wanted, it can be mounted under the desk...

Mark
No don't hide it - my school had switch boxes for sharing disk drives (labelled A/B rather than 1/2 IIRC) - making it part of the experience.

John.

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by PippUK » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:06 pm

Cheers Martin, that WE switcher would be exactly the thing. It would enable the set-up I envisaged.

In the meantime regarding Island Logic's The Music System, I had some luck with it on my Master (Switched to Model B mode). It came with some alternative DFS roms amongst the extensive utils on the CF. DFS 2.26 enabled it to boot up with all modules functional.

I was chuffed to bits there and soon got some amusing bleeps etc going. Seems easier to use the the Hybrid M5000 setup in some ways, but maybe not so sophisticated in terms of sound/music manipulation.

Thanks to all who've offered help. I'm looking at adding further shelving around my geek-zone to accommodate the ever increasing footprints of my collected kit.
I recently quit smoking and am finding it necessary to keep busy with stuff to divert me from the temptations/withdrawals.

Phil

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Wed Jun 26, 2013 2:51 pm

MartinB wrote:Also Phil, it'd be well worth keeping an eye out (and try asking on here) for a Watford disc drive sharer. I've used one for years and it's a very nice piece of kit which allows up to three computers to simultaneously share a pair of drives with proper electronic buffering and access queuing. I typically have a Beeb, an Elk and a Master hooked up to mine. (You mustn't of course try to simultaneously mix DFS with ADFS [spit])
A nice reverse engineering project for you there, Martin :mrgreen:
I'm sure if a version of this disc drive sharer was available, a fair number of people would be interested in buying... :D

Mark

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by MartinB » Wed Jun 26, 2013 9:13 pm

That's not at all a bad idea Mark - I'll pull it to bits at some convenient point and we'll see what's in there. (Yeah, I know, I can't believe I haven't had it apart already either :shock:)

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by BeebMaster » Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:21 pm

As it happens, pictures of my Watford Electronics disc drive sharer are due for my August 2013 update. Unfortunately, I didn't take mine apart either, so I don't know what the insides are like! It was photographed in about June 2009 during the initial rush period of putting everything not in use into storage and it's still there now.

As an alternative, you could get an Econet, which is the ultimate shared storage system for Beebs.

And you wouldn't need another beige box - unless you use an external 6502 cheese wedge, or a FileStore, or an MDFS, or an Econet Bridge, or a Level I Econet clock.....
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by DutchAcorn » Sat Dec 01, 2018 10:10 pm

Sorry for the thread resurrection, but since it was the only relevant mention of a device similar to the one I recently got, I thought this thread was the right place.

Apparently Watford was not the only one who made disc drive share boxes. Here’s one from Technomatic (not tested yet):
7ED6C9F4-75DB-43B1-904C-68BC8CE20777.jpeg
Paul

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:17 am

Don’t stop there, whip it’s cover off! :lol:

We all want to ogle it’s insides...

Mark

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by AndyF » Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:43 am

When I saw the thread title I immediately thought of the BITD 'Drive Sharer' unit although I'd never seen one for real only adverts so did wonder how well they actually worked (or not)

One alt would be L1 Econet if you have the hardware already but its a bit crude compared to L2/L3 but the 'requirements' are less, mind you you've got to obviously have the network circuitry and cables there...
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by DutchAcorn » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:12 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:17 am
Don’t stop there, whip it’s cover off! :lol:

We all want to ogle it’s insides...

Mark
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by daveejhitchins » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:32 pm

Wow . . . There were some good circuit boards back in 1986 :shock:

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Products: ARA II, ARA III, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC, AP5 . . .
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by MartinB » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:38 pm

:shock: :-k

7463AB83-8C03-4920-BCE3-12B741F56223.jpeg

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1024MAK
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:41 pm

It’s possible that the top PCB is the same as the bottom PCB, but with track cuts and the power supply end cut off...

A “interesting” and crude way of cutting costs :lol:

Mark

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by DutchAcorn » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:47 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:41 pm
It’s possible that the top PCB is the same as the bottom PCB, but with track cuts and the power supply end cut off...

A “interesting” and crude way of cutting costs :lol:

Mark
Yes, the top half is a sawn off bit of the bottom half.
B2A087F8-160A-4527-9E84-AF517BA7EBF1.jpeg
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by BeebMaster » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:53 pm

A year after my last post in this thread, I did take a picture of the insides of my Watford disc sharer.
WatfordDiscSharer6.jpg
I still haven't actually tried it. In fact, as you can see in the next picture, the earth didn't appear to be connected so I wasn't sure it was "safe".
WatfordDiscSharer8.jpg
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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by KenLowe » Sun Dec 02, 2018 6:58 pm

Also liking the power cable 'clamp!

Edit: In both systems!
Last edited by KenLowe on Sun Dec 02, 2018 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sharing a Disk Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Sun Dec 02, 2018 11:46 pm

Yes, putting a knot in the mains cable is frowned upon.

A proper cable clamp or cable gland should be used.

And yes Ian, the earth wire should be securely connected to the metalwork of the case.

Mark

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