How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

If you want to ask questions about how the machine works, peculiar details, the differences between models, here it is !
How to program the oric hardware (VIA, FDC, ...) is also welcome.
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Dbug
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How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by Dbug » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:08 pm

That's an open ended question.

I've been using Romu's method of plugging my 3" drive in my PC as a disk drive for years, but now I'm stuck: My brand new Windows 7 64bit computer does not even have a floppy drive connector on the motherboard.

So my question is, how should I do.

Has anyone experimented with USB floppy drives, is there any model that would accept to get the drive replaced by my good old 3" floppy drive, would that work with writedsk?

If nothing works, except finding an old computer and run dos on it I have no other idea that trying to write some transfer software to use audio to exchange data with the pc... but my last attempts were not very reliables.

Help!

EDIT: Does anyone knows this device? http://kryoflux.com/

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Re: How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by retro_guy » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:12 pm

I've used USB Floppy drives at work and had no problems.

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Re: How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by Dbug » Wed Jan 16, 2013 7:50 pm

retro_guy wrote:I've used USB Floppy drives at work and had no problems.
Did you use it with 1.44 floppies with standard formating or did you try custom programs like writedsk to create floppies for old computers like Oric or Atari ST?

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Re: How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by Chema » Wed Jan 16, 2013 10:28 pm

I think I read somewhere that USB drives cannot be accessed at low level, so I guess that writedsk won't work.

I will try to find out where I read that, to make sure.

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Re: How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by Dbug » Thu Jan 17, 2013 9:22 am

After some question/answer session with Torlus and Godzil on the IRC channel, I reach the conclusion that there are two future-proof ways of doing what I want:
- Install a dedicated controller (like the Kryoflux, Catweasel, Ferret) and plug a slave 3" drive on it, use the software on the PC to read and write on the drive
- Install a HxC floppy emulator on a master Microdisc unit, and use a SD card to read and write disk image files from the real Oric, doing copies from A to B to create the physical disks on the real Oric

I guess the HxC based solution has the advantage of making it easier to develop and test floppy based software.

If I choose this method, I'd like to find a simple and fast way to switch between the HxC as boot drive or the Microdisc as boot drive, so I could do my testing on the HxC, but then easily test if my real floppies can boot without actually having to open the box and play with jumpers of cable twists!

Any idea?

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Re: How to install a 3" floppy drive on a modern pc?

Post by Godzil » Sat Jan 19, 2013 12:43 am

Dbug wrote:After some question/answer session with Torlus and Godzil on the IRC channel, I reach the conclusion that there are two future-proof ways of doing what I want:
- Install a dedicated controller (like the Kryoflux, Catweasel, Ferret) and plug a slave 3" drive on it, use the software on the PC to read and write on the drive
- Install a HxC floppy emulator on a master Microdisc unit, and use a SD card to read and write disk image files from the real Oric, doing copies from A to B to create the physical disks on the real Oric

I guess the HxC based solution has the advantage of making it easier to develop and test floppy based software.

If I choose this method, I'd like to find a simple and fast way to switch between the HxC as boot drive or the Microdisc as boot drive, so I could do my testing on the HxC, but then easily test if my real floppies can boot without actually having to open the box and play with jumpers of cable twists!

Any idea?
On the HxC, you have 4 jumper to select the drive letter. Personally, the drive is selected as A and D (you can select two drive) and the internal 3" drive of the microdisk is configured as B. I always boot from the HxC, it's easier to manage for me. (I don't have lots of 3" floppy anyway, and all of them are only Jasmin not Microdisk, and my Jasmin is currently non working)

Anyway, for your question on how quickly change, one way is to put some external switch to select the mode you want on both the HxC and the 3" floppy.

I will post photos of my Microdisk setup as soon as my desktop as been a bit cleaned ;)

Edit: before I forgot, for the kryoflux, I'm unsure that you can write oric floppy with it..

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