Is BD-DOS lost to time?

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ThomH
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by ThomH »

Alas the Byte Drive 500 seeks to put all the machine-specific logic "into the cable". So the main controller box and the drive are machine independent, and if you change your machine, you just buy the new cable. I don't know exactly what these cables looked like, other than that they must be quite ungainly, but I guess it's likely that they give much lower internal accessibility than an ordinary interface. Therefore even if these weren't extraordinarily rate, it's more than usually unlikely that anybody has drawn up a schematic.

I might keep an eye on eBay, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

Here is how the "Hybrid" cable looks:
bd500.png
bd500.png (582.82 KiB) Viewed 3604 times
Found in "Computer Answers" 1984/05 pages 19&20. Recently I found somewhere better picture but unfortunately I forgot to save it and now I can't track it again. But anyway I doubt that there is a hope to have the schematics :(. Even if we have the hardware the hybrid chips will be "sealed" like that:
hybrid.jpg
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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

... but we move slowly further: :)

side-by-side.png
side-by-side.png (65.34 KiB) Viewed 3603 times
Clksignal and Oricutron side by side running BD-DOS! Do you notice the difference :shock:
Yes, Oricutron supports more drives! :twisted:
The secret is: write to address $31A - drive select as follow:

Code: Select all

  switch( addr )
  {
    case 0x31a:
      switch( data & 0b11100000 )
      {
        case 0b00100000:
          bd->wd->c_drive = 0;
          break;
        case 0b01000000:
          bd->wd->c_drive = 1;
          break;
        case 0b10000000:
          bd->wd->c_drive = 2;
          break;
        case 0b11000000:
          bd->wd->c_drive = 3;
          break;
      }
      break;
  }
EDIT: To check drives use: "DIR,D0", "DIR,D1", "DIR,D2" and "DIR,D3". The last used drive remains as "current drive" for next command.

I'm preparing new Oricutron developer release with BD-500 support and some goodies (and with special thanks to @ThomH), just waiting the date 2020-0202 - simply it looks cool for release name :)

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mikeb
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by mikeb »

iss wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 4:17 am
Here is how the "Hybrid" cable looks:
Well thanks for digging that up -- and "Yuck!" :(

"revolutionary advance in the world of home computing" -- more like annoying retrograde step to prevent it ever being understood!

Looks like both sides have COB (chip on board) under epoxy blobs, like used on digital watches, music greeting cards etc. How annoying -- so it's likely there's no meaningful schematic if they've done that AND used some proprietary logic bits too.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by ThomH »

The list of things that Oricutron does but Clock Signal does not is usually too intractable to be worth commenting on, but thats great new information and Clock Signal will endeavour to catch up in the near future! Probably before the next palindromic date, but we'll see.

It actually could be interesting to see a schematic of just the non-cable bit of a Byte Drive 500 to find out what's meant to be selectable from the machine — e.g. is there a side toggle? Is there a double-density toggle? — but I doubt we'll even see that since the hardware itself is so obscure. I'm not sure even a scan of whatever documentation came with the drive survives?

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mikeb
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by mikeb »

ThomH wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:18 pm
non-cable bit of a Byte Drive 500 to find out what's meant to be selectable from the machine — e.g. is there a side toggle? Is there a double-density toggle?
From the article above, it seems the COB interface board for Oric is just there to provide an Oric (Atmos) specific boot ROM/hardware logic/WDC compatible floppy chip because Oric, out of the box, is missing all these things.

It states it has a 34-way connector to the drive, and implies that computers with a proper disk interface don't need this board.

So I would assume that the 34-way cable is a standard Shugart floppy interface. Therefore, the signals on it would be as per

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floppy-disk_controller

Scroll down to the "Interface" bit, and ignore the PC-specific stuff about twisting the cable :)

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by ThomH »

Oh, I had missed that the disk controller is in the cable; I'd assumed that the WD-or-equivalent was either in the box that is primarily a PSU, or in the drive itself*, with the cable just being the machine-specific ROM and whatever is necessary to do that machine's address decoding as input to the drive controller**.

So, yeah, you're right — there'll probably never be a schematic, of anything.

* not so crazy, e.g. the SAM Coupé does this, giving you one controller per drive.

** since I'm not even completely confident of the difference between a latch and a flip flop, I'm being deliberately vague here. But I guess, if the other electronics were on the far side of the cable then it'd just be generating appropriate chip selects. Assuming it's still called a chip select if it only goes to a flip flop. Or a latch.

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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

mikeb wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:23 pm
So I would assume that the 34-way cable is a standard Shugart floppy interface.
+1!
ThomH wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:18 pm
The list of things...
It was not meant to be offensive in anyway! With full respect I'm sorry for the unsuccessful joke. Actually I was very excited to share the "discovery" about $31A. ;)
ThomH wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:18 pm
Is there a side toggle? Is there a double-density toggle?
I vote for these too - there are "pings" to $314 and $316 on every command being executed and I can't think-off anything else more clever.

And this is the only piece of info which I found today:
Oric-1-48K-version-DOS-Users-Manual.jpg
Oric-1-48K-version-DOS-Users-Manual.jpg (19.74 KiB) Viewed 3540 times
Just the cover and returned by g**gle as match on image search with keywords: "spectrum" "byte drive 500" :D

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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

... and this in "TILT" magazine misspelled as "Bute Drive 500":
bUte-drive.png
bUte-drive.png (797.81 KiB) Viewed 3538 times
Automatic translate:
DRIVE: The long awaited floppy drive for Oric 1 and Atmos is finally available in France from JGS. This is I.T.L.'s Bute Drive 500 Kathmill which gives 440 K-bytes after formatting, or 220 KB per side on three inch floppy disks. The DOS, very complete, is supplied in ROM; it allows direct access or sequential access to data files. This Drive provides ten additional basic instructions to Oric computers, such as "On Error". The BD 500 is announced as compatible with the Spectrum, the Commodore 64, Y Electron ..., just change the interface cable. This floppy disk drive is offered at around 3980F by JCS.
Not very useful, but confirms the 2 sides floppy disks!

Oh, and the command format almost works:

Code: Select all

FORMAT"SOMETHING",D1
The command finishes with error and it still not clear what "something" is - I think it can be like disk name or (which I prefer) the name of the "autoexec" program i.e. in the bddos.dsk is a program named "HELLO" and it's started just after boot.

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Symoon
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Symoon »

For those interested, I found back a CEO-Mag index done by André C.
There it goes concerning Byte Drive:

BYTE DRIVE 500 ET BD-DOS

Article / Mag issue
BDdos et Euphoric / 204,
Brève : BD-500 drive / 153,
Brève : The BD 500 drive / 145,
Courrier / 246,
ITL Kathmill / 128,
Le lecteur BD 500 / 145,
Le DOS du lecteur BD 500 / 151,
Nostalgie... / 162,
Old2mfm, Mfm2raw & Raw2fm / 154,
Premières informations sur BD-DOS / 154, 155,
Résurrection d'un DOS / 153,
Vitesslec / 154

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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

Symoon wrote:
Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:44 pm
For those interested ...
Thanks for the info, @Symoon!

Well, I spend looot of time on this but IMO it's worth! :)

Attached you can find every single bit of info related to Byte Drive 500 which can be found in the internet archive and with little hacking the images are in the highest resolution!

In the Zip file you will find short summary of the BD-DOS commands. The guess in my previous post about the command parameter FORMAT"SOMETHING" is now proven - "SOMETHING" is the name of the auto-start program after boot! ;)
Additionally it is confirmed that "everything is in the cable" i.e. the floppy drive is just ... a floppy drive. (more info for BD-500 and SAM Coupé scroll page down).

And here is my precious "die shot" like picture of the hybrid controller board:
die-shot.jpg
die-shot.jpg (233.22 KiB) Viewed 3501 times
Unfortunately, the title of the last article in the ZIP file tells the whole story:
end-of-story.png
end-of-story.png (13.9 KiB) Viewed 3501 times
Attachments
ByteDrive500-archive.zip
(15.55 MiB) Downloaded 68 times

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Symoon
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Symoon »

thanks for the effort!
I'm not going to help much on that topic, but I saved the file anyway ;)

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

I have a ByteDrive. Actually a pair with documentation.

I did bid on that manual shown above but got outbid.
I have a lot of information to go through but havent' had the time to even unpack the ByteDrives.
I might just sell them on as I'm not getting the opportunity to look at it properly and don't have space for it.

I'm really not sure, but I'm going to scan the documents when I get chance, before doing anything else.

The ByteDrive software was written by Peter Halford. There was a Byte Drive User group but it only had 30 or so members. Dr Ray Mclaughlin updated the software and write programs for the Bytedrive including his WordSpeed word processor which he rewrote for Sedoric. There's some other updated programs including Composer. I haven't been able to look at any of this stuff yet to see what differences there are or if/ how it can be transferred to Sedoric.

The System seems to come with a BASIC V3 Rom. I'm not sure if this can be used without the BD system. There's a separate card to take the ROM. I think there was a V4 version on that board. As I say - I haven't had chance to look properly at it .

So for BDDOS there was the original Halford and then at least 3 revisions. I should have at least a couple of these.

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iss
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

Steve M wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:52 pm
I have a ByteDrive.
Wow! This is amazing.
All paper scans will be great and helpful.
@Steve M: If you decide to sell any ByteDrive stuff count me as a candidate! :)
Else I'm ready also to borrow it for some short time and cover all two-way postage.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Dbug »

iss wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:56 am
Steve M wrote:
Tue Mar 03, 2020 11:52 pm
I have a ByteDrive.
Wow! This is amazing.
All paper scans will be great and helpful.
@Steve M: If you decide to sell any ByteDrive stuff count me as a candidate! :)
Else I'm ready also to borrow it for some short time and cover all two-way postage.
Whatever happens to the drive, would be cool if somebody could make a video showing the system, how it looks like, how it works, etc... how it compares with the microdisc or jasmin (speed, reliability, ...) , etc...

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