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3.5'' 1050 as opposed to 3.5'' XF551


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I currently have two dead and useless 1050's burning a hole in my shelf. I am very familiar with the mod to transform an XF551 in to a 3.5'' drive. However I cannot find a similar project for the 1050. Does one exist? If so could you point me to it?

 

It seems such a colossal waste to butcher a XF551 while the 1050's - especially broken ones! - turn up frequently on eBay.

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There is no 3.5" conversion project for the 1050. The XF551 is very easy, it uses the same floppy interface as the IBM-PC. You literally plug in the drive, change the ROM, and it's done. In the 1050, the floppy interface is an older one, not immediately compatible with a newer 3.5" drive. In addition, nobody has modified the ROM to use a 3.5" drive, so you'd have to do that yourself (doesn't sound easy).

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There is no 3.5" conversion project for the 1050. The XF551 is very easy, it uses the same floppy interface as the IBM-PC. You literally plug in the drive, change the ROM, and it's done. In the 1050, the floppy interface is an older one, not immediately compatible with a newer 3.5" drive. In addition, nobody has modified the ROM to use a 3.5" drive, so you'd have to do that yourself (doesn't sound easy).

 

No indeed! Its a shame, but I can understand what you mean.

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I currently have two dead and useless 1050's burning a hole in my shelf. I am very familiar with the mod to transform an XF551 in to a 3.5'' drive. However I cannot find a similar project for the 1050. Does one exist? If so could you point me to it?

About 10 years ago I did some research into this. I had a spare 1050 PCB laying around and looked for a way to connect a standard PC diskdrive. I had the schematics for the Tandon TM-100 (double density double side version with 34 pin Shugart bus used on PC's) available, and noticed large part of its electronics is very similar to the 1050. For instance, the data separator circuitry is identical, but on the TM-100 present twice (for each R/W head).

 

I thought about designing an interface built around those large IC's for connecting a standard PC drive. After a job change I had very little spare time left, so the idea never really got off the ground. Besides that, it would only have resulted in a drive that's compatible with nothing but itself. And of course, back then the practical use of a diskdrive was just as slim as it is today.

 

I do recall I later on found a document by Bernd Engl (?) on Carsten Strotmann's website, about precisely such an interface. IIRC the author explicitly stated in the text that it was just a description of the concept, and that he had not built an actual working version.

 

re-atari

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About 10 years ago I did some research into this. I had a spare 1050 PCB laying around and looked for a way to connect a standard PC diskdrive. I had the schematics for the Tandon TM-100 (double density double side version with 34 pin Shugart bus used on PC's) available, and noticed large part of its electronics is very similar to the 1050. For instance, the data separator circuitry is identical, but on the TM-100 present twice (for each R/W head).

 

I thought about designing an interface built around those large IC's for connecting a standard PC drive. After a job change I had very little spare time left, so the idea never really got off the ground. Besides that, it would only have resulted in a drive that's compatible with nothing but itself. And of course, back then the practical use of a diskdrive was just as slim as it is today.

 

I do recall I later on found a document by Bernd Engl (?) on Carsten Strotmann's website, about precisely such an interface. IIRC the author explicitly stated in the text that it was just a description of the concept, and that he had not built an actual working version.

 

re-atari

 

It does sound like its an idea that comes to a lot of people, but then they realize the practicality doesn't overcome the difficulty or expense. And I do sort of get that.

 

For instance I have been reading about the SIO2SD device this evening and it comes very close to persuading me I don't really need a 1050 - certainly not more than one, let alone a XF551. I think it depends what you are getting in to retro A8's for. No one needs an actual piece of hardware these days. Altirra does absolutely everything you practically might want a real Atari for - Games and a few pieces of stoneage productivity. The only purpose - to the end user, not retro manufacturer - is the pure charm of using your Atari hardware again. At which point therefore does it not make any sense to buy more hardware, more mods which are really only making your 800XL a little bit more like a PC - which 100% of people who are in to retro-A8 already have.

 

I don't know. It is a vexed question; where do you draw the line? "Ultimate1MB"&"SIDE2" to provide storage and practical amounts of memory. VBXE necessary in many cases just so you can hook it up to a modern display. Probably some form of multicart to host all the cartrdige images one has collected. Really at that point I would say you have all the hardware/mods you need - maybe a "SimpleStereo" to improve the sound, although that is not really vital like the others. Now, previously I would have said a functioning 1050/XF551 was the final piece in the puzzle. However I have almost decided that the SIO2SD is superior in almost every way to either of those devices. The only shortcoming is it is not moddable with any of the legacy upgrades like XF Enhancer, Happy or US Doubler. But, does it need to be? The needs those mods filled in their day are almost entirely answered by SIO2SD in its native capabilities. No, you couldn't run 'Warp Speed Software' on it, but it works natively as well or better than that software ever did.

 

So, again. What is the purpose? I think for me it is totally not about what you are doing with your Atari, but how you are doing it. So the actual use of drives is what provides me the pleasure, not what I am putting on them as it were. Memory, Hard-drive, Multicart, Floppy-emulation. Fill those four categories and everything else fall by the wayside.

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It does sound like its an idea that comes to a lot of people, but then they realize the practicality doesn't overcome the difficulty or expense. And I do sort of get that.

 

For instance I have been reading about the SIO2SD device this evening and it comes very close to persuading me I don't really need a 1050 - certainly not more than one, let alone a XF551. I think it depends what you are getting in to retro A8's for. No one needs an actual piece of hardware these days. Altirra does absolutely everything you practically might want a real Atari for - Games and a few pieces of stoneage productivity. The only purpose - to the end user, not retro manufacturer - is the pure charm of using your Atari hardware again. At which point therefore does it not make any sense to buy more hardware, more mods which are really only making your 800XL a little bit more like a PC - which 100% of people who are in to retro-A8 already have.

 

I don't know. It is a vexed question; where do you draw the line? "Ultimate1MB"&"SIDE2" to provide storage and practical amounts of memory. VBXE necessary in many cases just so you can hook it up to a modern display. Probably some form of multicart to host all the cartrdige images one has collected. Really at that point I would say you have all the hardware/mods you need - maybe a "SimpleStereo" to improve the sound, although that is not really vital like the others. Now, previously I would have said a functioning 1050/XF551 was the final piece in the puzzle. However I have almost decided that the SIO2SD is superior in almost every way to either of those devices. The only shortcoming is it is not moddable with any of the legacy upgrades like XF Enhancer, Happy or US Doubler. But, does it need to be? The needs those mods filled in their day are almost entirely answered by SIO2SD in its native capabilities. No, you couldn't run 'Warp Speed Software' on it, but it works natively as well or better than that software ever did.

 

So, again. What is the purpose? I think for me it is totally not about what you are doing with your Atari, but how you are doing it. So the actual use of drives is what provides me the pleasure, not what I am putting on them as it were. Memory, Hard-drive, Multicart, Floppy-emulation. Fill those four categories and everything else fall by the wayside.

True, all valid points. These days the A8 is 'just' a hobby, nothing more, nothing less. Everybody is entitled to his/her own definition of what this hobby consists of. Playing games, hardware tinkering, nostalgic retrocomputing, or a combination of one or more of the above. I always had a thing with hardware tinkering, try that on a modern PC or Mac. I have to admit I bought a Mega Speedy a few months ago, IMHO the ubercoolest 1050 addon around.

 

You use a PC or Mac for productivity, and they do that job very well and (relatively) reliable. I seriously doubt that the PC I use today will still be in my possession in 25 years time.

 

When moving to a new house a few months ago, I threw out the major part of the PC related items I had collected since the late '80's. But I did keep all A8, Amiga, some 6502 Apple stuff and a very early IBM PC. I just couldn't justify throwing them out. I regret selling off my Nakamichi cassettedecks for small cash deeply (for the connaisseurs: I had a 581, 582 and ZX-7 as well as a very, very, very rare Pioneer CT-A7).

 

re-atari

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You have two ways to go, here. You can build a daughter board, much like the Happy upgrade, or you can just make a new motherboard and move the old parts over to it.

 

A whole new m/b makes more sense. You can then use a D.C. power pack and eliminate all the power supply nonsense in the 1050, as well as delete all the drive circuits by using standard FDDs.

 

It would look a lot like an XF551, but run 6502 code rather than that 8040 weirdness. You could run just about any kind of drive or CF card, or SD card.

 

Bob

 

 

I currently have two dead and useless 1050's burning a hole in my shelf. I am very familiar with the mod to transform an XF551 in to a 3.5'' drive. However I cannot find a similar project for the 1050. Does one exist? If so could you point me to it?

 

It seems such a colossal waste to butcher a XF551 while the 1050's - especially broken ones! - turn up frequently on eBay.

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You have two ways to go, here. You can build a daughter board, much like the Happy upgrade, or you can just make a new motherboard and move the old parts over to it.

 

A whole new m/b makes more sense. You can then use a D.C. power pack and eliminate all the power supply nonsense in the 1050, as well as delete all the drive circuits by using standard FDDs.

 

It would look a lot like an XF551, but run 6502 code rather than that 8040 weirdness. You could run just about any kind of drive or CF card, or SD card.

 

Bob

 

Woah... Quite an involved project then bob!!! It would be cool when it was done and presumably if you use the PC drives then you could use the more common HD 5.25'' floppies... But... Has anyone ever done this do you think?

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Making a new m/b is no worse than making a Happy board, really.

 

The hard part is the software that runs in the 1050. We can start with the general 1050 code that exists and modify that. Keep the code freely distributed and see what folks come up with as enhancements.

 

I have interfaced an FDD to an Atari - worked OK, except the interrupts and/or HALT would cause timeouts once in a while.

 

Percom, Rana, Indus, and others made 1050 equivalent drives.

 

Yes, you can use HD floppies, but I would not...

 

Bob

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Making a new m/b is no worse than making a Happy board, really.

 

The hard part is the software that runs in the 1050. We can start with the general 1050 code that exists and modify that. Keep the code freely distributed and see what folks come up with as enhancements.

 

I have interfaced an FDD to an Atari - worked OK, except the interrupts and/or HALT would cause timeouts once in a while.

 

Percom, Rana, Indus, and others made 1050 equivalent drives.

 

Yes, you can use HD floppies, but I would not...

 

Bob

What you wrote in post 7 is exactly what Bernd Engl did in his design, although if memory serves me right he ditched the 6507 in favor of a 6502 and used a 2Kb or 8Kb static ram because of better availability reasons.

 

Like you say, the firmware would indeed present a challenge. During my investigation mentioned in post 4 I studied the source code for the 1050 firmware written by Michael Paschler, to see if implementing 80 tracks was possible. 40 track drives were already very scarce 10 years ago, and using an 80 track drive meant you'd have to find a way to make it do double stepping. Only a few drives had a jumper to force this function. Anyhow, the 40 tracks maximum was hardcoded in lots of different places in the 1050 firmware, so it would need a lot of hacking/trial & error to get 80 tracks support running halfway decent.

 

But all that hard work would just have resulted in 80 track single sided disks that only that particular drive would be able to read/write. If formatting 80 tracks was even successful in the first place, that is. And not counting potential issues with durability of written data.

 

Oh well, as I wrote earlier, real life got in the way, and I never got back to the project. It just wasn't worth the hassle.

 

 

re-atari

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Using an XF551 does not allow an easy way to add things like very high speed SIO, or track/whole disk buffers, mass storage devices, and such. It won't do HD very well, either.

 

You know, a smart 1050 could be a master on the SIO and send/request data to/from another device on SIO.

 

Bob

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Using an XF551 does not allow an easy way to add things like very high speed SIO, or track/whole disk buffers, mass storage devices, and such. It won't do HD very well, either.

 

You know, a smart 1050 could be a master on the SIO and send/request data to/from another device on SIO.

 

Bob

Bob, that's interesting... Do you mean the 1050's can do it in the same manner as Indus CP/M communicating with another drive?

 

Fascinating...

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