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SIDE 3/SDX/SD Card/APT Partitioning for Dummies


Dr Memory
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SIDE 3/SDX/SD Card/APT Partitioning for Dummies

Given a SIDE 3 cartridge and an SD card, how do you format the SD card so you can use it as an Atari hard disk and also be able to use it to load data into said hard disk?  I had a lot of challenges figuring this out properly, involving many web searches and a lot of viewing of threads on the AtariAge forums.  All of the info here is documented… somewhere, but I found nowhere that had it all laid out neatly.  So I thought I’d give it a try.  Sorry if it is too long.  I should probably start a blog instead of doing this…

 

If I made mistakes or missed things, feedback is welcome.  I’m trying to strike a balance between “not enough info” and “too much info” while pointing out common pitfalls.  I am not trying to cover all possible situations, just ones I hit.  So please be gentle!

 

Step 1:  Round up the stuff you’ll need.  That’s a SIDE 3 cart, an A8, and an SD card.  A microSD card is fine with an adaptor.  You’ll also need a copy of the SpartaDOS X Toolkit disk, which can be downloaded from the SpartaDOS X Upgrade Project.  Finally, you’ll ultimately need a way to load that onto your system after you’re done partitioning and formatting.  Any of these should work for that: Sdrive-MAX, actual A8-compatible floppy drive, SIO2USB, etc.  I’m not going to attempt to describe the details of each of these, just warning you that you won’t be able to access a FAT partition from your HD without FATFS.SYS, which comes from the SDX Toolkit.

 

Step 2:  Put the SD card in the SIDE 3 cart.  Put the SIDE 3 cart in the A8.  Boot the machine.  The SD card need not be large – I used a 2 GB card for this, which is plenty if all you want to do is what I described in the first paragraph.  I recommend booting with the SIDE 3 switch in the up position so you can see the nice GUI instead of dropping right into SDX.  If SIDE 3 doesn’t recognize the card, you’ll get “No media” errors.  “No items” is ok, “No media” needs fixed.

 

Step 3:  Use the arrow keys on the keyboard (or a joystick if you prefer) to go to the far right menu item, which looked like a big arrow.  Select “Boot SpartaDOS X”.  Do that.

 

Step 4:  Run fdisk.  It is on the CAR: device but at this point your PATH contains only CAR: so you don’t need to do anything special to find fdisk and format and such.

 

Step 5:  Hit RETURN on the About screen.  This will cause it to enumerate devices.  Your SD card should show as the only device.  If it doesn’t, debug as needed.  Sometimes your cart or your SD card have issues or just don’t like each other.  Good luck with that if it happens.  My best advice if things aren’t good at this point is to reset the cart, reboot, and maybe try a different SD card.

 

Step 6:  Hit RETURN to select your device.  Now you’ll get an empty partition list.  If it isn’t, because you’re using a non-new SD card, I recommend trying a different one or re-initializing this one.  If it’s a new card, it should say “Disk requires initialization. Proceed?”.  Do that.  It then warns you “MBR will be destroyed”.  Allow that also, after double checking that you have the right SD card inserted and are ok with overwriting the current contents.

 

Step 7:  Now you should be on the “Initialize disk” menu.  If you are re-using a card instead of starting with a fresh one, you can get here by re-initializing the card.  I’m going to assume you got here and things are fine, whether you’re using a new card or not.

 

Step 8:  First, use shift-TAB on your A8 to go to the FAT menu.  Use the arrow keys to navigate to FAT16.  Hit RETURN.  Now TAB to the FAT (MB) field and type “32”.  Smaller is ok.  Larger is bad, so very bad.  This is going to be your FAT partition that you can use to transfer data to your HD.  If you make it larger than 32, it won’t be recognized as FAT16, which is bad.  FJC’s awesome videos show him setting it to 1024MB, which is fine for a FAT32 partition that will be used by SIDE 3, but it won’t work for the use case I am describing.  Anyway, set it to 32.  Don’t touch the other fields – MBR, Metadata Sectors, and Auto-fill disk should all be selected by default, and the APT (MB) field will now be 32 MB smaller.  This is good.  Hit RETURN, hit RETURN again to SAVE on the Disk Layout Summary page that appears.  Hit RETURN yet again to say you are sure.  Now you will be on the APT partition page.

 

Step 9:  Now we prime your HD by creating a partition.  Hit RETURN and it will put you in the Size field on the first row.  Type “65535”.  You could use a smaller number (though I’m not sure why you’d want to).  Bigger number = bad.  65535 is the happy number for this field.  Hit RETURN.  Now use the arrow keys to return to that row and hit the V key, then use the arrow keys to select D3: and hit RETURN yet again.  You don’t have to call this D3: but if you do that you’ll be keeping A: and B: free for floppies or Sdrive-MAX or what have you, avoiding conflicts.  While you’re on this row, also hit the B key.  This will make your first HD partition bootable.  Which you want.

 

Step 10:  Now we set up your FAT partition.  Later on you can come back and add additional HD partitions, but for now, trust me and do things in this order.  Hit the X key.  You’ll get a dire-sounding warning stating “Caution: Operation may invalidate data in higher DOS partitions”.  This is fine, and also one of the reasons for doing things in this order.  Hit RETURN.  Now you get an “External Partition” dialog, showing your 32 MB FAT partition.  Hit RETURN to accept this.  Now you have two partitions – one marked Ext and the other marked DOS.  Make sure the Ext partition is selected and type V to set the drive.  I like DN: for this but do what you want.  My reasoning is that the RAMDISK is normally O:, you don’t want to alias anything over top of A: or B:, and it’s good to have your HD partitions have contiguous names.  So select DN: and hit RETURN, or select something more to your taste if you want.

 

Step 11:  Use ctrl-W followed by RETURN to save this partitioning info to SD card.  RETURN again to say you are sure.  APT is now updated successfully.  Use ctrl-X and RETURN to exit fdisk.

 

Step 12:  Now you need to format your APT HD partition and your FAT partition.  I don’t think it matters which order this is done in.  I’m going to talk about APT first for no special reason.  So now you’re at the D1: prompt.  Run format.  Like fdisk, it is on CAR: and thus requires no special handling.  You want to type 3 for Unit 3, which is D3:, which will soon become C:.  I like to name it C.  Do that by hitting the V key and typing C, then RETURN.  Name it something else if you prefer, it doesn’t matter, but I’m going to keep to my naming convention here.  Now hit B for Build Directory.  It warns you, asks if you are sure (type Y), warns you again, again you are sure (type Y).  Format is now complete.  Use ESC to exit format.  You now have a drive C:.  Type “DIR C:” and you’ll see it contains no files and 65516 FREE SECTORS.  Cool.  Now, we need to format the FAT partition.  Again, you could have done this before formatting C:, the order doesn’t matter AFAIK.  Pop the SD card from SIDE 3, put it in a PC or Mac or whatever you have, and format it FAT.  I like to call mine FATTY for no special reason.  I’d copy some files onto FATTY while you have it on your PC or whatever, just so you have something to look at from the SIDE menu.   Note that FATTY is only 32 MB!  Therefore, this is the max you can move to your HD at once using this specific method.  Obviously you can insert some other device to move things around, but you won’t be able to access FAT32 partitions from SpartaDOS X under SIDE 3.  I’d copy at least one 8.3 file to the root directory and at least one folder of stuff.  This isn’t really part of the setup procedure but it will help.

 

Step 13:  Put the SD card back in SIDE 3.  Hard reboot by clicking the button on the top of SIDE 3, then RESET on your A8.  You should now be able to see the FAT16 partition, along with an Untitled APT partition.  You can also see the stuff you copied onto FATTY – maybe.  SIDE 3 will only show you files with extensions it likes and such.  So for myself, I copied on a .TXT file and I can’t see that, but also copied on a folder full of XEX files and can see those.  I can also run those from SIDE 3 if I want.  Now, go back into SpartaDOS.  You will boot into C:, and SDX will tell you that Partitions C,N are available but it can’t actually see N: yet.  We’ll fix that soon.

 

Step 14: This is where you need the SDX Toolkit.  Attach your floppy drive or Sdrive-MAX or SIO2whatever and set it up so you can see the contents of toolkit.atr, which you downloaded earlier.  I used an SDRIVE-MAX for this.  I did exactly these steps, but you don’t have to do it this way – the goal is to get FATFS.SYS onto your hard disk somehow.  I copied toolkit.atr to my Sdrive-MAX and plugged that into my A8.  I then created a directory on C and changed to it (MKDIR TOOLKIT, followed by CD TOOLKIT).  I then copied the entire contents of toolkit.atr into TOOLKIT (COPY /R A:).  I did this because I knew I’d want more stuff from toolkit.atr eventually and had plenty of space on C:.  Then, I changed directories back to DC: (CD \) and un-ARCed the FAT driver (ARC X TOOLKIT\DRIVERS\FATFS.ARC).  You should now have all the FAT stuff on DC: in the root directory.  When you’re done, you can delete all but FATFS.SYS, if you want.  For that matter you could hide FATFS.SYS in a dir if you want.  Anyway.

 

Step 15: Make sure FATTY is happy.  Type “CHKFAT N:”.  If you diverged from the steps above, you’ll need to use the correct drive letter.  You should get nice output with all OKs.  This means your FAT partition is good.  You can’t quite use it yet but we’re very close.  Note – running CHKFAT with no parameters isn’t good – make sure to run it with the name you gave your FAT partition!

 

Step 16: Now we make it so N: (FATTY) will work with SDX.  ED AUTOEXEC.BAT, and add a line “FATFS.SYS”.  Save it and hard reboot.  You have to use AUTOEXEC.BAT for this rather than CONFIG.SYS because you can’t edit the CONFIG.SYS on CAR: and SDX won’t use a CONFIG.SYS from DC: because there is one on CAR:.   After the reboot, you should be able to access N: and see the test files you copied onto FATTY earlier.  DIR N: is a bit slow for SIDE 3/FAT/APT/SDX reasons I don’t fully understand, but it works great.

 

Step 17: Sanity check: Type DF at the SDX command line.  You should now see DC: and DN:.

 

Step 18: Congratulations!  Now you can go back and add additional HD partitions, or additional FAT16 or FAT32 partitions, or you can add more things to AUTOEXEC.BAT, or you can just use your system and start moving piles of stuff onto your new HD.  Beware FAT partitions - SDX will ignore FAT32, and if you EXT mount FAT16 it moves things around on the partition list.  You can use FAT32 to make things available to SIDE 3 but not to SDX.

 

Hopefully this was helpful to someone!

 

Dr. Memory

 

Edited by Dr Memory
don't know how to disable auto-Emoji, also added blank lines as in original word version
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Here's a quick walkthrough

 

I clear the SD card in windows and create a FAT32 partiton leaving space for the APT partitions.

 

Put the card into Side3 and boot to the Loader in Side3, load SDX from the loader.

 

Type FDISK, it will tell you you need to format the card, allocate the FAT partition as before

and the rest will be left to APT, select ok.

 

Now select Partition and select External, this is for the FAT partition, select Partition again and assign a

drive letter, I usually use a Higher letter like Drive DO:.

 

Next select Partition and Insert, you need to set the size (65535 is max size), again after that set the

drive letter, I always leave D1: to D4: for SIO devices, so first partition is D5:

 

Create more as desired by moving to a blank line and repeat the above (if you don't assign drive letters, you won't be able to access the drives)

 

now select "APT" and "Write" select ok.

 

now select APT and exit.

 

At the the prompt type FORMAT

 

select "U" and type 5 (D5:) , then select "B" for build, answer "Y" and again "Y"

 

repeat for any other partitions you created and then exit

 

type DIR D5: and you should see

 

Volume:

Directory MAIN:

     65516 Free Sectors

 

Hope that helps

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The APT manual does not mention the 32 MB limit on FAT partitions that are meant to be accessible from SDX.  Your video, while awesome, shows you creating a 1024 MB FAT32 partition, and does not mention that SDX won't be able to access it under SIDE 3.  Most of what I wrote up can be found in one of those two places but the key to getting a working FAT partition accessible from an APT HD under SDX wasn't there.  It took me a lot of research and trial and error to figure out that important detail!

 

Also, I was unable to find a step by step procedure for setting up a working SD card the way I wanted it, with a usable FAT16 partition that supports moving files between PC and APT, a bootable APT HD and such, so I wrote one.

 

Among the things I didn't include, because I had a specific goal in mind, is the fact that you can indeed have FAT32 on the same SD card, and SIDE 3 will let you access it, but SDX won't.  The stuff about needing FATFS.SYS was indeed mentioned, but it took me a bit of time to figure out how to get it where it would be useful.

 

Your code and your documentation are awesome, man, but I still feel like there is a need for what I wrote.  I base this on the fact that I was unable to find a clear explanation of how to make a FAT16 partition on an APT SD card that would be accessible from SDX.  Even the APT documentation linked shows the example FAT partition as being 10240 MB, which WILL NOT WORK for my use case.

 

I tried to cover other disturbing things that happened when I was figuring this out as well and mention them so the user wouldn't be alarmed.  Things like the APT partitions moving when you set up the external partition, and the fact that CHKFAT.COM requires a command line parameter for proper operation but doesn't mention it, so if you just run it it complains about your APT partition instead of either showing a usage message or searching for and checking the actual FAT partition.

 

This is meant to help people not have to re-figure out all of this detail.  I disagree that all of it is covered in the existing documentation.  The clues that would enable you to figure out the rest are there, but I had to do a lot of googling and searching of the atariage forums and actually disassembled chkfat.com to get the rest.  :)  It's not meant to be a replacement for anything that already exists, just a helpful howto that fills in a few minor gaps.

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22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

The APT manual does not mention the 32 MB limit on FAT partitions that are meant to be accessible from SDX.

What 32MB limit? I think the maximum FAT16 volume size is 4GB.

22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

Your video, while awesome, shows you creating a 1024 MB FAT32 partition, and does not mention that SDX won't be able to access it under SIDE 3. 

SDX cannot access FAT32 anything at this point. If I demonstrate use of FATFS.SYS in a written document or a video, I would not direct the user to use FAT32, since it won't work. 

 

The manual's external partition uses a FAT16 volume as an example. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that FATFS and the SDX kernel will one day support FAT32, but if you went to the trouble of downloading and installing the FATFS driver in the first place and had managed to completely bypass the walkthrough in my manual, perhaps the FATFS documentatation is worth of a cursory read (doing so might dispel the misconception about 32MB limits and such).

22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

Also, I was unable to find a step by step procedure for setting up a working SD card the way I wanted it, with a usable FAT16 partition that supports moving files between PC and APT, a bootable APT HD and such, so I wrote one.

You may not have found one, but one exists in the form of the walkthrough in the manual. You may not like the manner of presentation and are of course free to offer an alernative, but it's midly aggravating when it's maintained that no tutorial exists at all, or that I failed to mention some partition size limit caveat that doesn't apply in the first place.

22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

I disagree that all of it is covered in the existing documentation.

Who said that? Not me. What I am saying is that a walkthrough exists which was supposed not to exist at all. If you find there are things worth covering which aren't covered in the manual, great, but please make sure you read the FATFS documentation first before criticising the documentation for omitting things which shouldn't be there in the first place. ;)

 

I have to say, having dealt with various SIDE3/FujiNet enquiries and such over the past couple of weeks, that it's a bit much when the user manual for device A is expected to also consitute a user manual for device B. Half of the usuability issues encountered arise from a complete unfamiliarity with SpartaDOS X and associated tools. Now, SpartaDOS X has its own website and its own user manual, just as CHKFAT and FATFS.SYS have their own documentation. Quick-start guides and such are most welcome, of course (which I suppose is why people often prefer watching videos to reading manuals), but if - for example - you feel disassembly of CHKFAT is necessary in order to create a working FAT16 external APT partition, perhaps you should take this up with the person who wrote CHKFAT and the documentation which came with it.

 

Edited by flashjazzcat
typos
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55 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

the fact that CHKFAT.COM requires a command line parameter for proper operation but doesn't mention it, so if you just run it it complains about your APT partition instead of either showing a usage message or searching for and checking the actual FAT partition.

CHKFAT is a debugging tool which was included in the FATFS distribution so that people could reliably report the parameters of a partition which they tried to access with FATFS, but failed. Therefore it cannot "search for the actual FAT partition", because it is only supposed to report the parameters of a disk and let the user decide if this is FAT or not.

 

That CHKFAT accepts a disk specifier as a parameter, is written in the CHKFAT.MAN as well as in the User's Manual (page 197). Now I admit that both documents contain a section which is open to be misinterpreted:

 

"The program and what is displays should be self-explaining. You should pay particular attention to the "Sector addr." parameter: if the CHKFAT complains about this one, your FAT file system is too large for your storage hardware and the whole thing is unlikely to work properly. You should probably use FAT disks not larger than 32 MB".

 

I.e. in case when CHKFAT complains that "Sector addr." is not "OK", you should use FAT partitions not loarger than 32 MB. Otherwise, if CHKFAT reports 24-bit sector addressing as "OK", your FAT partition may be as large as 2 GB (or perhaps even 4 GB, I do not remember at the moment). I will edit this to make things clearer.

 

(Also, disks >32 MB are only possible if the low level sector I/O drivers implement the XDCB protocol and accept sector numbers larger than 16-bit. This is IDE+ BIOS, U1MB BIOS and, I believe, the soft drivers for various SIDE flavours).

 

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To be clear, I'm not trying to disrespect or criticize any of the work that has been done.  I own and quite like SIDE 3 and I'm enjoying playing with SDX and APT.  I just wanted to collect everything together in one spot on how to do the specific thing I wanted to do rather than dropping clues in individual threads and messages.  I found a lot of those while debugging this and was frustrated, so I'm trying to help others a bit.  This is why I wrote this up in long form rather than just dropping hints like many do.  :)

 

The only gotcha I had with CHKFAT was the parameter thing.  I spent quite some time fighting with Windows and Ubuntu, trying to format a partition it would like, before I tossed it in DIS6502 and figured out the parameter thing.  Page 197 of The SpartaDOS X User Guide does indeed show what you said there, and I believe that's where I found the vital clue about the 32 MB boundary.  It also shows "d:" as an optional parameter, which isn't entirely the case - you really need to use the letter of the correct drive if you want good results.  Which it says actually, now that I know how to interpret it - "Executing CHKFAT on a non-FAT disk will return meaningless results.".  So true!

 

I also agree with what FJC wrote above about not expecting product A to describe things about product B, and that FAT16 partitions can in fact be much larger.  True!  Which is why I took it on myself to describe how to use SIDE 3/FAT 16/SDX/APT together to produce an SD card that has a legal FAT16 partition usable by SIDE 3, DOS, and SDX and accessible when booting SDX from an APT HD partition.  I'm not claiming it was anyone's job to do this or that anyone was responsible for documenting quirks of products other than their own in their own documentation.  It took me a while to figure this out, and I ended up with a reproducible procedure that yields a SD card with a FAT16 partition that SIDE 3 can use from its GUI and DOS can read and write to and SDX can read from while booted from SIDE 3.  You can even see the disk label on the GUI!  The walkthrough described has a different purpose and doesn't yield a setup usable in the set of circumstances I'm trying to address.  Nor would I expect it to.

 

I know people are tense about criticism and demanding users and such, but that's not what this is.  It's just a description of how to do something that pulls together info on how to use several products to yield a specific useful result, which I describe in my first paragraph.  That's all.  Not a criticism of the authors or creators of any of the products involved at all.  No bug reports or feature requests are included - just a procedure that does one specific multi-step thing and does it well.

 

I write a lot in my actual job, usually documenting stuff I created myself or led a team that created, so it made sense in my head to do this.  Given the reaction of people I specifically thought would appreciate this, I almost certainly won't do it again.

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22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

Page 197 of The SpartaDOS X User Guide does indeed show what you said there, and I believe that's where I found the vital clue about the 32 MB boundary.  It also shows "d:" as an optional parameter, which isn't entirely the case - you really need to use the letter of the correct drive if you want good results.

You need to use the letter, but you may specify it implicitly, hence the [d:]. Like this:

 

obraz.thumb.png.4e71d74e3cdb92e7d2a87e82523063a9.png

 

CHKFAT simply follows the syntax of CHKDSK - you either specify the disk drive letter or, if you specify none, the current drive is assumed.

22 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

Executing CHKFAT on a non-FAT disk will return meaningless results.

Yes, except the correct "Not a FAT disk" at the end. But as I wrote previously, this is not the aim of this program. The aim of the program was not to identify FAT disks, it was to identify which parameter on a FAT disk possibly needs adjustment in the scenario, when FATFS is loaded but the drive which was supposed to be FAT-formatted is not recognized by the system as such.

 

Edited by drac030
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Decided to add a working example SD card image.  Chances are, if you have SIDE 3 you are into the A8 enough to not NEED this because you already have an Sdrive-MAX or a SIO2USB or something like that, but this provides an example of a working image and a way to get things from a PC or whatever to an APT partition without having to hook up additional hardware.  The files on the FAT partition provide a little more info.

 

FATTY.zip

 

It was created using Win32DiskImager on a 2GB SD card, then zipped because I didn't think anyone would want me to upload a 2GB file.  :)  More info in the README.txt.

 

README.txt

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On 12/22/2020 at 10:07 PM, Dr Memory said:

 Step 4:  Run fdisk.  It is on the CAR: device but at this point your PATH contains only CAR: so you don’t need to do anything special to find fdisk and format and such.

 

FYI... I've been wanting to get a (some) APT partitions onto an SD card for my SIDE3. This step, however, does not work. My path does not contain CAR: - if I try any SdX commands, I just get error 138 (see the main Side3 thread where @flashjazzcat and I go back and forth about it.

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  • 4 months later...

I have an U11MB installed alongside Side 3.  After some research and reading the manuals I'm still hitting a roadblock in this process so I must have missed something.  At the format stage I cannot get the (U)nit option to select the drive number I am using.

 

In FDISK I have tried setting the partition to D1 / D3 / D5 and each time when I go to format, when I press the unit number (1 3 or 5 depending on whether I set the partition as D1, D3 or D5) it populates a letter instead.  It's bizarre - press 1 and A appears instead, 3 displays a C and 5 and E.

 

What did I miss?

Edited by Gryfon
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Bear in mind people that not all SD cards work, some aren't recognized by FDISK no matter what you do to the card. I ended up getting a Toshiba 16GB SD card and it worked perfectly.

 

Personally, I start FDISK, create my APT and FAT partition sizes, add my remaining partitions and assign them drive letters, then exit APT (remembering to save my changes, otherwise you've missed a crucial step) and I run the FORMAT command and build my directories. Once that's all done I stick the CF card in my PC and format the spare partition as my FAT partition.

 

I dunno, works for me.

 

EDIT: The letter when running the format command appears to be normal. 'A' = D1:, 'B' = D2:, etc. Although I believe there are some letters that cannot be used.

Edited by Mazzspeed
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1 hour ago, Gryfon said:

In FDISK I have tried setting the partition to D1 / D3 / D5 and each time when I go to format, when I press the unit number (1 3 or 5 depending on whether I set the partition as D1, D3 or D5) it populates a letter instead.  It's bizarre - press 1 and A appears instead, 3 displays a C and 5 and E.

 

What did I miss?

Back in the day, the designers of SpartaDos X thought it would be a good idea to have drive letters like CP/M and MS-DOS, so D1: is A:, D2: is B:, etc. That’s what you’re seeing here.

 

(This is the confusion I was talking about in the other thread, @flashjazzcat). 

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Working as intended.  To state it another way (saying the same thing as the other responders though), the drive numbers and letters are generally interchangeable, so you can refer to D1: or A: and get the same effect.  In my little tutorial I recommend reserving A: and B: (D1: and D2:) for physical floppy drives and such.  This has worked out well for me, as it also allows me to plug in and access virtual floppies using sdrive or respeqt, set as A: and B:, without disrupting my SIDE 3 drive map.

 

Anyway, what you describe is normal and not hurting anything, it just looks a little different than you were expecting.  If you select 3 it will indeed select D3: which is equivalent to C:.

Edited by Dr Memory
minor typo
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18 minutes ago, Dr Memory said:

Working as intended.  To state it another way (saying the same thing as the other responders though), the drive numbers and letters are generally interchangeable, so you can refer to D1: or A: and get the same effect.  In my little tutorial I recommend reserving A: and B: (D1: and D2:) for physical floppy drives and such.  This has worked out well for me, as it also allows me to plug in and access virtual floppies using sdrive or respeqt, set as A: and B:, without disrupting my SIDE 3 drive map.

 

Anyway, what you describe is normal and not hurting anything, it just looks a little different than you were expecting.  If you select 3 it will indeed select D3: which is equivalent to C:.

Thank you for confirming.  I wasn’t certain - thought I had made a mistake somewhere. Thank you!

Edited by Gryfon
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  • 1 month later...

Hi Ive just bought a side3 cart and it has arrived. Ive also ordered the sd card thats already setup with demos games etc... but in the meantime i have got a 2gb sandisk sd card which im trying to format and setup but seen as though the cart comes with NO instructions or paper work on how to use the cart i googling and reading all kinds of instructions to no avail! When i load spartados from the cart i then try fdisk and i keep getting MEMLO too high ??? what does this mean? Also i have downloaded the APT toolkit which i have put on my sd drive max but can't seem to use that with the cart for example trying to load the atr from the sd drive max whilst the cart is plugged in ?

Considering the high price for this cart theres no nothing for a noob to set this up with an sd card :( Theres plenty of people out there who know what there doing but im limited to messing with spartados in the first place.

Can someone please guide me to setting up an sd card on the side3 pleeeeeeeeeeease :) this will benefit others who have ventured in to buying a side3 cart too!

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I thought the side3 cart had everything built in to get stuff done? I can't load the apt toolkit from the sd drive max i can type DIR and i get DRIVERS FDISK TOOLS but i dont know how to load them ?  Ive typed D1:MEM and i get MAIN:$2DA7,$2DA7   EXT:$FF35,$FF35  USE:OSRAM  0 banks free

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7 minutes ago, Back2skooldaze said:

I thought the side3 cart had everything built in to get stuff done?

Did you read my reply to your comment under my YouTube video? Or the APT manual, for that matter?

 

I tried to explain that on a machine without extended RAM, SpartaDOS X will be starved of memory, and with the additional driver needed to access the SIDE3's SD card, MEMLO will be so high that almost no application can run. I advised you to make a temporary boot disk on D1: which contains a special CONFIG.SYS which omits non-essential drivers so that you can run the partition editor and at least get the card partitioned.

 

Before concluding that the device was missold, please refer to:

 

https://atari8.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/APT-Software-Manual-8th-Edition.pdf

 

http://sdx.atari8.info/sdx_files/4.49/SDX449_User_Guide.pdf

 

https://atari8.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/Ultimate-1MB-Incognito-and-1088XEL-U1MB-Firmware-Manual.pdf

 

Regarding your second comment:

Quote

OH RIGHT so now in order to use the side3 i have to now bump the 64k atari to say 1mb ultimate? I though the side3 worked on a standard 64k machine???

SpartaDOS X is provided courtesy of DLT and happens to require a lot of RAM in order to function optimally with a lot of drivers installed.

 

If you happen to test the SIDE3 Loader (boot the cartridge with the switch in the upper position), you'll find you can run cartridges and executable files perfectly well on a 64K machine.

Edited by flashjazzcat
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So how on earth do i load the apt toolkit that ive downloaded and put on the sd drive max in order to follow the pdf manual on fdisk?

 

why was the apt tool kit not built in the cart? pop your sd card in load the apt toolkit from the cart and start partitioning etc? This has misled my thoughts on the side3 cart. external program/drivers and needing more memory than 64k :( not good

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