Is BD-DOS lost to time?

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Steve M
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

I've got BD drives and Microdisc drives. I've got Cumana with 3.5" drives. I don't have a Gotek yet.
I've been holding off from getting a Gotek as there is the issue with files being converted to it's format. I'm not aware of anything that can get the files back to Oric .dsk files (?)

My Opel interface had the 3" and 3.5" drives. It's gone wrong so need repairing. :( I used to copy thing on there from the 3" to 3.5" then I'd use the Cumana with 2 3.5" drives. I used to copy 3.5" floppies on the PC. Now my old PC need repairing :(

Can you connect a real drive to the Cumulus? I thought that might be a way to convert files.

I haven't booted up the BD system yet. I don't have much room. As it is the Atmos is sitting on top of the Atari ST which share an (Einstein) monitor.
I've been scanning the paperwork first to try and preserve something of the system.
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Chema
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Chema »

Steve M wrote:
Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:39 pm
I've got BD drives and Microdisc drives. I've got Cumana with 3.5" drives. I don't have a Gotek yet.
I've been holding off from getting a Gotek as there is the issue with files being converted to it's format. I'm not aware of anything that can get the files back to Oric .dsk files (?)
Yep. That is indeed an issue. I think I once suggested Oricutron supporting edsk (Amstrad CPC) disk format. It is a container, similar to our dsk, which is natively supported by the Gotek's firmware. The software tool can convert from dsk to edsk (but not the other way round) too, and it is also supported in the MiSTer, SiDi, etc. Oric cores. Having it supported in Oricutron would ease things a lot, but also a conversion tool could be created.
My Opel interface had the 3" and 3.5" drives. It's gone wrong so need repairing. :( I used to copy thing on there from the 3" to 3.5" then I'd use the Cumana with 2 3.5" drives. I used to copy 3.5" floppies on the PC. Now my old PC need repairing :(

Can you connect a real drive to the Cumulus? I thought that might be a way to convert files.
I also have an old laptop to be able to write 3.5 disks with WRITEDSK, but eventually it will fail and I will get stuck with no way to produce physical floppies. It should be possible to plug a real floppy and a gotex in my Microdisc clone and create physical disks from disk images, but only if they are DOS-friendly (Sedoric, OricDOS,...). We don't have (yet) a tool to duplicate disks at low level (no dos, different, or variable, geometry, etc.). And, as you said, the other way round is not possible. You end up with an hxc floppy image you cannot convert to Oric dsk (see above, my discussion about edsk format).

About using a PC, the only solution I've seen so far is Greaseweazle. Not easy if you are not good with the soldering iron (I suck!).

And the answer to your question is no. The Cumulus emulates the Microdisc controller and the 4 floppy drives. There is no way to connect a real one.

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Steve M
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

Chema wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:23 pm
And the answer to your question is no. The Cumulus emulates the Microdisc controller and the 4 floppy drives. There is no way to connect a real one.
That's a shame. I thought the jumper on the board was to switch between drives? Anyway, it's a missed opportunity. I guess that leaves the Cumana reborn as the better alternative - but still the issue of transferring files.

I better get back to fiddling with my old PC.

The Greasweazle looks interesting. Apparently you can get them soldered or fully assembled. I can';t see where to get any of the hardware though.

Anyway, here's some more pics.
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Dbug »

More exactly, Cumulus is a software emulation, since it was only designed to talk to a SD Card, there's no attempt at handling things like the time it takes to spin a motor, change track, etc... that's why it's super compact. Cumana Reborn is a real Cumana disk controller which just happen to be modified to have a gotek on board.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

Chema wrote:
Wed Jul 01, 2020 12:23 pm
About using a PC, the only solution I've seen so far is Greaseweazle.
@Chema: Thanks for the link. I didn't know about this nice project - it looks great. I've created something similar based on Arduino but it's in early stage, so Greaseweazle will save my time for something else :).

Cumana reborn can be a solution - IIRC it's normal Cumana controller integrated with Gotek and allows to connect additional floppy drive.
@SteveM: Do you have Cumana reborn? If so, can you try to test how it's functioning with additional 3" floppy? And If everything seams to work I'll create a copy program which will dump the BD-DOS disk from the real 3" drive to an USB HFE-image and a PC tool which will convert HFE to normal DSK image.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

I've not got a Cumana Reborn yet as I've got Cumana boards. I was hoping Piotr (is that the right name?) would want to build them, but he wanted to make them smaller and came up with the Reborn design. I've got 2 or 3 that I've half-made. More projects to do !!!
I know the Cumana interface will accept any of the drives - 3", 3.5" or 5.25" - it's a matter of setting up the drive configuration on Sedoric. I'm not sure how that would work with other DOS systems(?) I assume there's some similar part of the DOS that tells the system the right partitions/ sectors etc. I don't know if the HFE works with 3" configuration?

I've got all the old gear(OPEL interface, Cumana interface, Miscrodisc interface, 3" drives, 3.5" drives, 5.25" drives), some of the new stuff (Cumulus, Erebus) but not something to transfer things, at the moment. I might be able to get my hands on another PC soon which would make things easier.

I think I need to sell some Oric gear so I can afford to buy some Oric gear!!!
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by iss »

Unfortunately, this Cumanas will not do the job - it's the same as Microdisc and any other FDC i.e. you still need a Gotek to transfer files between Oric and PC. (Actually maybe I mislead you saying "Cumana reborn" I meant the one with integrated Gotek).

I think in this case the best will be PC with attached floppy (3" or 3.5" depending on the BD-DOS disks) and OmniFlop which work just fine for analyzing and reading strange floppy formats.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Chema »

I have a Microdisc clone with two 3.5 drives. Sedoric works with no need of any configuration. I've also seen it work with one 3.5 and one 5.25 drives. Plug and play.

I am sure cumana will work that way too. If I remember correctly it was Oric DOS that need some kind of config?

Also, hfe is a bit stream representation, so it must support 3 inch disk images with no issues. It works for Amstrad and Spectrum, so.....

With a cumana I am quite sure you can plug 3, 3.5 and 5.25 drives and a gotek at the same time and make transfers between them all using Sedoric.

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

You can check your configuration using DSYS. Drives are usually 42 track or 82 track - single or double sided. It can be set with DTRACK.
Drives will work to some extent but if you want o format a disk it helps to have the system set up right.

I've found my way over to the Greasweazle Facebook page. They are offering a couple of types with options of fully assembled or kit. I've ordered one of the F7 v2 fully assembled. It looks a bit complicated to get it working, but I'll give it a go.
The files can be output to HFE so we're still at the point where a HFE to Dsk program is desirable.

Cumana will work with the Gotek. Cumana Reborn is a smaller version of Cumana with Gotek, isn't it? Some modern components but it's basically the same. So for me with Cumana, I need a Gotek. But with either device it's the HFE format that is the problem.

But, as I said, I hope to get a PC working which might be easier, for me, to convert floppies.

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Steve M
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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Steve M »

iss wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:18 pm
I think in this case the best will be PC with attached floppy (3" or 3.5" depending on the BD-DOS disks) and OmniFlop which work just fine for analyzing and reading strange floppy formats.
Thanks for this. I don't think I've come across Omniflop before. That looks interesting. I've downloaded the different versions. I must have another look at my PC !!!

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by Chema »

Steve M wrote:
Fri Jul 03, 2020 9:49 pm
You can check your configuration using DSYS. Drives are usually 42 track or 82 track - single or double sided. It can be set with DTRACK.
Drives will work to some extent but if you want o format a disk it helps to have the system set up right.

I've found my way over to the Greasweazle Facebook page. They are offering a couple of types with options of fully assembled or kit. I've ordered one of the F7 v2 fully assembled. It looks a bit complicated to get it working, but I'll give it a go.
The files can be output to HFE so we're still at the point where a HFE to Dsk program is desirable.

Cumana will work with the Gotek. Cumana Reborn is a smaller version of Cumana with Gotek, isn't it? Some modern components but it's basically the same. So for me with Cumana, I need a Gotek. But with either device it's the HFE format that is the problem.

But, as I said, I hope to get a PC working which might be easier, for me, to convert floppies.
I feel a bit stupid... somewhere along this thread I lost its point completely. Of course you already knew all of this...!

I had in mind just reading disks to convert between real disks and images in the Gotek with your Oric, I totally forgot about everything else. Even the fact that we are talking about dealing with BD-DOS disks images!.

Okay, back to the original idea. If you happen to get a PC with a real drive (not one using USB, even internally, so the geometry parameters can be configured) you can use good old WRITEDSK/READDSK under win95/DOS (which I use - I have an old laptop just for that) or Omniflop for newer operating systems (I never tried this one). The main problem is that it is less and less frequent to have a PC with a "real" floppy drive, and that is where (supposedly) Greaseweazel comes in handy.

I now very little about this project, but it seems you can connect any kind of floppy drive to it and read/write from your PC even the most strange disk geometries and produce a real dump of its low level contents. That is nice for odd formats, geometries and copy protections.

But, as you just said, we are still needing some kind of conversion from HFE to DSK, but at least the result could be tested on an oric with a Gotek...

Let me know if you end up testing Omniflop or getting your hands on a Greaseweazel :)

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Re: Is BD-DOS lost to time?

Post by ThomH »

Minor additional comments from me: since Clock Signal already supports both HFE and edsk, you could at a stretch use it as a converter but probably the more useful contribution is that I could knock up a simple command-line tool if it'd be helpful.

Only two caveats: (i) I don't support HFEv3 yet, but it'll be shortly forthcoming; and (ii) I've yet to find a good documentation of what a program reads from the WD1770 when it detects a sync word. It is known to provide spurious bytes rather than just throwing out either the current shift register value or the decoded value of the sync byte, alas. This is why Clock Signal doesn't do so well with pasti-format ST disks, though it does also attempt to support them, and they might even be a better fit for Oricutron — they actually record the results from a read track separately from those for reading sectors and if your emulator is able to just use those two bits of information separately then they're pretty easy to handle.

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