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Old 24 May 2015, 04:02   #1
Starglider 2
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Easiest way to read HD floppies on A500?

Hi, as per the end of this thread, I have 50 HD floppy disks that I need to just read (a 25 year old backup set I'd love to recover). The A500 cannot read them, because I created them on an HD drive I must've had hooked up at the time.

What is the easiest/simplest way to read HD disks on a stock A500?

Last edited by Starglider 2; 24 May 2015 at 04:22.
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Old 24 May 2015, 07:50   #2
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I think your best bet is to find someone with a A3000/4000 with a HD floppy drive fitted. I believe you could get a HD floppy controller for the A500 to connect a HD drive back in the day, but will be a pain to find one now.
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Old 24 May 2015, 07:59   #3
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Thanks. The guy (Robert) who runs the SCCAN Commodore meet ups let me use his A1000, which was retrofitted with an HD floppy drive. I could use that, but...

My dilemma is that if the restoration works, I'll be restoring my teenage Amiga hard disk from 25 years ago to his Amiga.

So I'd really like to do it here with my own A500. It's why I just installed a 4GB CF HDD anyway So my question stands. Was there no external HD floppy drive that connected to the A500? (With Kickstart 3.1.)
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Old 24 May 2015, 08:06   #4
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There was some for the A500 as detailed here: http://www.bboah.com/index.php?action=show&cat=54
But you might have a bit of trouble finding one. If you did use the A1000 you mentioned, if he would let you, you could always use a different hard drive and swap them back over when finished, or decompress the floppy's on-to a CD/RW or zip drive.
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Old 24 May 2015, 08:09   #5
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All valid ideas, thanks.

What I can't remember or figure out, is how I created the backup in the first place. To my memory I only had an A500 Plus with the GVP Impact II A500+ hard disk on the side.

I do remember having an external drive, but I don't remember buying any kind of special floppy controller.

It's a mystery, but I hope to solve it...
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Old 24 May 2015, 08:14   #6
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If I remember right, there was a external SCSI HD floppy drive for the Amiga, maybe you had one of those hooked up to the GVP? Memory is a bit hazy on that though, it might have been PC only.
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Old 24 May 2015, 08:51   #7
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Last edited by Starglider 2; 24 May 2015 at 09:29.
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Old 24 May 2015, 10:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starglider 2 View Post
2. There's one at http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Chinon-FB-...item41951c2adc but why does it have "Low Density" written in black marker?
My guess is that someone has had their HD drive fail, had a spare A2000 drive, swapped the innards into the A3000 metal sleeve. They are subtly different, the A2000 drive won't allow the A3000 top cover to fit. As you can see in the rear pic, said someone has amended the model number to read FB-234. :-)

The pictures show that the mechanism doesn't have a HD detect switch, so it is definitely a DD drive. Best forget about this one.

Quote:
3. Any ideas whether this 'Commodore' drive definitely worked on the A500 with KS 3.1?
A genuine 357A will work in the A500 as a HD drive with KS 2.04 and up.
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Old 24 May 2015, 10:29   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starglider 2 View Post
[LIST][*] Your SCSI HD floppy attached to the GVP idea is quite possible.
It won't work. SCSI floppy drives have a PC floppy controller built in which means they have a fixed geometry. They can only read 1440KB floppy disks (PC format), not 1760KB (Amiga format).
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Old 24 May 2015, 10:30   #10
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Originally Posted by Jope View Post
A genuine 357A will work in the A500 as a HD drive with KS 2.04 and up.
That is music to my ears! (Or clicking if there's no disk in it.)

Now to find one...
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Old 24 May 2015, 10:35   #11
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BTW, is the FZ-357A just the same as the FB-357A, other than a bit slimmer? Will either work in my A500 with KS3.1?
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Old 24 May 2015, 11:22   #12
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BTW, is the FZ-357A just the same as the FB-357A, other than a bit slimmer? Will either work in my A500 with KS3.1?
They're functionally identical, but the case won't close. :-)

Only the A3000 model of the FB-357A will fit the A500 top case, and you will also have to unclip the A3000 eject button and install an A500 specific eject button that you have pilfered from an A500/A2000 FB-354.

Another alternative is to swap the FB-357A innards into an A500 chinon's metal sleeve, in the same vein as was done for the eBay drive.
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Old 24 May 2015, 13:44   #13
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The easiest way to read HD floppies would be to buy/borrow an external HD floppy drive and connect that to your A500. [Of course that's not counting how hard it might be to find one of those drives...]

Amitek sold one, a modified Dell DX9 external unit with special cable. That's more or less a "true" Amiga HD drive, no software patches needed.

Power Computing also sold an HD drive. That one needs a software patch to work fully. (Maybe just reading doesn't require the patch?)
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Old 24 May 2015, 18:56   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_k View Post
The easiest way to read HD floppies would be to buy/borrow an external HD floppy drive and connect that to your A500. [Of course that's not counting how hard it might be to find one of those drives...]

Amitek sold one, a modified Dell DX9 external unit with special cable. That's more or less a "true" Amiga HD drive, no software patches needed.

Power Computing also sold an HD drive. That one needs a software patch to work fully. (Maybe just reading doesn't require the patch?)
That's probably exactly what I used to create the backup 25 years ago.

Any ideas of the Amitek model number to look for? The Power Computing is the XL.

Edit: There are a bunch of Power Computing ones on eBay. I'm guessing they're not all HD?: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...ables&_sacat=0

Edit: Found this but can't figure out the currency: http://www.efunzine.com/efnz.php?a=p...c0a9e8a5bdfb1e

Last edited by Starglider 2; 24 May 2015 at 19:08.
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:14   #15
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Most likely none of them are HD.

The efunzine one is priced in Polish Zloty. No idea whether it is actually modded to be a half speed Amiga drive.
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:15   #16
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Looks like polish zloty
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:19   #17
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Thanks guys. Unfortunately they won't accept the US zipcode for the "Griffin Box Way" delivery. I've posted a Wanted ad on Amibay.
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:39   #18
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I'm not sure even just plugging in a HD drive will work on a A500, don't they need the HD controller too?
The drive just posted says A600/1200 etc. but nothing about A500.
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:42   #19
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I assumed that was just a Kickstart restriction, but although delivery by Griffin sounded cool I think I'll avoid that one anyway and look for a Chinon, Amitek, or Power.
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Old 24 May 2015, 19:50   #20
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You could be right, although from Wikipedia:
Quote:
Commodore never upgraded the Amiga chip set to support high-density floppies, but sold a custom drive (made by Chinon) that spun at half speed (150 RPM) when a high-density floppy was inserted, enabling the existing floppy controller to be used. This drive was introduced with the launch of the Amiga 3000, although the later Amiga 1200 was only fitted with the standard DD drive. The Amiga HD disks could handle 1760 KB, but using special software programs it could hold even more data. A company named Kolff Computer Supplies also made an external HD floppy drive (KCS Dual HD Drive) available which could handle HD format diskettes on all Amiga computer systems.
One of those dual drives sold on Amibay not too long ago.
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