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  • Amstrad / ZX Spectrum +3 Floppy Drive Hack.

    Well, I recently acquired an empty floppy case from Clueless - probably a bit of a strange request you may think? Well, here's why.

    1st. Take one standard PC HD Floppy. Here's a black facia one I got from evilbay for a few quid.
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    Now, I need to make sure it only operates in Low Density mode. This is easily achieved by shorting out the High Density Floppy sensor. This means that even if a High Density disk is inserted, the drive thinks it is low density, so no need to tape over the hole any more.
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    Now. The drive's ready signal needs to be "always on" for the Amstrad and Spectrum to recognise. A solder bridge from ground to pin 33 sorts this out. Plus, due to the physical hardware of the CPC drive, I need to be able to manually select which head of the 3.5" drive to use (The CPC / +3 floppy drives were single sided - the disks were flipped to change side). if Pin 32 is grounded, Side B is selected, otherwise Side A.

    Also and the ability to select "primary" or "secondary" floppy will be a nice thing to have. Grounding pin 12 makes the drive secondary, leaving it open makes it primary. Leaving it open has the added benefit of seemingly overriding the internal drive. This is totally optional, but as the drive is only ever going to be used for Low Density floppy disks, I thought this would be a good idea.
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    Next - power. Neither the +3 or CPC had a power out for external floppy drives, so I need to power this somehow. I had an old phone charger, which had a mini usb connector on the end, and guess what - its 5v, ideal for the drive unit.
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    The wire from the charger connected to one of these will make the IDEAL floppy power source.
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    Getting data signals to and from the drive would be useful. Fortunately, the "Drive B" port on the back of both the Spectrum and CPC 6128 is identical to an old style 5.25 floppy connector, so you need an old skool PC floppy cable with both 5.25" and 3.5" connectors on it:
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    And after a bit of butchering, the cable looks like so, - perfect for connecting the drive.
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    Right. Fun time! Out with the Dremel and drill - its time to attack the unit Clueless kindly supplied. Lets have a game of Spot the Difference.

    Before:
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    After:
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    I have added 2 5mm holes to stick the rocker switches I have bought through, and "widened" the old floppy connector jack hole, so the new ribbon cable can fit without being folded.
    Last edited by Chinners; 6 April 2010, 13:12.

  • #2
    Continued.

    Right, I need to block some holes, and narrow the ribbon cable hole slightly, just to make it look a bit more professional. Araldite and bits of metal cut from floppy disk shutters will sort this out:
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    (please note - the wife was annoyed I used her best kitchen scissors for cutting metal, so if you do this, don't tell the owner of the scissors!)


    Now, lets go overboard with a glue gun to make sure things dont move:
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    And finally, time to put the case unit back on.
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    Hmmm. That will not do. Look at the colour of that. Its supposed to be attached to a Black Spectrum, or a Dark Grey CPC. Time to dig out a can of "Retr0Dark"... (ok, Ford Mercury Grey spray paint will do!)

    And, once it's stuck all back together.

    Front:
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    Ahh, that colour is much better.

    Back:
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    Does it work? Well, on my floppy driveless CPC:

    The Floppy drive side select works. This floppy has Jack The Nipper on Side a, and Renegade on side b
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    And yes, games load in. Neat!
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    I now have one fully working, self powered 3.5" floppy drive for my CPC6128, that can be drive A or B with the flip of a switch, and can select sides at the flip of another switch. I built something similar over a year ago when I had my Spectrum +3, and yes, it worked perfectly on that!
    Last edited by Chinners; 6 April 2010, 13:16.

    Comment


    • #3
      Awesome work.

      How about editing the title of this brilliant work to suggest PC to Amstrad/Spectrum Floppy Hack or similar.

      Best wishes,

      Kin

      Comment


      • #4
        Thats turned out really well. Some nice modding indeed, good to see what you were up to.

        Comment


        • #5
          Congrats! Really nice modda.
          You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around
          you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.

          > GO EAST

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kin Hell View Post
            Awesome work.

            How about editing the title of this brilliant work to suggest PC to Amstrad/Spectrum Floppy Hack or similar.

            Best wishes,

            Kin
            I did try, but I can see how...

            (ok, I looked slightly harder and found it.!)

            Comment


            • #7
              @Jasey


              NICE!!!!!!
              Flux Mastah' Zee
              50 L337 1'M W1R3FR4M3

              Comment


              • #8
                If you ever consider selling one of these (or making them for peeps) please let me know!

                Comment


                • #9
                  It looks like one of the Mods is going to have to change the main title as it still lists as a "Floppy Drive Hack". This appears to be something to do with the Pre-title selection options.

                  Kin

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    It's an awesome mod.
                    Flying Spaghetti Monster wrote: noodle noodle noodle

                    I am not a democracy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      @ Jasey

                      I've PM'd TC to change the thread title for you.

                      Kin

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        @all

                        Done , It certainly deserves to be stickied as well

                        Excellent Mod & a useful resource.

                        TC
                        Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow June 2016, I Was There

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Kin Hell View Post
                          @ Jasey

                          I've PM'd TC to change the thread title for you.

                          Kin
                          Thanks. I really should have thought a bit more before I posted, but hey - "nay 'arm done"

                          ---------- Post added at 14:22 ---------- Previous post was at 14:19 ----------

                          Originally posted by TheCorfiot View Post
                          @all

                          Done , It certainly deserves to be stickied as well

                          Excellent Mod & a useful resource.

                          TC
                          Oooh! Thanks.

                          I just fixed a lot of the English in the original post - I think I rushed it a bit too much... hopefully nobody will notice

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            BTW, avoid using HD disks if you can, as anything written to them will quickly deteriorate...

                            Chris
                            READY.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              do you know where to get a floppy case like that? i did some searches... but nothing found. Also great mod... i know something similar has been done before, but you needed a really old floppy drive with a signal switch, cant wait to try it out....

                              thanks

                              Comment

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