Amstrad / ZX Spectrum +3 Floppy Drive Hack.

Chinners

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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.
101 - Floppy.jpg

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.
104 - Floppy Override.jpg

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.
105 - Floppy Solder.jpg

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.
202 - Mobile Phone charger.jpg

The wire from the charger connected to one of these will make the IDEAL floppy power source.
201 - Power.jpg

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:
301 Oldskool Floppy Connector.jpg

And after a bit of butchering, the cable looks like so, - perfect for connecting the drive.
302  butcher it.jpg

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:
502-Case.jpg

After:
503-Case.jpg

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.
 
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Chinners

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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:
506-Case.jpg
(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:
507-case.jpg

And finally, time to put the case unit back on.
501-Case.jpg


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:
602-Finished.jpg

Ahh, that colour is much better.

Back:
601-Finished.jpg

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
402 Floppy drive select works.jpg

And yes, games load in. Neat!
403 Game loading.jpg

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!
 
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Kin Hell

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Awesome work. :nod:

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

Best wishes,

Kin
 

clueless

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Thats turned out really well. Some nice modding indeed, good to see what you were up to. (y)
 

Chinners

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Awesome work. :nod:

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.!)
 

tokyoracer

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

Kin Hell

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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. :whistle:

Kin
 

Kin Hell

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@ Jasey

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

Kin
 

TheCorfiot

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@all

Done , It certainly deserves to be stickied as well :p

Excellent Mod & a useful resource.

TC (y)
 

Chinners

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@ Jasey

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

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 ----------

@all

Done , It certainly deserves to be stickied as well :p

Excellent Mod & a useful resource.

TC (y)

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 :shhh:
(y)
 

xc8

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

Chris
 

UNiX

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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
 

Witcher1979

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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

The long floppy metal cases? I have one
 

UNiX

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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

The long floppy metal cases? I have one

is that the thing that encloses the floppy disk drive in it?
:wooha:
would you be prepared to part with it?
how much? postage price?

if not, do you know where to get one from?
 

UNiX

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Also, the bit which i find a bit unclear is which wire goes to what (the ac adapter and floppy power cable).

From what i understand... the red (5V) goes to the pin striped AC wire (5V)... but what about the rest? No ground?
 

rkauer

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Can someone tell me if this hack also works on the grey Spectrum 2+?

I don't know if the 2+ have a built controller, anyway.:?:
 

TheCorfiot

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@rk

The grey +2 does not have an onboard floppy controller, I believe you can hack a floppy drive onto the +2a though.

TC :)
 
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