Sharp X1 Support

HxC Floppy emulator support for all others computers...
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Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Wed Jul 03, 2013 9:12 pm

Hi there,

I've just ordered my first HxC emulator and am hoping to use it with a Sharp X1 Twin. It seems that noone has confirmed that it can work and so I'm going to have to pioneer this.

Unfortunately, finding a pinout for the X1 Twin's floppy disk controller connectors is proving next to impossible and so I'm going to have to figure out that too. I was wondering if anyone had any advice for doing this?

I believe it uses an MB8877A floppy disk controller but haven't confirmed this yet. I have the data sheet for that part at the ready though.

Any pointers in the right direction would be much appreciated.

Jeff
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Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Jeff » Wed Jul 03, 2013 11:49 pm

Old Floppy disk drive model & jumper setting ?

Rink
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Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Thu Jul 04, 2013 1:11 am

Jeff wrote:Old Floppy disk drive model & jumper setting ?
Sorry mate, I must just be being thick here but I'm not sure what you're asking.

The X1 Twin has has connections for at least two 5.25" floppy drives (possibly three if you believe some emulator source code - which I don't), which I believe are managed by a MB8877A controller chip (compatible with the WD17xxx series apparently) although I haven't had a chance to dismantle my machine and verify this yet. I can tell you it uses double density single-sided disks with a 256byte sector size; so all looks compatible with HxC units.

However, without knowing the pinout of the disk connector, it's going to be hard to connect an emulator, so I was looking for tips in working out what each pin of the connector might be. I'm not so bad with electronics but figured that some folks here probably have experience with figuring out these FDC pinouts and connecting HxC units to them so maybe they'd have some insight that might help me.

Edit: or do you mean to suggest I should examine the disk drives that are actually plugged into the controller sockets for clues?

Jeff
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Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Jeff » Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:33 am

Rink wrote: Edit: or do you mean to suggest I should examine the disk drives that are actually plugged into the controller sockets for clues?
Sure.

Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:23 am

Good thinking. I was pretty much focussing on the motherboard but the floppy drives themselves might be an easy investigation, if I'm lucky.

Cheers Jeff.

Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:26 pm

Well, had a quick poke around inside. Not found quite what I was hoping for but at least I know a little more.

The drives are labelled CZ-53F by Sharp but are also marked Sankyo F2SPR69 A. Unfortunately Google doesn't seem to have indexed any pages with that code on. Oh well...

They have a 34 pin card edge connector which looks pretty standard, but there's no guarantee that the pins haven't been rearranged like on some other Japanese machines. Guess I'll have to take out a drive and whack a multimeter on there.

Interestingly, there was indeed a spare connector so maybe it does support that third drive after all. Could be handy; if I can get the emulator working safely.

Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:30 pm

Also found some info on the other 5.25" drives used in the X1 range... So far it appears that they're either standard Shugart connections or possibly have pins 4 and 6 swapped.

Looks worth a try anyway. :D

Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:01 pm

Ok folks, here's where I'm at.

I've wired up an HxC Slim to the second drive connector in an X1 Twin, through a custom-made (I had some PCBs made) edge connector to idc adapter - and after some initial faffing around with pin alignments, I think all is well there.

Put in a 4GB SDHC card with the same file as DSKA0000.HFE and DSKB0000.HFE.

I could use a little advice at this point because things aren't quite working.

With ID0A set on and everything off, the LED on the HxC stops flashing and goes solid whenever the X1 tries to access ANY drive number. The first drive still functions, but when I try to boot from the second drive (the emulator), it doesn't work. No sign of an problems - the X1 detects nothing to boot and stops. After a few seconds, the HxC's LED starts flashing again. Same happens with only ID0B set.

With ID1A or ID1B set, nothing happens at all. The HxC LED keeps flashing.

With ID2A set, the light flashes until the X1 tries to access the second drive, at which point is goes solid. This doesn't happen when accessing the first drive. Looks promising. Unfortunately, still nothing loads. Same with ID2B.

With only ID3A or ID3B set, the HxC light only stops flashing when accessing the first drive.

So it looks like the best so far is using ID1A or ID1B. I've never used an HxC before so can anyone tell me if this sounds like the correct behaviour? Maybe there's something wrong with the files on the SDcard but I can't really think how best to proceed at this stage.

Cheers.

Rink
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Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Sun Jul 28, 2013 1:48 pm

Sweet :D

Got it working - turns out I needed to use the HxC Manager software to create a config file enabling indexed mode.

So I'm pleased to confirm that you can use an HxC emulator (in this case, the HxC Slim) with a Sharp X1 Twin (and most likely any of the X1s which have 5.25" drives fitted). Obviously this hasn't been an exhaustive test and if I run into any problems I'll let you know.

Regarding the 5.25" floppy card edge adapters I made - if anyone needs one, I have a few I could sell for how much they cost me to make. Since there's no private messaging here by the looks of it, if you wanted one then post here and I'll create a listing on SellMyRetro or something. I'm not expecting anyone to be interested but I thought I'd offer in case it helps someone out one day.

R

famiac
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Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by famiac » Tue Feb 10, 2015 9:32 am

Hi, i'm new to the forum. I registered to ask if you have any info on using HxC with the external floppy drive connector of an X1 computer. If it isn't possible, could i purchase a board from you for HxC use on an X1?

Rink
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:51 am

Hi Famiac,

The HxC units work pretty well with the X1's that have 5.25" floppy drives. I don't think I did anything unusual to get it working - except for making an adapter board so that I could connect a 40-pin IDE cable between the X1's edge-connector and the HxC slim.

Converting disk images using the standard HxC tool works fine too.

If you send me a PM (can we send PMs on this board, I've never tried?) with your address etc. and you cover the postage cost, I'll send you an adapter board. Won't charge you anything for the board itself - I have spares and I don't think anyone else wants them. :D

I haven't been able to test it with the later models that have a 3.5" drive. Which X1 do you have?

R

Edit: Can't see any PM options - so drop me an email (throwaway address) at kvd aat techie d0t com, and we'll work something out.

famiac
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Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by famiac » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:58 am

Hi Rink,

I sent an email a while back but you haven't responded.

Thanks

Rink
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by Rink » Fri Feb 20, 2015 12:37 pm

famiac wrote:Hi Rink,
I sent an email a while back but you haven't responded.
Thanks
Sorry mate - been unable to deal with most of my email for a few days, thanks to work.

I haven't forgotten about you. :)

R

famiac
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:04 am

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by famiac » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:55 am

All good. I was just worried, and maybe a bit impatient.
I apologize. Using this X1 properly is just very exciting.

fredohenriquez
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:26 pm

Re: Sharp X1 Support

Post by fredohenriquez » Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:58 pm

Rink wrote:Hi Famiac,

The HxC units work pretty well with the X1's that have 5.25" floppy drives. I don't think I did anything unusual to get it working - except for making an adapter board so that I could connect a 40-pin IDE cable between the X1's edge-connector and the HxC slim.

Converting disk images using the standard HxC tool works fine too.

If you send me a PM (can we send PMs on this board, I've never tried?) with your address etc. and you cover the postage cost, I'll send you an adapter board. Won't charge you anything for the board itself - I have spares and I don't think anyone else wants them. :D

I haven't been able to test it with the later models that have a 3.5" drive. Which X1 do you have?

R

Edit: Can't see any PM options - so drop me an email (throwaway address) at kvd aat techie d0t com, and we'll work something out.

Hello!

I sent you a mail just now, about one of those PCBs, Im interested.
Cheers!

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