Saturday 3 December 2011

I can't get no satisfaction

It is frustrating how one methodology takes you to another, then another, then another. What started as one project now is building up to two more. 

Has anyone connected up microdrives QL/Spectrum to another computer/electronic interface other than the QL or Spectrum and got them to work? Is there any documentation for them that would assist such a project.

In the process of a project weening off the QL hardware, such things to go are microdrives in place of 5.25 and 3.5 inch disc drives. However there is still a lot of stuff in lofts/garages that occasionally turn up micro drive tapes and eventually the hardware to put them in will no longer exist. 

So one project that I have been thinking about starting is replacing the microdrives with SD card slots, fortunately MemoryLane computing has done that bit for me. But what to do with the micro drive hardware? throw away? well with a bit of ingenuity maybe put them in their own case. But how to connect them up to the QL? I need some circuit diagrams.

Having lurked on eBay I have recently obtained Spectrum microdrives for a bit of inspiration, and suitable cables to inspect and copy and adapt for the project.

But this got me thinking even more, yes I can connect them up to a Spectrum, yes I can connect them up to a QL but what about connecting them up to a PC or other computer device with say a USB port that is running emulation software. With Qemulator on the PC or the MAC saving via a USB connection to an actual micro drive, how cool would that be? but has it been done, can it be done?

I presume some form of electronic interface converting signals from the micro drive connector to a USB or some other port would be needed plus some form of driver. The first part would be knowing the connections to the micro drive and what controls it plus the signals, where can I obtain that?

Dilwyn's site? Well there is the Technical Manual but that is not relevant enough, the service manual looks a possibility but has PIC file files which I now have to convert. So now I am looking for a PC based PIC to other graphic file converter...

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