Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

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Hedge1970
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Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by Hedge1970 » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:44 pm

Hi

I had a look through the 4 pages here and did not see anything about the Opus CD drive for ZX Spectrum 48k.

I picked one up last year it was faulty but a complete shot in the dark I replaced the rom (bought from byte delight) and it worked.

My main issue is getting work to and from my PC the only way I have found is through a very poor method... I have 2 spectrums, one connected to my pc using a ROM via IF1. I load the info from PC then save to Tape. Then plug the tape into the zx attached to the Opus and transfer.

The problem is lack of support from the Opus expansion port for any of the new clever stuff.

Has anyone got a good work around?

BTW I like using the original hardware so emulators and the like are not my thing. But I also need to store stuff on my pc as microdrive cartridges are just too flaky, tapes are just rubbish and unless I can get a work around to the PC problems the floppy disks don’t meet all My specy needs.

Anyway also interested in general Opus use and released Opus software.

Cheers

Paul
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1024MAK
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:45 pm

Okay, so my head is not clear at the moment (superviser gave me four months of safety briefings today).

I gather that you want a mass storage system, or to use your PC as a mass storage system. Further, that you would like to use your Opus system and load from floppy.

But I don’t understand how you are using your first Spectrum and Interface 1.

Sinclair did not really think through the use of the input/output addressing system in the ZX Spectrum. So it’s a bit of a free for all. As a result, there are lots of incompatibles.

It is possible to add a small amount of circuitry to full pass through all the signals to the Opus expansion port. But if the device you want to use clashes with the signals and addresses used by the Opus, it’s still a no go.

What were you wanting to connect?

Mark
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Hedge1970
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by Hedge1970 » Thu Mar 14, 2019 5:29 pm

Hi and thanks for thinking about my question. So I use Paul Farrows RS232 ROM which is Interface 1 and 2 working together. Then there is a cable plugged in the RS232 IF1 port that connects to my Serial Card on the PC. This allows me to load and save TAP and TZX files to my Windows PC.

With the Opus you cant use the IF1.

So thats the basic question but of course whats the intent :)

The intent is safe storage of code, for me that means on my PC HDD backed up.

To complicate things I use to ZX spectrums in 2 locations, they are a replica of each except one does not have a PC to save to. So i move data between them on Micro drive carts but these are not reliable - the biggest isue I have is the felt pads/springs collapsing.

Anyway I thought long and hard and have bought two VDrive ZXs. They are still enroute but I hope they solve all the problems.

However that leaves the Opus in the loft. its a shame because I enjoyed using it, but its too isolated in that it only writes to FDD not the PC or Microdrives.
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kaydav
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by kaydav » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:01 am

Hi, did you ever find a way of working with your Opus? I've been archiving a pile of Opus disks lately using pc software called SAMdisk, if that's any use to you. The author of the software was very helpful when I contacted him for advice too. It needs a real 3.5" floppy drive in a pc though (not a USB one) so I have it running in an old Windows XP machine. Considering the condition of the original disks I'm getting a reasonable rate of success at transferring.

With the Opus in its original setup we used to use a Multiface 128 between it and the Spectrum. Load the software up by tape in the first instance, hit the red button and save (a snapshot) to Opus disk. We also used a Multiface in exactly the same way with microdrives, although I don't remember if we ever had the Opus and the microdrives plugged into the same Spectrum at the same time.

Hope this helps!
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Hedge1970
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by Hedge1970 » Wed Jan 15, 2020 11:27 am

Hi,

Thanks for the post. I still have no answer for the Opus. The VX Drives however have been faultless. Coupled with the Multiface 1, I’ve now got a very solid and reliable set up for copying, developing and saving code on a spectrum to PC with portability via SSD for when I don’t have the PC.

I do however feel really bad about the Opus just being in the loft. It’s been on my mind lately - just to be clear absolutely no intention of selling. I like the speed of the Opus and the ability to overwrite files - something the micro drives can’t do. But I can’t figure out what to do with it. A side issue is desk space as the Opus is quite big and my desk is already full with my Work, Games and Zx Spectrum computers. I was looking at an edge connector extension lead but I would want the Opus under the desk and the Spectrum on the desk however all the extensions are quite short. I could perhaps join a few together but we all know what happens when you unplug spectrum peripherals while powered on - not good.

If I do manage to separate the units then potentially they could be networked. Finally I was also thinking about sending the unit to someone who might be able to write a custom connection to PC for me.

So still on going :-)
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1024MAK
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by 1024MAK » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:54 pm

The expansion bus on the edge-connector of the ZX Spectrum can’t be extended too far, otherwise strange and random symptoms will occur. Don’t forget this is the Z80 CPU bus (which is not buffered). As to whether the length that you want will work, I can’t tell you.

However, the length of the cable between the disk controller and the floppy drive(s) can be up to about half a metre (sometimes longer) if both the disk controller and the floppy drive(s) use the proper terminating resistors and the correct line driver chips. Not that this helps when you have an Opus...

Mark
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Hedge1970
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Re: Opus Discovery 3.5” Floppy Drive

Post by Hedge1970 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:45 pm

1024MAK wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:54 pm
The expansion bus on the edge-connector of the ZX Spectrum can’t be extended too far, otherwise strange and random symptoms will occur. Don’t forget this is the Z80 CPU bus (which is not buffered). As to whether the length that you want will work, I can’t tell you.

However, the length of the cable between the disk controller and the floppy drive(s) can be up to about half a metre (sometimes longer) if both the disk controller and the floppy drive(s) use the proper terminating resistors and the correct line driver chips. Not that this helps when you have an Opus...

Mark
Thank you - saved me a few quid :lol: . I would not have realised this limitation until buying numerous extenders and joining them together. Back to the drawing board.
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