PDA

View Full Version : ST network attached storage idea



NathanAllan
April 14th, 2008, 01:19 PM
While I was cooking today (food, not microships), I got to thinking about C= disk drives and ST computers. I figured the 1541 drive has an on-board computer, and a type of serial port. C= machines can talk to it natively. I have a bunch of ST's that have no floppy drive (one 314, not enough for three machines) and really the only way to connect to the outside world is through a host machine or null modem (or midi cables between themselves).

I got to thinking, what if the C= drives could be told to send/receive data from the serial port, and the ST's could translate what they get into usable data? There would have to be a converter box for the ST's port, but that's not that big of a deal. IT also has a parallel port that can maybe be used.

Has anyone ever thought to do something like this? I know it sounds like a step backwards for the ST, but it also sounds really inexpensive, whereas most solutions for the ST are quite pricey. Plus, the way I see it in my head, you can have three machines hooked up to the one floppy drive and run a small program to make this happen. Instead of giving the drive the address, give the computers the address for the drive to recognize.

I dunno, please anyone chime in. I thought of this while making lunch.

Erik, wasn't sure if this was better suited to the Atari or Commodore section, I dropped it here.

Nathan

Sharkonwheels
April 14th, 2008, 08:21 PM
WOuldn't the more ideal idea be to use APE/1541emu/similar, and use a PC to serve the computers?

FOr example, my TRS-80 Model100/102 and NEC PC-8201a haven;t seen a real Tandy PDD/PDD2 in I don;t know HOW long - I use the DOS drive emulators over a null-modem link. Same for the Epson PX-8 Geneva, as well.
No 20-year-old hardware to keep running (and pray it does keep running) no floppy mess, etc..


T

Micom 2000
April 14th, 2008, 10:49 PM
I have suggested this before to you and will repeat it. I went thru over a year of not being able to use my ST because I could not afford to pay the over $200 demanded at that time for ST floppy drives back in the 80s. At one point I got the ST FD to work by incrementing a screw on the FDD. I had always maintained that the achilles heel of the ST was a lousy FDD.

More recently when we were in contact re the ST I got a previously working FDD functioning again. I believe the problem is that the grease on the rails of the ST hardens over time and that throws off the timing. Removing the old grease impeccably and replacing it with a good lithium grease restores it to factory functioning, as long as the FDD chip is securely seated in it's socket. Similarly a 720k DOS type fdd will work, tho it won't fit comfortably in the stylized ST opening, if you reverse the 4pin power plug. That method was also used to install a 5.25 FDD in the ST according to some Gurus who sold me one. I had no reason to doubt thier integrity but since I never installed it and it would be of questionable usage in the ST I never installed it. I don't recall if it was a 360k but that would be likely.

TMK you have several 720K FDDs. Why not simply thoroughly clean and replace the grease. And then try them again making sure you are using a working 720k DSDD disk. Even if it's a MSDOS formatted disk since the ST can read them.

There was also a free program that could be used to connect to the serial port of a PC. It could have been via the midi port. It used to be readily available. There were also several PC emulator programs as well as several Mac emulator devices which required the use of Mac System chips on the adapter. The C=64 format was even more different from the ST's "TOS" system than these. TOS-Dos differences are minimal and the Mac used the same Motorola chip as the ST, which was part of the reason it uses a bastard variation of SCSI, ASSCI (Sam Tramiel !!) which requires an adapter to attach SCSI HDDs

Finally there were internet/Lan interfaces developed for the ST which could simplify the problem without going back to the 8-bit C-64 with an even more difficult OS format than the Mac. I'd imagine CP/M might be easier to make an interface with than a C-64. Check out the many. now dwindling archives.

Lawrence

I

While I was cooking today (food, not microships), I got to thinking about C= disk drives and ST computers. I figured the 1541 drive has an on-board computer, and a type of serial port. C= machines can talk to it natively. I have a bunch of ST's that have no floppy drive (one 314, not enough for three machines) and really the only way to connect to the outside world is through a host machine or null modem (or midi cables between themselves).

I got to thinking, what if the C= drives could be told to send/receive data from the serial port, and the ST's could translate what they get into usable data? There would have to be a converter box for the ST's port, but that's not that big of a deal. IT also has a parallel port that can maybe be used.

Has anyone ever thought to do something like this? I know it sounds like a step backwards for the ST, but it also sounds really inexpensive, whereas most solutions for the ST are quite pricey. Plus, the way I see it in my head, you can have three machines hooked up to the one floppy drive and run a small program to make this happen. Instead of giving the drive the address, give the computers the address for the drive to recognize.

I dunno, please anyone chime in. I thought of this while making lunch.

Erik, wasn't sure if this was better suited to the Atari or Commodore section, I dropped it here.

Nathan

NathanAllan
April 14th, 2008, 11:43 PM
Easy big fella :)

This was for network attached, not local. That's its own issue. Just to clarify, I have the one SF314 and two loose drives from PC's. It was just an idea I had during making lunch, not a project. The several drives I have are the SF354's that are 360k drives. Also, is the program you're talking about Ghostlink? That lets you jack into a dos box (iirc) and emulate drives. But the idea I have is to eliminate the dos box somehow.

That's all I got for now. It's late and I've been doing homework for about 4 hours. Again, it was just a random thought while making lunch.

Nathan

Micom 2000
April 18th, 2008, 05:49 PM
I can't remember the ST fanzine it appeared in, possibly Atari ST Review, but it projected a bunch of STs serving as sort of a super-computer. The company IIRC was based in Scotland and there was an OS program out of western Canada which drove it. The fanzine was rhapsodaic about it's possibilities I likely have the issue in my collection as well as the OS, somewhere in my Atari archives.

There were many other later programs which used STs to hook up to the internet as well as establishing LANs and Internet connections, some of which were admittedly awkward.

I don't doubt your fascination with the ST, but you must have more than the early model and that requires at least a 720 fdd and an HD. Would you expect to do much with a PC with only a 360k fdd ? Also a Ram and processor upgrade would bring your ST into some sort of modernity.

What I am getting at is that there many ST developments which were, like the Amiga, another 16 bit machine, not really much known in the PC or Apple mainstream but much surpassed the conventiallity of the "business machines" depite sometime lower specs. The STs dominance of music programs with it's built-in MIDI connectivity, or the Amigas dominance of Video, as for example with the Toaster are such examples.

One needn't go back to the C64 to use these superior macines. They begged innovation and development and searched for that market, despite short-sighted management.

Lawrence

NathanAllan
April 18th, 2008, 06:29 PM
You're absolutely right. On to better ideas for the ST, there's to much to work towards to be looking backwards. It has more usable ports than most computers from the same era, and totally upgradeable motherboard. And I guess I'll break down and buy hddriver ina little while, I can use it on all my machines, so it's seemingly cheaper (when used on multiple machine). So local attached stoage shouldn't be a problem anymore.

Nathan