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Thread: Making new 5.25" Hard Sector Disks and Northstar Software

  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abob View Post
    Hi DJones,

    I did not get a reply to my hard sector post for a few months so I stopped checking until today.

    I would be happy to make you some disk and I do have some good software I can send you, plus I know a guy who might have more. My Advantage has two floppy drives that work 100% so copying is easy. You would just have to send me some SS disks and pay for the shipping or something similar.

    However, I don't do the vintage computer hobby in the summer. I bought a Osborn and Acorn Atom this summer but did not even power them up, just put them in storage. I will get back into the hobby in the winter, the summers are short here. I will PM you in October or November and see if you are still interested.

    Aaron
    Thanks for the offer. I originally tried making the boot disks on my Sol-20 but it died One of these days, I'll figure out what went bad this time.

    In the meantime, I ran into a better solution and have boot disks. The Hxc project now has alpha software that allows you to use that device with a USB drive to boot off images. So I was able to get it to work and created a set of disks. I'd still be interested in any NS Advantage software you might have. So far, I have: Wordstar, Dbase II, Basic, Fortran, Turbo Pascal.

    As far as the hard disks go, I have a design for printing a jig on a 3d printer. I use the jig with a high power laser ( 5W ) to burn the index holes. I really should put that design up on Thingiverse.com

    David

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Location
    DeWinton, Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    6

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    Hi David,

    Sorry for the delay but I am back and ready to get going on some of this Advantage stuff. Here is what I have for disks, the first four are quite useful:

    Factory Demo/Diagnostic
    Graphics program, MS-DOS
    Dual floppy CP/M boot disk with Kermit
    CP/M boot disk for hard disk, but also has all utilities on it
    NS Busigraph II disk 1
    NS Busigraph II disk 2

    I would really like your Basic, Fortran and Turbo Pascal. I would be happy to send you my 6 disks and some blank ones if you copy your software on the blank ones and send them back.

    Let me know. I promise to be checking the postings ever day or two.

    I don't know anything about HxC but would like to get involved.

    Thanks,

    Aaron

  3. #13

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    Hey ABob,

    I just purchased an Altair 8800a, with a full set of Processor Technology Subsystem-B boards and a single density NorthStar FDC. I would love to get a few disks that I can use to install
    CP/M for SOLOS / CUTER and for BASIC 5 for SOLOS / CUTER.

    Can you help me get a few disks that I can use?

    Thank you

    Jeff Nay

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    New York, NY
    Posts
    303

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    I used one of the original hole punches that Dwight had manufactured. Unfortunately it did not work for me and could hear the disks shafting inside the sleeve. I used a DOS PC and ImageDisk with specialized PROM with monitor developed by David Dunfield to try and write a boot disk. I have heard someone has an interface to emulate the hard disk pulses using soft sectors media. Does anyone know more about this?

  5. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by atod View Post
    I have heard someone has an interface to emulate the hard disk pulses using soft sectors media. Does anyone know more about this?
    See the "Virtual Sector Generator" - see https://deramp.com/vsg.html

    They were sold out when I checked on availability a few weeks ago. If enough of us express interest in buying one, the developer might have another batch manufactured.

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by atod View Post
    I have heard someone has an interface to emulate the hard disk pulses using soft sectors media. Does anyone know more about this?

    https://deramp.com/vsg.html

  7. #17

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    I have the virtual sector generator on my website. See https://deramp.com/vsg.html. I’m out of stock at the moment but should have more in about a week.

    I also have plenty of hard sector disks for the North Star (10 hard sector). These are used disks but have been stored indoors over the years. See a typical sampling of disks here https://deramp.com/downloads/polymorphic/disks10.jpg.

    Mike

  8. #18

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    There is also this project. It got the Gotek with HxxC firmware working with hard sector computers. It is a long thread so you might want to skip to the last few pages
    http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewt...hp?f=19&t=1777

    I've used it to create some real floppies on my Advantage from NSI images.

    There is also a thingiverse project I created for making hard sector floppies. It uses a laser to burn the sector holes So they tend not to be as rough.
    https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3068929

    I don't know if either of these will help. But thought I'd put them here in case someone else finds them useful.

    David

  9. #19

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    [QUOTE=djones1960;614302]There is also this project. It got the Gotek with HxxC firmware working with hard sector computers. It is a long thread so you might want to skip to the last few pages
    http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewt...hp?f=19&t=1777

    My understanding (after studying that thread and others on the topic) is that the current HxC firmware allows the Gotek to emulate a few hard sector formats (ie NorthStar and Heath hard sector disk image files) so they can be read by the drive controller connected to the Gotek, but due to limitations in the Gotek design adding the ability for a hard sector drive controller to write to a disk image on the Gotek was likely not possible.

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by atod View Post
    I used one of the original hole punches that Dwight had manufactured. Unfortunately it did not work for me and could hear the disks shafting inside the sleeve. I used a DOS PC and ImageDisk with specialized PROM with monitor developed by David Dunfield to try and write a boot disk. I have heard someone has an interface to emulate the hard disk pulses using soft sectors media. Does anyone know more about this?
    Hi
    A couple things that can help here. First, make sure the punch parts are well aligned. Make sure the punch is sharp. It gets dull. Finally, make sure any burs are flat and not sticking out. I use the back of my finger nail to flatten it down.
    I usually mark a hole that gives the best all around alignment. One doesn't have to use the index punch hole for the alignment at the start. Some holes work better for getting a uniform punch. I also rotate the punch with some pressure before punching through. That helps a little.
    My original design would have been better but it was made with too much cost as the limiter. Trying to keep it below $40 each meant we were not making them from solid blocks of metal with well the proper alignment pins.
    The artificial pulse generators work well with direct drive floppy drives. One can even make one using a cheap "BluePill" ( about $2-$3 each ).
    Dwight

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