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Thread: Help with serial interface PC to Sol-20

  1. #21

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    After you send PC2FLOP.ENT to the Sol-20 at 1200 baud, I'd then set S3 for 9600 baud and TeraTerm to 9600 baud for the XMODEM file transfer of the disk image. Otherwise, the transfer takes 50 minutes for a DSDD disk image at 1200 baud.

    Mike

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Dutchess County, New York, USA
    Posts
    201

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    I've said it many times, setting up serial ports sucks. Gets easier after you figure out the pitfalls the first time, but it always is a test of your skills. Glad to see that the problem is solved.
    Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Elvey View Post
    You never cross connect two driven pins.

    Dwight
    This was the main point I realized, initially struggling to connect up RS-232 interfaces. There is no point connecting an input to an input or an output to an output. So whatever devices you are trying to hook up, a very good start is to look at which pins are outputs(or driven pins) and which ones are inputs on the particular device's connectors and that alone solves many potential errors in the hook up.

  4. #24

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    Well, I had to put the cork back into the champagne. I was able to set the serial interface to 9600 baud and loaded PC2FLOP.ent and executed the start. I was able to pick the drive number, select the serial port for the file transfer and start the XMODEM file transfer for the Northstar DOS 5.1 disk image, but when it tried to write to the disk I got the error message: Write failure on track 0, sector 0. Disk creation aborted. I was using the Tandon TM-100 2A drive from my Northstar Horizon computer. I do not know for sure if this drive works. I went and tried another Tandon TM-100 2A drive I have as a spare for my IBM 5150, but got the same error. I'll have to put this Sol-20 disk drive project aside for a few days and work on some other projects that, hopefully, are more successful.

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_hitech View Post
    Well, I had to put the cork back into the champagne. I was able to set the serial interface to 9600 baud and loaded PC2FLOP.ent and executed the start. I was able to pick the drive number, select the serial port for the file transfer and start the XMODEM file transfer for the Northstar DOS 5.1 disk image, but when it tried to write to the disk I got the error message: Write failure on track 0, sector 0. Disk creation aborted. I was using the Tandon TM-100 2A drive from my Northstar Horizon computer. I do not know for sure if this drive works. I went and tried another Tandon TM-100 2A drive I have as a spare for my IBM 5150, but got the same error. I'll have to put this Sol-20 disk drive project aside for a few days and work on some other projects that, hopefully, are more successful.
    I had a few of those issues initially when I set up the drives with my Sol. Most of those troubles in my case turned out to be defective floppy disks. I bought a number of different brands of NOS soft sector disks on ebay, about 30% of them would not format or gave erratic results in use. Somehow it seems that the magnetic media has degenerated on some of them. The ones that have been most reliable for me and practically never have issues are the 3M brand. Mike uses these too and I think he also finds them reliable. So it might not be an actual drive issue, since you have tried two drives and got the same error.

    In my drive setup with the SOL, I had never done one before (or even owned an S-100 computer) and my experience fitting drives and a controller to an S-100 computer was zero. So to try to avoid hardware anomalies, which could have sabotaged it working, is the reason I went for NOS disk drive units (YD-580's) and made sure all the IC socket connections on the N* card were perfect and also got a "tested & working" VSG from Mike. So when I set the hardware side of the system up I could be a little more certain that when it didn't work, it would be mainly software issues to solve, and for me that is plenty of trouble just in that area, as I'm very slow on the software side of things.
    Last edited by Hugo Holden; September 29th, 2020 at 04:10 PM.

  6. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by Old_hitech View Post
    Well, I had to put the cork back into the champagne. I was able to set the serial interface to 9600 baud and loaded PC2FLOP.ent and executed the start. I was able to pick the drive number, select the serial port for the file transfer and start the XMODEM file transfer for the Northstar DOS 5.1 disk image, but when it tried to write to the disk I got the error message: Write failure on track 0, sector 0. Disk creation aborted. I was using the Tandon TM-100 2A drive from my Northstar Horizon computer. I do not know for sure if this drive works. I went and tried another Tandon TM-100 2A drive I have as a spare for my IBM 5150, but got the same error. I'll have to put this Sol-20 disk drive project aside for a few days and work on some other projects that, hopefully, are more successful.
    Make sure you’re using 10 hard sector disks.

    Mike

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hugo Holden View Post
    This was the main point I realized, initially struggling to connect up RS-232 interfaces. There is no point connecting an input to an input or an output to an output. So whatever devices you are trying to hook up, a very good start is to look at which pins are outputs(or driven pins) and which ones are inputs on the particular device's connectors and that alone solves many potential errors in the hook up.
    Old_hitech
    I still recommend that you get a rs232 light box. It saves a lot of time and frustration in setting up RS232 connects. Your original setup should have worked. The fact that you have something working now is great but with one of the light boxes in your hands, you will be sure of what you are doing and you'll know why it didn't work. Now it was just a lucky ending. The you've added new software and a USB to serial, that likely wasn't needed. Had the Sol had a blown input, you'd still be in the dark as to what end was failing.
    If something fails in the future, you'll still be wondering what part of the system failed.
    Dwight

  8. #28

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    Dwight, Thanks for your reply. I understand your point and am ready to purchase one. Since I am thinking of connecting my Sol-20 to my Northstar Horizon at some point in the future, I can see the need. I 'googled' for an RS-232 breakout box and see a few options. Do you have a recommended one?
    As for my efforts to create a bootable disk, The diskette I used for my initial attempt was a 10 hard sector diskette I received when I purchased the Northstar Horizon. I believe it is a 10 hard sector diskette as I am able to see many holes in the disk media when I rotate it in the sleeve. I did not count them, but since they were used with the Northstar Horizon computer, I assumed they were the 10 hard sector diskettes that I was looking for.
    When I was trying to create bootable disk, I did not try a second diskette, but I did get a few with the Horizon so I will try a few different diskettes next time. Unfortunately, I did not receive any new diskettes with the Horizon.

  9. #29

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    I am back at it trying to create a bootable floppy with my Sol-20. I now have tried 3 different diskettes from at least 2 different vendors and I still am receiving the error Write failure on track 0, sector X. Each time I run the program I get different sector references of 0 or 6 or 8 or 9. Not sure why that is occurring. When I get the error I usually perform an UPPER CASE/REPEAT on my Sol-20 then follow that with EX 100 to restart the application. I set the drive to 1 and the serial port to default and it prompts Start XMODEM send now.... I then on my PC laptop using the Tera Term application Select File/ Transfer/XMODEM/ Send... I select the NSDOS-51-SSDD.NSI file and Tera Term starts sending the file and at about 25.7% complete the Tandon disk drive light turns on and shortly after that I get the Write failure error. Is this the correct way to send the file to the Sol-20 from Tera Term? Is there some other XMODEM settings I need to setup prior to sending to the Sol-20 running PC2FLOP?

  10. #30

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    I thought about all the help/suggestions/recommendations I received from the members of this forum and what was not working -- the write to disk on the disk drive and remembered that Mike told me about the +4.2V on the +5V line being not right. With that I brought out a spare IBM PC power supply and connected my disk drive to this power supply. I measured the +5V line and it was now +5V. I checked the +12V and it was +12V. I proceeded to run the PC2FLOP application and transfer the CP/M 2.23 48K SSDD.NSI file and it worked!! I restarted my Sol-20 and was able to boot to CP/M with the EX E800 command. Finally.....time to pop the champagne again!

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