Help Wanted

By John Crane

Originally published in EUG #16

Many thanks for EUG #15. Quite superb if I may say so - what a Mailbag section!!! The reason I'm writing is that I'm hoping somebody might be able to help me out. Is it possible by use of a suitable program in DFS to make my Elk think that Drive 1 is Drive 0?

Firstly, a bit of background information. I have a 64K Elk with an original Acorn Plus 3 (the L-shaped one with a built-in 3.5" double-sided drive). This has ADFS v1.0 with Zysyshelp built in. On the back of the Plus 3 is an original Acorn Plus 1 with AP2 upgrade installed (Pres) and I have DFS on ROM chip that plugs into my Plus 1 via a ROM cartridge (ACP's Advanced Electron DFS). I also have an external 5.25" disk drive with own PSU which interfaces via the c/b edge connector on the rear of the Plus 3.

As you know, right now the best way of getting stuff for the Electron is by scouring Micro's Computer Mart, car boot sales, etc for old Elk and compatible BBC stuff. The problem is that most BBC software is on 5.25" disk and some needs to be auto-!BOOTed. With ADFS, this isn't a problem as you just *MOUNT 1 and SHIFT-BREAK and it !BOOTs drive 1. However, DFS won't let you do this. It will only !BOOT on drive 0 automatically.

In some cases, I can get around this by backing up onto a 3.5" disk. The problems seems to lie with these dual format 40/80 jobs and certain disks being backup protected. With some of the 40/80 disks, when you try to back up, you get a "Wrong Size" error whether you intend backing up to a 40T disk or an 80T disk (DFS allows you to format either!) Perhaps one of our programmers knows a way around this.

Obviously, one way would be to take the Plus 3 to pieces and swap the drive select options or get another Elk setup which would allow me to have a 5.25" drive as Drive 0 but I don't really want to go to these lengths. Any help greatly appreciated.

John Crane

I have had this problem on a number of occasions with BBC disks. I usually type *EXEC !BOOT (RETURN) and then backup the disk using ADT's *XFER command. However, I still have problems especially when one file calls up another and specifies Drive 0. I can think of a hardware solution but a software solution must exist. At least two of us want to know about it so if anyone has any ideas, send it in!

Gus Donnachaidh

I have had another problem since my first letter to EUG.

The 5.25" disk that comes with Viewstore for the BBC has a program on it to configure a copy of it on an 80T DFS disk. However, the CONFIG program on mine doesn't work. Can anyone configure one for me. I will provide the disk and cover the postage if so. Also, does anyone know how to convert it to ADFS. If anyone can do that, again I'll gladly provide the disk and postage.

John Crane, EUG #16