Hard Disks Revisited

By Dennis Parker

Originally published in EUG #10

Gareth Babb's article about Hard Drives [EUG #7 - Ed] was very interesting but slightly confusing and I would like to raise a number of points with him:

First, an AP5 is expensive just for the 1Meg Bus (It also contains a User Port, a Tube interface plus ROM sockets and is quite a bit larger than the normal ACP/Pres interface, hence will not fit into an RX case).

Solidisk also did an Electron interface that had the normal floppy disk connector plus a Winchester (Hard Disk) connector and these can be seen advertised in Micromart. The SOLIDISK FLOPPY/HARD DISC INTERFACE also has the appropriate ROM for the Hard Disk - although it is said that it is not as good as the Acorn one. Pres also did a 1MHz Bus and the use of this would negate physical alterations.

Secondly, does a 'normal' BBC drive mean one that includes the Host Adaptor and Controller? These were very expensive originally (About £800-£900 for a small hard drive!) and are now quite rare. It is easier to find secondhand individual items, remembering to ensure compatibilty. For example, my 40MB drive was £40 and my Host Adaptor and Controller were £30. Cables, a further £10.

Thirdly, no mention is made of whether an additional PSU is needed - the drive, Host Adaptor and Controller all need separate power if made up from individual components.

Fourthly, I understand a Hard Disk will not function properly if Slogger's Master Ram Board is fitted - is this correct, please?

I cannot agree with J. D. Lampard [It was 'Chadders' actually - Will] about upgrading to IBM. A number of us are Elk fanatics and the sheer pleasure of getting another add-on to work on the old machine is a joy indeed. Personally, I find it easier and quicker to do minor things on my Electron than on my wife's 386 and the quality of IBM games (especially adventures!) for the price is atrocious!

Talking about add-ons, I have recently tried out the prototype of a new 16 ROM CARTRIDGE and am extremely impressed.

The cartridge has two EPROMs which contain eight ROMs in each bank and access to individual ROMs is by way of a switch for each bank.

After 'testing' the prototype I purchased a cartridge and now have it fitted in my RX with the two switches on the face of the RX switches together only take up 18mm x 14mm). I have removed the ROMs from my AP6 but left in one RAM chip just in case of need.

I am using two of the ROMs from the cartridge for this letter - Starword and Starspell.

Had this new device been out earlier there would have been no need for AP6s/AP7s/EPROM cartridges or ABRs - an excellent add-on and I wish it well for the future.

Dennis Parker
Gillingham, Kent

Would I be right in thinking that the ROM cartridge you have purchased is one of Derek Walker's new products? Earlier this year, he sent me a demonstration ROM256 cartridge which won me over immediately. I was most reluctant to return it and intend buying one as soon as I have a bit of spare cash. Highly recommended.

Will Watts, EUG #10