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Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - Printable Version

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Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - Ernest - 27-11-2019

Hi All,
My first experience with Microbee began back in 83 with a 32K ROM/tape based system and soon after I got myself an APC 56k twin disk system. Which somewhere along the line ended up being swapped for a Colour 128K SBC twin drive system.

After realising the restrictions of BASIC, I started to learn assembly language using EDASM as that better suited my practical electronics background. My greatest achievement back then was a merger of the original program for the ETI668 EPROM programmer with a disk management program known as Manage, all in assembler. This gave me the ability to save and load my EPROM images to and from disk.

Life got busy and family priorities took over and was place aside for many years till the family grew up and I returned to my first “Computer love” and pulled out the couple of Microbee’s I had stashed away and returned them to fully functioning units.

Since then expanded & acquired more systems right up to the 256TC, even experimenting with the CF Hard drive emulation with a fair degree of success.

I get a real buzz out of seeing an old dead Microbee come back to life and function as it was meant to bee Big Grin

Beeing Ernest

RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - someone - 27-11-2019

Welcome aboard!
They're great achievements and fantastic stuff!

Someone still has their ETI668 although most of their ROMs were burnt with the S-100 Microworld ROM burner.
Burning a ROM with that was as easy as a DGOS move command and verifying it was as easy as using the compare command.

The microbee was born from the commercial availability of 6116LP 2K x 8 low power, single voltage supply 2732/2532 EPROMs, 6545 CRTC and affordable keyboard switches.
Its ancestral S100 cards used lower density SRAMs such as the 2102 (1K x 1) and 2114 (1K x 4) and triple supply 2708 and 2716s.

RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - ejwords - 28-11-2019

Hi Ernest, and welcome to the Forum.

While I appreciated the Bee's Basic, like you I found my way to assembler with EDASM very quickly.
Initially that was driven by wanting to get the RTTY / Fax projects up & running & typing in the EDASM listings that were found in the articles.
It wasn't long before I moved to using M80/L80 and Wordstar for my assembly programming.

RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - Ernest - 28-11-2019

Thanks for the welcome Ewan,
I was into Amateur Radio back then as well, I think I still have my old RTTY decoder around somewhere, may have been ratted for parts though.
Back when data interchange was not as easy as pulling out your smart phone from your pocket and connecting to the world.


RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - Oldbee - 29-11-2019

RTTY! Now there's something I'd totally forgotten about. My brother is a Ham (Amatuer Radio) too and this was one time when our hobbies collided - he too set up something or other with my Bee to be able to access RTTY.

RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - ChickenMan - 29-11-2019

Welcome Ernest to the forum. Good to hear someone else adding CF units to their 'bees.

RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - Ernest - 30-11-2019

(29-11-2019, 05:56 PM)ChickenMan Wrote: Welcome Ernest to the forum.  Good to hear someone else adding CF units to their 'bees.
Thanks ChickenMan, 
Mind you, with the advent of the GOTEK, it’s hardly worth mucking about with the CF’s. Unless you need more than one floppy drive full of files at once and there are ways around that to some extent using a large Memory Drive (512K system). Then it is much easier to use the GOTEK.  
The CF’s can be very finicky with both card compatibility and the interfacing is full of timing and logic compatibility issues. Just because you get one combination working correctly in one Microbee it may not work the same in the next.
If the multi drive emulation in the GOTEK ever gets off the ground, then there really would be no argument for a CF hard drive. 
The CF is limited to about 20MB split across 4 drives anyway, without some fancy footwork in mounting and unmounting partitions, which makes navigating multiple boot floppy images on the GOTEK look real easy, especially when you have your GOTEK fitted with either an LCD or OLED display.
Even just using the basic GOTEK on an old Microbee makes it buzz better than ever.

A big discussion for another day.... maybe a fresh thread in the hardware section??


RE: Two Bee or Not Two Bee? - someone - 02-12-2019

The nice thing about using the CF Cards is that they are quicker than the Gotek.
The 8-bit CF/IDE mode can be a bit of a nightmare.
However there are no showstopper issues with IDE/CF when operating in 16-bit mode.
A pain with using IDE/CF is that the data structure is arranged using big endian words which means a bit of byte position fiddling particularly when retrieving a device's IDENTIFY DEVICE (0xEC) parameter block.

If one has the time, it's possible to replace the FDC chip with a microcontroller and SD Card/USB stick combo for faster transfer rates by removing the lag created from the serial data bit stream between FDC and disk drive.
This'd give you convenience and speed with ease.