Hi From London England

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Ruptor
Chuggy Microdrive
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:23 pm

Hi From London England

Postby Ruptor » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:37 pm

I came across this forum while poking around the NET and thought isn't it quaint. It took me back to the 80's using my QL that couldn't actually talk to anything or save files reliably but it was a major step up from the Spectrum and all I could afford. The QL software suit was brilliant and I think ahead of its time in terms of cost and function. In that era there was no DSL or internet for Mr average but as a design engineer the QL was a useful tool. I used it to develop the software for a film winding bench because it had the screen plot capability that meant I could see a graph of the variables. It would have been impossible to solve the bugs on the unit that was written in Z80 assembler from memory and so I put the code in to Super basic with some environment code around it to create a simulator that worked a treat. How things have changed but with not much progress surprisingly. By that I mean the pursuit of money has driven technology so the code, memory & CPUs have been made bigger and more powerful but they don't do anything more and I still have to worry about whether there is a semi colon on the end of a line of code to stave off the dreaded syntax error. :roll:
My QL is in the loft somewhere and reading this forum it makes me want to dig it out. The questions I have are what do people today use it for and is it possible to use the serial ports with off the shelf serial to USB adapters to connect the QL to other computers that have storage? Even better would be to plug a USB stick in and be able to use it for storage. Are any of these possible? I guess it would only require software since the adapter has the hardware.


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vanpeebles
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Re: Hi From London England

Postby vanpeebles » Fri Dec 20, 2019 5:42 pm

A very warm welcome to the forum. QL’s can be used for all kinds, still a wonderful hobby and tinkering computer. We do have some people who have connected them to PC’s etc. But you can also get storage devices with sd card support etc.


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Chr$
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Re: Hi From London England

Postby Chr$ » Fri Dec 20, 2019 10:32 pm

Having also re-discovered QL's this year and tried a number of things, I reckon the vDrive QL is the most convenient device for reliably saving data from a QL and moving it to/from a PC. It's a virtual Microdrive with an SD card and the file format can be read by a PC, marvellously useful.

The other popular mass storage device is a Trump card clone from Tetroid in Russia, which is also excellent as a QL storage medium (it gives you floppy access, more RAM and a CF card hard drive) but isn't very useful for transferring from/to PC (unless you have a PC with a real FDD).

Then there are the Gold and Super Gold Card clones (also from Tetroid) which improve performance speed but also don't really offer a convenient PC transfer method.

If you really want to go to town, you should get a vDrive and a Trump/Gold Card/Super Gold Card clone to go with it!

Where in London are you from, that's where I'm from originally?


Collector of original and some new QL related computers, accessories and software even though I don't understand how any of them work.
Original BBQL's: 2x German, 1x UK model (plus quite a bit of other old stuff)
Custom AT cased QL system with Gold Card, Qimi mouse, Hermes and MFM HDD
PC with QXLII card installed
Q68 present, but not setup yet

Other hobbies include writing chick lit on a chiclet.
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Ruptor
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:23 pm

Re: Hi From London England

Postby Ruptor » Sat Dec 21, 2019 11:26 am

Thanks guys. I saw most of the interfaces you mention but not the vDrive that seems the most useful. It wasn't easy to find the price or where to get it but I found it here.
https://www.sellmyretro.com/offer/detai ... e-ql-29035
I am in Chiswick at the moment looking after my mum. I pulled the QL out of the attic and found it had a couple of programs I didn't remember. An assembler and an Astrology program on two microdrives that I probably bought for mum because she was in to that stuff. Probably none of them will still be in working order due to print through of the magnetic field in the tape drives but I shall see when I get around to switching on the QL if it turns on.


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dex
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Re: Hi From London England

Postby dex » Sat Dec 21, 2019 12:37 pm

Probably none of them will still be in working order due to print through of the magnetic field in the tape drives

Most microdrive cartridges are working well after years.
But do not forget to check felt pads! (And replace them in case of need.)


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Chr$
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Joined: Mon May 27, 2019 10:03 am

Re: Hi From London England

Postby Chr$ » Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:32 pm

I don't think I've ever seen a Microdrive cartridge that doesn't need re-felting now (and have had hundreds this year from different parts of the world, but I suppose how and where they are stored probably also matters). Some may work once or twice, but then the spongy mess will probably break up. Don't risk using any that haven't been re-felted.


Collector of original and some new QL related computers, accessories and software even though I don't understand how any of them work.
Original BBQL's: 2x German, 1x UK model (plus quite a bit of other old stuff)
Custom AT cased QL system with Gold Card, Qimi mouse, Hermes and MFM HDD
PC with QXLII card installed
Q68 present, but not setup yet

Other hobbies include writing chick lit on a chiclet.
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Ruptor
Chuggy Microdrive
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:23 pm

Re: Hi From London England

Postby Ruptor » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:02 pm

I went through the box and found 28 Microdrives and two books The Sinclair QL Companion by Boris Allen and QL Advanced User Guide by Adrian Dickens. I can't remember buying all that stuff but that is no surprise since I had Borrelia (called Lyme in US) for over half my life until I toasted it with a coil machine. :roll: I poked one of the felts on a drive and it seems to act like felt being soft and spongy returning to its shape. My loft is dry but not necessarily warm in winter having had the tank water freeze on the surface so that temperature might have stressed the electronics that is probably commercial grade not industrial that can stand negative temperatures. :roll:
I might be interested in knocking up a 512 KB memory expansion since you get it on one chip so can anyone point me at a simple circuit? I read some of the discussion about the various signals that sound tricky for the memory map for 1 MB but maybe for the smaller memory upgrade it might be more simple.


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ngcard
ROM Dongle
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Re: Hi From London England

Postby ngcard » Sat Dec 21, 2019 5:43 pm

Hi. Welcome. The main site for the vDrive QL can be found here... https://vdrivezx.com/vdriveql/. You can also find enclosures for it on Thingiverse https://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=microdrive&dwh=665dfe596a0570a


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RWAP
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Re: Hi From London England

Postby RWAP » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:48 pm

THe vDriveQL and the vMap (needed to allow you to remap the vdrive to mdv1_ or mdv2_) can be found on:

https://www.sellmyretro.com/user/unsoldItems/Bloodnok

The seller is currently having a break over the festive period.


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Ruptor
Chuggy Microdrive
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Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:23 pm

Re: Hi From London England

Postby Ruptor » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:49 pm

Yes thanks I noticed they were out of stock. I found the vDrive site but had difficulty finding where to buy it. :roll:



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