[BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

Ian Wolstenholme BBCMailingList at beebmaster.co.uk
Wed Dec 20 15:05:29 GMT 2006

I will certainly have a go with the OSWORD command.  The
problem is that, as far as I know, there is no way of forcing
OSWORD &72 to go to the 1MHz bus instead of the floppy
disc controller.  If ADFS detects a Winchester controller on
the 1MHz bus then it will send OSWORD &72 to the Winchester
(assuming if it's a Master it's configured HARD and also that
drive 0,1,2 or 3 is specified rather than 4-7).

That's always been my understanding of it, anyway, which
means that before sending any commands to a Winchester
controller, you have to get ADFS to recognise the disc otherwise
any SCSI type commands get sent to the floppy disc controller
which doesn't understand them.

That's what's happening in this case, *ADFS, *MOUNT etc.
won't even look at the tape drive and so any subsequent
ADFS OSWORD call just start the floppy drive spinning.

Best wishes,


----- Original Message -----
From: BRAHMS [mailto:dominic at brahms.demon.co.uk]
To: bbc-micro at lists.cloud9.co.uk,BBCMailingList at beebmaster.co.uk
Sent: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 13:17:38 -0000
Subject: Re: [BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

I'd try mucking about with this OSWORD:

&72 114 Read/Write MFM sectors    ADFS
 On entry, XY+0=0, XY+1..4=address, XY+5=command, XY+6=drive number
 in b5-b7, sectorb16-b20 in b0-b4, XY+7=sector middle byte,
 XY+8=sector low byte, XY+9=number of sectors, XY+10=n/u,
 XY+11..14=data length if XY+9=0. This is a standard SCSI command
 block. The drive number in XY+6 is ORed with the current drive.
 Commands are &08=Read data, &0A=Write data, &0B=Seek track. On exit,
 XY+0=result; &48=CRC error, &50=Sector not found, &60=Bad command,
 &61=Bad address, &63=Volume error, &65=Bad drive.

It may well get passed through to the tape drive if you get the
right drive number.

Then have a look at the SCSI command set (for tapes I seem to
remember it being fairly simple and managing to write (and restore!)
an image of a hard disc from my RiscPC with very little knowledge.

Try here http://www.t10.org/ for documents - though the site is
almost impenetrable the stuff required is there somewhere.



----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ian Wolstenholme" <BBCMailingList at beebmaster.co.uk>
To: <bbc-micro at lists.cloud9.co.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2006 12:16 PM
Subject: Re: [BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

Thanks for this, I have been inside the box now.  The drive itself
is an Archive 2060S which, according to the M Farris website I
refer to a lot, is a 60MB half-height 5.25" SCSI tape drive.

I am as certain as I can be that it's intended for a Beeb.  The
37-pin D-type connector on the back is marked 1MHz bus and
it's made by Digital Services, who also did a version of Level 2

Inside the box apart from the drive is a genuine Acorn Winchester
Disc host adapter and power supply.

It came with an Acorn Winchester Disc 130 and I'm told that
both of these items were used on an 200-station Econet at a
Bristol technology college.

I wonder if it's supposed to plug into the back of the Winchester
Disc given that the tape unit only has one 1MHz connector?  I
can't see that would help in terms of getting it running though,
I am sure special software would still be needed.

I'm wondering who Digital Services were, since they have used
an actual Acorn board inside this unit, and the overall design
is practically identical to the Winchester Disc. I can't recall having
seen actual Acorn gear inside third party products before.  I wonder
if they were some sort of subdivision of Acorn or spin-off

Best wishes,


----- Original Message -----
From: Jules Richardson [mailto:julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk]
To: bbc-micro at lists.cloud9.co.uk
Sent: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 05:53:09 -0600
Subject: Re: [BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

Ian Wolstenholme wrote:
> Does anybody have any information about this item?
> Visually it's very similar to the Acorn Winchester disc,
> same size and colouring with a 1MHz bus connector
> at the back and a fan and a black metal front plate
> with the tape drive accessible from there.

Does it actually *say* it's for a beeb and that's a 1MHz bus connector? Tape
drive vendors back in the day were notorious for producing drives which 
custom hardware in the host machine (rather than just using something 
like SCSI).

I've certainly seen drives in cases that are painted various combinations of
beige / brown, and drives which use a variety of cable widths to connect to 
host system. Unless it specifically said '1MHz bus' on the back I'd be 
that it was for some other system entirely...

> It takes very chunky DC600A tapes, these are the
> biggest tapes I have ever seen at 6 inches across!

They're reliable as hell though - along with DLT, the old QIC tapes such as
these seem to age really well and typically are still error-free even after
all these years. Plus they're nice in winter as the baseplate gets lovely 
toasty after use - good for warming cold hands when you take the tape out 

The major problem with these sorts of drives though is the rubber roller
(visible about halfway down the left side of the drive inside) as it often
decays and goes mushy due to natural breakdown. It'd be worth checking on
yours to make sure that it feels solid...

> The unit seems to work, it powers up OK to all
> intents and purposes and will rewind a tape if you
> wind it on a bit before inserting, but I can't get
> the Beeb to recognise it.

Any chance of some photos, or at least details of protocol boards inside and 
make/model number of the drive itself?



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