Floppy disc controller
The Amstrad floppy disc interface is part of the design of the CPC664, CPC6128 and CPC6128+.
To use floppy discs with the CPC464 or CPC464+ a disc interface is required. There are two
major floppy disc interfaces:
- Amstrad floppy disc interface, which is part of the DDI-1 package
- Vortex floppy disc interface
To use floppy discs with the CPC464+ there are two options:
- The CPC464+ circuit board is the same as the CPC6128+ therefore it has the Amstrad floppy disc
interface support included in the design. However, the components have not been fitted. It is possible
therefore to fit the correct components to the circuit board to give full support for floppy discs.
- It is possible to use the DDI-1 package with the CPC464+. However, since the cartridge supplied with the
CPC464+ is identical to the cartridge supplied with the CPC6128+, the disc operating system (AMSDOS) is included.
The DDI-1 floppy disc interface must be modified to prevent conflict between the AMSDOS rom in the interface
and the AMSDOS rom in the cartridge.
- It may be possible to use a Vortex floppy disc interface with the CPC464+, but I have no way to test this (information
Amstrad floppy disc interface
This interface uses a NEC 765A floppy disc controller (FDC) operating at 4Mhz, and has the following limitations:
- The interrupt signal (INT) of the NEC 765 is not connected, therefore interrupt driven data-transfers are not supported.
- The signals for DMA transfer (/DACK = data acknowledge, DRQ = data request and TC = terminal count) are not connected, therefore DMA driven data-transfers are not supported.
- DS1 is not connected, therefore only 2 disc drives are supported.
- The density select signal (MFM) is fixed at "1", therefore only double-density is supported. It is not possible to read single or high-density floppy discs.
The following restrictions apply to disc drives:
- The disc drives must support the "READY" signal. (The "READY" signal is not available on modern drives designed for the PC, therefore
it must be simulated using an electronic circuit).
- The disc drives must use the standard Shugart signals (SIDE SELECT, READ DATA, WRITE PROTECT, /TRACK 0,
WRITE GATE, WRITE DATA, STEP, DIRECTION SELECT, MOTOR ON, DRIVE SELECT, INDEX)
The disc operating system (AMSDOS) has the following restrictions:
- Only single sided disc drives are supported. To use double sided disc drives
or 80 track disc drives you will need to use C/PM or another disc operating system (RODOS, ROMDOS, PARADOS etc).
The "polling" method is used to communicate with the FDC.
For each data transfer, the main status register (MSR) is read to determine:
- the phase of the execution of a command ("COMMAND PHASE", "EXECUTION PHASE" or "RESULT PHASE")
- the direction of data transfer (from CPU to FDC or from FDC to CPU)
- when the FDC is ready for a byte of data to be transfered
All data transfers are through the data register of the FDC.
(You are advised to read the official data-sheets covering the FDC for more information about the commands.)
The floppy disc drive interface is accessed using I/O commands (OUT, IN etc)
When bit 11 and bit 7 of the I/O address is set to "0" the FDC will be selected and bit 8 and bit 0
will select the operation as shown in the table below:
||FDD motor control
||Main Status register of FDC (MSR)
||Data register of FDC
It is advised that the remaining bits of the I/O address are set to "1" to avoid conflict with other
devices. The recommended I/O addressess are:
|&FA7E||FDD motor control|
|&FB7E||Main status register of FDC|
|&FB7F||Data register of FDC|
FDD Motor Control
The FDD motor is controlled by OUTing values to this I/O port.
Bit 0 defines the state of the FDD motor:
- When Bit 0 is "1" the FDD motor will be active.
- When Bit 0 is "0" the FDD motor will be in-active.
The values of bit 7-1 are ignored.
- The FDD motor will be active for the time that Bit 0 is "1", and conversly
the FDD motor will be in-active for the time that Bit 0 is "0".
- When the FDD motor is changed from in-active to active the FDD motor will start to accelerate.
There will be a short time before the FDD motor is rotating at maximum velocity.
It is advised that the programmer includes a sufficient delay to allow the motor to achieve
maximum velocity before accessing the FDD through the FDC. If there is no delay then the FDC may
report errors and the command may not succeed.
The time for the FDD motor to achieve maximum velocity is not guaranteed to be the same
for all FDD's, and there is no defined minimum or maximum time.
- When the FDD motor is changed from active to in-active the FDD motor will start to decelerate,
and there will be a short time before the FDD motor has stopped.
However, there is no need for the programmer to include a delay for the FDD motor to stop.
||FDD motor control: 1=active, 0=in-active
DDI-1 floppy disc interface
The DDI-1 package comprises:
FD-1 floppy disc drive
The FD-1 package comprises:
- A single-sided 40-track 3" disc drive with internal power supply and connector a for a second FD-1 or
the CPC664's,CPC6128's or CPC6128's "second disk drive" connector.
Vortex floppy disc interface
Details on this disc interface are welcome!
Using a disc drive with a Amstrad
To connect a 3.5" or 5.25" disc drive to the CPC664, CPC6128 or CPC6128+ as a second drive is easy:
- You will need a cable to connect from the "second disk drive" connector to the disc drive.
(e.g. PCB edge connector for CPC end, ribbon cable and a IDC connector for the disc drive)
- The floppy disc drive must have it's own power supply because the power supply for the Amstrad doesn't
have enough power for the Amstrad and the disc drive.
- The floppy disc drive must have a "READY" signal, or this signal must be simulated. The majority
of modern 3.5" PC compatible floppy disc drives do not have this signal!
To use the full capacity of a 3.5" or 5.25" floppy disc you will need another disk operating system
(e.g. Parados), because AMSDOS only supports 40-track single sided discs.
Amstrad 3" floppy disc drives and disks
The Amstrad CPC664, CPC6128, CPC6128+ and DDI-1 disc interface use 3" discs.
The discs are rectangular in shape, have a stiff outer plastic covering and a metal shutter protecting
the media inside. The disc can be inserted on either side so it is possible to use both sides with a single sided
The disc drives are 40-track double-density single-sided.
- The disc drives are designed to access 40 tracks and this is guaranteed, however some are able to access
more (in one case up to 43 tracks). Many disc drives appear to be able to access 41 tracks, and the extra
track is used by some copyprotections.
- As far as I know there is no guaranteed minimum or maximum time for the disc drive motor to achieve