Tuesday, 4 November 2014

1541 Ultimate II Guide 4 : Floppy Copy

Here is another post in my series of post about using the 1541 Ultimate II and this time we discuss the wonderful world of disk swapping!! Oh, the memories.

One of the great things of the UII is that you can use it to copy your old 5 1/4 floppies to d64 files. You can also copy tape files to t64 files, but that will have to wait for a later post when I get some decent tapes to play around with.

Hardware Setup

This is the setup I use:

My 1541-II is attached to the serial port and has been set to device id 9. The UII is attached to the INTERFACE port of the 1541. You can change the device to 9 by setting the jumper on the back of the disk drive. Here's a quick snap of mine:

So, left switch down and right switch up. Refer to the manual of your drive to see how to change the ID. If you cannot change the ID of your drive to 9 then you can change the ID of the UII drive to 9, and reverse all numbers 8 and 9 in the rest of this post. :)

If you do own an SX-64 or a C128D then you can also use drive 9 for your UII drive.

UltiCopy 9

Now, put the original floppy in the drive and start the UII interface. Browse to a location on your SD card or USB stick to save the new d64 file to. Then, press F5 and select Ulticopy 9. We select Ulticopy 9 because device 9 is our source.

The floppy is being read:

After this, the UII will ask for a file name for the d64 file. The disk label is entered as default...

Done! The minus signs (-) in the photo show that there have been read errors. Sometimes, this is not a problem when the bad block does not contain data. Sometimes it IS a problem. What to do?

You might try again! Not using the floppies for a long time may have left a residue on the disk. Reading it multiple times may clean the disk enough so you can read it.

This may have an effect on the drive head. It may get dirty (or it may be dirty already) and you might have to clean it. I will not go into that in this post, but there are several posts on the internet describing how to perform the clean action. Remember, the floppies are old and you may have some that are just not good enough for reading.

You might also try the following ideas:

Using a C64 Copy Program

One solution that sometimes works for me is to use a copy program on the C64 itself which can repair blocks or copy bad blocks 'as-is'. Where to copy it to? A d64 file of course.

First, create a new d64 file somewhere on your UII storage. Mount it to device 8. Now, we can copy from device 9 to 8 using a copy program on the C64 just as we would with two 1541 drives back in the days. You can even let the copy program format the virtual floppy for you.

Load up your copy program of choice and try it! Source device 9 and target device 8, of course!

I'm using an old copy program from my scene days here, but the csdb is loaded with great copy and nibble programs.

Using a UII Cartridge

Let's not forget another great feature of the UII: built-in cartridge images!! One other option is to use one of the UII built in cartridges with a disk copying utility in it... My favourite is the Retro Reply V3.8p cartridge. Note: This copy program is also included in the Tasm/CodeNet cartridge.

Create a d64 file on your UII storage and mount it. Select the cartridge in the 'C64 and Cartridge settings' menu. Press Run/Stop and restart the C64. You will be greeted by the cartridge menu. 

Press B to start the disk copy utility. Make sure to set 9 as source and 8 as destination. 

The utility will read the disk and then write to the d64 file. This will happen a few times. The copy is done when the question to copy another disk appears.


Hopefully this post will help you digitize your old magnetic media so the C64 software library is extended upon once again! Make sure you upload the stuff and demo's you find to the csdb so the world can enjoy it.

I'm not sure where the next post will take me but we'll see. There is still the thing about cartridges and there are of course a lot of settings available in the UII software itself...

Till next time!

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