CSS 3.5" XF551 Upgrade / hardware

From: Michael Current (aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 11/25/91-05:49:20 PM Z

From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: CSS 3.5" XF551 Upgrade / hardware
Date: Mon Nov 25 17:49:20 1991

Reprinted from comp.sys.atari.8bit

CSS 3.5" XF551 upgrade

Summarized by
Ben Poehland (poehland%phvax.dnet@smithkline.com) 

     I disagree with Jim Hague's suggestion <IA8V91#91> that the 1050 should be
eliminated.  A noble idea, to be sure, but totally impractical.  The reason
being, that 5-1/4" disks with clumsy ole DOS 2.0s or 2.5 is the common medium
of software exchange.  There are just too many 810's, 1050's & XF551's out there
they number literally in the millions.
     For the better part of the past year I have been using 3.5" 720K drives
from CSS, I love them, I call them "The Poor Man's Hard Drive".  But I still
have to keep a few 1050's around to handle boughten software or program/data
disks I exchange with other people thru the mail.
     I'm not familiar with the IC 3.5" upgrade.
     The CSS upgrade comes in 3 flavors, as follows:

 1.) The single 3.5 replacement upgrade;
 2.) the dual 5.25"/3.5" upgrade;
 3.) the dual 3.5"/3.5" upgrade.

All three equire an XF551.  With item 1.) above, you replace the 5" mech with
the 3" mech in the case of the 551.  In item 2.), the 3" is simply slaved to the
551; you keep the 5" mech in the 551 & the 3" mech sits on top.  And item 3.)
combines 1.) & 2.).
     The hardware consists of a sealed module with wires you have to solder to
various pins on the 8050 CPU, plus a ROM that replaces the original on the
XF551 controller card.  Then thers the cables & drive mech.  CSS uses 3.5"
Sony mech mounted in a 5.25" frame.  I've also successfully used 3.5" Sony
mechs purchased for $39 from Jameco.
     The aesthetics of the CSS upgrade leave much to be desired.  I was bummed
out with the bare mech sitting on top of the 551 with wires hanging out.  But
the mech from CSS can be fitted into a 1050 case (with some labor) & it looks
really nice.  The color of the CSS Sony mech is exactly halfway between the
grey of the 551 & the ivory of the 1050.  No matter which shell you use, it come
s out looking OK.  I employed a 1050 whose board already was dead, so I stripped
the parts from the board & kept the +5V supply to run the 3.5" mech.  The little
drives consume almost no power: 20mA at idle, 800mA full load.
     I use Sparta 3.2 on these drives.  DS/DD format w/ultraspeed gives you
737K of actual storage.
     Much simpler to implement than a hard drive, cheaper too.  Not as fast,
tho, & of course lacking mega storage.  Even so, I love it.

     - BEN
       Always The Alchemist
       Still officially 8bit editor of Current Notes til the end of the year

 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
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