raoulduke wrote:That's really interesting. This has never come up re: Macs because the GCR is a total non-starter (so I've never looked into it beyond that). I've jury rigged a VGA cable that I'll solder together properly when I get my DIN 13pin connector. But I also wrote a DD [using 'Floppy Image Program'] disk (on an actual DD disk).
It seemed to have no appreciable impact on the boot time. Maybe this is just because I'm not really familiar with ST; it seems to go through 5 or so floppy check cycles then boots to TOS. However, the disk in the drive is also TOS. Someone on vintage-computer forums mentioned the early ST's (which I suspect mine may be) only had SD drives [360k] and that it would potentially fail to read DD drives. Any thoughts? I have two SD disks but I will probably just try to write an SD image.
1040STF shipped with Double Sided DD drives. They were the premium spec machine and were priced at $999 back in the day!
Only the cheaper 520ST models shipped with a Single Sided drive, the early big button machines anyway. However, given the age of these machines, it's very possible the original drive failed a long time ago and was replaced at some point with a single sided drive.
It was a cheap repair option at one point, worth doing, and not uncommon with 'big button' drive STs. It was stupidly expensive to source a 'big button' double sided replacement. 3rd party Atari compatible double sided external drives were cheaper and as people upgraded to double sided externals plenty of cheap used external Atari SF354 'big button' single sided drives became available that could be scrapped out to replace the ST internal 'big button' floppy. Most games still shipped on single sided floppies long after double sided drives became the norm so I can see why sticking a cheap used single sided drive for booting games and adding a 3rd party double sided external would be viable. You could do both for the same cost as replacing only the internal double sided 'big button' Atari drive.
A blank floppy disc in the boot drive should speed up the boot to desktop time considerably. Normally the ST will access the floppy drive repeatedly looking for bootable code on the boot sector of the floppy or Auto folder. With no disc in the drive it can crunch away doing this over and over for up to two or three minutes before GEMDOS finally gives up and the GEM desktop loads. If a floppy with a readable boot sector but no bootable code is in the drive it will satisfy GEMDOS after the first attempt and let the GEM desktop load after around 30 seconds (times are very approximate but a blank floppy should boot the ST around five times faster than no floppy).
It sounds like your drive is kaput or maybe has very dirty heads. Like Exxos says, use the TOS format floppy option, try double then single option, if the ST complains from the get go and gives a 'Data on Drive A may be damaged - Retry / Ignore /Cancel" type error then…probably kaput.
TT030 4mb/16mb/1Gb, Coco. Falcon 030 Stock 14mb (Lynxman), 1Gb CF. Falcon 030 Stock 14mb (Atari) 170mb IDE. Mega 1 (mash up labelled Mega 4) 4mb (Frontier XtraRam w/ SIPPs) ICD ADSpeed ST OverScan. Mega 4 (currently dead), Mega 2, 520 STe (SIPPs), 520 STFM.