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Avoid Fitting a Disc Filing System

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I Want To Fit A DFS To My Tape Only BBC

I have been asked this question many times. I thought it might be helpful to publish my reply to one of these enquiries that I received by email on 19/02/1999

Updated 18/08/2002 http://8bs.com/submit/subfitdfs.htm actually decribes how to do the job of fitting a DFS. The text below here describes how to avoid having to do it yourself.....

Updated 02/10/1999 Having re-read this article at a later date, I realise that it is slanted towards the 'physical read disc in the PC' method which is becoming more difficult as newer PCs cannot handle Double Density. Have a look elsewhere on the 8BS website for details of the serial link transfer method.

Hi Graham

Thanks for your email

Graham wrote:

I have recently acquired a BBC B without a disk controller and would like to "upgrade" (if that's the right word) - I'd be grateful if you could advise as to the best solution: ideally I would like to be able to transfer files between my BBC and PCs, but it seems that I'd need to be particularly lucky with my hardware choice for this to be possible.
My original reply:
You could upgrade your BBC with a disc controller. That is if you could find and upgrade kit anywhere. I have heard of them now and again. They used to be an expensive item, I have no idea what anyone would charge you for one now. I do not have any.

Sadly, it is my opinion that if you want a BBC with a DFS fitted, you should just pick up a BBC with the DFS already fitted rather than try and fit one to a BBC.

A direct link is a method preferred by some people, XFER is a program available on this website. The zip file containing the software you need also contains instructions on how to construct the lead you will need.  There are details elsewhere on the 8BS website about this.

Presently, to transfer whole discs of software, your PC must be able to read BBC discs. The Floppy Disc Controller on your PC must be able to read double density. The program FDC available on this website will read a BBC disc into an image file. The program BBCIM will then split the image up into files that you could then read on the PC. The BBC emulators (try PC BBC) can also use these images as your BBC would use a disc. Another program, BBC Explorer, will read a BBC disc image in a similar way to the windows File Manager.

Obviously, your PC must either be able to read 5.25" discs, or your BBC must be able to write 3.5" discs. I have opted for the 3.5" disc drive on my Master 128. Years ago I fitted a 3.5" drive into the first slot of my twin drive giving me a 3.5" to 5.25" drive. Maplin electronics sell a kit that provides the cable adaptors and filler to hold the smaller 3.5" drive into the 5.25" bay. I copied everything from 5.25" to 3.5" disc and kept the 3.5" discs as backup until I realised that the 3.5" discs were much more easy to store and handle. The 3.5" discs then became my original set. Then I picked up a PC and eventually worked out how to use FDC to read my discs in as images. Quite a safe backup.

A BBC with 8271 controller will need an adapted DFS to be able to handle a 3.5" disc drive. This would be the DNFS 1.20a adapted by Jonathan Harston.

An option (assuming the disc drive problem is solved) is to read/write to 720K DOS discs using your 177x (NOT 8271) BBC or Master. A program called DOSFS. This software basically gives you another filing system called DOS on your BBC, use it as you would any other filing system on your Beeb. I transfer single files this way by loading, say a text file into a word processor on my Master, saving it to a 720 K DOS disc which can then be directly read by the PC.

Mark Usher may be worth contacting regarding disc drives, he has compiled a list of drives that people have successfully linked to their BBCs.

If you have a finite number of discs that you want reading in as images, I can offer do that for you. Please let me know if you are interested in this option and we will discuss it further. I can read in DFS or ADFS images from 5.25" or 3.5" BBC formatted discs and either email the images to you or zip them on to floppy or burn them on to CD.

Your questions above were perfect! I have been asked similar questions many times, so I thought it a good idea to answer you in the form of an article which I am going to place on the website now (you are more or less anonymous by the way)

Please let me know if there is any more that you want to know. Best of luck


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