Source: MSX Blog.

We haven't reported about Rookie Drive NX for quite some time so let's update the information about this USB storage device for MSX. Xavirompe, the user behind this project, has been working in order to implement an specific feature to his device that will delight nostalgics. In cooperation with Konamiman, who kindly developed the driver, it is now possible to plug USB floppy disk drives and naturally not only 2DD disks are supported, also 2HD ones!

You can see the cartridge in action here (Spanish language).

Relevant link: Rookie drive project site
Relevant link: Xavirompe at Twitter

Comments (29)

By konamiman

Paladin (952)

konamiman's picture

05-12-2018, 21:33

By Wolverine_nl

Paladin (989)

Wolverine_nl's picture

05-12-2018, 23:22

Now i really want one Smile

By Pencioner

Paladin (710)

Pencioner's picture

06-12-2018, 00:30

The great news, really attractive feature!
Will it work for 2DD disks too? I've got USB drive from IBM which supports both formats

By hamlet

Scribe (1855)

hamlet's picture

06-12-2018, 06:12

Best buy!

By Louthrax

Paragon (1872)

Louthrax's picture

06-12-2018, 19:42

Whoaaa, great, thanks Xavirompe and Konamiman ! Can't wait to test HD disks on MSX (just received yesterday a box of 500 or so new diskettes from my wife's work and was wondering what to do with that)

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5045)

NYYRIKKI's picture

07-12-2018, 19:02

Damn... I wrote about this feature last month to local IT-magazine, but the magazine is still on the printing press... No need to hurry to make it available to download as it was listed as feature that is coming in near future... and yet it takes week or two before the magazines get actually shipped to local homes. Tongue

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5045)

NYYRIKKI's picture

07-12-2018, 19:28

Oh damn... I overlooked the first comment...

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2879)

sd_snatcher's picture

07-12-2018, 20:24

Congrats, Xavirompe and Konamiman!

By Louthrax

Paragon (1872)

Louthrax's picture

07-12-2018, 21:12

And I'm now looking for some MSX games, originally on 2 disks, that could be merged into one single HDD disk and that would work naturally without asking for a disk change (file-based games, MSX-DOS 1 I guess...). Any idea ?

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5045)

NYYRIKKI's picture

07-12-2018, 23:11

Louthrax wrote:

And I'm now looking for some MSX games, originally on 2 disks, that could be merged into one single HDD disk and that would work naturally without asking for a disk change (file-based games, MSX-DOS 1 I guess...). Any idea ?

From technical point of view, I see no problem with amount of data, but if we talk about files and loading from FAT12 (and MSX-DOS1) , I've understood that there are problems with cluster size related RAM allocation that may make this impossible.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2879)

sd_snatcher's picture

08-12-2018, 02:19

After a glance at the sources, I wonder why was it coded as drive-based driver in a 32KB ROM, instead of a newer device-based Nextor driver.

By luppie

Paladin (846)

luppie's picture

08-12-2018, 03:46

NYYRIKKI wrote:
Louthrax wrote:

And I'm now looking for some MSX games, originally on 2 disks, that could be merged into one single HDD disk and that would work naturally without asking for a disk change (file-based games, MSX-DOS 1 I guess...). Any idea ?

From technical point of view, I see no problem with amount of data, but if we talk about files and loading from FAT12 (and MSX-DOS1) , I've understood that there are problems with cluster size related RAM allocation that may make this impossible.

1.44M disks support
MSX-DOS 2 can handle standard 1.44M disks out of the box, but MSX-DOS 1 can't. That's because the standard format for these disks uses 9 sectors for the FAT, but MSX-DOS 1 only supports 3 sectors per FAT. So when trying to read one of these disks the MSX-DOS 1 kernel will try to load the entire 4.5K FAT in the allocated 1.5K buffer and the computer will crash.

As a workaround for this, when a disk is formatted under MSX-DOS 1 it will be given a custom FAT format with 4 sectors per cluster and 3 sectors per FAT. This is a quite big cluster size and for disks with many small files it will be a waste of space, but if you really want to use 1.44M disks in MSX-DOS 1, that's the only way.

Source : https://github.com/Konamiman/RookieDrive-FDD-ROM/blob/master...

By msxtrd

Master (193)

msxtrd's picture

08-12-2018, 12:14

Great news, but does it work together with other functions of the cartridge or is it either fdd support or the rest?

By Louthrax

Paragon (1872)

Louthrax's picture

09-12-2018, 02:15

It works ! It works ! Running Naked in a Field of Flowers

Shown here on my PX-V60 with a 4MB RAM expansion in order to boot MSX-DOS.

MSX-BASIC tells me I have 23376 bytes free.

I formatted the HD disk from MSX, and have been able to copy files from my PC.

[EDIT]: As this is MSX-DOS 1 and I'm using a memory-mapper, I need to initialize the memory mapper manually after boot (with out's in BASIC). Need to find a 64KB RAM expansion without memory mapper now (or maybe do a small MMAPINI.COM program...).

Thinking about that little hypothetical MMAPINI.COM program:

  • Maybe it already exists ?
  • It's not so straightforward to code if you want something reliable (naive approach is out (fc),3, out (fd),2, out (fe),1 out (ff),0, but you have to be careful when setting the current code's segment, and a reset is probably required too...)
  • Maybe that initialization sequence could also be integrated directly in the RookieDrive FDD boot code ?

By roadfighter

Champion (370)

roadfighter's picture

09-12-2018, 09:07

Did send a mail to xavi@rookiedrive.com.
Would like to order some Rookiedrives, i hope this is the right Email.

Emil

By gdx

Prophet (2352)

gdx's picture

09-12-2018, 11:34

Louthrax, I wonder how MU behaves in your case. Can you try it?

https://www.msx.org/downloads/mu-v105-with-manual-translated

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1209)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

09-12-2018, 12:32

i just tried the exclusive_inverted_CTRL with a Fujitsu FPCFDD16B external floppy drive
and i get a "bad file mode" on some floppies which i do not get on a internal TurboR floppy drive
i only tested a few floppies though..

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1209)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

09-12-2018, 12:58

msxtrd wrote:

Great news, but does it work together with other functions of the cartridge or is it either fdd support or the rest?

one of two

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1209)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

09-12-2018, 14:02

and ehmmm....
how to reverse back to original firmware?

By xavirompe

Resident (34)

xavirompe's picture

09-12-2018, 15:49

OeiOeiVogeltje wrote:

and ehmmm....
how to reverse back to original firmware?

Check the available options at: http://rookiedrive.com/en/download/
You can use rkfl.com from MSX-DOS to reflash the original firmware, or RDRECO.BIN.

Another ticky option is to use the recovery tool in audio format, http://rookiedrive.com/download/recovery-tool-in-audio-format/

I am working to integrate the USB floppy driver into the Rookie's firmware, it will be available soon.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (2879)

sd_snatcher's picture

09-12-2018, 15:57

Louthrax wrote:

[EDIT]: As this is MSX-DOS 1 and I'm using a memory-mapper, I need to initialize the memory mapper manually after boot (with out's in BASIC). Need to find a 64KB RAM expansion without memory mapper now (or maybe do a small MMAPINI.COM program...).

Being a 4MB memory-mapper, I suppose it's somewhat new. Are you sure that it doesn't have hardware auto-initialisation? The majority of memory-mappers from the last 15 years seem to have it.

The picture is very blurred, but from what I could read it's an LPE-4MB-V4. It's description on Padial's website suggests it has hardware auto-init:

"Bajo demanda, la ampliacion de 4MB pueden realizan precarga automatica (at Reset) del mapper con valores 0-3 en paginas 0 a 3 (FC-FF), 3 a 0 (FC-FF), refresco tipo RAS only o refresco tipo CAS before RAS."

It's just not clear to me what's the "On demand" part could mean. Maybe it has to be configured enable this feature?

By xavirompe

Resident (34)

xavirompe's picture

09-12-2018, 16:13

sd_snatcher wrote:

After a glance at the sources, I wonder why was it coded as drive-based driver in a 32KB ROM, instead of a newer device-based Nextor driver.

Konamiman told me that he chose that option for greater compatibility and simplicity. He did the hard work, now any developer can create the nextor driver.

In my opinion this is the right choice for the first step.

Thank you very much Konamiman!!!!

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1209)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

09-12-2018, 16:55

so far the rookiedrive with "rookiefdd_exclusive_inverted_ctrl.rom" has prevented booting from MFR,MMC/SDdrive V1 and V3 (sharksym) so i can not run the recoveryfiles from there
booting from floppy works but the the recoveryprogram can not find rookiedrive flashrom then
accessing the native floppydrive om my turboR als does not work ,CTRL pressed and not pressed (disk offline).
so i am kindoff stuck now

By Louthrax

Paragon (1872)

Louthrax's picture

09-12-2018, 17:01

sd_snatcher wrote:

The picture is very blurred, but from what I could read it's an LPE-4MB-V4. It's description on Padial's website suggests it has hardware auto-init:

"Bajo demanda, la ampliacion de 4MB pueden realizan precarga automatica (at Reset) del mapper con valores 0-3 en paginas 0 a 3 (FC-FF), 3 a 0 (FC-FF), refrescall o tipo RAS only o refresco tipo CAS before RAS."

It's just not clear to me what's the "On demand" part could mean. Maybe it has to be configured enable this feature?

I definitively have to do some manual initialization steps so far to have things working... That's indeed a Padial 4MB RAM expansion, have not checked if there are some switches to auto-enable some features. I'm currently trying other RAM expansions (all memory-mapper based).

By Louthrax

Paragon (1872)

Louthrax's picture

09-12-2018, 17:03

gdx wrote:

Louthrax, I wonder how MU behaves in your case. Can you try it?

https://www.msx.org/downloads/mu-v105-with-manual-translated

Thanks GDX, I'll give it a try.

By xavirompe

Resident (34)

xavirompe's picture

09-12-2018, 22:19

OeiOeiVogeltje wrote:

so far the rookiedrive with "rookiefdd_exclusive_inverted_ctrl.rom" has prevented booting from MFR,MMC/SDdrive V1 and V3 (sharksym) so i can not run the recoveryfiles from there
booting from floppy works but the the recoveryprogram can not find rookiedrive flashrom then
accessing the native floppydrive om my turboR als does not work ,CTRL pressed and not pressed (disk offline).
so i am kindoff stuck now

Try this: turn the rookie drive's top switch to the left, so the rookie's ROM is dissabled now, star the computer, boot the MSX-DOS with the TurboR disk drive, then turn the switch to the right and execute rkfl.com rdfirmwa.rom.

Let me know if this way works.

By OeiOeiVogeltje

Paragon (1209)

OeiOeiVogeltje's picture

09-12-2018, 22:46

the switch broke off
so i had to open the cart and fidle with it a bit
but flashing worked like this
thanks!

By gdx

Prophet (2352)

gdx's picture

10-12-2018, 00:52

sd_snatcher wrote:
Louthrax wrote:

[EDIT]: As this is MSX-DOS 1 and I'm using a memory-mapper, I need to initialize the memory mapper manually after boot (with out's in BASIC). Need to find a 64KB RAM expansion without memory mapper now (or maybe do a small MMAPINI.COM program...).

Being a 4MB memory-mapper, I suppose it's somewhat new. Are you sure that it doesn't have hardware auto-initialisation? The majority of memory-mappers from the last 15 years seem to have it.

The picture is very blurred, but from what I could read it's an LPE-4MB-V4. It's description on Padial's website suggests it has hardware auto-init:

"Bajo demanda, la ampliacion de 4MB pueden realizan precarga automatica (at Reset) del mapper con valores 0-3 en paginas 0 a 3 (FC-FF), 3 a 0 (FC-FF), refresco tipo RAS only o refresco tipo CAS before RAS."

Memory Mappers that initialize its segments in this order at reset are listed HERE. They are not numerous if we remove the cartridges "all in one".

By Grauw

Enlighted (7525)

Grauw's picture

10-12-2018, 13:12

Basically only the ones which implement the logic in CPLD or FPGA.

My MSX profile