VOGONS


First post, by Scythifuge

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Greetings,

A couple of years ago, I scored a couple of external parallel port LS-120 SuperDisks. One of them arrived with the faceplate separated from the metal housing-box and the plastic connectors were all broke-to-crap, but the drive still worked. I hotglued the faceplate back on, but that sucked. I ended up taking it apart and trying to hook up the LS-120 to my Windows 10 machine with a USB 3 device that has SATA and IDE and power connectors for connecting internal drives to a USB 3 port. It didn't work, I don't know or remember why (I will have to try it again because the LS-120 is an IDE device, after all - there must be a way!!!)

Recently, I was examining the parallel-to-IDE bridge device from the unit. I did some research and there is some discussion about it on Vogons. I hunted down a driver for this Shuttle EPAT bridge. Some of you may have seen my threads about my SS7 system hating my SD-to-CF-to-IDE solution (or lack-thereof.) Well I have an SD-to-IDE drive I bought from someone on ebay with a 3d-prionted 3.5 bay tray. I connected the Shuttle thingymajig to the SD-to-IDE drive and powered it with the SuperDisk power adapter and hooked it up to my parallel port, and installed the Shuttle driver, and lo! It works! I have a 128GB SD card working on my SS7 system.

What is cool about this is that I have been hoping for some sort of Gotek-for-CD images device. I know that there are some projects out there. There is a beta device available no but lacks the audio header for the sound card. Then there is the tattlebooger or whatever it is called, but it isn't available. I emailed them to ask about future stock and never received a reply, so I think that I may never get a toodlesboofer or whatever. However, I can use Alcohol 120% Retro Edition and load up an SD card with ISOs -AND- BIN/CUE images, just like the toddiebopper! The only issue as you can see in the photo is that the setup is awkward, so I will need to get a molex extension cable (I already have an IDE extension cable,) and build some sort of external device box, or repurpose the SuperDisk enclosure (if I can locate the rails.) Another cool thing about this is that people sell untested or broken parallel port SuperDIsks all of the time on ebay, so one could buy one for the parallel-to-ide bridge part and make your own external IDE devices. You could get a 3d printed tray (3.5 or 5.25) with an SD-to-IDE adapter and rig this bridge to it or in your case and use Alcohol 120% Retro. I know that there is a way to mount ISOs in DOS but not BIN/CUE images, though for DOS games which work in Windows 9X, this is a solution until a proper Gotek-like device becomes available. All in all, I am having fun with this and being able to add an SD-to-IDE-to-Parallel solution to my SS7 solves a few issues for me. I could even free up the slave drive on my primary IDE and install an internal SuperDIsk drive, hehehe!

Scythifuge

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Reply 1 of 6, by Trashbytes

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Thats a true skunk works setup !

Way to go at getting that setup working, that Shuttle board is interesting though I wonder what sort of transfer speeds you get over Parallel port with such a setup.

Reply 2 of 6, by Scythifuge

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Trashbytes wrote on 2024-05-11, 08:16:

Thats a true skunk works setup !

Way to go at getting that setup working, that Shuttle board is interesting though I wonder what sort of transfer speeds you get over Parallel port with such a setup.

Thanks! I am having trouble tracking down a floppy-molex extension cable and may have to rig up something, possibly from a 4 pin fan extension cable. I am also wondering about the transfer speeds and will look into it after I get some sleep. I read that modern parallel ports transfer 2mb to 2.5mb, but I only quickly browsed that info, but with a quad speed drive transferring 600kb/s, I think that this will be a good solution for the ISO and BIN/CUE situation. I have this second LS-120 external which basically houses a 3.5 internal SuperDisk and I am tempted to harvest the shuttle board from that and/or buy a couple of busted drives (these LS-120s invariably fail) for the Shuttle boards and conduct some more experiments. I have a couple of CF-to-Parallel card readers and they either are fickle with motherboard chipsets, or when they work seem to want to format CF cards coming from other systems and then with FAT and limited to 8GB, so this Shuttle-Parallel solution with CF-to-IDE adapters will be a vast improvement over those crappy devices. Spare hard drives, optical drives... SO many IDE devices which could be put to good use with these nifty little boards!

Reply 5 of 6, by Scythifuge

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paradigital wrote on 2024-05-11, 17:01:

You might have better luck searching for the connectors name: Berg Connector.

Thank you! I never knew that, even after decades of this hobby. I learn something new every single day!

Reply 6 of 6, by Scythifuge

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I am finding very few options. There is one site with a $10 cable (not sure about shipping,) and there is a Canadian seller on ebay with a decent price but outrageous shipping. I think it would be quicker and cheaper to utilize a cut-splice-electric-tape solution. It will be hidden by a box or enclosure of some sort. This is reminding me that I have yet to invest in a 3d printer and/or resin printer. What would be cool would be to take a defective CDROM drive and buy an SD ribbon extender cable and somehow rig it to the center of the CDROM tray, because I am weird like that. I like using modern solutions but to make them work and appear like old hardware, which is why I added a HDD clicker to my recent Serdashop order, hehehe. My quad speed drive started acting up, so it would be a good candidate for a Frankendrive. I would replace the "Magicspin" dual layer DVD slave drive since it takes a long time before I can access newly inserted discs (less time than my other "Magicspin" DVD dual layer which takes FOREVER with its VRIM-VROOM-VRIM-VROOM for up to a minute bull crap, but still too long for me,) whereas my Teac DVD-ROM drive is nearly instantaneous. The Frankendrive would be like having a 128GB bluray drive without the bluray movie capability.

According to chatGPT, I can create shortcut batch files to unmount/mount disc images:

ChatGPT:
"Got it! You're using a Super Socket 7 motherboard with an AMD K6-III+ processor running Windows 98 Second Edition and Alcohol 120% Retro Edition. You have a Shuttle board with an IDE/Parallel Port bridge chip connected to an SD-to-IDE board with a 128GB SD card containing ISO and BIN/CUE disc images.

To create batch file shortcuts to mount each image as needed, you can follow a similar approach to what I mentioned earlier for mounting and running images with Alcohol 120% Retro Edition. Here's how you can modify it for your setup:

Unmount Existing Image (if any):
Use the command to unmount any existing image mounted in Alcohol's virtual drive:

Copy code
"C:\Program Files\Alcohol Soft\Alcohol 120\AxShlExHlper.exe" /U
Mount New Image:
Use the command to mount a specific disc image file from your SD card to Alcohol's virtual drive. Replace DriveLetter:\Path\To\Image.iso with the actual path to your disc image file on the SD card:

Copy code
"C:\Program Files\Alcohol Soft\Alcohol 120\Alcohol.exe" /M:0 "DriveLetter:\Path\To\Image.iso"
Create separate batch files for each image you want to mount. For example, you can create a batch file named MountGame1.bat, MountGame2.bat, and so on, each containing the appropriate commands to mount a specific image.

After creating the batch files, create shortcuts to these batch files on your desktop or Start menu. When you click on the shortcut for a specific game or image, it will execute the batch file, mounting the corresponding image in Alcohol's virtual drive.

Remember to replace placeholders like DriveLetter, Path\To\Image.iso, and adjust the paths according to your actual setup and file locations. Let me know if you need further assistance with this!"

Sometimes ChatGPT is a complete liar, but I will test this out in my quest to create a hacked together toddiebucker or whatever its called CDROM emulator.