FD BOOT or how I learned to stop worrying about my FM-Towns laser

Started by sampson, September 28, 2020, 12:21:36 AM

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sampson

WELCOME TO THE WOLRD OF OLD HARDWARE! Stuff breaks and needs repaired. Most commonly the laser on FMT pcs goes out and renders the drive useless. Along with the drive going out you no longer can really do much of anything with the pc due to its expectation of booting from this internal drive.

Well that's annoying and a majority of lasers are impossible to find for these computers now with the exception of 3 drive types. Previously the community used a DOS driver to replace the cd rom with an external scsi cd-rom drive however it had limitations. You need boot floppies for TOS 1.1, 2.1 as well as DOS along with game-specific boot floppies. Not ideal but it was at least useful.

Today (well 48 hours ago-ish) this all changed with the introduction of FD BOOT from captainys. This is a new boot loader for FMT to allow a system to spring into an external scsi cd-rom drive at boot without the need of MS-DOS.

Usage is extremely easy. Download the floppy image and then write it using either your preferred 3.5" 1.25MB floppy method or copy the image onto your FMT pc and use FDWRITE to write the image to a floppy.
Once completed all you have to do is plug a cd-rom in via the CN50 port on the back and set it to SCSI ID 1-6.
Once the floppy boots FD BOOT will scan SCSI for a CD-ROM drive and then re-point it once it locates media on the drive. After pointed the computer will continue booting the program as if it were in the main cd-rom drive.
You will need to run the CDDA audio out of your external drive back into your sound mixing but other than that it will run as expected.

Video in action:

Link to floppy image: https://github.com/captainys/FM/tree/master/TOWNS/IPL/DISKIMG
Link to image writer for FMT: https://github.com/captainys/FM/tree/master/TOWNS/FDWRITE/EXE

Games in this folder will NOT work with FD BOOT and must be patched/run as noted in each respective folder: https://github.com/captainys/FM/tree/master/TOWNS/PATCHES

Jehuty

I am a little bit worried aboaut that.
What is the difference to his YSSCSICD.sys driver ?
Or is this new to MX FMTonws ?
Cause i use the driver on my cx20 a while.

And i was able to bring 1,5 CD Drives back to life.
0,5 because i broke the CD Mount on one and i can not get it 100% to work, but many CD works.

sampson

This is an improvement over ysscsicd in that it prepares the drive properly without needing MS-DOS to use a driver. By using the method in FD BOOT it allows one single boot disk that can boot TOS 1.1,2.1 and DOS from the same floppy. It should work on all FM-Towns computers fine.

Jehuty

I tried FDBoot. And yes it is a little bit easier in using it while it seems to boot every game no matter which OS the game uses. YSSCSICD.sys before uses OS2.1 or 1.x to boot the games. I used it often and made some custom bootdisks for the games. Especially the games that needs a patch.
But the games that won´t boot with YSCSICD before won´t boot with FDBoot.
Tried Microcosm and Shadow of the beast.

Lo-Res

Thanks for the info.  I have a FM Towns II on the way and once I finish re-capping everything I'm hoping by some miracle the cd-rom drive works but if not, at least I can get into this solution.

sampson

A second version of FD BOOT has been posted in the form of a CD ISO which is in the same directory as the floppy images.

Fair warning, this one is not as capable as FD BOOT and is more just "haha this is a thing and it works!!!" solution.

This method only works on 2HR models and later

To use the ISO you must first switch your scsi CD-ROM to be any ID 0-3
You must unplug any hard drive attached to the system
Insert the cd into the drive and it should attempt to boot. If it takes a long time to spin up however the boot may fail in the initial cycle of bootable checks. It should get picked up by the second cycle of boot checks and find the cd-rom.
Once booted a message pops up asking you to change the cd and press pad or mouse button
After you press the button the program should then load


You can also use this method to patch some disk images to be directly bootable. Download BOOTSECT/BOOTSECT.BIN from the github and replace the first 5KB of bootsect.bin off the iso. Once replaced the cd should boot directly off scsi cd.

Lo-Res

I've started looking into finding a SCSI cdrom and wonder if it's better to get a external SCSI enclosure and use the less expensive internal SCSI drives with it or just get a external SCSI drive.  Looks like the external drives are in the $200-$300 range.  What are you guys using?

*Edit*
I ended up finding 2 external SCSI Enclosures on ebay for a good deal.  1 comes with a broken SCSI drive I may be able to fix, and I picked up a working SCSI Drive.  So I'll soon be able to try this FD BOOT out :)

mez

hi Sampson, thanks for this great news
are you sure the 6 files are correct on github ? i've tried all with winimage or power iso :
"error reading file" or "unsupported format"
or maybe i do smth wrong ? i usually write disks images (.hds) for x68000 or Towns but maybe i've miss smth
thx

Lo-Res

Quote from: mez on October 18, 2020, 02:44:02 AMhi Sampson, thanks for this great news
are you sure the 6 files are correct on github ? i've tried all with winimage or power iso :
"error reading file" or "unsupported format"
or maybe i do smth wrong ? i usually write disks images (.hds) for x68000 or Towns but maybe i've miss smth
thx

I can confirm FDimage.bin works.  I wrote it to a floppy using omniflop and while I don't have a SCSI drive yet, it does boot and look for external drive.

mez


mez

i've tried
but still doesn't work, usb floppy drive don't recognized

who can send me 1-2 disks with FDBOOT on them ?
will pay shipping + + of course
thanks

Lo-Res

Quote from: mez on October 19, 2020, 12:52:31 AMi've tried
but still doesn't work, usb floppy drive don't recognized

who can send me 1-2 disks with FDBOOT on them ?
will pay shipping + + of course
thanks

omniflop won't work with USB drives.  I had to use a old Pentium III PC I use for windows 98 and use a IDE floppy drive.  I setup a hard drive with windows XP just to use omniflop.  I'm not sure if it works with windows 98 but definately does with XP or newer.

Make sure to manually install the floppy driver included in the zip file (instructions in the readme file)

Directions:

Select format Disk
Select drive A (Location of floppy drive)
Select format type:
Sharp X68000 77/2/8x1024

Select Write
Select Drive A (Location of floppy drive)
Select Format type again:
Sharp X68000 77/2/8x1024
Select Image (fdimage.bin)

it took me a while to figure it all out.  Hope this info helps and saves you the trouble I had!

*also note under BIOS I set my floppy drive to 1.2MB and enabled 3 mode support.  It may or may not work without these settings changed.  You might not have the option for 3 mode support in bios either.

Jehuty

You don´t need Omniflop or an winXP machine.
Just use the tutorial on the developers site

mez

Thank you Lo-Res, i have installed an old Win XP and i've managed making the disk whith omniflop
Nice work captainys and thanks sampson too :)

So, tested with success with :
Towns HR (grey model)
CX20 (grey tower)

unsuccess with
20F (grey tower) : floppy load, it recognized SCSI device but doesn't boot
UX20 : floppy doesn't boot. I think both are ok, it loads other programs. Will clean them



Lo-Res

I just bought a UX20 so hopefully it does work with FD BOOT.

When it arrives from Japan I always assume the worst, replace all the caps and hope for the best

Lo-Res

Quote from: mez on October 24, 2020, 01:57:44 AMUX20 : floppy doesn't boot.

I can confirm FD Boot floppy does not boot on my UX20 either. I wonder why?

Cyothevile

Quote from: Lo-Res on January 06, 2021, 07:41:13 AM
Quote from: mez on October 24, 2020, 01:57:44 AMUX20 : floppy doesn't boot.

I can confirm FD Boot floppy does not boot on my UX20 either. I wonder why?

Very specifically UX models are missing specific data required for external SCSI drive to boot. Captainys told me this in email because I ask about my ux20 also

Lo-Res

Quote from: Cyothevile on January 06, 2021, 08:49:10 AM
Quote from: Lo-Res on January 06, 2021, 07:41:13 AM
Quote from: mez on October 24, 2020, 01:57:44 AMUX20 : floppy doesn't boot.

I can confirm FD Boot floppy does not boot on my UX20 either. I wonder why?

Very specifically UX models are missing specific data required for external SCSI drive to boot. Captainys told me this in email because I ask about my ux20 also

ahhhh I see.  Too bad since I really like having FD Boot as a alternative incase my cdrom drive stops working.

I got lucky with my UX20.  The cdrom drive wasn't working but after re-capping the cdrom drive it came back to life.  a few caps were definately leaking.