Getting off the ground

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Getting off the ground

Postby Vint » Sun May 02, 2010 7:31 pm

Well, now that I've made the plunge and bought a PC Jr. I'm starting to think about what I'll be needing.
I have old DOS 3.3 system disks, but they are on 3.5" disks and the Jr. has a 5.25" drive. I have lots of DS DD 5.25" disks, but they are all from a Commodore. I now realize I have no way to boot the Jr. from the floppy drive.
I read a post by 'cralt' of how he made a boot disk, but I don't have a 5.25" drive in any of my vintage DOS machines - they're all 3.5". Any suggestions?
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Brutman » Sun May 02, 2010 9:25 pm

Having 5.25 diskettes sent to you is one alternative, but I would instead try to create a 'mothership' system that has both types of drives in it. I use a 386-40 and a Pentium 133 system for this; between those two machines I can read or transfer any format.

At a minimum you need 5.25" boot disks and a comm program that will let you use a null modem to another machine. I would recommend getting a Microsolutions backpack 3.5" drive - they are on eBay now for dirt cheap from one particularly good seller, and they work on the PCjr parallel port. You still have to boot from the 5.25" drive, but you will be able to read 1.44MB diskettes with one of those drives.


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Will it work with Dos 2.1?

Postby Tyrop » Mon May 03, 2010 5:36 pm

Will the Microsolutions backpack 3.5" drive work with DOS 2.1? Also, I assume it comes with a 5.25" disk with drivers, but the pics on ebay do not show a disk. Does it come with a driver disk?
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Vorticon » Mon May 03, 2010 8:21 pm

It comes with a 3.5" driver diskette. This is kind of silly given that the drive is supposed to add that capability when it is not available...
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Tyrop » Tue May 04, 2010 6:14 pm

Do you know if it will work with Dos 2.1?
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Brutman » Tue May 04, 2010 7:59 pm

From the still sealed box:

Requirements:
  • MS-DOS 2.0 or Above
  • IBM PC, XT, AT, PS/1, PS/2 or 100% Compatible
  • IBM Compatible Parallel Port or Enhanced Parallel Port
  • Windows and Windows 95 Compatible

Includes:
  • 3.5 Inch External Diskette drive
  • 13KB Device Driver
  • User's Guide on Diskette
  • Data Cable
  • AC Power Supply

It definitely runs on the PCjr - I used it. I can't remember the DOS version, but the requirements state that it works with any version of DOS that will run on the Jr.

It does *not* come with a 5.25" diskette with the device driver. If it has a diskette, it is a 3.5". This wasn't sold as an upgrade to ancient machines - it was sold as a second floppy drive for systems that already had something usable. I think it might have even had a CD-ROM in it, but I can't remember.

The eBay auction number is 180399212436. The seller is great - no problems at all reported by anybody I've talked to.
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Vint » Wed May 05, 2010 6:24 am

The seller is listing these at Buy it now for 99 cents! - brand new in the box.
For that, how can you go wrong? Ok, the shipping - but that's our postal problem, not the sellers fault.
After all, I don't think you're gonna' find these on the shelf at Best Buy for a dollar :)
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Brutman » Wed May 05, 2010 7:17 am

He has combined shipping in the past too, so additional units are well worth the money.

I'm toying with getting a few more so that my non-PCjr systems can be properly equipped too. :-)


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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Tyrop » Sat May 15, 2010 12:54 pm

Wil the PCjr recognize 1.44 meg disks or should they be formatted 720k?
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Re: Getting off the ground

Postby Brutman » Sat May 15, 2010 4:29 pm

The PCjr itself doesn't recognize a 1.44MB drive - the BIOS doesn't do it, and the controller doesn't pump data fast enough. However, the Backpack does not have these limitations. It's device driver will work on the Jr and you can use 1.44MB diskettes with it.
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