Posted on April 5, 2013
Virtual Hard Drive for Apple //c
Since I started Apple //c collection, one of my “pet peeves” has always been the constant changing of diskettes. Some people solve it by changing to 80k floppy drive units and eventually, hard drives (these last ones very hard to find and expensive). These days that is simply too small anyway.
I have investigated and found some options for massive file management, some of them require the use of slots and expansion cards. Other require converting the files to proprietary formats to be read. Finally I found a french project called SPVHD (SmarPort Virtual Hard Drive). Its creator based the design specifically on the Apple //c SmartPort, which is why it works marvelously on my computer.
After lot o research finally decided to buy the kit, which took a couple of weeks to arrive from Europe. Initially I thought of putting all together by myself, but realize that the Micropendous A board is really very difficult to find, after weeks looking for it everywhere.
The required pieces are:
- One Micropendous-A card with USB female connection
- One red LED
- One green LED
- One yellow LED
- Three 220 ohm resistors
- Two diodes 1N4448
- One DB19 female and male connectors
- Lots of cable
For th first “dry run” or also called “proof of concept”I did a quick assembly to make sure it worked. Took hours of meticulous soldering and connecting, but at the end it worked.
The next step will be to buy a cheap 3.5 external floppy drive to fit everything inside – just like I did with the monitor – keeping the same vintage look with a great storage solution.
Here is a video of the drive working. Note that none of the drives have discs inserted: