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NC-200 Data Transfer

Any Easier?

If you remember some time ago I did the piece regarding NC-100 Data Transfer process. Well I am back at it again this time with the NC-200 and well is it any easier?

Well read on.

Logistics

Is there less or setup logistics in the NC-200 process. Answer? Yes.

The NC-200 comes with a floppy drive instead of just a RS232 port. This reduces the need for the serial connection for data transfer. And when Simulant uk released the floppy replacement that has now even more redundant Along with the RS232.

First steps

Since I have Fitted my NC-200 with the above mentioned kit from Simulant UK. This means I am able to remove some of the barriers of the real floppy data transfer. However there is still some issues that need to be overcome.

How On Earth do you create Floppy images?

Well this was not really a big issue I simply booted my copy of win image. Now my NC-200 has a 720k drive from Citizen (yes I believe its the same company that makes watches) a V1DC – 65B.

Creating a 1.44MB or 2.88MB image was utterly pointless as I knew it would not work. (since I writing about every part of the image creation is actually pretty boring. So I have just made some images of this process below)

Main Screen of Win Image 9.0
Main Menu – Selecting New and then the below happened)

After hitting ok I got a blank screen just like the first image. My Image had the filename (untitled) This was not a problem I actually have experience with win Image.

All I needed to do here was save the image as a .IMG File with a name and done.

Problem Number 1

Now on the Amiga Gotek setup you can pretty much put the file name to whatever you want. However I quickly found out you cannot do this with the NC-200 as it will not read it.

After spending nearly 3 hours trying to figure out why I finally got an answer mostly by fluke really. The drive can support up to 999 floppy images (that’s around 650 real 720k floppy disks)

The fix was simple. I found numbering the files in sequence i.e 001, 002 you get the drift was all that was needed.

Now with that done I could drop the image onto my USB stick and drop it into my NC-200. In this case I am using a 128MB usb stick just because I have one lying around.

Now moving over to the NC-200. I am happy as the gotek is reading F-F which Means Flash Floppy.

Flash Floppy being the latest revision of the Gotek drive firmware indicating I had installed the drive correctly.

Flash Floppy & Voltmeter Check

Voltmeter with Battery
Good Battery Cell reading

Now on the original test I came across a bunch of issues. The issues were mostly transfer related then this happened.

Battery Error

Time to break out the voltmeter.

Bingo! setting the voltmeter to 2.0v DC I placed the probes over just one of the cells that I was using. The meter fired back a reading of 1.5v that might not seem a big issue.

However 99% of cells are usually 1.6v to 1.62v. Devices with lower drain will be fine at 1.5v the NC-200 is not one of those.

The floppy drive or Conversion kit like in mine eat the battery life. This is why the majority of NC-200’s were powered by mains adaptors.

There is even reference to this problem in the NC-200 Manual

Even in 2019 C cells are relatively expensive. A decent set will cost a few pounds the NC-200 needs 5 of them.

It can get a bit pricey.

Voltmeter

So with this issue sorted I got my new C cell’s out. And ran another voltmeter check. to quickly check them (done this ever since buying some dead pound land batteries!)

And the 5 cells together each gave a more pleasing reading of 1.644 volts. Perfect and enough to run the NC200 and all the transfer requirements.

Reading & Saving Files to the USB stick

Finally with the final issue out of the way I had no futher problems with the NC-200. Continuing to follow the process in the manual to complete the process of how to copy to the drive.

And sure enough this was Pleasant sight that greeted me. “Copying – Tim2”

NC-200 Copy screen

Then the machine dropped back to my stored documents list. At this point I pulled out the usb stick from the gotek drive and returned it to my pc.

My hopes where high now the NC-200 had clearly copied the file. The floppy image now had a configuration file indicating the copy went perfectly.

Opening the image file back up in Winimage I was greeted with this

the NC-200 had behaved just like it would on the real floppy drive so now it was really looking good. And one thing left to do and that was to explore the “Notebook” folder.

Err….. those files dont have extensions so how on earth I am going to open them?. well this where I needed to add the text extension.

https://helpdesk.flexradio.com/hc/en-us/articles/204676189-How-to-change-a-File-Extension-in-Windows

Reading the Text File from the NC200

Once I had the file Renamed it was just a case of opening it with the default text application. Bingo!! that is exactly what I wrote on the NC200!. its a little garbled but I could easily fix that if I needed to.

Conclusion

The process for transferring data from the NC-200 to PC is a 5 minute job. Even though it does not seem like it reading this piece!.

So compared to the complexity needed to transfer data on the NC-100 its a pleasurable experience on this machine. This pretty much brings the NC-200 to a position where you could theoretically use this to complete work. Not bad for a machine that’s well over 20 years old now.

Of course you need to rewrite some portions of it.

So what is the future for my NC-200?. My machine has seen better day’s there is a nasty chip in the back corner. I have repaired it with Loctite.

She is an old girl now she will spend her day’s as collectable alongside my NC-100 and Tandy WP-3.

So that brings this piece to a close and as always……

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