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Comp.Sys.Acorn.FAQ part 4 of 4

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--------------------------------- part 4 of 4 ------------------------------


Section 9: Technical Details


Q9.1) How do I get a faster interrupt timer than the centisecond ones?

For this you require the use of IOC Timer 1, a 2MHz timer unused by RISC OS and claimable by code for use. Details of how to program the timer are available in the IOC datasheets, or you could look for various PD utilities like TimerCtrl that handle the timer for you.

I am informed that the Acorn TimeCode system now lays claim to Timer 1 and that software using it is deprecated.


Q9.2) How can I create Interlaced GIFs on Acorn machines?

Four utilities exist to let you create these.

spr2gif will take a sprite and convert it to a gif file. It will interlace and render transparent the gif as well. For the transparency it uses the colour of the first masked pixel it encounters in the sprite - suitable for automated gif image creating. (No need to twiddle with specifying transparency colours.)

WebGIF allows you to add transparency and interlacing to your GIFs as well.

Creator, from about v2.00, can create interlaced GIFs. However you have to specify the transparency colour directly.

And finally InterGIF not only can create interlaced, transparent GIFs but is capable of creating animated ones as well.

On top of these utilities an increasing number of commercial programs can create Interlaced GIFs, Photodesk being a prime example.


Section 10: Risc PC PC Card Details


When reading this section it must be remembered that all references to the Emulator software featured in this section are to the Risc PC PC Second Processor Card controlling software, and not to the older Software PC Emulator software released by Acorn.

Q10.1) What is the latest version of the Emulator software?

The latest, publicly released for all PC card owners, full version is 3.06 and it is available from the Aleph1 FTP & Web site. ( Features include memory up to 32Mb, fully redefinable 256 colour modes and the addition of directly accessed SCSI drives.

The very latest version of the software (v3.03) has been released commercially as PCPro. This features SA compatibility, speed enhancements, VESA video drivers, a debugged shared memory system for faster operation, improved support for Windows 95, DirectX drivers and a variety of other enhancements. Details of this software can be found on the Aleph1 web site.


Q10.2) Why does the serial port not work after using the card?

With v1.87 of the controlling software if you choose 'Direct Serial', to enable the serial port under the emulator, and then quit the emulator it doesn't correctly release the serial port back to RISC OS. However a temporary patch is to uncomment the very last line of the !PC486.!Run file.

Run <Diva$Dir>.!RunImage 
|uncomment the next line if you need to use the serial port after using !PC 
| RMreinit SerialDeviceDriver

Namely uncomment the RMreinit SerialDeviceDriver so that the above looks more like this. 

Run <Diva$Dir>.!RunImage 
|uncomment the next line if you need to use the serial port after using !PC 
RMreinit SerialDeviceDriver

Then you should find control of the serial port returned to RISC OS after you have finished with the emulator. As of v1.91 this has been fixed and the serial port will be released properly. The latest version can be obtained from the Aleph1 FTP site.


Q10.3) Why do Windows programs give me incorrect colours in a 256 colour mode?

This can happen if you forgot to put a 'p' after colour descriptor in your Windows mode definition string. For example to configure the emulator to give windows a 1024x768 screen mode at 256 colours with fully programmable colours your string should look like this:-


Note the p at the end of the line.


Q10.4) How much memory can I configure for the PC Emulator?

Up to v1.86 of the software the upper limit was 16 MB of memory. As of v1.87 that has been raised up to 32 MB of memory. However, for some odd reason, after 16 MB of memory the memory can be only configured in 4 MB chunks. Consequently the possible values go 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,20,24,28 & 32 MB.


Q10.5) Can I use Win95 with the card?

Yes, however the installation of it is slightly more complicated than (should be) normal for a PC. Choose a custom setup and inform the Win95 installer of what hardware you have present, under the Video driver section install the default VGA driver.

Then complete the install. Once it is installed you may then install the Arm video driver in a similar fashion as for the instructions for installing it under Windows 3.11. There are specific Windows 95 instructions for ARMDRV v1.99, this version also cures the occasional icon redraw problem with Windows95. You should then be away.

With PCPro specific Win95 installation files and instructions are provided for both the Windows video driver as well as the Sound Blaster emulation. Not to mention general instructions for installing Windows 95.

Win98 should work on 586 cards, but I've heard that it won't work on 486 cards.


Q10.6) Can I resize my PC partition?

Yes, this is possible. However the procedure is extremely risky and should not be attempted if you cannot afford to lose the contents of your partition. Ensure that you either have a backup of the partition or are prepared to possibly have to reinstall everything.

First off run Defrag on your PC to collect all the files towards the start of the partition. This is best done from DOS, doing it from within Windows 95 most likely means that the shutdown procedure will scatter a few files about potentially causing problems for resizing.

Secondly use this BASIC program to change the size of the partition under RISC OS.

REM Resize parition file.
EXT#chan=<new size in bytes>

Change the filename to suit the name of your PC partition and adjust the size in bytes to the new size of your partition. Increasing the size of the partition is safe, but when shrinking the partition care must be taken to not shrink the partition below the size of the actual files contained within it.

Finally once the partition size has been adjusted boot up your PC and run the program PRESIZER.EXE. This is a DOS partition resizer and should allow you to now adjust the partition table and FAT to the new size of your partition.

N.B. It must be stressed again that this is a very risky operation and could easily result in total data loss of your partition. Also the procedure has only been attempted for increasing the size of the partition, not shrinking it - I'd be interested in hearing from people who have attempted to shrink their partition to know if it works.


Section 11: Hardware Compatibility


Q11.1) What IDE drives work on Acorn machines?

Note (added on 2nd Dec 1998): This list really needs a complete overhaul, which I am hoping to carry out, now that I have taken over the FAQ from Philip. Please keep an eye out for announcements of any updates. In the meantime, please feel free to notify me of any additions/amendments to the information provided below.

Here is a list of IDE drives known to either work or not work with Acorn hardware. If the drive appears with no notes then it will work fine with the machine specified. This list is maintained by Toby Smith ( and all corrections, additions and updates should be emailed to him. Many thanks to those who have contributed their info.

The IDE Drives & Interfaces What Works With What list (19th October 1996)
Manufacturer Part Number  Size  Interface     Notes   
Quantum      Sirocco      2560  Std/RiscPC    New Filecore
Seagate                   2150  Std/RiscPC    
IBM          Aquarius     2148  Std/RiscPC
WstnDigtl    Caviar       2148  Std/RiscPC    [6]
Samsung	WA32163A     2062  Simtec IDE
IBM          DJAA-31700   1740  Std/RiscPC
Quantum      SR1700AT     1740  Std/RiscPC    
NEC          DSE1700A     1700  Std/RiscPC    M-CDU76E S-CFS210A
WestDig      WD31600      1638  ICS (FS 3.13) (Partition on old filecore)
Quantum      FB1280AT     1310  Std/RiscPC    M-ToshibaXM5302B CDROM S-CFS420A
Conner       CFS1275A     1275  Std/RiscPC    M-CFS425     S-CFS420A     S-CFS210A
Seagate      ST51270A     1223  Std/RiscPC    M-CFS425 M-SonyCDU6ECDR
Fujitsu      M160TAU      1089  Std/RiscPC    Wont master.
Quantum      Fireball     1080  ICS/RiscPC
Quantum      Fireball     1024  Std/RiscPC
Seagate      31220A       1024  ICS/RiscPC    Master only
Seagate      ST580A        850  Std/RiscPC
Conner       CFS850A       850  ICS (FS 3.12) M-M2684TAM [1]
Samsung      SHD-30560A    560  Std/RiscPC    M-CP3204F S-QMav540A
WstrnDigtl   Caviar 2540   540  Std/RiscPC    <DOESN'T WORK> E-IDE
WstrnDigtl   WD2540H       540  Std/RiscPC
Conner       CFA540A       540      [4]
Quantum                    540  DT Soft       Format to 512M
Fujitsu      1603T         540  Std/A5000 RPC Format 1023cyls = 503Mb space
Quantum      Maverick 540A 540  Std/RiscPC    M-CP3204F M-SHD30560A
Conner       CFS540A       540  Std/RiscPC    Formats to 512M
Conner       CFS541A       540  Std/A5000     M-CP30104H EIDE (512M = 1039 cyls)
Fujitsu      M2684TAM      528  ICS           Real 504M S-H3171-A2 [3]
IBM          DSAA-3540     528  Std/RiscPC    Odd noises! [3]
Seagate      ST5660A       528  Std/RiscPC    Format to 512M (1039 Cycls)
Quantum      LPS540A       504  Std/RiscPC
Fujitsu      M2684TAM      504  ICS (FS 3.13) S-ST9145AG
Conner       CFS425A       425  Std/AnyAcorn  Doesn't link to CFS210A and CFS425A
WstrnDigtl   Caviar        420  Std/RiscPC    [6]
Conner       CFS420A       420  Std/Acorn Evolution # M-CP3044 M-CFS210A M-FB1280AT
Seagate                    420  ICS
Maxtor       7420AV        420  ICS
Conner       CP30424 (?)   420  ICS    
Seagate      ST3491A       408                [2]
Maxtor       7345A         340  Std/RiscPC    S-CFS210. Wont work alone
Fujitsu      M286T         340  Watford       M-S-NEC D3756
Seagate      ST3389A       335  Std/RPC Evolution/A5000
Quantum      Prodrive      270  HCCS/A440 RPC    
Seagate      ST9300AG      260  Watford       S-CFS420A  2.5 drive
Conner       CP30254       250  ICS           M-CP3044 S-CFS420A
WstrnDigtl                 250  ICS
Seagate      ST3290A       250  A310
Conner       CFN250A       240  HCCSUltimate/A3010    
Conner       CFS210A       210  Std/RiscPC    # S-CFS420A
Conner       CP3204F       210  Std/RiscPC    S-QMav540A
Conner       CP3204F       210  Evolution
WstrnDigtl   Caviar        200  Std/AnyAcorn  WILL NOT WORK (poss [6])
IBM          H3171-A2      171  ICS           M-M2984TAM Real 163MB
Conner       CP30174E      170  Std/A5000    
SyQuest      EX135i        135  Std/RiscPC700    
Maxtor       7120          130  ICS           Disable on-disc cache. (ICS util)
Seagate      ST3144A       120  A310
Quantum      LPS127A       120  ICS    
Castle                     120  Castle/A3000
Conner       CP30104H      116  Std/A5000     S-CP540A
SyQuest      SQ3105 AT     105  Std/A5000     M-CP3044 S-CFS420A
NEC          D3756         100  Watford       M-S-M286T
Rodime       RO3139AP      100  Watford       Works alone wont co-exist.
Maxtor       7080           85  ICS           Disable on-disc cache. (ICS util)
Conner       CP3085 (?)     85  ICS           Running off computer's PSU too!
Conner       CF3008E        80  Std/A5000 A4000    #
Maxtor                      80  ICS (FS 2.03)
Conner       CP30084E       80  Std/A5000     M-S-CP3044 Use links on base
                                              not drive face.
Seagate      ST51A/X        40  Std/RiscPC    S-CFS420A
Seagate      ST351A/X       40  Watford IDE    
Conner       CP3044         40  Std/A5000     # S-SQ3105 AT
PrairieTek                  20  ICS (FS 2.01)    
NEC          CDR-273      CDROM Std/RiscPC600
Aztech                    CDROM Std/RiscPC700
NEC          CDR-273 4x   CDROM Std/RiscPC
NEC          CDR-1300A 6x CDROM Std/RiscPC
NEC          CDR1400A 8x  CDROM Std/RiscPC
BTC          BCD 739 8X   CDROM Std/RiscPC    Wont in Risc OS, will on PC-Card...
Phillips     PCA53 5x     CDROM Std/RiscPC    Wont in Risc OS, will on PC-Card...
Creatv Labs  Hex-Speed    CDROM Std/RiscPC

Enlargements to notes:
[1] Formatted to 3 partitions 248M     248M & 316M (to get small LFAU)  
[2] Seagate ST3491A Wont S/M to CFS240A (High end A5000). Will slave to CFS420A (Risc PC)
[3] This drive recalibrates for thermal adjustments every 10mins, making a click.
[4] CFA drives will work with RISC OS 3.60 (new Risc PCs, A7000) but not with older versions of the Acorn IDE interface. They will work on ICS interfaces though. (Badly defined part of IDE spec aparently)
[5] The HCCS interface apparently doesn't like podule slot 0, but is happy in others.
[6] WD Caviars often have initialisation problems - there is a fix elsewhere in the FAQ for this.
Understanding the list:
 - Interface = 'Std/****' indicates the IDE interface provided with the specified machine as part of the standard purchase package.

 - M-XXXXXX  -Fitted as Master to drive (slave drive part number given)
S-XXXXXX  -Fitted as Slave to drive (Master drive part number given)

 - A '#' in the notes section indicates a drive provided as standard in an Acorn machine (at some point in history)

 - Sizes quoted are the 'manufacturer' sizes (for purchasing reference) remember that manufacturer Megabytes are 1000k, whereas formatted megabytes are 1024K... to get the 'real' size; multiply the number given by 1000, then divide by 1024.

 - Drives over 1Gigabyte are quoted in terms of megabytes (hence a 1G drive will be listed as 1024M) This is so that the list sorts nicely - divide the number by 1024 to get the size in gigabytes...

 - Master / Slave information usually refers to other drives in the list!

Disclaimer: This list reports the reported experiences of others. Neither the maintainer, nor the contributors are definitely saying that these combinations will work - just that they have for them. So don't sue us!


Q11.2) What are the master / slave link settings for my IDE Drive?

Most of the modern drives have this information nicely on a label on the top of the drive, but some of the earlier ones don't. There follows a list of drive settings for some of the packaged drives.

Extra submissions to Toby Smith (

DRIVE           AS SOLE               AS MASTER               AS SLAVE
           HSP  C/D  DSP  ACT     HSP  C/D  DSP  ACT     HSP  C/D  DSP  ACT
CP3044      -    y    -    y       -    y    y    y       -    -    -    y
CP3008E     -    y    -    -       -    y    -    -       -    -    -    -
CP30126     -    y    -    -       -    y    y    -       -    -    -    -
CP30174E    -    y    -    -       -    y    -    -       -    -    -    -
CFS210A     -    y    -    -       -    y    -    -       -    -    -    -
CFS420A     -    y    -    -       -    y    -    -       -    -    -    -

Link connectors are on the front of the drive, the narrower end that doesn't have the cables coming in, next to the activity light connector (which is missing on Risc PC Drives - it's on the motherboard)

It should also be noted that if you need an extra linker don't expect it to have been provided (notably on the CF3008E, the 80M drive in the A4000 &amp; A5000.)

(Details translated from table by Dave Walker, as published in Acorn User Sept 95. Not all permutations have been tested, and we ain't promising!)

Extra submissions welcome!


Q11.3) Why won't my Western Digital IDE drive work after a cold boot?

Due to an obscure interaction between Acorn's IDE implementation and the Western Digital drives a problem occurs in that the computer becomes unable to find the Boot record that details the shape, format and other data of the hard drive. This results in a somewhat alarming and frustrating series of error messages that seem to indicate that the drive isn't formatted at all.
(And by extension implying that you have lost all your information stored on the drive.)

Fortunately that isn't the case. In reality your information is safe and sound on the drive and you merely need to give ADFS a helping hand in finding the boot record, after which it can carry on as normal. This BASIC program supplies dummy values to ADFS that allow it to do that.

REM> Specify
DIM rec% 64
FOR I%=0 TO 60 STEP 4:rec%!I%=0:NEXT
rec%?00=   9 : REM Sector size, 2^9 = 512
rec%?01=   8 : REM Sectors per track
rec%?02=   1 : REM Heads
rec%!16=4096 : REM Disc size in bytes
rec%?41=   0 : REM LBA mode disabled
SYS "ADFS_SectorDiscOp",,15+(rec%<<6),drive%<<29

(Thanks to Eduard Pfarr for this program.) 

Running this program once, during boot up, will allow the drive to be used normally. This does mean, for the moment, that you cannot boot from a Western Digital IDE drive.

NB for RISC OS 3.10, or earlier versions of RISC OS, you will need to replace the ADFS_SectorDiscOp with an ADFS_DiscOp call instead.


Q11.4) What works with what?

This list contains details of peripherals known to work on Acorn computers, and is intended as a rough guide for those wanting to upgrade.

The list covers all storage devices: hard discs, magneto-optical drives, tape, CD-rom, and related interfaces. It also covers modems, serial cards and printers.It does not cover IDE hard discs, as these are covered in a separate list in the FAQ.

This list is based on information from users, but it's fairly out of date now. If you have new information, corrections, suggestions or if you just want to tell me how good it is, please contact me.

If you have any equipment which you no longer require, please consider donating it to Archive magazine or Clares Micro Supplies, who will find a deserving home for it. Contact Paul Beverley at or

Note that in all the following lists the interface refers to the computer and not the peripheral.

Hard discs
Computer Size  Manuf.     Model      Interface Interface  Special
                                     type      manuf      Requirements

A310     46MB  Seagate    ST157N     SCSI-1    Cumana/Oak none
A310     46MB  Seagate    ST277N     SCSI-1    Oak        Use Acorn SCSIFiler 
                                                          with RO3.1
A310     47MB  Seagate    257        SCSI-8    Lingenuity none
A310     60MB  Seagate    ST-277N    SCSI      Oak        Ext Apple
A310/4Mb 80Mb  Quantum    P80S       SCSI      Oak        none
A310     87Mb  Fujitsu    M2612S     SCSI-U    Morley     none
A310     100Mb Quantum    LP105S     SCSI-U    Morley     none
A310     105M  Quantum    Prodrive   SCSI      Oak        none
A310     105MB Rodime     RO-3128T   SCSI-1    Morley     none
A310     105MB Syquest    SQ105S     SCSI-1    Morley     none
A310     110MB Rodime     RO-5125ST  SCSI      Oak        Ext Apple
A310     117MB Quantum    LP120S     SCSI      VTi/Alsys  RO3.1+PowerROM
A310     191Mb Maxtor     LXT-200S   SCSI      Lingenuity none
A310     210MB Conner     CP3200F    SCSI      Oak        Ext Apple
A310/4Mb 210Mb Quantum    PD210S     SCSI      Oak        none
A310     240MB Quantum    LPS240S    SCSI-1    Morley     none
A310     270MB Syquest    SQ3270S    SCSI-1    Morley     none
A310     330Mb Seagate    ST2383N    SCSI-U    Morley     none
A310     340Mb Conner     CFA340     SCSI-1    Cumana/Oak none
A310     496MB Fujitsu    M2624S     SCSI      VTi/Alsys  RO3.1+PowerROM
A310     516Mb Quantum    Maverick   SCSI-U    Morley     none
                          540S 0901
A310     540MB Quantum    Fireball   SCSI-1    Morley     none
A310     700Mb Quantum    LIGHTNING  SCSI      Lingenuity none
A410/1   170MB Quantum    LPS170     SCSI-C    Morley     none
A410/1   115MB IBM        7910A12    SCSI-C    Morley     none
A410/1   213M  Maxtor     7213S      SCSI-U    Morley     none
A410/1   1GB   HP         C2247      SCSI-U    Morley     none
A420/1   730MB Quantm     LT730S     SCSI      TSP/AAD    512Mb max.
A420/1   330MB Maxtor     7345S      SCSI      TSP/AAD    none
A4xx/1   40MB  Seagate    ST251/1    ST506     Acorn      ext Case+PSU
A4xx/1   40MB  Seagate    ST251/0    ST506     Acorn      ext Case+PSU
A4xx/1   40MB  NEC        D3156      ST506     Acorn      none
A4xx/1   68MB  Seagate    ST1100     ST506     Acorn      none
A400/1   523MB IBM        DSAS-3540  SCSI-16   Cumana     none
A440/1   240M  Quantum    LPS240S    SCSI-U    Morley     none
A440/1   1G    Micropolis 4110       SCSI-U    Morley     none
A440     66M   Rodime     RO3085S    SCSI      Lingenuity none
A540     116Mb Conner     CP30100    SCSI      Acorn 1.05 none
R140     330MB Maxtor     7345S      SCSI      Acorn MK3  (Used with RISCiX)
R140     730MB Quantm     LT730S     SCSI      Acorn MK3  (Used with RISCiX)
A3000    42MB  NEC        D3835      SCSI      Serial port(VTi)
A3000    51Mb  Quantum    LP52S      SCSI   }  Cumana     none
A3000    81Mb  Quantum    ELS85S     SCSI   }  Cumana     none
A3000    105M  Quantum    LP105S     SCSI      HCCS-8i    none
A3000    540M  IBM        DSAS-3540  SCSI      HCCS-8i    doesn't work!
A3000    730M  Quantum    LT730S     SCSI      HCCS-8i    none
A4000    1G    IBM        DPES31080  SCSI      HCCS       none
A5000    340MB Quantum    LPS340S    SCSI      Cumana     none
A5000    540M  Conner     CP30540    SCSI1     Cumana     none
A5000    1.06G Conner     CFP1060S   SCSI-2    Cumana     none
A4       520M  Fujitsu    M2684S     PSCSI     Atomwide   bid parallel
RPC600   110MB Rodime     RO-5125ST  SCSI      Oak        Ext Apple
RPC600   116MB Conner     CP30100    SCSI-1    Alsystems  none
RPC600   121Mb Maxtor     7120SCS    SCSI-2    Cumana     none
RPC600   163MB Quantum    ELS170S    pll SCSI  Atomwide   none
RPC600   163MB Quantum    ELS170S    SCSI      Oak        none
RPC600   163MB Quantum    ELS170S    SCSI-2    Castle tec none
RPC600   163MB Quantum    ELS170S    SCSI      Morley-U&C none
RPC600   210MB Conner     CP3200F    SCSI      Oak        Ext Apple
RPC600   317MB Imprimis   94241-7    SCSI-1    Alsystems  none
RPC600   496Mb Fujitsu    M2624F-512 SCSI-1    TSP/AAD    none
RPC600   496MB Fujitsu    M2624F-512 SCSI-1    Alsystems  none
RPC600   502MB Quantum  ProDrive525S SCSI2     Alsystems  none
RPC600   507MB Fujitsu    M2684S-512 SCSI-2    Alsystems  none
RPC600   523Mb IBM        DSAS-3540  SCSI-2    Cumana     filecore limit
RPC600   550MB Quantum    Fireball   SCSI-2    MCS        none
RPC600   650Mb Cumana     Proteus    SCSI-2    Cumana     New Filecore
RPC600   850MB Quantum    TRB850S    SCSI-2    Cumana     none
RPC600   1Gb   Quantum    Fireball   SCSI-2    Cumana     none
RPC600   1G    Micropolis 4110       SCSI-U    Morley     none
RPC600   1.7G  Quantum    Sirocco    SCSI-2    Cumana     New Filecore
RPC600   2.1Gb Fujitsu    2915       SCSI-2    Cumana     New Filecore
RPC600   2.5G  Quantum    Sirocco    SCSI-2    Cumana     New Filecore
RPC700   105M  Quantum    LP105S     SCSI-2    Alsystems  none
RPC700   140M  Fujitsu    M2624SA    SCSI-U    Morley     none
RPC700   340MB Maxtor     7345A      IDE       Acorn      none
RPC700   540M  Conner     CP30540    SCSI1     Cumana     none
RPC700   730M  Quantum    LT730S     SCSI-2    Alsystems  none
RPC700   2G    Quantum    Atlas      scsi-2    Alsystems  early drives noisy *
RPC700   520M  Seagate    ST3660A    IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   1G    Fujitsu    M1614TAU   IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   1.6G  Conner     CFS1621A   IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   1,6G  WD         AC31600H   IDE       Acorn      slow startup, fast drive
RPC700   1.7G  NEC        D3747      IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   2G    Fujitsu    M1624TAU   IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   2G    Seagate    ST32161A   IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700   2.1GB WD         AC21000    IDE       Acorn      none
RPC700SA 520M  Seagate    ST3660A    IDE       Acorn      none
RPC700SA 1.6G  Conner     CFS1621A   IDE       Acorn      none 
RPC700SA 2G    Seagate    ST32132A   IDE       Acorn      none
* RiscPC cases amplify vibrations from drives. According to Quantum technical support, drives with high spin speeds need to be internally balanced like car wheels to avoid vibration. Their first models (including the Atlas range) were not balanced, but current models are. Apparently the vibrations do not affect performance or reliability.

Non-working combinations
A410/1   1GB   HP         C2247      SCSI-8    Lingenuity did not work
A3000    540M  IBM        DSAS-3540  SCSI      HCCS-8i    doesn't work!
A310/OS3.1/MEMC1A/ARM3               SCSI      VTi        see below

This combination has been reported to be troublesome due to timing problems on the bus. This problem does not occur with a standard A310. If the problem is found to be present, it can be fixed by fitting a 2nF capacitor across the /BL pull-up resistor.

Removable hard discs
Computer Size  Manuf.     Model     Interface Interface  Special
                                    type      manuf      Requirements

A310     105MB Syquest    -         SCSI   Oak           none
A440/1    88MB Syquest    SQ5110    SCSI-U Morley        none
A410/1   105MB Syquest    -         SCSI-U Morley        none
A3000    135MB SyQuest    EZ135     SCSI   Cumana        none
A3000    270MB Syquest    SQ3270    SCSI   HCCS-8i       MOFS (!MagOpt)
A5000    135MB SyQuest    EZ135     SCSI   Cumana        none
A5000    270MB Syquest    SQ327     SCSI-2 Alsystems     none
A4       105MB Syquest    -         PSCSI  Atomwide bid  none
RPC600    88MB Syquest    SQ5110    SCSI-2 Cumana        none
RPC600   105MB Syquest    -         IDE    ICS           none
RPC600   105MB Syquest    -         SCSI-2 Castle        none
RPC600   105MB Syquest    -         SCSI   Oak           none
RPC600   105MB Syquest    SQ3105S   SCSI-2 Castle        none
RPC600   135MB Syquest    EZ135     IDE    ICS           minor bugs
RPC600   135MB Syquest    EZ135     SCSI-C Morley        none
RPC600   200MB Syquest    SQ5200C   SCSI-2 Cumana        none
RPC600     1GB Iomega     JAZ       SCSI-2 PowerTec      none
RPC600SA 105MB Syquest    SQ3105S   SCSI-2 Castle        none
RPC600SA   1GB Iomega     JAZ       SCSI-2 PowerTec      none
RPC700   135MB SyQuest    EZ135     SCSI   Cumana 16bit  none
RPC700   135MB SyQuest    EZ135     SCSI   Cumana 32bit  none 
RPC700   135MB SyQuest    EZ135     SCSI-2 Alsystems     none
RPC700   135MB SyQuest    EZ135     IDE    Acorn         none
RPC700   270MB SyQuest    SQ3270    SCSI   Cumana 16bit  none
RPC700   270MB SyQuest    SQ3270    SCSI   Cumana 32bit
         Care needed with flash rom software upgrades
RPC700   270MB SyQuest    SQ3270    SCSI   Alsystems     none
RPC700   270MB Syquest    SQ3270    SCSI-2 Alsystems     none
         Firmware 3_05 and above recommended

Computer Speed Manuf.     Model      Interface Interface Special
                                     type      manuf     Requirements

A310     3.4x  Toshib     XM5201     SCSI-1    Cuman/Oak CDX driver
A310     1x    Sony       CDU-541    SCSI-U    Morley    none
A310     2x    Matsushita CR-503     SCSI      VTi/Alsys RO3.1+PowerROM
A410/1   2x    Apple      CD300      SCSI-C    Morley    AppleSony module
A410/1   2x    Sanyo      CRD-250S   SCSI-2    Morley    none
A420/1   2x    Apple      CD300e     SCSI      TSP/AAD   CDFS 2.2+ driver
A3000    2x    Toshiba    XM-3401TA  SCSI      HCCS-8i   none
A3000    4.4x  Toshiba    XM-3601TA  SCSI      HCCS-8i   IOC CDFS SCSI2 driver
A5000    2x    Toshiba    XM-3401TA  SCSI      Cumana    EESOX CDFS_SCSI2 driver for photocd
A5000    2x    Aiwa       ACD300     SCSI-2    Alsystems none        
A5000    4.4x  Pioneer    DR-U124X   SCSI-2    Cumana    Eesox SCSI2dr
RPC600   2x    Nakamichi  MBR-7      SCSI-2    Cumana    Eesox SCSI2 7cd changer
RPC600   2x    Apple      CD300e     SCSI      Acorn MK3 CDFS 2.2+ driver
RPC600   2x    Cumana     Indigo     IDE       Cumana    none
RPC600   -     Plextor    PX-4XCS    SCSI-2    Cumana        
RPC600   4x    Cumana     Proteus    SCSI-2    Cumana    
RPC600   4x    Sanyo      CRD-254S   SCSI-2    Cumana    EESOX scsi2 driver
RPC600   4x    Sony       CDU76S     SCSI-2    Cumana    Eesox SCSI2 driver
RPC600   4x    Sony       CDU77E     IDE       Acorn     RiscOs3.7/SA
RPC600   4x    Toshiba    XM-3601TA  SCSI-1    TSP/AAD   EESOX SCSI2 driver
RPC600   4x    Cumana     Proteus    SCSI-2    Cumana    none
RPC600   4x    Panasonic  PD-1 LF1000SCSI-2    Power-tec none
RPC600   4x    NEC        Multispin  SCSI-2    Power-tec none
RPC600   4x    Matsushita CR-504     SCSI-2    Power-tec none
RPC600   4x    Hitachi    CDR-770    IDE       Acorn     Cumana/Powertec ATAPI
RPC700   4.4x  Toshiba    XM-3601TA  SCSI-2    Alsystems none
RPC600   6x    Mitsumi    FX600      IDE       Acorn     CDFS2.30 or RO 3.6
RPC600   6x    TEAC       CD-56E     IDE       Acorn     CDFS2.30 or RO 3.6
RPC600   7x    Toshiba    XM-3701TA  SCSI-2    Cumana    Eesox SCSI2
RPC700   2x    Sony       CDU50E     IDE       Acorn     none
RPC700   2x    Cuma.      Bravo      SLCD      Cumana    Unplug CDFSAtapi
RPC700   4x    Sony       CDU-76E    IDE       Acorn     none
RPC700   4x    Panasonic  CR504B     SCSI-C    Morley    none
RPC700   4x    Mitsumi    FX400      IDE       Acorn     none
RPC700   4x    NEC        CDR-273    IDE       Acorn     only works in 2x 
RPC700   6x    NEC        CDR-1300A  IDE       Acorn     only works in 2x 
RPC700SA 6x    NEC        CDR-1300A  IDE       Acorn     only works in 2x
RPC700   8x    Goldstar   GCD-R580B  IDE       Acorn     possible clash with some h.d.
RPC700SA 12x   Teac       CD-512E    IDE       Acorn     none 
RPC700SA 8x    Toshiba    XM-56028   IDE       Acorn     none

Problem Drives
Many drives don't work with the standard drivers found in RiscOS. This is usually due to differences between the implementation of ATAPI in the drives. Third party drivers (soft-loadable modules) are available (eg from EESOX) and some IDE and SCSI cards come with new drivers built in.

CD ROM Equivalents
Manuf      Model        Manuf      Model
Apple      CD300        Sony       CDU-8003A Rev. 1.9a
Cumana     ProTeus      Panasonic  PD2000</small></pre>

Floppy disk
Computer Type   Size  Manuf.     Model      Interface Interface  Special
                                 type       manuf                Requirements

A310     5.25"  19Mb  QUME       HF24DR G05 SCSI-U    Morley     none
A5000    Zip    100MB Iomega     ZIP 100    SCSI      Oak        none
A5000    Zip    100MB Iomega     ZIP 100    SCSI      Lingenuity no LL format
* This scsi card will initialise a partition but won't low-level format
RPC600   Zip    100MB Iomega     ZIP 100    SCSI-2    Alsystems  none
RPC700   Zip    100MB Iomega     ZIP 100    SCSI-2    Alsystems  none
         Note: Powertec supports DOS format for Zip drives
RPC700   Zip    100MB Iomega     ZIP 100    SCSI-U    Morley     none

* The parallel port Zip drive can now be used with the Acorn driver, but requires driver software. This is available from Argo or Partis Computing.

If your scsi software does not support zip drives, see the Tape Streamer section for details. * The write-protection feature of Zip discs is not at present available via any of the scsi drivers. It is fully supported by the parallel port driver. 

Tape streamers
Computer Size    Type   Manuf.     Model      Interface Interface  Special
                                              type      manuf      Requirements

A5000    230MB   magopt Fujitsu    M2512A     SCSI-2    CUMANA     none
A540     230MB   magopt Fuji       2512A      SCSI      Oak        none
A540     230MB   magopt Fuji       2512A      SCSI-16   AAD        none
RPC600   230MB   magopt Fuji       2512A      SCSI      Acorn      !magopt
RPC600   230MB   magopt Fuji       2512A      SCSI      Oak        none
RPC600   230MB   magopt Fuji       2512A      SCSI      QD-16      none
RPC600   525MB   qic    ?          ?          SCSI-2    cumana  
         Settings: tapebackgrounding off, tapemaxtransfer 1, tapebuffer 16k, 
                   scsidisconnect 6 on and *unplug DMAManager
RPC600   2.3G    8mm    Exabyte    EXB 8200   SCSI-2    Cumana     !tapefs
RPC700SA   230kb/s Settings: tapebackgrounding off, tapemaxtransfer 64kb,
                           tapebuffer 512kb.
RPC700   1.3G    DAT    HP         -          SCSI-C    Morley     none
RPC700   1G      DAT    WangDAT    1300       SCSI      Cumana
         Settings: Backgrounding off, disconnect off, and set drive to 
                   SCSI-1 standard (because tapefs=scsi1?)

Tape equivalents
Some data tapes are identical to consumer AV products. Most manufacturers don't recommend use of the cheaper tapes for data storage but they do work.

DDS or 4mm tape is equivalent to DAT (Digital Audio Tape). A two-hour tape is the same as a 60m, and you can get three hours of audio on a 90m.

8mm tape is equivalent to Video-8. Currently I have no information on tape sizes or merits of using standard or Hi8.

You may need to tweak the options to make your device work properly. Different drives have different requirements, so experimentation might be necessary.

Zip drives require a different setup from the other backup devices. Some users report nothing more than running their scsi config software to identify the drive to the system, the drive appearing as a hard disc. Others are using MagFS.

To set up Magfs: 
Download Magfs from Hensa. 
Set the MO$SCSI in the Run file of !MagOpt to to match the scsi id of the drive. 
Insert a blank disk and run MO-form.
Enter 4 or 5 at first request.
Enter N at second request for a low level format.
Run !Magopt. 

Some magopt users are running tapefs. Don't know why.

Software for tape streamers can be obtained from the following sources:

tapefs is in

magfs is in

tar is in

It has been found that the released version of tar won't handle image files (archives, for example). A patched version is available which will cope with these can be found at

Computer Modem Protocol Manuf Model     Interface   Interface Interface  Special
         speed                          blockdriver manuf     Best speed Reqs

A310     9600  -        Pace  MicroLin  internal    Acorn     19k2       none
A310     14.4K V32bis   Escom 14400     sp_dual     Atomwide  57600      RO3.1
A410/1   28.8K V34      USR   Sportster internal    Acorn     9600       none
A410/1   28.8K V34      USR   Sportster sp_dual MK2 TSP       115200     none
A5000  28800  V.34  Zoom  V.34    sp_dualpc mk2  TSP  115200  none
A5000  14400  V.32b USR   Courier sp_dualpc mk2  TSP  57600   none
A5000  14400  V.32b USR   Courier internalpc   Acorn  38400   none
A5000  14400  V.32b Pace  MicroLinfx sp_dualpc m2 TSP 57600   none
A3000  14400  V.32b USR   Courier internal     Acorn  19200   none
RPC600   36.6K V34      MR    Modem     internal    Acorn     115200     none
RPC600   28.8K V34      USR   Sportster internal    Acorn     115200     none
RPC600   14.4K -        -     LineLink  internal    Acorn     57600      none
         May need to cut an internal cable to fix flow control if the modem is 
         wired for use with a MAC
RPC700   28.8K V34      USR   Sportster internal    Acorn     115200     none
         setup string: ATB0&M4&H1&R2&I0&K3&B1&N0&S1&Y1&D2&C1V1Q0X4&A3E1F1M1
RPC700   14.4K V32b     CreatiX SG144   internalPC  Acorn     115200     none 
RPC700SA 14.4K V32b     CreatiX SG144   internalPC  Acorn     115200     none
Note: If you have a Sportster 28.8 with revision dates earlier than 04/28/95 / 03/31/95, and you are having difficulties such as low speed operation or line drop-outs, USR have a return-to-base upgrade which is free of charge.

Computer Printer DPI Manuf.   Model        Interface Interfc !Printers  Special
         type                              type      manuf   version    Reqs

A410     Inkjet  720 Epson    Stylus-Col-I Parallel  Acorn   1.28c      none
A410     Dotmat  360 Citizen  Swift 24     Parallel  Acorn   1.28c      none
RPC600   Inkjet  720 Epson    Sty.Col.500  Parallel  Acorn   1.54       PDF:Nov'96
RPC700   Inkjet  720 Epson    Stylus-Col-I Parallel  Acorn   1.52 rel3  none
RPC700SA Inkjet  300 HP       DJ 500 C     Par/Ser   Acorn   1.28 
RPC700SA Inkjet  300 HP       DJ 500 C     Par/Ser   Acorn   1.54       Acorns Rompatch

Third party drivers
Computer Concepts' Turbo Drivers are available for popular printers. This software is optimised for speed although Acorn's own drivers have recently been upgraded and the benefits are not as great as they were. The Turbo drivers give greater control over the output and background printing actually works, however the output quality can be worse with dithered graphics.

Optical Scanners
Computer  Manuf.   Model         Scanner   Interface Interface Special
                                 type      type      manuf     Requirements

RPC600    HP       Scanjet IIcx  flatbed   SCSI-2    Cumana    David Pilling's Twain
RPC600    Epson    GT 9500       flatbed   SCSI-2    Powertec  David Pilling's Twain

Computer notes
The A3xx and A4xx machines are all similar, and comments about one of these machines should apply to any other, provided it is running with the latest OS and/or chip set.

Similarly, the A4 is a miniature A5000, and the RPC700 is a slightly enhanced RPC600.

StrongARM equipped RiscPCs might have difficulties with interfaces that work on the non-SA computers.

A3xx computers have no on-board disc interface; A4xx have on-board mfm.
The A3000 has no interface, the A4, A3020, A4000, A5000, A7000, Stork and RPC models all have IDE.

Interface notes
In theory the fastest interfaces are the ones with DMA. These cards perform at their best on RiscPCs in slot 0 or 1. The data rate will be limited by the slowest part of the system, so when upgrading, budget for a new drive in addition to the interface.

The Alsystems Powertec card is a SCSI-2 DMA device with a top speed of around 4.5MB/s. This speed will increase with later software/firmware releases.

The Yellowstone RapIDE32 card is a fast IDE interface using DMA which will give a significant improvement over the standard interface in a RiscPC.

Both Yellowstone and Alsystems are developing rival products.

The Morley SCSI-1 interface is either cached or uncached. The maximum speeds of these are uncached: 2MB/s, cached: 4MB/s. These cards do not use DMA. Currently the Morley software cannot cope with partitions > 512 MB and the "Free" window is broken under RiscOS 3.6. New firmware is rumoured for the Morley card.

The TSP/AAD is the former 'Arxe Alpha Dual', which was produced by The Serial Port, but which is now discontinued. It provides 16-bit non-DMA SCSI-1 and a high density floppy interface.

Versions of Risc OS older than 3.6 can only cope with drives < 512 MB. Larger drives can be used if formatted to this size. Some filing systems allow large drives to be partitioned, ie split into 2 or more sections, each up to 512MB in size. The new limit for RiscOS 3.6 is 4GB, which is already looking too small.

An important new development for scsi card owners is the Alsystems PowerRom. This is a firmware upgrade for many existing cards, including Cumana, Castle, Lingenuity, Morley, Acorn, Vti, HCCS and Oak. The upgrade provides all the features present in the Powertec card, subject to hardware limitations, which will include compatibility with large partitions and devices such as Zip drives. The PowerRom will eventually be able to replace IDE card firmware too.

Which SCSI have I got?
To determine the scsi version number of a device, run the following program: 

DIM buffer% 16
INPUT "Enter device number";device%
SYS "SCSI_Initialise",2,device%,buffer%
SCSI%=(buffer%?2) AND %111
PRINT "Version is ";SCSI%

This will give you zero if the device is not present.

How big is a Megabyte ?
Some manufacturers quote Megabytes as 1000K. This is of course totally incorrect but they like to cheat with numbers, so to get the real size, multiply by 1000/1024.

Further Information
IDE hard discs 
IDE hard discs are listed separately in the Acorn FAQ. 

Jumper settings and configuration
Jumper settings are often a problem, and it's rare to get a manual with a drive these days. Some manufacturers have web sites, most of these have detailed information on their current models including jumper settings, and some have databases covering older devices.

Although sometimes biased towards PCs, the information can be extremely useful.
Manufacturer - Web site
Seagate -
Quantum -">
Maxtor -
Syquest -
Micropolis -
Fujitsu -
Iomega -
Panasonic -
Toshiba -
Sony -
Mitsumi -
US Robotics -
Hayes -
Zoom -
Motorola -
Pace -
Epson -

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the list. 
If you have any corrections or suggestions, please contact me.


Q11.5) What specification memory can I use with my RiscPC?

RAM for the RiscPC, while a standard 72pin SIMM, must be bought with a degree of care to avoid potential damage to your machine. EDO RAM, while it will work, is not advised as it may have different power requirements that could be detrimental to your machine.

The RAM required is 70ns (or faster), 72pin, square array (equal number of bits used for row and column addressing), non-parity RAM that supports 'fast page mode' and 'CAS before RAS' refresh. Devices that contain more than 16 memory chips (8 on each side) is not recommended as they may have power requirements above and beyond what the computer can safely supply.
Consequently SIMM 'stackers' and 30 to 72pin adaptors are also not advised.

For the more technically inclined out there maximum loads possible are:-
Address    128pF
WE         140pF
CAS or RAS  59pF
Data bus    29pF

Finally, in the maintainers experience anyway, Hitachi parts seem to be fine.


Section 12: Common Questions about the FAQ


Q12.1) Why do I get the FAQ twice?

There are two ways this can happen. The first, and most common way, is when you see two copies of the FAQ, one set posted to comp.sys.acorn.announce and the other set posted to comp.sys.acorn.misc. This occurrence is caused by your news handling software being broken. The FAQ is, if you check the newsgroups line when it is posted, crossposted to both of these groups.

This means it is actually posted just the once and with all good news handling software you will read the post exactly once. Given that this is supposed to be standard behaviour for newsreaders I refuse to stop cross-posting purely because people are seeing the posts twice. Quite simply it isn't my problem and I will need other justification before I stop cross-posting.

The second way it can occur is when you see two copies of the FAQ in the same group. Careful checking of your newsbase should reveal that one copy is about 30 to 32 days older than the other. This comes about because I use the Expires: header to ensure that a copy of the FAQ is always present in all well configured newsbases.


Q12.2) Why does the full FAQ have to be posted?

Simply because of the wide distribution that the FAQ has. Every time the FAQ gets posted it gets automatically archived into various FAQ databases, propagates on ancillary networks only loosely connected to the net (BBSes in particular) and reaches a wide variety of people whose skills at navigating the net vary considerably. Occasionally it gets copied onto CD ROMs, Magazine discs and extracts get used in various publications from time to time.

All this just from the posted copy of the FAQ.

Given this wide reaching nature and the general idea of an FAQ being to reduce network traffic by providing the answers to common questions immediately then I see clear justification for continuing to post the full FAQ.


Q12.3) Isn't the FAQ overly long?

In a word, no.

To be slightly less terse it is worthwhile doing a comparison of the c.s.a FAQ with other newsgroup's FAQs. For this task I used a 'snapshot' CD ROM of the FAQ archive that was taken in March 1995. Here are a few sample sizes:-

FAQ                                      Size in bytes
---                                      -------------
comp.sys.acorn (as posted 6th Jan 1999)  176,678
soc.feminism (resources list)            239,256
comp.sys.amiga (introduction)            167,632                 318,882
comp.sys.apollo                          162,638

As can be seen by the above table the size of the FAQ is neither overly large nor is it particularly uncommon. This FAQ has grown by about 60K over the last three years (not too bad IMHO!).

Having said that, this table was compiled in 1995 by Philip Banks, so the other FAQs are likely to have grown in size too.


Q12.4) If I find something wrong or am unhappy with the FAQ, what do I do?

Email me first about it.

I mean it. Generally errors or bad information that has crept into the FAQ has been through circumstances beyond my control. Often a lot of the information I am provided with I simply can not check directly myself. So I accept a lot of what I am given on trust and generally try to exercise care with what I include into the FAQ.

If, after getting a reply back from me, you are still unhappy then by all means grumble about it on the newsgroups. But I want the chance to explain things first. I take a very dim view to people posting complaints to the newsgroups, first, about the FAQ, especially ones that imply or impugn improper conduct on my part. I tend to view such posts as attempts to publicly force my hand and make me do whatever said poster wants done to the FAQ.

Thanks go to all the people who have contributed corrections and additions to the list. Without this help this list would be a hell of a lot buggier (spot the programmer... :-) ) than it is...

If you have any additions, corrections or suggestions for the FAQ, please contact me. Being the maintainer of this FAQ I reserve the right to be wrong, incorrect, slow, out of date and generally how I please with the FAQ List.

- Comp.Sys.Acorn FAQ ---------------------------------- End of part 4 of 4 -

This FAQ is maintained by Paul Vigay (
Please email me with any queries/amendments or problems.

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM