8-Bit Software Online Conversion

Using a PC Power Supply On The Beeb By Crispin Boylan (E4W) On December 19th 1997, for the first time since I owned my old Torch C-500 computer which sadly has now stopped working, I became the proud owner of a Dual Drive BBC Model B, and what a relief it is to have two drives in use at the same time, copying becomes a joy when it was once a nightmare, and playing games like Elite or doing word processing means that saving files is no longer a chore, but something of a necessity. My dual drives were kindly given to me by Ian Bell, someone who I owe a lot to for his constant help every time I have phoned him, thanks Ian! Anyway, it was actually the case which he gave to me, and also the ribbon and power cables, as I already had 3 Mitsubishi Disk Drives, albeit bare with no cases, but they are very reliable, 80t double sided drives, stepping up from my old Akhter 40t Double sided very nicely! Anyway, we had agreed to send the disk drives to me, and then, when I had phoned Ian asking about help with the View word processor which I had just obtained, he told me that he was very sorry, but the dual drive case which he had in mind to send me was powered from the Beeb, and there was no self powered PSU - "Never mind," I said, thinking that it would be perfectly fine to connect it to the Beeb, if they made it like that, it must work, I thought. Well, after receiving it, putting the drives in and making sure that the whole thing was fine, I eagerly plugged it in to the Beeb's auxillary power supply socket, and then the data cable, turn on the Beeb and everything was fine! Or was it? I soon noticed that the Power Supply was running extremely hot, and with the APTL board that I had also purchased, which was drawing some power, I thought that my old PSU might break down in tears if it got any hotter! So, my attentions turned to figuring out a way to get a power supply, looking through the Beeb Body Building website on the PC (yes, I do have a pc as well, although I don't use it for word processing or anything else much, because my Dad needs it for his work) I found that there was an article on making a power supply for your disk drives, but alas, when I tried to view it, it was not available! The only one not available, would you believe it? Well, further e-mails to Chris Richardson, asking about whether I could get his article from him or not, revealed that he had none, he did however tell me that he had used a dual drive powered from the beeb quite happily for years, and he had really given it some welly! He also suggested using another BBC power supply to just power the drives, which I could buy from him for £10, not a bad price! Anyway, after carefully thinking it all over, I decided to try and go for an even bigger power supply, one from, yes, that most power hungry of beasts, the PC!! Finding a power supply was easy, £20 for a 120w one, or like the one I got, from a shop which was throwing old pc's out, nothing for a 60w power supply! I was told that this could happily power 3 drives and one hard disk, so 2 5 1/4 inch drives should be a cinch for this thing! It already has the connectors for 3 5 1/4 inch drives,or hard disks, and 2 for 3 1/2 drives, so no problems there! It also had a load of floating leads, which were connected to the motherboard of the PC, and were very useful for connecting extra devices such as powered 2nd Processors, interface boards, and anything else requiring a power supply of 12v, 5v, -12v, -5v, common in most things. So next time you think that you are running low on plugs, or that its just too messy with all those power cables, pick up a dirt cheap power supply from a PC, plug in all your floppy drives, and find out what voltages the other peripherals need, fit a terminating block to the power supply and feed in any spare wires, then strip back the wires on the peripheral, and plug them in to the corresponding voltage wires on the terminal block! Then you have several devices running from one plug socket, you can quite happily run anything you want from the Power Supply, as long as you don't overload it!! Try it out, make part of a PC actually do real work for once!