OricSD logo

Oric Microdisc
Microdisc schematics
Short range chart

What is OricSD?

OricSD is a device you connect to the back of your Oric 1 or Atmos. It's first mission is to act as a reliable and practical floppy disk drive unit. It is compatible with the Oric Microdisc and Cumana drives, but could possibly emulate Jasmin drives or more exotic models (example: Apple II drives used on the Pravetz 8D computers).

OricSD could also provide additional features, like native support for the hardware vsync, composite video output, VGA output, software speech synthesis support trick... the hard part is the controller board and the disk emulation, the rest is probably doable for very little additional work.

Why not using a real disc drive?

Well, that's actually the root of the problem. Historically most Oric owners have used magnetic tapes because the floppy disk units were too expensive, and there was not enough software available actually making having such an expense worth considering. Add to that situation the fact that the Microdisc was using costly and hard to find 3" disc, and you can imagine the situation. Later on the company TRAN released the Jasmin disc drive series, cost effective systems using either 3.5" or 5.25" floppies disks. Unfortunately Jasmin drives are totally incompatible with the Microdisc.

Fast forward to the year 2010, most of the recent software requires a floppy drive. Unfortunately due to the difficulty of finding such devices, most people are forced to use emulators to be able to access this software. Recently this has led to a controversy and heavy talks about the point of releasing floppy disk only software if nobody has floppy disc drives. They have a point, but when you see how more complex and rich the floppy disk games are, that would be really a waste to stay on this status quo.

Who's in charge of the project?

So far, nobody is in charge of the project. There's no projet per se. What I'm trying to achieve is to quick start the project in one direction, by providing my own vision of what could be a way to get people able to enjoy the new software on the real hardware, possibly motivating more people to actually give a try at coding new software.

This vision of the project is possibly unrealistic: I'm a software guy, give me a soldering iron and I will probably smoke everything around... That being said I've followed what is done on the other machines, I aquired such hardware for my Atari ST, so I have a rough idea of what can be, and what cannot be done. The biggest unknown are the design and building cost, how many people would be interested, so basically: Is it worth considering doing it at all.

Jasmin disc unit
Microdisc schematics
Microdisc unit - front