PowerMATE Hard Disk Drive Review
by Terry R Fowler


PowerMATE, the new 10 to 30 meg hard disk drive unit developed by Micro Innovations, is now available for ADAM from ADAM'S HOUSE. ADAM'S HOUSE uses the 20 MEG HARD DRIVE with an additional 720K 3.5" Disk Drive, the configuration we feel will be the most popular for the cost. The installation of PowerMATE is simple, and the instruction manual sufficient for getting the unit up and running quickly. Documentation usually lags the product, and this is not a special case since their are obvious areas where information is sparce. Hopefully this article will help as documentation catches up, but you have to admire the completeness and ease of use that PowerMATE allows with the present software.

The PowerMATE consists of the unit and drive(s), interface card, four ribbon cables, software, and instruction manual. The Interface Card plugs into the second expansion port under the console cabinet top cover. It faces to the left, opposite the PIA2 or PRINTER INTERFACE CARD. The PowerMATE Interface card provides the normal use of a parallel dot matrix printer, and a cable is provided (if you have a dot matrix printer and cable already, you may simply plug in the cable to the interface card where directed). Two serial ports are provided along with cables that provide RS232 connectors. One port is set for a modem and the other for a terminal, but the software may be changed as you desire. The card also provides the necessary addressing for the 256K or Megaram Memory cards, as usual by attaching one wire from the memory card to the post connector on the interface card. The fourth connector on the interface card connects via a cable to the PowerMATE Hard Drive Unit.

The PowerMATE Hard Drive Unit measures 5" X 7" X 15". The face plate is the 5" tall by 7" wide dimension. The ON/OFF switch is at the top left on back as you face the front of the unit (easily in reach). A power on light, hard drive RUN light, and floppy are visible on the front, the floppy is just above the Hard Disk Drive and drive light on the panel. The color matches the ADAM System perfectly.

Normal operation requires you to first turn on the ADAM system and drives, and then turn on the Hard Drive. We tested the 20 MEG Unit with 720K 3.5" Floppy drive. It takes the hard drive about 5 seconds to come up to speed on the 20 MEG drive, selftesting itself. The instruction manual tells you how to set up bootdisks using the provided software disk. Installing the disk provides a TDOS system that is not configured for the Hard Drive yet, but you quickly will create a boot disk. If you have the standard ADAM System, you use a version of TDOS that sets the screen for 40 columns. Answering the questions about your system drive sizes and choice of ports used will write the system to the hard disk and another drive you select. The disk you write your system to will from now on boot your Hard Drive right after you turn the system on. An 80 column version of TDOS is also on the provided disk, along with many programs. By getting the directory on A, B, and D of your hard drive you will find many more programs already transferred to the hard disk. TDOS provides four TDOS Volumes, and in our test configuration we had 2 Meg available in A, and 4 Meg in B, C, and D. 15 Meg was devoted to TDOS.

Next we prepared an EOS Boot disk by following directions, cloning the latest EOS Version 34 to a disk by itself. This program will selfboot when the reset is pulled, and the EOS Menu will be displayed providing many options. Maintenance functions will allow you to Install the system to your hard disk and a drive of your choice. This media now contains a boot block which when placed in your Coleco drive will boot the EOS Menu from the Hard Drive after you first turn the system on. It takes less than five seconds to bring up the EOS Menu.
^L
MI HARD DISK V 3.4
Copyright AJM Software

I - Logical Drive 0
NAME: Hard Disk 0
II - Use MI Floppy 1
III - Boot From Hard Disk
IV - Boot Software
V - Maintenance Functions
VI - Install Parallel Printer
sVI - Set Date

Press ESCAPE for Smartwriter
WILDCARD for MI TDOS
^A
The EOS Menu screen provides six options so far, using the six SmartKEYS to make each selection. SmartBASIC V1 is already provided in patched form to boot from the Hard Disk. Press option III provides the Directory of Hard Disk 0 which contains the following files: HARDDISK, FILEMAN, SmartBASIC, BOOTCALC, BOOTSPLAT, BOOTMAC, BOOTTYPE, BOOTLOGO, BOOTFLASH, and BOOTWRITE. Selecting SmartBASIC with the arrow and pressing return brings SmartBASIC online within 2 seconds. Pressing the Shift and UNDO key together takes you back to the EOS Menu within 3 seconds. SmartKEY I provides you the ability to change drives. Our PowerMATE software was configured such that EOS file space was set for five 1 Meg Drives: 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4. You may use the Maintenance functions to provide as many as 10 1 Meg drives for EOS use [CAUTION: Make a back-up disk of all TDOS Volumes before any Repartition of your Hard Drive!! EOS Files may stay entact, but backup of Drive 0 with all the boot patches is wise!]. Pressing SmartKEY I changes the logical (or ON-LINE) drive that you will use between these five drives. In my case, I have SmartBASIC programs on Drive 5 after repartitioning the Hard Disk for 10 1 Meg Drives, with the remaining 10 Meg was split into the 4 TDOS Volumes (2050K and three 2788K size volumes). Selecting Logical Drive 5, followed by SmartKEY III to get the Volume 0 Directory allows me to boot SmartBASIC as before, but now Hard Disk 5 programs are at hand with all the same results you expect. A 16 block program like my VOLLABELER program saved in binary format loads within 2 seconds from the Hard Disk, almost 8 seconds to load from a 5 1/4" disk! SmartBASIC recognizes the Hard Disk as device 2, Drive 5 -- or 25> in place of the normal prompt. I use EZkeys to easily switch between the optional floppy drive (1>), Hard Disk drive with selected partition (2?>), ADAM Disk drive (5>), and ADAM Disk drive #2. Some programs may cause problems using the Shift / UNDO key combination to return to the EOS Menu. In this event, use the EOS Boot disk to quickly return to the Menu.

The EOS Menu also allows you to select your Optional Floppy (MI Floppy 1) mounted in the Unit. In this event, the boot program will select this drive to boot programs. You can also use SmartKEY IV to boot prepatched software from any drive. You may also select VI to Install a parallel printer prior to booting. Shift / VI key allows you to Set the Date (a function that will soon be automatic with a clock chip installed in your ADAM). You may also ESCAPE to SmartWRITER or tap the WILDCARD key for TDOS. The EOS Menu returns in SmartWRITER when you press the Shift / UNDO Key. In TDOS, type "EOS" to return to the menu.

As mentioned before, Drive 0 also contains FILE MANAGER. With this powerful program written by Tony Morehen for PowerMATE you can transfer files to the hard disk. To bring up File Manager, press SmartKEY III for the Directory of Hard Disk 0. Select FILEMAN and a second later the File Manager Menu is onscreen! To set up ADAMCALC, transfer the original boot program named BASICPGM from your ADAMCALC datapack, renaming it ADAMCALC. Press Shift / UNDO to go back to the EOS Menu. If you transferred ADAMCALC to Hard Drive 1, then select the Logical Drive as 1 and get the Directory of Hard Disk 0 (by pressing SmartKEY III Boot from Hard Disk) and select BOOTCALC. In four seconds ADAMCALC is loaded and waiting. Getting a program stored on HD Drive 1 (DRIVE 2) takes less than 20 seconds compared to 25 seconds from a 720K disk drive. You still have access to your Coleco Disk Drives and your PowerMATE floppy (DRIVE 2). Press Shift / UNDO for the EOS Menu.

From the EOS Menu we can press the Wildcard Key to enter TDOS. SmartKEYS allow you to I - Copy, II - Rename, III - Delete, IV - LIST, V - Type, and get the VI - Directory. TDOS allows you to configure for the type equipment you have where incompatibility exists. If you have an Orphanware or E & T 720K 3.5" disk drive, you can configure an optional 3.5" 720K PowerMATE Floppy to be compatible with one or the other type of drive. To find out what the program is configured for, type RDPARM10 to display the Cylinder type - the last line ends with either C3 or C7 -- C3 is for Orphanware and C7 is for E & T types. To change this, type STPARM11. Also note that FILE MANAGER is available directly from TDOS as file, FM30B.COM. Type FM30B and the first time you will be asked questions concerning your drives before the FM Menu appears. As with the EOS Menu version, you may select as your source ALL of the Hard Drive Volumes, HD Floppy, Coleco Disk Drives and Tape Drives. When a large memory expander is installed, the maximum buffer size reflects the size expander you have installed. This buffer works correctly from TDOS, but in EOS you must select SmartKEY IV to Ignore Expansion Ram when making copies. This restriction in the use of File Manager in EOS is due to the fact that the Hard Disk Driver codes overwrite the Ram Disk Driver codes. This is being changed, and also Walter's Software is writing a new EOS program that will return use of the Ram Disk to the user while in EOS. Additionally, the new EOS will allow software to boot without patches, we understand! More on this later. Pressing ESCAPE while in File Manager (FM30B) will return you to TDOS. Volume D's directory contains the many software boot patches and documentation available from the EOS Menu. File Manager instructions are also available to be typed from Volume D. To return to the EOS Menu, select Volume A and type "EOS".

The EOS Menu Maintenance functions include: I - Krunch Logical Drive, II - Init Directory, III - Install Boot Block, IV - Install System, Shift / V - Format Hard Disk, and Shift / VI - Partition Hard Disk. SmartKEY I takes out deleted files from the selected logical drive, II will initiate the selected drive (done after the disk is repartitioned), III - Install boot block (using the system disk), IV - Install the system on the hard drive and a boot medium, Shift / V - to reformat the hard disk (the hard disk is furnished formatted and there should not be the need to reformat unless a power failure crashes the disk during a write operation!), and Shift / VI allows you to repartition the Hard Disk (as explained above, requires you to back-up all programs contained on the hard disk TDOS. Newly created partitions must then be initiated -- creating a Drive with a four block directory for program name storage. Four block directories provide space for 150 file names, and we can expect the new EOS to provide additional buffers for increased directory size.

Thusfar, we have transferred SmartLOGO and FLASHCARDS in addition to ADAMCALC to three of the ten Hard Disk Volumes available, along with supporting programs. All available FlashFACTS fit along with FLASHCARDS on a single volume, and over a third of the 1 Meg of space remains for future additions. A volume is dedicated to ADAMCALC and financial records from last year and for 1990. One volume is for SmartWRITER files, two volumes for SmartBASIC. Soon we will add Expertype, Splat, MacADAM (drawing program), and others. Walter's new EOS system should open up the use of many popular software titles directly from the Hard Drive. Right now, however, you can continue to boot as usual all your software directly from your Coleco drives without conflict, leaving PowerMATE turned off. The interface will provide dot matrix printer and Ram Disk use without PowerMATE being turned on, if you so desire.

PowerMATE is a great addition to the ADAM System that affords many features that separately would cost much more. Two 720K 3.5" disk drives alone would cost as much as PowerMATE with 20 Meg HD and 720K Floppy (not to mention the interface ports). For many, PowerMATE will become the primary device on the ADAM System, organizing records and volumes of programs into one device. File Manager is provided to maintain files and backup copies, as well as print and edit files. With PowerMATE you can expand you system easily, adding an external modem, terminal, dot matrix printer, or 320K or 720K floppy (for only $100 more each). If you have a Coleco drive already, PowerMATE and optional floppy will work perfectly with it. You can even use your datadrive(s) alone with PowerMATE. And, the best part, PowerMATE installs in a few minutes, with everything you need to get started right away. We believe PowerMATE is the perfect add-on to ADAM, providing a safe, organized, and speedy way to access your complete program library. More reports will be forthcoming in the next months. Can we order your PowerMATE for you today? Call us if we can help or for the latest information. ADAM'S HOUSE is a distributor of all versions of PowerMATE, each one configured according to your specification. Call today!
 

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