Semi-Virtual Diskette (SVD)
Getting Started

 SVD Information 

Home & Intro


Supported Hardware


 How To Use
The SVD 

Overview &
Getting Started

Building an SVD

PC Software

Machine Specific


(Frequently Asked


 Ordering & Links 

Order the SVD

Guestbook &


For Info:

The SVD  -  Important Parts   -  Download PC Software   -  Initial Check-out   -  Connecting your Machine   -  Using the SVD

Step 1: First Things First

SVD "Kit" Owners

If you purchased an SVD Kit, or even if you've created your own PCB and programmed your own PIC, you should go to the "Building an SVD" page. From there you can download the manual for building the SVD which includes parts layout and assembly instructions.

Once you have built the SVD, please proceed to step 2 where you will get a quick overview of the important pieces of the SVD and then be taken to the the section that will allow you to check-out the SVD.

Your SVD Came Assembled

So you've got it easy! Please proceed to step 2 where you will get a quick overview of the important pieces of the SVD and then be taken to the the section that will allow you to check-out the SVD.

Step 2: Important SVD Parts

Both the assembled SVD and the kit come with 2 very important parts: the floppy connectors. Each floppy connector plugs into the 34-pin socket on the left side of the SVD ------>.

It is extremely important that you only use the two connectors that came with the SVD. They are configured to allow the SVD to appropriately talk to the floppy controller on your vintage machine. If you don't use them you may cause damage to either the SVD or your vintage machine.

BIG NOTE - you DON'T have to use one of the floppy connectors when using the Apple dongle. It has the terminator built in!

Floppy Connector Secrets
There are two important attributes of the SVD floppy connectors:
  1. The first is that they are "keyed." If you look at the "plug-end" of the connector, you'll see that the middle hole has been filled in. This ensures that you'll get them oriented correctly.
  2. The second attribute is that pin 34 coming from the SVD has +5v connected to it. This power is used to terminate the floppy bus, or power additional features like the Apple ][ connector. The floppy connectors do NOT pass this +5v onto the floppy cable. Note, however, that pin 34 is normally an unused pin on the floppy cable.

Terminated Connector
The "terminated" connector includes a terminating resistor pack on its underside. This connector is used when a "real" floppy is not being used in addition to the SVD, or if the real floppy doesn't have termination. Normally, use the straight-through connector (below) first and see if that works. If not, try the terminated connector.

UN-Terminated Connector
(or "straight-through" connector)

The "straight-through" connector is used in situations where the SVD is being used in addition to other "real" floppy drives. These drives often include bus termination. When working with the SVD, unless you know otherwise, always start with the straight-through connector to see if it works. If not, try the terminated connector (above).

Note that the unterminated floppy connector may look like the one in this picture, or may look like the terminated floppy connector without the resistor pack. The distinquishing feature between the two types of connectors is the resistor pack.

Step 3: Download PC Software

Before using the SVD, you need to download the software that will run on the PC. Please go to the PC Software Page. Here you will find the link to download the software as well as instructions on how to use it.

Please get this software running on your PC before proceeding to the next step.

Step 4: Checking out the SVD

Checking out the SVD does not require you to connect it to your vintage machine...not yet. It simply requires that you have the SVD PC Software running and that you connect the SVD to your PC with an 9-pin RS232/serial cable.

The serial cable connects to the right side of the SVD.
4 simple steps:


Plug the SVD into your PC with a 9-pin serial (RS232) cable.

A serial cable normally comes with the SVD. But if you use your own, it should be M/F DB9 straight-through. All pins need to be connected because the SVD acts as a null modem, allowing the PC application to more easily connect to the SVD. * FAQ: What if I don't have a serial/RS232 port on my PC?


Apply power to the SVD and turn it on.

The SVD comes with a 9 or 12-volt power supply. There is only one place for the adapter to plug in to the wall and the SVD. Once it is plugged in, switch the power on the SVD to "on".
Disk 0
Disk 1
Track 0
This is what you should see. The SVD is getting power. If you don't see the power light, then there is something wrong with the SVD or the adapter.

If the SVD is connected to the floppy cable, and your vintage computer is turned on before you turn on the SVD, you may see the power light glow dimly. Not to worry, though you may need to press the Reset button the SVD after you turn it on.


Get the PC Application software running.

As discussed in the previous section, you should have the PC software running at this point. First you should download the software from the PC Software Page. Then follow the instructions on that page for installing and using the software.


Contact the SVD from the PC Software

Click on the "Check" button in the PC software. You should receive a message that the SVD is responding. In the lower left corner of the main window you should see the version of the SVD firmware that is running on your SVD.

If the PC software doesn't respond that the SVD is working, procede to the PC Connection Troubleshooting page for help in getting it working.

Step 5: Connecting the SVD to YOUR Machine

Now's where the fun starts! Once you have the SVD up and running, and working with the PC software, all that is left to do is connect it to your vintage computer.

The floppy cable connects to the
left side of the SVD.
This should be easy, but it isn't necessarily. There are many different issues that you potentially have to contend with when connecting the SVD to your vintage hardware.

To make things easier, each machine has it's own page devoted to helping you connect the SVD to it. Please click on the appropriate link below to go directly to specific instructions for each machine.

Step 6: Using the SVD and Software

Each one of these sections includes a bunch of illustrations and screen shots so they may download a bit slowly on slow connections.

For a single file, printable version version of these instructions, click here. Note that the file which next comes up will NOT have the menu on the left side, and may take a little while to load.