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HP 86B Disks

Posted: Tue Nov 06, 2018 11:37 pm
by mfs

i got my KF last week, and was already playing around with it and my old Teac-505 dual floppydrive.
MS-DOS and Amiga 3,5" Disks are working great,
C64 5,25" just singleside for now (no flippy modded drive - i trashed all my old pc drives some years ago :( )

I aso have some disks from an old Hewlett Packard 86B computer with a HP 9121 diskdrive (it was the very first computer in my first job in the 80's).
This are 3,5" single sided DD disks, with about 280kB capacity.

The raw data read with KF looks quite plausible, and if i use
DTC -p -m1 -f.\test_raw\* -i0 -f.\test.img -z1 -g0 -i4
i get a img file, which isn't able to read anywhere, but in a hex editor at least some data structures are recognizeable.

has anyone got experience with such disks in KF?

here are some technical infos:

(i can post a file, too, if someone is curious - there is no copyrighted or classified data on it)


Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:45 am
by SomeGuy
Posting the flux preservation dump would be most useful. I'm not specifically familiar with HP-80 series disks, but I am aware that some HP disks from that era used odd sector layouts that can not be properly stored in IMG or ImageDisk format. The HP Museum web sites uses mostly Teledisk format.

What are you trying to "open" the IMG file with? The only OS I see listed on Wikipedia is CP/M. If that is CP/M you would need something like 22disk to read files.

Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:17 am
by brightcaster
That could be a LIF-Disk..


Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 5:46 pm
by mfs

i was trying to get the files out of the disk, with KF, the img file seems to be the right way if possible. Tried WinImage Demo, VirtualBox and some other tools I've found.
I have no experience with lifutils and the teledisk format - just started to read about.
Thanks for the tips!

The HP86 is no cpm box, it is running a BASIC derivate as operating system (just like a Commodore 64)

here are raw files and a img from one disk (about 11MB):
(this server is down over night, CET timezone)

btw this is not an important task, am just playing around with this system, as it is here.
All important data (geodesy coordinate databases) from the HP86 was already transferred in the end of the 80s to the new HP Vectra machine (a 80286 DOS PC) over a serial port connection - I remember well, several days of boring work for our trainees ;)


Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:49 pm
by brightcaster
The linux file command detects the image as lif (that means HPs "logical interchange format")!

I can see the directory and copy files with hpdir command:


TENCODE DTA8x 65 256 16
CARDFILE BAS8x 121 256 81
UTIL/1 BIN8x 15 256 202
QCODE DTA8x 65 256 217
VISITMAR BAS8x 4 256 282
MGIRLS #e011 65 256 286
I LOVE YOU BAS8x 4 256 351
GEO DTA8x 38 256 355
HP41 BAS8x 37 256 393
DTA8x 38 256 430
SONDERAUFG DTA8x 65 256 468
QSL BAS8x 6 256 533

189696 of 323584 bytes free.

There's a much more info about lif and how to convert on this page:

You will find hpdir as linux executable at the bottom of the page. Thats a simple command line util to handle lif...

David (vy 73 de DL4DKA)

Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:16 pm
by SomeGuy
Ok, looking at that under the HxC software tool, I see single sided double density 70 tracks, 16 sectors of 256 bytes plus one additional 128 byte sector on each track. It shows no decoding errors and all sectors match their CRC. The sectors have an interleave and sector skew.

It looks like the kryoflux created IMG file is ignoring the 128 byte sectors and filling in "empty" data for the unused last 10 tracks. That may or may not be an issue. I have no idea what they use that 128 byte sector for - if is not used at the file system level it may be safe to discard.

The file system does not look like CP/M. So I would concur it is probably LIF as brightcaster describes. Whatever LIF tool you use to extract the files, you should make sure an "IMG" file without the 128 byte sectors is what they expect. You should sanity check whatever files you extract to make sure the tool is pulling the content from the right place.

IMG files will not preserve the sector geometry. But if you don't need to write the image back to a real disk, then that may be just fine.

WinImage and Virtualbox only support MS-DOS formatted disks - and even then only non-copy protected disks formatted for DOS 2.x or later in standard PC/MS-DOS 360k, 720k, 1.2mb, 1.4mb or DMF formats. Normally I recommend ImageDisk format to store non-DOS FM/MFM disks, but the catch here is ImageDisk does not support mixed sector sizes on the same track. TeleDisk, however, supports that just fine. Technically Copy II PC+Snatchit should also be able to handle that, but the CP2 format is only useful for transferring images between copies of Copy II PC.

Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:20 pm
by mfs
Hi David,

that's GREAT!!

at first, I tried LIFTOOLS, but the exe is to old for my computer (currently, the WinXP setup is running in a VM - I'll try with this, too)
But HPDIR it works on Win10 x64, too - even the Total Commander plugin (for this, the img-file extention has to be *.hpi, it will be treated like a archive file)

It's unbelievable what Kyroflux (maybe with some additional tools) is capable of :D

thanks, and good night


ps. i see, you've found the old qsl file ;)
unfortunately I never made a ham license (switched from electronics to geodesy), so i was just swl and on cb

Re: HP 86B Disks

Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2018 10:32 pm
by mfs
my posting overlapped with yours ;)

i found Aufit, to analyze the raw file - here the disk looks interesting, too: