New 8" drive

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Geysto
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Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:13 am

New 8" drive

Post by Geysto » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:36 am

I have a Tandon TM848E 8" half height direct drive unit. I have tried it out with my new KF and I have it reading SS/SD soft sectored disks, but not SS/SD hard sector (32 sectors per track) disks. (They are labeled as Wang disks, but I am not sure what type of Wang system they came from.) Reading all the posts here, there seems to be much discussion regarding possible work on reading hard sector disks but no recent indication if any progress has been made. Currently when trying to read the hard sector disks, the disk hardly even seems to try (finishes in just a few seconds) I assume based on previous posts because the KF sees the extra index holes and is miss-computing the rotation speed. It doesn't output any raw stream data at all. The other difference I have from seemingly everyone else is that the Tandon drive came with a small adapter PCB converting the 50 pin edge connector to a standard 34 pin floppy cable. I am not sure if this is contributing to my issue with hard sectored disks or not (it has no circuitry on it at all) or if I should get the FDADAP to replace it. Any experience/help with this configuration would be appreciated.

G

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IFW
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:42 pm

Re: New 8" drive

Post by IFW » Wed Apr 02, 2014 10:15 am

Hard-sectored disks are not supported; unfortunately it's very difficult to get hold of disks that actually contain known good data which would be very useful for development.

Geysto
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Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:13 am

Re: New 8" drive

Post by Geysto » Thu Apr 03, 2014 12:35 am

Understood. I don't honestly know if the disks I have are still working or not either. Was curious to see what they held though. And thought it was odd to have a drive that no one else seems to be using. I certainly can't seem to find any documentation on it. One site had manuals for the belt drive, older model from that manufacturer but nothing I can find for the one I have.

Had one thought today: If the system revolts when seeing so many sector holes, what if we covered all of them except the index hole (like covering the notch on the side to write protect a disk) would we be at least able to complete a raw dump maybe? Could end up being way to much work for my curiosity to overcome, but maybe that type of thing could work for someone who really needed to get their data from hard sectored disks.

G

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IFW
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Re: New 8" drive

Post by IFW » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:51 am

I have a disk somewhere that has been reformatted (so it's definitely not hard sectored content...), so making the software to image a track might be doable.
However that would be still just getting an image (with quite a lot of work invested to do that) and the "real" work only starts once it is known what is recorded for real.
If you could really alter a disk without damaging it and it would still rotate freely, then yes it would at least confirm what really is the content - without development needed in the first place just to find out that the content is e.g. totally unreadable...
So far it is only possible to find contradictory information, e.g. no marks present, marks present etc... which is certainly not a good base for any kind of development.

Geysto
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:13 am

Re: New 8" drive

Post by Geysto » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:26 pm

Truly validated my setup is working today. Managed to image a Turbo Pascal disk with no errors. Figures the first disc I tried was full of errors making me doubt my configuration. Also managed to read a disk of star maps from NASA via a Yale distribution. Too bad I only have disk 1 of 8 from that database.

For the hard sector discs I am thinking about getting some printable CD labels (remember those?!?) and laser cutting them into big circular stickers with a single hole left for the track index mark. Shouldn't be too hard to carefully open one edge of the disc, extract the media and overlay the label, slide it back in and magic! I now have a soft sector disk! Just need to see if the label adhesive is going to cause problems where it is over all of the sector holes, or if I need to label both sides to keep any adhesive from being exposed. Seems like there is a reasonable amount of clearance between the index hole circumference and the opening for the read head, so as long as I eye-ball it fairly well before sticking it down, I think I may be able to get this to work. Then it just comes down to decoding....

CTM99
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Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:43 am

Re: New 8" drive

Post by CTM99 » Mon Apr 17, 2017 4:48 pm

Has there been any progress on hard-sector disks? Those Wang 8" disks were mostly used for archiving Wang WP (word processor) files. At one point, it was the most-used word processing system in the world. The WP archive diskettes had their own file-system and the content was in a proprietary format. We have tools to extract and convert those documents--if only there was a way to image the hard sector disks.

ZrX
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Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 9:09 pm

Re: New 8" drive

Post by ZrX » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:35 am

I've so far imaged only one disk with extra indexholes.

Did it by cutting a circle from a thin opaque plastic seet with inner diameter the same size of floppy center, and outer diameter enough to cover the index. Then punched one hole for the index.

What was a bit difficult was getting it inside the disk jacket. Then it was only aligned to the primary index hole and the disk clamp kept it in place while in the drive.

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mr.vince
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Re: New 8" drive

Post by mr.vince » Sun May 21, 2017 9:57 pm

Unless we get the chance to work with such disks and use them for development, this is not going to happen. As you noticed hard sectored is hardware and we need to adjust the software to adapt to XX index holes per track.

CTM99
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Re: New 8" drive

Post by CTM99 » Tue May 30, 2017 11:09 pm

If I can get a sample or two, to whom should I send it/them?

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mr.vince
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Re: New 8" drive

Post by mr.vince » Wed May 31, 2017 5:11 pm

That's the thing... We'd also need a drive capable of reading these very disks. It's not exactly trivial.

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