Use as normal A: drive

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starfry
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Joined: Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:26 am

Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by starfry » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:30 am

Ah, understood. Thanks :)

These upcoming features, are they software updates or will new hardware be required? I don't want to buy a board just to find it needs replacing. How does this work - is the board design pretty static? I see it's at revision "D" so there have been 4 versions to date. From reading the manual the device is booted from the software which sounds like most updates will be software. Is that right? Sorry for all the questions but I'd like to understand it.

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IFW
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by IFW » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:43 am

Writing is so far limited to using IPF images as source, but normal sector images will be supported as well in due course.

The various revisions of the board do not affect compatibility - as far as the end-user is concerned, ie reading and writing is supported on all models.
The latest revision adds a hardware "write blocker"; that is a requirement for institutes doing archival work, so they wouldn't accidentally overwrite important source disks while archiving them.

yarm
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by yarm » Tue Dec 27, 2011 4:30 pm

I have just found a solution to having a regular A: drive internally on USB.
I have one of those card reader and floppy combo drives (it has a 34 way floppy connector on the back), it turns out that the drive is a standard 'super slim' drive with an unusual but standard 26 way connector on the back that goes to a simple adapter board to adapt it to a normal 34 way connector.
I have just bought a freecom external usb drive from MicroDirect and inside it has the very same kind of drive, so I simply took the tiny PCB from the external drive and plugged it into the internal drive and it works a treat!!!

I have just ordered a kryoflux too, so now I can have the best of both!

The external drive has this pinout http://support.dell.com/support/edocs/s ... /notes.htm
The internal drive is http://www.yedata.com/multi/download/FDZ-529022_A4.pdf

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Malvineous
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by Malvineous » Sat Jan 07, 2012 1:45 am

Am I understanding you correctly? You found a USB floppy drive where you could remove the drive and replace it with another? Quite a few people have been looking for many years for one of these, as most USB floppy drives use a single chip which speaks USB and powers all the motors etc. so it is not possible to swap the drive around. Thus it has been impossible to connect a 5.25" drive via USB until the KryoFlux came along.

If you have one like this then in theory you could wire up an adapter to connect a 5.25" drive as a "normal A: drive" over USB, which was the holy grail before the KryoFlux gave us an even better solution...

TeaRex
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by TeaRex » Sun Jan 08, 2012 3:06 am

@malvineous: Yes, except that HD 5.25" drives spin at 360 rpm and use a non-standard 300 kbps write rate for 360K disks; I kind of doubt the USB chips can deal with that. And DD 5.25" drives have only 40 tracks, again something that the USB drive chip might not know about. Maybe new firmware could overcome those, but with the standard firmware I'd have doubts.

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Malvineous
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by Malvineous » Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:14 am

You'd have to get a datasheet for the chip to be sure. I know SMC came out with a USB floppy controller IC which has been long since discontinued, but it provided the same level of support as the BIOS does, so DD 5.25" drives weren't a problem. It would depend whether any corners were cut during development. Possibly because of the custom connector they assumed only 3.5" drives would ever be connected, but then the IC designers may have aimed for a more generic solution. Hard to say.

yarm
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by yarm » Mon Jan 09, 2012 2:26 pm

The Freecom USB floppy is not as good as i thought, I cant even get it to read a 720K disc, only 1.44MB ones work, and the top of the chips have been ground off so I cant see what they are :(
(Remainder of post removed)
Last edited by yarm on Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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mr.vince
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by mr.vince » Mon Jan 09, 2012 7:20 pm

You know that standard image writing is being written? Just to make sure you don't end up putting hours and hours into this. Apart from the fact that due to the WD177x you'll be heavily limited...

andre
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by andre » Sun Jan 20, 2013 11:51 am

I was aware of the limitation USB Floppy Disks won't read 720 kB disks, and therefore I am not interested in them. I wish for some more low-level control, even when using as just a /dev/fd0 (or A:) (Thinking about back in the days, formatting disks with vgacopy for extra capacity)

Since I recently bought a Raspberry Pi, I was interested in interfacing a floppy drive with it. So, I googled for an USB Floppy controller, and I landed here. Up until now, I was only aware of the Catweasel controller as low-level Floppy disk controller.

It also seems the software is closed source and only available for i386 and x86-64 platforms. If it were to be used as a /dev/fd0 device, the driver would have to be open sourced due to the GPL license of the Linux kernel. (just the floppy driver of course, which can have limited formats support)

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mr.vince
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Re: Use as normal A: drive

Post by mr.vince » Sun Jan 20, 2013 12:01 pm

Since we're not interested in interfacing floppy drives as standard drives (because from the point of data preservation "using" disks is a no-go), this luckily won't become an issue. You can use KryoFlux to create images and use these. We're working on adding write support for further image formats, so data can be edited in the image and then written back.

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