Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel - CP/M

This is a discussion on Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel - CP/M ; Hi, Since my last attempt a starting on thread on this subject got threadjacked, I thought I'd try again. No harm done though, Alan is a friend from ALPACA and I think it was just an honest mistake or possibly ...

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Thread: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

  1. Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    Hi,

    Since my last attempt a starting on thread on this subject got
    threadjacked, I thought I'd try again. No harm done though, Alan is a
    friend from ALPACA and I think it was just an honest mistake or
    possibly Google news got confused somehow. Before you flame me,
    please note the NorthStar Horizon runs CP/M and thus this subject is
    on topic for comp.os.cpm as the tool can be used to recover those
    vintage NorthStar CP/M disks. Assuming I ever finish the darned
    thing.

    I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    http://www.geocities.com/lynchaj/CWNS-vintage.zip

    Thanks!


    Andrew Lynch


  2. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    > Hi,
    >
    > Since my last attempt a starting on thread on this subject got
    > threadjacked, I thought I'd try again. No harm done though, Alan is a
    > friend from ALPACA and I think it was just an honest mistake or
    > possibly Google news got confused somehow. Before you flame me,
    > please note the NorthStar Horizon runs CP/M and thus this subject is
    > on topic for comp.os.cpm as the tool can be used to recover those
    > vintage NorthStar CP/M disks. Assuming I ever finish the darned
    > thing.
    >
    > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:
    >
    > http://www.geocities.com/lynchaj/CWNS-vintage.zip
    >
    > Thanks!
    >
    >
    > Andrew Lynch
    >


    I will be releasing a utility VERY soon that will allow you to image the
    disks right on the original machine, it even offers some quick and dirty
    RLE compression so that the image can fit on a target of same density.

    Keep wathing for it, I'm almost done trimming it up! So far it has been
    tested on 2.2 CP/M on a xerox 820-II on 8" and 5.25, as well as 3.x cp/m
    on a C128. It can't handle a mixed density disk (such as cromeco used on
    xerox 820-II), but if you can have the disk all in the same density (all
    single for example) it will work like a champ.

    I'll post here when I have completed it, including the source code for
    it, if anyone would like to add some improvements to the compression.

  3. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 13, 9:10 am, "Andrew J. Kroll" wrote:
    > lync...@yahoo.com wrote:

    [snip]
    >
    > I will be releasing a utility VERY soon that will allow you to image the
    > disks right on the original machine, it even offers some quick and dirty
    > RLE compression so that the image can fit on a target of same density.
    >
    > Keep wathing for it, I'm almost done trimming it up! So far it has been
    > tested on 2.2 CP/M on a xerox 820-II on 8" and 5.25, as well as 3.x cp/m
    > on a C128. It can't handle a mixed density disk (such as cromeco used on
    > xerox 820-II), but if you can have the disk all in the same density (all
    > single for example) it will work like a champ.
    >
    > I'll post here when I have completed it, including the source code for
    > it, if anyone would like to add some improvements to the compression.- Hide quoted text -
    >
    > - Show quoted text -


    Andrew,
    That is great! Will your program support hard and soft sector disks?
    Please tell us more about how your program works and what it does.

    I'd think if it is a CP/M program it should not matter what the
    underlying disk format is as long as it can read the 128 byte
    sectors. Certainly we could use some more and different vintage
    computer data recovery tools. I look forward to seeing your tool
    set. Can I test it on my NorthStar CP/M system?

    I wrote the Catweasel NorthStar program because it is difficult to
    read the hard sector disks with regular PC hardware. Only the
    MatchPoint PC allows CP/M disks to be read or written on a PC and
    those are nearly "unobtainium".

    I believe there are some public domain compression routines available
    (Huffman encoding?) which are lightweight and free.

    Thanks and best of luck with your program.

    Andrew Lynch


  4. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:


    Andrew,

    I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?

    De

  5. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 13, 8:14 pm, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:
    > > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    > > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    > > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    > > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    > > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    > > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    >
    > Andrew,
    >
    > I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    > also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    > being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?
    >
    > De


    De,
    I am pretty sure CWNS is not even close for Vector hard sector disks.
    CWNS just works for a subset of the NorthStar hard sector disks (SSDD
    only) and I have learned that there are literally no rules for hard
    sector floppy disks unlike soft sector disks which largely follow the
    IBM 3740 format. Apparently all of the hard sector formats are unique
    to whatever platform they originated from.

    However, do not despair. I believe the general approach I am using
    for CWNS is simple enough that it could be relatively easily extended
    to other formats. If *I* can get it to work then I think practically
    anyone with some programming experience can. I am not a uber-
    programmer by any stretch.

    I *think* it would be possible to make a plain "bit dump" of the
    arbitrary hard sector floppy disk into the DMK format. However to get
    anything useful the specific rules would have to be written to get it
    to actually find and decode Vector sectors. It really is not that
    hard to do though. My original approach was for two programs: one
    that made the raw bit dump of the hard sector disk into the DMK image
    format and another which decoded the DMK image into useful NorthStar
    sectors and tracks.

    Honestly, I know nothing about the Vector. Is it a 5.25" or 8" disk?
    How many sectors does it have? Does it use the NorthStar MDS-AD
    controller?

    My long term goal after finishing CWNS (maybe its a fever dream so
    bear with me for a moment) is to move on to some other hard sector
    formats and make the format decoding rules modular. My thinking was
    the next logical hard sector format would be the Heath (10 sector
    5.25") but I do not have any of their disks. If/when I ever finish
    CWNS I was going to ask around to see if anyone had a test disk I
    could use. At the rate I am going though, it will be weeks or months
    before that happens.

    Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Thanks!

    Andrew Lynch


  6. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On 2007-09-14, lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    >
    > I am pretty sure CWNS is not even close for Vector hard sector disks.
    > CWNS just works for a subset of the NorthStar hard sector disks (SSDD
    > only) and I have learned that there are literally no rules for hard
    > sector floppy disks unlike soft sector disks which largely follow the
    > IBM 3740 format. Apparently all of the hard sector formats are unique
    > to whatever platform they originated from.


    That's my understanding as well.

    Way back when, a friend had an H89 with a hard-sector controller that
    consisted of a synchronous transceiver like an SIO and a bit of support
    circuitry. The index signal yanked on the SIO's SYNC input, then the SIO
    managed the transfer of the data. So the data format on disk would be
    some format understood by the SIO (probably HDLC) rather than anything
    disk-like.
    --
    roger ivie
    rivie@ridgenet.net

  7. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:

    (snip)

    > I *think* it would be possible to make a plain "bit dump" of the
    > arbitrary hard sector floppy disk into the DMK format. However to get
    > anything useful the specific rules would have to be written to get it
    > to actually find and decode Vector sectors. It really is not that
    > hard to do though. My original approach was for two programs: one
    > that made the raw bit dump of the hard sector disk into the DMK image
    > format and another which decoded the DMK image into useful NorthStar
    > sectors and tracks.


    I have thought for a while now, someone should connect a floppy
    drive to a fast digitizer, such that one could read the data
    off a track, and do any desired processing later. That should
    be enough to allow for any format with enough documentation.

    -- glen


  8. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    >> I will be releasing a utility VERY soon that will allow you to image the
    >> disks right on the original machine, it even offers some quick and dirty
    >> RLE compression so that the image can fit on a target of same density.
    >>
    >> Keep wathing for it, I'm almost done trimming it up! So far it has been
    >> tested on 2.2 CP/M on a xerox 820-II on 8" and 5.25, as well as 3.x cp/m
    >> on a C128. It can't handle a mixed density disk (such as cromeco used on
    >> xerox 820-II), but if you can have the disk all in the same density (all
    >> single for example) it will work like a champ.
    >>
    >> I'll post here when I have completed it, including the source code for
    >> it, if anyone would like to add some improvements to the compression.- Hide quoted text -


    >Andrew,
    >That is great! Will your program support hard and soft sector disks?
    >Please tell us more about how your program works and what it does.


    >I'd think if it is a CP/M program it should not matter what the
    >underlying disk format is as long as it can read the 128 byte
    >sectors. Certainly we could use some more and different vintage
    >computer data recovery tools. I look forward to seeing your tool
    >set. Can I test it on my NorthStar CP/M system?


    >I wrote the Catweasel NorthStar program because it is difficult to
    >read the hard sector disks with regular PC hardware. Only the
    >MatchPoint PC allows CP/M disks to be read or written on a PC and
    >those are nearly "unobtainium".


    >I believe there are some public domain compression routines available
    >(Huffman encoding?) which are lightweight and free.


    You might be interested in "CPT" (CP/m Transfer) which I have posted
    to my site - It transfers CP/M disk images to a PC (and back) over a
    serial connection - allows you to backup and restore disks from most
    CP/M systems fairly independant of the actual hardware.

    For soft-sector formats, I also have ImageDisk which reads directly
    on a PC - Definately works with 820-II (I've got one) and many other
    formats.

    If you transfer images to/from the PC, compression becomes a non-
    issue, since the image files are small by PC standards, and you can
    simply ZIP them for storage if desired.

    Dave

    --
    dave06a@ Low-cost firmware development tools: www.dunfield.com
    dunfield. Classic computer collection: www.classiccmp.org/dunfield
    com Some stuff I have for sale: www.dunfield.com/sale


  9. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    >> I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    >> also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    >> being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?


    >I am pretty sure CWNS is not even close for Vector hard sector disks.
    >CWNS just works for a subset of the NorthStar hard sector disks (SSDD
    >only) and I have learned that there are literally no rules for hard
    >sector floppy disks unlike soft sector disks which largely follow the
    >IBM 3740 format. Apparently all of the hard sector formats are unique
    >to whatever platform they originated from.


    If your vector is running CP/M, you may be able to use my CPT
    program to backup the disks (See preceeding posting).


    >I *think* it would be possible to make a plain "bit dump" of the
    >arbitrary hard sector floppy disk into the DMK format. However to get
    >anything useful the specific rules would have to be written to get it
    >to actually find and decode Vector sectors. It really is not that
    >hard to do though. My original approach was for two programs: one
    >that made the raw bit dump of the hard sector disk into the DMK image
    >format and another which decoded the DMK image into useful NorthStar
    >sectors and tracks.


    That would be a good approach - even if you do not have the code
    done to decode a particular format, you could at least recreate an
    exact copy of the original disk - plus at the very least you do have
    the data backed up ... so if you really had to you could work on
    decoding it later - much better than not having it backed up at all.


    >My long term goal after finishing CWNS (maybe its a fever dream so
    >bear with me for a moment) is to move on to some other hard sector
    >formats and make the format decoding rules modular. My thinking was
    >the next logical hard sector format would be the Heath (10 sector
    >5.25") but I do not have any of their disks. If/when I ever finish
    >CWNS I was going to ask around to see if anyone had a test disk I
    >could use. At the rate I am going though, it will be weeks or months
    >before that happens.


    At the low level, Heath uses a off-the-shelf serial chip, so I don't
    know how the bit format would compare to NorthStar, however it
    ultimately has to come out of the drive as a bit stream so I'm sure
    the CW could record it, and you could figure out how to do data
    seperation in software...

    At a higher level, Heath differs from NorthStar in that they record a
    header with each sector that has the volume id, track and sector.
    I'm sure if we asked on SEBHC we could find someone closer to
    you, but if needed, I can send you HDOS and CP/M disks for the
    H17 (hard sectored controller).

    Dave

    --
    dave06a@ Low-cost firmware development tools: www.dunfield.com
    dunfield. Classic computer collection: www.classiccmp.org/dunfield
    com Some stuff I have for sale: www.dunfield.com/sale


  10. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    > Honestly, I know nothing about the Vector. Is it a 5.25" or 8" disk?
    > How many sectors does it have? Does it use the NorthStar MDS-AD
    > controller?


    5.25", 16 sectors. Vector Graphic used Micropolis and Tandon drives.
    They built their own controller. I don't know anything about the
    on-disk format.

    Since I don't yet have a Vector Graphic machine, I can't run any of
    the self-hosted copy tools, so I'm hoping I can work out how to do the
    decoding with the CW and software. I'll be interested to see your tool
    when you've finished it.

    De

  11. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Fri, 14 Sep 2007 09:20:41 GMT,
    Dave.Dunfield@use.techsupport.link.on.my.website (Dave Dunfield)
    wrote:

    >>> I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    >>> also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    >>> being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?

    >
    >>I am pretty sure CWNS is not even close for Vector hard sector disks.
    >>CWNS just works for a subset of the NorthStar hard sector disks (SSDD
    >>only) and I have learned that there are literally no rules for hard
    >>sector floppy disks unlike soft sector disks which largely follow the
    >>IBM 3740 format. Apparently all of the hard sector formats are unique
    >>to whatever platform they originated from.

    >
    >If your vector is running CP/M, you may be able to use my CPT
    >program to backup the disks (See preceeding posting).
    >
    >
    >>I *think* it would be possible to make a plain "bit dump" of the
    >>arbitrary hard sector floppy disk into the DMK format. However to get
    >>anything useful the specific rules would have to be written to get it
    >>to actually find and decode Vector sectors. It really is not that
    >>hard to do though. My original approach was for two programs: one
    >>that made the raw bit dump of the hard sector disk into the DMK image
    >>format and another which decoded the DMK image into useful NorthStar
    >>sectors and tracks.

    >
    >That would be a good approach - even if you do not have the code
    >done to decode a particular format, you could at least recreate an
    >exact copy of the original disk - plus at the very least you do have
    >the data backed up ... so if you really had to you could work on
    >decoding it later - much better than not having it backed up at all.
    >
    >
    >>My long term goal after finishing CWNS (maybe its a fever dream so
    >>bear with me for a moment) is to move on to some other hard sector
    >>formats and make the format decoding rules modular. My thinking was
    >>the next logical hard sector format would be the Heath (10 sector
    >>5.25") but I do not have any of their disks. If/when I ever finish
    >>CWNS I was going to ask around to see if anyone had a test disk I
    >>could use. At the rate I am going though, it will be weeks or months
    >>before that happens.

    >
    >At the low level, Heath uses a off-the-shelf serial chip, so I don't
    >know how the bit format would compare to NorthStar, however it
    >ultimately has to come out of the drive as a bit stream so I'm sure
    >the CW could record it, and you could figure out how to do data
    >seperation in software...


    Dave, you hit the nail on the head. While heath is hard sector it
    used a chip that could so something more sophisticated than
    the NS* logic. The bit patterns and syncs are likely very different
    as they had to accomodate the chips capability.

    >At a higher level, Heath differs from NorthStar in that they record a
    >header with each sector that has the volume id, track and sector.
    >I'm sure if we asked on SEBHC we could find someone closer to
    >you, but if needed, I can send you HDOS and CP/M disks for the
    >H17 (hard sectored controller).


    Exactly. Heath was _almost_ soft sector. Hwy they didn't go further
    baffeld me.

    Allison

    >
    >Dave



  12. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:
    > On Sep 13, 9:10 am, "Andrew J. Kroll" wrote:
    >> lync...@yahoo.com wrote:

    > [snip]
    >> I will be releasing a utility VERY soon that will allow you to image the
    >> disks right on the original machine, it even offers some quick and dirty
    >> RLE compression so that the image can fit on a target of same density.
    >>
    >> Keep wathing for it, I'm almost done trimming it up! So far it has been
    >> tested on 2.2 CP/M on a xerox 820-II on 8" and 5.25, as well as 3.x cp/m
    >> on a C128. It can't handle a mixed density disk (such as cromeco used on
    >> xerox 820-II), but if you can have the disk all in the same density (all
    >> single for example) it will work like a champ.
    >>
    >> I'll post here when I have completed it, including the source code for
    >> it, if anyone would like to add some improvements to the compression.- Hide quoted text -
    >>
    >> - Show quoted text -

    >
    > Andrew,
    > That is great! Will your program support hard and soft sector disks?
    > Please tell us more about how your program works and what it does.
    >
    > I'd think if it is a CP/M program it should not matter what the
    > underlying disk format is as long as it can read the 128 byte
    > sectors. Certainly we could use some more and different vintage
    > computer data recovery tools. I look forward to seeing your tool
    > set. Can I test it on my NorthStar CP/M system?
    >
    > I wrote the Catweasel NorthStar program because it is difficult to
    > read the hard sector disks with regular PC hardware. Only the
    > MatchPoint PC allows CP/M disks to be read or written on a PC and
    > those are nearly "unobtainium".
    >
    > I believe there are some public domain compression routines available
    > (Huffman encoding?) which are lightweight and free.
    >
    > Thanks and best of luck with your program.
    >
    > Andrew Lynch
    >


    This reply is also for the older replies, I read all the posts before
    responding...


    First and foremost, it runs right on the real CP/M machine, much like
    CPT, and can read whatever formats your CP/M system can use. As I stated
    before providing that the disk density is the same for the entire disk,
    it does not matter if it is hard sectored or not. The program does not
    care about any of that, nor does it need to know about it. It does
    however append a header with information based on the DPH and DPB, so
    that you do not accidentally write the wrong kind of disk (hopefully).
    What is not contained in the header is the track offset for boot tracks,
    but then, I don't care about that myself.

    As far as using huff, yes, that's also planned for the next version, but
    I want to get the code out fast so that people can start imaging disks
    now. I plan on imaging the floppies that the late Mr. Maslin sent me for
    my 820-II, and a few other disks that I got for some other machines in
    order to start my public boot disk archive. Yes I know there are a few
    others, but none are all in a usable common format, which is what my
    program will provide. When uncompressed, the 22disk utils that format a
    disk can be told to spew a file onto the tracks... and making the tool
    to decompress to a flat file image is really simple to do.

    Transfers, I of course do using my IP stack, via an FTP client. This
    allows things to be simpler for me, because the entire planet speaks IP
    and not some obscure protocol! ;-) It also allows me to grab directly
    off the planet without any extra steps. I still need to write that wget
    client for it to be able to snag stuff from the web... Then I think my
    toolset will be pretty complete.

    Hope this information helps answer your questions, and again, if your
    system isn't supported in my IP stack, please drop me a note with the
    technical details on how your serial board works, so that I may write a
    driver for you to test.

  13. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 14, 8:51 am, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:
    > > Honestly, I know nothing about the Vector. Is it a 5.25" or 8" disk?
    > > How many sectors does it have? Does it use the NorthStar MDS-AD
    > > controller?

    >
    > 5.25", 16 sectors. Vector Graphic used Micropolis and Tandon drives.
    > They built their own controller. I don't know anything about the
    > on-disk format.
    >
    > Since I don't yet have a Vector Graphic machine, I can't run any of
    > the self-hosted copy tools, so I'm hoping I can work out how to do the
    > decoding with the CW and software. I'll be interested to see your tool
    > when you've finished it.
    >
    > De


    Hi De,

    Is the Vector format Single Density (FM) or Double Density (MFM)?

    How much storage can one floppy disk hold?

    If it is Single Sided Double Density I might be able to make a quick
    DMK "bit copy" a the disk if you send me one. I'll send you a copy of
    my bit stream decoder software as a template. You'll need the Vector
    disk controller documentation to find out what the synchronization
    sequences are, etc to make it work for you.

    That way we could "fork" off a version of my CWNS program and you
    could develop a second line for the Vector. For the NorthStar DD
    disk, each sector follows this format

    256 0's followed by $FB and $FB and 512 bytes of data followed by a
    checksum.

    All you do is read the bit stream one bit at a time searching for the
    synchronization sequence and when you find it, copy the data, compute
    your checksum and compare it to the one you read. If they are the
    same, you have a good sector and move to the next one. This is not
    rocket science and anyone can do it.

    Thanks and good luck!

    Andrew Lynch


  14. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 13, 9:14 pm, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:
    > > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    > > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    > > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    > > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    > > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    > > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    >
    > Andrew,
    >
    > I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    > also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    > being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?
    >
    > De

    ----------------
    I also have a couple of Vector systems and various diskettes, although
    I'm not concerned enough about archiving (other than making copies on
    the Vector) to get a Catweasel at this point; the discussion interests
    me though.

    On a related note, although I do have working hard-sector drives, I've
    played with replacing them with ordinary 5 1/4 drives with no success.

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any reason why a Panasonic
    (for example) 360K drive can't work with a hard-sector controller, and
    if so, why not? It's not just a jumper issue by any chance?

    mike


  15. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Fri, 14 Sep 2007 14:33:37 -0700, MikeS wrote:

    >On Sep 13, 9:14 pm, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:
    >> > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    >> > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    >> > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    >> > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    >> > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    >> > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    >>
    >> Andrew,
    >>
    >> I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    >> also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    >> being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?
    >>
    >> De

    >----------------
    >I also have a couple of Vector systems and various diskettes, although
    >I'm not concerned enough about archiving (other than making copies on
    >the Vector) to get a Catweasel at this point; the discussion interests
    >me though.
    >
    >On a related note, although I do have working hard-sector drives, I've
    >played with replacing them with ordinary 5 1/4 drives with no success.
    >
    >Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any reason why a Panasonic
    >(for example) 360K drive can't work with a hard-sector controller, and
    >if so, why not? It's not just a jumper issue by any chance?


    No reason whatsoever, I used them with my NS* and they works well.
    I don't even think it's a jumper problem other than setting drive
    select.

    Allison


  16. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    no.spam@no.uce.bellatlantic.net wrote:

    (someone wrote)

    >>Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any reason why a Panasonic
    >>(for example) 360K drive can't work with a hard-sector controller, and
    >>if so, why not? It's not just a jumper issue by any chance?


    > No reason whatsoever, I used them with my NS* and they works well.
    > I don't even think it's a jumper problem other than setting drive
    > select.


    I can't think of any reason, either. The drive generates a pulse
    on the INDEX line when the hole goes by. It doesn't care how many
    there are. You should have a terminator on the last drive, and
    not on earlier ones, but it will probably work even if you don't.

    Drive select is important, and some number from 0, others
    starting with 1.

    -- glen


  17. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 14, 5:33 pm, MikeS wrote:
    > On Sep 13, 9:14 pm, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:> > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    > > > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    > > > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    > > > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    > > > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    > > > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    >
    > > Andrew,

    >
    > > I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    > > also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    > > being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?

    >
    > > De

    >
    > ----------------
    > I also have a couple of Vector systems and various diskettes, although
    > I'm not concerned enough about archiving (other than making copies on
    > the Vector) to get a Catweasel at this point; the discussion interests
    > me though.
    >
    > On a related note, although I do have working hard-sector drives, I've
    > played with replacing them with ordinary 5 1/4 drives with no success.
    >
    > Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any reason why a Panasonic
    > (for example) 360K drive can't work with a hard-sector controller, and
    > if so, why not? It's not just a jumper issue by any chance?
    >
    > mike


    Mike

    Well, its not that simple. Yes, it is possible that a regular drive,
    especially a relatively new and sophisticated one, is not compatible
    with a hard sector disk. I found this out the hard way while building
    my CW station during the initial CWNS testing. My drive worked fine
    with soft sector disks but I was having problems reading the hard
    sector disks. A friend told me to use my oscilloscope and see if the
    index/sector holes were appearing on the index pin on the floppy drive
    connector. Sure enough, the floppy drive was "eating" hard sector
    pulses.

    Apparently, some recent 5.25" drives and especially 1.2MB HD drives
    will only work with soft sector disks and refuse to pass the multiple
    index pulses present with a hard sector disk. I believe it confuses
    the disk into thinking it has a much higher RPM than allowable and the
    electronics package thinks it has failed or not initialized properly.

    The only way to fix this problem I know of is to actually use your
    oscilloscope and see if the index/sector pulses are showing up on the
    pin at the floppy disk connector (pin 8). If your pulses are not
    showing up you'll have to replace the drive with a different kind. I
    had this exact problem where the floppy drive worked fine with soft
    sector disks but refused to pass hard sector index pulses. I had to
    replace the drive with one that did pass the hard sector pulses.

    I swear, I would have never suspected that for happening if I hadn't
    seen it with my own oscilloscope and two eyes.

    Best of luck with you project.

    Andrew Lynch


  18. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Sep 14, 3:59 am, glen herrmannsfeldt wrote:
    > lync...@yahoo.com wrote:
    >
    > (snip)
    >
    > > I *think* it would be possible to make a plain "bit dump" of the
    > > arbitrary hard sector floppy disk into the DMK format. However to get
    > > anything useful the specific rules would have to be written to get it
    > > to actually find and decode Vector sectors. It really is not that
    > > hard to do though. My original approach was for two programs: one
    > > that made the raw bit dump of the hard sector disk into the DMK image
    > > format and another which decoded the DMK image into useful NorthStar
    > > sectors and tracks.

    >
    > I have thought for a while now, someone should connect a floppy
    > drive to a fast digitizer, such that one could read the data
    > off a track, and do any desired processing later. That should
    > be enough to allow for any format with enough documentation.
    >
    > -- glen


    Glen,

    That is pretty much exactly what a Catweasel already does. It samples
    the floppy disk at various user selectable frequencies and builds an
    image of the track somewhat like a digitizing sampler would do for an
    audio tape. When you look at the output of the CW you can see the
    long and short magnetic transition pulses of an FM signal and the
    long, medium, and short pulses of an MFM signal. You see the clock
    bits, data bits, noise, preindex marks, preaddress marks, index holes,
    sector holes, etc -- whatever is on the disk (or not). I do not think
    there is a signal you could generate with a floppy disk drive that the
    Catweasel couldn't read!

    It is a rather strange way to think about a floppy disk but once I got
    my brain around the concept now I wish every FDC was a Catweasel.
    They are truly amazing devices. I think they are inexpensive and
    invaluable tools in recovering vintage computer data. You can get a
    PCI MkIV for $125 US or an ISA MkI for $65 or so. Missing, corrupted,
    or erroroneous sectors can't hide their secrets from a Catweasel! I
    think it is too bad more people aren't getting them and writing the
    decoder software for their favorite vintage formats.

    Writing the "raw bit dump" program for hard sector disks is fairly
    easy to do. Its the writing the format decoder which is the hard
    part. Especially one that is error tolerant and robust. Mine is
    taking a while to get to work properly but apparently Jim Battle wrote
    one for the PTDOS on the Helios for the SOL 20 which works well.

    http://www.sol20.org/ptdos.html

    Best of luck with your project and have a nice day!

    Andrew Lynch



  19. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    On Fri, 14 Sep 2007 18:48:43 -0700, lynchaj@yahoo.com wrote:

    >On Sep 14, 5:33 pm, MikeS wrote:
    >> On Sep 13, 9:14 pm, d...@ihatespam.msu.edu (Dennis Boone) wrote:> > I have built a prototype disk imaging tool for making disk images for
    >> > > use in the Dave Dunfield Northstar Horizon simulator (which also runs
    >> > > CP/M) using a generic PC with a Catweasel. The tool is now working
    >> > > but is not ready for release. If you are interested in testing or
    >> > > developing please contact me. Here is a sample of output produced by
    >> > > the tool of a vintage disk from 1985:

    >>
    >> > Andrew,

    >>
    >> > I trying to collect enough tools to image some Vector disks which are
    >> > also hard-sectored. Do you have any idea how close your tool comes to
    >> > being able to read arbitrary hard-sector floppies?

    >>
    >> > De

    >>
    >> ----------------
    >> I also have a couple of Vector systems and various diskettes, although
    >> I'm not concerned enough about archiving (other than making copies on
    >> the Vector) to get a Catweasel at this point; the discussion interests
    >> me though.
    >>
    >> On a related note, although I do have working hard-sector drives, I've
    >> played with replacing them with ordinary 5 1/4 drives with no success.
    >>
    >> Maybe this is a dumb question, but is there any reason why a Panasonic
    >> (for example) 360K drive can't work with a hard-sector controller, and
    >> if so, why not? It's not just a jumper issue by any chance?
    >>
    >> mike

    >
    >Mike
    >
    >Well, its not that simple. Yes, it is possible that a regular drive,
    >especially a relatively new and sophisticated one, is not compatible
    >with a hard sector disk. I found this out the hard way while building
    >my CW station during the initial CWNS testing. My drive worked fine
    >with soft sector disks but I was having problems reading the hard
    >sector disks. A friend told me to use my oscilloscope and see if the
    >index/sector holes were appearing on the index pin on the floppy drive
    >connector. Sure enough, the floppy drive was "eating" hard sector
    >pulses.
    >
    >Apparently, some recent 5.25" drives and especially 1.2MB HD drives
    >will only work with soft sector disks and refuse to pass the multiple
    >index pulses present with a hard sector disk. I believe it confuses
    >the disk into thinking it has a much higher RPM than allowable and the
    >electronics package thinks it has failed or not initialized properly.
    >
    >The only way to fix this problem I know of is to actually use your
    >oscilloscope and see if the index/sector pulses are showing up on the
    >pin at the floppy disk connector (pin 8). If your pulses are not
    >showing up you'll have to replace the drive with a different kind. I
    >had this exact problem where the floppy drive worked fine with soft
    >sector disks but refused to pass hard sector index pulses. I had to
    >replace the drive with one that did pass the hard sector pulses.
    >
    >I swear, I would have never suspected that for happening if I hadn't
    >seen it with my own oscilloscope and two eyes.
    >
    >Best of luck with you project.
    >
    >Andrew Lynch


    So your about to tell me that the FD55GFV that I'm using in a NS* with
    MDS controller isn't working? It may be a specific drive and model
    has a problem but you didn't specify. Please specify.

    I'll be specific. I have tried most every 48tpi and many 96 tpi drive
    ever used in a DEC system, PC and other CP/M soft sector systems
    on my NS* MDS (both the SD and DD controller) with 100% success.
    The only caveat is RX50 (two spindles and one head positioner)
    was only useful as a single drive and many drives are too LONG
    to fit in the NS* slots but will function.

    List includes but is limited to 5.25" as thats the only size I have
    10sector media for.

    Panasonic (all 5.25" 48tpi and 96tpi that are NOT 1.2MB only)
    All TEAC FD55xxx series
    Mitsumi 48tpi drives (360k)
    Newtronics (other than one jumperless 1.2mb _only_ drive)
    Toshiba (all)
    All Shugarts.

    I may even have forgotton a few.

    Allison

  20. Re: Making disk images of NorthStar CP/M disks with Catweasel

    >>Apparently, some recent 5.25" drives and especially 1.2MB HD drives
    >>will only work with soft sector disks and refuse to pass the multiple
    >>index pulses present with a hard sector disk. I believe it confuses
    >>the disk into thinking it has a much higher RPM than allowable and the
    >>electronics package thinks it has failed or not initialized properly.


    >So your about to tell me that the FD55GFV that I'm using in a NS* with
    >MDS controller isn't working? It may be a specific drive and model
    >has a problem but you didn't specify. Please specify.


    Nice drive and it works "most everywhere" - but I'll back up Andrew
    in that I've encountered at least one (I think it was HD) drive that
    would not come ready with hard-sectored disks, even when spinning
    at 300rpm. I've also had reports in supporting ImageDisk where people
    had drives which would not work SD (the mainboard was known to
    support SD and it worked with a different drive). Not all drives are
    created equal (and it seems in the PC world, some are a lot less
    "equal" than others).

    Dave

    --
    dave06a@ Low-cost firmware development tools: www.dunfield.com
    dunfield. Classic computer collection: www.classiccmp.org/dunfield
    com Some stuff I have for sale: www.dunfield.com/sale


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