[vcf-midatlantic] How To Geek article on floppy data recovery

Mike Loewen mloewen at cpumagic.scol.pa.us
Sun May 3 01:11:29 EDT 2020

On Sat, 2 May 2020, Jeffrey Brace via vcf-midatlantic wrote:

> Part of my charm is simplicity.  It often inspires discussion. One thing I
> was hoping was for people to chime in on the fact that there are vintage
> computer enthusiasts that have the original machines and artifacts to
> retrieve from floppies instead of modern emulators and devices.

    In my opinion, any serious vintage computer hobbyist should have a 
dedicated "media" system for archiving data and creating new media for vintage 
systems. For my imaging system I'm using an Abit KV8PRO motherboard, with an 
Athlon CPU, onboard 10/100/1000 ethernet, 1 AGP 8X/4X slot, 5 PCI slots, SATA 
and IDE drive support, and 4 USB ports.  The onboard floppy controller will 
handle all formats except 128 byte/sector MFM.  I haven't run across anything 
yet that uses that format.  I also have a Catweasel MK4+ for things that Dave 
Dunfields's IMD or the native floppy controller won't handle.  I have the 
motherboard installed in a full size tower case, with lots of places to mount 
drives. I also installed a SCSI interface for lots of other drive options.

    For the moment, I have to recable the drives for different media. For 
5-1/4", I connect the 360K and 1.2M drives. For 3-1/2" I have a 1.44M drive. 
For 8" I use a Tandon TM-848 DS drive in an external case, connected via a "D 
Bit" FDADAP adapter board.


    On this system I mostly run Linux and FreeDOS. When using Imagedisk (IMD), 
I'll boot FreeDOS to read and write diskettes. To transfer the images to/from 
my server, I'll boot into Linux and mount the FreeDOS drive. I suppose I could 
try to get FreeDOS on the net, but I haven't bothered.

    I'm not into the older Apple GCR format diskettes, but the Catweasel will 
handle them if necessary. For my TRS-80 and CP/M work, this system handles 
just about anything I need. For some of the weird TRS-80 stuff, I can run 
David Keil's Model 1 or Model 4 emulator under FreeDOS and directly access the 
floppy drives.

    My point: use the right tool for the job. It's not difficult to put 
together a system to handle your media conversion needs, and you won't be 
dependent on other hobbyists for boot disks.

Mike Loewen				mloewen at cpumagic.scol.pa.us
Old Technology				http://q7.neurotica.com/Oldtech/

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