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800k floppy read-write with Greaseweazel + FluxEngine = Success!

Andrew

Active member
Hello all,

just wanted to say I had success in reading and writing 800k disks for my mac.

Of course credits go to the developers of the above programs.

I am more than happy to make a simple guide if there is interest.

thumbnail_IMG_3472D (1).jpg

 

Andrew

Active member
I used what Greaseweazel project refers to as the F1 "direct-connection" board. It is a STM32F103C8T6 chip also known as bluepill. However, I was not able to source this blue pill board locally, so I used another one (no name) which has the same chip. The pinouts are located elsewhere on the board, but the functionality is the same.

I did not use the recommended firmware upgrade process (https://github.com/keirf/Greaseweazle/wiki/Firmware-Programming) because I did not have the special ST link programmer. However I was able to program it via a generic usb serial (3.3V) adapter I had, together with a programmer called STM32CubeProgrammer.

Also, through trial and error I found out that the latest g/w firmware 24 does not work with fluxengine, instead we need to use 2.2.

At this point I am trying to figure out how to write custom mini vmac images, as these do not have a header, and fluxengine is complaining about this. Diskcopy 4.2 images that I downloaded from the internet worked fine

 
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sambapati87

Well-known member
Just want to say that's great! I've always known it to be "impossible" to write 800k floppies for Mac from anything but another Mac drive.

 

Torbar

Well-known member
I ordered some PCBs for this project(rather than doing the direct wiring method) which should be here within the next week or 2, so if anyone is interested in a blank PCB or 2 for a few bucks shipped(within the US), let me know

 

erichelgeson

Well-known member
Got my boards from @Torbar
and got it setup. Seems to read the few disks I tried fine, will be trying a few bad disks I couldn't read in my Mac and see if I can salvage the files.

PXL_20210217_184011379.jpg

 

Andrew

Active member
Got my boards from @Torbar
and got it setup. Seems to read the few disks I tried fine, will be trying a few bad disks I couldn't read in my Mac and see if I can salvage the files.
That's great. I hope you get good results. I found that the Mac drive is better at reading. E.g. when reading some disks with this setup I might get a few bad sectors, whereas the Mac drive can make an image just fine.

But nevertheless it gives more choices which is great.

 
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erichelgeson

Well-known member
I found that the Mac drive is better at reading
Oh, I was not aware of this - for connecting a mac floppy do you need a straight through cable or with the twist? how does power work?

Had good results reading 1.44 disks, but no 800k's have worked so far in fluxengine or gw - though I've only spent a few minutes on it so far.

 

erichelgeson

Well-known member
Sorry I meant a Mac floppy drive operating in an actual Mac!
Ahh! makes more sense :) what command do you use to read 800k disks? Also I have a bunch of notes i'll post here later as setup is not "simple" - just a lot of things to setup

 

Andrew

Active member
Ahh! makes more sense :) what command do you use to read 800k disks? Also I have a bunch of notes i'll post here later as setup is not "simple" - just a lot of things to setup


It is the same command as 1.44MB disks. I think it reads the right format from the diskcopy header.

The command is 


fluxengine write mac -i mac.diskcopy



and relevant information can be found here http://cowlark.com/fluxengine/doc/disk-macintosh.html

 

Andrew

Active member
@erichelgeson The label on it says Sony, model: MPF820-E. I pulled it off of an old computer.

do you get an error? Do you have problem reading or writing?

 
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erichelgeson

Well-known member
I have a good 800k disk I formatted on my real mac and put a file or two on to test. I just get a bunch of failures to read tracks - same disk works fine in a real mac. Reading 1.44 disks are fine - recovered a few things already. Someone on the forum mentioned this model had issues with 800k disks too. The Sony & Samsung seem to be validated working.

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Andrew

Active member
Make sure you tape the hole if the disk is hd.

also, i. The beginning i also had same issues like you, then I cleaned the heads of the floppy, and steadily the bad sector problem started to go away

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
I've started doing this for archiving 800k floppies now; can confirm that I've had luck with a Sony MPF920 (just out of an old PC) and a greaseweazle f7. Going to stick it in an external USB enclosure now... Thankyou @Andrew for passing this technique on :)
 
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