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Catweasel, are they still available or is there an alternative

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  • corey986
    to hooking up an 8 disk drive to make hard sector images and restore images? Thanks, Corey
    Message 1 of 26 , Apr 23 8:42 AM
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      to hooking up an 8" disk drive to make hard sector images and restore images?


      Thanks,

      Corey

    • Systems Glitch
      ... You can use the host machine that the drives/controller are intended to work with, if it s in working order. It s not too difficult to hack together a
      Message 2 of 26 , Apr 23 8:53 AM
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        > to hooking up an 8" disk drive to make hard sector images and restore images?

        You can use the host machine that the drives/controller are intended to work with, if it's in working order. It's not too difficult to hack together a method to dump disk data into memory and copy it off to something else. That's how Dave Dunfield's North Star Transfer works.

        Thanks,
        Jonathan
      • corey986
        Actually, I wanted to have a generic system that can do vintage 8 disks and eventually 5 1/4. I want to start archiving everything I get my hands on as
        Message 3 of 26 , Apr 23 9:21 AM
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          Actually, I wanted to have a generic system that can do vintage 8" disks and eventually 5 1/4.   I want to start  archiving everything I get my hands on as this stuff ages, so much software is lost...

          Cheers,
          Corey
        • Kelly Leavitt
          I sent a query to Jens about the new Mk4 plus asking if more were to be built. I will relay any response. There are still ISA versions listed as being
          Message 4 of 26 , Apr 23 9:28 AM
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            I sent a query to Jens about the "new" Mk4 plus asking if more were to be built. I will relay any response. There are still ISA versions listed as being available on the Individual Computers index (http://www.jschoenfeld.com/home/indexe.htm)


            Kelly

          • retro
            ... Dave Dunfield has done more than just write one disk-transfer program. He offers a suite of programs and a generic program for vintage and oddball disk
            Message 5 of 26 , Apr 23 9:28 AM
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              > > Catweasel, are they still available or is there an alternative
              > > to hooking up an 8" disk drive to make hard sector images and restore
              > images? Actually, I wanted to have a generic system that can do vintage
              > 8" disks and eventually 5 1/4. I want to start archiving everything
              > I get my hands on as this stuff ages, so much software is lost...

              On 4/23/2014 11:53 AM, Systems Glitch wrote:

              > You can use the host machine that the drives/controller are intended to
              > work with, if it's in working order. It's not too difficult to hack
              > together a method to dump disk data into memory and copy it off to
              > something else. That's how Dave Dunfield's North Star Transfer works.

              Dave Dunfield has done more than just write one disk-transfer program.
              He offers a suite of programs and a generic program for "vintage" and
              oddball disk format recovery.

              http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

              He has a general program - imagedisk - that manages disk images and
              can run a classic PC's floppy controller under MS-DOS to read and write
              those images in their original soft-sectored format. He describes how to
              wire an 8-inch drive to a PC.

              And, for classic systems with hard-sectored or other formats that are
              not readable by PC floppy controllers, he has written a number of
              special-purpose utilities. Those are downloaded into the original
              system, to operate that systems' controller, to read/write disks, while
              transfering by serial the imaged disk to/from a classic PC.

              So, for a system not "covered" by Dave's utilities, someone can use
              those other transfer programs as models and codes to write their own
              version. And then, make both those tools and the system images available
              to anyone else, who can find a vintage PC and run MS-DOS on it. (Pretty
              common still.)

              Why "MS-DOS"? He did his work in the 1990's. Also, MS-DOS does not get
              in the way of running the floppy controller, as would Windows or Linux
              (might). His decades-old programs don't need revisions with changes of
              OS's. Disk images can be transferred by 1.44" floppy disk to modern
              machines (no need to network a 486 computer to your desktop/laptop).
              Tedious, but so is an 8-inch drive.

              Why not just write your own programs? Then you lose the use of imagedisk
              and its tools, and the standard format of IMG disk images which anyone
              else could use to recreate the disks you save as images. Other programs,
              like emulators, use IMG formats to import and export files and disk images.

              The "Catweasel" has its merits, and when there's no vintage hardware
              available may be a choice to read some diskettes in less-popular
              low-level formats. The "technology" it needs for use, is relatively
              unfamiliar to me, so I won't make any case for or against it. Use of it
              seems to be specific and software for it seems to be a from a collection
              of individuals and less cohesive than Dunfield's work. Availability
              seems sporadic. Other people may have more to say.

              The alternative, seems to be various microcontroller products; some
              substitute for diskette drives, some are floppy drive controllers as the
              Catweasel (in a PC) is. These seem to come and go; some may be more
              supported and more available than others. Few outright support 8-inch
              drives but can be adapted to that; they may not be able to read the
              original disks and most aren't hard-sector compatible.

              I have a Web page about this, but I've already summarized it here.
              There's several pages on my Web site around this topic; Google or other
              search engines will find them.

              HErb

              --
              Herbert R. Johnson
              http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
            • billdeg
              I think I posted a link to my latest work on the catweasel http://vintagecomputer.net/browse_thread.cfm?id=561
              Message 6 of 26 , Apr 23 10:07 AM
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                I think I posted a link to my latest work on the catweasel
                ..but there is again.

                for fun I built an 8" MS DOS boot disk that I can use to boot directly into an 8" drive-driven system for that work.

                Herb has a very comprehensive set of pages that discuss drives and imaging from many angles.  He includes links.  This is an excellent place to start if you want some background.  Kelly and I did an imaging class for VCF 8
                and you can also download Malcolm's presentation from this VCF

                At this stage I can image most every soft-sectored disk format I have tried.  I am working on hard-sectored disks now.  Andrew Lynch seems to have tackled the problem but I have not contacted him to ask about his work.  

                Catweasel and 8" drives are not a flawless combo, so far I prefer the Dunfield utilities for 8" drives, It may be that I need to do more experimentation to find the best way.  Dunfield utilities (directly from the on-mobo controller) seem to be a little better.  I am making notes of the settings that the Dunfield drive detect utilities return so I can apply to the Catweasel.

                Third - Adding a Quad density drive to the mix will add capabilities.  I think these need to be set to spoof a 720K 3.5 drive.

                This is not a plug and play thing.  
              • Mike Loewen
                ... I ve been using Dave Dunfield s Imagedisk (IMD) utility for years to archive and recover diskettes, including 8 . I also have a Catweasel MK4+ for things
                Message 7 of 26 , Apr 23 10:29 AM
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                  On Wed, 23 Apr 2014, corey986 wrote:

                  > Actually, I wanted to have a generic system that can do vintage 8" disks
                  > and eventually 5 1/4. I want to start archiving everything I get my
                  > hands on as this stuff ages, so much software is lost...

                  I've been using Dave Dunfield's Imagedisk (IMD) utility for years to
                  archive and recover diskettes, including 8". I also have a Catweasel MK4+
                  for things that IMD or the native floppy controller won't handle.
                  There's a list of IMD "compatible" motherboards and chipsets on Dave's
                  site, but it's not completely accurate. For example, I had been using an
                  Abit KT7A motherboard (on the list) for some time, until I discovered it
                  wouldn't handle single-density (250Kbps FM). I've since moved to an Abit
                  KV8PRO, which handles everything except 128 byte sector MFM, which hardly
                  anything uses.

                  The KV8PRO takes an Athlon CPU, with onboard 10/100/1000 ethernet, 1
                  AGP 8X/4X slot, 5 PCI slots, SATA and IDE drive support, and 4 USB ports.


                  Mike Loewen mloewen@...
                  Old Technology http://sturgeon.css.psu.edu/~mloewen/Oldtech/
                • Systems Glitch
                  ... Indeed, for most of your vintage computer disk needs, Dave s set of utilities will do a great job. I keep an industrial ISA system around with an Adaptec
                  Message 8 of 26 , Apr 23 10:41 AM
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                    > Dave Dunfield has done more than just write one disk-transfer program.
                    > He offers a suite of programs and a generic program for "vintage" and
                    > oddball disk format recovery.
                    >
                    > http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/index.htm

                    Indeed, for most of your vintage computer disk needs, Dave's set of utilities will do a great job. I keep an industrial ISA system around with an Adaptec AHA-1542 SCSI card for ImageDisk -- the Adaptec card supports SSSD disks and 128 byte sectors. The only hard-sectored format I currently work with is North Star, so NST on the same machine does the trick.

                    Fortunately, the ImageDisk format is well-documented, which makes it easy for custom utilities to be compatible. One such example is the Cromemco bare-metal bootstrap utility I'm working on. It's not much more difficult to read ImageDisk images than raw binary images.

                    Thanks,
                    Jonathan
                  • Kelly Leavitt
                    I agree with most folks. If you re imaging basic soft sectored stuff, look at Dave Dunfield s tools. His N* and related tools are also very useful. For Apple
                    Message 9 of 26 , Apr 23 10:49 AM
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                      I agree with most folks. If you're imaging basic soft sectored stuff, look at Dave Dunfield's tools. His N* and related tools are also very useful. For Apple ][ I use ADT. My primary "imaging" machine is a 12 slot industrial back-plane with a PIII SBC that handles mixed formats (SS/SD 128k) up to DS/HD. DS/QD (think Tandy 2000 in my case) disks are imaged using a DS/HD drive and ImageDisk or the catweasel. The images I've written back out do work.

                      I still use the catweasel for a lot of images. If I can't make an image with ImageDisk, I use Tim Mann's tools and get as much as I can, write it back out then read with ImageDisk.

                      Here is the response from Individual Computers about the catweasel (please note this is all preliminary):

                      Thank you for your request. The Catweasel MK4 and MK4plus are sold out and won't be manufactured any more. Reason is that we don't have 64-bit drivers, and development would be more expensive than the current concept for the Catweasel MK5, which will support multiple operating systems including any flavour of Windows, Linux and Mac OS.

                      The new MK5 concept will remove a few features. The MK5 is a pure data access/recovery device, and it will focus on all the problems that one might need to solve over the course of recovering data from magnetic media, or writing data back to such old media. The functions that I have added starting with the MK3 design (Amiga keyboard, C64 SID and retro-joystick connectors) have nothing to do with data recovery, but were aimed at the emulation community. These will probably be put into a separate product, but not into the Catweasel MK5.

                      I'll let you know as soon as we have the first public technical data for the Catweasel MK5.

                      Kelly
                    • retro
                      ... Thanks for the update about their PCI bus products. But why do they apparently offer a Catweasel ISA card - is it for Amiga ISA-based systems? Looks like
                      Message 10 of 26 , Apr 23 11:36 AM
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                        On 4/23/2014 1:49 PM, Kelly Leavitt wrote:
                        > I agree with most folks. If you're imaging basic soft sectored stuff,
                        > look at Dave Dunfield's tools. His N* and related tools are also very
                        > useful. For Apple ][ I use ADT. My primary "imaging" machine is a 12
                        > slot industrial back-plane with a PIII SBC that handles mixed formats
                        > (SS/SD 128k) up to DS/HD. DS/QD (think Tandy 2000 in my case) disks are
                        > imaged using a DS/HD drive and ImageDisk or the catweasel. The images
                        > I've written back out do work.
                        >
                        > I still use the catweasel for a lot of images. If I can't make an image
                        > with ImageDisk, I use Tim Mann's [catweasel] tools
                        > and get as much as I can, write
                        > it back out then read with ImageDisk.
                        >
                        > Here is the response from Individual Computers about the catweasel
                        > (please note this is all preliminary):

                        Thanks for the update about their PCI bus products. But why do they
                        apparently offer a Catweasel ISA card - is it for Amiga ISA-based
                        systems? Looks like their PC code support for it ended in 2000.

                        Herb

                        --
                        Herbert R. Johnson
                        http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
                      • billdeg
                        I m thinking they still offer this because they still have unsold units in stock.
                        Message 11 of 26 , Apr 23 12:32 PM
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                          I'm thinking they still offer this because they still have unsold units in stock.
                        • billdeg
                          To clarify..duh of course they d only offer something in stock...what I mean is they still have the old ones they could not sell for the past 10 years. Better
                          Message 12 of 26 , Apr 23 12:43 PM
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                            To clarify..duh of course they'd only offer something in stock...what I mean is they still have the old ones they could not sell for the past 10 years.  Better to go with the adaptec scsi card jon described a post or two ago if you can't find a catweasel.  
                          • joshbensadon
                            Recently I put together a system to read disks. It uses a logic analyzer to record the pulses to a data file on the PC, and a PIC chip to spin the drive and
                            Message 13 of 26 , Apr 24 8:04 AM
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                              Recently I put together a system to read disks.  It uses a logic analyzer to record the pulses to a data file on the PC, and a PIC chip to spin the drive and step the head.  I did this because I wanted to read Apple DOS 3.2 and 3.3 disks.  Dave Dunfields program only works with the NEC 765 type chips (which covers the majority of disks).  Well, my system to read Apple disks works fine, it can read any disk if someone wanted to write more software for it.  The software I wrote for it, shows a nice graphical display of the pulses (oscillioscope style) then translates the pulses to bits on the next line, and to bytes on the 3rd line.  You can manually edit the bits if you see an error, or do a brute force attack to find the right bits if the checksum is bad.

                              If I had known about Catweasel, I would have used it and gone for rewriting it's code to work with the Apple DOS 3.2 disks (I believe it already does Apple DOS 3.3).  That's assuming I can even find a board?

                              It can easily be built from scratch if someone had the schematics and source code software.  I haven't gone looking for it, tied up at the moment.

                              Cheers,
                              Josh Bensadon
                            • dougmemphis
                              FAIL! I tried to get an AHA-1542 board off ebay and bought one without the floppy connector by mistake. There are a lot of 1542 variants- do they all share the
                              Message 14 of 26 , Apr 29 6:40 AM
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                                FAIL!
                                I tried to get an AHA-1542 board off ebay and bought one
                                without the floppy connector by mistake.
                                There are a lot of 1542 variants- do they all share the
                                same floppy support (assuming the chips and connector
                                are populated!)
                                Thanks
                              • Systems Glitch
                                ... No, the later 1542 (much smaller board, mostly surface mount) uses a different controller. The 1522 is the PIO version and AFAIK all of the 1522s with
                                Message 15 of 26 , Apr 29 6:50 AM
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                                  > There are a lot of 1542 variants- do they all share the
                                  > same floppy support (assuming the chips and connector
                                  > are populated!)

                                  No, the later 1542 (much smaller board, mostly surface mount) uses a different controller. The 1522 is the PIO version and AFAIK all of the 1522s with floppy controllers have controllers that support 128 byte sectors and FM encoding.

                                  Specifically, you want a controller with the National Semiconductor.

                                  Thanks,
                                  Jonathan
                                • billdeg
                                  Malcolm s PDF from his class states that the AHA 1522A is his board of choice for imaging. Side note - I seem to have been able to image Apple II disks, but
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Apr 29 6:51 AM
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                                    Malcolm's PDF from his class states that the AHA 1522A is his board of choice for imaging.

                                    Side note - I seem to have been able to image Apple II disks, but not write back to a floppy. Not surprised, but I was curious as to what the image looks like under the debug microscope.  Maybe there is a way to convert the 5/3 tracks somehow.  I see now why everyone goes ADT.

                                    b
                                  • David Riley
                                    ... PC floppy controllers can t do GCR; the flux transition pattern isn t valid FM or MFM. The only controllers I know of off the top of my head that can do
                                    Message 17 of 26 , Apr 29 7:21 AM
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                                      On Apr 29, 2014, at 9:51, billdeg <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                       

                                      Malcolm's PDF from his class states that the AHA 1522A is his board of choice for imaging.


                                      Side note - I seem to have been able to image Apple II disks, but not write back to a floppy. Not surprised, but I was curious as to what the image looks like under the debug microscope.  Maybe there is a way to convert the 5/3 tracks somehow.  I see now why everyone goes ADT.

                                      PC floppy controllers can't do GCR; the flux transition pattern isn't valid FM or MFM. The only controllers I know of off the top of my head that can do that are Apple's SWIM controllers in HD-floppy Macs (Apple's 400k/800k format is pretty much the same as their 5.25" floppies) and custom flux-transition recorders like on the KryoFlux and similar (does Catweasel operate the same way?).

                                      When you say you "imaged" them, did you actually get a usable image out? That would surprise me very much indeed.

                                      - Dave
                                    • joshbensadon
                                      Dave, Why would it surprise you to get a good image from Apple Disks? I ve been able to get good images from both 5/3 and 6/2 Apple DOS disks, and I m just an
                                      Message 18 of 26 , Apr 29 8:33 AM
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                                        Dave,

                                         

                                        Why would it surprise you to get a good image from Apple Disks?

                                         

                                        I've been able to get good images from both 5/3 and 6/2 Apple DOS disks, and I'm just an amateur when it comes to vintage computers.

                                         

                                        I will say the drive you use has to be in good working order.

                                         

                                        Regards,

                                        Josh Bensadon

                                         

                                      • billdeg
                                        there are scant examples that I can find that take a catweasel image of an Apple /// disk, that can be re-written to a floppy. Do tell! Can you read the
                                        Message 19 of 26 , Apr 29 8:51 AM
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                                          there are scant examples that I can find that take a catweasel image of an Apple /// disk, that can be re-written to a floppy.  Do tell!  Can you read the image I've uploaded an copy to a fresh disk, using a catweasel card-laden system?
                                        • billdeg
                                          Note - I can debug the image and see the 12 tracks/10 sectors/bits within on both sides of the disk. So, in theory all I would need is a way to correctly
                                          Message 20 of 26 , Apr 29 9:18 AM
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                                            Note - I can debug the image and see the 12 tracks/10 sectors/bits within on both sides of the disk.  So, in theory all I would need is a way to correctly write them to the Apple disk.  I am running DOS and Windows 2000 dual boot system, I could add a flavor of Linux as well if need be.  If anyone is interested in working on this with me, feel free to contact me privately through vintagecomputer.net/contact.cfm
                                            Bill (not Dave) 
                                          • dougmemphis
                                            Any one know the variants with the National Semi chip? There s 1542 boards with models C, CR, CP, etc I saw someones success with the CP model so I got that
                                            Message 21 of 26 , Apr 29 9:47 AM
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                                              Any one know the variants with the National Semi chip?
                                              There's 1542 boards with models C, CR, CP, etc
                                              I saw someones success with the CP model so I got that
                                              only I didn't figure that a CP would come with or without
                                              the floppy stuff populated!
                                            • Malcolm Macleod
                                              ... Dave Dunfield’s site has a registry showing the imaging capabilities of various floppy controllers -
                                              Message 22 of 26 , Apr 29 3:49 PM
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                                                >From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of billdeg
                                                >
                                                >Malcolm's PDF from his class states that the AHA 1522A is his board of choice for imaging.
                                                >

                                                Dave Dunfield’s site has a registry showing the imaging capabilities of various floppy controllers -> http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img54306/pcfdc.txt

                                                I like the AHA-1522A because it is still fairly easy to obtain, and it will do SD and DD (including DD 128 byte sectors) at all 3 data rates (250, 300 & 500 kbps).

                                                Dave’s registry shows that:

                                                * The AHA-1542B will do SD, DD & DD/128 at 250kpbs, but has not been tested at 300 or 500kpbs rates. This means that it should work fine for imaging most vintage 5.25" disks (but not GCR, and not HD) in a standard 35- or 40-track 300 RPM 5.25" (non-HD) drive. It is unclear whether it will work with 5.25" HD or any 8" drives. My guess is that it probably will.

                                                * The AHA-1542CF will do SD & DD at all 3 data rates, but won’t do DD/128 at any data rate. This shouldn’t be a significant limitation – not many systems seem to use 128 byte DD sectors. I’ve only found one so far – an obscure CP/M disk with 52 x 128 byte DD sectors.

                                                Note that I’ve not tested either of the above 1542 cards. I’d be interested in any other AHA-xxxx results that people generate.

                                                Malcolm.
                                              • billdeg
                                                Follow up to the catweasel thread that drifted into a discussion of the Adaptec 1522A referenced in Malcolm s presentation doc online...I found and ordered a
                                                Message 23 of 26 , May 3, 2014
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                                                  Follow up to the catweasel thread that drifted into a discussion of the Adaptec 1522A referenced in Malcolm's presentation doc online...I found and ordered a 1522A board for $15 and it arrived today...It's the right board but it's missing half of the components including the 34-pin connector and electronics related to the non SCSI drive control-ing.  Bummer, I did not think that could happen, I assumed they were all the same.  Probably not worth attempting to track down all of the parts.

                                                  My advice to anyone who orders these, make sure they are complete 1522A boards.  It's clear from the board that the seller did not remove the components, instead Adaptec apparently shipped some complete and some partially complete based on the OEM or whatever.  The component slots are on the board, they're simply unpopulated.

                                                  Bill
                                                • Dave McGuire
                                                  ... Back when they were new, these could be purchased with or without the floppy controller. Most of the boards in that series were available either way.
                                                  Message 24 of 26 , May 3, 2014
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                                                    On 05/03/2014 08:19 PM, billdeg wrote:
                                                    > Follow up to the catweasel thread that drifted into a discussion of the
                                                    > Adaptec 1522A referenced in Malcolm's presentation doc online...I found
                                                    > and ordered a 1522A board for $15 and it arrived today...It's the right
                                                    > board but it's missing half of the components including the 34-pin
                                                    > connector and electronics related to the non SCSI drive control-ing.
                                                    > Bummer, I did not think that could happen, I assumed they were all the
                                                    > same. Probably not worth attempting to track down all of the parts.
                                                    >
                                                    > My advice to anyone who orders these, make sure they are complete 1522A
                                                    > boards. It's clear from the board that the seller did not remove the
                                                    > components, instead Adaptec apparently shipped some complete and some
                                                    > partially complete based on the OEM or whatever. The component slots
                                                    > are on the board, they're simply unpopulated.

                                                    Back when they were new, these could be purchased with or without the
                                                    floppy controller. Most of the boards in that series were available
                                                    either way.

                                                    -Dave

                                                    --
                                                    Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
                                                    New Kensington, PA
                                                  • billdeg
                                                    Closer inspection shows the full part number is FGT1522A - does not have the floppy controller AHA1522A - does have the floppy controller. Buy only the AHA
                                                    Message 25 of 26 , May 3, 2014
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                                                      Closer inspection shows the full part number is

                                                      FGT1522A - does not have the floppy controller
                                                      AHA1522A - does have the floppy controller.

                                                      Buy only the AHA model version.

                                                      Bill
                                                    • Systems Glitch
                                                      ... And don t discount the possibility of a blown FDC. I ve encountered two AHA-15*2 controllers with a dead FDC. Incidentally, if people are interested in
                                                      Message 26 of 26 , May 5, 2014
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                                                        > AHA1522A - does have the floppy controller.
                                                        >
                                                        > Buy only the AHA model version.

                                                        And don't discount the possibility of a blown FDC. I've encountered two AHA-15*2 controllers with a dead FDC.

                                                        Incidentally, if people are interested in purchasing a tested, working, verified with ImageDisk AHA-15*2 controller, contact me off-list.

                                                        Thanks,
                                                        Jonathan
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