List of difficult to copy disks

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:14 pm

DrCoolZic wrote:Can you elaborate? I am still unclear about rewriting disks with SCP I thought you did not have to do anything?


SPLICE modes attempts to locate the write splice as the termination point in the write. The write splice location is based on an invalid flux value (too low or too high). Writing 5 revolutions (basically 4 revolutions + however much is required before finding a write splice) can throw off the track start vs. the index as the entire buffer is written in one pass without regard for drive speed variation between revolutions. The write splice routine works pretty well, but it's definitely not perfect. Since all of these disks were created from the factory using index alignment, you only need to capture one revolution - even if there are weak bits or no flux areas. It's silly to write the same data 5 times anyways.


DrCoolZic wrote:Side question: when just writing an SCP image does the mode Index change something in the image?


Yes, it uses the index to start/stop the writing of data. That data is compressed or stretched to match the destination's drive speed.
Last edited by JimDrew on Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:27 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:21 pm

I took the light force image, enabled the override and set the mode to INDEX, wrote a disk and then read that same disk back and then used Aufit to show the layout. It's exactly the same as the original image.

This is the first time I have used Aufit's disk layout with my new PC. It takes about 5 seconds or so to display this... way faster than before!
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby Brume » Thu Dec 04, 2014 9:49 pm

Thanks for your reply, Jim. I followed your advice and it worked fine, too. Thank you very much :D
But now I'm lost... I'm in the process to image my collection of ST games (have done more than 650 original games - still 250/300 games to do).
Until now, I mainly used the 'index' mode. I used 'splice' mode just a few times. But a few weeks ago, DrCoolZic said he uses splice mode/5 rev. So I started to image all new disks with this mode.
Well, I feel embarrassed, but should I do now? Back to the 'index' mode for most of the games? Or use splice mode/5 revolutions for all them?
Let me know.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:10 am

You only need a single revolution with INDEX mode to duplicate/image disks, even those that have weak bits (fuzzy bits) and strong bits (no flux areas). Aufit apparently needs more than 1 revolution to determine where fuzzy bits are located. We only need a single revolution for reproducing these, or loading them via an emulator (like the various Amiga emulators). If someone adds SCP image file support to their emulator, they would also find that only a single revolution is needed - just like a real disk. You can easily determine weak bit and strong bit areas on a track without re-reading the track.

If you want to make image files with 5 revolutions to help Aufit, that is great for those that want to convert .scp images to .stx format. You can always enable the override and select INDEX before writing the image back to a real disk. The very first revolution for each track is used for the write, just like if the image only had 1 revolution. So, it doesn't hurt to image more than 1 revolution, it's just not necessary to make working copies or use the images under emulators that support the .scp format.
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:15 am

How can you know if an event is random with only one observation(/revolution) ?

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:39 am

Now I am really confuse :(

The only reason I advised splice mode is because this is the only way to sample more than one revolution (in index # rev disappears). But being aligned with the track write splice is certainly not what I want!
For one it is very hard to find the write track splice because there are many reasons to have a lot of transition "out of band" and therefore the only meaningful reference is the index.

We are obviously not looking at the problem from the same angle. Jim is apparently more interested by duplication of discs than by preservation ... which from a marketing point of view makes sense ...

It is obvious that there is no way to detect fuzzy bits without several revolutions because this is the definition of fuzzy bits. It is possible in some cases to guess that fuzzy bits might happen but you only know for sure once you have done the comparison between n revolutions. If you want to understand the definition of fuzzy bits just reads the patent that defines it here http://www.google.com/patents/US4849836 and look at figure 6. The patent is probably more explicit than my explanations :oops:

Now that we are clear on the fact that several revolutions are needed for fuzzy bits there are two other problems to mention:
- shifted tracks: I am currently working on so called Aufit2 and the problem of shifted track is not an easy one. There are 4 cases I describe in my doc: Data over index, data after index, ID over index and the tough to detect ID over the index. For this last one you have only small piece of the ID field (down to one or two sync marks) before the index. The most extreme game I have found is disk 2 of "Computer Hits Volume 2 (beau-jolly)" where most of the ID field are located on top of the index. For all shifted tracks you obviously need two revolutions because the ID or Data field starts before the index and terminates after so no chance to get correct data without at least two revolutions.
- the second one is that flux transitions in 99.99% of the cases start before the index and stop after. There is almost zero chance due to variation in many parameters that a transition is aligned with the index. In most of the cases this has no importance because if you are missing few hundreds of nanoseconds on the first transition it is not a big deal. However in the case of NFA the width of the transition can be several milliseconds and here it makes a huge difference. Unfortunately the SCP format does not define where the index happen inside a transition because the way it operates currently does not allow to find out. Fortunately I have found a way to compute this value with the provided data but is is a bit clumsy. To correctly provide information about the first bit requires to use the same technique used by KF hardware: sample the data before the index and pass the width of the transition before the index and the index offset from this current transition.

Now back to making sample of disks for preservation I am totally confuse??? I do not understand what is written in the SCP file in splice mode ???? From file description I assumed that data always starts from index. If indeed the data starts from middle of the track then all dumps can go to the trash can as I am not aware of any indication about the position of the start of samples relative to index. But I doubt this is true because all disks I have sampled would be wrong which does not seems to be the case, therefore I do not understand ???

Requests for SCP SW:
- is it possible to make sure we can sample several revolutions starting at the index?
- would it be possible to also pass samples prior to the first index so we can be sure the first transition is sampled correctly?
- would it be possible to give position of the index relative to the transition located above index?

Among the three the first one is critical. For the last two it is possible to work around to provide something close enough to the original.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:08 am

Picture of the disk layout using aufit1 (note that disk is suppose to rotate counter clockwise - which is wrong)
chv2-aufit1.PNG


It is a bit easier to see on aufit2 prototype (this time disk rotate clockwise)
chv2-aufit2.PNG

Note that currently tracks where only one or two sync are located in front of index are not yet detected correctly :(

Also tested on HxC. Probably due to the fact of the id fields located at border it takes lot of time to load. I have highlighted two sectors that have a different color? dont know what that means
chv2-hxc.PNG


Hum strange! If I move the cursor above what looks like first sector of each track no information is displayed? like if sectors where not detected?
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:57 pm

Here a high res "picture" of the start (actually end) of the track with bug corrected in Aufit2
chv2-aufit2-fixed.PNG

As you can see the ID move from slightly before the index to slightly after the index. Sometimes only one or two sync mark before end of track
chv2-sync-endoftrack.PNG

Note that for the WD1772 in "read mode" the position of the index is not relevant.

Used as protection the program need to measure time from index to start of sector and value should be close to 200ms

Pretty interesting as you cannot interpret the beginning of the track BEFORE the second revolution because you are missing the sync located at end of previous :)
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:07 pm

Jeff_HxC2001 wrote:How can you know if an event is random with only one observation(/revolution) ?


That is a secret. :)
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:25 pm

DrCoolZic wrote:We are obviously not looking at the problem from the same angle. Jim is apparently more interested by duplication of discs than by preservation ... which from a marketing point of view makes sense ...


There is NO difference between duplication and preservation - to me they ARE the same thing.

DrCoolZic wrote:It is obvious that there is no way to detect fuzzy bits without several revolutions because this is the definition of fuzzy bits.


That is simply incorrect. If this were actually true, then none of the .scp images captured with just a single revolution and having weak bit protection schemes would work under the various Amiga emulators, and they most certainly do. You also would not be able to duplicate the protection by writing it back to a real disk (with any disk format), which obviously works just fine. There is a very simple trick, which is actually an interesting byproduct of how flux works. I am REALLY hoping that Jookie will add .scp image format support to his device. If he did, you would say "wow, I can't believe all of these protections work" - and they do, as proven by the .scp image support in the Amiga emulators.. and the Amiga protections are much more critical because there are no WD1772 constraints.

DrCoolZic wrote:There are 4 cases I describe in my doc: Data over index, data after index, ID over index and the tough to detect ID over the index.


And all of these cases are handled by how SCP works.


DrCoolZic wrote:Now back to making sample of disks for preservation I am totally confuse??? I do not understand what is written in the SCP file in splice mode ???? From file description I assumed that data always starts from index. If indeed the data starts from middle of the track then all dumps can go to the trash can as I am not aware of any indication about the position of the start of samples relative to index. But I doubt this is true because all disks I have sampled would be wrong which does not seems to be the case, therefore I do not understand ???


All data does START at the beginning of the track (using the index pulse) with both INDEX and SPLICE modes. With SPLICE mode, the end of a write can appear anywhere in the last revolution - on a write splice. That is, where a flux transition is invalid.


DrCoolZic wrote:Requests for SCP SW:
- is it possible to make sure we can sample several revolutions starting at the index?


It does already.


DrCoolZic wrote:- would it be possible to also pass samples prior to the first index so we can be sure the first transition is sampled correctly?


No. If you want to see what is before the first index, read 2 revolutions and discard all of the first revolution except what you need.


DrCoolZic wrote:- would it be possible to give position of the index relative to the transition located above index?


It has always been this way. Look at SCP's analyzer with a multi-revolution image. You will find the flux value highlighted in yellow where the index mark occurs.

I think the difference here is that you guys are stuck looking at decoded data all of the time. I look at the flux transitions and see/decode it in my head if needed, but generally I only look at the flux. Writing with INDEX mode will stretch/compress the track data to fit the rotational speed of the destination drive. SPLICE mode does not do that. Instead, SPLICE mode writes out the number of revolutions -1, and on the last revolution it writes until there is an invalid flux transition (too short or too long) and attempts to overlay the end of the writing in that location. I need to change the SPLICE mode to also stretch/compress the flux data to match the drive speed for each revolution, and then end the write in the correct location. SPLICE mode is so infrequently used for producing disks that this change has not been a priority. The change only affects writing back data. Reading of data is fine.

We don't care about decoded data when we are dealing with flux data. If you reproduce the track exactly like the original, right down to the last bit cell time then you can not have any better of a preservation - period. In the real world, drive speed variation can make the copy off a bit. You can see exactly how much off by looking at SCP's flux display. You can see the total track time (from index to index) in nanoseconds vs. the total track time of the bit cell times (from index to index) added together. With a good drive you typically see this off by anywhere from a 200ns-1500ns. There is not much we can do about drive speed variations, and these same variations occurred on the original duplication equipment that was used to produce the original disks (so every single disk made was slightly different). Since every read will also be slightly different due to drive speed variation (which is never the same on each revolution) there is no way to do any type of 100% accurate verify routine because of this. The best you can hope for is having the exact same number of bit cells on a track, which is the goal of SCP's disk write routines.
Last edited by JimDrew on Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Fri Dec 05, 2014 7:58 pm

Brume, did you update your SCP's firmware to the latest version that I released a couple of weeks ago? I just looked again at the picture you posted of the Aufit disk layout with your SPLICE copy and if I am understanding it correctly, the red lines are no flux areas. Either I have created a bug in the SPLICE mode at some point, or there is a bug in the firmware (either new or old). It looks like the track is not terminating the write, but the data is no longer being sent. Under no cases, should you get what you posted using SPLICE mode. So, I need to fix "something". So, let me know if you are using the latest firmware. Thanks!
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby Brume » Fri Dec 05, 2014 8:09 pm

Jim: yes, it's up-to-date. I updated the firmware the same day you posted your message here, some weeks ago.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:09 pm

OK, thanks! I must have introduced a pretty severe bug in the SPLICE mode then. I haven't test SPLICE mode since earlier this year. When something doesn't work in SPLICE mode it is due to the write splice wiping out a required (valid) bit cell. Technically, under Aufit it should still look identical to an image written as one revolution in INDEX mode. No matter what, writing should only generate no flux areas when there really are no flux areas.
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby wheeel » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:53 am

Jim, while you're looking into possible bugs, I've noticed an odd behaviour with the latest software/firmware. When imaging certain disks, not all the tracks are transferred to file -- at least, since I haven't looked into the file format itself, the tracks don't all appear inside Aufit and the file size is very small compared to normal. I don't know whether this is intentional or not.

I haven't tried downgrading the firmware to see if it used to happen. Is it possible to safely downgrade the firmware?
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:52 am

Sometimes SCP sample tracks with very low number of transitions. A normal Atari track has about 45000 transitions and Aufit cant do anything with this kind of very short tracks.
Therefore any track with less than 1000 transitions (in your sample T0 is about 700 transitions) is filtered.

On all the tests I have done this only happen rarely in one or two tracks above 80. I asked Jim about it long time ago and he told me this can happen on other platform (Amiga?) on what he calls strong bits (what I call NFA).

Is this sample supposed to be Atari?
On Atari I have never seen this kind of tracks which of course cannot be read meaningfully by WD1772.

If this is an image of an Atari game then there is definitively a problem.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Sat Dec 06, 2014 7:57 am

One more thing if I remember correctly this was always happening on images done by Xxxxx. He tried to use another floppy drive and the problem went away on the exact same game :)
But as I said this was only happening on one or two unformated tracks above 80

Do you clean carefully the head of your drive before you sample?

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby wheeel » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:44 am

Well I definitely keep everything clean - I even clean the disk surface with IPA. The disks are (almost) certainly Atari disks, but not games disks, just personal ones. SCP/Aufit is a wonderful combination for getting old data of disks that are falling apart not just for preserving games. I suppose from what you say, that the disk is just so far degraded as to get nothing of value off it anymore. More cleaning and a few more passes on another disk gave this (you can just about see where the tracks used to be!)...
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 11:56 am

DrCoolZic wrote:Also tested on HxC. Probably due to the fact of the id fields located at border it takes lot of time to load.


No. The loading time is related to the second side : The software is trying hard to get something from this unformated part.

DrCoolZic wrote: I have highlighted two sectors that have a different color? dont know what that means


Image4.gif


The different green color are related to the sector content : a "blank"/"supposed not used" sector have a different color.
Note : To have a better picture resolution, just export the image to BMP :D

DrCoolZic wrote:Hum strange! If I move the cursor above what looks like first sector of each track no information is displayed? like if sectors where not detected?


Pure GUI issue : This is now corrected :
http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... t_beta.zip
:wink:

BTW where is the image your are talking about ?

wheeel wrote:Well I definitely keep everything clean - I even clean the disk surface with IPA. The disks are (almost) certainly Atari disks, but not games disks, just personal ones. SCP/Aufit is a wonderful combination for getting old data of disks that are falling apart not just for preserving games. I suppose from what you say, that the disk is just so far degraded as to get nothing of value off it anymore. More cleaning and a few more passes on another disk gave this (you can just about see where the tracks used to be!)...


According to the HxC software, your disk is probably completely dead...

scp147v2_scp.gif
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Sat Dec 06, 2014 12:49 pm

BTW i have tried the BackToTheFutureII.scp image with the HxC software and i got this :

BackToTheFutureII_scp.gif


HxC & Aufit give the same result.
Someone have an explanation for this ? I don't think that the track are really like this on the disk.

(note : same issue with CadaverThePayOff.scp)
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:12 pm

Jeff_HxC2001 wrote:The different green color are related to the sector content : a "blank"/"supposed not used" sector have a different color.
Note : To have a better picture resolution, just export the image to BMP :D
Using this all the time :)

Pure GUI issue : This is now corrected :
http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... t_beta.zip
:wink:
Updated my tree up to rev 1246 (I am prtettu bad with svn!) and when building I get a linker error?
Error 1 error LNK2019: unresolved external symbol _STX_libWrite_DiskFile referenced in function _STX_libGetPluginInfo U:\_PROJECTS\HxC\HxCFloppyEmulator\libhxcfe\trunk\build\stx_loader.obj libhxcfe
I think I have found the problem you have added two new files: stx_writer.c & stx_writer.h ===> added them to the project libhxcfe and build!
By the way I still cannot build the debug version :(
Just tested (v2.0.33.0?) and it works!

BTW where is the image your are talking about ?

Normal not published! Here you can find this interesting test case https://mega.co.nz/#!19hVQDpK!NbHpmFwD5 ... QSSs-U3UMg

According to the HxC software, your disk is probably completely dead...
[/quote]
Even though it is strange because unusually low number of transitions. Only NFA can generate this kind of low count. Unformated would produce much more "noise" ???

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby wheeel » Sat Dec 06, 2014 5:58 pm

DrCoolZic wrote:
Jeff_HxC2001 wrote:According to the HxC software, your disk is probably completely dead...

Even though it is strange because unusually low number of transitions. Only NFA can generate this kind of low count. Unformated would produce much more "noise" ???

It is reasonable to assume, then, that since the disk is so old and so well worn that simply there is little magnetisation left, even to the point of having little or no magnetic layer left? I don't know much about disk structure, but the disk in question is definitely not unformatted, nor is a protected games disk, it would have been originally formatted double-sided, 80 tracks, 9 or 10 sectors/track -- back in 1989 -- and well used for 8 years before being bunged in a box and forgotten about for 17 years! To be honest, I cannot remember what state the disk was in last time it was used (e.g. whether it still worked), but the problem is not the drive - other disks (in general) image fine.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby JimDrew » Sat Dec 06, 2014 6:43 pm

What brand/model of disk drive are you using? As DrCoolZic pointed out, some disk drives treat invalid flux data (unformatted) like a no flux area, which results in very few flux transitions and a small file size. Typically, we see this only on unused tracks (like tracks 80-82). Your image shows a problem with the disk or disk drive (or SCP hardware). Can you convert any other disks correctly? Does the disk surface look like an old LP, where you can see "grooves" (lines)? There should never be any type of visible wear on the surface.
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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby wheeel » Sat Dec 06, 2014 10:14 pm

JimDrew wrote:What brand/model of disk drive are you using?

Currently I'm imaging using a Mitsubishi MF355F from 1999. Its actually a very solid drive, but only steps up to track 81 reliably before hitting end-stop, so can't manage track 82. I've also got a stash of Sony MPF920 drives, but I'm keeping these for copy-protected disks since they image better but are less reliable (I've written one off already due to a head crash causing misalignment on side 2).

JimDrew wrote:Can you convert any other disks correctly?

Yes, most image well indeed, both before and after. In fact most are remarkably "wobble free", meaning that track-to-track there is normally a very good alignment of sectors. I don't think there is any fault with the drive or the SCP hardware (other than my surprise that the generated file was so small, but DrCoolZic's explanation helped there). Since all my disks are quite old, a number have sector errors (CRC, etc.) but I always dismantle the disk and carefully clean it before first read and subsequent repeated reads of the trouble areas normally enables me to build up an error free image (or I do it by hand using Aufit as a guide -- changing bits marked fuzzy so that the sector CRC calculates correctly works well where the disk is not too damaged, things of this nature). Since I'm not engaging in preservation, rather data recovery, my goals here are a little different!

JimDrew wrote:Does the disk surface look like an old LP, where you can see "grooves" (lines)? There should never be any type of visible wear on the surface.

This disk looks very reasonable, matt surface with no obvious wear. The label tells me what should be on the disk, so I know it is not blank. The disks with grooves actually imaged rather well :wink: -- they tended to be the over-used games disks and got imaged first, but using a different drive.

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby DrCoolZic » Sun Dec 14, 2014 6:50 pm

Just playing with my new version of Aufit so I tested the Air Supremacy Compilation posted by dlfrsilver
There are a lot of strange ?protections? on these 5 disks!
Results are summarized here http://info-coach.fr/atari/software/Gam ... sea_compil

I have tried to create the stx image for Gunship but it does not work (tried on Steem and Hatari [double bus error]) - tried with old and new Aufit without success.
Do we have a working stx version of this game?

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Re: List of difficult to copy disks

Postby kodak80 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 10:51 pm

I had no luck with STX on any of these Air Supremecy compilation SCP dumps. I have not tried writing them back to floppy disk as the STX conversion did not work and I use this as a first test on the validty of the SCP dump.
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