SuperCard Pro PC software

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Sun Jan 26, 2014 11:09 pm

Ah... I will check that out, thanks! I have made MANY changes to the flux display, so the next version will have a more in depth capability of looking at flux data.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Jan 30, 2014 11:37 pm

I have added some disk utilities to the SuperCard Pro software and it has opened my eyes to the short comings of the 3.5" floppy disk. There is a media integrity tester that will format and test a blank floppy disk. It does this at the flux level with a specific pattern that is designed to check how well the data is stored on the surface. The end result for me is that over 1/2 of my blank disks are all defective! The problem occurs typically on my disks on the last 10-15 tracks. After you get a failed disk, the track/head where the failure occurs is shown. You can then go look at the track using the analyzer to see how off it is. The disk below had tracks 67-73 that would not pass, and Shadow of the Beast for the Amiga would not load when copying to this disk either (which I would expect since it is bad).

So, this utility is going to come in quite handy for helping diagnose problems that are related to blank disks themselves. I might try cleaning this disk to see if it makes any difference.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:53 pm

V1.00 release version is now available. It adds the disk utilities and a variety of fixes/enhancements. This software requires a firmware upgrade of the SuperCard Pro board. You can download the updater (v0.7) from my website.

http://www.cbmstuff.com/downloads.htm
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby Brume » Sun Feb 02, 2014 11:08 pm

update done, thank you Jim :)
What happens if we format a defect floppy? Is there a warning box during the formatting process or do we need to format it, then test it?

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby Hippy Dave » Mon Feb 03, 2014 12:42 am

Most new Double Density floppies have no defects in the iron oxide.
Some new High Density floppies have defects in the cobalt doped iron oxide.
Note that you can see through High Density floppies, and you cannot see
through Double Density floppies. High Density floppies that are more
transparent (less cobalt doped iron oxide) are more likely to have errors.

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:00 am

Brume wrote:update done, thank you Jim :)
What happens if we format a defect floppy? Is there a warning box during the formatting process or do we need to format it, then test it?


The program shows you when a bad track is detected during the media integrity test.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby RJMcInty » Wed Feb 05, 2014 4:33 pm

Jim, to what do you attribute your high failure rate for the 3.5" disks? And, do you get similar results for 5.25" disks?

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:23 am

I attribute the high failure rate to the tighter track spacing (TPI) and quality of the oxide. I have been comparing notes with some of the beta testers and a few customers and we have all seen the same thing with certain brands of disks ("generics", KAO, Shugart, etc.) but some brands like 3M seem to have a lower failure rate. These disks do not format in an Amiga, Atari ST, etc. So, they really are bad. I have yet to see a single 5.25" disk fail the media integrity test. In fact, I had to poke a hole and scratch the surface with a scribe in order to make sure that the test was actually working with 5.25" disks.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:44 pm

v1.03 released. Fixed a few things since the last update.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Wed Feb 26, 2014 4:06 pm

Jim I was testing v1.03 on barbarian with5 revolution it still fails with not enough buffer memory?
And you have to unplug replug the device to remove the error other if fails immediately.
I thought you had removed the limitation with the buffer. Any chance to be able to do 5 revolutions with any kind of disks?

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:43 am

The buffer size on the PC is fine, but I still don't check for the error in the SCP side and split the reads up. I am rewriting a lot of the code actually to consolidate things. You will have to LOAD an image now before you select the MAKE DISK option. The loading will be able to display info about the image, select tracks to copy, select the number of revolutions to use, etc. I will look at splitting up the reads when the error occurs. However, having said that I can not ever get the issue to happen. I dumped Barbarian with 5 revs with no issues.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Feb 27, 2014 1:04 am

I just tried a PC 1.44MB disk with 5 revs, and I get the expected error message of "ReadLength > RAM Capacity!". I can cancel or retry without any issues. Retry shows the same error message again, and cancel aborts the operation and then another disk can be imaged. No unplugging of SCP required. Are you using firmware v0.8?

Check the FTP site... a 5 rev version is there for you.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Thu Feb 27, 2014 7:36 am

JimDrew wrote:I just tried a PC 1.44MB disk with 5 revs, and I get the expected error message of "ReadLength > RAM Capacity!". I can cancel or retry without any issues. Retry shows the same error message again, and cancel aborts the operation and then another disk can be imaged. No unplugging of SCP required. Are you using firmware v0.8?

Check the FTP site... a 5 rev version is there for you.

I can also cancel or retry. But the problem is the following when I got this message if I retry with 5 rev I get the same error which is normal, but if I now change the number of revolution to 2 and retry I am still getting the error message.
If now I unplug/replug and restart the SCP program I can successfully image with 4 revolutions. So somehow the error flag is memorized?

Thanks for the 5 rev version I will look at it

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Feb 27, 2014 5:29 pm

Ah... ok, I did not try that. I will look into it. Because you are making these giant image files (when almost always just a single revolution is needed), I am adding the ability to the analyzer to reduce the number of revolutions and re-save the image.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Thu Feb 27, 2014 6:41 pm

JimDrew wrote:Ah... ok, I did not try that. I will look into it. Because you are making these giant image files (when almost always just a single revolution is needed), I am adding the ability to the analyzer to reduce the number of revolutions and re-save the image.

Actually one reason there is a need to 5 rev is because you do not detect incorrect read due for example to presence of dust or things like that.
I have several images where the data is read correctly on some rev and incorrectly on other rev. For example 3 rev good and 2 rev bad.
Therefore you maximize the chance of getting good rev.
On KF they check for error immediately after sampling and perform retry if read was incorrect. This reduce the chances to get bad reading.

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Feb 27, 2014 11:36 pm

KF only verifies programs that it knows about, which is a fraction of what exists. I am adding a flux level read verification routine that will re-read if multiple reads have a bit cell time that changes from the window comparator (example, bitcell should be 4us, but it is now 8us). This is primarily for 5.25" drives that do not support the reading of weakbits. I have dumped thousands of disks, and i have never once yet seen a case where the data actually changes from read to read that was not deliberate (weakbits). I have seen several cases where a disk is dirty, but the read is the same every time. I think what I might do is make a note during the copying process about the status of the data when multiple revolutions are read. Perhaps change the color of the grid for the track from green to yellow, red, etc. to indicate a potential issue.

Visually, you can look at the flux display and immediately know if there is a read issue or not based on the flux pattern.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:18 am

JimDrew wrote:KF only verifies programs that it knows about, which is a fraction of what exists. I am adding a flux level read verification routine that will re-read if multiple reads have a bit cell time that changes from the window comparator (example, bitcell should be 4us, but it is now 8us). This is primarily for 5.25" drives that do not support the reading of weakbits. I have dumped thousands of disks, and i have never once yet seen a case where the data actually changes from read to read that was not deliberate (weakbits). I have seen several cases where a disk is dirty, but the read is the same every time. I think what I might do is make a note during the copying process about the status of the data when multiple revolutions are read. Perhaps change the color of the grid for the track from green to yellow, red, etc. to indicate a potential issue.

Visually, you can look at the flux display and immediately know if there is a read issue or not based on the flux pattern.

Yes that would be great.
The problem does not show up on "good" floppy disk. But if the FD is hard to read then the values can vary from rev to rev. It is hard to explain so let me show you
ca10.1.PNG

Here you can see that the disk has a problem with the fourth sector. The orange box indicate fuzzy bytes and the red box indicates CRC error. So here the sector did not read correctly.

Now lets look at all the revolutions
ca10.1-all.PNG

Here we can see that rev 0 2 3 reads correctly and rev 1 5 do not read correctly (red box)
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Fri Feb 28, 2014 3:23 pm

Yep, you can see from the flux data that there is an issue with that portion of the disk (apparently sector 4). I will probably end up writing some simple DSP routine that will analyze the data and alert you if the flux is like this.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:57 am

New version of the SCP software has been released. I made a lot of changes to the analyzer to allow for internal FDC emulation modules. First one completed is for PAULA. So, selecting 'MFM' and "Raw Data" converts data as PAULA. I will be making "Paula" (in place of Raw Data), WD1772, and a few others. The PAULA emulation handles the SYNCWORD selection and Strongbits just like the real hardware. I spent a few days with a logic analyzer going over my notes from the 80's/90's and making corrections. I will update my VHDL code I am working on for FPGA Arcade. I am doing WD1772 code for the Replay as well and that will fit in nicely with the ST/TT emulation core.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:56 am

Sounds great :)

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Fri Mar 28, 2014 12:06 am

New version of the software has been released! This adds a lot of changes to the interface and functionality. The introduction of a "Preservation" mode (previously always enabled) now lets you disable this mode to obtain images that compress significantly better. These images probably will not work well with Aufit for converting to an STX image since the flux is normalized. Images generated with the mode disabled do work perfectly with all of the Amiga emulators as well as converting to a G64 image file. The only advantage of disabling the Preservation mode is allow for better compression of the image files. If you are wanting to make real disk later on from images, don't disable the Preservation mode.

Changes can be seen in our forum area.

I did make one change to the SCP image file format - I added a new IFF_FLAGS bit, bit 4 = TYPE. With this bit set, the Preservation mode was disabled when the image was made. This lets the program using the image know that this is not an exact flux image, and can disallow it from being used if necessary.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby DrCoolZic » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:33 am

JimDrew wrote:New version of the software has been released! This adds a lot of changes to the interface and functionality. The introduction of a "Preservation" mode (previously always enabled) now lets you disable this mode to obtain images that compress significantly better. These images probably will not work well with Aufit for converting to an STX image since the flux is normalized. Images generated with the mode disabled do work perfectly with all of the Amiga emulators as well as converting to a G64 image file. The only advantage of disabling the Preservation mode is allow for better compression of the image files. If you are wanting to make real disk later on from images, don't disable the Preservation mode.

Changes can be seen in our forum area.

I did make one change to the SCP image file format - I added a new IFF_FLAGS bit, bit 4 = TYPE. With this bit set, the Preservation mode was disabled when the image was made. This lets the program using the image know that this is not an exact flux image, and can disallow it from being used if necessary.

Not sure this is very useful because file size is not anymore a problem ...
Convertion to STX should be OK because the protections usually do not need high precision.

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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Fri Mar 28, 2014 2:29 pm

File size is important enough issue that I was getting requests to be able to reduce the size for the Amiga emulators. So, I did. Most people won't care, but there is quite a few that do. It is nice to have a 800K image vs. 15MB image. The Amiga emulators will use the compressed file, so you don't need to decompress the file prior to using it.
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby JimDrew » Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:19 pm

A new version of the software has been released. Lots of fixes/enhancements made.

What image file format (.???) do the Atari ST emulators use that contains just a straight dump of all of the sectors (or is there even such a thing)?
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Re: SuperCard Pro PC software

Postby Hippy Dave » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:39 pm

JimDrew wrote:A new version of the software has been released. Lots of fixes/enhancements made.

What image file format (.???) do the Atari ST emulators use that contains just a straight dump of all of the sectors (or is there even such a thing)?

.ST
Starts with the first sector of the first track and ends with the last sector of the last track. No information is supplied about how many tracks or sectors. However, If you know it is an Atari ST disk, you can guess the tracks and sectors by the file size.


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