Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

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Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby VuData » Wed Jul 18, 2018 12:50 pm

Hi,

How feasible would it be to use real floppy drives with MiSTer on the DE10 at some point? Being able to use a real 3.5"/5.25" with various cores would be awesome. I guess this would require a specific I/O board and changes to the cores? I struggle to spell FPGA never mind develop cores/hardware etc so no pointy comments telling me to get on with development please!

Cheers.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby diwou » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:23 pm

This is almost impossible. Just how many different formats already exist. Then there are Drives, like Commodore, which are already a stand-alone computer, while others are simply connected to a floppy controller and the operating system has to take care of everything.

Then there were 3", 3.5" and 5 1/4" disks. Described in various variations. How do you want to display something like this in a drive? At least when it comes to being able to use the original floppy disks. Every computer had its own standard for floppy disks. And almost everyone was incompatible with the others.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:33 pm

diwou wrote:This is almost impossible. Just how many different formats already exist. Then there are Drives, like Commodore, which are already a stand-alone computer, while others are simply connected to a floppy controller and the operating system has to take care of everything.

Fully agree!

Core specific real HW like FDD is good for single core system. MiSTer has many cores with wide range of different hardware used on emulated systems. So, this wont happen.

Although, someone can modify the core and add specific expansion board to support real FDD and use it for his own pleasure.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby hubersn » Wed Jul 18, 2018 4:51 pm

diwou wrote:Every computer had its own standard for floppy disks. And almost everyone was incompatible with the others.


The existence of the HxC floppy drive emulator proves that theory wrong. At least Acorn BBC, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, IBM PC compatibles and Acorn Archimedes could be considered compatible with each other, both from a "(slightly modified) Shugart-compatible interface" standpoint as well as a "mainly PC-compatible floppy controller" standpoint.

C64 and Amiga on the other hand...

It is certainly a difficult problem to solve in a generic way. But there are many I/O problems of the same "class" that could potentially be solved for the MISTer. MIDI. Ethernet. Serial port. Parallel port. User port. PS/2 port. Gameport. Joystick. Joypad. Module. CD. ST506. IDE. SCSI. Whether all those things are worth solving - this is a completely different question. If someone just does it, nobody will complain 8)

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:02 am

No problem.
But it's completely out of my interest.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sefirosu » Thu Jul 19, 2018 1:47 am

Honestly, other than for the preservation of old floppies, using disk images is probably more practical today.

I’m in the process of doing something like this with my old C64 disks I’d like to keep with a XU1541 device and my old drives, which aren’t in the best of shape unfortunately...

For the hardcore, there is Kryoflux out there that seems to be able to dump pretty much everything.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:05 am

I have no good nostalgia feeling about floppy drives. Even in later 90x i've installed HDD to my BK0011M and almost stopped to use these always tend to corrupt the data crappy floppies.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sefirosu » Thu Jul 19, 2018 2:12 am

Sorgelig wrote:I have no good nostalgia feeling about floppy drives. Even in later 90x i've installed HDD to my BK0011M and almost stopped to use these always tend to corrupt the data crappy floppies.


Yeah, floppies are totally unreliable, that’s why I want to dump what is worth keeping from my stash before they’re completely gone… I’m surprised they are still mostly working to be totally honest, the drives themselves are more of an issue right now..

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby DrOG » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:27 am

I archived my C64 floppies (near 500 pieces) one year ago using a classic 1541 and an RR-Net MK3:
https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/pro ... t-mk3.html
The device is not cheap, but it's very fast (it takes 20 secs reading a side of a floppy disks), and retries automatically of errors occur. With this method surprisingly only 3%(!) of my disks showed corruption.
I recommend it as a reliable solution to archive C64 (or other 8-bit Commodore) disks.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Newsdee » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:27 pm

I love retro systems, but honestly magnetic storage is just obsolete. All my real systems use SD cards or CF cards now. There is just no comparison to putting the card in a PC and copying over anything we want.

I still have some FDD, tape drives, cassettes, and disk boxes out for display, but is only for decoration.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sefirosu » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:00 am

DrOG wrote:I archived my C64 floppies (near 500 pieces) one year ago using a classic 1541 and an RR-Net MK3:
https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/pro ... t-mk3.html
The device is not cheap, but it's very fast (it takes 20 secs reading a side of a floppy disks), and retries automatically of errors occur. With this method surprisingly only 3%(!) of my disks showed corruption.
I recommend it as a reliable solution to archive C64 (or other 8-bit Commodore) disks.


Hm, how did you use this exactly ? With a “carrier board” ?

“Using the RR-Net MK3 directly as a cartridge without a carrier card does not work with SX-64 and very old C64 mainboard versions.“

As per their wiki, I’m probably out of luck as my two C64s are very old 1982 ASSY 326298 boards...

Anyway, I don’t have too many disks to dump, so I’ll probably stick with the XUM1541 (once it arrives) if I can fix my drives. Fix is looking good but we’ll see, one was misaligned and the other seemed to have an intermittent ROM issue...

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby DrOG » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:50 am

Newsdee wrote:I love retro systems, but honestly magnetic storage is just obsolete. All my real systems use SD cards or CF cards now. There is just no comparison to putting the card in a PC and copying over anything we want.

I still have some FDD, tape drives, cassettes, and disk boxes out for display, but is only for decoration.

I agree, but hearing the clicking of the FDD is like scanlines: some of us are happy with it, but other people find it annoying.

I modded my Gotek as well by adding a small piezo beeper to hear as the head changes track:
https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy/wi ... ds#speaker
It gives a nice retro feeling to the experience!

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby DrOG » Fri Jul 20, 2018 3:52 am

Sefirosu wrote:
DrOG wrote:I archived my C64 floppies (near 500 pieces) one year ago using a classic 1541 and an RR-Net MK3:
https://icomp.de/shop-icomp/en/shop/pro ... t-mk3.html
The device is not cheap, but it's very fast (it takes 20 secs reading a side of a floppy disks), and retries automatically of errors occur. With this method surprisingly only 3%(!) of my disks showed corruption.
I recommend it as a reliable solution to archive C64 (or other 8-bit Commodore) disks.

Hm, how did you use this exactly ? With a “carrier board” ?
“Using the RR-Net MK3 directly as a cartridge without a carrier card does not work with SX-64 and very old C64 mainboard versions.“
As per their wiki, I’m probably out of luck as my two C64s are very old 1982 ASSY 326298 boards...
Anyway, I don’t have too many disks to dump, so I’ll probably stick with the XUM1541 (once it arrives) if I can fix my drives. Fix is looking good but we’ll see, one was misaligned and the other seemed to have an intermittent ROM issue...

I used it with a C64C, so had no problem during operation.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:24 am

FDD sound is another feature. It can be implemented like in some emulators :) Thought it's not the feature i would like to spend my time.
As for scanlines - it has a second reason - it smooths the edges.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby ijor » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:40 pm

hubersn wrote:The existence of the HxC floppy drive emulator proves that theory wrong. At least Acorn BBC, Amstrad CPC, Atari ST, IBM PC compatibles and Acorn Archimedes could be considered compatible with each other, both from a "(slightly modified) Shugart-compatible interface" standpoint as well as a "mainly PC-compatible floppy controller" standpoint.

C64 and Amiga on the other hand...


Indeed any platform with a Shugart compatible interface, or very similar, could perfectly be used. The controller is not very relevant because that is part of the specific core.

Furthermore, even if the original interface is very different, and as long as you don't want to use the original platform drive, but just original disks, then you can still connect a PC compatible drive. This won't work with some platforms, but should work with the Amiga.

And even on platform where the drive is really more a computer than a bare peripheral, it might still be possible. E.g., you can connect a PC compatible drive and emulate an Atari 8-bit XF-551 drive.The "smartness" of the XF-551 unit would be, again, part of the core. The more common models, 810 and 1050 could still be implemented but it won't be cycle accurate due to the different rotational speed.

I agree thought that it might be in some sense against the philosophy of the MiSTer and similar systems that are designed for modern hardware.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby BBond007 » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:17 pm

DrOG wrote:I agree, but hearing the clicking of the FDD is like scanlines: some of us are happy with it, but other people find it annoying.


Sorgelig wrote:I have no good nostalgia feeling about floppy drives. Even in later 90x i've installed HDD to my BK0011M and almost stopped to use these always tend to corrupt the data crappy floppies.


Strongly agree with both points :)

I also like the clicking of the floppy, however the tediousness and unreliability I don't miss. Same thing with CDs :)

I was so happy the day I got my first HD.

Amiga also seemed very susceptible to corrupting floppies. More so than DOS anyway. Accidently removing disk before the light turned off seemed to have about a 50% chance of corrupting the disk.

On the Minimig 1.1 on can attach a piezo buzzer on a specific GPIO which did a good job of reproducing the floppy drive sound.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:09 pm

Sound of floppy can be generated through standard audio path. So, no new devices are required.
So, it's up to core.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby MatAtari » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:11 pm

+1 :D .
If someone one day have the time to spend or is interested to implement this on the Amiga (Or other) core, it would be very interesting.
I would find it fantastic and fun to hear again the floppy drive sound.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Tuna » Wed Dec 26, 2018 10:21 am

It would be handy if there was an expansion card that could provide a Shugart bus, leaving implementation of the disk interface up to the core (though ISTR that there weren't a huge number of different floppy disk controller chips around, even if the O/S did wildly different things with the format of the disks).

The attraction is that where you're emulating some of the later 16+ bit machines, some of us have disks lying around with software, documents, even game saves that would be fantastic to recover. Converting those to disk images is quite often tortuous. I have an old Windows XP machine that is the only box that can run the relevant software to read certain floppies. The advantage of MiSTer is that this is modern, supported hardware that could be a great tool for preservation work.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sorgelig » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:50 am

There are 6 GPIO pins (USB 3.0 connector) for such task. It's possible to create n external device with simple serial to parallel converter with appropriate logic level shifters. It's not required to be a part of framework. It's pure core specific. Probably 1-2 cores may use it.
So ask the developers of cores (excluding me as I have no interest at all in this feature).

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby ijor » Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:41 pm

Tuna wrote:It would be handy if there was an expansion card that could provide a Shugart bus, leaving implementation of the disk interface up to the core (though ISTR that there weren't a huge number of different floppy disk controller chips around, even if the O/S did wildly different things with the format of the disks).

The attraction is that where you're emulating some of the later 16+ bit machines, some of us have disks lying around with software, documents, even game saves that would be fantastic to recover. Converting those to disk images is quite often tortuous. I have an old Windows XP machine that is the only box that can run the relevant software to read certain floppies. The advantage of MiSTer is that this is modern, supported hardware that could be a great tool for preservation work.


There are already modern solutions to make digital copies, backup, preserve, and even write back real floppy disks with a Shugart interface. The two most popular (that I know) are the Kryoflux and Super Card Pro.

Having said that, if somebody would make a real floppy expansion card for the MiSTer, I would gladly add some kind of support.
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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby yellperil » Wed Dec 26, 2018 1:07 pm

If you want a C64 interface with the mister then you can use mine here.

It works with SD2IEC and PI1541 using option B and it works with a real 1541 ( I just tested it ).
disclaimer : use at your own risk
It's not a good as a real c64 but in general it's pretty good.

Schematic is here
https://github.com/yellperil/C64_MiSTer/wiki

Core is here. After you enable the IEC bus in the core menu you must reset the core using the detach cart menu option.
https://github.com/yellperil/C64_MiSTer/blob/master/releases/C64-lite_20180831_IEC_MOUSE.rbf

Source is there also, it's latest version but I had to undo some of Sorgeligs code clean up on the IEC bus code.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sefirosu » Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:55 pm

Hm, interesting.

Floppy support would be cool in the path of preserving old disks, but like others said there are may other options out there. I replied a while back in this thread, but I used a XUM1541 to dump my C64 disks I wanted to preserve, stuff I did back then mostly but I still dumped my originals. Surprisingly most of it, not all, was still readable. But let’s face it, those disks will not stand the test of time sooner or later. And the drives well, I managed to repair the ones I have so far but I wouldn’t rely on that.

To be the best, this kind of effort would require replicating what kryoflux is doing to raw dump any kind of disk usable with any kind of emulator/FPGA implementation. Then there is the challenge finding a working drive to plug into it.

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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby ijor » Thu Dec 27, 2018 1:50 am

Sefirosu wrote:To be the best, this kind of effort would require replicating what kryoflux is doing to raw dump any kind of disk usable with any kind of emulator/FPGA implementation


Not really. If what you want is to access (not to dump) the floppy directly from the FPGA system, instead of a disk image, then depending on the specific core barely anything at all needs to be developed. You need just an extension board. Some cores might need some developing, but if so it should be something completely different than what is required to dump a disk.

If you do want to dump, or write back, floppies with the MiSTer, then yes, you will need to develop something similar as those other solutions. But from the point of view of the user, if he already has a MiSTer, it would probably be much cheaper than buying one of those devices.
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Re: Real floppy drives with MiSTer?

Postby Sefirosu » Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:29 am

ijor wrote:Not really. If what you want is to access (not to dump) the floppy directly from the FPGA system, instead of a disk image, then depending on the specific core barely anything at all needs to be developed. You need just an extension board. Some cores might need some developing, but if so it should be something completely different than what is required to dump a disk.

If you do want to dump, or write back, floppies with the MiSTer, then yes, you will need to develop something similar as those other solutions. But from the point of view of the user, if he already has a MiSTer, it would probably be much cheaper than buying one of those devices.


I agree with all that, maybe I’m looking at it too much from an archival standpoint, where continuing to use the disks and the drives is “dangerous” especially for those very old systems. It all depends on the needs/use case I guess.


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