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Old 19 May 2017, 15:37   #1
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Floppy disk Introducing FloppyControlApp

A couple of years ago I decided to capture my aging floppydisks. They were very dirty and needed thorough cleaning. I thought it would be great to build my own hardware and software to accomplish this huge undertaking. I had about 300+ disks in various formats (PCDOS, AmigaDOS, PFS and DiskSpare) that I wanted to capture. My expectations were low: if I could recover 10-20% I'd be very happy indeed. As it turns out more than 80% of the disks made a full recovery, and looking at the remaining disks more than 95% of the sectors were recoverable.
What I've learned is that the floppy disk isn't as bad as many would have you believe. I have a renewed respect for the format. With the proper cleaning techniques (see my cleaning video in the youtube channel below, with a 3D printed cleaning kit I designed) most disks read in fine. Without cleaning the disk surface immediately got damaged by crud.

Don't throw away your floppies just yet, you still may be able to recover (more) them

The main aim of the software is recovery (as opposed to archival). To that end there are some unique features that I haven't found or heard of elsewhere.
There's error correction to correct single burst error per sector of a short duration and a waveform editor to edit oscilloscope waveforms of captures of the analogue differential signal from the drive head.
This can lead to a higher percentage of recovery in difficult to recover disks, ie disks with a weak but still existing signal, or disks with a signal that's too strong in the case of HD disks formatted as double density.
It can read and write SCP files too.

If there's enough interest in the project I'm considering making it an open source project. So far it's a Windows only application, with a usb connected piece of cheap hardware (about 25 euros in components). It's not quite ready to be published yet, it needs a little cleanup and more testing. Some experimental features need to be removed etc.

More information can be found in the links below.

I've posted some articles about the project here:

And created some videos how the application works on youtube:

Please let me know if this is of any interest to you.

Kind regards

Screenshot of the Waveform editor:

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