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Old 13 November 2019, 07:54   #1
lesta_smsc
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Greaseweazle - the cheap flux tool!

Hello all,

Whilst reading about ways to image disks, I came across this project by the renowned creator of Flash Floppy (free Gotek firmware and alternative to HxC). It's called "Greaseweazle" and appears to read/write in SuperCard Pro format (.SCP)

All the details can be found at Keir's github page: https://github.com/keirf/Greaseweazle

I will hopefully be getting the equipment through the post soon, but wondering how best to 'test' it to verify the read/write of the disks/images? Is there a hash check or something of that kind to verify the image is acceptable? I have plenty of original disks here that I'm happy to use as test subjects. I believe HxC disk tool can convert from IPF to SCP and so in essence could I write a disk of a game I already have and then read both to compare?

Enjoy!

Lesta_SMSC
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Old 13 November 2019, 08:51   #2
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There is also a Facebook group for it:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/greaseweazle

I have also used this solution to successfully restore my original game floppy disks.

This solution has a very low cost entry point - all you need are:

1. STM32 Blue Pill
2. USB TTL Programmer
3. Dupont ribbon cable
4. PC floppy drive

This diagram from the Greaseweazle Github wiki nicely summarises this:

https://github.com/keirf/Greaseweazl...re-Connections
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Old 13 November 2019, 17:12   #3
lesta_smsc
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When you did restore. Did you convert IPF to SCP? I read somewhere that another similar tool called Fluxengine could make the image back up but you couldn't write that directly to disk without some modification. Is this the same for GW?
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Old 13 November 2019, 18:12   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
When you did restore. Did you convert IPF to SCP? I read somewhere that another similar tool called Fluxengine could make the image back up but you couldn't write that directly to disk without some modification. Is this the same for GW?
Yes, I converted an IPF to SCP. However, the conversion did not work when using the HxC virtual disk software - the disk copy protection was still activating (on kickstart 1.3 and on certain floppy drives) so something was not quite right. However, an IPF->SCP conversion using disk-analyse did work (on all kickstarts and floppy drives).

disk-analyse is also from Keir Fraser - but you will need to setup a build environment to build it yourself:

https://github.com/keirf/Disk-Utilities
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Old 13 November 2019, 18:18   #5
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Thanks for letting me know. How did you know it failed was it trial and error? I mean, I will not be converting on Amiga but on PC?

I'm confused why protection would do anything since its flux being written rather than the actual tracks as with X-copy which can prevent copy protected disks from copying.
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Old 13 November 2019, 18:42   #6
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It failed because the game copy protection stopped the game from loading.

So I only knew only after I used GW to dump it to floppy and tried to load the game on my Amiga. The copy protection was such that it stopped loading and went to blank screen instead of a loading screen.

With the help of Keir, he was able to determine that the HxC IPF to SCP conversion was not quite right and the copy protection of the game was looking for something it was not finding when using kickstart 1.3; on kickstart 2.x it only worked on certain floppy drives - something to do with how the trackdisk.device works on those different Kickstarts.

He then used his disk-analyse software to convert from IPF to SCP and this proved to be successful - it was working for Kickstart 1.3 and for different floppy drives on kickstart 2.x.

I think it won't happen for every game - it seems to be just because of the specific copy protection used by the game (Panza Kick Boxing).

Another game (E-Motion), was similar - I couldn't get it working using the HxC conversion, but it was OK using disk-analyse.
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Old 13 November 2019, 18:44   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
I'm confused why protection would do anything since its flux being written rather than the actual tracks as with X-copy which can prevent copy protected disks from copying.
I think it is because there is still an IPF to SCP conversion taking place - so there is going to be room for differences/nuances on how it is converted.

Note that converting the IPF image to HFE v3 and loading the game from a Gotek device did not have any such issues.
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Old 13 November 2019, 21:20   #8
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Interesting, so in essence the copy protection breaks on KS 1.3 yet works on KS 2.0 - was there ever scope to modify the trackdisk.device to overcome copy protection?!

Since the interface works with USB, can you write normal disk images e.g. those for music samplers with it straight from file rather than having to use DOS for such operations.
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Old 13 November 2019, 21:47   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
Interesting, so in essence the copy protection breaks on KS 1.3 yet works on KS 2.0 - was there ever scope to modify the trackdisk.device to overcome copy protection?!
I'm not entirely sure technically what the issue is, but this is what Keir said:

Quote:
The issue is: (a) That HxC starts the first sector way too close to the write splice; (b) The trackdisk.device in Kickstart 1.x is fragile, it does not use the hardware to find 4489 sync marks but loads a non-aligned track and then searches manually. I image that the search does not like having the sync mark(s) only a few bitcells after the write splice.
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Since the interface works with USB, can you write normal disk images e.g. those for music samplers with it straight from file rather than having to use DOS for such operations.
Not sure what you mean, but Greaseweazle is designed in two parts - the Blue Pill hardware and a Python script running on the PC/Mac/Linux machine. So it can't be connected to any old machine/device. As long as you feed it a supported disk image file (currently only SCP) it will write it to the floppy disk.
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Old 13 November 2019, 22:22   #10
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Yes that makes sense. Not sure what I was thinking lol... maybe scope to support more images so it can be a flux took but also USB FDD interface to use within Windows!?

Are you using DSDD or HD disks for writing? I have read some people recommend using HD disks.
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Old 14 November 2019, 00:53   #11
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For testing before I write to the originals I have used both DD and HD disks.
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Old 14 November 2019, 02:10   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarmon View Post
It failed because the game copy protection stopped the game from loading.

So I only knew only after I used GW to dump it to floppy and tried to load the game on my Amiga. The copy protection was such that it stopped loading and went to blank screen instead of a loading screen.

With the help of Keir, he was able to determine that the HxC IPF to SCP conversion was not quite right and the copy protection of the game was looking for something it was not finding when using kickstart 1.3; on kickstart 2.x it only worked on certain floppy drives - something to do with how the trackdisk.device works on those different Kickstarts.

He then used his disk-analyse software to convert from IPF to SCP and this proved to be successful - it was working for Kickstart 1.3 and for different floppy drives on kickstart 2.x.

I think it won't happen for every game - it seems to be just because of the specific copy protection used by the game (Panza Kick Boxing).

Another game (E-Motion), was similar - I couldn't get it working using the HxC conversion, but it was OK using disk-analyse.

I think that another test with a true Supercard Pro or a Kryoflux may be interesting. FYI most of the HxC IPF to SCP conversion is based on the original SPS / Caps library, unlike the disk-analyse tool.

Can you send me these IPF files ?

EDIT : Got the images. Which version are you using exactly ?

Last edited by Jeff_HxC2001; 14 November 2019 at 09:02.
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Old 14 November 2019, 10:23   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_HxC2001 View Post
I think that another test with a true Supercard Pro or a Kryoflux may be interesting.
I don't have a Supercard Pro or Kyroflux to compare against. Otherwise, I would have definitely done that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_HxC2001 View Post
FYI most of the HxC IPF to SCP conversion is based on the original SPS / Caps library, unlike the disk-analyse tool.
This is not a true statement.

The build instructions for disk-analyse includes the CAPS library for IPF support, as detailed at:

https://github.com/keirf/Disk-Utilit...ster/README.md

EDIT: Oh, you mean for the conversion to SCP. I'm not sure about that then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_HxC2001 View Post
Can you send me these IPF files ?

EDIT : Got the images. Which version are you using exactly ?
It would be great if you can test. Below are the IPF images I used - searched for in https://www.oldgamesfinder.com and linked to the IPF images on archive.org:

PANZA Kick Boxing (1990)(Futura)[2400]:
https://www.oldgamesfinder.com/?q=panza&m=-4
http://archive.org/download/Commodor...%5B2400%5D.zip

E-MOTION (1990)(U.S. Gold)[0475]:
https://www.oldgamesfinder.com/?q=e-motion&m=-4
http://archive.org/download/Commodor...%5B0475%5D.zip
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Old 14 November 2019, 11:10   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solarmon View Post
I don't have a Supercard Pro or Kyroflux to compare against. Otherwise, I would have definitely done that.



This is not a true statement.

The build instructions for disk-analyse includes the CAPS library for IPF support, as detailed at:

https://github.com/keirf/Disk-Utilit...ster/README.md

EDIT: Oh, you mean for the conversion to SCP. I'm not sure about that then.
i meant this :
https://github.com/keirf/Disk-Utilit...ontainer/ipf.c

But this appears to be for the write support only.
And this is not the cause of the problem finally :


Quote:
Originally Posted by solarmon View Post
It would be great if you can test. Below are the IPF images I used - searched for in https://www.oldgamesfinder.com and linked to the IPF images on archive.org:

PANZA Kick Boxing (1990)(Futura)[2400]:
https://www.oldgamesfinder.com/?q=panza&m=-4
http://archive.org/download/Commodor...%5B2400%5D.zip

E-MOTION (1990)(U.S. Gold)[0475]:
https://www.oldgamesfinder.com/?q=e-motion&m=-4
http://archive.org/download/Commodor...%5B0475%5D.zip
Thanks : Already have a look on the images i found : And yes the start of the scp tracks are aligned on the Index signal with the hxc software, and the index signal is close to the first sector. But this is not supposed to be the track write splice !
Here is what Jim (the supercard pro and scp format designer) said :

http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic...rt=475#p307888

Quote:
Writing with SPLICE is much different than INDEX. When you write with SPLICE mode, the first revolution is always written, and writing continues until the write splice is found, at which point the writing is terminated.
Unless i have missed something, i didn't found any write splice search function in the greaseweazle code, so i suppose that it just write the scp tracks "as-it-is". But this is definitively not the spirit of this format, you need to find where to start and stop the track write "yourself".
The HxC software currently write 2 revolutions in the scp files. I can increase it to 3 to help to analyze the stream. I can also "cheat" and align the scp track dump to the supposed write splice (this what disk-analyse do i suppose.), but i don't like this idea.
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Old 14 November 2019, 11:42   #15
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I understand Keir had added a specific 'format' for Panza to resolve the issue:

https://github.com/keirf/Disk-Utilit...nalyse/formats

Code:
# Long tracks on Disks A and B
"Panza Kick Boxing"
    158-159 amigados_long_105500
    * amigados
For E-Motion there seems to be a 'format' for it too:

Code:
# Astra Pack Game 3
"E-Motion"
    158 tiertex_longtrack
    159 gremlin_longtrack
    * amigados
However, I was not aware of this then, and did not specify that specific format, so it would have defaulted to 'amigados'.
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Old 14 November 2019, 11:53   #16
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A command line option to specify the write method may be better than individual disk specific config?
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Old 14 November 2019, 12:07   #17
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To illustrate what i mean :



"bad write splice" : where to start/stop the write to generate the issue.
"real write splice" : Where the write splice should be !

You can try to rotate the image with hxc tool to move a little bit the sectors from the index signal/bad write splice. (Track analyzer -> Edit tools -> Shift Tracks with -10, then export to scp). If the write splice position is really the issue, this will get around the issue ...

Last edited by Jeff_HxC2001; 14 November 2019 at 12:18.
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Old 14 November 2019, 12:09   #18
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The image is not loading...

However, if this is all that's needed can you put an option on the next HxC tool for "GW_SCP" lol.
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Old 14 November 2019, 12:12   #19
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@Jeff_HxC2001

Thanks for that visual example - it really helps my understanding, very useful!

I will try your suggestion to see if it makes a difference.
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Old 14 November 2019, 12:18   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lesta_smsc View Post
The image is not loading...

However, if this is all that's needed can you put an option on the next HxC tool for "GW_SCP" lol.

Image fixed .


No i don't think so .
This the job of the floppy read/writer to deal with the write splices.
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