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Old 20 July 2019, 19:30   #1
udihow
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Difficulties reading / writing floppies

Hi EAB.

I seem to have floppy problems, hoping someone could give some advice?

When formatted in windows, I can read DD-disks as 720kb, shows up with a crossdos icon in workbench. However I can not format them there. Neither as PC0 or DF0. That just results in error messages.

HD floppies without tape, cannot be be read or formatted in workbench.

With tape and prev. formatted in windows, they can be read as 720kb but not reformatted. Also, the machine still boots from old taped floppies I wrote several years ago.

When trying to format DF0 (not quick), I get I/0 error 21, 26 and such. When trying quick format, it looks like something is happening, but nothing changes.
Formatting PC0 gives me "Error initalizing".

I just want to be able to normally read and write to any 3,5" floppy, regardless of capacity or where it was formatted initially.

At first I thought it was the drive, but I've tried 3 different drives with the same results.

Also, the amiga doesnt check for floppies when the drive is empty, I learned I could type 'diskchange df0:' but that isn't very convenient. Can I enable this somehow?
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Old 22 July 2019, 10:57   #2
Daedalus
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As standard, the Amiga does check for floppies when the drive is empty. If it's not doing that, there may be some hardware issue that needs to be addressed first.

You should be able to format 720K floppies just fine on the Amiga, but some drives (likely yours is one of these) can't use HD disks as DD unless the hole is taped over since they have a sensor that changes the drive configuration for HD disks.
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Old 24 July 2019, 18:39   #3
udihow
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It does check for a floppy under the boot process but not when WB is up and running. Perhaps it does one time right after WB is loaded up, as it detects new disks after a reboot.

Shouldn't I be able to format taped HDs and regular DDs to 720kB (win) or 880kB (amiga). And non-taped HDs to 1.44MB or 1.76MB?
That's how I understand it, at least!


About 7 years ago I had an A1200 and also an A600, they had no problems formatting disks no matter HD/DD, taped or not. They also checked for disks continuously if there was none inserted. I have no idea what OS versions they ran though.

Treat me like a noob because that is how I feel like. I'm no real hardcore amiga user, this is just something i tinker with sporadically, for fun. I don't have a deep understanding of them (yet).
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Old 24 July 2019, 19:40   #4
hooverphonique
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udihow View Post
It does check for a floppy under the boot process but not when WB is up and running.

But is the disk already in the drive when the amiga starts booting, or does it also work if you wait for the kickstart "insert disk" screen before sliding in the floppy?
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Old 24 July 2019, 19:46   #5
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It may be that there is an issue with one of the CIA chips, specifically the "even" CIA. Try swapping the two CIA chips around to see if that makes any difference.
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Old 25 July 2019, 09:42   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by udihow View Post
It does check for a floppy under the boot process but not when WB is up and running. Perhaps it does one time right after WB is loaded up, as it detects new disks after a reboot.
If you've installed a patch to stop the drive clicking, then that could explain it, though the drive should still function as normal. Such patches are normally fine, but aren't totally compatible with every drive, which is why the functionality was left disabled in the OS. If you installed a custom distro of some sort, it probably included such a patch.

Quote:
Shouldn't I be able to format taped HDs and regular DDs to 720kB (win) or 880kB (amiga). And non-taped HDs to 1.44MB or 1.76MB?
That's how I understand it, at least!
Yes, on the PC anyway. On the Amiga, you can only format to 720kB or 880kB unless you have a special drive. A standard HD drive modified to work as a DD drive won't be able to format to 1.44/1.76MB.


Quote:
About 7 years ago I had an A1200 and also an A600, they had no problems formatting disks no matter HD/DD, taped or not. They also checked for disks continuously if there was none inserted. I have no idea what OS versions they ran though.
And that's what should be happening here too.
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Old 25 July 2019, 15:18   #7
udihow
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooverphonique View Post
But is the disk already in the drive when the amiga starts booting, or does it also work if you wait for the kickstart "insert disk" screen before sliding in the floppy?
At start, it checks for a disk even even if there is none. It boots right to workbench if the floppy isn't bootable. See the reboot step in the video further down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DofD View Post
It may be that there is an issue with one of the CIA chips, specifically the "even" CIA. Try swapping the two CIA chips around to see if that makes any difference.
Could try that, but it had both of these chips replaced a few years ago. A danish dude replaced all capacitors on the boards and told me one of the CIAs were defective and recommended replacing both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
If you've installed a patch to stop the drive clicking, then that could explain it, though the drive should still function as normal. Such patches are normally fine, but aren't totally compatible with every drive, which is why the functionality was left disabled in the OS. If you installed a custom distro of some sort, it probably included such a patch.
I have not installed any patch that I know of, when I first got the computer many years ago I just downloaded and installed the os/workbench. Can I find out if there is such a patch installed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daedalus View Post
Yes, on the PC anyway. On the Amiga, you can only format to 720kB or 880kB unless you have a special drive. A standard HD drive modified to work as a DD drive won't be able to format to 1.44/1.76MB.
i was told it could read and write both DD and HD. It's a standard amiga drive, unmodified. Two of the tested ones are chinon fz-357a and the third something else, bit thicker, but still standard unmodified. Exactly the same issues with all of them.

Today I opened up the currently installed drive, manually moved all the three switches up and down, cleaned everything I could and put it together, but no change...

So I then made this video to better explain what's going on.

[ Show youtube player ]

1. Trying with a DD-floppy
2. typing diskchange and trying with a taped HD-floppy
3. reboot and trying with a HD-floppy
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Old 25 July 2019, 17:43   #8
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Sorry, yes, they're Amiga HD drives and they should be able to read DD and HD (at half speed). They're rare enough - I realise that you didn't say which Amiga you have, and those drives only shipped in the A4000 (and maybe some late A3000s), so I was assuming you had a PC drive modified to work as DD, which was often done on later A1200s and for aftermarket replacements for all models.

If you've installed the OS from scratch yourself from the official OS install disks, you will have had to add a patch to stop the clicking. There are various patches and utilities that also do it - MCP, MCX, NoClick, Blizkick modules... It might be worth checking the startup-sequence, user-startup and WBStartup for anything that might have that sort of functionality.

What might also be worth doing is loading up Systest / AmigaTestKit and using its floppy test utility to read the sensors of the drive to see if they're being read correctly. I can't remember if it shows the drive ID, but that also needs to be correct to support HD disks.
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Old 25 July 2019, 22:08   #9
udihow
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It's an A4000 desktop, rev C (IIRC). The floppy drives were pulled from working rev Ds

I'm pretty sure I got the OS from here http://classicwb.abime.net/, but I dont remember which one of them. Will check what you listed.

About the amigatestkit. Downloaded it, then wrote the adf to a DD floppy with adf blitzer. But the computer would not boot from it. So instead I ran the executable within workbench.

Read test on all the floppies I've been playing with lately fails with "cannot read track 0". Even tried with newly windows-formatted ones, with and without data.
Yes, It even failed to read the disk I actually just transferred the testkit files with!

But when running the test with old disks originally written on my a1200 or a600 many years ago, everything is OK...??

Write test returns OK, on all disks.
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