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Old 12 May 2009, 18:07   #1
Loedown
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Catweasel Its Good And Bad

Greetings,
I have quite an interest in purchasing a Catweasel Mk 4 board from Individual Computers, for anyone who has a Mk 4 or even earlier, what is;

The worst problems that the boards have?

Shortfalls and inabilities?

Any other obscure limitations?


I want to be able to read and write Amiga DD and HD disks, C64 disks etc. I notice several posts here regarding other disk projects, so I can assume that Catweasel is unable to deal with the Amiga weak bits / long tracks? What about the C64 error protected disks, Disector V5 being one of them?

Paul
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Old 12 May 2009, 23:12   #2
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I can't speak for the Amiga version as I've only had the PCI version but my $0.02 worth is that the Catweasel is an interesting albeit flawed piece of hardware and the driver support leaves a lot to be desired.
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Old 12 May 2009, 23:15   #3
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The Catweasel MK4 is now replaced by the Catweasel MK4 Plus - this is the latest version, Individual Computers are send us:

http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...roducts_id=842
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Old 13 May 2009, 00:14   #4
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Don't forget the EABDISCOUNT coupon code during Checkout for purchases of the Catweasel MK4 Plus
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Old 13 May 2009, 02:56   #5
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I have one, and it works fine. Setup is fairly difficult, and it hates certain floppy drives, but once you get it going it's not bad. I wish there was an easy way of disabling the extra ports so they don't confuse the living hell out of poorly-coded games, though.

The driver support is the main problem. The hardware has the potential to read/write virtually anything, but as of now it's still limited by the software.

For now, I'd reccommend it only if you need to quickly run off large numbers of Amiga/C64/Atari 800 floppies. Or need hardware SID support. Or really really like using 1-button joysticks.

As for copy-protected disks, that's only really going to happen when the SPS people feel like making it happen.

Last edited by papa_november; 13 May 2009 at 11:35.
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Old 22 May 2009, 06:46   #6
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Greetings,
Who is responsible for the updating of Catweasel and how is it actually updated? I am planning on getting the PCI version.

Just how good is it at copying copy protected Amiga 880K disks and will it deal with C64 copy protected disks like Disector V5, which uses read errors in the tracks as I recall? I know that one of the nibble copiers on C64 will copy them no worries.

Will it also allow the connecting of a 3.5" drive and a 5.25" drive at the same time, not to have them both copied at the same time, but my real reasons for wanting this hardware are for Amiga 880K and 1760K disks, along with C64 1541 disks?

Cheers,

Paul
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Old 22 May 2009, 08:38   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loedown View Post
Greetings,
Who is responsible for the updating of Catweasel and how is it actually updated? I am planning on getting the PCI version.

Just how good is it at copying copy protected Amiga 880K disks and will it deal with C64 copy protected disks like Disector V5, which uses read errors in the tracks as I recall? I know that one of the nibble copiers on C64 will copy them no worries.

Will it also allow the connecting of a 3.5" drive and a 5.25" drive at the same time, not to have them both copied at the same time, but my real reasons for wanting this hardware are for Amiga 880K and 1760K disks, along with C64 1541 disks?

Cheers,

Paul
As far as Copy Protected disks go, I believe it is touch and go, I think the card is more suited down to just reading/writing plain disks with a generic PC drive.

For reading/writing COPY Protected disks, your best bet will be to keep an eye on the Cyclone 20 thread in the Prb.Hardware forum, as that will be geared to that side of things, the Board is being worked on by the original CYCLONE author, who has/HAD history in the duplication side of Retail disks.

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=40959

There will even be the ability to write IPF images back to disk.
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Old 22 May 2009, 12:14   #8
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Quote:
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As far as Copy Protected disks go, I believe it is touch and go, I think the card is more suited down to just reading/writing plain disks with a generic PC drive.

For reading/writing COPY Protected disks, your best bet will be to keep an eye on the Cyclone 20 thread in the Prb.Hardware forum, as that will be geared to that side of things, the Board is being worked on by the original CYCLONE author, who has/HAD history in the duplication side of Retail disks.

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=40959

There will even be the ability to write IPF images back to disk.
Whilst I very much appreciate the input, I would still like some of my other concerns answered, if anyone knows?

Paul
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Old 22 May 2009, 21:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loedown View Post
Greetings,
Who is responsible for the updating of Catweasel and how is it actually updated? I am planning on getting the PCI version.
Hi Paul,

I'll try and clear up your other concerns.

The Catweasel card originates from and is updated by Jens Schoenfeld, aka Individual Computers:
http://www.jschoenfeld.com/indexe.htm
Follow the links on the home page to find out more, or subscribe to the newsletter.

Updated drivers for the Catweasel card and other products are regularly posted on the support page, and previous updates are archived here:
http://siliconsonic.de/t/bin/

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loedown View Post
Will it also allow the connecting of a 3.5" drive and a 5.25" drive at the same time, not to have them both copied at the same time, but my real reasons for wanting this hardware are for Amiga 880K and 1760K disks, along with C64 1541 disks?
Yes, the Catweasel card accepts two floppy disk drives of similar or different type connected to a standard PC floppy drive cable (supplied).
If your PC already has a floppy disk drive or drives, then the Catweasel can share them with the PC (though this is not recommended). It is far better to give the Catweasel its own dedicated floppy drive or drives, so that it acts independently of the other hardware.

I have a Catweasel MkIV. If you have any further questions, I will be glad to try and help.

prowler
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Old 23 May 2009, 13:59   #10
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Seems Amigakit owes you a favour, I bought a Mk4+ earlier.

Thanks, Prowler

Paul
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Old 23 May 2009, 15:53   #11
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From what I can tell support for the Catweasel series is dead (over 6 months inactivity, before that almost a year!) and the developer will not / cannot open-source the design and the software for the community to pick up and run.

Over a year of inactivity, non of the promises that were made on the launch of CW4 have been kept. Great idea, poor execution, just average product.

I'd keep my eyes on the open source Cyclone project being developed here. Lost a little steam recently but great bunch of guys behind it.

Last edited by alexh; 23 May 2009 at 15:59.
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Old 23 May 2009, 20:27   #12
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
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Old 23 May 2009, 23:01   #13
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If it never did what was promised, just forget it?
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Old 23 May 2009, 23:41   #14
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Hi Alex,

I'm not in a position to 'forget it'.

I bought an original Catweasel ISA card which does everything I require in my Pentium based PCs (which each have 5 ISA slots and 3 PCI expansion slots).

Later, I bought a MkIV to bring the same capability to my PIII+ machines (which have only AGP / PCI / AMR slots), and in this I was successful.

I am not looking for anything else, so 'what was promised' is of no concern to me.
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Old 24 May 2009, 00:53   #15
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I feel happy for you, but from the comments of others, you're in the minority.

The ability to read/write most copy protected disk formats belonging to many platforms was promised, together with the ability to stream data to emulators realtime.

I take it you just read/write non copy protected disks, ADF files?
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Old 24 May 2009, 01:04   #16
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Quote:
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I take it you just read/write non copy protected disks?
Yes, Amiga and other formats too.

Oher methods have evolved to circumvent copy protection, and this may be why Jens is not giving it much priority.
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Old 24 May 2009, 01:35   #17
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Like what?
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Old 24 May 2009, 01:42   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
Like what?
Like this,

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
I'd keep my eyes on the open source Cyclone project being developed here. Lost a little steam recently but great bunch of guys behind it.
for instance.
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Old 24 May 2009, 01:55   #19
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Hmm yeah right... that is why there has been years of inactivity in this area on CW. A barely six month old, unfinished project, not even available to buy.
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Old 24 May 2009, 02:10   #20
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I am not disappointed with my Catweasel MkIV card, because I knew all of its limitations before I bought it, and Paul started this thread in an attempt to do likewise.

I have absolutely no interest in defeating copy protection schemes, but from what I have read on this forum I know that this is being tackled on several fronts, and you must surely be aware of this too.

You pointed out that the Cyclone 20 project was one to watch and I was merely reminding you of this in answer to your rhetorical question.
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