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Old 31 December 2019, 21:43   #81
mark_k
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I have uploaded my work-in-progress PAR technical notes to The Zone (PAR_notes_20191231.zip).

Hopefully the information there should be enough to allow emulation of the PAR
board, at least to the extent of allowing:
- All tests run by PARTest to pass.
- The GUI of the PAR main program to be explored.
- A base for development of programs useful with real hardware. For example,
it should be relatively simple to write a program to dump/restore image
files from/to the PAR-connected drives, without needing to remove them from
the board.
- Given an image file created from a real PAR drive, it should be possible
in emulation to browse and export the files from it using the PAR
software. At least exporting in "PAR-native" format, which does not
require hardware-decoding of images, should work.

Maybe creating a separate thread about this would be better if anyone wants to post related questions.
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Old 01 January 2020, 00:39   #82
AmigaHope
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark_k View Post
I have uploaded my work-in-progress PAR technical notes to The Zone (PAR_notes_20191231.zip).

Hopefully the information there should be enough to allow emulation of the PAR
board, at least to the extent of allowing:
- All tests run by PARTest to pass.
- The GUI of the PAR main program to be explored.
- A base for development of programs useful with real hardware. For example,
it should be relatively simple to write a program to dump/restore image
files from/to the PAR-connected drives, without needing to remove them from
the board.
- Given an image file created from a real PAR drive, it should be possible
in emulation to browse and export the files from it using the PAR
software. At least exporting in "PAR-native" format, which does not
require hardware-decoding of images, should work.

Maybe creating a separate thread about this would be better if anyone wants to post related questions.
Excellent work. I do wonder if DPS kept essentially the same filesystem on their drives on later products even as they changed codecs...
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Old 01 January 2020, 20:31   #83
Starglider 2
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Originally Posted by mark_k View Post
I mentioned before about "Digital Domain A4000 Titanic PAR Drive.hdf" being a bad/incomplete dump. I wonder if when Starglider 2 created the image file, he wrote it to a USB stick or memory card, then removed the USB drive without doing the Windows safe-removal procedure? That could explain why the non-zero data ends on an exact 16MB boundary in the image file. In which case, the source drive could actually be OK, just needs re-reading.
I did not, it was a direct export and I did it twice. However I'm working on a DD version.
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Old 02 January 2020, 21:57   #84
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Hey guys, I have a small update for you. The machine is now back from Paul resendez and unfortunately he too was not able to repair it, just as I could not. he is the designer of the standalone new A4000 motherboard so I think if anybody could have salvaged this it would have been him. Battery damage is just too bad.

He also tried to backup the drives using DD rescue and wasn't able to due to read errors. So it looks like the backup that I took is the only one that we have available. As this was made using win UAE I believe it can be restored using with WinUAE. However perhaps it will not work due to those read errors being in place even when I got off the machine at first.

It may be that if someone can get PAR emulation working that Win UAE backup will then work in tandem with the Win UAE emulation.

The good news is that I was able to save all of the footage as shown in my recent video: [ Show youtube player ] I have also uploaded that to the internet archive so it is preserved forever. I know it isn't the actual zeros and ones of the data, but it is best we have for now.

my plan now is to get a working Amiga 4000 motherboard into this machine so at least the whole package is brought back to life. And for whatever reason the drive still seems to work when it is actually in a real Amiga ¯\_(?)_/¯

Thank you so much for all of your efforts with this project.

Your friend in retro, Perifractic
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Old 02 January 2020, 22:16   #85
mark_k
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How was the PAR drive connected when ddrescue was used? That could make a big difference in how much data can be recovered.

Connecting via a USB-IDE adapter isn't a good idea. The adapter firmware wouldn't have been tested properly with error-giving drives. Connecting directly to a native IDE port, and using ddrescue's direct disk access option could also help. Otherwise the OS read-ahead caching can create problems when bad/error sectors are reached. If I were doing it, I would also use ddpt which can give more visibility into error conditions.

If you still have the drive and didn't do anything silly like write to it, some or most of the missing data could still be recoverable. The problem with the existing image file is that all file/project metadata is missing. The PAR stores that near the end of the drive. Even if some sectors of the drive are not readable, it could be that all the metadata is actually intact.

It may be possible to recover individual frames from the existing image file without the metadata, I hope to look into that at some point.
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Old 03 January 2020, 02:08   #86
AmigaHope
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Originally Posted by Starglider 2 View Post
Hey guys, I have a small update for you. The machine is now back from Paul resendez and unfortunately he too was not able to repair it, just as I could not. he is the designer of the standalone new A4000 motherboard so I think if anybody could have salvaged this it would have been him. Battery damage is just too bad.

He also tried to backup the drives using DD rescue and wasn't able to due to read errors. So it looks like the backup that I took is the only one that we have available. As this was made using win UAE I believe it can be restored using with WinUAE. However perhaps it will not work due to those read errors being in place even when I got off the machine at first.

It may be that if someone can get PAR emulation working that Win UAE backup will then work in tandem with the Win UAE emulation.

The good news is that I was able to save all of the footage as shown in my recent video: [ Show youtube player ] I have also uploaded that to the internet archive so it is preserved forever. I know it isn't the actual zeros and ones of the data, but it is best we have for now.

my plan now is to get a working Amiga 4000 motherboard into this machine so at least the whole package is brought back to life. And for whatever reason the drive still seems to work when it is actually in a real Amiga ¯\_(?)_/¯

Thank you so much for all of your efforts with this project.

Your friend in retro, Perifractic
Well, as long as the silicon is fine you have a nice supply of chips to populate one of those new motherboards. =)

Since there are read errors, a dd will of course fail at a certain point. What you can do though is use some more extensive forensic software to read around the errors and extract what data is still there after the errors (as well as attempt retries on some marginal errors). If the important stuff for the project files is at the end of the disk, that information might still be extractable.
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Old 04 January 2020, 07:15   #87
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What you can do though is use some more extensive forensic software to read around the errors and extract what data is still there after the errors (as well as attempt retries on some marginal errors). If the important stuff for the project files is at the end of the disk, that information might still be extractable.
This is exactly what ddrescue does...
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Old 04 January 2020, 07:29   #88
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This is exactly what ddrescue does...
Yeah, dd just does a byte by byte copy, but I think ddrescue gives more effort to it.

I will say this, not all USB to IDE adapters are created equally. I had one for a long time that worked great, then it randomly died. Then when I was trying to replace it, I tried I think 3 before I found another one that worked well, and that was only because the one I'd bought previously had stopped being made.
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Old 07 January 2020, 05:08   #89
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Yeah, dd just does a byte by byte copy, but I think ddrescue gives more effort to it.

I will say this, not all USB to IDE adapters are created equally. I had one for a long time that worked great, then it randomly died. Then when I was trying to replace it, I tried I think 3 before I found another one that worked well, and that was only because the one I'd bought previously had stopped being made.
You shouldn't use a USB->IDE adapter at all for stuff like this, because then you're at the mercy of the crappy microcontroller in the adapter -- they do NOT handle error conditions well. You want a real IDE controller that the kernel can talk directly to. Best to pull out an old motherboard that has an IDE controller onboard.
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Old 07 January 2020, 05:18   #90
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You shouldn't use a USB->IDE adapter at all for stuff like this, because then you're at the mercy of the crappy microcontroller in the adapter -- they do NOT handle error conditions well. You want a real IDE controller that the kernel can talk directly to. Best to pull out an old motherboard that has an IDE controller onboard.
Exactly. I'm sure we've all got old PC's laying around, why risk a bad dump with a dodgy USB-IDE converter?
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Old 07 January 2020, 16:57   #91
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Exactly. I'm sure we've all got old PC's laying around, why risk a bad dump with a dodgy USB-IDE converter?
1) I have imaged and restored many drives without issue.
2) never use front USB ports, always use ones directly on the motherboard.
3) use USB 3.x

And yeah get a decent drive duplication one. This is the one I currently use. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01790511Q..._fOkfEb1RQVJYF
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