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Old 16 March 2012, 01:44   #1
Garyc2012
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Happy Creating ADF's using sewing needles !!!

Hi

About 12 years ago or so I preserved my Amiga floppy disks (about 20 of them) which contained BBS emails (20+ year old emails ), all my devpac 2 source code for demos and a half finished video poker program, logs from bbs's etc etc all the usual stuff. Now I have several backups on pen drives, dropbox, ubuntu one account etc !

Recently I discovered another few amiga disks labelled Devpac Source code and am soooooooooooo curious to see whats on them.

Back then I used a standard PC running MS-DOS and a program *I CANT FIND ANYWHERE*

All I had to do was solder a piece of wire onto two sewing needles, one end went into pin X on the parallel port and the other slipped into pin X on the floppy controller connector (at the floppy drive end)

Then you run the dos program.......it read the floppy drive and created a perfect adf DOS file (I think the dos program sent signals out the parallel port to modify the PC floppy drive timings)

Can someone please tell me the name of this program and where to find it, and tell me I haven't imagined it all !!!!!!!!

PS Hi Everyone !!!!!!

Gary
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Old 16 March 2012, 13:12   #2
lesta_smsc
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I didn't even think this was possible... I'm aware of certain ways to read Amiga disks on PC floppy but it requires 2 drives... If you do find this, please let me know! I need to get my Deluxe Paint images back! lol
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Old 16 March 2012, 15:17   #3
Garyc2012
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Yay !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After *ALOT* of digging about I found it !!!!

As it states

"The hardware needed merely consists of one single cable that connects the printer port to the floppy cable."

Kudos to the wayback machine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - heres the link for anyone interested !

http://web.archive.org/web/200503120...t/index-e.html

Last time I used this is worked PERFECTLY for me !!!!, so heres hoping. I no longer have ANY Amiga gear and don't want to spend a fortune to read my old disks so this is worth a shot !

**** Just noticed it won't work on cpus > 266 mhz (has it been that long !) and the linux DL links are broken too......ah well, at least i didn't imagine it

Gary

Last edited by Garyc2012; 16 March 2012 at 15:55.
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Old 16 March 2012, 22:56   #4
prowler
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Hey Gary, thanks for the link!

At first I thought you were referring to Vincent Joguin's Disk2FDI program, but of course the Registered version is required to image Amiga floppies using a single floppy drive and a parallel port cable.

I didn't realize that the Amiga Disk Reader project was so similar to the Disk2FDI program. I was confusing it with another project called the Amiga Floppy Reader, which used a special interface you could build yourself to connect a floppy drive to the parallel port.

Last edited by prowler; 17 March 2012 at 00:36. Reason: Added link to AFR Project.
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Old 17 March 2012, 17:07   #5
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What do you think prowler worth a play?
Seems intresting thanks Dude and welcome
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Old 17 March 2012, 17:31   #6
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This will be much fun and hassle. Modern PCs lack the printer port, and on older ones you will get trouble with CPUs that are too fast. Means: jitter and sewere timing issues. Not counting in the interference recorded with this huge antenna...

Apart from this... Hardware porn and much fun.
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Old 17 March 2012, 22:31   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boo Boo View Post
What do you think prowler worth a play?
I'm going to give it a try (whatever mr.vince says).

As a Registered user of Disk2FDI, I can confirm that this technique works beautifully. Those who have used the trick with two floppy drives facilitated by the unregistered version of Disk2FDI with MS-DOS or Toni Wilen's ADFRead 1.0 or 1.1 with Win2K+ to image Amiga floppy disks will be surprised at just how much faster and smoother the imaging process works when the timing signals are provided from the parallel port.

The Amiga Disk Reader project uses a different parallel port cable, so the technique it uses is somewhat different from that used by Disk2FDI Registered, but hey, it doesn't cost anything to try it out, and the machine I use for Disk2FDI imaging uses a P200MMX processor and the onboard parallel port for double-density disks and I have the option of a PCI parallel port adapter which is required for high-density disks.

I'll report back here with the details of my tests when they are complete.
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Old 18 March 2012, 20:50   #8
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I'm going to give it a try (whatever mr.vince says).
D'oh... did I say don't do it? Just said it's fun and hassle. So enjoy!
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Old 18 March 2012, 21:12   #9
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I only suggested that I would try it out despite what you had said because you seemed to be implying that I would be wasting my time.

Like yourself, I imagine, I'm interested in evaluating any program and/or hardware which might help recover data from troublesome media.
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Old 19 March 2012, 00:45   #10
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Great find! Only downside is having to run linux on newer systems. Is there any DOS software that can down-clock CPU to allow it to run as 266MHz for the purposes of this in real DOS mode?
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Old 19 March 2012, 01:00   #11
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Total failure on my 75MHz Pentium PC. Drive is a Sony MPF 520-1. I didn't need the needles. A piece of solid bell wire held snug in the connectors. Tried original KindWords disk, Workbench disks etc. all resulted in the drive lighting up stepping a bit then nothing. Created files of 0 byte size. If I used the -e option then it prints a row of changing numbers at the top for a while longer but eventually quits too. Ran prog in real mode DOS and Win95 in a box. Tried all permutations of EPP,ECP,bi-directional etc in BIOS. I'll leave it hooked up a while in case anybody has a breakthrough.

EDIT:The print1 utility on that page reports:

insert dd disk and press enter

(connected)
Bits transfered! wiring ok!
interrupt generated! lpt-port ok!

(disconnected)
No bits transfered! check wiring
No interrupt generated! check lpt-port

The minimum manual setting on the readadf prog shows a 90/100 so maybe this PC is too slow.

Last edited by clenched; 19 March 2012 at 04:43. Reason: more tests
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Old 19 March 2012, 20:54   #12
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On the EAB fileserver /Commodore_Amiga/App/Archive/readadf_cc/ folder this software and some source code can be found. It would seem someone has created a patch for more modern PCs.

[snippet from text file]
'tp7p5fix.com' ist ein Patch um das readadf auch auf neueren PC's zum Laufen zu bringen,da es mit einem etwas šlteren Assembler compiliert wurde.

I popped the lid on a 450MHz AMD PC but discovered the floppy cable didn't have the extra middle connector. After weighing the risk/benefit ratio of swapping cables, I decided to pass.

Last edited by clenched; 22 March 2012 at 06:26. Reason: correct CPU speed
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Old 19 March 2012, 21:07   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Garyc2012 View Post
Kudos to the wayback machine !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - heres the link for anyone interested !

http://web.archive.org/web/200503120...t/index-e.html

Last time I used this is worked PERFECTLY for me !!!!, so heres hoping.
I used it with success, too, many years ago .
I still have the cable I did for that purpose.
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Old 19 March 2012, 22:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clenched View Post
On the EAB fileserver /Commodore_Amiga/App/Archive/readadf_cc/ folder this software and some source code can be found. It would seem someone has created a patch for more modern PCs.

[snippet from text file]
'tp7p5fix.com' ist ein Patch um das readadf auch auf neueren PC's zum Laufen zu bringen,da es mit einem etwas šlteren Assembler compiliert wurde.
Thanks for digging those files out, mate!

I can't believe I've never heard of this project before now.

I'm hoping to find time to try this out tomorrow on my P200MMX machine...
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Old 20 March 2012, 00:35   #15
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I can't believe I've never heard of this project before now.

I'm hoping to find time to try this out tomorrow on my P200MMX machine...
In case you can't find all the files you need let me know, I should have saved them somewhere on my hard disks .
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Old 20 March 2012, 00:52   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
In case you can't find all the files you need let me know, I should have saved them somewhere on my hard disks .
Thanks, mate!

I think I now have them all and I'm hoping I can get it to work for me tomorrow. I'll let you know if I'm missing something which is preventing it from running.
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Old 20 March 2012, 23:28   #17
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Well, I got the ReadADF program running today without much fuss, but it's MUCH slower than Disk2FDI Registered using the same hardware, and it's prone to errors where there are none using Disk2FDI.

The Disk2FDI cable uses two wires to carry signals between the onboard parallel port and the floppy disk ribbon cable, one of which is the same as the ReadADF wire, so it didn't take too long to prepare the machine for the test.

The Print1 program reported the wiring and lpt-port ok with one or both wires connected and it really didn't seem to affect the performance of the ReadADF program whether the additional wire was connected or not when I tried it. The program left the floppy drive activity light illuminated when it had finished, so I rebooted the machine to cancel that. However, the ReadADF program did not suffer from the same problem.

First, I tried the Disk2FDI program to make sure that the Amiga Computing coverdisk I had selected for the test gave no read errors, and then ran the ReadADF program with the default settings.

Personally, I found the program to be much too slow to be useful in anything but desperate circumstances, and I feel that the Disk2FDI registration fee would be money well spent if this were the only alternative.

Though, having said that, I'll admit that there are a number of features which give it some merit. I like the way the program displays an indication of its progress and which sectors it's having trouble with. Also, when a read error occurs, you have the option to (A)bort, (I)gnore, (R)etry or R(E)calibrate.

If you abort, you will have a partial ADF dump of all tracks imaged up to that point and, if you choose Retry, the program will persist with reading that track until it is successful. It seems to work in a similar way to the Catweasel ImageTool, in that the whole track is buffered in memory and only the bad sectors are updated, if read successfully, after the next retry. (The KryoFlux DTC could do with being rewritten to work the same way, instead of commencing each retry from scratch.)

I tried Racalibrate after one read error, but I wasn't sure whether it had a worthwhile effect (this will require more investigation), and I didn't try Ignore at all as that would have been counterproductive.

To sum up, the ReadADF program has two major drawbacks:
  1. It is sooooooo VERY slow (I haven't yet completed a dump), and
  2. The resulting ADF image is prone to errors, even where none are reported.
It might be possible to improve its speed and/or performance by using the manual command line switches provided and/or taking the parallel port signals directly from the motherboard header to shorten the wires and minimize any interference produced by the "antenna" effect, and I shall look at these possibilities next...

Last edited by prowler; 21 March 2012 at 00:19. Reason: The program is ReadADF! :banghead
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Old 21 March 2012, 00:05   #18
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Interesting and detailed review Thanks
Its a dirty hack and I like it

In theory controlling the drive like this and the other methods avalible could it possible to also write
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Old 21 March 2012, 00:07   #19
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Quote:
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Well, I got the ADFRead program running today
Hi prowler,
no, the name is not ADFRead.
ADFRead was made by Toni (here's v1.1: http://www.winuae.net/frames/download.html) and I, years ago, found it too prone to errors (even if it uses another way to read data: dual floppies instead of a single floppy + cable).
I reported it to Toni (at that time I didn't know he was that Toni... sorry Toni! ). I tested it with 4-5 different drives (Teac, Sony, Panasonic, Chinon etc.) and I always got random errors in the .adf images.
Those errors were not reported by the program.
Me and Toni had some e-mail exchanges about the issue, but he couldn't test it anymore because he had no PCs with dual-floppy support motherboard. He asked me to send him some dumps, but my job took me away from that for some time and then I bought a real A600 + CF etc. and didn't need it anymore.

However... regarding the program used by Garyc2012 (and me, back in the day), its name is Amiga Disk Reader.

If I remember well, after some time a second release was available (v2.0? I have to check) and I tested it too.

The Recalibrate option was not available in the first release (If I remember well, that's it), so I suppose you used the last release.

It was very slow, yes .

However, it wasn't prone to errors. The .adf files were good (I compared them, years later, with the one obtained with my A600).
Did you perhaps use a too fast PC?

Last edited by Supamax; 21 March 2012 at 00:13.
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Old 21 March 2012, 00:36   #20
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Hi prowler,
no, the name is not ADFRead.
...its name is Amiga Disk Reader.
Oops, thanks mate! The first occurrence was a typo, and then it stuck with me throughout! I've corrected it now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
If I remember well, after some time a second release was available (v2.0? I have to check) and I tested it too.

The Recalibrate option was not available in the first release (If I remember well, that's it), so I suppose you used the last release.
I'm not aware of the release version I used (it's not reported, IIRC), but it's probably the latest, as you say, because I downloaded it from the official website (albeit via the Wayback Machine).

Quote:
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It was very slow, yes .

However, it wasn't prone to errors. The .adf files were good (I compared them, years later, with the one obtained with my A600).
Did you perhaps use a too fast PC?
I make a mistake. My Disk2FDI machine is a P166MMX (not P200MMX), so it should be okay, but I didn't use the manual command line switch (just stuck with the default). I did try the TP7P5Fix program anyway. It installed okay, but had no discernable effect.

I may be able to improve things by shortening the parallel port cable and trying the command line switches. We'll see...
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