Emailing: Universal Floppy reader, was Re Extracting CDOS and CP-M) files
lynchaj at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 12 18:28:33 CDT 2007
> Really don't understand all the talks about catweasels secrets, etc.
> Just make few boards for the classiccomp group, and be done with the
> subject ;-)
I suppose--every once in awhile, I run into a very odd format that's
not compatible with any of the commodity controllers and am forced to
use a Catweasel on it. But 99% of what I see is plain old soft-
sectored media, readable on most WD17xx or NEC 765 controllers.
There has been lots of talk about these universal floppy controller devices
and I for one would LOVE to see one done but so far nobody has made one
work. The closest thing I have seen is either the external floppy drive and
compaticard combination or the parallel port Backpack external floppy drive
from Microsolutions. If anyone actually makes the universal floppy reader,
please put me down to buy one as well.
However, IMO, the best solution for the universal floppy drive is an old PC
with a Catweasel and a 3.5", 5.25", and/or 8" floppy drive. Then just write
the software for it. Really, writing software for the Catweasel is really
simple and it is 100% open source.
The documentation is all available publicly, its supported in Linux, MS-DOS,
and/or Windows, the owner/manufacturer is as accomodating as one could
possibly hope for (Jens Schoenfeld). There is a developer list and lots of
enthusiastic users. The hardware is cheap and readily available. Count me
as diehard Catweasel fan!
The Catweasel in an old PC is as close to the perfect universal floppy drive
reader as far as I can see. What else is needed? More and better software
and that is about all.
There are Catweasel software available for practically every format
imaginable. Most if not all of the soft sector formats are covered by the
Tim Mann CW2DMK software. There are reader for many formats such as
specialty disks as the Amiga, Atari, Macintosh, Commodore, Nintendo, Apple
II, etc. There is software for many of the hard sector formats as well
(NorthStar, PTDOS, Data General, and Heath, at least. Vector Graphic is in
Thanks and best of luck with your project. Really, if anyone does complete
a universal floppy reader which is even close to as good as the Catweasel, I
will be in line to buy it.
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