Alternative Hardware Design for Floppy Interface

dwight elvey dkelvey at
Sun Oct 21 22:47:07 CDT 2007

> From: lynchaj at
---snip---> Hi,> > By the time you add in all the costs of the CPU board with IO, case, power> supply, cables, documentation, plus the specialized disk controller, AND> write most if not all of the software this project is quickly going to> become uneconomical for all but the most patient and financially well off.> > You could use a throw away old 486 or Pentium II computer with ISA and/or> PCI slots to provide any interface you'd like (ethernet, SCSI, ST506, USB,> whatever) for a whole lot less time and effort. A double sided 48tpi floppy> drive will read practically any format given the right controller. The same> can be done for whatever sort of drive you'd like to test.> 
 Most of us have older PC's that will read most standard formats.
That isn't the issue. The Catweasel is the closest thing out there
but it is, as Dave D. says, not open documented.
 As for the BlackFin processor that Dave mentions, the interface
to read data might be as simple as a 7474 chip. Writing would
require even less.
 You'd need the needed line drivers to control the normal signals
like step, dir, wgate and such. Other than that, there would not
be any disk controller chip. It would all be handled by the
BlackFin chip.
 The idea is to create something that would work with current
day hardware and parts. Not something that continues to depend
on obsolete technology.
 Since the actual translation of the disk data is done in software,
the hardware portion would be trivial. The software can be written
in a relatively portable language like C so that it can more easily
migrate to current processors as things like the BlackFin become
 Unless I were to get something like the CatWeasel, I can't read
the double density hard sectored disk I currently have that I'd
like to archieve. I don't know of anything else that will plug
into a PC that will do the job. 
Windows Live Hotmail and Microsoft Office Outlook – together at last.  Get it now.

More information about the cctalk mailing list