WTD -- ST506 style (MFM or RLL) hard drive and controller

Philip Pemberton classiccmp at philpem.me.uk
Wed Sep 1 15:50:58 CDT 2010

On 31/08/10 13:48, Tony Duell wrote:
> Alas not. Well, actually, I have a number od such drives, but I have even
> more classic computers that use them. So nothing 'spare'

Yeah, I've heard of a lot of folk in the same situation.

I'm actually getting slightly tempted to hunt down a 1st-gen Acorn 
Archimedes with Acorn-installed ST506 hard drive. That would give me a 
drive and a known-good controller.

> Err, the connectors are still avaialble (easily...) So is IDC ribbon
> cable. And I assume you own a metalwork vice, since it's so useful for
> other things. Which means you could make the cables in less time that
> it's taken me to type this.

Yes I could make a cable, but it's easier to use a ready-made one (if 
you can find one) than it is to make one up specially :)

>>     - MFM/RLL controller to match the drive. Anything goes here -- e.g.=20
>> Western Digital WD100x series, DTC, Omti... as long as I can make it=20
> What do you want as the host computer interface? I am pretty sure I can
> find the odd ISA bus one, but what would you use that with?

ISA would be fine. Basically I need something I can hook up to a PC 
(either my clunky old 386-with-ISA-IDE-controller or something more 
recent) that will allow me to format the drive, and write something to 
it. Bulk-erase by holding WR_GATE active and WR_DATA low and 
track-stepping, then format using the controller. Read the data back 
with the Ferret and see what's there (probably an MFM bitstream based on 
the Seagate format recommendations).

SCSI would be fine too, but then I'd have to buy a SCSI card... :)
And it'd have to be capable of talking to a (relatively) modern SCSI 
card (PCI interface; Adaptec AHA2940 or something like that).

At the moment, it's a "this would be really cool to have" type feature 
addition -- it doesn't seem that much harder to do MFM HDD dumping, and 
would make the DiscFerret the only imager capable of doing this at 
transition level. SMD might also be an option... later.

classiccmp at philpem.me.uk

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