Floppy drive box thingie; was: Re: Wow; $192 for a 5.25

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Fri Oct 20 13:20:40 CDT 2006

As long as we're talking about it; here are a few more ideas to 

1.  The Catweasel uses a selectable clock rate to obtain a clock 
count that will fit in 7 bits.  My gripe with this is that I have to 
read a track or two (if different densities on the same disk) to 
determine the correct clock rate.  There's little worse than finding 
out that you've guessed wrongly and your image is worthless.

If we're going to employ a dedicated MPU/MCU to handle this stuff, 
why not go with a 10- or 11-bit clock rate and get rid of the rate 
selection?  One of the spare bits could be used for index detection 
on hard-sectored disks.

2.  Some drive diagnostics should be incorporated.  Particularly with 
5.25" drives, old sticky floppies can really drag the rotational 
speed down.  I'd really like to know that it's happening.

3.  I can envision this device as a small box, powered by a wall wart 
with an RJ-45 ethernet connector and on or two DC-37 female 
connectors for drives.  Given that this thing's going to be used for 
all manner of drives, there's no compelling reason to provide drive 
power as part of it.

4.  DHCP is a nice feature, but not all vintage networks support it.  
The option of a fixed IP address (192.168.x.x) would be a plus.

5.  Should the box also supply the drive for older 8" drive 3-phase 
steppers?  How about the head-load signal?

That's it for now--I'm sure I'll think of something else!


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