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Floppy disk interfacing...

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lord loh.

Member
I would like to experiment by interfacing a floppy drive to a micro-controller systems...

I would like some advice on this....

The two ways that I know this can be done is by
1. FD Controller
2. Direct control by my controller.

Which is a more prefered way? In terms of the economy? Do FD Controllers cost more than a controller with i2c bus?

I am willing to use a 2nd controller if all IO lines of one get used for the floppy disk controlling operations...
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
If you search the PICList archives there's been a LOT about attempting this over the years, generally it's been considered as too complicated and not worth doing. This is even more true now, with floppies essentially obselete, and cheap memory cards far easier to interface and much larger than a floppy.
 

Papabravo

Well-Known Member
Years ago I was employed in the disk drive industry. I agree with Nigel. Designing and building a read/write chain for MFM encoding and decoding is not for the faint of heart. IC controllers from Western Digital like the 1771 and the 1791 were a step in the right direction, but were not complete solutions.

I'd suggest you study the circuits used in the Apple II which essentially avoided what were at the time very expensive chip choices. Their approach had some problems like variable density recording, but it was good enough for the times.
 

Mike - K8LH

Well-Known Member
Papabravo said:
Years ago I was employed in the disk drive industry. I agree with Nigel. Designing and building a read/write chain for MFM encoding and decoding is not for the faint of heart. IC controllers from Western Digital like the 1771 and the 1791 were a step in the right direction, but were not complete solutions.

I'd suggest you study the circuits used in the Apple II which essentially avoided what were at the time very expensive chip choices. Their approach had some problems like variable density recording, but it was good enough for the times.
Ah, yes. Apple "soft sector" disks (grin).
 

szabi

New Member
There was a guy somwhere on the net, who used an old ISA I/O card to controll the floppy drive, but I'm not able to find the link.:mad:
 

mramos1

Active Member
It was nice to here MFM again (bet I still have a pair of cables in the garage).

But I agree that SD would be a better direction (not knowing what you are trying to do). I just bought four 2gig MINI SD with SD sockets for $48 plus shipping (US).

Mind you floppy drives are $5 here in the US, but still all the work and overhead.
 
If you want to work with floppy drives (especially of the 3.5" type) then you should probably go for Macintosh drives from the early to mid 90's, their connectors used only 12 or so pins. Good luck, I guess.
 
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