Friday, 21 March 2014

Project Update

Full Single/Double Density Support

I am now able to read double-density and mixed density disks including copy-protected disks. The DMA rate has been bumped to 10.417 MHZ. Due to quirks with the Raspberry Pi SPI interface I have to read tracks in three passes. Each pass grabs approximately 50% of the track and each pass is offset by 1/3 of the disk rotation. Each pass is decoded and then the three passes are stitched together to form a final track. It makes reading disks a little bit slower but still acceptable.

The increased DMA speed gives me a resolution of approximately 100 nanoseconds which makes decoding double density possible as well as supporting a newer TEAC drive that outputs very short disk data pulses - 0.25 microseconds versus 1 microsecond for an original TRS-80 drive.

Attack Force and Defense Command from Big Five software are two mixed format disks I have successfully converted to DMK format. They are good examples of unusual formatting as several of the tracks have a mixture of single and double density sectors and some of the sectors are unusual sizes. I was also able to read a Model III Scripsit disk and run it from an emulator.

Write Support

I am also able to write DMK files to a floppy disk from the device itself. Each track is written in a single pass from index pulse to index pulse. The resulting disks can be used to boot my Model I. I do not yet have double-density or mixed density support since my Model I lacks a double-density adapter so I would only be able to verify a double density disk by reading it back from the Raspberry Pi. I intend to build a double density board for my Model I using existing schematics I have found on the web.