BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

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JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:57 pm

flaxcottage wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 9:20 pm
Yes, £10 is OK for me too. It is good to find someone else who computes/makes with a fine ale as a companion. :lol:
It's the only way. Unfortunately, I like a strong stout or porter, so the quality of my work is very directly and rapidly disproportional to the time I spend doing it.

Funny story - I was in a sort of professional band for a while - bass player - and we enjoyed a period of relative popularity in the community we were part of. We'd always play the first set, have a few beers, then play the second set with a beer or two on the amps. We always thought our late sets were the best....until someone videoed a gig and stuck it on youtube. Oh my goodness, we <really> sucked after the beer interval.

So, kids, don't drink and play. Or code. Definitely don't drink and solder.

derek
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by derek » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:15 pm

Hi,

Do you have any boards left, I would like to buy one please.
Regards,

Derek

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Diminished
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by Diminished » Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:24 pm

JasonStonier wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 5:57 pm
So, kids, don't drink and play.
(Off-topic, but Adam Neely has an anecdote related to this...)

JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Sat Aug 01, 2020 11:29 pm

derek wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:15 pm
Hi,

Do you have any boards left, I would like to buy one please.
Yip, you’re the 8th responder out of 8 boards available.

simontaylor
sjo03
DaveLecky
wjmclaughlin
flaxcottage
Remklep
Colday
derek

I’ll make the boards up this week and then let you confirm if you still want one. First refusal to the list of people above. Cheers!

PeterTheGrey
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by PeterTheGrey » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:26 am

I'd like one too if there is one available.

Thanks

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melchett
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by melchett » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:00 pm

Just received my board from Jason and it is beautifully soldered and works well - have so far managed to connect my ageing 5.25" floppy drives to the board and read the catalogue of a few disks. Will clean the heads and inspect the disks before I do anything more in earnest with it.

Thanks Jason for the board (and to Jasper for the original design and C code). This is going to make archival of my disks "just as I had them" much easier and also be interesting to see what else is lurking on them after all these years.

I put some images on twitter here if you want to see the boards inserted and running -> https://twitter.com/ajgbarnes/status/12 ... 3694550016

picosonic
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by picosonic » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:35 pm

Interestingly when I imaged some retail Beeb Repton disks I discovered some of the 6502 asm source code within unused parts of the disk. Looks like the dev disk was used for the master disk.

I wonder how many other original disks contain source code or other useful data in unused parts of the disk.

I’ll post it on the forums if anyone is interested?

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Diminished
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by Diminished » Mon Aug 03, 2020 10:02 pm

picosonic wrote:
Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:35 pm
Interestingly when I imaged some retail Beeb Repton disks I discovered some of the 6502 asm source code within unused parts of the disk. Looks like the dev disk was used for the master disk.

I wonder how many other original disks contain source code or other useful data in unused parts of the disk.

I’ll post it on the forums if anyone is interested?
Yesssss. This is exactly what I hoped would turn up with the recent push towards high quality disc imaging.

It's not uncommon! The Cutting Room Floor has many examples for other systems. There's even a solitary Beeb game in there, although not one of the classics.

This has also been known to be caused by the ROM image generation process for cartridge systems; a malloc() is done to reserve RAM to contain the ROM image at build time, but the assets don't completely fill the ROM, so you tend to get junk from memory being included in the cartridge.

I believe there was even one example of a developer looking at ... uh ... adult content on the Internet, which ended up being included in some ROM image (IIRC this was for a game that never went to retail, but I might be misremembering). :lol:

The moral of the story is ... if you're thinking about using malloc(), think again and use calloc() ...

roobarb!
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by roobarb! » Tue Aug 04, 2020 1:01 am

If there ends up being an unadopted spare, I'm in the market for one of these! Got a Pi and some old floppies here, wouldn't mind seeing what I can rescue. :)
BBC Model B - 32K, Issue 4, IFEL RAM/ROM, Speech System, Turbo MMC
A3010 - Unknown condition, hiding in the loft!
Risc PC - Fine last time I saw it!

sjo03
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by sjo03 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:32 am

JasonStonier wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:05 pm
Well, I just built and tested a couple of boards and they work perfectly - so far I've only tried a PC 3.5" drive and used it to rip Amiga disks to .adf, but the signs are all good. At the moment I don't have a 5.25" drive to test, but I've no doubt it will work.

Photo:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/m4SLchGXFbZ6enNP7

I've been in regular contact with another member here who is taking my second board to evaluate - when I post his board I'll be able to tell you the cost of postage.

So far I've got requests from:
simontaylor
sjo03
DaveLecky
wjmclaughlin
flaxcottage
Remklep
[edit] Colday

How does everyone feel about Paypal? - obviously I'm just some random guy on the internet so how do you want to establish trust before you part with money? :D

I'm also happy to share a Pi 3B+ img which has Picosonic's code already compiled with all the dependencies, which makes it a bit easier to get going with it. Let me know if you want that too.

Cheers!
Glad I made the list. Paypal is fine. I am in Belgium - would that work ? Would pay 15 pounds or higher to cover your shipping and trouble.
Thanks,

JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Tue Aug 04, 2020 9:03 pm

Ok, I've got 4 boards built and tested now. I need to wait for some extra Floppy connectors to arrive for the last 4 - should still be ready this week.

I've got the following people for the original 8 boards:
simontaylor
sjo03
DaveLecky
wjmclaughlin
flaxcottage
Remklep
Colday
derek

And these people on standby:
roobarb!
PeterTheGrey

If more people want one, I can always order another set of 10 PCBs then make up some extras. The cost of the boards is actually the lowest cost part of the build (one Hex inverter IC costs about the same as the PCB - crazy!).

So, if the Original Eight could PM me your email address, and we can start arranging payment etc.

sjo03 - very happy to send to Belgium - can you PM me your address and I'll pack one up and check the cost of postage to you.

sjo03
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by sjo03 » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:36 pm

Thank you. I am not able to PM you - think I have not posted enough yet (only 8 posts since 2011 :). Would you mind PM your email to me, will reply asap.

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billcarr2005
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by billcarr2005 » Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:35 am

picosonic wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:13 pm

It can already write to Bill Carr's .FSD format which supports some copy protected disks.
All! (That i've come across, anyway :P BBC at least, perhaps with some tweaking :roll: )

I'd like to purchase one of these too, should another batch become available :)

JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Wed Aug 05, 2020 10:26 am

I'll order another batch of boards then!

Original 8
simontaylor - SENT
sjo03 - SENT
flaxcottage - SENT
DaveLecky
wjmclaughlin
Remklep
Colday
derek

Next Batch:
roobarb!
PeterTheGrey
billcarr2005

Anyone who can't PM - jason dot stonier at gmail dot com ;-)
Last edited by JasonStonier on Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

picosonic
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by picosonic » Wed Aug 05, 2020 12:54 pm

billcarr2005 wrote:
Wed Aug 05, 2020 9:35 am
picosonic wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 3:13 pm

It can already write to Bill Carr's .FSD format which supports some copy protected disks.
All! (That i've come across, anyway :P BBC at least, perhaps with some tweaking :roll: )
I seem to remember .FSD doesn't distinguish between head number for where the data was captured from (physical) and head number in the sector IDAM (logical). However if .FSD is primarily a single sided file format then this wouldn't matter. I'm writing .FSD files interlaced (if the disk is double sided), so track 0/head 0 then track 0/head 1 then track 1 e.t.c

I did hear once that some tracks or possibly sectors could be written to a disk at a faster or slower rate, and that the copy protection worked by timing how long it took to read a requested sector. When copied all sectors would take the same time to read and so broke the copy protection. However I can't remember if that was the Beeb or another system.

I've adopted creator_id 0x0a when I write .FSD files, hope that is ok? Do you have a list of known ones? I'm happy to change it.

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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by danielj » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:23 pm

With regard copy protected disks, might be worth a read of the discussion here:

viewtopic.php?t=19066

HFE can be used directly on floppy emulators, it's being supported in emulators and GreaseWeazle can write it straight back to disk without having to convert to an intermediate format first (which I would guess means it'd be fairly easy for you to implement writing too!).

d.

JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Wed Aug 05, 2020 5:18 pm

Status:

Sent:
simontaylor
sjo03
flaxcottage
DaveLecky
derek
Remklep
Colday
CommanderCoder

Next Batch - PCBs expected in 3 weeks, so early September for completed boards
roobarb!
wjmclaughlin
billcarr2005
PeterTheGrey
vanekp

For those people I have email addresses for, I'm sharing a directory with you on mega.nz - it's got a bootable image for R-Pi 3B+ with Picosonic's code compiled, plus some notes I've made and an image of how to connect it all. Feel free to use it if it's useful to you.

When you receive your board, you'll notice that C3 is missing - this is deliberate as it's just a smoothing capacitor and it would increase the height of the board significantly. The power supply from the Pi is rock solid so it's redundant and best left off.
Last edited by JasonStonier on Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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melchett
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by melchett » Sun Aug 09, 2020 9:42 am

May be relevant to some board owners, I have started a discussion on ddfs formats, bbc-fdc by implication and archive standards here

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=20187

I have exended bbc-fdc to be able to read and understand Solidisk ddfs formats and catalogues (sorry picosonic, I haven't created a pull request yet until I figure out the end archiving format that works for double sided double density). Would equally work with Watford other than the extended catalogue listing but the disk capture and writing would.

If any of you have opinions on the the other thread I would be keen to hear them.

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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by flaxcottage » Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:09 pm

Well, my new Raspberry Pi 3B+ arrived today and I immediately checked out the FDC card. It works a treat, copying an 80T single sided floppy to a 200K SSD file, which loads correctly into BeebEm. 8)

The process is very cumbersome, though, and involves the Linux command line. I cannot help wondering if this could work better under RISCOS and become a really useful utility for me? Something I shall have to investigate. :lol:
- John

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JasonStonier
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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Mon Aug 10, 2020 10:31 am

I imagine you could compile the code under RISCOS on the Pi. I'm not a coder - just a guy with a soldering iron - but I imagine as long as your OS and C interpreter can access the Pi GPIO it would work compiled under a different OS.

Personally, I don't find it particularly cumbersome and since Picosonic posted his designs and code for free I ain't complaining :D

I suppose that someone with a modicum of talent could also write a linux GUI for it - might be an interesting project in Python actually...might have a crack at it to give me a reason to learn Python.

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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by flaxcottage » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:00 pm

No complaint was being made - it was just a wistful muse.

This is another tool in my archiving armoury and that is great. The feedback whilst copying the disk could well help cracking disk protection. :D

Yes, it could be compiled for RISCOS but the Linux version uses Linux libraries, I believe, which would not be available for RISCOS. It would need some bare-metal programming to replicate these libraries and I don't think my ARM assembler is up to that( I have made lights flash and detected switch presses though :wink: ).

If this system could easily be copied across to a full Raspbian system then one could use the GUI to copy the archived files much more easily. I also already have a utility which extracts BBC files from an SSD and saves them so they could run under BBC BASIC in Linux.

This is an amazing system with amazing potential. =D> Unfortunately I am not an amazing programmer who could capitalise on it. :(
- John

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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by JasonStonier » Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:34 pm

I feel the same way - it is amazing and elegant, and all credit to Picosonic. Apologies if my comment came over as an accusation of complaining - certainly wasn't my intention.

There's no reason at all it wouldn't work on a full Raspbian system - personally I always use it headless so there was no point me installing the desktop environment. Compiling the code is easy, though - so no reason not to give it a go on a full install. If you're using my image, you could also install a DE yourself - plenty of tutorials on how to do that, although I've never done it I can't imagine it's much more than doing some apt-get installs.

I, too, am a terrible programmer but this is inspiring me to try and become a better one.

One thing about having my boxes of disks hanging around in the open: my 12-year-old picked up a 3.5" floppy and asked if I had 3D printed the save icon. I'm not entirely sure if he was trying to be funny.

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Re: BBC-FDC floppy controller for Raspberry Pi

Post by Coeus » Mon Aug 10, 2020 8:42 pm

flaxcottage wrote:
Thu Jul 30, 2020 2:03 pm
Ah .. do I infer from this thread that this board can read discs just to a proprietary format but not load the files onto the Raspberry Pi? :(
The way I read this is that the supplied software does not provide real-time access to the files on the disc as part of the Linux filesystem, i.e. you can't mount the floppy disc onto a Linux directory. On the other hand I would expect to be able to extract into a Linux directory by first grabbing an image of the disc and then unpacking the image with another tool.

Also, I don't think I'd ever call the native format of an open source tool proprietary as. even if there is not open documentation for the format, this information can be gleaned from the code. After all, HFE, which is being promoted here is actually just the native format of a particular tool. The fact that tool has been widely adopted has the effect of making it a defacto standard.

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