Rasberry Pi enthusiasts may be interested in a new tutorial describing how to add a floppy disk drive to a Raspberry Pi mini PC. The tutorial has been created to help those people that are imaging vintage floppy disks for preservation and provides a quick and easy way to connect floppy drives using a 34 pin ribbon direct to the Raspberry Pi.
“This project is to allow the direct connection of floppy disk drives with 34 pin ribbon cables to the Raspberry Pi for the purpose of reading floppy disks. It controls the drive using GPIO and samples the read data pin using SPI to obtain a forensic level capture of the raw magnetic flux transitions on the floppy disk. Initially this was to read my BBC Micro 5.25 inch disks formatted in Acorn DFS, but I’ve also been able to read and extract data from ADFS, DOS and Commodore 64 5.25 inch disks.”
“Single and double sided disks can be read by switching between heads during the capture process. The BBC Micro Acorn DFS format used 40 or 80 tracks, 10 sectors per track (numbered 0 to 9), 256 bytes per sector, with FM encoding (single density). This gives a maximum data capacity for a double sided 80 track DFS disk of 409,600 bytes. However 2 sectors on each side of the disk are reserved for the catalogue. More recently I’ve also been able to read 3.5 inch disks using a TEAC FD-235HG PC drive. Due to the drive being internally set to DS1 I’ve had to connect it to the 34 pin ribbon cable prior to the swap and by moving the drive select jumper on my board to DS1.”
More information about the project is available on the GitHub website by following the link below.
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