Add a floppy disk to your Raspberry Pi #RaspberryPi #VintageComputing #RetroComputing #Floppydisks #Commodore #Acorn
A number of people are imaging vintage floppy disks for preservation (and a big THANK YOU to those who are!)
Some of the capture devices are rather expensive. Here we have found the bbc-fdc, a floppy disk interface for the venerable Raspberry Pi board:
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.
The Cumana dual 5.25 inch disk drive (built November 1985) I’m using is capable of reading multiple different formats.
I’ve read both 40 and 80 track 5.25 inch disks, both using the 40/80 track selector switch on the back and also by double stepping. These tracks are spaced at 48 and 96 tpi respectively.
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.
Do you like digital preservation? Nostalgic for floppy drives? Let us know in the comments below.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.