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PICList Thread
'[OT]: Floppy Interface'
2001\11\20@123738 by Timothy Stranex

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Hello,

I would like to interface a 3 1/2" floppy drive to a pic but am unable
to find any information on how to transfer the data between them. All
I've been able to find is a pinout of the connector.

Can anyone enlighten me?

Thanks,
Timothy Stranex
spam_OUTtimotTakeThisOuTspambtgnet.co.za

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2001\11\20@124736 by Dale Botkin

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Your best bet would be to use a floppy controller and interface to that.
The FDC interface on a 3.5" drive is directly descended from that on an 8"
drive...  that's not a nice parallel data stream, or even serial.  It's a
serial *bit* stream from which you need to do all the deformatting,
decoding, etc.  In fact, I believe it may just be the FM/MFM data straight
off the read amps, which means clock recovery and all.

Dale
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curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."
         - Arnold Edinborough


On Tue, 20 Nov 2001, Timothy Stranex wrote:

> I would like to interface a 3 1/2" floppy drive to a pic but am unable
> to find any information on how to transfer the data between them. All
> I've been able to find is a pinout of the connector.

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2001\11\20@130616 by Jay Hanson

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>Your best bet would be to use a floppy controller and interface to that.
>The FDC interface on a 3.5" drive is directly descended from that on an 8"
>drive...  that's not a nice parallel data stream, or even serial.  It's a

What's the easiest large storage media (> 1 meg bytes) to interface with
both PIC and PC?  Digital camera media such as SmartMedia? CompactFlash?
Or????

Jay

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2001\11\20@130631 by Byron A Jeff

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On Tue, Nov 20, 2001 at 07:36:29PM +0200, Timothy Stranex wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I would like to interface a 3 1/2" floppy drive to a pic but am unable
> to find any information on how to transfer the data between them. All
> I've been able to find is a pinout of the connector.
>
> Can anyone enlighten me?

Timothy,

I'm going to violate my personal rule about taking a specific question offtopic
but I feel this needs to be said. Sorry to be both loud and blunt but...

...FLOPPIES SUCK!!!

There, now I've sait it. The list of problems are myriad:

- Too slow
- Too small
- Prone to media failure
- Drives have minimal control electronics
- Controllers are now hard to find because they are embedded in PC chipsets
- Standalone controllers have interface and timing complexity issues.
- And of course the one you've already run across: lack of information.

Now it's unfair to rant and run, so just in case you're open to other
avenues, let me throw out a couple:

1) IDE Zip drives. While I admit they do have media failure issues, they win
in every other category. 100 MB, reasonably fast, embedded control electronics
and rock solid standard interface. Drives are priced little more than floppies
at this point. The last time I bought they were $35 US. Media is pricy but
comes out to about the same price/MB as floppy ($7 US for a 100MB Zip disk as
opposed to $15 or so for 100 floppies). Same form factor and about the same
power requirements. And most importantly since it's IDE the PIC->IDE code
that's out there applies.

2) Compact Flash. Other than pricy media, it's nearly perfect. Solid state,
compact (hence the name ;-), IDE interface, and a myriad of inexpensive
PC interface options (parallel, IDE, floppy, USB). No media failure issues
and because many digital camera's and the like use them there's a lot of parts
available.

My suggestion is unless the floppy is a dealbreaker, sit it aside and consider
something else. It's an old, slow, complex, obfuscated interface that has
been passed by. You should pass it by too.

Good Luck in your choices...

BAJ

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2001\11\20@131136 by mike

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On Tue, 20 Nov 2001 11:45:20 -0600, you wrote:

>Your best bet would be to use a floppy controller and interface to that.
>The FDC interface on a 3.5" drive is directly descended from that on an 8"
>drive...  that's not a nice parallel data stream, or even serial.  It's a
>serial *bit* stream from which you need to do all the deformatting,
>decoding, etc.  In fact, I believe it may just be the FM/MFM data straight
>off the read amps, which means clock recovery and all.
>
>Dale
>--
>"Curiosity is the very basis of education and if you tell me that
>curiosity killed the cat, I say only the cat died nobly."
>          - Arnold Edinborough
>
>
>On Tue, 20 Nov 2001, Timothy Stranex wrote:
>
>> I would like to interface a 3 1/2" floppy drive to a pic but am unable
>> to find any information on how to transfer the data between them. All
>> I've been able to find is a pinout of the connector.
..and the PIC doesn't have enough RAM to hold a floppy sector, so you
would need some external RAM as well.
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2001\11\20@131516 by mike

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On Tue, 20 Nov 2001 08:00:10 -1000, you wrote:

>>Your best bet would be to use a floppy controller and interface to that.
>>The FDC interface on a 3.5" drive is directly descended from that on an 8"
>>drive...  that's not a nice parallel data stream, or even serial.  It's a
>
>What's the easiest large storage media (> 1 meg bytes) to interface with
>both PIC and PC?  Digital camera media such as SmartMedia? CompactFlash?
>Or????
>
>Jay
Probably Playstation memory cards...!

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2001\11\20@135008 by Eoin Ross

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This may be of use to you - up to 4GB capacity!

http://www.star.net/people/~mvs/SDRVSPEC.TXT
http://www.star.net/people/~mvs/PRICELST.TXT

The MVS Stamp Drive (SDRV) is an RS232 to ATA adapter that allows any
controller with a serial port to read and write PC compatible PCMCIA,
Compact FLASH, and Hard Drives.  
Reading and writing is accomplished via simple user friendly ASCII
commands.  These are easy to produce from a standard comm terminal for
debugging and can be efficiently sent from small microcontrollers that have
limited memory.  Only 3 commands are needed: INIT, READ, and WRITE.


>>> .....byronKILLspamspam@spam@CC.GATECH.EDU 11/20/01 01:01PM >>>
On Tue, Nov 20, 2001 at 07:36:29PM +0200, Timothy Stranex wrote:
> Hello,
>
> I would like to interface a 3 1/2" floppy drive to a pic but am unable
> to find any information on how to transfer the data between them. All
> I've been able to find is a pinout of the connector.
>
> Can anyone enlighten me?

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2001\11\20@171508 by John Ferrell

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If you don't have to have PC compatibility, it will help.

I know that deviating from standards can be painful, but I discovered our
church's electronic piano (Roland) does it their own way!

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"



{Original Message removed}

2001\11\20@202631 by Eric Smith

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Jay wrote:
> What's the easiest large storage media (> 1 meg bytes) to interface with
> both PIC and PC?  Digital camera media such as SmartMedia? CompactFlash?

Mike Harrison <mikespamKILLspamWHITEWING.CO.UK> writes:
> Probably Playstation memory cards...!

Is there technical documentation available on those?  Are suitable
connectors available?

MMC cards are pretty easy to use, and the spec and connectors are
readily available.

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2001\11\21@050605 by Octavio P Nogueira

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The problem I saw with units from SDRV is they don't have
a FAT system, you just write/read sectors.

Friendly Regards

Octavio Nogueira
===================================================
.....nogueiraKILLspamspam.....propic2.com                  ICQ# 19841898
ProPic tools - low cost PIC programmer and emulator
http://www.propic2.com
===================================================

{Original Message removed}

2001\11\21@130702 by Harold M Hallikainen

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On Tue, 20 Nov 2001 13:01:20 -0500 Byron A Jeff <EraseMEbyronspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTCC.GATECH.EDU>
writes:
>
> ...FLOPPIES SUCK!!!
>
> There, now I've sait it. The list of problems are myriad:
>
> - Too slow
> - Too small

       Do you really need to save 100MB out of a PIC?

> - Prone to media failure

       Never been much of a problem for me.

> - Drives have minimal control electronics
> - Controllers are now hard to find because they are embedded in PC
> chipsets

       Agreed! I've put a National PC84778 on a board, but have not yet written
any code for it (and don't know when I will, but the board's ready!).

{Quote hidden}

       Again, do you need to save 100MB out of a PIC? I've got PIC stuff where
I've attached 128 KB of nonvolatile static RAM and would like removable
storage for that. Floppy seems ideal, except for writing the code to talk
to the controller! So, even though the price/MB for ZIP may be the same
as for floppy, we just don't need that many MB. The last 3.5 inch FD I
bought was $8. The floppies themselves are something like 15 to 25 cents.

       But, again, the code to drive the darn thing doesn't exist...

{Quote hidden}

       As you say, pricey!


Harold



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2001\11\21@133807 by Timothy Stranex

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Thank you to everyone for replying.

I was actually going to use the PIC as an I2C interface for the floppy
drive for my project. I think I'll switch to an IDE system because a)
less $$$/mb and b) easier to do.

In case anyone was wondering my project is a modular Intelligent
Watch/Wearable Computer so the extra disk space would be very useful.

Thanks,
Timothy Stranex
@spam@timotKILLspamspambtgnet.co.za

Harold M Hallikainen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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