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Larry

SuperCard Pro and the A8?

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I do not have a SuperCard Pro, but am thinking about buying one.  What functionality does it offer for A8 disks?  Reading the info at the web site

www.CBMStuff.com it looks like it has limited support for Atari 800?  I have good direct-drive 360K and 720K drives and disks, so that should not be an issue.

 

Can it successfully duplicate our disks (R/W -- since our disks do not use the timing hole)? 

 

I understand that it can be successfully used for making flux images of Atari disks, so it seems logical that it can copy them.

 

From the YouTube videos, it looks like the software is well-written and easy to use, but I haven't seen any videos with Atari disks. (?)

 

Any thoughts from SCP owners?

 

-Larry

 

 

 

 

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I've had a bit of a learning curve and a bit of bad luck with a couple of old used drives... but I think it is a terrific device.  Glad I bought one.  I'm probably going to get a second one so I can support 48tpi and 96tpi 5.25" and 1.44M 3.5.  It only supports two drives, so I could put 2 on one, and one on the other, and at that same time it serves as a spare in case one has an accident, gets fried, eaten by the dog 🙂 , etc....

 

It has no problems reading/writing A8 disks.  I archived what I thought was my entire originals collection (only to find about 20-30 more originals I forgot about). 

 

I am using a 48tpi drive.  Primarily as once everything is verified good (I use Altirra to test), I will be writing them all back out to new diskettes so when I do want to run an original program in an original drive, I won't be spinning the actualy originals anymore.

 

I'd say the two most popular today are the Supercard Pro and the Kryoflux.  While I don't have any Kryoflux experience, I selected the Supercard Pro, and other than some hits and misses with a couple of drives (one which started out find and went bad, and another that turns out to have some unusual behavior in writing (something unhappy after many years of life I guess).... I don't regret the purchase at all. 

 

If you do opt with any of these solutions but use a 96TPI drive (1.2M in the PC world (though outside the PC world there was QD which is 80 tracks at double density)), I'd recommend bulk erasing any diskette before you write it out.  This isn't from personal experience as it has to do with the width of the head and the written track.  Best to start with a truly blank disk (no data at all).

 

 

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Outstanding!  Thanks to both of you.  I do have a couple of Radio Shack bulk erasers, just in case.

 

-Larry

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I agree that the SCP is probably the best option for Atari 8-bit disks currently, especially if you are mainly interested in writing back images. The Kryoflux is almost as good for the purpose of creating images, might be even better if you have a custom modified drive for accessing the flippy side automatically.

 

As noted in other thread, the DYI version of the Greaseweazle is, by far, the cheapest option. However, if you want (or need) one of the more advanced versions and you purchase a fully assembled unit, then it is not really much cheaper anymore. Might be even more expensive than the SCP if you are located at the US and you would need to pay international shipping. The Greaseweazle also has some software limitations, but being at the software level, they might be solved in the near future.

 

As cwilbar noted, it is better to use a 48tpi (360K) drive for writing back, and in that case you don't need to bulk erase the disks.

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1 hour ago, Zarxx said:

Check out my guide.

(quoted from that guide)

 

Super Archiver - 3.12 (Skew) With SA 3.12 all main types of protection can be duplicated easily and it is simple to use.CRC, CRC & Deleted, Deleted, Double, Duplicate, Short, Weak, Weak & Deleted sectors and long tracks up to 28 sectors.

 

The guide is great, just a small comment. It is not accurate that the SA can copy tracks with up to 28 sectors, it cannot. Neither the SA, neither the Happy can copy tracks with more than 19 sectors (except some very special cases). You need at least a BitWriter, or a flux level device like the SCP or Kryoflux to copy those tracks.

 

The SA (and the Duplicator, and some versions of the Happy 810 as well) attempts to copy tracks with more than 19 sectors by slowing down the drive. This might create in some cases a working copy. But the original track layout and protection is not re created. The original protection was almost never created by slowing down the drive. The "slowed down" copy might work depending on how the software checks the protection, but IMHO this is really just a cheating workaround.

 

Furthermore, the copy will be less reliable. As a consequence of writing at a significant slower RPM, the written density would be higher. Not only this makes the recording more fragile. This also produces a considerable frequency shift when loading the copy (which would read the disk at nominal RPM).

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53 minutes ago, ijor said:

Furthermore, the copy will be less reliable. As a consequence of writing at a significant slower RPM, the written density would be higher. Not only this makes the recording more fragile. This also produces a considerable frequency shift when loading the copy (which would read the disk at nominal RPM).

I own a Happy 810 copy of SynFile+ 1.00 which was made 1984 or 1985 from an original disk with many 21-sector tracks. It still works flawlessly.

It even survived two crossings of the Atlantic Ocean to be dumped by Farb. :)

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1 hour ago, DjayBee said:

I own a Happy 810 copy of SynFile+ 1.00 which was made 1984 or 1985 from an original disk with many 21-sector tracks. It still works flawlessly.

It even survived two crossings of the Atlantic Ocean to be dumped by Farb. :)

 

Yes, that is perfectly possible, but that doesn't contradict my point. Less reliable doesn't mean that it won't work, certainly doesn't mean that every single copy would fail.

 

Btw, are you sure that was copied from an original disk? That image is quite strange, it seems like a hack. That version of Synfile is supposed to have a weak sector on track 3, and it is verified (or at least it seems so). But track 3 on your disk has, instead, multiple stables (non weak) duplicates of the same sector !!! The protection check is obviously "fooled" thinking it verified a weak sector, but just because the protection check is "naive" and doesn't verify the rest of the sectors on the same track. Either it was a human made hack, or either Happy 810 software was much smarter than I though. There are other tracks that seem to be altered intentionally because it couldn't be copied, such as track 11 that "originally" has 34 sectors.

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On 7/31/2020 at 5:08 PM, ijor said:

 

The guide is great, just a small comment. It is not accurate that the SA can copy tracks with up to 28 sectors, it cannot. Neither the SA, neither the Happy can copy tracks with more than 19 sectors (except some very special cases). You need at least a BitWriter, or a flux level device like the SCP or Kryoflux to copy those tracks.

 

Thanks, I was thinking of updating it with the new version of A8.

 

Here's what the manual says.

 

The capabilities of the new Super Archiver hardware for the 1050 and the new software.

A. Number of sectors/track.

Will copy up to 35, format up to 40, and map up to 42 sectors/track.

 

B. Writing more than 19 full sectors on a track.

The program will automatically slow the drive speed via software, so no switching or effort is involved.

 

Out of interest I ran some tests.

 

SD protected disks. Archiver 3.12 (Skew on (default))

 

28+ sectors - Multiple - Tries to read but ultimately fails with a Logic Error

26 sectors - Original - Mr Fuzz - The Fuzzy-Phantom Sector Maker (1985)(Computer Software Services) - T19-26 (26s)

26 sectors - SCP Dump - Space Gunner & Mutant Bats (1986)(Red Ray Software)[BASIC for Space Gunner] - T2 (26s)

 

Both copied fine, a few others either failed to read or write, Track too long, etc.

Original & Copy Dumps attached if interested.Mr Fuzz.7z  Space Gunner.7z

 

E/MD - Archiver 3.03 ENH (Skew on)

 

Atari Planetarium, The (1985)(Atari)(US)(Side A)(Program Side)[!][req 64K] - T0 - Duplicate s17 x2, Skew Alignment (1, 3)

Copied Duplicate sector and loads ok but skew looks way off.

 

Archiver Custom Formatter Fun

 

Here's a custom format disk I created primarily with the idea of different protection types for testing. But got carried away increasing the sector size and ended up with a 40s track as advertised. Protection Test Disk.7z

 

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I don't know if it adds to the topic, but IIRC with The Chip/Archiver (back from my Archiver 810 days), the Archiver and the Editor had different capabilities.  The Editor could do some stuff (possibly more sectors ?) than the Archiver could.

 

Don't know if the same held for later releases (especially from the 1050 days), but IIRC there was a difference between what could be done with the 2 programs in the 810 Archiver days.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Zarxx said:

Here's what the manual says.

 

The capabilities of the new Super Archiver hardware for the 1050 and the new software.
A. Number of sectors/track.

Will copy up to 35, format up to 40, and map up to 42 sectors/track.

 

I know what the manual says. But, IMHO, it is not fully accurate. I would say even a bit dishonest. As I already said, it can sometimes create a working copy. But making a working copy and actually copying the track are two different things. The track layout would be different than the original; the recorded frequency would be different and the timing would be different. Actually, if the SuperArchiver can really copy tracks with so many sectors, then why they released the BitWriter?

 

It is not much different than the Happy copying tracks with weak sectors. As we recently found out, the Happy 810 can sometimes make working copies of weak sectors using HWA mode. But that doesn't mean it can actually creates weak bits, it doesn't. It just creates a track that sometimes has a similar effect and it works in some cases.

 

1 hour ago, Zarxx said:

Out of interest I ran some tests.

Again, such tests only confirm, in the best case, that the copy works. It doesn't confirm that the original tracks were copied accurately.

 

1 hour ago, Zarxx said:

Here's a custom format disk I created primarily with the idea of different protection types for testing. But got carried away increasing the sector size and ended up with a 40s track as advertised.

Yes, of course, you do can create specific tracks with lots of sectors. That doesn't mean you can create them with an arbitrary content and at the original recording frequency (RPM). No actual protection was done like that. Try using the custom formatter to reproduce the tracks of, say, Archon II.

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