Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Joe2k1

Atari ST floppy drive and software located

Recommended Posts

Hello all,

 

Long time lurker, first time post! With the pandemic I recently located a box full of Atari ST software and some hardware (floppy drive and 51/4 drive too). I am wondering if there is an adapter to connect the floppy drive that I located to a Windows PC to backup/check these treasures. The actual Atari ST was sold long ago. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PC will not solve it. Or better said, newer PC will not solve. There are USB floppy drive adapters with which can connect 3.5 drive to PC, but they are very limited. Just don't handle very common 800KB or 400 KB Atari floppy formats.

If you have access to some older PC, which has internal floppy connector then it is possible to make images of not copy protected Atari floppies, but still will need special SW, because Windows floppy driver is very limited.  http://atari.8bitchip.info/floimgd.php

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep an old PC with Windows XP just for this purpose, one thing I've found though is not many

PC 3 1/2" drives will step past track 80, a lot of the images I make have just 80 tracks, generally

not usually a problem though as long as the disk is not full.

 

The software @ParanoidLittleMan has linked is awesome for this purpose.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Greaseweazle flux would also be an option and connects a floppy drive via USB to a PC.  The original F1 Greaseweazle's are relatively cheap to build.  Alternately, you could buy one of the newer models.

 

You can then dump your floppy disks to SCP flux dumps.  These can be converted to Pasti STX using HxC Floppy Emulator or AuFit.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the responses folks! I see quite a few options now. I would say that cost but functionality are both key reasons to pick a solution and only need a 3.5inch floppy option. Below is a list of the options

 

1. Kryoflux (most expensive option as the pro version is 200 pounds not recommended by any posters)

2. Greaseweazle v4 (least expensive with free shipping code but multiple sellers based in Europe)

3. Greaseweazle v7 (slightly more expensive compared to the v4, made to order via facebook group seems to provide better support 5 1/4 floppy drives)

4. Free option using software and driver floimgd option/software

 

The next issue is that many of these are video game floppy’s. I know you’ve mentioned that these tools do not work with copy protected games and it is a bit tricky as many different types of protections exist. I have a few examples, Batman Caped Crusader and Lombard Rally. Will I be able to back up these using option 2 or should I try option 4? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There's also the Supercard Pro.  I have one and it works just as well as the other offerings.  

 

Out of curiosity, what 5.25 floppy drive was it you found?

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Joe2k1 said:

The next issue is that many of these are video game floppy’s. I know you’ve mentioned that these tools do not work with copy protected games and it is a bit tricky as many different types of protections exist. I have a few examples, Batman Caped Crusader and Lombard Rally. Will I be able to back up these using option 2 or should I try option 4? 

 

The flux level devices, like Kryoflux, Greaseweazle and SCP, can definitely image copy protected disks. But if they are original disks, or even copies of original disks, chances are that these games were already dumped and images are already available online. Not sure it is worth to invest too much money unless you happen to have a very rare title. I would go with some of the cheaper Greaseweazle variants.

 

Be aware that after so much time, many disks become unreadable because of different reasons.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, David Hefner said:

There's also the Supercard Pro.  I have one and it works just as well as the other offerings.  

 

Out of curiosity, what 5.25 floppy drive was it you found?

 

 

I have a standard floppy drive, Atari branded, its badly yellowed but i assume it probably still works. I have a 3.5 floppy drive but also a 5.25 drive as well (back unit) I assume I can swap them between easily. I am fairly certain these computers only took the 3.5 floppys/drives. 

 

I have checked my inventory of games, these ones do not seem to be dumped? 

 

R Type 1 by Electric Dream Software

Questprobes Spiderman

The President is Missing

Arrakis Advantage Biology Vol 1., respiration. 

 

Are any of these considered rare? I want to say they were probably made produced in the 10,000 range, no? 

 

I will probably order that adapter just to see what’s on these floppy’s. 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @ijor. At this stage, it's pretty doubtful that most people have much that hasn't already been archived. So, that being said, the community probably doesn't need another dump of Dungeon Master, Zork II, or Star Raiders. So, unless you do have some obscure titles that haven't been archived, or some rare and different versions of previously archived titles, then the only thing you really need to be concerned about backing up would be personal disks and files that you actually created yourself and wish to save.

 

Assuming that is the case, investing in anything above a Greaseweazle would be an almost complete waste of money, and even that may be questionable. Honestly, without any ST hardware any longer, it's going to be hard to do much. I'd probably suggest that you pack up the few personal disks you want backed up and send them to someone that could back them up for you and send the disk images back to you.

 

Just my opinion, of course.

 

Edited by bfollowell
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Joe2k1 said:

 

I have a standard floppy drive, Atari branded, its badly yellowed but i assume it probably still works. I have a 3.5 floppy drive but also a 5.25 drive as well (back unit) I assume I can swap them between easily. I am fairly certain these computers only took the 3.5 floppys/drives. 

 

I have checked my inventory of games, these ones do not seem to be dumped? 

 

R Type 1 by Electric Dream Software

Questprobes Spiderman

The President is Missing

Arrakis Advantage Biology Vol 1., respiration. 

 

Are any of these considered rare? I want to say they were probably made produced in the 10,000 range, no? 

 

I will probably order that adapter just to see what’s on these floppy’s. 

 

 

 

Looking at Atarimania, which I think has the largest ST libraries out there, they are missing the Arrakis Advantage Biology Volumes so that would good to dump.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, most of games have already good dumps or images in formats which hold copy protection too. Some 13 years ago I looked over my Atari ST originals, some 20 titles, and there was no such what was not imaged in STX format.

All it does not mean that even today everything has good image (online), but certainly count of missing is really low, probably under 20. 

And not everything has copy protection, not even all games, so investing in some Greaseweazle, SCP or like is questionable.

Probably best what can do is to find someone with working Atari computer in near and check all those disks. Because of age some will have errors for sure. Or maybe get some Atari ST for same price as those Greases 🙂

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Joe2k1 said:

I am fairly certain these computers only took the 3.5 floppys/drives. 

Not quite :) I have this and also another I boxed myself, used a ribbon cable out of the 3 1/2 with some switches

to be able to boot from it or disable and use a second 3 1/2 drive

 

IMG_20200608_112926.jpg

IMG_20200608_112946.jpg

IMG_20200608_113036.jpg

IMG_20200608_113248.jpg

IMG_20200608_113333.jpg

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Joe2k1 said:

I am fairly certain these computers only took the 3.5 floppys/drives. 

 

 

1 hour ago, TGB1718 said:

Not quite :) I have this and also another I boxed myself, used a ribbon cable out of the 3 1/2 with some switches

to be able to boot from it or disable and use a second 3 1/2 drive

 

 

I think you're both correct, to a degree. There were definitely at least a couple of 5.25" drives made for the ST line; the Golden Image drive pictured, and one that was made by Atari and, I think, geared more towards the Atari PCs, but would also work with the ST line. I may be thinking of two separate drives from Atari though and mashing up my memories. That being said, I am not aware of any commercial software that was ever released for the ST on 5.25" floppies. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many thanks folks for opinions and suggestions. I have added a post to the rarity guide forum asking for assistance with dumping of the biology software. I have included a photo. I will also include some photos of the floppy drive as I’ve been informed that the Atari ST did have a 5.25 drive! I’ll blame it on bad memory? I am hoping these posts no longer need approval as I become more established on these great forums! 

9736AA45-25FF-45B2-99BA-91C92CC0FC8C.jpeg

167F23B9-C319-4E2F-91B4-BA39EF28C1BE.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, that 3.5" floppy certainly doesn't look like any floppy that was ever released for the ST line. It looks like a PC551, which was itself almost a clone of the XF551 for the 8-bit line, just for the ST and PC line, and the one I mentioned earlier. The only problem is that it has a 3.5" drive mechanism in it, and I'm almost 100% certain that there was no drive like that ever put out by Atari. What I think you have in the first picture is an Atari PC551 drive where the drive mechanism has been swapped out in favor of a 3.5" floppy. The second picture looks like it could very well be the original 5.25" floppy mechanism from the aforementioned drive. It's been a while since I've seen the drive mechanism for a PC551 or an XF551, so I can't say for sure. Either way, I don't think that first picture of the Atari drive is the way that drive was originally configured. I could be wrong though. It has happened before and will no doubt happen again.

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, bfollowell said:

Well, that 3.5" floppy certainly doesn't look like any floppy that was ever released for the ST line. It looks like a PC551, which was itself almost a clone of the XF551 for the 8-bit line, just for the ST and PC line, and the one I mentioned earlier. The only problem is that it has a 3.5" drive mechanism in it, and I'm almost 100% certain that there was no drive like that ever put out by Atari. What I think you have in the first picture is an Atari PC551 drive where the drive mechanism has been swapped out in favor of a 3.5" floppy. The second picture looks like it could very well be the original 5.25" floppy mechanism from the aforementioned drive. It's been a while since I've seen the drive mechanism for a PC551 or an XF551, so I can't say for sure. Either way, I don't think that first picture of the Atari drive is the way that drive was originally configured. I could be wrong though. It has happened before and will no doubt happen again.

 

Yes, it was swapped out, no idea why. Thanks for insight! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that there was ever 5.25 inch floppy drive with ST. They are simply not compatible. And it looks so: if you attach such drive it may appear as it works with quick check. Because it may work in situation of opening disk and see content. But accessing some file will most likely fail - because of not proper steprate. 3.5 drives are faster with it, and need 3mS, while 5.25 need 6 mS steprate. It can be solved with some SW (patch), or using TOS 2.06 where it is default rate (lazy solution for HD mode), but there is bigger problem. And I talk it from own experience: back in 80-es I tried some 5.25 drive from PC with my 520 STM, and it worked for short then stopped. And original 3.5 drives worked not too anymore. After little exam I saw that PSG (YM) chip is bad, and that drive A select line is always active (low) - damaged. It is connected directly to floppy port, and 5.25 drive just overloaded it and kaputt.  So I needed to replace PSG chip. Then added line amplifiers for all 3 lines from PSG to floppy and then 5.25 drive worked (with SW what set step rate to 6). It was good to transfer some SW from 5.25 DD disks in that time. After that I never connected such drive to Ataris.

And I don't think that today it will be of use. 

To repeat: 5.25 inch floppy drive may damage PSG (YM) chip in your Atari ST(E) - not ready for bigger load of control lines on such floppy drive.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ParanoidLittleMan you are right about the step rate, I wrote a small AUTO folder program to switch to 6ms step rate, I

used my 5 1/4 drive for many years with my STM and encountered no problems, maybe the drive mech I had was

more gentle on the select lines :) .

The only thing I've found is that 5 1/4 floppy disks don't seem the survive very well over time, I can read most my 

3 1/2 floppy's but only the occasional one of the 5 1/4.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, ParanoidLittleMan said:

I don't think that there was ever 5.25 inch floppy drive with ST. They are simply not compatible. And it looks so: if you attach such drive it may appear as it works with quick check. Because it may work in situation of opening disk and see content. But accessing some file will most likely fail - because of not proper steprate. 3.5 drives are faster with it, and need 3mS, while 5.25 need 6 mS steprate. It can be solved with some SW (patch), or using TOS 2.06 where it is default rate (lazy solution for HD mode), but there is bigger problem. And I talk it from own experience: back in 80-es I tried some 5.25 drive from PC with my 520 STM, and it worked for short then stopped. And original 3.5 drives worked not too anymore. After little exam I saw that PSG (YM) chip is bad, and that drive A select line is always active (low) - damaged. It is connected directly to floppy port, and 5.25 drive just overloaded it and kaputt.

 

There were definitely 5.25 drives produced for the ST. I still have one. Yes, most of them required a slower step rate and they included a bootable disk to change the default step rate. So yes, it was limited in some ways. But it was very useful for accessing older PC disks and then 5.25 drives were somewhat popular for PC emulators.

 

The problem with some 5.25 drives that require high current drivers, which could damage the PSG, only applies to generic drives not specifically designed for the ST. ST drives either used a mechanism that was compatible, or included a small board to buffer the signals inside the drive box.

 

You can actually see a picture of an 5.25 ST drive in this very same thread. Or may be you mean something else and I am misunderstanding?

Edited by ijor
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well this is very helpful information. Thanks for the insight everyone. Would anyone be interested in purchasing these from me? My topic about the biology software has not receive any attention. Is there any demand for these sort of items? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, there is picture of 5.25 drive in some Atari style case, but drive self looks pretty much generic. Since this was sold in low quantity, I don't think that they ordered some special 5.25 drive for ST.   Of course, control line overload must not happen with every 5.25 drive - depends from used chips in it.

What I write was mostly warning for those who might want to attach some 5.25 drive to their Atari. Adding line buffers is recommended, and that's really not complicated and is cheap. For instance with 7407 .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have just located a number of these games, founding out the dump is a .stx format. As I do not have the original hardware anymore, is it possible to convert these .stx dumps and retain all of the information so the rom runs as a .st format? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ST format can not hold all data needed to run copy protected SW. So, conversion will work only with not copy protected SW. And that's minority by games.

And you don't need original HW, plus STX format is not for it, but for emulators. Hatari, Steem (with Pasti extension) work with STX image files (we don't call disk images 'rom' - term from console times).

Problem solved 🙂

 

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There was a 5 1/4 made to run on the Atari ST from "IB Drive" to work with PC Ditto the IBM emulator.  I actually have one but it has not been connected to my Mega. I might see if it still works. 

 

IB drive.jpg

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...