Greaseweazle

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Greaseweazle[1] is not an ND product. However, it allows you to connect a floppy drive to a modern computer and use it as a ND media reader for floppies. It is like the FluxEngine, but with cheaper hardware, and a different set of programs to use it.

Hardware setup

You will need a computer with a usb port. You will also need:

  • the Greaseweazle hardware
    • a STM32F103C8 "Blue Pill" development board (or alternative - see the Greaseweazle wiki)
    • a Blue Pill Adapter (files to order the pcb are aavilable[2])
  • a usb to micro-usb cable for connecting the FluxEngine to the computer
  • a floppy cable, for connecting the FluxEngine to the floppy drive
  • a floppy drive capable of reading the floppies you want to read
  • a power supply for the floppy drive. Except for 3.5 inch drives, you can't power the drive from the usb port

You also need a bit of storage space for the images you capture.

Software setup

The Greaseweazle comes with the firmware, and the program to read data from the floppy drive. This program (gw.py - yes, it is written in Python) does only one thing: it reads data from the floppy drive, and stores it in a file, in .scp (SuperCard Pro) Flux image format[3]. You will need a program to convert the .scp files into something you can use, like a direct "image" format.

I have (briefly) tested keirf's Disk Utilities[4], and it appears to work, at least for ND format 17b floppies

Usage

Using the Greaseweazle consists of two steps: capture data from a floppy to a file (.scp file), and the converting this file into a more usable format.

Reading data

This is a simple operation. If you just type the command with no parameters, you get a help text

tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py 
Usage: ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py [action] ...
Actions: read, write, delays, update

you can add and action to get more info

tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py read
usage: gw.py read [-h] [--drive DRIVE] [--revs REVS] [--scyl SCYL]
                  [--ecyl ECYL] [--single-sided]
                  file [device]
gw.py read: error: the following arguments are required: file
tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py write
usage: gw.py write [-h] [--drive DRIVE] [--scyl SCYL] [--ecyl ECYL]
                   [--single-sided] [--adjust-speed]
                   file [device]
gw.py write: error: the following arguments are required: file
tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py delays
** Greaseweazle v0.11 [F1], Host Tools v0.11
Select Delay: 10us
Step Delay: 3000us
Settle Time: 15ms
Motor Delay: 750ms
Auto Off: 10000ms

To read a ND format 17b floppy, you would use

tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py read --ecyl 76 525_nd_f17b_211024-c01-xx-01d.scp
** Greaseweazle v0.11 [F1], Host Tools v0.11
Reading Track 76.1...

77 tracks means track 0 - 76.

For a ND format 0b floppy you would use

tingo@z30b:~/work/greaseweazle$ ./Greaseweazle-v0.11/gw.py read --ecyl 76 --single-sided 525_nd_f0b_nd-10005u_2.scp
** Greaseweazle v0.11 [F1], Host Tools v0.11
Reading Track 76.0...

This format also have 77 tracks, but is single-sided.

Converting from .scp to .img (image) format

References

  1. Greaseweazle
  2. PCB-Projects - greaseweazle
  3. SuperCard Pro Flux Image format (.scp)
  4. Disk Utilities