Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by pjones1063 »

I purchased a USB floppy drive on Amazon that supports DS and DD disks for my Ubuntu laptop. First - I format the disk on my 1040 STf then stick the floppy in the USB drive. I use the linux dd command to copy .st floppy images onto the floppy drive. Works well if the .st image is valid:

$ sudo dd if=/path_to_imagefile of=/dev/sda

A second method I have used is to simply mount the formatted floppy on the Ubuntu laptop and copy the files directly to the floppy disk. The key seems to be formatted the disk on my 1040 STf. I have tried many disk VFAT/MSDOS formats from Ubuntu and none seems to work on the Atari but the USB floppy has no issues writing images or files to disks formatted on the Atari.

The third method I have used is Jim Mackenxie's Ghost Link "PC Dosbox" method found in his blog here:

https://www.jamesfmackenzie.com/2016/02 ... -pc-to-st/

The comments in the blog also explain how to use a null modem as a serial to TCP IP connector for accessing telnet Atari BBS's from an ST Running the TAZ terminal program - Great Fun!
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by pjones1063 »

AlexH - I would be interested is seeing details on a "USB to Serial port" solution. I have used SIO2USB cable on my Atari 800 XL (running RespeQT on a Linux PC). It works very very well. It would be very cool if someone had a similar solution for 16/32 bit Atari systems.
Last edited by pjones1063 on Wed Jul 11, 2018 3:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by pjones1063 »

Another method I have used with DOSBOX and a serial cable:

https://www.jamesfmackenzie.com/2016/02 ... -pc-to-st/
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by chrisnova777 »

is there such a thing as an external gotek? for people that dont want to mod their perfectly fine working floppy drive in their 1040STE..
does anyone make an external gotek floppy? (rather then a home user having to botch a perfectly working external floppy?)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mozartkugel »

Hi! Does anyone know if the info in the first post of this thread still up to date? I saw it was from 2007 and there was mention of WinXP and such. Does anyone know if it works in cmd on for example win 8.1, win 7 or win 10? I got an external PC floppy drive and I ordered a few DD floppies so looking to learn how to put ST games onto floppy now.
chrisnova777 wrote:is there such a thing as an external gotek? for people that dont want to mod their perfectly fine working floppy drive. does anyone make an external gotek floppy?
I was wondering that too a little while ago, and it seems there isn't one at this point at least. Perhaps you can find your answer(s) in this thread: http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=36684
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by z80andrew »

I use SerialDisk as a solution to this problem. You can use a PC over a serial link as a virtual disk which allows you to load the disk image in something like JayMSA, and write images to floppies directly on an Atari ST.

https://github.com/z80andrew/SerialDisk

(Full disclosure: I'm the author of SerialDisk)

I never had much luck writing ST images to floppies on a PC, especially with external USB floppy drives.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mozartkugel »

Thanks for the hints z80andrew! I'm still in the middle of experimenting with floppies, let's see how far it will take me before I start looking for other options :P
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

You could always use something like a Greaseweazle, convert the .st or .msa image to .hfe or .scp, and write it to the disk using the native GW tools.

I've done this, with ST and Amiga disks, and it worked fine for me.

The GW can write .scp, .hfe and .ipf images. (.ipf needs the correct library installed though)

No messing about, just direct connect the PC floppy (or atari st or amiga) drive to the GW.

The GW works natively under windows, linux and MacOS.

You have the added bonus then, of being able to image your existing disks to .scp or .hfe format for future preservation,
or for use on the Gotek.

(I wrote a windows front end for GW, I'm a huge fan!!)


Obviously, you can use other flux tools but the GW is cheap and effective.
And so far, it seems to be as good as, if not better than the existing flux kings (Supercard Pro and Kryoflux)
But not the new 'Pauline' DE10Nano device, it seems! :)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by ijor »

Mikerochip wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:29 pm You could always use something like a Greaseweazle, ...
Obviously, you can use other flux tools but the GW is cheap and effective.
And so far, it seems to be as good as, if not better than the existing flux kings (Supercard Pro and Kryoflux)
In which ways Greaseweazle is, or you think it is, better?
But not the new 'Pauline' DE10Nano device, it seems! :)
Interesting device. But I'm not sure I understand why they decided to use a DE10-Nano. It is completely overkill and will make it rather expensive, this is unless you happen to have a DE10-Nano already for MiSTer and you don't mind sharing it with Pauline.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Eero Tamminen »

pjones1063 wrote: Mon Jul 02, 2018 3:12 pm I have tried many disk VFAT/MSDOS formats from Ubuntu and none seems to work on the Atari but the USB floppy has no issues writing images or files to disks formatted on the Atari.
Have you tried doing the formatting with "mformat" from the "mtools" package? There's e.g. option for generating Atari format serial ID for the floppy.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

Hi Ijor!

Not my opinion, on both items:

The guys over at the Video Game Preservation Collective were talking about it.
The various merits of the different devices. The SCP, Kryo and the Discferrit, and Applesauce.

The Kryo is prone to buffer under runs it seems.
The GW samples at a higher frequency, I think, I remember they said than both the Kryo, and SCP.
72Mhz on the GW, 48Mhz on the Kryo and 24Mhz on the SCP, if I remember correctly.
Actually, I don't remember much else.

And, again, on the DE10-Nano, I've no idea, other than they want it to be stand alone, among other things.
So, it runs Linux, and dumps the disk for you, which is then available as an FTP service to the user. (You can also remove the SD card, manually)
And yes, expensive. (Too expensive for me, and my purposes. Not sure if I get one for a Mister, and if so, then I'll give it a go)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by ijor »

Mikerochip wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:13 pm The guys over at the Video Game Preservation Collective were talking about it.
The various merits of the different devices. The SCP, Kryo and the Discferrit, and Applesauce.
...
The Kryo is prone to buffer under runs it seems.
The kryoflux is a streaming device. It doesn't have much internal ram and then it streams the data on real time. This depends on the PC to be able to read fast enough. If the PC is too slow, or too busy, data might be lost. Although this is rarely fatal because it would just provoke a retry.

It's the same for the Greaseweazle, it also streams. It might have slightly more tolerance because it uses a slightly more powerful micro. But it still depends on the PC being fast enough.
The GW samples at a higher frequency, I think, I remember they said than both the Kryo, and SCP.
Yes, but this is completely irrelevant. In first place the GW saves the dump in the SCP format so the extra precision is discarded. But even if it would use a custom format with a higher frequency, it would be pretty much useless. The Kryoflux uses the lower sampling frequency at ~24 MHz and that is good enough for our floppies. Floppy drives are slow and imprecise devices, you don't gain anything by using a very high frequency. May be it might be useful if you would want to dump something like ED (Extra Density) disks, otherwise it is IMHO a waste.
And, again, on the DE10-Nano, I've no idea, other than they want it to be stand alone, among other things.
So, it runs Linux, and dumps the disk for you, which is then available as an FTP service to the user. (You can also remove the SD card, manually)
I see. Yes, stand alone is a nice feature. But might be considered a very expensive luxury here. I'm not sure it's worth.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

ijor wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:09 pm The kryoflux is a streaming device. It doesn't have much internal ram and then it streams the data on real time. This depends on the PC to be able to read fast enough. If the PC is too slow, or too busy, data might be lost. Although this is rarely fatal because it would just provoke a retry.

It's the same for the Greaseweazle, it also streams. It might have slightly more tolerance because it uses a slightly more powerful micro. But it still depends on the PC being fast enough.
I think the GW has a much bigger buffer (256k on my GW device, amd 2MB on the F7 devices) to help prevent underruns.
And, there was at least one (if not two) people complaining the Kryoflux should actually issue a retry, but didn't.
(Which was their chief complaint about underruns. Not that that they happened, but that it wasn't handled as well as it should have been)
ijor wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:09 pm
Mikerochip wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:13 pm The GW samples at a higher frequency, I think, I remember they said than both the Kryo, and SCP.
Yes, but this is completely irrelevant. In first place the GW saves the dump in the SCP format so the extra precision is discarded. But even if it would use a custom format with a higher frequency, it would be pretty much useless. The Kryoflux uses the lower sampling frequency at ~24 MHz and that is good enough for our floppies. Floppy drives are slow and imprecise devices, you don't gain anything by using a very high frequency. May be it might be useful if you would want to dump something like ED (Extra Density) disks, otherwise it is IMHO a waste.
Ah, above my pay grade, that one! I don't know enough to say one way or the other!
I imagine, though, there has to be a limit to how useful a smaller frequency sample size can be sliced up into.

It reminds me of a conversation on slashdot years ago about guys scanning in celluloid for movie preservation.
At some stage, the scanning resolution was so high, all they were getting was more detailed scans of cracks in the actual celluloid, rather than picking up on any useful picture information.
ijor wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 11:09 pm
Mikerochip wrote: Wed Jul 15, 2020 8:13 pm And, again, on the DE10-Nano, I've no idea, other than they want it to be stand alone, among other things.
So, it runs Linux, and dumps the disk for you, which is then available as an FTP service to the user. (You can also remove the SD card, manually)
I see. Yes, stand alone is a nice feature. But might be considered a very expensive luxury here. I'm not sure it's worth.
To me, a very expensive luxury! Like I already said, I definitely can't afford one just to do floppy dumping!
(And, by now, I've more than 90% of my Atari floppy dumping done, of all the floppies I currently own! The rest need to be cleaned, and I don't seem to have much luck with cleaning them so far. I destroyed one disk, and didn't get a good copy of 8x other disks, after cleaning)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by ijor »

Mikerochip wrote: Thu Jul 16, 2020 11:29 am I think the GW has a much bigger buffer (256k on my GW device, amd 2MB on the F7 devices) to help prevent underruns.
Where did you get those numbers? :)

No. The smaller GW based on the Blue Pill has 20K RAM only. The F7 one has 256K, I believe. And this is the total RAM, partly obviously used for other purposes. For comparison, the chip used by the Kryoflux has 64K RAM.

The SCP has the advantage here because it has external (on board) ram storage. It doesn't stream on real time. So you could use it with a very slow PC. It even has a standalone copy mode, although I never used it and no idea how good it is. OTOH, this method puts a limit on how much data you could read. This is opposed to streaming that uses the, virtually, unlimited PC resources. But this shouldn't be normally a problem unless you want to read HD disks.

Btw, I should add that both the SCP and the Kryoflux have buffers and protection. The original GW, even the F7 one, is completely unbuffered. Only the more expensive models (Lightning, I believe) added buffers and protection. It is not the end of the word, IMHO. The smaller DIY GW based on the Blue Pill is so cheap, that you could easily replace it if it's get damaged. It is a problem however with some older 5.25" (and 8') drives because it would simply not work.
(And, by now, I've more than 90% of my Atari floppy dumping done, of all the floppies I currently own! The rest need to be cleaned, and I don't seem to have much luck with cleaning them so far. I destroyed one disk, and didn't get a good copy of 8x other disks, after cleaning)
It is not a bad average at all. Some disks are magnetically deteriorated, and no cleaning would help. Btw, thanks a lot for the contribution of all your dumps! :)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

Yeah, It's only after thinking about it ... I wrote the values for the flash size, not ram size!! 8O
The RobotDYN STM32F1 I'm using has 128k ram, and 256k flash, btw.

I came back to edit the values and you'd already replied :)
TCH!!

Interesting reading about the hardware. Thanks for the info!

And, you're welcome for the flux images! :)

I'm scanning in boxart, manuals etc atm. Slow!
But I have lots of disks done, and uploaded onto archive.org.
(I'm not sure where else to put them!)
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by AmigoMexicano »

Mikerochip wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:29 pm You could always use something like a Greaseweazle, convert the .st or .msa image to .hfe or .scp, and write it to the disk using the native GW tools.

I've done this, with ST and Amiga disks, and it worked fine for me.
Hello there, I'm trying to do this with my GW F7 for ST disk images, and it's not working. What I do is to convert the .st to .scp or .hfe using "HxCFloppyEmulator_Software" on Windows, and then write the converted image using GW.

The disk can't be read on the ST at all.

Then I tested using an existing ST disk, make a scp image of it directly on the GW and then just write that to a blank disk, and it does work, so I know my GW setup is not the problem, maybe the issue is in the image conversion process...

What did you use to convert .st to .hfe or .scp?

Thanks!
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

AmigoMexicano wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 4:51 pm
Mikerochip wrote: Tue Jul 14, 2020 5:29 pm You could always use something like a Greaseweazle, convert the .st or .msa image to .hfe or .scp, and write it to the disk using the native GW tools.

I've done this, with ST and Amiga disks, and it worked fine for me.
Hello there, I'm trying to do this with my GW F7 for ST disk images, and it's not working. What I do is to convert the .st to .scp or .hfe using "HxCFloppyEmulator_Software" on Windows, and then write the converted image using GW.

The disk can't be read on the ST at all.

Then I tested using an existing ST disk, make a scp image of it directly on the GW and then just write that to a blank disk, and it does work, so I know my GW setup is not the problem, maybe the issue is in the image conversion process...

What did you use to convert .st to .hfe or .scp?

Thanks!

Hi.

I used HxC Floppy emulator.

I converted the disk to a .hfe.
I tried .ipf files, both ST and Amiga, a .adf on amiga and a .st for the ST.

I also tried to read the disk back in after I read it, and it read back in fine.
Did you try this?

What kind of disk are you using?

Are they DD or HD?

What settings did you use, when writing?
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by AmigoMexicano »

Mikerochip wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 8:57 pm Hi.

I used HxC Floppy emulator.

I converted the disk to a .hfe.
I tried .ipf files, both ST and Amiga, a .adf on amiga and a .st for the ST.

I also tried to read the disk back in after I read it, and it read back in fine.
Did you try this?

What kind of disk are you using?

Are they DD or HD?

What settings did you use, when writing?
Thanks for your quick reply.

I haven't tried to read back the disk just written, I'll try it.

I'm using new 3M DD disks. I used the same with Amiga disks, and these work fine, I converted the .adf using disk-analyse instead of HxC. Too bad disk-analyse doesn't support .st images!

I didn't used any settings when writing, just: "gw write image_st.scp" so I need to add something else there?

Thanks again!
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

Hi,
no, nothing special, really, just maybe the end track etc.
Is the ST image ok, that you want to write, too?
Can you use HxC to open the disk folders in the disk browser menu?

I did all my conversion from .st/.adf using HxC. I wrote the .ipf files directly.
(Since GW natively supports writing .ipf files, once the library is installed)

What version of GW are you using, btw? I did this with 0.20. (And with 0.19, but mostly the newer one)

I'd be interested if you can read back the disk, after you write it, and, if so, what it looks like.

Also, once you create the new .hfe file, can you open that, and still see all the files in the HxC disk browser?

if you use the gw bandwidth, do you have enough overhead? Just out of curosity.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by AmigoMexicano »

Ok, I tried to change the end track as HxC analyzer told me it was (82)... non working disk.

Yes, the ST image is OK, because I can open it on emulator, also if I write it directly on the ST (using a Satandisk), the result disk works fine.

Yes, I can browse the disk Image I open.

I'm using .hfe conversion (also tried .scp), and GW version 0.20

Yes I can see the .hfe converted file just fine, it looks the same as the source .st file.

If I try to read the disk again to an image, it opens but visual floppy disk shows a slight different pattern.
converted-hfe.png
read-back-written-hfe.png

I'm lost on the GW bandwidth, what's that and how I setup/check it?

Thanks!
Mikerochip wrote: Wed Jul 29, 2020 11:15 pm Hi,
no, nothing special, really, just maybe the end track etc.
Is the ST image ok, that you want to write, too?
Can you use HxC to open the disk folders in the disk browser menu?

I did all my conversion from .st/.adf using HxC. I wrote the .ipf files directly.
(Since GW natively supports writing .ipf files, once the library is installed)

What version of GW are you using, btw? I did this with 0.20. (And with 0.19, but mostly the newer one)

I'd be interested if you can read back the disk, after you write it, and, if so, what it looks like.

Also, once you create the new .hfe file, can you open that, and still see all the files in the HxC disk browser?

if you use the gw bandwidth, do you have enough overhead? Just out of curosity.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by Mikerochip »

Interesting.
All the sectors seem to be there, just not lined up.

you just run "gw bandwidth" to get that info.
Which .st is it? I'll have a go myself, too, and see what happens here.
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Re: Writing Atari ST programs onto floppies with PC

Post by AmigoMexicano »

Here's the bandwidth info:

band.png

I've tried with many .st images:

Bubble Bobble (1987)(Taito)[cr Electricbug]
Gods (1991)(Bitmap Brothers)[cr Vmax][t +2][one disk]
Xenon 2 - Megablast (1989)(Bitmap Brothers)[cr Replicants][t][one disk]
Altered Beast (1989)(Activision)[cr Illegal][t]
Arkanoid (1987)(Imagine)
GIA1M.ST (the Giana Sisters remaster)

Also formatting a disk on the ST, creating a folder inside that disk, and trying to image that disk, same bad results.

Do you think I need to connect the ST drive to GW and use it to make the images? Gonna try that tonight.

Thanks for your help!
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