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First post, by digicube

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Can 1.44MB 3.5" Floppy Drive read 360K, 720K, 400K, 800K disks? What other capacities can it read as well?

Reply 1 of 14, by Horun

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It depends on the exact model of the 1.44MB floppy drive. Some can read 360K SS/LD, most all read 720k DS/LD along with 1.44Mb DS/HD. 400k SS/LD and 800k DS/LD (and 1.4Mb) are Mac formats not IBM PC formats.
In my experience older TEAC and Sony floppy drives were the most cross compatible as well as certain Mitsumi drives.

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 3 of 14, by Horun

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Yes. have imaged Mac floppies and written Mac images to floppies under WinXP using software but there are limitations. HFSExplorer is more for reading hard drives not floppies iirc.

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 4 of 14, by Vynix

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Mac 400K/800K disks used a variable speed drive and GCR encoding to cram more data onto the disk, so no, you can't just can't stick a Mac 800K disk and read it with a PC FDD (which use MFM encoding w/ a fixed speed drive) unless your Mac has a "SuperDrive" FDD that can do either Mac 400K/800K GCR but can also write 1.44M disks using MFM encoding (although using the standard Macintosh file systems, I don't know if you can format a 1.44M disk using FAT16 on a Macintosh).

Proud owner of a Shuttle HOT-555A 430VX motherboard and two wonderful retro laptops, namely a Compaq Armada 1700 [nonfunctional] and a HP Omnibook XE3-GC [fully working :p]

Reply 5 of 14, by Horun

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Yep 400k and 800k requires special pc controller card (like Copy-2-PC or Transcopy III card) but standard 1.4MB Mac floppies can be read from a PC.
I have a CPC Transcopy III and it will read older Mac disks IF the floppy drive is one of the older cross compatible types.

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....

Reply 6 of 14, by Jo22

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An 1.44MB 3,5" HD floppy drive can read 360KB and 720KB formatted floppies for sure.
Even some old USB floppy drives still support these formats (bulky models often).

However, it may be unable to do so sometimes if the floppies were formatted in another 1,44MB floppy drive.

360KB/720KB disks that are originals or were formatted in the very same drive should work best. IMHO.

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Reply 7 of 14, by froller

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Haven't ever heard of 360kB 3.5" floppies except single sided 720kB ones.
720kB DS/DD disks are perfectly read/written in 3.5" 1.44M DS/2HD drive. So 360kB SS/DD should too.

800kB DS/DD disks are 720kB ones but with 10 sectors per track instead of 9.
I tried to make any of my FDDs format 800kB but had no luck even with DRIVPARM=/D:0 /H:2 /T:80 /S:10. Probably FDCs or BIOSes in both of my 486's are "too smart".

Try using 800.com or better Pu_1700.com that allows you to change SPT and track count to format/read/write weird formats like 800kB.

Last edited by froller on 2021-02-27, 14:25. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 8 of 14, by maxtherabbit

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when most people say 800kB 3.5" they are referring to Macintosh GCR formatted DS/DD

I suppose you could do 10 SPT MFM, but I've never heard of it being any kind of standard

Reply 9 of 14, by Deksor

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If you want to read these disks with a PC drive, I'd recommend you to grab a flux reader. Some are expensive (like the kryoflux) but some have come down to 5-10€ to build like the Greaseweazle. I've made one myself and it's fantastic !!

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit Ultimate Hardware 2019 - Project's thread The Ultimate Hardware 2019 (UH19) project- a stason.org/TH99
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Reply 11 of 14, by maxtherabbit

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digicube wrote on 2021-02-27, 22:24:

So with kyroflux, I can read Mac formatted 400K, 800K floppies on a 1.44MB PC drive with no hardware modifications? Sounds like plan.

You also need a 3.5" drive that plays along. Some of them have more aggressive filtering that doesn't work with ghetto GCR

Reply 13 of 14, by maxtherabbit

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digicube wrote on 2021-02-28, 08:43:

Where can I get a list of these floppy drives that plays along?

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?782 … 0108#post650108

Central Point called out Alps, Mitsubishi, Mitsumi, and Panasonic 1.44MB drives for being particularly troublesome with Macintosh 800k GCR disks.

Citizen, TEAC, and Toshiba drives were recommended.

Reply 14 of 14, by Horun

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2021-02-28, 14:52:
digicube wrote on 2021-02-28, 08:43:

Where can I get a list of these floppy drives that plays along?

http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?782 … 0108#post650108

Central Point called out Alps, Mitsubishi, Mitsumi, and Panasonic 1.44MB drives for being particularly troublesome with Macintosh 800k GCR disks.

Citizen, TEAC, and Toshiba drives were recommended.

Thanks ! They do not recommend Sony but have had fair luck with an older Sony but not sure the exact model. Think I got some of my docs from Oldskool back decades ago, my board is the Deluxe Option.
Never realized the 5.4 Rev 1 Deluxe was same but with added diode and resistor, most likely to fix the "Everex and other controller issue" mentioned.

Hate posting a reply and have to edit it because it made no sense 😁 First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣 Second computer a 286 12Mhz with real IDE drive ! After that came 386, 486, Pentium, P.Pro and everything after....