Floppy Disk Drives / Shugart 860 / Test

Test no. 1

All tests have been done with my testsystem no. 2. In the first tests I used the Shugart 860 as the sole drive A:. But at the moment I use it as drive B. Drive A is a 5.25 "Qume 142 (DS/DD).

For formatting, I always use Norton SafeFormat (SF, version 4.50), because sometimes there were problems with DOS format. DOS seems to look better on the medium and sometimes breaks formatting with Bad Track 0 or invalid Media or something like that. Norton SF is quite robust and has never let me down.

There's nothing more to describe because DOS thinks it has a DS/HD floppy disk in the drive. In retrospect, the operation of an 8" drive is actually completely unspectacular! Problems only exist if you want to describe a floppy disk beyond the said 77 tracks.

Test no. 2

Now something very exotic. Ever heard of PUTR?

PUTR is a copyrighted but freely distributable utility for transferring files between various file systems and various media. It is named after PUTR.SAV (Peripheral Utility Transfer Routines), the utility which performs the same function under the DEC TSS/8.24 operating system for the PDP-8.

John Wilson (D Bit): http://dbit.com/putr/putr.doc

In other words. With PUTR it is possible, for example, to format a floppy disk in DEC format RX01 under DOS and copy data from DOS to this floppy disk. This works great. Of course, the meaning and purpose of this action can be discussed admirably.

Look: Daves Old Computers - Disk/Software Image Archive (Software Archive / System / Install disks)

ImageDisk by Dave Dunfield is able to write the RX01 format (single-sided, 77 tracks, 26 sectors, 128 bytes / sector, single density - FM). See my overview of floppy disk types: Floppy Disk Types.

Success and failure of writing these exotic formats with the PC depends very much on the PC controller. Basically, the PC controller can only deal with the MFM encoding.

I am fortunate that my motherboard has a WD37C65 Western Digital chip. This supports the FM coding (single density). Look also: Daves Old Computers - Disk/Software Image Archive (Information and Resources / Registry of mainboards/floppy controller results). I have no problems in writing the RX01 format!


A little more action can be seen in my test video on YouTube. Just have a look. This video shows how to format a 8" floppy disk with the Shugart 860.