Version 2.22, 14 May 2008
Information follows on exactly what is needed to image 3.5” floppy disks that may or may not contain custom formats and copy protection.
Firstly you need a Commodore Amiga computer with at least a Motorola 68020 processor. More powerful 680×0 CPU‘s are perfectly fine, but the disk imaging tools will not work on anything less. More detail about this is contained in a separate knowledge base article.
We Say ‘Commodore’ Amiga because later Amiga’s from Escom and Amiga Technologies had a modified PC drive fitted, which is not compatible with the dump process without significant modifications to the drive and motherboard.
Also note that if you intend to image any High Density disks, then a genuine Amiga High Denisity Drive must be used. An Amiga “compatible” drive such as the PowerXL will NOT work for disk imaging. The genuine drives work and run half-speed in HD mode, but the ‘fake’ ones use hardware buffers and other tricks that disrupt the dump process.
We have developed a menu-based system for simpler imaging of your games, but unfortunately this requires Kickstart 2 or above. If this is not suitable for you, please contact us and we will send you an alternate version of the imaging disk although is command line based, works on Kickstart 1.3. Comprehensive documentation is obviously supplied. This document assumes use of the menu-based imaging disk.
There are two ways of imaging disks:
- Imaging the disks to HD (via RAM, needs 5-6 MiB)
- Using PC2Amiga to image to a PC
In (1), the imaging disk images disks to RAM and then copies the disk image to your chosen destination (i.e. a hard disk). Imaging disks directly to hard disk is impossible because our disk imaging software does some very precise measurements which can be detrimentally affected by any hard disk activity. Therefore you need 5-6 MiB+ of memory for this depending on the disk. Certain disks can produce very large images, up to 10 MiB has been seen, though this is fairly rare, depending on the system the disks are for. More information on this can be found in a separate knowledge base article. Most disk images should be about 3 MiB, and 1.5 MiB when compressed with ZIP. Preserved images are around 1 MiB (uncompressed) but it entirely depends on the disk contents, that is, information about the disk format not just the disk data.
Please note: After creating the image, you will still need a mechnism to get the resulting files to us. This can either be directly from your Amiga if it has internet access, or via something like a LAN connection from the Amiga to your PC.
In (2), PC2Amiga version, you only need enough memory to start up and run AmigaDOS and the imaging software, so something like 1.5 - 2 MiB is safe. You also need one of:
- Serial null modem cable
- 4-wire “parallel null modem” / PC Laplink cable (recommended)
- Custom 8-wire PC2Amiga cable (which you have to make)
We would not recommend the serial null modem cable, as it would take a long time to image your disks, so it is best only if you have only a few to do.