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ADTWin 1.3




Content

Introduction
Requirements
Download
Installation
Deinstallation
Hardware test function
How to make the cable
ADTWin manual
Using high-density disks
Using the Amiga's internal drive
Troubleshooting
License
Disclaimer
Feedback
Links

Introduction

ADTWin is a free tool for writing Amiga disks from a PC. It requires a Windows PC with a parallel port and a floppy disk drive that is connected to the PC's parallel port by a self-made cable (detailed instructions are given below). The disk content has to be provided in form of an Amiga Disk File (there are lots of ADFs containing Amiga games and other software out on the web, see the links section). Only the original double-density Amiga disk format (for 880kB disks) is supported (though HD disks can be used). The write process is about as fast as on the original Amiga (≈40s per disk using appropriate PC hardware). It is not possible to read disks.

The main use case of ADTWin might be to get Amiga software (that is available on your PC by means of an ADF) running on an original old-school Amiga, e.g. the Amiga 500. There are some other non-commercial solutions (details on the web, see the links section) like using PC-formatted disks or a direct cable connection to transfer data from the PC to the Amiga and vice versa. In some cases those methods might be more appropriate.
Note that since ADTWin uses the parallel port in a way that it was not originally intended for, it will not work on all systems. But if you are lucky enough to have appropriate hardware and did regard the troubleshooting hints, then it works quite well and is very fast.


ADTWin screenshot


Requirements

The following list describes what you need in order to write Amiga disks with your PC using ADTWin.

Download

ADTWin 1.3 for Windows XP/Vista/7/8.1/10 32bit/64bit: ADTWin_1.3.zip

MD5: D1A86501ED1C3F7B2889BC205F87F84C   What is that?

Installation

ADTWin does not require installation. After unzipping the download file, ADTWin.exe can simply be started. However, depending on your Windows version and system configuration, some configuration settings might need to be changed before ADTWin can be executed. This will be described in the following.
You can set a link to ADTWin on your Desktop by dragging ADTWin.exe to the Desktop and keeping Ctrl and Shift pressed while dropping it.

Disable multi-core mode

If you run ADTWin on a multi-core system, deactivate all but one core. Otherwise ADTWin's disk write operation might be disturbed by the activity on the other cores, resulting in defective disk content. ADTWin will show a warning each time it is started if more than one core is active. Cores can be disabled either by the PC's BIOS settings or by changing the Windows configuration as follows (you have to be logged in as administrator for this):
  1. Windows XP: Click the Windows Start button, click Run..., enter "msconfig" into the input field and press Return. In msconfig select the BOOT.INI tab, click Advanced Options..., activate the /NUMPROC= check box and select 1 from the drop-down list.
    Windows Vista/7: Click the Windows Start button, enter "msconfig" into the input field and press Return. You might need to confirm a security requester. In msconfig select the Boot tab, click Advanced Options..., activate the Number of processors check box and select 1 from the drop-down list.
    Windows 8.1/10: Move the mouse cursor to the lower left corner of the screen, press the right mouse button, select Run, enter "msconfig" into the input field and press Return. In msconfig select the Boot tab, click Advanced Options..., activate the Number of processors check box and select 1 from the drop-down list.
  2. A restart is necessary to make the change apply.

Deactivate signature enforcement (for 64 bit editions of Windows Vista or later versions)

To gain direct access to the parallel port, ADTWin needs to run its own device driver. Unfortunately, 64 bit editions of Windows, starting from Windows Vista, prevent drivers that are not code-signed by a commercial certification authority from being started. To circumvent this security feature you have to either disable driver signature enforcement for the current session or permanently enable testsigning. Otherwise ADTWin will not be able to install its driver and exit with an error message. Be aware that this creates a potential vulnerability on your system and you should not run any untrusted program that might start an unsigned driver while in this state.

Run as administrator

To be allowed to start its own device driver, ADTWin must be executed with administrator privileges. This requires, that you start ADTWin from an administrator account. Under Windows Vista/7/8.1/10 you furthermore have to take the following steps before starting it the first time: Right-click ADTWin.exe and select Properties from the context menu. Then open the Compatibility tab, activate the Run as administrator or Run this program as an administrator property and click OK. Now ADTWin will get administrator rights whenever it is started. Nevertheless, each time you start ADTWin, Windows will ask whether you want to allow ADTWin to make changes to your computer, which has to be confirmed. Actually, ADTWin will not make any changes, except for (temporarily) installing a device driver.

Create extract script (optional)

If you want ADTWin to be able to deal with compressed ADFs (e.g. .zip or .lha files), you have to install an appropriate decompress tool (e.g. 7-zip) and provide a batch script with name "Extract.bat" in the ADTWin folder. A template for such a script ("Extract.template") comes with the ADTWin download package. See the comments therein for further details. If the script is present, you can add compressed ADFs to the file list just like normal ADFs.

Deinstallation

To remove ADTWin from your system, make sure that ADTWin has been cleanly closed after its last execution, disable test mode, if required (see above), and delete the ADTWin folder. Don't forget to re-enable multi-core mode, if need be.

Hardware test function

Before you take the effort to build the special cable or purchase a floppy drive, you should run ADTWin's test command: After starting ADTWin.exe and, if need be, selecting the desired LPT port, simply click the "Test" button. ADTWin will perform some hardware tests to figure out whether or not writing Amiga disks will probably be possible. Note that this test can only cover some aspects of the disk write operation. Despite a positive result you cannot be entirely sure that writing Amiga disks will work. If the test reveals that writing Amiga disks is not possible or the performance will be weak, follow the troubleshooting hints. If the test result is still negative after that, then writing Amiga disks is not possible on that system.


How to make the cable

The floppy drive has to be connected to your PC's parallel port by a special cable that has a 25-pin D-SUB connector on one side and a 34-pin FDD connector on the other. It looks like this:

Hint: To see a larger version of the pictures in this section, drag and drop them into a separate browser tab.

What you need

You need four parts to construct the cable:


34-pole ribbon cable

34-pole IDC

25-pole D-SUB

D-SUB housing
If your PC does not own a floppy drive power connector, then you might also need an adapter cable like this (the adapter shown here has two floppy drive power connectors, you only need one):

Floppy drive power adapter

If you want to order the required parts at Reichelt, here are the order codes: AWG 28-34G 3M, PFL 34, D-SUB ST 25, KAPPE CG25G, AK 3191

If you have a standard FDD cable at hand (from an old PC with an internal floppy drive) that is not needed anymore, you can reuse it. Simply cut off one of its IDCs and mount the D-SUB connector.

To build the cable, you furthermore need a soldering iron and solder, of course.

Pinout

Here is the connection table:

FDD connector (IDC) pin
Parallel port connector (D-SUB) pin
FDD function
Dir.
Parallel port function
118GNDGND
815INDEX
>
ERROR
10 1MOTEA
<
STROBE
12 2DRVSB
<
D0
14 3DRVSA
<
D1
16 4MOTEB
<
D2
18 5DIR
<
D3
20 6STEP
<
D4
2119GNDGND
22 7WDATA
<
D5
2320GNDGND
24 8WGATE
<
D6
2521GNDGND
2612TRK00
>
PE
2722GNDGND
2811WPROT
>
BUSY
2923GNDGND
3010RDATA
>
ACK
3124GNDGND
32 9SIDE1
<
D7
3325GNDGND
3413DSKCHG
>
SEL
The IDC pins (or contacts) are numbered as shown in figure 1. They correspond to the wires of the ribbon cable, wire 1 is marked red. The D-SUB pin numbering is shown in figure 2.

Figure 1

Figure 2
Connector pins that are not mentioned in the table remain unconnected. It is not absolutely necessary to connect all of the ground pins listed in the table, but at least one effective ground connection is required. Note that for some floppy drives not all of the IDC pins with odd numbers are really connected to ground.
Remark: A former version of this web page contained a pinout table with FDD pin 1 providing the only effective ground connection (pin 3 is usually omitted for keying purposes). If you have troubles with a cable that has been build according to the old table, make sure that this pin is really soldered on the PCB.

Incorrectly keyed connector shells

Some floppy drives have keyed pin header shells to prevent the cable from being plugged incorrectly. Figure 3a shows the back of such a floppy drive with a (correctly) keyed shell.
Unfortunately, there also exist some drives that have an incorrectly keyed shell as shown in figure 3b. You can either remove the IDC's keying nose in this case or simply mount the IDC reversed to the cable (that is, with the same IDC position as in figure 1, the red wire must be right). By the way, for the model shown in figure 3b, the shell is not always keyed like seen on the photo. The are also samples that allow for plugging the cable in the correct way.
Other drives have unkeyed pin headers that allow for plugging the cable both ways like those in figures 3c and 3d. Figure 3e shows a drive with a knockout notch which might need to be removed to be able to plug the cable correctly.
In any case, the IDC must always be plugged in such a way that the marked wire is at the left side when looking at the floppy drive's back.


Figure 3a: SONY MPF920-E

Figure 3b: MITSUMI D359M3

Figure 3c: ALPS DF354H090F

Figure 3d: SAMSUNG SFD-321B

Figure 3e: TEAC FD-235HF

Constructing the cable

Since making the cable is a little fiddly, here comes a step-by-step instruction. First, cut the ribbon cable down to the desired length and clamp the insulation-displacement connector (IDC) to one of its ends. It is important that the red wire gets connected to pin 1 of the 34-pin connector. If you look at the IDC from the plugging side such that the keying nose is on the top, then the red wire must be left. See figures 1, 4a and 4b.
Caution: If your floppy drive has an incorrectly keyed pin header shell, then it is useful to mount the IDC just the other way around. See
above for details.


Figure 4a

Figure 4b

Now, prepare the other end of the cable: If you want to mount the D-SUB connector housing in the end, it is helpful to shorten the inner wires of the ribbon cable as seen in figure 5. It's not absolutely necessary, but since the cable will have to be furled, the outer wires should be longer than the inner ones.
Then carefully separate all wires on the last 20-30mm and cut off the unused wires, i.e. wires 2 to 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19 (figure 6). At last remove 2mm of each remaining wire's insulation (figure 7).


Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

The cable can now be soldered to the D-SUB connector. Start to solder wires 10,12,14,16,18,20,22 and 24 to pins 1 to 8 of the D-SUB connector, then solder wires 26,28,30 and 32 to D-SUB pins 12,11,10 and 9, and wire 34 to D-SUB pin 13 (figure 8). Note that the ends of the other wires have been bend down and can't be seen on the photo. The upper row of D-SUB pins is now complete.
Now, solder wires 21,23,25,27,29,31 and 33 to D-SUB pins 19 to 25, wire 8 to D-SUB pin 15 and wire 1 to D-SUB pin 18 (figure 9). Note that ribbon cable and D-SUB connector have been turned around for this photo.


Figure 8

Figure 9

To make the cable more robust, you should mount the D-SUB connector housing (figure 10). The unused wires that have been cut off must not get into contact with the D-SUB connector pins. If the cable harness is too thin to mount the cable relief tightly, a coiled strip of paper can be used as an inlay.


Figure 10

The cable is now complete. Make sure that all connections according to the pinout table are operative and that there are no short circuits.


ADTWin manual

Using ADTWin is rather self-explaining. A short manual is contained in the download file and can also be viewed here.


Using high-density disks

ADTWin can only write disks in double-density (also denoted DD or 2D) format. Except for the late Amiga models, the Amiga can only operate DD disks anyway. Since original DD disks are rare, you may need to use high-density (HD) disks instead. There should be no problem. When using a HD-capable Amiga floppy drive to write the disk, the disk's HD hole must be masked (e.g. with a piece of adhesive tape) to make the drive run in DD mode (otherwise the drive will run at half rotation speed due to the so called "half speed trick"). For a PC floppy drive, it is not necessary in most cases to mask the HD hole when writing the disk. But when reading the disk in a HD-capable drive at the Amiga (regardless of whether it is an original Amiga drive or a modified PC drive) it is indeed required to mask the HD hole in any case.


Using the Amiga's internal drive

If you don't have a 3.5 inch floppy drive at hand (recent PCs often don't have one), it is also possible to use the Amiga's internal disk drive with your PC (but it is more of a workaround). You don't have to demount it from the Amiga, but you will have to open the Amiga's casing. Here is a description for the Amiga 500:
First, you have to remove the top of the Amiga's plastic casing after unscrewing a couple of star screws on the bottom. Then the keyboard has to be unplugged (remember how it was plugged: the black wire is left) and removed. Finally, the top of the metal protection cover has to be lifted off (after removing some screws and bending up the lugs that clamp the top cover). Now you can unplug the Amiga's internal FDD cable from the floppy drive and plug your parallel port cable. Don't forget to select connection mode "Amiga drive" in ADTWin and to switch on the Amiga's power supply before starting to write.


Troubleshooting

The following hints may help to overcome some of the problems that can arise when using ADTWin.

However, ADTWin will not be able to work properly on ALL systems. If the hardware capabilities of your PC's parallel port are too weak, the required timing accuracy for writing Amiga disks cannot be achieved. Note that the parallel port is actually not intended to be operated as a disk drive controller (but rather to connect a printer, scanner etc.) and ADTWin is acting at the edge of what is possible (with an ordinary parallel port).

  1. If the tool fails to start due to a missing DLL on Windows XP, then make sure that service pack 2 or 3 is installed.

  2. If ADTWin cannot allocate the parallel port, it will try to disable the "warm polling" mechanism. Older versions of ADTWin always tried to disable "warm polling" at once. If this fails, you can achieve the same result with the following registry script: DisableWarmPolling.reg
    Just download the file, open it by double-clicking and confirm the upcoming requester. This will add a flag to the Windows registry that deactivates "warm polling" after the next reboot.
    If you removed ADTWin from your system and need to re-enable the "warm polling" feature (no matter whether it has been automatically deactivated by ADTWin or by the above script), just download and open this script: EnableWarmPolling.reg

  3. If a PCI-card-based parallel port does not appear in the drop down list in the Port field, please make sure that the PCI card's device driver is properly installed and that the device is shown under Ports (COM & LPT) in the device manager's hardware tree (it can be opened under Windows XP by clicking or, respectively, double-clicking Start -> Control Panel -> System- > Hardware -> Device manager (refers to Classic View), similar under other Windows versions).
    If all this applies but ADTWin still cannot detect the port, then try to start ADTWin from the command line (Windows XP: Start -> Run..., then enter cmd, on later Windows versions you need to start an admin command prompt) and specify the port's (hexadecimal) base address with the -port option, e.g. "ADTWin.exe -port B800". The base address can be found on the Resources tab of the device's property page (choose Properties from the device's context menu in the device manager). It's the first value in the first I/O Range setting line.

  4. If you get error messages like "No disk drive seems to be connected!" or "Cannot move head to track xy!" or if the motor does not start when you try to write a disk, then there might be a problem with the cable.

  5. If writing Amiga disks produces low quality or is slow, or if the hardware test function predicts that this will be the case, please consider the following measures.

  6. When using a parallel port PCI card: If you get read errors on the Amiga although the disk has been written without error messages, then make sure that no other PCI device (e.g. a soundcard) is used during the write operation. ADTWin's access to the parallel port can be disturbed by other activities on the PCI bus.

  7. To keep your disks unimpaired, you should not insert any disk into the floppy drive before ADTWin is running and the right port is selected, and you should remove it again before the port selection is changed or ADTWin is closed.

  8. If nothing happens after clicking the Help button, then your firewall might disallow ADTWin to open a web browser to display the help file. Adjust your firewall settings or open the file Help.html in the ADTWin folder manually.


License

ADTWin is free for non-commercial use. Distribution, modification or use for commercial purposes requires a written permission by the author.


Disclaimer

ADTWin comes without any warranties or conditions. The author cannot be hold liable for damages caused by using ADTWin, including, but not limited to, hardware defects and loss of data.


Feedback

To drop me a message, write to:

If you have noticed any mistakes, ambiguities or missing information on this web page, feel free to give me a hint. Other kinds of feedback are appreciated as well.


Links

Sources of Amiga Disk Files

The Game Archives Thousands of Amiga games for download.
Planetemu Thousands of Amiga games and a few hundred applications.
The Old Computer Thousands of Amiga games, a few hundred applications, Kickstart/Workbench disks and documentations. A free registration is required.
Amigaland More than hundred Amiga games for different chip sets with screenshots and descriptions plus many other information and news about the Amiga (in German).
Amiga Future A few hundred Amiga games and applications for different chipsets plus miscellaneous information and news about the Amiga (mainly in German).
AMI Sector One More than thousand Amiga games with screenshots and descriptions, as well as other downloads.
The Good Old Days About two hundred Amiga games with screenshots and descriptions.

Complementary tools

ADF Opus A tool for creating and editing ADFs on the PC. Can be used in connection with ADTWin to transfer files from PC to Amiga by simply putting the files into an ADF with ADF Opus and writing the ADF to an Amiga disk by ADTWin.

Other methods for reading / writing / transferring Amiga disks

Reading Amiga Floppy Disks on PC List of free and commercial tools/hardware for reading Amiga disks on a PC.
Transfer AmigaPC A description (in German) of how to transfer Amiga disks from/to PC over a null-modem cable.
How To Use CrossDOS On Your Amiga Description of how to transfer an Amiga disk to one or two PC formatted disks that can be read on a PC. This solution requires CrossDos which comes with AmigaOS since version 2.1.
How do I transfer Amiga disks? Lists different methods for transferring ADFs between Amiga and PC.
Hombre AMI<>PC software package. A collection of tools for reading/writing/transferring Amiga disks by different methods (floppy disk, serial connection, parallel connection).
Paradise A tool for reading/writing Amiga disks and transferring the disk images over a parallel connection. This tool is also contained in the Hombre package listed above. It requires a self-made parallel port cable.
A.S.T. Amiga PAGE Tools to transfer ADFs between PC and Amiga over a null-modem cable.



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