Kryoflux USB floppy disk controller overview video is online

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

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A demonstration and overview of the capabilities of the Kryoflux USB High Definition Flux Sampler. Many thanks to LunaVorax for sending me this!

The Kryoflux is a board that connects old floppy drives to newer computers via USB. It allows for low-level reading of disks to RAW data and floppy images. This not only preserves games and software so they can be enjoyed through emulation, but also preserves them in such a way that their “original” form is kept around even when the disk has finally died.

Software preservation is something I really think needs more attention, especially with home computer systems like the IBM PC. From a nostalgic standpoint sure, but also for historical reasons. These things will only be around for long, so the preservation needs to start now!


14 comments on “Kryoflux USB floppy disk controller overview video is online

  1. Hi,

    Thanks very much for reviewing KryoFlux! It’s great to hear that you find it useful.

    Just one question. I was not aware about any problems with the GUI in imagine some of the smaller density disks that you mentioned. Could you possibly give more details on that? What happens when it goes wrong? That is certainly something we would want to fix of course!

    • Certainly. I was trying to image a 160k PC Booter disk of mine using the GUI and changed all the settings that I knew to change to make sure it read the proper tracks and such. But when I read it using the GUI, I ended up with 720k disk images, which contained no data. Using the command line I was able to get a 160k disk image. It was only that one disk (Demon’s Forge, a PC Booter/Apple II flippy).

      Thanks for the great product by the way! I’ve found myself recommending it quite often already.

      • Thanks very much for the feedback. I’ll try and get to the bottom of that problem. Not sure what might be causing that right now, but would really like to get that sorted out.

        If you ever find yourself doing a 160k disk with the GUI again, please capture the log output and send it to us, by starting it from the command line:

        java -jar kryoflux-ui.jar >log.txt

        as well as (if possible) a screenshot of the image profile in the config.

        Glad you liked KryoFlux. We actually built it for our own preservation use (at SPS), and our requirements seem to have been shared by quite a few other people too. πŸ™‚

        Thanks again for the review, seem quite some traffic on our site since!

  2. thethotbot says:

    Love your videos, friend. Brings me back to the days when I had time to just screw around with old computers from garage sales… πŸ™‚

  3. Kevin Dady says:

    odd, I just plug a 5.25 floppy to my motherboard and run DD, and while yes I have systems back to the apple II my fairly new am3 board still has a floppy port on board *shrug*

    on another note I have floppies dating back to 83 which work fine, I really think this is only an artifact from newer cheap ass drives with newer cheap ass disks cause on a modern 3.5 drive with brand new disks I am lucky if they work after farting anywhere near them

  4. Gemini says:

    Glad to see that something like this actually exists. Making disk images of copy-protected disks is frequently an annoying prospect. Most of the software I’ve tried in the past doesn’t work at a low enough system level to pull the specially formatted tracks or to recognize intentional physical defects. As a result, I’ve had to use other methods to get some of my old games working again… methods I don’t enjoy using. : /

    BTW: I completely agree with the idea that games should be played. In fact, I feel it’s kinda stupid that some people will spend a huge premium on “unopened” games because if it’s “never been opened” then how the heck do you know it’s legit? I once bought an unopened copy of Diablo. Looked perfectly legit. Inside? SHAREWARE version! D:<

  5. potatoegirl31 says:

    I may be asking you a loaded question, not totally related to this video, but here goes: I bought a Macintosh PowerBook 520c from 1994 at a garage sale several years back, with a broken 3.5″ floppy drive (of course I didn’t find out ’til after the fact) have several Mac disks I’d love to use on it and CD-Rs with a whole lotta disc images, is there ANY way to get this thing to use USB input? Any kind of “dongle” I can attach to any of the funny-looking ports Mac used back then? I’m not able to find answers ANYWHERE on the Web, all I get is, duh, no USB available at that time, can’t buy any “vintage” floppy drives anywhere, would love to attach a USB CD-ROM drive to it, or use a flash drive, any hope?

    • I know of no way to get USB on a Mac system that old. Maybe it’s possible in a desktop system, but a PowerBook? Don’t think so.

      The easier thing to do would be to connect it via a network connection to another machine and just do the disk image transfers that way. Yours has an AAUI connector, but you’ll need an adapter to get regular ol’ 10Base-T ethernet. See this for more info. There may be a better solution I’m not aware of, as I’m not the biggest expert on Macs. I’d ask on the 68kMLA, those guys are freaking classic Mac geniuses.

    • Kevin Dady says:

      couple (non network) options

      1)you can get a pc scsi card, yank the hard disk fire up linux and run basilisk II to access the mac’s hard disk under emulation along with your normal file systems, and if your disks are 1.44 megs any modern floppy will read them (though windows will totally screw up the filesystem so use linux!) its only the 800K disks where we start getting into issues cause they speed the motor up to cram that extra crap on there and only mac used this

      for an example of above, see my instructables article where I took a mac SE from the recycling center with a dead 800k floppy and a dead hard disk and got it fired up

      2)or get a scsi cd rom, case / power supply combo and one of those durn goofy mac scsi cables (its 50 pins on one side 25 on the mac side, no one else used this, but its fairly common if you keep digging around old computer stores)

      • Kevin Dady says:

        another semi networked option is if you have a serial crossover cable and a terminal program you can just download files to your mac though its slow it saves ripping everything apart (again use linux on the pc side windows will hose the mac files every single time)

  6. Xaromir says:

    I often have to motivate myself to watch your hardware videos, but i never regret doing it, as i always learn something new, and generally enjoy it. Keep it up mate.

  7. Heya,

    This is really a great solution, I’m exicted about but I had a few questions and I think I may not be getting through my idea to the guys at the company because I’m not really getting the answers. As such I was hoping maybe you might be able to confirm a few things for me.

    1. The power plug on the back of the board above the usb connector. If I plug that into a AC adapter will that power the molex connector on the board and in turn power the drives plugged into the molex?

    I have an idea to use an old shuttle case as an enclosure for both drives and create a mounting bracket to screw into the board and mount it into an empty case. Since I won’t have a motherboard in that case I wont be able to power it with a computer power supply.

    Is this doable? Does that power connector work to power the molex adapter? Thanks I’ve been back and forth a few times but dont think im communicating well enough for them to respond to my questions.


    • As for the power on the back of the board: It’s only for supplying power to certain kinds of drives in certain situations, from what I gather. Like a drive that doesn’t require +12V (and many do). You will need to supply external power directly to the floppy drive if you want to use it how I did in the video. Using the on-board power options incorrectly can lead to damage to the board, floppy drive, both, etc.

      I just use a power supply that came with a SATA/IDE>USB device, like this one. It works perfectly and plugs into the wall, so you don’t have to use a PC PSU that way.

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