Catweasel MK4 Plus

Harrison

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What do you all think of the Catweasel MK4 Plus?

I've been considering buying a PCI Catweasel for quite some time now to put into my emulation PC, so that I can access Amiga and ST disks more easily, without having to do ADF conversions on a real system and then transfer those over.

But what do you all think of this hardware? Is it worth buying in your view?

I would be looking to use it with Windows XP SP3. Does the drivers/software work OK with XP?

And what can the catweasel actually do?

I want it to be able to access real Amiga floppy disks directly to convert them into ADF's, and also to convert ADF's back onto real Amiga floppy disks. Does it do this OK? Or are their success rates depending on the ADF being used, and the floppy drive being used?

Can you use the Catweasel directly in WinUAE as if it was a real Amiga floppy drive connected to the emulated Amiga? i.e. with WinUAE running, put a disk in the drive connected to the Catweasel and it will boot in WinUAE. Is that possible?

I also want to use it to convert my complete collection of floppy disks into ADFs for safe keeping. I know the Catweasel doesn't work well with copy protected disks like games. That is correct isn't it? I would mainly be trying to convert coverdisks, demoscene and PD library disks, and backups of games into adfs. Would it work for all of this?

Does anyone here actually own a catweasel? And what is your personal experience with it?

I do know about the Cyclone20 project, but that seems to be dead. Or is it still going? Are any other similar projects still in development?

Finally SID. How can you use a SID chip if it is connected to the Catweasel? Does it just allow you to run SID tunes though the SID player programs that support the card? Or are there any emulators that will emulate the C64 audio through the real chip during emulated games and demos?

Sorry for so many questions. But I was about to order a MK4 Plus, but then suddenly thought it might be a good idea to check if it is actually any good first.
 

Templar

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I'll not answer all your queries, but I will try to share with you of what I've heard of.

So, I don't remember if this applies for a previous version of CatWeasel, but one guy said that the drivers of it, under a Windows XP system, being shown as viruses. :blink:

Also, you can read but I don't think that you can write in floppies. This is tested under AmigaOS 4.1 though with the drivers from OS4Depot. Don't forget that Acube Systems released a new firmware update of UBoot, with partially support of CatWeasel, so I believe that we will have a full support in the future.
 

Hessu

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I have it in use, even though i'm using vista, there isn't actual vista drivers, and it's working. Writing and reading adf disks. Setting it up at vista, is a bit painful, but not too hard. Tested writing OS3.1 disks from amiga forever, and everything went fine.
 

TheCorfiot

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@H

I wouldn't bother my friend, It's an unfinished product with very little support or update.

Never spoken with anyone who is 100% happy with it.

TC ;)
 

scrappysphinx

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I had a catweasel MK4 PCI for just over a week before i sold it on.
I found it will easier to have a PCMCIA trasfer adapter and a card reader for the PC an then create and write the ADF's on the Miggy.
I jus found the catweasel was awkward to set up initially and i had to try 7 different floppy drives before i got one to work with it.
 

Hessu

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@H

I wouldn't bother my friend, It's an unfinished product with very little support or update.

Never spoken with anyone who is 100% happy with it.

TC ;)

Well, i was like 53% happy with it :shhh: At least i have managed to replace my damaged(read/write error) OS3.1 disks :cool: But now i have other ways to do it, if needed.
 

Templar

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I had a catweasel MK4 PCI for just over a week before i sold it on.
I found it will easier to have a PCMCIA trasfer adapter and a card reader for the PC an then create and write the ADF's on the Miggy.
I jus found the catweasel was awkward to set up initially and i had to try 7 different floppy drives before i got one to work with it.

What Mike said about the floppy drives it's true. I've also heard that from another guy in our forums.
 

Harrison

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I've also heard the same about floppy drives, with Sony made drives meant to be the most compatible.

I'm still in 2 minds if I should buy one. The main use for it would be to quickly convert stacks of Amiga floppy disks into ADFs, and for that I believe the Catweasel would work well, if I have a floppy drive that is compatible. Also having Amiga joystick ports would be great to have in the emulation PC, but I already have a USB adapter for this so it isn't essential.

And for converting ADFs back to disk as some of you say, copying the ADF to an Amiga and doing it on the actual Amiga isn't that much harder. Even easier with EasyADF and a PCMCIA CF adapter.

Oh, I don't know what to do...
 

Merlin

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To quote JuvUK; "..the drivers are poo..."

I'm sure that Justin can expand on this if required.
 

Merlin

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I've also heard the same about floppy drives, with Sony made drives meant to be the most compatible.

I'm still in 2 minds if I should buy one. The main use for it would be to quickly convert stacks of Amiga floppy disks into ADFs, and for that I believe the Catweasel would work well, if I have a floppy drive that is compatible. Also having Amiga joystick ports would be great to have in the emulation PC, but I already have a USB adapter for this so it isn't essential.

And for converting ADFs back to disk as some of you say, copying the ADF to an Amiga and doing it on the actual Amiga isn't that much harder. Even easier with EasyADF and a PCMCIA CF adapter.

Oh, I don't know what to do...

Why don't you just get a compatible network card for the Amiga and send the ADFs to and from your PC via the network?

Just a thought.
 

Harrison

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Why don't you just get a compatible network card for the Amiga and send the ADFs to and from your PC via the network?

Just a thought.

The reason for getting one would be to cut the Amiga out of the equation. I don't have the space to have any of my Amigas setup full time, so to convert some disks to adf or back again involves setting everything up. If I could do it all just on the PC it would save time and tidy things up. But it is quite expensive if it doesn't work properly.
 

Magno Boots

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Harrison,

I own a Catweasel Mk4 and it works fine.

My PC was plagued with blue screens initially until version 4020407 was released, which cured the problem.
I haven't touched the drivers since.

The install is a bit iffy so I just installed the drivers manually.

One good aspect is that WinUAE and VICE recognises both the Amiga 9-pin mouse & joystick plugged into the card (as port one and two). This works 100%.

I am running it on a Pentium4 but have heard that dual core CPUs can be a problem with the card.

You'll probably fnd that once all your sacred disks are backed up you will only use it as a joystick interface like I do.

Magno
 

Harrison

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To resurrect an old thread...

A question I've just thought of. Can it read and write HD 1.76MB Amiga floppies? as formatted by an A4000 or PowerComputing HD floppy drive.
 

Magno Boots

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Hope this helps..

imagetool.JPG

Regards
Magno Boots
 

Harrison

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That's great. Thanks for the screenshot.

What is the current software/firmware versions for the MK4+? And where can they be downloaded? Are the 2008 versions on the official site the more recent? Or are their user custom versions that are better? If I do get one it will be running on a XP SP3 based system, but might eventually be a Win 7 ultimate system.

One further question. How is WinUAE integration now? Can it directly access the Catweasel drive as DF0: to boot the emulator yet? Or is it still only possible to add it as an addition drive from Workbench to read and write within the OS?
 

Hessu

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If i may add, destroying 2 fully working C64C's, just for getting sid chips to use with Catweasell MK4 Plus :whistle:
 

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