Girish Mahajan

Western Digital FD1771

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Western Digital FD1771

The FD1771 is the first in a line of floppy disk controllers produced by Western Digital. It uses single density (FM) modulation and supports the IBM 3740 disk format. It is packaged in a 40-pin DIP.



The FD1771 was succeeded by many derivatives that were mostly software-compatible:

  • The FD1781 was designed for double density, but required external modulation and demodulation circuitry, so it could support MFM, M2FM, GCR or other double-density encodings.
  • The FD1791-FD1797 series added internal support for double density (MFM) modulation, compatible with the IBM System/34 disk format. They required an external data separator.
  • The WD1761-WD1767 series were versions of the FD179x series rated for a maximum clock frequency of 1 MHz, resulting in a data rate limit of 125 kbit/s for single density and 250 kbit/s for double density, thus preventing them from being used for 8-in (200 mm) floppy drives or the later "high-density" 5.25-inch (133 mm) or 90 mm floppy drives.
  • The WD2791-WD2797 series added an internal data separator using an analog phase-locked loop, with some external passive components required for the VCO. They took a 1 MHz or 2 MHz clock and were intended for 8-inch (203 mm) and 5.25-inch (133 mm) drives.
  • The WD1770, WD1772, and WD1773 added an internal digital data separator and write precompensator, eliminating the need for external passive components but raising the clock rate requirement to 8 MHz. They supported double density, despite the apparent regression of the part number, and were packaged in 28-pin DIP packages.
  • The WD1772PH02-02 was a version of the chip that Atari fitted to the Atari STE which supported high density (500 kbit/s) operation. After production at WD could not be sustained, Atari decided to license the design and modify it to get high density and extra density (1MBit/s) operation. The chip was codenamed "Ajax", had the number C302096 and was produced by Toshiba.
  • Compatible chips

    Many compatible chips were available from other vendors:

  • FD179x series from SMC Microelectronics
  • MB887x series from Fujitsu
  • VL177x series from VLSI Technology.
  • Soviet KR1818WG93 (КР1818ВГ93) was a WD1793 analog
  • These families were used in many microcomputers and home computers including the Radio Shack TRS-80, Acorn Electron, BBC Master, Atari ST, Acorn Archimedes and the SAM Coupé, as well as the +D and DISCiPLE disk interfaces for the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, the Commodore 157x/1581 for the Commodore 64 and the Atari XF551 for the Atari XL/XE.


    Western Digital FD1771 Wikipedia

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