DEC RK11-C Disk Controller - on ebay...or is it?

Noel Chiappa jnc at
Tue Feb 9 11:27:04 CST 2021

    > Fron: Jon Elson

    > The write all function is likely how you format a blank pack.

No, 'Format' is a separate bit in the CSR from 'Read/Write-All', and they do
different things.

The RK11 always re-writes the header word of each sector when it writes a
sector in normal operation; when 'Format' is set on a Write operation, it
merely supresses the 'read header word and check/compare' function (which
normally precedes any disk operation, to make sure the head's at the right
place). Format/Write then goes ahead and writes the header word of the sector,
just as in normal operation. (It is possible to set 'Format' on a Read
operation; that just reads in the sector header words into memory.)

Although in theory one could use 'Read/Write-All/Write' to format packs,
the Unix V6 RK pack formatter:

sets _both_ 'Format' and 'Read/Write-All', and _doesn't_ set up the sector
header words in the memory buffer, arguing that even with 'Read/Write-All' on,
the hardware is still generating the sector header word contents. (I'm too
lazy to check the RK11-C and RK11-D engineering drawings to confirm that.)


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