Today, my driver boards are on their way, That would put the boards in my hand sometime on the 20th. The emulator board also shipped, but that will arrive midweek, a bit after the driver boards.
Monday night, at a dinner meeting with a number of technology enthusiasts that began life decades ago as the Motorola 6800 computer club, we discussed the data separation issues and a number of potential solutions. PLL is the consensus approach. .
I ran a few reads of sectors with repeatable errors and looked at the digital and analog results carefully to draw some conclusions if possible. Slow going. Knowing exactly what fails and why is important to devising a solution, otherwise I am just using brute force enhancements in the hope I hit the target.
I set up a phase locked loop and am doing some experimenting to see how well it does at data separation as a possible replacement for the one built into the Diablo drive. Tedious work to set up various jittery input patterns and read the simulator output to judge its response. Bashed through the day working on it.
Once I had the PLL doing a decent job syncing to the clock bits, I had to modify it to produce a fixed duration pulse of 100 ns, as the PLL produces 50% duty cycle outputs. Once that is done, I need to sort out the separator logic and the startup state which routes the first transition as a clock. This will be tricky.