Author Topic: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems  (Read 32299 times)

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Offline nurgle

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #100 on: 13:21, 21 March 10 »
Well, maybe; I have the chance of buying an IDE64 device from a friend, but I was asking about this device here - would I be able to use it? :)

No. The C64 does not have a shugart interface, and thats what the device here emulates. The IEC serial bus is a completely different beast.

I always wondered how commodore technicians managed to build such a well engineered serial bus design with a co-procoessor inside the floppy disc drive and yet make it so slooooow, while the rest of the world happily used the dumb shugart interface - even for 3" floppys.  ;)

Offline Gryzor

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #101 on: 13:28, 21 March 10 »
Heh... not even explained on "On the Edge" AFAIR!

Offline OCT

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Open Hardware manufacturers such as Seeed Studios in Shenzhen
« Reply #102 on: 23:21, 26 April 10 »
;D Like I predicted. You only have to say the words "I'll build one" and all of a sudden there's a queue at your door and you're planning production runs  :D
Isn't that what Seeeds are made for?

Dangerous Prototypes seem to be using them all the time, for loads of stuff one would often have a hard time building at similar cost (considering tools, supplies and shipping, let alone time itself)...
« Last Edit: 23:30, 26 April 10 by OCT »

Offline Bryce

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #103 on: 10:32, 27 April 10 »
Yes, but I'm not a big fan of these type of devices. It's rare that one device has everything you need so you either end up adding additional modules which makes things very expensive or you compromise on your features.

I prefer building from scratch, then you only get what you need and the price is kept to a minimum. You can also tune the PCB dimensions to the size you really want.

Or were you suggesting releasing the plans to them, so that they build and sell the unit?

Bryce.

Offline khisanth

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #104 on: 12:14, 27 April 10 »
I wish I could build my own stuff!

Anyone recommend a good UK based PCB built to order company?

Offline OCT

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #105 on: 22:35, 27 April 10 »
Or were you suggesting releasing the plans to them, so that they build and sell the unit?
That's up to their (rights-holding) author of course, but yes, manufacturers like these have specialized in pooling orders and resources to build Open Hardware in commercial-scale production runs.

So while at the end of the day in spite of the commendable efforts by http://atari.plof.pl "Price, anyway, will be much higher" as the devices are hand-made one by one, a service like http://SeeedStudio.com assembling and testing them automagically at high throughput and scale effects (with cheap shipping even from China) could ensure that this accomplished development gets all the attention and traction (or "critical mass", for users of "nucular" inclination ;)) it deserves, while ensuring a steady revenue stream(let :) at least) to its creator so he'll keep improving his design (and provide others with the same opportunity - e.g. making a wireless variant as well?) and won't lose interest anytime soon after reaching that level:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=St8wWMiSgt0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzfUZorBayw
« Last Edit: 23:22, 27 April 10 by OCT »

Offline OCT

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #106 on: 00:20, 28 April 10 »
...even more so now that that last floppies are discontinued and hundreds of thousands of not so soldering-savvy musicians will be in need of solid-state replacement for the aging drives on their MIDI gear etc. (always had the same READY/density etc. issues as CP/M enthusiasts anyway, but further complicated by the expense and embarrassment of equipment failing -more prone to error facing the elements- on stage in front of a concert crowd or while the studio clock counts down their accounts to zero).

Offline Cholo

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #107 on: 22:01, 28 April 10 »
Alrighty! Finally arrival of the much waited packet from Lotharek.

Inside: 1x SD HxC card.

Quick guide to get going:
1. format your SD card to FAT32 if it is not (as other FATĀ“s isnt supported (go to Control Panel/Administration then look at drives)

2. Download the latest emulator software here:
http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/index.html#SoftwareFloppyemulator
And better also get the Manual (new one):
http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/index.html#SDCARDFloppyemulator

3. Open the Software and choose Drive / SD HxCFE settings file. Click on SAVE to make the HXCSDFE.CFG file (choose default options) and save it on your SD CARDS root.

4. DSKs need to be converted to the HFE file format. "LOAD" the DSK in the Software and "Export" it to HFE.

5. Put the SD card into the Board.

6. Set the right Jumper on the board (Default on my was "primary A:"). But as most people will probably use the drive as secondary B drive .. look up the right setting in the new manual.

7.  Hook up the board to your Amstrad (i hope you have the right cables).

8. Powering the board you need a 5V from like a normal pc power supply. As you only need the 5V (usually red wire) and not the 12V (Yellow) perhaps it would be best use a extender (V-split) cable and cut the 12V cable so you dont fry the board. Better read the manual carefully, especially if you want to use the board internally where the Amstrad power is usually just opposite the pc one.

9. Have fun.


Using the Display/Board buttons:
1. First it will ask if its the A Drive (click middel button .. aka accept). Even if you use the drive as 2 drive you need to choose A Drive option here.
2. scrool between HFE image files using the left/right buttons.
3. Press middel button to select (insert disc). To choose another image later make sure to eject the current disc first (again middel button).

Good and bad:

The Good:
1. Really well made board (smaller than the USB one) and was well packed.
2. Nice blue screen (cool).
3. It works quite well and is less restricted than the USB version.
4. Reads all discs so far. Copies files or track from image to primary A drive with out any fuss.
5. You can turn off the track/read noice.

The Bad:
1. Cant get it to write anything (tried both single file and track copy) so cant use it as a backup drive and cant use it to transfer files to pc.
2. a 200kb DSK converts to 1mb HFE file.
3. the white power plug on the board dosnt have a "hole" so a normal power cable wont fit unless i file off the little white "tooth".
4. I realise again that most of the amstrad software isnt compatible to be loaded from a second B drive (not the boards fault of cause).
« Last Edit: 22:03, 28 April 10 by Cholo »

Offline nurgle

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #108 on: 23:34, 28 April 10 »
4. I realise again that most of the amstrad software isnt compatible to be loaded from a second B drive (not the boards fault of cause).

http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/ABBA_switch

Offline Gryzor

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #109 on: 14:58, 29 April 10 »
You lucky bastard!! You got it!

Thanks for the guide, would you mind posting that in the wiki?

Can't wait to get mine... although one thing put me off: I hadn't realised you needed an extra PSU. I hadn't really thought about it, it just sucks for a setup to need a third box around...

Offline Bryce

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #110 on: 16:35, 29 April 10 »
Looking at the device, I'd guess it pulls about 200mA normally and peeks at about 350mA when it's reading the SD Card. You might get away with using the standard CPC supply if you don't have multiple expansions plugged in, the CPC 5V rail is rated at 1A as far as I can remember, with lots of headroom for expansion cards, so a seperate supply might not be required.

Bryce.

Offline Gryzor

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #111 on: 10:21, 30 April 10 »
But you'd still need to do some modifications... Still, good to know!

Offline Cholo

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #112 on: 16:54, 30 April 10 »
Thanks for the guide, would you mind posting that in the wiki?

Sure, ill get on it as soon as possible. Still need to test a few things like it should at least be able to work as a "720k pc floppy drive" using Parados/Symbos or similar that support pc-dos (and hopefully read and write both).

As the whole thing is still in "prototype" functionality may change with time. Currently the USB version is the most compatible one i noticed.

Offline Cholo

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #113 on: 20:20, 02 May 10 »
Big news. I just got the SD version to Write to disc too. Looks like the board comes with a old firmware, so after updating to the latest prototype firmware it now writes as well as it reads. Both file and track copy tested working. YAY!  ;D

Offline CPCIak

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #114 on: 20:31, 02 May 10 »
I've successfully uploaded files to the sd interface, too. Just transfer a empty dsk into hfe and put it on your sd card.
Problem: No app can handle these files expected the hxc one.

Offline Cholo

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #115 on: 00:24, 03 May 10 »
Indeed. Still cant move files from amstrad -> PC if you cant extract/convert back to Dsk. The software does support some convertions tho. If you load the HFE you can also export to: VTR, MFM, AFI and IMG (Raw sector).

I tried to do a Img of a hfe and the 40 tracks ended up as a 180kb file. I suspect someone with a bit of programming could make a converter to dsk fairly easy. Unless one dosnt already exist for one of the other formats.

Offline Cholo

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #116 on: 21:09, 05 May 10 »
If you havnt noticed Lotharek are currently selling the 3th batch of SD version on ebay:
http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/lotharek1977/

Oh and added 2 guides to the wiki:
http://www.cpcwiki.eu/index.php/HxC_Floppy_Emulator

Feel free to correct anything (especially language ;D )

Offline Gryzor

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #117 on: 10:21, 06 May 10 »
Thanks for the heads-up!

However, he has started selling the third batch, but I haven't received mine from the second batch... is that normal?

Offline Ynot.zer0

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #118 on: 11:18, 06 May 10 »
http://www.mmj.pl/~lotharek/stuff/post.pdf

I ordered mine back in early March then I received an email a few days ago asking for payment, then I was notified that this list is the batch make & send list.  I should receive my card in a week or so.  (I have my fingers crossed this time as last time the card never arrived - but that might have been due to me moving house at the exact same time....)

Offline Gryzor

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Re: USB Floppy Emulator for classic systems
« Reply #119 on: 12:40, 06 May 10 »
Wooo-hoooo! Mine was sent on the 4th of the month! Can't wait *pant, pant*

Thanks for the pdf...