New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others...

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New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others...

Postby retroturk » Mon Jul 12, 2010 8:33 am

one of my friend has just finished his floppy Emulator project and updated his site. This is the best Floppy Emulator I think.. Please check and support him.

UFE is an SD/MMC floppy drive emulator for old computers. It connects to the floppy drive port of the host computer and behaves like a real floppy drive, except that the data comes from the SD/MMC card instead of real media. It is the successor to TFE, his previous floppy emulator project.

Features

* Read/Write access for Commodore AMIGA, Atari ST and Amstrad CPC computers.
* On-board support for ADF, DSK, ST and MSA images. No conversion on PC necessary.
* Standard IDC 34-pin floppy connector.
* Can emulate two floppy drives.
* Video overlay user interface: 72 columns by 30 lines text mode.
* Allows use of host system keyboard to control user interface.
* Buzzer for emulating head stepping ticks.
* Can co-exist with other floppy drives on the same bus (not tested).
* Full FAT32 support (incl. long file names and directories) for the SD Card. SDHC support.
* Firmware updates can be made through SD Card.
* PIC32 MCU @80Mhz, 16Mb SDRAM. Double-sided PCB.

Remarks

* Other computers with WD1772 or UPD765 controllers may work, but have not been tested.
* Video output is disabled when floppy emulation is active.
* SD Card must be formatted with FAT32 file-system with a minimum cluster (allocation unit) size of 8192 bytes.
* Host keyboard control currently only available on Amiga 500 computers (support for more computers are planned).
* Write support for DSK, ST and MSA images not implemented yet (to be added in future firmware versions).
* Copy-protected Extended DSK images are not fully-supported.
* Mounting an image (MFM-conversion) takes around 3 seconds on average (depending on SD card speed and image size/type). Optimizations in future firmware are expected to reduce loading time.

A number of SD/MMC floppy emulator projects existed around the time I started working on UFE. These worked well, but there were limitations. The most notable limitation was poor support for the Amiga computers, including lack of write support. In addition, the user interfaces of the existing floppy emulators were not practical. They were either based on a small LCD screen and a few buttons, or they had external connections such as joystick and video ports. Generally, major case modding was necessary.

The underlying philosophy behind the UFE design is that it should support a just few computers, but it should support them as well as possible. The host computer’s keyboard should be used for controlling the floppy emulator. The video output should be overlaid on top of the host computer’s video output. Read and write operations must be fully supported. All these features make UFE an ideal drop-in replacement for a real floppy drive.


for more information, check his site..

http://retromaster.wordpress.com/ufe/
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 6:58 pm

A number of SD/MMC floppy emulator projects existed around the time I started working on UFE. These worked well, but [...]


Since this news seems to me a little aggressive let me answer to some points:

The user interfaces of the existing floppy emulators were not practical.

This strange because buyers of the HxC Floppy Emulator doesn't said this (400 units sold for the moment), nor the SdiskEmul device (which has the same user interface as your device).
Did you really try one of these emulator before wrote this ? Make some google researches to see feedback of HxC Floppy emulator users.

Generally, major case modding was necessary.


mhhh no this is wrong. The HxC Floppy emulator can be controlled by the host computer to select file images.
So in this mode the LCD is useless and there no more case modding to do. Have a look to this video that show how this works :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8O74GgYcA3w (this was an beta version, now the software is faster ;-) )
Amstrad CPC version will be released soon, and after this the Amiga version.
So as yours emulator, the HxC Floppy Emulator is able to use the host computer keyboard and video output, but without modding the hardware ;-).

All these features make UFE an ideal drop-in replacement for a real floppy drive.


Not really since you need to hack the keyboard and the video output. (same manner than the sdiskemul)

poor support for the Amiga computers, including lack of write support


Yes actually you are right ! But there are a reason for this.
Each time we talk of Floppy Emulator to an Amiga user, the answer is "WHDLoad".
This is why I didn't want to increase the final price of the actual emulator only for few users for this feature (the write support on Amiga…).

The HxC Floppy Emulator designer.
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby BoNuS » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:08 pm

Also HD emulation for the Falcon ? Even de HD's floppy's are running out these day's ;)
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 7:22 pm

BoNuS wrote:Also HD emulation for the Falcon ? Even de HD's floppy's are running out these day's ;)


The HxC Floppy emulator already support the HD mode on Falcon ;-)
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby retromaster » Mon Jul 12, 2010 9:33 pm

Jeff,

I can see that you're quite excited by the news of my floppy emulator, but I think you need to calm down a bit :)

The sentences quoted from my website on this thread are simply "my ideas". They are simply my assessment of the floppy emulator situation and obviously you and I do not share the same views. You may find my ideas "aggressive", which they may be from a certain point of view, but I know that they are shared by at least some other people, who have tried existing floppy emulators.

So, let me assert quite clearly that I did not intend (nor do I now) to start a flame war of some kind on this topic. I think you have done a good job on the HxC emulator and it is nice to see that you are continuing to do so.

However, I am sure that there are people who will appreciate some of the advantages of the UFE design, such as being able to load images directly without conversion on the PC, or being able to activate the user interface simply on the press of a key on the system keyboard, without running any kind of program on the host system. On the other hand, the UFE design probably caters to a much smaller audience than the HxC emulator does.

Also, I cannot resist to point out that, if when the users use the host control interface with HxC, which makes the LCD and the buttons useless (in your own words), the users are paying for components on the board that are actually not used at all. I would also like to add that, UFE does not have the same UI as the SDiskEmul at all, please reevaluate.

I could say more, but I do not believe that continuing this argument will get any of us anywhere... It's best to let the users decide (if the UFE ever becomes commercially available)...
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Mon Jul 12, 2010 10:24 pm

retromaster wrote:Jeff,

I can see that you're quite excited by the news of my floppy emulator, but I think you need to calm down a bit :)


ahhh finally, you are here !
Yes you are probably right ;-)
And no i am not quite excited by your floppy emulator (i read your blog since some years now, and i knew your project before), but disappointed by the "Motivation" paragraph.


retromaster wrote:The sentences quoted from my website on this thread are simply "my ideas". They are simply my assessment of the floppy emulator situation and obviously you and I do not share the same views. You may find my ideas "aggressive", which they may be from a certain point of view, but I know that they are shared by at least some other people, who have tried existing floppy emulators.


ok you are right, i must add my ideas on my own website. This is a good idea ;-)

The idea isn't "aggressive", i respect it, each solutions have good and bad points.

But this promotional method are aggressive from my point of view. But this only my point of view :wink:
For example <<the user interfaces of the existing floppy emulators were not practical>> is an exaggeration and don't reflect the reality. Each user have a different usage of a floppy emulator, and different need regarding the UI. So saying that yours UI is the best/the most pratical is not true for everyone.
And the <<Generally, major case modding was necessary.>> sound a little funny for me.

retromaster wrote:Also, I cannot resist to point out that, if when the users use the host control interface with HxC, which makes the LCD and the buttons useless (in your own words), the users are paying for components on the board that are actually not used at all.


Don't worry this is in the roadmap. Once all majors computers (Atari , Amstrad CPC, and Amiga) will be supported by the host control program, a low cost version will be available. This should be done soon.
Anyway the LCD+buttons are still necessary for synth/samplers/cutting machines/.. (or maybe not ;-) )

retromaster wrote:I would also like to add that, UFE does not have the same UI as the SDiskEmul at all, please reevaluate.


i meant : The same "kind" of UI : the overlay mode on the video output.

retromaster wrote:I could say more, but I do not believe that continuing this argument will get any of us anywhere...


You are right, i have some works to do.

Anyway good luck for next steps, the hard and most time consuming part will probably begin for you : The production and the support part!
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby retromaster » Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:47 am

Good morning, Jeff,

Finally, I just wanted to clarify one little point: The "Motivation" section was meant as I a way of explaining -my own- motivation to start yet another floppy emulator project. As such, it was not meant as a "promotional" method, but perhaps this is not clear at first sight, so I apologize for any confusion this might have caused.

Anyway, like you said, there are no right or wrong design decisions, there are simply tradeoffs.

Good luck to you, too,
-RM
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Re: New Floppy Emulator for Atari, Amiga, Amstrad and Others

Postby wongck » Tue Jul 13, 2010 11:34 am

BoNuS wrote:Also HD emulation for the Falcon ? Even de HD's floppy's are running out these day's ;)


Yeap, no issues, the SD HxC Floppy emulator was working with HD virtual floppies ever since I got it few months back.
The latest firmware fix a media change issue, making it 110% usable with HD virtual floppies on MINT.
Before the latest firmware, I need a workaround only when I change virtual floppies.
I have a mix of 1.44MB & 720KB on my SD and access them on MINT & TOS :thumbs:
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