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.
* 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.
* 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.
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