Gotek Floppy Emulator

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Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by brownb2 »

I'm looking for a cheap floppy emulator as the HxC is a bit pricey for cheap retro gaming and came across this:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3-5-USB-SSD-F ... 2eb65dcf7d

Based on the information on using a PC drive with the Atari, DSO, cable upside down, needing to a force a media change I think this can all be done using jumpers (the '89 app "fmc" can force a media change in software if there's no jumper).
The only thing I've yet to work out is whether the drive's image format is "raw" enough to support non FAT disk image standards. As the emulator supports many knitting machines and keyboards that require specific jumper settings I'm assuming that it does...

Has anybody had any experience of this floppy emulator and does it work?
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by Shredder11 »

I've just Googled for info and watched a few videos and read a page or two, but I think this would be a pain to use even if it did work. I do not regard the HxC Floppy Emulator as expensive, because it has dedicated on going support and firmware upgrades, providing ever more functionality and uses on more systems. The HxC was designed by someone who is interested in the Atari ST, unlike the Gotek or IPCAS which was not intended for use with an ST. The Gotek lacks a LED display or proper firmware disk image selection screen, which the HxC provides for ST and Amstrad CPC micros for example. If I were you I would wait until you can afford the HxC.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by Jeff_HxC2001 »

brownb2 wrote: The only thing I've yet to work out is whether the drive's image format is "raw" enough to support non FAT disk image standards. As the emulator supports many knitting machines and keyboards that require specific jumper settings I'm assuming that it does...
Of course it doesn't ;)
This one support only the 9*2*80*512 disk format.(And one floppy per usb key :wink: )

If you want a raw floppy emulator have a look to the ipcas one (the V3) for 250/300euros, or the D a t e x one (250euros), the USB HxC (55 Euros) or SD HxC (80 euros).

(Note: you can also build yourself the USB version. all is on the website).

As you can see the HxC is not so pricey, expectaly if you take in account that the HxC was designed for the retrocomputing ( tons of types of floppy images supported, can store up to 16000 images on a 32GB SD card, image selection software ...)
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by wongck »

Must been 2 years ago when I was looking to replace my floppy with one of those USB floppy emulators.
I went on to get the HxC SD version.
Like Shredder said, these are targeted at Atari as one of the retro computers it supports. So most of the non-standard disk format, it will know and understand.

It also has a Host Control Tool, that allows you to choose the disk image in the HxC to boot to. This is like inserting the floppy disk into the drive but you are doing it logically on the HxC.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by ijsf »

I don't necessarily want to revive an old thread, but I did actually buy a GOTEK emulator and tried it anyway so I can tell you guys something about the compatibility.

First of all, these GOTEK USB Floppy emulators come in different versions, with different firmwares and corresponding prices. 720k (DD) versions are currently costlier than 1.44MB (HD) versions, and contain a different firmware (the board is powered by a small ARM CPU + memory with a firmware that does the FM/MFM->USB logic conversion, pretty clever). I went ahead and bought the cheapest 1.44MB HD version I could find (SFR1M44-U) for under $20 to try on my Atari 1040STFM (PAL, Dutch).

First of all, as we all know the Atari doesn't do the IBM PC Drive Select hack, so any floppy drive must be configured with Drive Select A. The GOTEK has a couple of jumpers at the back that allows you to this (close S0 instead of S1, M0 is for Motor Select but can be kept open). My Atari recognized the GOTEK without any problems, but unfortunately it couldn't read anything.

Well, I did buy the 1.44MB version, and as my Atari 1040STFM shipped with the EPSON SMD-380 - which is a 720KB DD drive - I assumed it wasn't going to work, until I found out a little more about the floppy logic and the WD1772 Floppy Disk Controller that was used on the board. As some of you know, the WD1772 02-02 is "overclockable" from stock 8 MHz to 16 MHz (out-of-spec) and the double clock rate results in TOS 1.xx being able to actually read HD disks!

I desoldered the CLK pin 18 on the WD1772 FDC and found out I could source a steady 16 MHz clock from either the SHIFTER (U401, pin 52) or MCU (U400, pin 2). As the MCU had easier access, I chose to connect its 16 MHz to the FDC's CLK and booted the Atari to find out it couldn't read, but it did format the USB flash drive that was connected to the GOTEK. So I assumed it was merely a matter of getting the right filesystem on the USB flash disk.

I took the ST floppy image tools from Hatari, notably zip2st, and created some .st images with different formats which were then low-level copied (dd if=... of=...) to the USB flash disk. As the GOTEK firmware can only properly read/convert 1.44MB formats, the 720KB yielded corrupted data, but to my surprise the 1.44MB images are working!

Long story short, if you're willing to do a little hardware hack, this cheap little emulator works perfectly fine! And although HxC is a very nice project, if you just need the bare essentials for USB media exchange with your Atari, you're way off cheaper buying this one.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by 1024MAK »

Interesting info there ijsf :D

That may explain why the Gotek 3.5" 1.44MB USB SSD Floppy Drive Emulator that I bought did not work for me when I tried it with a STFM back in 2009.

Here are the pictures of mine:
GOTEK USB Floppy Drive Emulator s#1.JPG
GOTEK USB Floppy Drive Emulator s#2.JPG
GOTEK USB Floppy Drive Emulator s#3.JPG
GOTEK USB Floppy Drive Emulator s#4.JPG
And here is a link to a post where I talked about it http://www.atari-forum.com/viewtopic.ph ... 00#p165096

I now have a HxC SD card version so am not too bothered about getting the Gotek to work with any of my Atari STFM or STE machines.

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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by wongck »

Really the HxC Floppy emulator is a built for purpose device, so it just works no matter whether it is my falcon or my STFM is connected to it.
So it's just plug n play. :mrgreen:
It cost more but worth every penny.

I suppose the Gotek is one of those MIC jobs.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by ijsf »

1024MAK wrote:Here are the pictures of mine:
Mine is almost exactly the same, though with a slightly different casing. It's a nifty little device that actually does its job, it's just that the Atari FDC was just not up to standards even in '89 ;) For people with 02-02 revision chips it's quite an easy fix though.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by 1024MAK »

ijsf wrote:It's a nifty little device that actually does its job
I agree, in that it works well for me when connected to a PC compatible capable of using HD floppy drives.
ijsf wrote:It's just that the Atari FDC was just not up to standards even in '89 ;)
I wouldn't say that, PC compatible machines use a variant of the Shugart floppy disk drive interface and the Atari ST/TT range uses a different variant of the Shugart floppy disk drive interface. Indeed 8086 and 80X86 based PC's have used various floppy types (different spin speeds, densities and formats) so much so the Microsoft have been busy dropping full support in the modern Windows OS's. More info on floppies here, here and here. Yes HD floppy drives were available in 1989 but were most likely still expensive. Atari did add HD support to later Mega STE and TT machines between 1990 and 1992.
ijsf wrote:For people with 02-02 revision chips it's quite an easy fix though.
Using a HD floppy - more info here

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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by mamejay »

Hi All,

I know this is an old thread but I only have seen these floppy emulators recently.
Just wondering if anyone has done anymore research into using the Gotek model of FDD emulator?
They are becoming very affordable now and would be a great option to breath some new life into the ST.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by mamejay »

Looks like someone has managed to make a custom firmware to support amiga computers so hopefully someone can use the source once it is released to make a Atari ST version of the firmware.

http://cortexamigafloppydrive.wordpress ... -emulator/

AWESOME!
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by hellraiser »

mamejay wrote:Looks like someone has managed to make a custom firmware to support amiga computers so hopefully someone can use the source once it is released to make a Atari ST version of the firmware.

http://cortexamigafloppydrive.wordpress ... -emulator/

AWESOME!
You should read the post of ijsf again, no need to change the firmware of the drive to use this in a ST, and it works just fine.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by unholy »

hellraiser wrote:You should read the post of ijsf again, no need to change the firmware of the drive to use this in a ST, and it works just fine.
That's not entirely true. Out of the box it will only emulate an HD drive, so it will only work properly with an overclockable WD1772 (which only some of them are):
ijsf wrote:As the GOTEK firmware can only properly read/convert 1.44MB formats, the 720KB yielded corrupted data
720KB versions of the emulator do exist, but I haven't seen one actually tested in an ST. Also, part of the appeal of the custom firmware is that it works with a bootable file selector, so you don't have to blind-mount the images relying only on the display/buttons.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by hellraiser »

unholy wrote:
720KB versions of the emulator do exist, but I haven't seen one actually tested in an ST. Also, part of the appeal of the custom firmware is that it works with a bootable file selector, so you don't have to blind-mount the images relying only on the display/buttons.
If you get the 720kb version of the Gotek it works in any ST with out modifications to the ST.

And I guess if you really want a software file selector you could try and use the one from HxC
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by joska »

I have a Gotek, the 1.44 version. It does not work very well with neither my Milan nor the Falcon. Writing is very unstable.

Also, the Gotek firmware requires a weird format on the USB stick. I do not recommend this product. The HxC is more expensive but also a *lot* better.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by alexh »

The author of the Amiga version is working on the Atari version. Supporting a range of .ST & MSA formats together with a manager program.

Perhaps we could try to get him on Atari Forum?
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by joska »

That's cool :) I planned to put my Gotek in my A600, but now I might use it in my Falcon instead.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by alexh »

Not sure why a Falcon would ever want one. Their internal IDE interface makes it really easy to use a CF card or SD card to transfer Falcon fixed games from your PC. Plus the Falcon's inherent incompatibility with most disk based ST games makes the floppy drive on my falcon redundant.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by tenox »

Gotek is garbage. Don't buy it. Go for HxC instead. Definitely worth the price difference.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by joska »

It all comes down to the firmware. The custom Amiga firmware offers very similar functionality to the HxC, except that you can use USB instead of SD.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by joska »

alexh wrote:Not sure why a Falcon would ever want one.
It would make my life easier when I test VanillaMiNT. The VanillaMiNT installation is floppy-based.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by mamejay »

hellraiser wrote:
mamejay wrote:Looks like someone has managed to make a custom firmware to support amiga computers so hopefully someone can use the source once it is released to make a Atari ST version of the firmware.

http://cortexamigafloppydrive.wordpress ... -emulator/

AWESOME!
You should read the post of ijsf again, no need to change the firmware of the drive to use this in a ST, and it works just fine.
I thought it could not read non standard Atari disks like some game etc. also could not read the larger 800k formatted disks.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by 1st1 »

hellraiser wrote:
mamejay wrote:Looks like someone has managed to make a custom firmware to support amiga computers so hopefully someone can use the source once it is released to make a Atari ST version of the firmware.

http://Gotekamigafloppydrive.wordpress. ... -emulator/

AWESOME!
You should read the post of ijsf again, no need to change the firmware of the drive to use this in a ST, and it works just fine.
You should carefully read the above link, there are many differences of that Amiga firmware to the original Gotek-firmware:

- Gotek firmware only supports 999 'partitions' on the USB stick as HD disks in a proprietary format, which you only can write from a PC to the USB stick using a special Windows software, or read/write to it from the floppy port to the active 'partition' when connected via the floppy cable. The original floppy emulator firmware can support 999 of such partitionms, that means 999 differend HD diskettes
- amiga firmware supports directly unconverted ADF disk images, the Gotek is fast enough to convert the ADF image on the fly to MFM/GCR code which the Amiga's floppy controller can read. The Gotek firmware can support over 30.000 ADF images from which you have 30 in direct access with the selector buttosn. It comes with a special ADF disk image which will be loaded by default wich contains an floppy image management tool where you can select these 30 disks for direct access.

So the new firmware is functionallity wise much closer to the functionality of the HxC floppy controller, but in one thing it is even more powerfull than HxC: It directly can support ADF imagesconverting them in real time, no need to convert them in advance. Please remind that these to raw MFM/GCR converted ADF (or ST/MSA) images for HxC do need much more space as the ADF/ST/MSA/... image (that's because MFM/GCR code which directly can be read or written by the floppy controllers do have more informations inside than the operating system later sees: sector headers, syncronsisation bytes, checksums, and all modulated with clock signal), so more than double number of floppy images can be stored on the same flash device! (please read Wikipedia's article about FM/MFM ((modified) frequency modulation to understand in detail how datas are stored on magnetic surfaces in diskette and harddrive.)

You also will see that you even can use a Fat32(/Extx/NTFS?) formated IDE/SATA hard drive with USB adapter with the Gotek amiga floppy emulator firmware to store floppy images, so in theory terrabytes of floppy images in direct access!!!

That is a lot of differences compared with the Gotek orginal firmware and the HxC !!!

I hope, that an ST compatible firmware and image management tool will be implemented soon...!!!
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by qq1975b »

This GOTEK FDD emulator has a quite improved Amiga firmware developed (999 ADF image files).
Is somebody working on an Atari ST firmware for this drive? Maybe based on the Amiga one.
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Re: Gotek Floppy Emulator

Post by alexh »

The Amiga gotek firmware and disk manager are closed source at the moment. The author did say he was working on the Atari and Amstrad CPC 6128 versions of the firmware and disk managers. With a sneak peak photo of the Amstrad one on his page.

He probably needs a good Atari programmer to help with the Disk Manager. Someone with a good track history of ST coding could contact him and almost certainly accelerate the process.
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