Thursday, 6 February 2014

Cheapo Amiga Floppy Emulator Inbound!

Almost seems to fit the case, almost...

Just saw a thread over at English Amiga Board about this... You can now get a 20 quid (delivered) floppy emulator, and with just a quick flash of its firmware you can turn it into a shugart drive emulator, allowing you to read and write virtual ADF files.

I'll be picking one up shortly for my un-accellerated second A1200 machine, which i'm presently running on floppys 'burned' from my more upgraded machine (look, if you're going to have 2 machines you'd better use both of them, right?;))

So now its incredibly cheap to get access to a huge array of amiga games and run them on real hardware without needing WHDload and the associated Amiga upgrades required to play many of the games:

Amiga 1200 ~ £75
CF HDD + CF card ~ £30
WHDload license £15
020 + fastram accellerator (bare minimum) £80

So really if you're looking to get into amiga gaming on the real hardware, you can either spend probably more than £200 on a WHDload machine or less than 100 on a machine and floppy emulator, this may open up the hobby some more for those on lower incomes as the only previous efforts at producing a floppy emulator weigh in at around £60 - not far off the cost of a brand new ACA 020 (and IMHO, you'd be much better off with the accellerator at that point)

Here's a link:

Hats off and bravo to the man who figured this out! I knew there was some potential here, I am really pleased that someone else had the idea, someone with the actual skills to do something with it!

GOTEK emulators are available on ebay (of course!) probably best to order one from the far east, you'll need to buy or make up a cable for the flash software and a pc to soft mod the drive. 

Wait! Dont run away and get drunk yet, there's more! If thats not good enough, and you have a Raspberry Pi languishing under a pile of old circuits then good news!  At the moment there are at least 2 different projects are underway for an interface board which allows the Pi to be installed inside any Amiga and handle a much larger number of .ADF files.

You can follow the development along in english here

A whole 500mhz ARM equipped Pi might be a bit of a sledgehammer to merely act as a fake floppy drive/disk manager for machines that rarely operate at over 14mhz but just goes to show how much computers have developed over the last 20 years.  I wonder what other ways new computers could be interfaced with old to add further capabilities? Perhaps a tiny but powerful Raspberry Pi could serve up disks and perhaps also act as a soundcard or graphics card?