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HxC Floppy Drive Emulator Print E-mail
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Written by Demon Cleaner   
Tuesday, 14 November 2006
The HxC Floppy Drive Emulator is a software and hardware system created by Jean Francois Del Nero, that emulates the behaviour of a floppy drive. It currently works for Amiga and 16-bits Atari computers.

If you wonder what a "Floppy drive emulator" can be, just have a look at this:
As you can see, the floppy drive has been replaced by some piece of hardware. This piece of hardware features an USB connection to a PC. On the PC side, just run the Floppy drive emulator software and drag/drop your favorite disk image file. Then just use your beloved computer as usual (no hardware of software modification of any kind, apart from the floppy drive replacement is needed), and feel the magic !

It means that you can run all your Atari and Amiga software on the real machines, without the hassle of keeping your old floppy disks, and experience floppy drives failures.

Here is basically how it works : the PC software loads the disk image files (.ST, .MSA, .ADF, .DMS...), and convert track data to MFM format (the physical way the data is stored on a floppy disk). Then the hardware part decodes the floppy drive logic, and retrieves from the PC the MFM flow into SRAM buffers. Those buffers are then sent to the target computer.

The first version of the system used 74-series chips and SRAM, and the parallel port of the PC. On the second version, most of the logic has been replaced by an Altera CPLD, and a FTDI USB module has been used to replace the parallel port.

For more information, I suggest that you go to Jeff's pages about his project (Warning, those pages are in French language).
"The project is currently in a prototype stage : it means that most of the stuff works (both hardware and software), but that it is still not ready to be delivered to the public. We are now planning to have ready-to-use boards manufactured and sell them at a reasonable price."
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14 November, 2006

Very cool
Now this is a very cool piece of hardware and it gives the retro Amiga gamer even more options. Most people prefer to play their Amiga games on the real machine as emulators, regardless of how accurate they are, never manage to completely capture the feel of playing a game on the real machine.

This solves that problem by easily allowing you to play all your games on a real system without the need to have a ton of floppy disks to hand for every game you want to play. Brilliant.

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Demon Cleaner
14 November, 2006

Cool indeed!!
I only hope that when it will be released, it will come at a reasonable price. Stocking will be no problem anymore.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 November 2006 )
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