A USB adapter for PC’s to read/write Amiga disks

I found this recently on Facebook: An adapter that lets a PC read and write to Amiga Floppy disks.  This could come in handy!

From the posting:

USB Floppy Adapter v1.0
As per my previous posts, I have been working on a USB adapter to read and write Amiga floppy disks from a PC using a USB cable and a regular PC floppy disk drive.
  • Read standard Amiga 880k disks to ADF image files (approx 40 seconds)
  • Random access to Amiga 880k disks without the need to make a full image
  • Write ADF image files to standard DD disks (approx 60 seconds)
  • 100% open source. Firmware upgradeable via USB
The feature set of the standard firmware is deliberately simple to make is very easy to read and write the majority of (non-protected disks). The primary goal was the ability to write an ADF file to disk and use it in an original unmodified Amiga.

CAN IT DO X?

If it’s not listed above, probably not. Yet.
It is expected that the firmware can be enhanced in the future to handle additional disk formats and functionality, but many of the more complex requirements may be better served by more advanced tools. For now I am focusing on the simple functionality that most people can benefit from.

CAN I BUY ONE?

I will be beta testing first. If all goes well, I hope to be able to sell them in the new year. I don’t want to sell you one until I’m confident it will work!

THE TECHNICAL DETAILS

This is a simple adapter board that plugs into a 3.5″ PC floppy drive on one side, and a PC on the other side. It presents 880kB of standard mass storage to the PC, which can be read or written by the PC using standard tools (such as DD). Writes must be of full 5,632 byte tracks, you will most likely want to write a full ADF image anyway.

BETA TESTERS

I am looking for people who have some technical experience with Amiga floppy disks to test this device. If you understand the above, and would like one of these boards to test, please comment below. Priority will go to people in the UK, and those willing to test the device, and help debug any problems that arise. I have 10 ready to send out immediately. You will need:
  • 3.5″ PC floppy drive
  • USB B Cable (the big square one)
  • 4-pin jumper wire for power to the drive

HACKING

All the hardware and software is open source. Go crazy. There is an unsupported second firmware that can provide full raw access to the disk. It’s open source and totally unsupported, so if you’re a programmer, it can probably do anything you want it to. Since it’s STM32 based, you could likely also port other tools to it.

THANKS

Thank you to everyone who has already assisted and showed their support for this project.
— feeling positive.

One person asked about accessing it via WinUAE, but he said that would take a firmware update and also work within UAE but it was something he wanted to do. The person involved posted this in the “Commodore Amiga” facebook group on Dec 2, 2019

Icaros Desktop’s first 64-bit AROS download is available

AROS is great, and Icaros Desktop has been probably the most well-known distribution out there.  Their 32bit, single core version is very useful.  Now, they’ve released a very early 64 bit version.

There are heavy warnings that this isn’t anything other than a work-in-progress, proof-of-concept version that won’t replace the existing 32bit version for a while.  it does give us something to play with though.

It does support SMP (more than one core).  It also identified the CPU (under VirtualBox).

Get the download –> here <–

 

A quick way to get into AROS development

With AROS’s x86 (and also x64 multi-processor version), porting cpu-heavy apps or creating new ones may be more doable than other variants (no knock against 68060/vampire or PowerPC users, but even those are still not nearly as powerful as the Intel/AMD machines that AROS can run on).

But how to start developing?  Well, the distributor for IcarosDesktop (paolone), has put together a virtual machine image of an Ubuntu distro with the AROS development system already set up.

I’ve downloaded it and will try my hand at it soon.  Requires VM Workstation, VMPlayer or even VirtualBox to get started.

New MorphOS 3.12 is out and it looks like iMac G5’s may be supported

Yet another great release of MorphOS is out and other places are mentioning it.  However, it seems that a little-mentioned blurb in the release notes hint that the iMac G5 (20 and 17 inch models, with G5’s) may be supported even though they aren’t listed in the supported hardware section.

The 17″ and 20″ iSight iMac G5 models have the internal model number (in Apple terms) of PowerMac12,1 (for both).

In the Quark changelog section of MorphOS 3.12:

  • Added basic PMac12,1/PPC970FX frequency switching support

and in the G5 Power Management section:

  • Basic sensor support for PMac11,2/PMac12,1 models

I found this on the Morph.zone posting:

None of these features would make sense being mentioned if the public MorphOS 3.12 release didn't run on those machines, I guess ;-)

This goes along with an old image from a few years ago showing an iMac G5 running dual screen mode with MorphOS:

Maybe it’s time I find a 2nd hand iMac G5…

 

Is Jen Schönfeld (of icomp.de) about to exit the Amiga market over legal issues?

It appears that Individual Computers (makers of many very useful classic Amiga hardware products), may be considering leaving the Amiga market if the legal battles with Cloanto and Hyperion don’t end soon (or end in a Cloanto victory).

Here’s supposedly a message from Jens about it:

This email was from February of 2019, and he clarified when the email got out that he’s giving the situation until this coming February (2020) to decide what he will do:

To clarify my plan:

The leaked eMail is from mid-february. I will watch this until
mid-february 2020. If Cloanto has won any of the lawsuits that are
currently going on, there will be no more Amiga stuff from me. If the
lawsuits are still going on by then, there will be no more Amiga stuff
from me.

So, I’d better get to purchasing those keyrah’s I need before they become scarce, since nothing every moves fast in Amiga-world. Very sad to see this community once again damaged by legal disputes. Where could we be now if legal battles had not torn this community apart?

 

Exploring the Coffin OS with WinUAE – pt 2

In this entry, I’m going to do a dive into the software provided with the standard install of Coffin OS. See my former post on Coffin OS setup with WinUAE –> here <–

There is a dock bar at the bottom, ToolManager, that has many prebuilt shortcuts:

From left to right, here’s what they launch:

  • IBrowse 2.4
  • AmIRC v3
  • AmFTP v1.843
  • Directory Opus v4.17pre20
  • iGame v1.6
  • AmigaShell/VincED
  • EditPad
  • AmigaAMP v3.22
  • RivaPlayer (with 68k and Vampire executables)
  • ScummVM 1.5.0
  • Shapeshifter launcher
  • SysInfo v4.0
  • SnoopDOS v3.8
  • DiskImageGUI
  • ShapeShifter launcher will give the choice of Mac OS 7.5.5 or OS 8.1, but complains on startup that prepareEmul:

    The top menu has some menu items already setup for easy use. The first is a quick Network settings menu. Adding interfaces, changing wireless settings, enabling and disabling the network connection on the fly, etc. You can even auto mount Google Drive and Dropbox as long as you have set up your auth keys. I’m not sure about Samba.

    The Vampire-specific settings are there for those that have a real Vampire board. I just stayed away from it:

    There’s also a general settings menu, which has several things, including the ability turn on/off the executive scheduler, enabling/disabling the layers library v45 and a quick link to the Prefs folder items.

    Also included in this is the IPM (Idiotic Package manager), which is a command line interface to install, clean and update packages, like using NPM (Node Package manager) or apt-get on Debian-based Linux distros. I’m not sure if it is configured correctly on first install. I wasn’t able to get it to list the packages. I did see in the menus a way to add a repo but I wasn’t sure what to use so I left it. I assume this will come in handy if I could get it working.

    Opening up the Programs drive, there are plenty of pre-installed things to play with. Here’s a shot of just some of the subfolders (I love the MagicWB style icons, btw). I didn’t try everything but the samples I opened all seeemed to work:

    Opening the Pictures and Game folders:

    The demo games included were impressive and ran very well under WinUAE on my Ryzen 7 based system.

    Descent Freespace looked incredible:

    But the default resolution of ADescent appeared to be only 320×200 or so:

    But it was silky smooth!

    Anyway, that’s all for this entry. I’ll continue to play with things, maybe check out the Internet tools next time.

    Coffin OS r54 has a LOT installed and ready to use. I can see why the Apollo Vampire users like it so much.