Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Everything related to using the HxC Floppy Emulator hardware on your Atari.

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Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Brume » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:30 am

Hey all,

I'm thinking since some days to buy a HxC Floppy Emulator and integrate it in one of my ST computers. I don't want to see the card or the cased version outside of the computer... So it needs to be cased inside the ST. I've something in mind, but I don't know if it can be easily done.
There're already many pictures of modded Amiga with the HxC module, like this one:

http://metaneutrons.blogspot.fr/2011/08 ... oject.html

I've searched similar mods for ST, but haven't found any. Has someone already made the same modification for Atari?
Thanks in advance & take care,

Brume.

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Dal » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:06 pm

Here's what someone posted on AtariAge (Thread: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/208925 ... t-the-lcd/)
fitted.jpg


Anyway, for minimum fuss, you can get the SD version of the HxC which is cased in a standard floppy form factor:
http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=42

You just need to cut the hole for the floppy drive so it is rectangular (like you would if you wanted to install a regular PC floppy drive.
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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Mon Sep 02, 2013 12:42 pm

The Atari ST platform benefits from the Host based disk image selector. There is no need for the LCD and no need for any buttons except eject.

It's a default disk image which runs after power on. It contains a menu system which allows the ST to select the disk images before pressing reset. You can select multiple ones and select at run-time using the eject.

The slim version of the HxC floppy emulator works well with the Atari ST.

http://lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=101

You will need to make your own metal bracket though. Or butcher an old Atari ST floppy disk drive

http://piku.org.uk/2013/03/19/installin ... -atari-st/

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Brume » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:15 pm

Thanks for the replies, mates :)
The picture posted by Dal and made by GadgetUK was the thing I was thinking about.
But after seeing the other answer by alexh, I'm seriously considering the slim version (of course I won't paint my Atari in yellow, but it's a matter of taste).
Just one question: if I buy the cased version of the slim version, I'll remove the floppy drive, but will the cased version will fit in the ST case?

Well, I guess I'll soon have to order two things to Lotharek: HxC Floppy Emulator + new NetUSBee :roll:

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby troed » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:37 pm

It has been my intention of fitting my HxC inside an STE, while still keeping the internal drive (a switch will swap drive A/B so the ST can still boot from either). For easy moving of images between my regular computer and the ST I will let the SD card stick out the back.

I have the non-cased non-slim version - and haven't decided whether to mount the LCD screen or not. I've found that I do use the button selection of next/previous disk image more than I thought I would (but then I'm not only using it for ready made disk images). As far as I can see there's plenty of room between the PSU and the disk drive (above the RAM).

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Dal » Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:49 pm

alexh wrote:The Atari ST platform benefits from the Host based disk image selector. There is no need for the LCD and no need for any buttons except eject.


Not strictly true - where you have games on multiple disks, you need the up/down buttons to change disks. A/B automatic selection only works on some games and you need to consider games with more than 2 disks as well.

So, yes, you could do without the LCD, but life without the three buttons would not be rosy.
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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:26 pm

Brume wrote:Just one question: if I buy the cased version of the slim version, I'll remove the floppy drive, but will the cased version will fit in the ST case?

Short answer. No.

The ST(e) takes a floppy disk drive without a faceplate. Looking at the pictures of the HxC slim case you'd have to cut your ST's case to get it to fit. AND the HxC slim case only has screw holes on the side (ala PC) where the ST(e) screws to the underside of a floppy drive. So you will need to drill some extra holes in the bottom of the cased version for the underside screws which the atari uses.

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:31 pm

Dal wrote:
alexh wrote:The Atari ST platform benefits from the Host based disk image selector. There is no need for the LCD and no need for any buttons except eject.

Not strictly true - where you have games on multiple disks, you need the up/down buttons to change disks. So, yes, you could do without the LCD, but life without the three buttons would not be rosy.

There have been firmware updates for the HxC since then. For games over multiple disks you queue them into a stack in the Floppy Emulator Manager. In game, to change disk you press the HxC Slim's eject button which cycles through the stack. For 2-disk games it's very slick.

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Dal » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:21 pm

Good to know, cheers Alex.
TT030: 4MB/16MB + Crazy Dots, Mega"SST" 12, STacy 2, MegaSTE, STE: Desktopper case, IDE interface, UltraSatan (8GB + 512Mb) + HXC floppy emulator. Plus some STE's/STFM's

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby wongck » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:09 am

Brume wrote:But after seeing the other answer by alexh, I'm seriously considering the slim version (of course I won't paint my Atari in yellow, but it's a matter of taste).
Just one question: if I buy the cased version of the slim version, I'll remove the floppy drive, but will the cased version will fit in the ST case?


Can't remember which Atari model ST or STE, but the FDD cable length may be a little shorter so that the entire PCD/SD mount will not reach the FDD opening or just short of the opening. You may need to get an FDD cable extension.
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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Geraldine » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:00 pm

I've just fitted an HxC to my STe. Also with a screen and yes it's not really needed because you have the on screen display, but it is still useful to an extent that I can keep an eye on what the HxC is up to. I have to admit though, it was a real pain to get it to fit. The vented case on the STe means cutting it must be done carefully and I am still not satisfied with it. :roll: Only thing left for me to do is wire in the selector buttons. Overall though this is a great bit of kit, I've been playing Elite on it all day, loads really quickly too. 8)
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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby exxos » Tue Sep 03, 2013 5:28 pm

I brought one of the things over the weekend, just waiting for it to arrive.. not really sure how to use it, I know you save ST image to the card kinda thing... though assuming its fitted for drive A (internal) does anyone know if its possible to load floppies from a B drive (external) and save direct to the SD card ? I know there are utils to save to ST format (hell, I even wrote one is STOS years ago lol) though I know almost nothing about the emulator..

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Wed Sep 04, 2013 5:01 pm

exxos wrote:I brought one of the things over the weekend, just waiting for it to arrive.. not really sure how to use it, I know you save ST image to the card kinda thing...

The HxC doesn't use .ST images directly. They must first be converted into HFE files.

exxos wrote:though assuming its fitted for drive A (internal) does anyone know if its possible to load floppies from a B drive (external) and save direct to the SD card ?

Yes it has write support. Insert a blank HFE file using the menu. Reboot. Use TOS or any other tool to copy from B->A.

You then put the SD card into your PC and convert the HFE file back to .ST or .MSA for use with PC based emulators.

exxos wrote:I know there are utils to save to ST format (hell, I even wrote one is STOS years ago lol) though I know almost nothing about the emulator..

While I've not used it there is a way of creating an extra large virtual floppy disk. Then you could use a tool to read drive B and save multiple .ST files to the extra large drive A. You can then remove the SD card, put it in your PC and using a tool, mount the HFE file as a virtual file system to copy the saved .ST files off. That might be more useful to you?

Have a read of the manual.

http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... al_ENG.pdf

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby exxos » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:20 pm

Looking though the manual ( be it quick) it just seems to be biased into doing everything on the pc, which is ok i guess.

My reason was thinking if I take out my A: drive, I will not be able to easily access my old floppies, which made me wonder if I could just copy from a B: drive to the SD card all on the ST to save having to have a pc to hand to do everything.

I will probably just fit it in a "new" ST and just play around with it on that for a bit..

I was looking though the manual as there is the floppy connector, power, and another connector, presume for the ID settings or something, though the images in the manual are not the pinout of the board I ordered, so I actually have no idea what the connector is actually for ?

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Thu Sep 05, 2013 8:47 am

Doesn't have to be Windows. There are apps for Linux and MacOS.

If you can make blank disk images using the host tool (not sure you can) and fitted an external B drive then you would not need your PC. You would be able to mount a new "blank" HFE disk image in drive A and copy from B->A and it would be stored on the SD card for the future.

Which board did you order? The Slim? There is no other connector on the slim. It is a switch bank.

http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... al_ENG.pdf

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby exxos » Thu Sep 05, 2013 11:57 am

If I can copy form B: to A:/SD then that would be ideal, I only have windows and the Atari itself, most images I will end up downloading from the internet in images and converting them to SD via the PC anyway, just I have a stack of floppies I will need to convert also.

The one I got is this one http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=42

Though looking at this manual

http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... al_ENG.pdf

On page 8 you can see the connector is in the same place, but its a different layout on the actual images on the site.

I did not see that other manual, there seems to be a couple other variations with images of one thing then another like in this one

http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_driv ... _Brief.pdf

Just assume the PCB layout got changed and the manual wasn't updated :roll:

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alexh » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:31 pm

That is the manual for a REV C and you've bought a REV F which is the same hardware in an alternative form factor described as "Fully compatible with SD Floppy emulator REV C"

The Rev F connector is clearly marked on the Silk Screen

http://www.lotharek.pl/zasoby/produkty/ ... g?5459.jpg

Functionality matches the description in the manual on pages 8 & 9 for Atari ST.

With REV F pins IDxA and IDxB do not share a common ground which is why there are more positions and a potential for selecting something incompatible when using more than one jumper.

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby exxos » Thu Sep 05, 2013 1:49 pm

Center pins in the manual must be ground then for the 3 way connector, they must have just changed it to 2 way connector , like you say, the ID settings should still be the same. I got the manual I was looking at off the REV F page as well :roll: oh well, at least its sorted.

Does anyone know how long the wait is in the things arriving ? I am going to fit it into a spare STFM, just busy soldding in more ram and updating psu, cleaning stuff etc, so hopefully the floppy kit will arrive soon... well... before I loose all the screws for the ST :lol:

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Brume » Sat Oct 26, 2013 4:59 pm

So finally I ordered a SLIM HxC floppy emulator and received it this morning.
I've plugged it into my 1040 STF (I don't want to use it in my STE atm, because it's used for archiving and I need the floppy drive).
My SD card is FAT32 formatted, I put both AUTOBOOT.HFE and HXCSDFE.CFG on the card. And of course I converted some MSA files files into HFE files.
But... when I power on the STF, it beeps many times, and after less than 1 minutes, the GEM appears... nothing else.

How can I access to the interface (file selector) of the HxC?
Looks like I've forgotten something :?

Edit: I'm just coming to format again the SD card, and changed logical state to primary (with MiniTool Partition Wizard). Also copied HXCSDFE.CFG at first, then AUTOBOOT.HFE.
Now works it like a charm! :D

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Shredder11 » Sat Oct 26, 2013 9:27 pm

:cheers:

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby alienkidmj12 » Mon Apr 27, 2015 2:02 pm

im wondering if the ref f will fit into a falcon without modification ?

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby Sheldon » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:47 am

Hello,

Amedia Computer sells a new product: Plexiglas Support for HXC Slim and Atari ST(f)(e)

here:http://amiga.amedia-computer.com/index.php/catalogue/infos/1/1/ACF_HXCSLIMSUP#.Veb6F3ZOJII

illustration here https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=453407994830437&id=362311423940095

:cheers:

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby troed » Sun Sep 06, 2015 7:02 pm

troed wrote:It has been my intention of fitting my HxC inside an STE, while still keeping the internal drive (a switch will swap drive A/B so the ST can still boot from either). For easy moving of images between my regular computer and the ST I will let the SD card stick out the back.

I have the non-cased non-slim version - and haven't decided whether to mount the LCD screen or not. I've found that I do use the button selection of next/previous disk image more than I thought I would (but then I'm not only using it for ready made disk images). As far as I can see there's plenty of room between the PSU and the disk drive (above the RAM).


A few steps taken. A while back I did the A<->B modification (also swaps internal/external) - and today I got around to fixing the HxC to its own plate as well as dremeling the slot for the SD-card.

I'm quite pleased. As you can see I have full access to the SIM slots - now I just need to move the buttons next to the drive light on the top case, as well as fitting the LCD to below the arrow keys.

(And yes, it helps having a 3D printer .. :P)

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Re: Modding Atari ST to integrate HxC Floppy Emulator?

Postby troed » Wed Sep 16, 2015 12:41 pm

troed wrote:I'm quite pleased. As you can see I have full access to the SIM slots - now I just need to move the buttons next to the drive light on the top case, as well as fitting the LCD to below the arrow keys.


Done. (The top lid isn't properly fastened in the final picture, it's perfectly level in reality)

A full writeup of all the mods I've done to this machine will come soonish, but feel free to ask questions on what I needed to do if you want to do a similar mod yourself. For example, there was _not_ enough room between the lid and the keyboard for the LCD, I had to dremel quite a bit into the keyboard plastic.

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