Gotek, HXC and more

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

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Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:42 am

I am looking for a way to easily transfer files from my Mac (or PC) to Atari st. I understand that SD cards are the simplest way. However I see several solutions and the difference is not clear to me. Hope that someone can give answer to this question.

I found Gotek, Hxc and Lothar's Floppy disk Emulator. What is the difference between these 3 and what are the pro and con of each?

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 7:16 pm

Anybody that can explain the difference between the 3 mentioned devices?

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby dimfil » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:13 pm

It depends on what exactly is that you want.
All of the above mentioned devices are floppy emulators. That means you can use them to substitute a floppy drive and use floppy images instead of real disks. That is all you can do in practice and you can do it more easilly or reliably depending on the device you choose and the money you want to spend.

But, if what you want to do is transfer all kind of files as well as app install files and folders or hard disk adapted games, then you need a device to act as a hard disk. None of the above is such a device.

I would say, choose with caution where you will invest your money.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:26 pm

If I go for the cheapest solution (Gotek) do I understand the working correctly as follows:

On the SD card I can place numerous (100+) content op floppy disk. Can I then produce an overview of all that is on the SD or do I first select a correct SD and then select a program within that "virtual disk. So more or less like working with folders?

Or is it possible to produce an (alphabetic) overview on screen of all that is contained on the SD making for a quick selection?

I've tried to find a you video that explains this but did not find it.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby dimfil » Tue Feb 06, 2018 8:44 pm

The logic goes (more or less) like this:
You put as many as you want of floppy image files on the sd card. Then, using the app/gui of each device you assign some images to "slots" representing virtual floppy drives. From that moment on, you work exactly as you would do with real floppys.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby tzok » Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:48 pm

HxC is a firmware. It may be used either on Lotharek's SD Floppy emulator or on Gotek. Gotek uses USB Flash Drives, not SD cards. Gotek original firmware is almost useless, you have to flash it either to HxC or to FlashFloppy (only for Gotek). You may either use a special piece of software to assign disk images to solts or add an LCD/OLED display to Gotek and directly choose the image you want to "insert" to the emulated FDD. On Lotharek's drives the display is a standard option. Both firmwares (HxC and FF) support a wide range of floppy images (HxC supports more than FF), for both reading and writing.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby dhedberg » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:03 pm

How does the HxC bootloader license work? Am I correct if I assume it can be installed on the same Gotek device as many times as I want/need?
If I purchase HxC and use it on a Gotek device but then decide to switch back to FlashFloppy, can I at a later point re-install the HxC bootloader (on the same Gotek device) that I purchased?
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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Marakatti » Wed Feb 07, 2018 9:43 pm

If you need to transfer files from PC/Mac to Atari or other way around go for UltraSatan and Peter Putnik's hard disk driver.

UltraSatan starting from 76 euros: https://lotharek.pl//productdetail.php?id=47

Peter's driver package which makes Windows/Mac compatible partitions, 10 euros including partition software: http://atari.8bitchip.info/pphdr.php

He has also programmed an util which can launch and autoboot MSA and ST images from ST desktop with certain limitations.

Or use ParcpUSB transfer cable but it is very slow compared to SD hard disk solution: https://joy.sophics.cz/parcp/parcpusb.html

If you just want to play emulator-compatible disk images from the web on real Atari STfm or STe, then any HxC compatible device is good for that.

If you experience problems with STe and UltraSatan, upgrade your CPU to low power version:
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ search for MC68HC000 CPU 8 - 32MHz £10 40 In Stock [0092]

Hopefully this helps a bit :) Oh, and use SanDisk SD cards if possible, they work great. I've had problems with Transcend and Integral SD cards on UltraSatan / CosmosEx. Might work for some other but they didn't like my MegaSTe...
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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:07 am

Clouds are clearing hope (hope I understand all correct).

I guess Gotek (with HXC) is for me the way to go since I find Ultrasatan way too expensive (2.5 the price of Gotek). I still wonder on the procedure.

Do I copy Atari .prg/.tos/.... simply straight 1:1 to the SD-card and does HXC then make (when activated) a floppy-image of that or do I have to make floppy-images before (using HXCfloppyemulator) and place them on the SC-card.

Is the floppy-image size still limited to the Atari floppy (i.e. 720 Kb) or can 1.44 Mb also handled?

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby alexh » Fri Feb 09, 2018 11:25 am

Martinus wrote:I guess Gotek (with HXC) is for me the way to go

Try flashfloppy first? It is free after all. Not as good but free.

Martinus wrote:I find Ultrasatan way too expensive (2.5 the price of Gotek)

One is a hard drive the other is a floppy drive! Ultrasatan is a good purchase. CosmosEx is even better (that's a HDD+FDD but even more expensive). Their data transfer rates are MUCH higher than FDDE and so no waiting times.

Martinus wrote:Do I copy Atari .prg/.tos/.... simply straight 1:1 to the SD-card

First it's not an SD-card it is a USB stick. I thought you could be maybe not.

Martinus wrote:Is the floppy-image size still limited to the Atari floppy (i.e. 720 Kb) or can 1.44 Mb also handled?

You cannot use DSHD (1.44mb) disk images with an unmodified Atari ST. However you can use HxCMount for huge images.
Last edited by alexh on Fri Feb 09, 2018 5:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby czietz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 12:00 pm

alexh wrote:You cannot use 1.44mb mode with an unmodified Atari ST. However you can use HxCMount for huge images.


On my website (https://www.chzsoft.de/site/hardware/us ... -atari-st/, sorry that page is in German only), I have 1.44(!) MB HFE-format floppy disk image (i.e. 80 tracks, 2 sides, 18 sectors) that I use with my unmodified ST and a Gotek with HxC firmware.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 3:20 pm

alexh wrote:
Martinus wrote:I guess Gotek (with HXC) is for me the way to go

Martinus wrote:Do I copy Atari .prg/.tos/.... simply straight 1:1 to the SD-card

First it's not an SD-card it is a USB stick. I thought you could be maybe not.


Do I interpret this correctly if I conclude then that HxCFloppyEmulator is not needed?

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby alexh » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:00 pm

A Gotek USB based FDD emulator is a cheaper alternative to the HxCFloppyEmulator SD Card emulator.

Both can use a firmware which gives them HxC capabilities.

FlashFloppy is a free open source firmware with capabilities slightly lower than HxC but is being actively developed.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby alexh » Fri Feb 09, 2018 4:06 pm

czietz wrote:
alexh wrote:You cannot use 1.44mb mode with an unmodified Atari ST. However you can use HxCMount for huge images.

I have 1.44(!) MB HFE-format floppy disk image (i.e. 80 tracks, 2 sides, 18 sectors) that I use with my unmodified ST and a Gotek with HxC firmware.

Normal DSHD (1.44MiB) floppy disk drives spin at 2x rate and so you have to overclock the FDC to read the disks. The Gotek + HxC firmware must emulate an extra large DSDD disk drive which spins at half the normal rate to work with a normal Atari ST.

This is not a feature I thought it had. But I can't think why it wouldn't be capable of it.

[Update: I've seen on your page that you can do exactly that. Extra large DSDD images in HFE format which send data to the Atari at 250Kb/s and not 500Kb/s. Interesting discovery.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:21 pm

alexh wrote:
czietz wrote:
alexh wrote:You cannot use 1.44mb mode with an unmodified Atari ST. However you can use HxCMount for huge images.

I have 1.44(!) MB HFE-format floppy disk image (i.e. 80 tracks, 2 sides, 18 sectors) that I use with my unmodified ST and a Gotek with HxC firmware.

Normal DSHD (1.44MiB) floppy disk drives spin at 2x rate and so you have to overclock the FDC to read the disks. The Gotek + HxC firmware must emulate an extra large DSDD disk drive which spins at half the normal rate to work with a normal Atari ST.

This is not a feature I thought it had. But I can't think why it wouldn't be capable of it.

[Update: I've seen on your page that you can do exactly that. Extra large DSDD images in HFE format which send data to the Atari at 250Kb/s and not 500Kb/s. Interesting discovery.


Why use only 1.44MB images when you can use 2.5MB (!!!) images on an unmodified ST with an SD HxC or Gotek HxC ? :wink:

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:28 pm

Jeff_HxC2001 wrote:
alexh wrote:
czietz wrote:Why use only 1.44MB images when you can use 2.5MB (!!!) images on an unmodified ST with an SD HxC or Gotek HxC ? :wink:


If I understand correctly I can copy ST software to the USB-stick without modification to the ST software. So what is the importance of image-size. Isn't that a Gotek internal affaire and of no importance to the user. (I'm trying to understand the logics of the Gotek).

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby czietz » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:39 pm

Martinus wrote:If I understand correctly I can copy ST software to the USB-stick without modification to the ST software. So what is the importance of image-size. Isn't that a Gotek internal affaire and of no importance to the user. (I'm trying to understand the logics of the Gotek).


I'm afraid you don't understand correctly, I think. You cannot simply copy ST software (say a .PRG file) to the USB stick and run it from the Gotek (with HxC firmware). You put floppy disk images on the USB stick, the Gotek (with HxC firmware) mounts these images and you then access them like regular floppy disks.

If you want to use USB sticks directly as a mass storage medium (i.e. run PRGs from it directly), you need some solution like the Unicorn; which requires drivers, though. The big advantage of using a Gotek (with HxC firmware) is that from the computer's perspective it looks just like a floppy drive so TOS can handle it without drivers.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:40 pm

Just use the HxC Dos Floppy File Browser , create an 2.5MB floppy disk, add some files to this image (drag&drop) and then export it to the HFE file format :
http://hxc2001.com/vrac/Screenshot%20at ... -36-43.png

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:41 pm

czietz wrote:
Martinus wrote:If you want to use USB sticks directly as a mass storage medium (i.e. run PRGs from it directly), you need some solution like the Unicorn; which requires drivers, though. The big advantage of using a Gotek (with HxC firmware) is that from the computer's perspective it looks just like a floppy drive so TOS can handle it without drivers.


HxCmount can also be used more or less like this too.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:52 pm

Problem is that I use a Mac. And using VMS/Fusion/Parallels makes things extra complex.

I have seen that HXCfloppyemulator does make images but hen each program becomes a rather very large image. At least with .HFE which is the only one I checked.

Discovered there is also a Mac version.
Last edited by Martinus on Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 7:59 pm

I don't understand the problem with the Mac ?

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Martinus » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:17 pm

I didn't realize that the Browser was included within the HCXfloppyemulator.

So all that is needed is having everything going thru their browser and place the result on the USB-stick. Nice way to do it. I suppose that it is best to choose a disk size that best resembles the amount of content.

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby Jeff_HxC2001 » Fri Feb 09, 2018 8:24 pm

Martinus wrote:I didn't realize that the Browser was included within the HCXfloppyemulator.

So all that is needed is having everything going thru their browser and place the result on the USB-stick. Nice way to do it. I suppose that it is best to choose a disk size that best resembles the amount of content.


Yes the browser and the floppy FAT12 support is directly done into the software. there is nothing to setup on the host OS.

You can choose the size you want ;)

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby ranix » Sat Feb 10, 2018 5:17 am

I use that browser with the flashfloppy firmware, it's nice

I tried to buy a copy of your HxC firmware even though I didn't intend to use the rest, just to give you a donation. But it is too difficult for me to figure out :(

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Re: Gotek, HXC and more

Postby czietz » Sat Feb 10, 2018 10:17 am

Jeff_HxC2001 wrote:
czietz wrote:
Martinus wrote:If you want to use USB sticks directly as a mass storage medium (i.e. run PRGs from it directly), you need some solution like the Unicorn; which requires drivers, though. The big advantage of using a Gotek (with HxC firmware) is that from the computer's perspective it looks just like a floppy drive so TOS can handle it without drivers.


HxCmount can also be used more or less like this too.


Did I miss something? To my understanding, HxCmount will also mount an image file from the USB drive; but as a hard disk. HxCmount does not allow you to directly access the file system on the USB drive, e.g. launch a PRG that you simply copied onto that USB drive. Or does it?


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