VOGONS


Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Topic actions

First post, by bjt

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Jeff (who's behind the HxC SD Floppy Emulator) recently released a version of the HxC emulator firmware that's compatible with the STM32 chip used in the Gotek floppy emulators. This means that the great functionality of the HxC SD emulator is now available on cheaper and more widely available hardware.

More info here:

http://hxc2001.com/download/floppy_drive_emul … x.html#stm32hxc

I went through this process recently and thought I'd post a little howto in case anyone wants to try it.

Here's a humble Gotek. I believe any Gotek will work regardless of model or number of LCD digits.
QulUiNrl.jpg

The innards are quite minimal. It's easiest to remove the board from the case completely.
jhEMbnhl.jpg

Firstly you need to enable programming mode by bridging two contacts as shown here. Apologies for my poor soldering, but it works 😎
BkNuO5ql.jpg

The Gotek uses a LVTTL (3.3V) serial interface for programming. As oldskool PC serial interfaces can be anywhere between +-12V, the safest approach is to use a USB-LVTTL converter like this one. They only cost a few pounds.
xtQLskBl.jpg?1

The following connections are required between the converter and the Gotek:

Converter 5V -> Gotek 5V
Converter GND -> Gotek GND
Converter TXD -> Gotek RX
Converter RXD -> Gotek TX

I chose to just solder them to the pads provided but you can also use temporary patch wires with headers.
Don't forget to set the voltage jumper on the converter to 3.3V!
rouKURMl.jpg

The first step is to program a bootloader onto the Gotek that will then allow the HxC firmware to be flashed from a USB stick.
Each Gotek device to be programmed with the bootloader requires a license from Jeff that costs 10 euro currently.
NjoGfc6l.jpg?1

Once complete you'll see LDR on the Gotek's display, this means the bootloader is active and waiting to flash the new firmware.
IJDNcXel.jpg

Copy the new firmware onto a USB stick and insert it. The flash process only takes a few seconds and will display HXC when complete.
KwowWScl.jpg

You can remove all the programming connections now and put the Gotek back in its case.
That's it! Will post my impressions of the new firmware once I've had a chance to play with it some more.

Reply 1 of 123, by carlostex

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Will this enable the Gotek to support all MFM formats? I mean 360k, 720k and 1.2MB besides the 1.44MB support? If so, the Gotek will become even more useful.

Reply 4 of 123, by dogchainx

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Very interesting...I'd love to see how this works with my 1000 floppy USB image I'm working on (1000 floppy's on a USB image file...just write to a USB flash drive and I have every single DOS game/software/util/etc I'd ever want or need)

Can you mix/match floppy image types on the same flash drive? disk 1 is 360K, disk 2 is 720, etc? I'm not familiar with HxC firmware...

386DX-40MHz-8MB-540MB+428MB+Speedstar64@2MB+SoundBlaster Pro+MT-32/MKII
486DX2-66Mhz-16MB-4.3GB+SpeedStar64 VLB DRAM 2MB+AWE32/SB16+SCB-55
MY BLOG RETRO PC BLOG: https://bitbyted.wordpress.com/

Reply 5 of 123, by bjt

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

No problem having different format images on the USB stick. Not sure if it is possible to change between 1.44MB/720k and 1.2MB/360k on the fly without changing the BIOS setting though.

Reply 6 of 123, by carlostex

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

I've copied 360k, 720k and 1.2MB images on Gotek, the problem is that you cannot reformat those partitions anymore as it will show errors. Gotek formats 1.44MB partitions, so what we need is the firmware to understand all other formats so that you can re-format partitions other than 1.44MB.

Reply 7 of 123, by hyoenmadan

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

With HxC firmware that isn't necessary anymore. HxC uses normal files to store all the data and configurations. Still no HD mode support, but is a WIP according Jeff, the HxC creator.

bjt wrote:

No problem having different format images on the USB stick. Not sure if it is possible to change between 1.44MB/720k and 1.2MB/360k on the fly without changing the BIOS setting though.

This is one of the reasons why a cheapo Gotek drive flashed with the HxC firmware will never compare against a real HxC drive. With the real HxC you get an interesting feature called double drive, where you can get both floppy drives A and B with a single physical HxC drive, then you can configure in the bios one of the drives as DD and the other as HD or any config that you want to try. Since this is a hardware feature, will never be available in the Gotek firmware version of the HxC.

Reply 9 of 123, by keropi

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

interesting developments , thanks for the heads up
I do have an amiga gotek but with the free firmware from H.M. (the first one to appear)

🎵 PCMIDI mpu site buy+info
🎧 WIP Orpheus soundcard site
💻 WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 10 of 123, by keropi

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++

Bumping this to ask: you need to contact the HxC creator via email to get an account and pay, correct?

Also can you jump from amiga<->pc firmwares by reflashing the gotek as many times as you like? I have a gotek in amiga mode and use it from time to time for repairs or cases where a real amiga FDD is simply dead, so it would be nice to be able to flash between HxC versions ...

🎵 PCMIDI mpu site buy+info
🎧 WIP Orpheus soundcard site
💻 WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 11 of 123, by dogchainx

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

As soon as I get some time (HA!...triplets) I'll try this out. I'm still working on my 1000-disk USB image file that contains anything and everything I'd ever need for DOS, but would like to see if its compatible with this firmware (not likely?)

386DX-40MHz-8MB-540MB+428MB+Speedstar64@2MB+SoundBlaster Pro+MT-32/MKII
486DX2-66Mhz-16MB-4.3GB+SpeedStar64 VLB DRAM 2MB+AWE32/SB16+SCB-55
MY BLOG RETRO PC BLOG: https://bitbyted.wordpress.com/

Reply 12 of 123, by jwt27

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
keropi wrote:

Bumping this to ask: you need to contact the HxC creator via email to get an account and pay, correct?

Also can you jump from amiga<->pc firmwares by reflashing the gotek as many times as you like? I have a gotek in amiga mode and use it from time to time for repairs or cases where a real amiga FDD is simply dead, so it would be nice to be able to flash between HxC versions ...

As I understand it, the HxC firmware is universal right? Once you have the HxC firmware loaded, it should work on both PC and Amiga (and everything else).

WANTED - Manuals/drivers for:

  • Tecmar Graphics Master
  • Paradise Autoswitch EGA 350 (EGA1A)

Reply 14 of 123, by teevee

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Can you confirm, which Gotek floppy emulator that would work with this HxC firmware update?

I understand that Ebay is filled with different versions of the Gotek floppy emulators and also in different price range.

Example:
http://www.goteksystem.com/index.php?_m=mod_p … duct&_a=prdlist

Reply 15 of 123, by PhilsComputerLab

User metadata
Rank Hardware Mod
Rank
Hardware Mod

Should be the cheapest one, around $20 with 3 digits.

I've got some USB to serial adapters now, might try it out. I like the mod for the Amiga 500, that gives you a floppy with ADF file selection, very nifty.

Something that would be cool is 2.88 MB floppy support.

YouTube, Facebook, Website

Reply 16 of 123, by teevee

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
philscomputerlab wrote:

Should be the cheapest one, around $20 with 3 digits.

I've got some USB to serial adapters now, might try it out. I like the mod for the Amiga 500, that gives you a floppy with ADF file selection, very nifty.

Something that would be cool is 2.88 MB floppy support.

Wow thanks for the fast answer... I ordered the USB-LVTTL converter from Ebay last week, So I’m waiting for the post!
But I’m scared of buying those “too cheap ones”, does this HxC-guy also offer support when it comes to a "failure flashing" or is it like “Well you just have to buy a new license”

Reply 17 of 123, by PhilsComputerLab

User metadata
Rank Hardware Mod
Rank
Hardware Mod

Not sure, I haven't flashed one yet. At the moment I am happy with the 1.4 MB support, I'm not using it with other home computers for example. What are you going to use yours for?

YouTube, Facebook, Website

Reply 18 of 123, by teevee

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
philscomputerlab wrote:

Not sure, I haven't flashed one yet. At the moment I am happy with the 1.4 MB support, I'm not using it with other home computers for example. What are you going to use yours for?

Roland s-330 and Atari St-1040

Reply 19 of 123, by bjt

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Just buy the cheapest one with 3 digits on eBay. I usually just search for "floppy emulator" and go by picture.

I have 3 now, on Amstrad, IBM XT and soon to be Tandy 1000. All working great and using the selector software to browse and switch images.