Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby r.cade » 2015-10-15 @ 01:39

It looks like HxC on Gotek only supports 720/1.44? It's not clear...

So, could this not currently emulate 180k/360k/1.2M 5.25? (PC booters)
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2015-10-15 @ 09:47

Actually it supports loads of formats, I've tested it personally with 360k, 720, 1.2MB, 1.44MB and Amstrad CPC disks.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby r.cade » 2015-10-15 @ 19:54

bjt wrote:Actually it supports loads of formats, I've tested it personally with 360k, 720, 1.2MB, 1.44MB and Amstrad CPC disks.


That's excellent! To clarify, we are talking about the Gotek with HxC beta firmware, not the official HxC SD box?

If so, I'll have to try this on my XT with some old booters.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2015-10-15 @ 22:44

Yep, Gotek. I was definitely able to boot a 360k floppy on mine.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby skyewelse » 2015-10-18 @ 05:27

Hi bjt,

I just wanted to tell you thank you for posting your guide. It was very helpful for someone like myself who doesn't have an extensive knowledge or background in working with soldering and electronic components. While the HxC bootloader/firmware flashing steps are indeed there in the FAQ that the HxC guys referenced when ordering a license from them, seeing a visual aid was immensely helpful. :)

I followed your exact process and was able to successfully flash my Gotek the same way, only I had a few differences in my setup process which I thought may be important to mention. I got a Gotek off eBay with the 3 digit LCD display. After soldering all of the connections to the LVTTL serial interface and setting up the mini-USB cable to program it using the STM32_Serial Bridge, I noticed that the LCD did not display anything for me as it did in your photos. No LDR or hXc for example throughout the entire flashing process. It wasn't until I removed the bridged jumper connection from J3 (BOOT0) and VCC3V3 that I even ever saw the LCD screen on the Gotek work when powered on.

Also, I because I'm apparently terrible with a soldering iron, I believe one of my connections either to RXD or TXD was loose or not correctly soldered, so I originally experienced an issue where the device could not be found, however once I held down that connection I saw the values for RX and TX rise in the Serial Bridge program I was using and then it found the device and allowed me to redeem my one-time use license for the bootloader and flash the firmware. Once the bootloader finished flashing the HxC firmware to the Gotek I disconnected everything and attempted to put a config file and some converted disk files (Normal Mode in my case) on a FAT32 formatted USB stick (no firmware anymore since I thought I had fully completed this process in the previous step) and hooked up the Gotek to the computer I wanted to use it with, a PC-9821 Ce2.

Instead of getting the hXc or 000 (for first disk) I was getting LDR and I wasn't sure what that meant. I wrote to Jean-François at the HxC group who said that it looked as though the Gotek had not been fully flashed with the firmware and that the Gotek was requesting it. So I put the same firmware version that I used before in the flashing process with the Serial Bridge and sure enough the Gotek happily accepted it and I saw hXc appear as it should.

While this next information may not be as important for other users depending on what you plan to use the HxC flashed Gotek device for, but in my case for the PC-98, I was encountering a few issues when using the HxC. My PC-9821 Ce2 uses a bootable harddrive as the A: drive (this can of course be switched to be C:, but typically A: is used as the HDD).

1. When the Gotek was hooked up to the machine with no USB or a USB without a CFG file, the computer would freeze waiting on the HxC to respond.

2. When I put in the USB stick with the NORMAL MODE CFG file, my PC-98 does not support this mode and it would skip the Gotek boot process and boot from the HDD (or in my case a CF card/IDE Adapter that has Dos 6.2 and some other neat features on it) but the File Manager would not be able to read from the Gotek device and I would get errors when trying to browse or call Drive B:

3. When I put in the USB stick with the INDEXED MODE CFG file, and a few disk images (in this case .d88 extensions converted using the HxC software to .hfe files) starting with the file names DSKA0000.HFE, DSKA0001.HFE, etc, it would now show 000 (or 001 if I pressed the right button to increment the disk number) and allow me to boot from the Gotek using it as the A: Drive in place of my CF card HDD which would normally be drive A:. Also, having the INDEXED MODE CFG file on the USB stick and either not having disk files on the stick or not having at least a DSKA0000.HFE would freeze the system as it waited for the Gotek to respond.

So the above steps show that I can at least launch floppy disk images from the drive as though it was drive A. But what about certain cases where I want to boot from my CF card/ HDD and explore Drive B: or C: (Gotek) or in cases where I have a game that supported installation to the HDD but also had copy protection where it required a certain FDD disk to also be inserted for the game to run? In this case booting from the Gotek as Drive A simply would not solve an issue like this.

After a few more emails with Jean-François he offered a solution to try, which worked out for me under just such an occasion where this may be needed. He said to boot the computer with the Gotek / HxC inserted and the CFG I would want to use to normally read and load disks (In my case, INDEXED MODE) and quickly remove the USB stick and then do a soft-reset (without powering off the computer) and then re-inserting the USB stick. Doing this allowed for me to boot as I normally would from the CF card / HDD as Drive A: and allow me to explore or call disks from Drive B: using the Gotek. While not certain, I'm guessing that this allows for the Gotek / HxC to read the config file needed, but removes it just in time before any disks are loaded directly.

While I would prefer an easier option such as a command that allows me to skip the HxC boot the first disk in sequence process such as a key press/ key hold, this trick will certainly get me by when I need to use it. I also plan on purchasing a nano-USB stick (for the small form factor) simply to put the NORMAL CFG file which doesn't do anything for my machine, and allows for the Gotek / HxC to be skipped entirely for when I don't wish to use a floppy disk at all. In my case the only time I really need to use a floppy drive is for games where I was unsuccessful in getting them to run off of the harddrive directly or the games are not compatible with being run using a PC-98 program called ERCACHE that allows for disks to be loaded into RAM directly.

Thanks again for the guide!

-Thomas
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2015-10-18 @ 07:42

Glad it helped. Sound like the PC-98 has a few special behaviours with Gotek compared to a regular PC. I'm not at all familiar with PC-98, I wonder though why it doesn't work with normal mode/file selector?
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby skyewelse » 2015-10-18 @ 14:50

The PC-98 is a bit different in terms of how it compares to a PC/AT and there was quite a bit of proprietary elements that were different from Western PCs, but just close enough in similarity to make one think that it might be somewhat compatible. For example it used it's own special FDD 3-Mode drives and primarily used 620k / 1.2k floppy disks, had its own proprietary sound and graphic processor units, it's own proprietary expansion cards called C-Bus, and different connectors (Not PS/2) that NEC used for their console game system controllers at the time for keyboard and mouse. But as time went on the life of the PC-98 started to change and become more and more like the Western IBMs and became less and less compatible with its own original line of software. :)

I guess I am still a bit curious to how NORMAL MODE works and what I should be seeing if I hooked it up to a traditional PC. Do you simply get some kind of file selector at boot? And do the disk images have to be named a certain way on the Gotek in this mode to be detected?

-Thomas
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2015-10-19 @ 10:14

In file selector mode the Gotek has a number of 'slots' which can each have an image file (.HFE) assigned to them. There are no naming requirements for the images. The file selector software is used to assign images to the slots. You can then change slot using the buttons on the Gotek.

The slot assignments are stored in the configuration file in the root of USB stick. When you save the configuration file from the Windows HxC tool, the slot assignments are reset.

It's pretty useful as it allows you to have a large number of images on the stick with meaningful names and assign them to a slot when you want to use them. The PC file selector software looks like this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfovFoMaL54

You can either boot the file selector from the Gotek (this is the AUTOBOOT.HFE mode) or run it from another floppy or hard drive.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby skyewelse » 2015-10-24 @ 23:10

Thanks for explaining. I tried, but I wasn't able to get it to work unfortunately.

It seems like from what I saw in the video for this to work two things must fall in line: 1) The computer must be able to boot into DOS (while hooked up to the Gotek/HxC) without a flash drive /SD card loaded. 2) It must be able to read the contents of the inserted flash drive / SD card so that the file "hxcfe.exe" can be run from a DOS command prompt. I wish it were possible since this would make things much easier to use than Indexed Mode, but I guess I'll just have to make a good old fashioned numbered legend chart as to which number coincides with which software and which disk.

-Thomas
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby teevee » 2015-11-21 @ 17:49

bjt wrote:Firstly you need to enable programming mode by bridging two contacts as shown here. Apologies for my poor soldering, but it works :cool:
Image


I cannot find this in the guide from Jeff ...>
http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopi ... =33&t=1683

When i make that bridge, then i get blank display?

I tried making the soldering too and yes my soldering is poor to..

Image

My problem is that i have the HxC flasher and is just waiting for the status "Device detected." nothing happends :/

Edit:
Does it have to say both 1 at RX and TX? (The programmer)
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2015-11-30 @ 12:26

Enabling programming mode is referenced by the line "Set the BOOT0 signal to the VCC3V3 on the device" in Jeff's guide.
It's normal for there to be no display in programming mode.
Jeff's guide mentions bridging RST if you don't get "Device detected", did you try that?
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby terracide » 2015-12-09 @ 19:57

Guys i have a question... i have a yamaha RM1X (that's a synth groovebox) and it's known that the standard HxC floppy emulator works with this device. Does this mean that the ported firmware in a GOTEK would make the GOTEK device also compatible?
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby teevee » 2016-1-13 @ 16:55

bjt wrote:Enabling programming mode is referenced by the line "Set the BOOT0 signal to the VCC3V3 on the device" in Jeff's guide.
It's normal for there to be no display in programming mode.
Jeff's guide mentions bridging RST if you don't get "Device detected", did you try that?


Hey BJT, thanks for your answers. I tried again and here is a new picture:
Image

I tried again and I’m still hanging on the status “Link is up!”. I made a photo of the connection I have made.
• Something missing or wrong?

You wrote that I should try making a bridge between “reset signal (RST) to GND” and nothing in this case seems to happened either.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby hyoenmadan » 2016-1-13 @ 19:46

terracide wrote:Guys i have a question... i have a yamaha RM1X (that's a synth groovebox) and it's known that the standard HxC floppy emulator works with this device. Does this mean that the ported firmware in a GOTEK would make the GOTEK device also compatible?


If your device supports standard (5 1/4)/(3 1/2) PC drives, it will work with Gotek.
If your device has a propietary floppy interface/drive, then you need ask in HxC forums for help. Probably you will also need acquire a real HxC for it.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2016-1-14 @ 11:19

teevee wrote:I tried again and I’m still hanging on the status “Link is up!”. I made a photo of the connection I have made.
• Something missing or wrong?


Your connections look OK to me, although I used the solder pads on the USB-Serial adapter and not the pin header.
I'm afraid I'm out of ideas :depressed:
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby teevee » 2016-1-15 @ 10:01

bjt wrote:
teevee wrote:I tried again and I’m still hanging on the status “Link is up!”. I made a photo of the connection I have made.
• Something missing or wrong?


Your connections look OK to me, although I used the solder pads on the USB-Serial adapter and not the pin header.
I'm afraid I'm out of ideas :depressed:


Using the solder pads and pin header, should not make any differences, as they are the same? (Or maybe not)
When I look closer at the "solder pads" and "pin header", then I can see:
• Called RX at the pin-header, but RXD on the solder pad.
• Called TX at the pin-header, but TXD on the solder pad.
• GND is GND, not matter if you take it from pin-head or solder pad.
• “5v solder pad” vs “VCC pin-head”, when the jumper is set correctly on 3,3v, then it won’t matter either?

Could it be possible that I have fried my floppy-drive under my first horrible soldering? (I realized that the red and green led, does not light up when I connect the USB (The LCD lights up, when the program move is not activated) < I don’t know if they are supposed to do that?
• If yes, then I probably have to buy a new Gotek Floppy drive!
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby bjt » 2016-1-15 @ 17:28

In programming mode, nothing lights up.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby teevee » 2016-1-15 @ 18:12

bjt wrote:In programming mode, nothing lights up.



Good that have that clear with the LED light.

A guy on the HxC forum had a similar problem:
Link > http://torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopi ... =33&t=1819

He just changed the adapter to make it work. But it cannot be that, which is the problem as we use the same device?
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby Jepael » 2016-1-15 @ 19:56

Just a few thoughts regarding STM32 micros:

If reset is permanently set to ground, it won't work at all. Reset needs to be disconnected from ground to run anything, either the factory bootloader, or the normal software. Factory bootloaders don't know anything about the device it is running on, so it won't light up any leds or anything unless the hardware is specifically designed to light up when the microcontroller is not doing its thing.

Mind that you actually don't need to control the reset pin at all, if you power up the board when BOOT0 is connected to 3.3V. And the BOOT0 is only sampled when the microcontroller comes out of reset, so it does not need to be permanently soldered, you can turn power on while connecting BOOT0 to 3V3 with tweezers or jumpers or whatever.

Also, keep in mind that the pin labeled TXD on the microcontroller board is most likely data output, and also pin labeled TXD on the USB to serial adapter is also data output, so connecting similarly named wires together won't work, and you need to connect TXD of one board to RXD of the other board to have communication between them.

The STM32 UART pins should be 5V tolerant so a 5V USB to serial adapter should work, but if something else is connected to those pins as well, they might not like the 5V signal and fry up. A "raspberry pi" 3.3V USB serial adapter will work just fine. Anything with USB to serial chip made by FTDI should work just fine.

The BOOT0 is not 5V tolerant, so connect to 3.3V only, never to 5V. The RESET is also not 5V tolerant, and it is never allowed to be connected to 3.3V supply voltage directly, it is only allowed to ground it if necessary. Also, the USB to serial adapter gets its power from PC, and who knows if the "VCC" on the USB to serial adapter is 5V or 3.3V and does it provide enough current to target board, so it is better to leave it disconnected. If it is a 3.3V USB to serial adapter, it most likely has 3.3V VCC so it can't anyway power the GOTEK through the 5V pin. Power the microcontroller board only through its power input to be safe. Also the GOTEK programming connector seems to have 5V supply, not 3.3V supply, so connecting separate 5V supply to GOTEK and still connecting the 5V to USB to serial VCC pin might actually back-power the USB to serial converter, which is bad if it's a 3.3V VCC device. OK, it appears, with a 5V USB to serial device, it can also power up the GOTEK board, but a 3.3V USB to serial device won't if connected to 5V input.
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Re: Flashing the Gotek floppy emulator with HxC firmware

Postby teevee » 2016-1-17 @ 14:38

Jepael wrote:Just a few thoughts regarding STM32 micros:

If reset is permanently set to ground, it won't work at all. Reset needs to be disconnected from ground to run anything, either the factory bootloader, or the normal software. Factory bootloaders don't know anything about the device it is running on, so it won't light up any leds or anything unless the hardware is specifically designed to light up when the microcontroller is not doing its thing.

Mind that you actually don't need to control the reset pin at all, if you power up the board when BOOT0 is connected to 3.3V. And the BOOT0 is only sampled when the microcontroller comes out of reset, so it does not need to be permanently soldered, you can turn power on while connecting BOOT0 to 3V3 with tweezers or jumpers or whatever.

Also, keep in mind that the pin labeled TXD on the microcontroller board is most likely data output, and also pin labeled TXD on the USB to serial adapter is also data output, so connecting similarly named wires together won't work, and you need to connect TXD of one board to RXD of the other board to have communication between them.

The STM32 UART pins should be 5V tolerant so a 5V USB to serial adapter should work, but if something else is connected to those pins as well, they might not like the 5V signal and fry up. A "raspberry pi" 3.3V USB serial adapter will work just fine. Anything with USB to serial chip made by FTDI should work just fine.

The BOOT0 is not 5V tolerant, so connect to 3.3V only, never to 5V. The RESET is also not 5V tolerant, and it is never allowed to be connected to 3.3V supply voltage directly, it is only allowed to ground it if necessary. Also, the USB to serial adapter gets its power from PC, and who knows if the "VCC" on the USB to serial adapter is 5V or 3.3V and does it provide enough current to target board, so it is better to leave it disconnected. If it is a 3.3V USB to serial adapter, it most likely has 3.3V VCC so it can't anyway power the GOTEK through the 5V pin. Power the microcontroller board only through its power input to be safe. Also the GOTEK programming connector seems to have 5V supply, not 3.3V supply, so connecting separate 5V supply to GOTEK and still connecting the 5V to USB to serial VCC pin might actually back-power the USB to serial converter, which is bad if it's a 3.3V VCC device. OK, it appears, with a 5V USB to serial device, it can also power up the GOTEK board, but a 3.3V USB to serial device won't if connected to 5V input.


Thanks for the explanation Jepael. Cutted down to 3-4 simple sentences and perspective of my last test/picture, what would you then recommend me to do?
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