FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

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FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby kaputnik » 2017-9-10 @ 15:56

Stumbled upon this when googling around for an original firmware image to restore a Cortex flashed Gotek drive:

https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy

Primarily it seems to be a replacement for the Cortex Amiga floppy emulation firmware, but since the author has begun to add PC floppy support in the latest release, I thought some of you guys might be interested too.

Installed FlashFloppy on my Gotek, was easy enough. More info about the flashing procedure here. Tried both using an USB-TTL adapter + stm32flash, and a straight USB A male-to-male cable + DfuSe (hint: if you don't want to register to download DfuSe, there's a download link in post #11 here). Both methods worked perfectly.

It should be mentioned that at least I couldn't find any images of the original firmware, and it seems like it can't be dumped from the Gotek either, so the procedure seems to be irreversible. If you however like me, got a Cortex flashed drive you have no use for, you've got nothing to lose, you can always go back to Cortex if you want.

FlashFloppy loads HxC .hfe images from a FAT32 formatted USB mass storage device, images of various formats can easily be converted to .hfe with the HxC Floppy Emulator Software. Converted and played around some with a few images. When writing this, 1.44MB floppy images aren't officially supported yet, so things were as expected a bit flaky, however, it seems to be very actively developed, so hopefully that's a thing of the past soon enough. Also, support for .img files seems to be planned for future releases, very nice :)

FlashFloppy might not be mature enough to replace HxC or the original Gotek firmware for PC use yet, but it looks extremely promising. It's probably just a matter of time :)

Here's an external forum thread with further discussion/information.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby RobertJ » 2018-2-02 @ 15:15

I'm surprised no one has commented on this post, but this is great news for the Vintage PC community and an interesting project. Thanks for the heads up.
8-bit Collection: 4 64Cs, 6 1541-IIs, 1 C128, 2 1571s, 1 C128DCR
Vintage DOS: Dell Optiplex G1, AMD Rage IIC, Sound Blaster CT4520, Thrustmaster FCS Mark II, Gravis PC GamePad
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby Cyberdyne » 2018-2-02 @ 15:43

Oh goodie Yo do not have to pay money for f...g bootstrap or something :evil:
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby keenerb » 2018-2-02 @ 16:53

I flashed a drive with it last night, and added the i2c LCD display mod, looks pretty neat.

I already have three hxc drives, we'll see how flashfloppy holds up...
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby IanB » 2018-2-02 @ 16:58

keenerb wrote:I flashed a drive with it last night, and added the i2c LCD display mod, looks pretty neat.

Agreed, the oled screen and rotary encoder make it so much easier to navigate a directory structure to find the right image without having to look up the number:

FloppyCable4.jpg

There is also a sound mod that vaguely resembles the sound of a floppy drive.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby hyoenmadan » 2018-2-02 @ 18:25

Cyberdyne wrote:Oh goodie Yo do not have to pay money for f...g bootstrap or something :evil:

Giving this thing uses the HxC format, and makes use of many stuff discovered by Jeff first about Gotek hardware, along with its possibilities, you should be thankful to him. If wasn't by him, and him alone, you wouldn't even have this unsupported clone, having to conform with gotek's built in firmware limitations.
In any case, bootloader license is cheap, and by using HxC firmware the owner also has access to unlimited support and ways to make its device to work with his/her specific piece of hardware. If you use this thing, you're alone. Is something fails, or you can't make the thing work with your specific equipment, you will have to debug the firmware and discover what failed by yourself. For you, who probably have generic PC stuff, would be unworth... But for many of us, who have specific pieces of hardware, the extra support from an expert in floppy controllers comes very handy.
In any case, is fine if you don't want to pay for, or like HxC... But ffs, don't be disrespectful with other's work. Thanks
Last edited by hyoenmadan on 2018-2-07 @ 21:42, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby Cyberdyne » 2018-2-07 @ 20:46

For me. Original gotek has only one flaw. Non standard usb format. Now i can use normal image files. And totally free. Did not even have to buy a usb ttl programmer.
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby hyoenmadan » 2018-2-07 @ 22:00

Cyberdyne wrote:For me. Original gotek has only one flaw. Non standard usb format.

You said it. For you... And is a damn severe flaw if you ask me... Just days ago other user here reported fscking his USB key by writting that non standard format on it. I can add some related flaws, as the original only supports MFM 720k and 1.44MB. If you have booter 360K images it will be a no go. It also doesn't support any other boot sector format than the standard DOS bootsectors, so you can't write booter, or even *nix bootdisk images on it.

Cyberdyne wrote:Now i can use normal image files.

You can... Thanks to Jeff and his work in the HxC. He published many of his notes about floppy tech in his forum and documented part of his closed source work and made it public. These foss clones exist thanks to him, and all the people who subsidized his work by buying his products.

Cyberdyne wrote:And totally free.

Again, thanks to Jeff.

In any case, the rest of my original reply stays: Is fine if you don't want to pay for, or like HxC... But ffs, don't be disrespectful with other's work.

PS: Just an observation. Your way of thinking is the cause skilled people don't wanting to release any of their work which can be useful to the community as OSS or FOSS. Skilled people and devs don't like fscking freeloaders. If you like FOSS because "free as beer", don't come to whine to forums how do you like free as beer works and criticize other's paid work. Just enjoy it.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby kaputnik » 2018-2-08 @ 05:15

Ah, so this thread finally came to life :) Was wondering about the lack of interest too.

The timing is perfect though. The last release of Flashfloppy (v0.9.7a) really does wonders with the reliability in DOS, apparently the author has gotten himself an old PC for this purpose. If you ask me, Flashfloppy can fully replace the original Gotek firmware now. Finally did the OLED display and rotary encoder mods, and flashed my other Gotek I kept on original firmware few days ago :)
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby Cyberdyne » 2018-2-08 @ 07:03

I am not disrespectful of the work. Not even a wish to make money for your product. I am just happy that a free alternative for hobby tinkerers is available.
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby airs » 2018-5-19 @ 16:10

I flashed my Gotek last night and added an OLED display. I put one img file on my USB key and it shows up on the OLED display but when I try to access it on my PC it says the A drive is not ready. Any ideas?
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby .legaCy » 2018-5-19 @ 16:41

Wow the author of the firmware just read my mind, recently i was wondering if it already existed and things about reverse engineering the firmware to understand it behavior and create my own.
But since it is already done it is awesome.
HxC did a really good job with his firmware, but the only flaw is that isn't open source so it rely on one person, if he decides that he is done with it and abandon his project, all the users could suffer with it, now since there is one open source alternative even if the original coder decide that he is done with the project, more people can continue maintaining the code.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby airs » 2018-5-20 @ 19:58

airs wrote:I flashed my Gotek last night and added an OLED display. I put one img file on my USB key and it shows up on the OLED display but when I try to access it on my PC it says the A drive is not ready. Any ideas?


Figured it out. Since the floppy cable I’m using is the twisted type you have to put the S1 or S0 jumper on M0 instead. Hope that helps someone.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby NamelessPlayer » 2018-5-21 @ 17:55

I was wondering why this didn't seem to be on the first few pages, but I can at least report that FlashFloppy + a cheap unflashed Gotek drive (about $15-20) + 4 Dupont pin headers + OLED screen + USB to UART/TTL serial interface originally bought for WinDAS purposes = success!

I did have some initial trouble just trying to flash the thing, but it turns out that you have to remove the tri-digit LCD when flashing. Whoops!

That said, I use it with my Amigas, not my PCs. Most PC games expect you to install and run from hard drive anyway, not the console-esque experience of Amiga gaming where it's "plop a floppy in and turn it on" with my older OCS systems. (WHDLoad will probably have to wait 'til my A2000 gets fixed up.)
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby carlostex » 2018-6-04 @ 11:11

I asked keirf to include support for all low density 5.25 media, including the 10 sector per track ones uses in Electronic Arts booters. He made a quick release just for me to test and booter games are working just great now, but he'll only release officially in the next master branch.

I'm in the process of modding all my Gotek drives, 2 done so far 3 still to go. The addition of an OLED and rotary encoder really make the firmware shine.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby Jo22 » 2018-6-04 @ 13:44

Wow, that's great news! Thanks! :D
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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby tayyare » 2018-6-08 @ 16:36

I have some simple and probably stupid questions:

This firmware means that, we can take any FAT32 formatted USB pen drive of any size, copy any number (up to a thousand) of floppy images on it of any type (360KB, 1.2MB, 720KB, 1.44MB), and it just works? Without the need for specially formatting it into a thousand 1.44MB partitions first?

And how can we select the proper image using the switches and 9 segnent display, assuming we have no OLED display installed? it just sorts them by name, or by creation date, or by some other criteria?
GA-6VTXE PIII 1.4+512MB
Geforce4 Ti 4200 64MB
Diamond Monster 3D 12MB SLI
SB AWE64 PNP+32MB
120GB IDE Samsung/80GB IDE Seagate/146GB SCSI Compaq/73GB SCSI IBM
Adaptec AHA29160
3com 3C905B-TX
Gotek+CF Reader
MSDOS 6.22+Win 3.11/95 OSR2.1/98SE/ME/2000
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby tayyare » 2018-6-09 @ 09:00

Anyone? :blush:
GA-6VTXE PIII 1.4+512MB
Geforce4 Ti 4200 64MB
Diamond Monster 3D 12MB SLI
SB AWE64 PNP+32MB
120GB IDE Samsung/80GB IDE Seagate/146GB SCSI Compaq/73GB SCSI IBM
Adaptec AHA29160
3com 3C905B-TX
Gotek+CF Reader
MSDOS 6.22+Win 3.11/95 OSR2.1/98SE/ME/2000
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby .legaCy » 2018-6-09 @ 12:50

tayyare wrote:I have some simple and probably stupid questions:

This firmware means that, we can take any FAT32 formatted USB pen drive of any size, copy any number (up to a thousand) of floppy images on it of any type (360KB, 1.2MB, 720KB, 1.44MB), and it just works? Without the need for specially formatting it into a thousand 1.44MB partitions first?

And how can we select the proper image using the switches and 9 segnent display, assuming we have no OLED display installed? it just sorts them by name, or by creation date, or by some other criteria?

I didn't used yet but i gave the code a quick read, just beware that i just woke up and my brain is still "warming up", i will get some coffee later and will give the code a better read.
But as far as i noticed it has two modes of operation, one mode being native and other mode being hxc mode.
Seems that you just format the usb drive and throw the images onto it.
this firmware will stack up the images in the order that it will find onto the fat.(not sure yet , brain is still not fully working),vit could be creation order but i think it is alphabetically.
If i'm wrong please somebody correct me.
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Re: FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Postby c0keb0ttle » 2018-6-10 @ 02:29

Yes, in the order they were copied to the stick.

You can also change the settings so it expects files named in a special way with numbers etc.

https://github.com/keirf/FlashFloppy/wiki/Initial-Setup
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