FlashFloppy, an open source firmware for Gotek drives

Discussion about old PC hardware.

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
Monitor: Dell 20" 2007FPb
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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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