Datadrainer wrote on 2021-09-14, 14:02:
For me, a useful ODE would be very similar to what is possible to do with a Gotek/HxC FD with FlashFloppy.
I have the Tattiebogle ODE, and am happy to report on my experience with it so far. I also run a FlashFloppy Gotek. Let's take a look at your list.
* A 3.5" floppy drive form factor (adaptable to 5.25"bay with a mounting base)
Not at the moment, 5.25" is a possibility, but would need some 3d printing. Mine is split into two parts. First the ODE supports a Crystalfontz display, and that comes in 5.25" format, so it sits in the drivebay. The ODE has some screw mounting holes, but they do not seem to match up with any standard drive that I can see, not 3.5" or 2.5". What I did was grabbed a metal PCI-E expansion card designed to mount 2 x 2.5" SSDs. I drilled screw holes and inserted stand offs to mount the ODE. It sits in an expansion slot in the rear of the case and is linked to the Crystalfontz display by USB cable. Now, it SHOULD be possible for someone skilled in 3d printing to design a 5.25" bay solution that accepts both the display and the ODE, but I am not that person.
* An USB or SD card interface accessible from the front with exFAT support
Hmm. You'd have to cut a hole in the Crystalfontz display, or mount the USB interface in another drive bay. I just cut a hole in the back plate of my expansion card, mounted a USB port on that, and plugged it into the ODE. Have to (un)plug the USB key in the rear of the case, but it has not been too much of a hassle so far.
Have not tried DVD ROM images.
* Firmware update from the media
Yep. But you have to SSH into the ODE from another PC to run the commands. It would be better if the Crystalfontz interface supported firmware upgrading.
* An IDE interface [and SCSI2 interface] version
Yep [nope]. The IDE interface works fine. It is powered from MOLEX, and communicates over IDE. I am running it from the IDE port on a Soundblaster CT2290 at present.
* Analog [and S/PDIF] audio output for link to sound card
Yep [nope]. It has an analog 4 pin output. I just have a normal CDROM to Soundcard cable connecting it to the CT2290. Works fine. In testing I have made my own images of my audio CDs, which I throw on the USB stick, and can then play back in DOS.
* A screen and buttons+rotary encoder for easy navigation
The Crystalfontz display does this bit. It does not have a rotary encoder, so scrolling through a large batch of files is painful. I have to work on an efficient directory structure to cut that down. The display is fine as it stands, you get the playback time if using an audio CD image, for example.
* A firmware support of common image files (iso and cue+bin of course but also CloneCD (ccd+img+sub) and DT (mds+mdf))
ISO and CUE+BIN work fine. I think ccd/img/sub also work. Have not tried mds/mdf.
* A 100% compatibility with common DOS IDE driver (OAKCDROM.SYS, UDVD2.SYS, etc)
Oh boy. Getting this to work in DOS with a 486 was the work of 4-5 months. The developer is active debugging and very helpful. Some drivers work, some do not. I am using SBIDE, which is based on OAK IIRC. It works flawlessly for me now. Not tried UDVD2.SYS. I cannot get VIDE-CDD.SYS to work at all. Non-starter.
* A choice of bezel of different colors to match most machines
Crystalfontz has a number of options. Beige does not seem to be among them. I have a black one, which matches my black Gotek, but looks out of place in the otherwise beige 486 case.
All in all, I am quite happy with it now. My PII and Athlon machines had no trouble picking up the ODE in Win98 or XP. In fact I used it to install WIn98SE from a CD image. DOS and the 486 was a serious challenge, but it is now working. The main goal for me was being able to play multi-CD DOS games like 7th Guest which require CDROM changes mid game. It work fine for those.
The total cost is ... not wonderful news. I am in the UK, so had to get the Crystalfontz display shipped from the US, as well as the ODE. Add in the various cables, and the SDD expansion tray that I hacked into working, and you are looking at £250/$350 - something like that.
For me it truly now works like a Gotek but for CDROM images in DOS6.22, which is what I wanted. It is, however, far from a one drivebay form factor solution like the Gotek. Some clever engineering and 3d printing COULD resolve that though.