SD Floppy Emulator

by snout on 23-11-2010, 20:57
Topic: Hardware

Many active MSX users around the wold have extended their MSX computers with SCSI or IDE harddisks, Compact Flash or SD/MMC interfaces. All of these storage devices offer more storage space, are much faster than floppy disks and are generally less prone to failure. There is only one downside, however, as these interfaces always come at the expense of one cartridge slot. Until recently.

Jean Francois Del Nero has developed an SD Floppy Emulator , which connects directly to the 34pin Floppy Drive cable that is fitted in many classic (personal) computers, including MSX. The device is capable of emulating two floppy disk drives, supports SDHC cards of up to 32GB, FAT32 and a multitude of different disk image formats. Disk images can be selected with three buttons (previous, select/eject, next) and information on the current selection is displayed on a 2x16 char LCD screen. As an added bonus, the hardware upgrade is small enough to actually replace an original disk drive, keeping your MSX as compact as possible.

The Polish hardware developer Lotharek offers the SD Floppy Emulator on his website for € 75,- He also offers a USB Floppy Emulator, which seems to offer functionality similar to the Nowind interface.

Relevant link: Lotharek SD Floppy Emulator

Comments (12)

By Huey

Prophet (2687)

Huey's picture

23-11-2010, 22:35

This looks very nice indeed.

But how well does it handle multiple disk and copy protections (bad sectors etc)?

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

23-11-2010, 22:37

Both should present no significant problems, as you can change disk images on-the-fly (with the three buttons) and various special disk formats are supported. It's likely that some protections will work, and others will not.

By RetroTechie

Paragon (1563)

RetroTechie's picture

24-11-2010, 05:41

Looks nice, especially for folks who are still using suitcases with 300+ floppies & can't get used to MSX-DOS 2, big partitions, navigating directories etc. At the same time, that would be a limitation of this interface: you'd work with a big pile of floppy-sized 'containers', not random-size directories that can be just a few small files, or multi-MB's in one dir. Oh and you need a floppy controller - nice way to do it on machines that have one, useless on machines that don't (unlike MMC/SD or CompactFlash interface that works fine on machines like NMS8220 or HB-F9P). Very big plus: transparent & could be used on multiple systems (MSX, Amiga, Atari ST, etc, etc). Seems worth the price if you have several of those.

Basically a different way of solving the "how to get rid of floppies" problem. With different=better Question depending on your setup & preferences.

By enribar

Paragon (1171)

enribar's picture

24-11-2010, 08:57

An Italian user already made experiments with it, and it works! Ask to Maurizio in msxitalia ML.
Bought it me too, awaiting its arrive.

By Hydlide

Master (171)

Hydlide's picture

24-11-2010, 10:09

My NMS8245 needs a replacement belt or new FDD, I may just skip that and use this SD interface. *click order*

By dioniso

Champion (479)

dioniso's picture

24-11-2010, 13:07

This piece of hardware ist just amazing. Since more than a year I have bought 5 units: 3 connected through the USB port, 2 with SD cards.

Now, two diskdrives can be emulated with just one HxC Floppy Emulator.

By the way: it wouldn't be fair to say Lotharek developed (as "creator") this hardware, since the creator of the hardware, firmware and software (gui to load/save/... disk images), not mentioned in the MRC news, is Jean Francois Del Nero.

By snout

Ascended (15187)

snout's picture

24-11-2010, 14:06

Thanks for all the extra information. I updated the news post a bit, so that it is more true to life. This device was all new to me and I think most of the visitors of MRC. We need more news submits! Smile

By cax

Prophet (3737)

cax's picture

24-11-2010, 17:15

I believe this device (made in 2006 by MRC friend tnt23, author of MSX-Link) should work too:

From the description page:
Emulates PC drives up to 800K - Atari ST, MSX, you name it

By Lord_Zett

Paladin (807)

Lord_Zett's picture

24-11-2010, 20:32

Great thing for a nice mod

By Robby

Master (211)

Robby's picture

25-11-2010, 13:45

@Cax: do you know if that floppy emulator is for sale too? I can't find it on his website, at least not a price i believe.


By cax

Prophet (3737)

cax's picture

27-11-2010, 13:45

Robby, you may contact tnt23 yourself by mail - I believe he still produces these floppy emulators for sale.

By SkalTura

Champion (353)

SkalTura's picture

20-11-2014, 08:07

I know it's a very old post, but is there anyone who knows how to make a software menu to control the HxC Floppy Emulator ? The documentation provided with the HxC Floppy Emulator doesn't mean anything to me, since I only programmed in the past in Basic and a bit of Pascal...