TFE is an SD/MMC floppy drive emulator for old computers that I have developed. It connects to the floppy drive port of the host computer and behaves like a real floppy drive, except that the data comes from the SD/MMC card instead of real media. It is quite similar to existing projects such as HxC Standalone or SDiskEmul.
The video below shows the previous version (Revision B) of TFE in operation. Revision B has a different, double-sided PCB layout, a DB15 connector, and no buzzer. Otherwise, it is functionally identical to Revision C.
We love old computers but floppies can be a nuisance. They are error-prone, they take up a lot of space, and nowadays they are becoming more and more difficult to get. TFE was created to enable usage of SD Card media instead of floppy disks to alleviate these problems to a certain extent.
- Read access for AMIGA, ATARI ST and CPC computers is supported. Standard IDC 34-pin floppy connector. Other computers with WD1772 or UPD765 controllers may work, but have not been tested.
- Atmega32-based, low parts count, single-sided PCB, easy to build (no SMD).
- Uses own disk image format for emulation. Standard Floppy disk images (ADF, DSK, etc.) are converted to the TFE format by using converter utilities on the PC.
- Can co-exist with other floppy drives on the same bus.
- FAT32 (defragmented) and long file name support for the SD Card. Firmware updates can be made through SD Card.
- Composite video output and joystick port for the user interface, and buzzer for emulating head stepping ticks.
Known Problems and Limitations
- Write access is not supported.
- Video output is disabled when floppy emulation is active.
- SD Card FAT32 file system must be defragmented, and subdirectories are not supported. SD Card-related limitations may be removed in a future firmware release.
How to use
TFE is connected to the host computer using the standard 34-pin floppy connector. If necessary, the SEL line must be adjusted using the jumpers on TFE board to determine the drive ID. TFE composite video output may be connected to a monitor or a TV. TFE must be powered using the connector on board (9V to 12V DC, positive inside). Convert the images you would like to use to .TFE files using the appropriate conversion utility, and copy the .TFE files to a FAT32-formatted SD card.
To be able to switch between host computer video output and TFE output, a monitor with multiple inputs, or a cheap SCART switch can be used. To workaround the problem of defragmented filesystem, you can “quick format” the SD card right before copying the files to it.
- Amiga .ADF: Very good, I have never encountered any problems with any of the images I’ve tested.
- Amiga .IPF: Not supported.
- Amstrad CPC .DSK: With standard images, compatibility is very good . With copy-protected images, compatibility is somewhat low, but improvements are being made.
- Atari ST .MSA/.ST: Very good, I have never encountered any problems with any of the images I’ve tested.
Any existing compatibility issues may be addressed by future updates to conversion utilities.
To be available soon.
Detailed technical information including schematics can be found here (not complete yet).
This information here is provided AS IS without any express or implied warranties. While every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this text, the author assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein. I will not be held responsible for any damages or costs which might occur as a result of anything related to TFE. You are not allowed to use information contained in these pages for commercial purposes without my written authorization.