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Old 15 April 2019, 09:01   #1
vroom6sri
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Thumbs up Is a CD emulator possible/viable/already available?

After receiving help from various people in getting my Gotek FlashFloppy emulator working I started thinking that it’d be an even better way of getting data from pc to Amiga if only the adf images could be bigger. I then thought that the size of a cd would be pretty awesome for copying large amounts of data in one or several goes. Does a cd emulator exist for real
Amigas already? I couldn’t find anything with a search on here.
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Old 15 April 2019, 09:17   #2
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You'd need some kind of interface, so why not an IDE interface. You'd need some kind of memory card, so why not a CF or SD card connected to the IDE interface?
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Old 15 April 2019, 09:44   #3
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Would I be right in thinking that the Amiga can support 2 devices connected via IDE? If so that’d still allow for a CF card hard drive and a CF card or SD card CD drive emulator so that would (in the simplest, theoretical, I-don’t-have-a-technical-clue way) work couldn’t it?
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Old 15 April 2019, 09:48   #4
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Yeps. With a suitable expansion, it can even be split into a four device bus.

Some CF cards do not like having a slave present, some CF cards don't like being a slave device.
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Old 15 April 2019, 13:45   #5
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I see. Has this been discussed before or does anyone know if any of the tech gurus on here have mentioned such an adapter previously. I find the idea of an emulated CD ROM drive pretty neat. I suppose if you could create an ISO on your PC (in a compatible format if that is an issue) and copy large files onto it it'd be a good way to get data from PC to Amiga as well as giving you a near-as-damn-it true CD ROM (and CD32 to some extent?) experience.

In the past I have managed to get my CF card from my Amiga working on my PC via WinUAE but in my case it's a bit of a faff and has, on occasion, screwed up the CF card meaning I have had to copy nearly the whole drive contents back on it from a back-up image (WinUAE is so damned good - bless you, Toni!).
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Old 15 April 2019, 13:50   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vroom6sri View Post
I see. Has this been discussed before or does anyone know if any of the tech gurus on here have mentioned such an adapter previously. I find the idea of an emulated CD ROM drive pretty neat. I suppose if you could create an ISO on your PC (in a compatible format if that is an issue) and copy large files onto it it'd be a good way to get data from PC to Amiga as well as giving you a near-as-damn-it true CD ROM (and CD32 to some extent?) experience.

In the past I have managed to get my CF card from my Amiga working on my PC via WinUAE but in my case it's a bit of a faff and has, on occasion, screwed up the CF card meaning I have had to copy nearly the whole drive contents back on it from a back-up image (WinUAE is so damned good - bless you, Toni!).

Apart from CDDA, you can use the CD32 Emu from the CD32 devkit. You can point it to an ISO and when mounted you can access ISO.
I was playing around with it, before installing real DVD-RW drive. It does work, you just have to edit mount script to alter ISO.
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Old 15 April 2019, 14:09   #7
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In the past I have managed to get my CF card from my Amiga working on my PC via WinUAE but in my case it's a bit of a faff and has, on occasion, screwed up the CF card meaning I have had to copy nearly the whole drive contents back on it from a back-up image ).
Can this be avoided, can you clone your CF with "USB Image Tools" or other software, on File images or on another CF, and then mount one of these on WinUAE?

Regarding the ISO mounting on the AmigaOS side you can use "DiskImageGui" "or ImageMount"

http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=94982
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Old 15 April 2019, 15:41   #8
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That's interesting, guys. But wouldn't you still have the challenge of getting the ISO image over to the Amiga. If you had a CD ROM equivalent of the GOTEK where you could just plug in a USB stick or CF/SD card and select ISO images in the same way as with the GOTEK you would have a pretty easy-to-use device which could be quite neat for an (emulated) Amiga CD ROM experience.
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Old 15 April 2019, 17:41   #9
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Hardware "Optical Drive Emulators" (ODEs) are possible, but in other hobby communities (e.g. Playstation, Sega Saturn/Dreamcast), they have been very long in the making. They're nowhere near as mature as say, the HxC/Gotek which has been mature for years now.

also my impression is that you can't just emulate a one-size-fits-all raw CD format for every device, you have to design a separately new ODE for each computer/console. I may just be misunderstanding that, though. Maybe that's only an issue on consoles, since those machines don't use an IDE bus.

Since CD-Rs are a lot easier to produce than cartridges/floppies, and the hardware is only just now becoming old enough for the "nostalgia wave" to incentivize engineers to make them, not to mention the fact that you can use a software emulation instead of hardware (and that's how we've done it on PCs for years and years) so long as you have enough RAM, I think that we are probably at least a few years off from a hardware solution.
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Old 15 April 2019, 18:44   #10
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Goteks are great devices. I can see the merit in an CD emulator for sure along these lines. For me right now, on my A1200 I use a PCMCIA Compact Flash adaptor. It can be a bit fussy about which Compact Flash cards it likes but I have a 256mb card which can carry over a lot files from my PC to the Amiga in one go and meets my needs.
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Old 15 April 2019, 23:18   #11
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Interesting notes, guys.

Embarrassingly I had forgotten that I had acquired a PCMCIA CF card adaptor and had been meaning to try it out with a couple of CF cards that I have spare (30MB and 4GB I think) so I will give that a go now. That would certainly be a great solution for me but are CF cards hot swapable in the PCMCIA adaptors or must the system be shut down before removing / inserting the CF card (or the PCMCIA adaptor for that matter)?
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Old 16 April 2019, 09:21   #12
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I don't get why there has to be an iso involved though. Why not just copy the files to the card and access them directly?

If you wish to mount disk images, there are loopback drivers for this on aminet. http://aminet.net/package/disk/misc/diskimage this one worked the best for me
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Old 16 April 2019, 10:48   #13
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I'm not sure why this should be solved in hardware...

Once you have a modern machine that can load device drivers and applications access it through that (read: not a console...) this is far easier to sort just in full software.

So what does such a hardware approach even bring at that point?
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Old 16 April 2019, 12:54   #14
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So what does such a hardware approach even bring at that point?
Provided that it is a generic "IDE device emulator" and not specifically "CD-drive emulator", it would give the same advantages that using disk images have on FPGA systems:

* "infinite" storage space, even when the OS and system lacks support or/and resources (RAM) for large storage
* easy to backup of disk and CD image files
* easy to maintain multiple installations and configurations etc.
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Old 16 April 2019, 13:58   #15
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That would certainly be a great solution for me but are CF cards hot swapable in the PCMCIA adaptors or must the system be shut down before removing / inserting the CF card (or the PCMCIA adaptor for that matter)?

Yes they are hot swapable. At least mine is. For A1200/A600 this is an easy way to move files between your PC and Amiga. Keep in mind to use the Lha utility when you need to retain protection bits etc when copying from the Amiga e.g. doing a full backup of your system to the pcmcia CF-card.

For A500 (no pcmcia slot) you now have Accelerator cards (such as the Wicher 500i and TF534) with spi interfaces which means you can use SD cards with your A500 or even spi->eth. Of course moving files over the network (ftp) is also an option e.g. pcmcia->eth-adapter or on A500 Plipbox but speed isn't that great.
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Old 16 April 2019, 14:04   #16
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When my USB DVD-Drive died on me AGAIN a couple weeks back (man these things are utter junk!) I was thinking almost exactly the same thing, but not quite because of the fact I was thinking USB.

But I was thinking that instead of a USB optical drive it feels like by now we should be able to have something akin to a USB stick that you select which ISO will be the active one. Basically a writeable CD Jukebox on USB. Obviously not really useful for the majority of Amiga or other retro systems.

I never got round to looking to see if such a thing existed but I imagine if it did I'd have come across it somewhere.
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Old 16 April 2019, 16:16   #17
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I never got round to looking to see if such a thing existed but I imagine if it did I'd have come across it somewhere.
https://pi.gbaman.info/?p=699

Quote:
So what can it do?

Using the Linux USB Gadget modules, we can get the Pi Zero to emulate a whole host of USB devices including

Virtual Serial – So can get a serial connection into the Pi, similar to using the UART pins. You can use Putty (on Windows) or Screen (on Mac and Linux).
Virtual Ethernet – You can get your Pi Zero to appear as a USB Ethernet modem. With a little configuration, you can then get full SSH, VNC, FTP etc.
Mass storage device – You can get the Pi Zero to appear as a flash drive, allowing you to for example, copy files over and have the Pi run these files (useful for robotics for example)
Virtual MIDI – The Pi Zero could appear as a virtual MIDI instrument.
Virtual Audio – The Pi Zero could appear as a virtual headphone output or microphone input.
Virtual Human Interface Device (HID) – The Pi Zero could appear as a virtual HID, for example a keyboard or mouse. So when you plug it into your computer, it could start typing!
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Old 16 April 2019, 18:19   #18
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Close but not really what I had in mind. Let's face it, if I want a USB mass storage device I have plenty of them kicking about. I don't need to emulate one with a Raspberry Pi. As an aside I'm not entirely sure why anyone would need to do that. I guess because they can and a £4 PI is usually cheaper than a USB stick

I mean more like a USB stick that behaves like a Gotek for CD ISO's with a button to click to select which one is active. Would need to be quite a large capacity drive to be of much use. Hence why I said that this was similar to the original requirement of a virtual optical drive on IDE, just that I was thinking of USB so I could boot my PC from it. Also, I could stick it into an Amiga with USB and select the OS3.9 CD, or some game CD or whatever.
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Old 16 April 2019, 21:01   #19
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My pcmcia cf card reader is working perfectly. What a great solution for files transferring especially as you've said they are hot swapable.

When I originally stated this post I was literally thinking of a CD-ROM equivalent of the gotek floppy drive emulator. Like said above is be similar to a CD Jukebox! Having the ISO files on a USB stick so you wouldn't have to take up space on your hard drive. Now knowing about the cf card reader option about pcmcia negates the need for using it as a way of transferring files via an ISO image but that could still be an option for those who don't have one of those. That'd make it a helpful gizmo for a few users is think.

Of course I have no technical expertise to offer so I'll just focus my energy on wishful thinking.
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Old 25 April 2019, 17:34   #20
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There are optical drive emulators available for various consoles that emulate at the hardware layer, but none that I know of for generic SATA/ATAPI/IDE interfaces.

There *ARE* optical drive emulators that present as USB CD/DVD drives though. Here is an example from Startech, there's also a Zalman-branded one.

https://www.startech.com/support/S2510BU3ISO

Obviously this does no good if you're trying to stick it in your CD32 or whatever.
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