This Commodore Amiga 600 project has a few tricks up its sleeve, this unit has a ROM switcher with 3 ROMS installed and are switched by simple holding down the CTRL – A – A for around 3 seconds, a beep is heard when the ROM is switched. So you can switch between 1.3, 2.04 and 3.1, in fact it has 8 slots so you can have further ones added!
Features of the ROM switcher:
Compatible with A500 (Rev 6+), A500 Plus, A600
Long reset (C-A-A) switches between 2-8 Amiga ROM images
3.5″ Floppy drives are great, there is nothing like putting a Floppy disk in the Amiga floppy drive and hearing it start reading the disk and waiting in anticipation for either that game, demo or application to load, the sound is very nostalgic!
However more and more floppy disks failing having been stuck in in an attic, garage or shed. You could clean them up but it does not always last. And what for the people who just want to access a load of games, demos or applications easily without having to mess around transferring ADF to floppy disks? Well the Gotek drive is what you need!
What is a Gotek Drive?
A Gotek drive is a USB Floppy emulator in simple terms replaces your current internal Amiga 500,600,1200,1000,2000,3000,4000 floppy drive with a unit that has a USB slot and a 3 digit display like below. However the Gotek drive is not limited to Amiga, it was originally for sewing/embroidery machines, Music sequencers and other computers like the Atari ST, Amstrad, Spectrum, MSX, Oric etc..
However you can’t simply buy a plain Gotek drive, plug it in and it will work, it needs the correct firmware installed that allows it to be seen by an Amiga as an Amiga floppy drive and there are a few out there designed to work with multiple computers for example HxC Floppy Emulator which works with multiple computers and there is another specifically for the Amiga called Cotex Amiga Floppy Emulator which was released in 2014 and does a good job but I don’t believe in active development so what is another good alternative?
FlashFloppy by Keir Fraser is my personal preference and is the one I install on the Goteks avilable on the site. FlashFloppy is designed not only for the Commodore Amiga but also for the Atari ST, Spectrum, Acorn and a multitude of other computers, it’s in active development and is being updated regularly.
But to focus on the Amiga, Flashfloppy can be flashed on Gotek with a 3 digit display and then you simply put your ADF files on a USB stick and you press the up and down buttons on the Gotek to select an ADF file.
What are ADF files?
ADF stands for Amiga Disk File and is a disk image of an original Amiga floppy disk in a file format. ADf files can be found by simply searching the internet, also many new games that are being released in ADF format to either put back on a real floppy disk, be used in your favorite Amiga Emulator or put on a USB stick and plug that in to your Gotek.
Using a Gotek drive with FlashFloppy
Flashfloppy can be installed on a standard Gotek with a 3 digit display and it will work great, however the Gotek drive can support different mods that will either make it easier to load ADF files, display more information, traverse directories, or even sound like a real floppy drive loading! Below are the different mods you can be added
FlashFloppy and an OLED display
This is a great and very simple mod where you can add an OLED display, the OLED display were originally sold for Arduino projects and the ones which work out of the box are the 0.91″ with a 128×32 display with the i2C interface and when put in a 3D printed mount this will fit in an Amiga without the need to cut the Amiga case!
The great thing about using an OLED display you can easily traverse directories by simply pressing the up and down buttons, find the directory you wish to enter and pause and after a couple of seconds it will enter that directory, to exit you again press the up or down buttons until you see a .. and wait again and it will go up a level, works great!
Want a difference way to traverse directories and select different ADF files? The rotary encoder allows you to select different ADF files by simply rotating the knob clockwise or anticlockwise and to enter a directory you simply press the rotary knob as that is a button in itself, very cleaver!
FlashFloppy with a Speaker
If you like me and love to hear a sound a floppy loading then you can add this simple mod to add a small piezo speaker to the Gotek drive and when a ADF is loading you will hear it loading in all its glory!
Can I use a Gotek drive as an external drive?
Yes you can, you can get adaptors that will connect to the external floppy drive port on the Amiga and the connector for a Floppy cable and power lead to connect to a Gotek. However many commercial games will not boot from DF1 as they are hard-coded to boot from DF0 (internal drive) this was so the software has direct control over the floppy motor etc…
Amiga 500 DF0/DF1 switcher
For the Amiga 500/500Plus you can get a DF0/DF1 switcher that allows you to switch between making the internal drive (DF0) to become External (DF1) and this then makes the external drive DF0.
Amiga 600 DF0/DF1 switcher
Currently there is no of the shelf switcher as it requires a cut of a couple of copper tracks on the Amiga motherboard however I plan to offer this service in the near future.
If you have any questions regarding the Goteks I offer please by all means send me a message!
Installing AmigaOS 3.1.4 is pretty easy, especially if you have a large CF card ( > 4Gb), so in this guide I installed from scratch, Amiga OS 3.1.4 to a Sandisk 16Gb CF Card on an Amiga 500 Plus with 2Mb Chipram with an ACA500Plus. I have also installed an ACA1221EC, however this has no bearing on installing 3.1.4 and is not required or needed.
For this guide you will need:
An Amiga with a 3.1.4 kickstart.
Have purchased AmigaOS 3.1.4, you can do so from Hyperion here.
Downloaded 3.1.4 Zip package and unpacked the files.
Mount the ADF files either to a Gotek or transfered ADF’s to Floppy disks (6 disks required but I used a Gotek)
A CF card (any size even above 4Gb!) I’m using a 16Gb Sandisk CF Card.
First Steps – ACA500Plus updates.
I do recommended that you upgrade your ACA500Plus Menu System (currently v0.127 Oct 2018). To do this:
Once downloaded, unzip it on to a CF card, one that can be used in the AUX slot of your ACA500Plus.
Once complete Insert the CF card into the AUX slot of your ACA500Plus, then launch the ACA500Plus menu.
Press F8 and then F to launch the flash updater.
The Amiga will boot into Shell and read the ADF file on the AUX CF card.
Follow the instructions on screen to install the update.
*The unpacked file is an ADF image that can also be written to a floppy disk. You will only need to do this if the flash ROM has been garbled – in that case, the bootable floppy will serve as a recovery-disk.
Preparing your AmigaOS 3.1.4 ADF files.
You have 2 options, you can go old skool and transfer the ADF files to real floppy disks (6 required) using an Amiga, there are a few programs out there that can do this, for example, TSGui and Xcopy or you could use a Gotek drive and slot in each ADF file, again 6 slots required. I personally used a Gotek drive.
First disk – AmigaOS Install 3.1.4.
Ok lets start, insert the disk or choose the slot that has the disk Install 3.1.4
Using HDTools to prepare the CF Card
First we need to prepare or CF Card and you can do that via HDTools which is in Install3.1.4 -HDTools – HDToolBox.
Select Change Drive Type then select Define New… now select Read Configuration (click Continue). You will see once complete it will correctly identify your CF Card. Mine as you can see is a 16Gb Sandisk :-).
Press OK and OK again at the next screen, you will then be asked “Are you sure you want to change the drive type for the current drive?” simply press Continue.
Partitioning your CF Card (SD or even an SSD HDD)
Unlike before you had to patch your scsi.device so it can see CF, SD card or even SSD HDD above 4Gb and then you had to use a different file system other than FFS (Fast File System) for something like PFS3 AIO (Professional File System 3 All in One) which is my personal choice or another choice is SFS (Smart File System). AmigaOS 3.1.4 however negates all of that and you can at your leisure partition your CF card without going that extra mile.
To partition your CF card simply click on Partition Drive, from here you can choose your partition sizes how you wish. For me I did a 643mb for workbench (just a random small size), a 4Gb partition and lastly a 10Gb partition, all were created without any issue.
Once you have created your partitions, and given them a Partition Device Name (for example DH0, DH1, DH2…) don’t forget to set your first partition as Bootable. Once complete press OK and then make sure you click Save Changes to Drive and then reboot.
Once rebooted you will see your newly created partitions which are ready to be formatted and named how you wish like below.
Hang on, what about the MaxTransfer?
Before AmigaOS 3.1.4 it was recommended that the MaxTransfer was set to 0xFE00 however the the official line from Hyperion is that there is no need to make any changes to the MaxTransfer within 3.1.4 however they mention there are no guarantees for third-party interface firmware. So I leave it to you to decide, for me personall and call it a habit I set mine to 0xFE00.
Installing AmigaOS 3.1.4
Boot up the Install 3.1.4 disk and then open the disk and then open the Install folder and choose your language. you will then be presented with the first screen as below.
You will have a choice to Install Release 3.1.4 or update Languages, because this is the first install you would choose Install Release 3.1.4. The Update Languages option allows you to modify the languages are avilable within AmigaOS 3.1.4 after it has been installed.
You can choose what installation mode you would like, If your unsure choose Novice User, if your a seasoned Amiga user crack on with Expert User (there will be nothing taxing if you choose Expert User) and then click on Proceed with Install.
Depending on which option you choose (Novice, Intermediate or Expert) and all being good you will see this the final screen. Eject the Install 3.1.4 disk/ADF and then click Proceed . This will reboot your Amiga.
All being good after a reboot you will have a clean install of AmigaOS 3.1.4 with large partitions to enjoy!!