Quick Question about Apple IIGS using Floppy EMU and ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo

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Quick Question about Apple IIGS using Floppy EMU and ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo

Hi everyone,

I'm brand new to the Apple II and vintage computer community (unless you count mechanical calculators). I have a question about some add-ons for the Apple IIGS (although the add-ons work for other II models). I have a Floppy EMU model C for running Apple IIGS and emulating floppy drives. I quite like the device but I would like to have a mass storage device like the ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo in my Apple IIGS to boot into GS/OS and store images.

My question is this, if I get the ReActiveMicro Drive/Turbo in my IIGS, would I be able to use the Floppy emu to transfer 3.5" and 5.23" floppy disk images into the hard disk format of the Drive/Turbo?

I do not like the idea of opening the case and removing the compact flash every time I want to add software. I am concerned that it will be impossible to transfer the disk images from the floppy emu to the Drive/Turbo hard drive, but I simply do not know enough about how they operate together. I could get an Uthernet and transfer files from PC, but I already have the floppy emu and would prefer that route.

Thank you for any help!

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To transfer the disk images

To transfer the disk images to a HDD? Most certainly not.

 

You can mount them (e.g., as normal disks in GS/OS), one at a time, and copy their contents to the HDD, but you cannot access the entire SD card at one time and copy raw .po, .nyb, .dsk , &c. files.

 

To accomplish this, you will need to make a custom disk image using software like this:

https://applecommander.github.io/

https://a2ciderpress.com/features.htm

 

Place the files that you want on the Apple II (as disk images on a //gs HDD), into a custom .po volume, and mount that volume as a smartport HDD. 

 

If your goal is to get .bxy or .shk images over to the system, that software can convert them on your modern machine, into .po disks, that you can then turn into real disks on the //gs, or otherwise mount and access on the //gs with your Floppy Emu. 

 

 

 

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Great, thank you for the

Great, thank you for the information! This is what I needed to know.

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Steven Carpenter wrote:Great,
Steven Carpenter wrote:

Great, thank you for the information! This is what I needed to know.

 

Not a problem, at all. I own the Floppy Emu as well. I use it to remaster old disks, and to do installations of GS/OS and utilities.  I have also used it to boot classic Macs and so forth. 

 

One thing that you need to keep in mind, is that it can only run in one mode at a time, and changing modes requires fully power-cycling your /gs. This means that if you have software on 3.5 disk format and software on 5.25 format that you want to access at the same time, that you should make actual disks of one, the other, or both. 

 

i do not know if you have your unit in a case, or not, but you should be very careful when using it that you do not expose any of the components to ESD, nor allow them to short (e.g. on metal surfaces). 

 

It is also very easy to accidentally disconnect the cables if you move it around; and if this occurs, do not reconnect it with the //gs powr on. Never attach it, nor intentionally remove it from the GS (or a drive chain) while the system is under power. Further, the disk format that you want to run is determined by any devices in the smartport chain before and after the Floppy Emu. 

 

I generally plug the F|loppy Emu into the back of a 3.5 drive, then chain a 5.25 drive behind it. This allows me to power off the system, and change the drive emulation mode without fussing with cables. 

 

If you assembled the case for it, please tell me if the little buttons give you trouble. I had to loosen the side of the case with the disk select and eject buttons, because when fully clamped, they didn't release; but because of this, they can become unaligned, so I left one side off the case in the end to allow me to put a probe inside to nudge them back over the contact switches. I hope this is a fault of the acrylic case that I received, and not a general flaw, but it's something to consider. 

 

I hope that, in the future, there is a Mk2 version of that case, with keyed slots for the buttons, and the LED pegs. I have considered taking a spare case from a DuoDisk and hacking it all inside, particularly to ensure it is all protected from ESD, but I don't have a 3D printer at present in order to fabricate custom buttons to make that work, and then I would not be able to use it on a Mac easily, as some of my accessories explicitely state not to use them on a Mac drive port, and they'd all be fitted inside the DuoDisk case. 

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I too had issues with the

I too had issues with the buttons sticking and depressing the switch,

But a little precision filing brought them into the proper position and function.

I remember there being extras with the kit. (mine had a couple extras)

Worked out OK though.

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macnoyd wrote:I too had
macnoyd wrote:

I too had issues with the buttons sticking and depressing the switch,

But a little precision filing brought them into the proper position and function.

I remember there being extras with the kit. (mine had a couple extras)

Worked out OK though.

 

Ah,well, I use it primarily to create master disketes on real media. If i reinvent the wheel, I would probably start with a kit that has no case, and create my own full enclosure. 

 

The issue with the buttons isn't that they 'stick', it is that the case  pressure required to hold down that one side panel and to keep the buttons from being feed is too high to allow them to actuate. I also use the disk clicker and the daisy0chainer, so, I end up with this bundle of cbles and boards that is all-too-exposed to ESD and chorting--all of my sstems are on metal racking. That is why I would build it all into a DuoDisk (or ProFile) case, as this would protect it from both, but I would need to bount it, remove the SMD buttons and leds, and wire them up to momentary switches and LEDs on the custom enclosure. 

 

I have me hands full at present, and ordering a second Floppy Emu jus to do this is a resource expense that I canno ustify at present, but in time, I may do it. 

 

Overall, I am quite satisfied with the product itself, but the enclosure needs rethinking, and there exist no enclosures for its accessories. (That is what poses the greatest risk, here.)

 

I still haven;t gotten it to boot a .po volume as a smartport HDD, though, despite follwing the instructions,which is why I did not atemt to offer guidance on that  matter.

 

The only other issue that I take, is that the filenamedisplay doesn't pan to show the entire filename when you select, or load it. It is truncated, which can lead to issues of not knowing what disk image is loaded when you have long filenames. I would think that this issue could be rectified with a reasonably small firmware patch, but I haven't brought it up. 

 

 

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Thanks for the additional

Thanks for the additional warnings about use the floppy emu, I will be sure to be careful.

I have experience the exact same problem with the acrylic case, however the screws are tight enough to hold it but any more tightening ruins button functionality.

I also have the same problem booting a .PO volume at a smartport HHD, I am glad I am not the only one. I get an error when I try to do this.

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Steven Carpenter wrote:Thanks
Steven Carpenter wrote:

Thanks for the additional warnings about use the floppy emu, I will be sure to be careful.

I have experience the exact same problem with the acrylic case, however the screws are tight enough to hold it but any more tightening ruins button functionality.

I also have the same problem booting a .PO volume at a smartport HHD, I am glad I am not the only one. I get an error when I try to

 

This last bit is what concerns me the most. We need more information on what the process is for booting it in SmartPort HDD mode, if anyone has been able to do this. I tried to use the images distributed with GS/OS 6.0.3 and 6.0.4, and neither worked. The 2.0 manual states:

 

On the Apple IIgs under GS/OS 6.0.1, however, it's possible to boot from a 32 MB ProDOS volume

 

This is at odds with what I have experienced.

 

What I did, was to copy the image to the SD card root, change its name to smart0.po. It didn't boot, so, perhaps there is a firmware bug? The manual is for v2 of the device, not v3, so if something changed in this regard, then IDK what it is. Perhaps it now doesn't support ProDOS 16 properly in that mode?

 

What image did you use, and did you also name it smart0.po?

 

I'll need to email BOWM on this one, and see if I am just doing something wrongly. 

 

BOMW shows that new cases are arriving in June. I have me fingers crossed that they've been updated. Those pieces are laser-cut, so perhaps if we have the layout files we could make an alternative case; or someone could make a 3D printed model instead, in the future. 

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I was able today to boot a

I was able today to boot a System 6.0.1 HDD image via the Floppy Emu. To do this, I disconnected everything else in the drive chain on the //gs SmartPort, but it did boot. It's possible that having other devices in the chain on the FE DaisyChainer is what stops it from working.

Note that I only have one smartport HDD volume in the root path of my FE SD card. I can of course add other drives on my 3.5 card and those work fine, but chaining a 3.5 drive and a 5.25 drive behind the FE in SmartPort mode seems to be an issue.

 

Ah, 3.5 inch drives must go first in the chain, then Smartport/Unidisk drives, and finally 5.25 inch drives. according to the Rev C manual, so this could be my fault. I placed the FE first in the chain, then a 3.5 drive, then two 5.25 drives. IDR if this is a system limitation, but I am unsure how to hotboot to drive '2' in any slot here. I can load ProDOS 8 easily, but booting GS/OS from there is a bit of a problem as it needs to load ProDOS-16 to work. 

 

Perhaps I can create a minimal ProDOS-16 disk and make this work somehow, but bear in mind that this isn't why I bought the FE, so this is all experimental (and potentially dangerous), purely for the sake of discovery.

 

I'll contact BOMW about this if I can't sort it, and see what the official word is on it, later this week.

 

Right, so, the answer is a bit odd, as I discovered. because the Floppy Emu must be after 3.5 drives on the smartport and before 5.25 drives, if you create a chain like this:

 

Smartport->3.5 Drive->Floppy EMu (Smartport Mode)->5.25 Drive 1->5.25 Drive 2

 

You can't boot the smartport HDD, because it is logically assigned as S5, D2. By removing the 3.5 drive from that chain, with:

 

Smartport->Floppy Emu->5.25 Drive, 5.25 Drive, I get it to boot. because I have an Apple 3.5 'SuperDrive' card in slot 7, I have two 3.5 HD drives, two 5.25 drives, and the Floppy Emu all available. This probably will not be much help to anyone who needs 3.5 drives, an emulated HDD on their smartport, and lacks either a LIRON card or a 3.5 drive card, but that's what you need.

 

If you have a LIRON card, you can likely slot that into slot 7 on your //gs and boot from the Floppy Emu. Basically, you need either an Apple Superdrive controller or a LIROn controller in a slot in order to have the Floppy Emu in HDD mode, plus real 3.5 drives attached. 

 

I will still contact BOWM about this, and point them to this thread. If I am wrong, or the manual is wrong, then, my apolgies. 

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Ah yes. The chaining process

Ah yes. The chaining process can get quite complex. Thank you for the additional info, I'll have to do some more investigating to get mine working correctly.

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