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!
FlashFloppy with a Rotary encoder
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!