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hardware Classic   hardware Classic : New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for preorder!
   posted by strim on 28-Feb-2015 0:21:14 (7898 reads)
New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for preorder at RetroAmi shop! The drives are manufactured by Sakura company, which previously has successfully completed the project of PCMCIA SRAM expansions.

The drives are compatible with all classic Amiga models equipped with external disk drive connector. The only version available in preorder will be shipped with PC drive mechanism, but behave exactly as original Amiga-style 880kB DD disk drives (thanks to flexibility of the interface board).

This picture shows a prototype. Final version will be painted black and have minor case corrections.

The price in preorder is 195 PLN (around $53). Note that after preorder ends, the price will increase. The drives are covered by 24-months warranty and will be shipped to users late April.
    

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PosterThread
Trekiej 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 2:44:43
#1 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 17-Oct-2006
Posts: 709
From: Unknown

Thanks for the info.
It looks good.


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Hypex 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 4:01:07
#2 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 6-May-2007
Posts: 9727
From: Greensborough, Australia

Can it support 1.76MB Amiga floppies and 1.44MB PC floppies?

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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 8:23:51
#3 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

1.76MB Amiga floppies are supported out of the box, there's an appropriate jumper for this.

However, unmodified 1.44MB PC floppies can only work as 880kB DD Amiga floppies. You need to do a special mod to PC floppy for it to work as 1.76MB Amiga floppy.

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itix 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 11:22:19
#4 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Dec-2004
Posts: 3398
From: Freedom world

@Trekiej

No it looks ugly. Despite of its uglyness I think I have to order one for my Amiga 500. Playing old games with single floppy drive is not fun... :D

Ehm... 47 EUR per unit is also quite steep.

I wonder if you can chain more than one external drive with this?

Last edited by itix on 28-Feb-2015 at 11:28 AM.
Last edited by itix on 28-Feb-2015 at 11:24 AM.


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A1200 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 12:17:08
#5 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 5-May-2003
Posts: 2976
From: Westhall, UK

@itix

If you don't like the look, go for a used on on eBay.


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Minuous 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 12:27:35
#6 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-Oct-2004
Posts: 319
From: Unknown

$US53 for a DD floppy drive!? What a rip off. Why not HD at least?

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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 12:55:46
#7 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

Well, the picture shows a prototype case that is not even painted. I'll upload the final case pictures as soon possible. It will look much nicer when professionally painted black.

The drive can be chained if it is the last drive in a chain (it does not offer passthrough).

Regarding various complaints about price. It's not cheap to make a high quality metal case in low volumes, producing the interface board costs a bit too, and the prices of new DB23 connectors are insane. I guess no one is taking that into account. The floppy drive itself is one of cheaper components. And since we're a legally running company we still have to pay the taxes etc. We worked hard to keep the price as low as possible.

If we wanted to include modded HD drives, the price would rise to the point where no one would want to buy it. The case and interface board is ready to install one, if the user obtains the HD drive himself.

Last edited by strim on 28-Feb-2015 at 01:01 PM.
Last edited by strim on 28-Feb-2015 at 12:59 PM.
Last edited by strim on 28-Feb-2015 at 12:56 PM.

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Minuous 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 13:52:37
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-Oct-2004
Posts: 319
From: Unknown

>The drive can be chained if it is the last drive in a chain (it does not offer passthrough).

What a piece of junk. Every Amiga floppy drive I ever saw had passthrough. The unit is huge and ugly too, the floppy drive I bought back in the 1980s was smaller than this.

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danwood 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 15:42:25
#9 ]
Super Member
Joined: 30-Sep-2008
Posts: 1058
From: Unknown

Quote:
Every Amiga floppy drive I ever saw had passthrough.


Commodore's official drives didn't.

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Minuous 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 16:30:39
#10 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 30-Oct-2004
Posts: 319
From: Unknown

@danwood:

Well, every third-party drive.

The Commodore ones were overpriced/oversized/underfeatured too, hence the existence of the third-party drives in the first place.

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Overflow 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 17:36:33
#11 ]
Super Member
Joined: 12-Jun-2012
Posts: 1620
From: Norway

Well, atleast they present us with an option. Dont like it, buy other brands.

As for looks, I actually like it, so there is no accounting for taste ;)

Last edited by Overflow on 28-Feb-2015 at 05:37 PM.

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soren_ladegaard 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 18:57:33
#12 ]
Member
Joined: 30-Mar-2005
Posts: 18
From: Unknown

Great product And great price too. Thanks for supporting the community.

Any chance of an internal drive?

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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 28-Feb-2015 19:32:36
#13 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

Sorry to say that, but internal drive would be a totally separate project (can't reuse the same interface as is), and we are not planning it right now. We have a few other projects in the pipeline now.

By the way, if anyone had problems preordering, shop issues are apparently fixed now. Just try again.

Last edited by strim on 28-Feb-2015 at 07:35 PM.

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amigadave 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 1-Mar-2015 0:02:57
#14 ]
Team Member
Joined: 18-Jul-2005
Posts: 1567
From: Lake Shastina, Northern Calif.

Congrats on the completion of your project and thanks for the efforts. I am always happy to see new gear for the original Amiga computer created, as there are still so many of us who still enjoy turning them on and using them to run old games, or productivity software.

I really don't understand the negative comments of some members here?

It does not look large to me, just slightly larger than the drive front plate itself, so I don't see how it could be much smaller. As for Commodore external floppy drives not having a passthrough, I have 2 or 3 upstairs daisy-chained together and connected to my A1000 and they are all Commodore floppy drives (1010's I think), so they definitely DO have passthrough's.

I would think that it would not be too difficult for the makers of this product to make a different model available with a passthrough, but that would likely increase the size of the case to make room for the additional floppy connector. Even though the rare Dell Amiga external floppy drive was apparently smaller, and could handle DD & HD floppy disks in both Amiga and PC formats, I appreciate your creation of this new external floppy drive. Not sure why it can't support PC 1.44mb format without a modification, or jumper, if it already supports the Amiga 1.76mb format? Can you clarify why that is true?

Would it be possible to add a passthrough to this drive in future production runs? The ability of the Amiga to use up to 4 floppy drives makes running larger games on multiple disks so much better, though I admit that running multiple disk games through emulation and virtual disk drives is much better and quieter and usually quicker.

I don't know how much longer my collection of Amiga software on floppy disks is going to remain readable/useable, and often worry that I should be working harder to backup or archive all of those hundreds (probably more like thousands) of floppy disks to floppy disk images on a couple of different media choices, before they all go bad. I still have not become knowledgable about which is the best/easiest method of archiving copy protected floppy disks for future use.

Again, congrats on your floppy drive product/project and welcome to AmigaWorld.net!


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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 1-Mar-2015 7:18:50
#15 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

Quote:
Congrats on the completion of your project and thanks for the efforts.


Thanks!

Quote:
I would think that it would not be too difficult for the makers of this product to make a different model available with a passthrough, but that would likely increase the size of the case to make room for the additional floppy connector.


That's one problem, but not the main problem here. The truth is that we didn't include that passthrough socket, due to very high prices of anything DB23 related. 20 years ago, one could buy these connectors in almost any electronics store. Now only specialised suppliers have them and they charge many times the price of DB25. Just because DB23 is hard to obtain. The whole product would be much more expensive if we used two DB23 connectors per drive instead of one.

Quote:
Not sure why it can't support PC 1.44mb format without a modification, or jumper, if it already supports the Amiga 1.76mb format? Can you clarify why that is true?


I guess the confusion comes from my post #3. Where by "floppy" I actually meant the drive, not the disk. Let's go a bit into technical details.

The Sakura external disk drive, as discussed in this thread is shipped with unmodified PC 1.44MB drive. Sony MPF920 in fact.

However! Such PC drive, without doing modification to the electronics of the drive can only work in Amiga as DD disk drive. This comes from the fact that Paula can not keep up with data rates of PC HD drives. Original Amiga HD drives worked at 150rpm in HD mode, while PC drives work at 300rpm. There's an interesting document on AmiNet that describes the problem and necessary modification. Some drives could be adapted for HD mode with external interface, but it would be very drive-specific fix (there was such Amtrade product in the 90s and more recently FloppyFix adapter for Teac drives).

We have a jumper on the interface board that basically has two positions.
1. The installed drive is either original DD Amiga drive, or unmodified HD PC drive treated as DD drive
2. The installed drive is either original HD Amiga drive, or modified HD PC drive to work as Amiga HD drive

There's also a couple of other jumpers but unrelated to this issue .

Concluding. You can't use HD floppy disks on Sakura external disk drive, as it is shipped now. You can do the HD mod yourself and lose the warranty, if you know how (we didn't research how to do it on this particular Sony model). Or you can search for any Amiga-compatible HD drive such as Chinon FZ357A and install it in place of shipped PC HD drive.

Quote:
Would it be possible to add a passthrough to this drive in future production runs?


It is technically feasible, I even have an earlier version of the interface board that supports passthrough on my desk here. It is just not very likely that we'll produce it due to business (price) reasons.

Quote:
I still have not become knowledgable about which is the best/easiest method of archiving copy protected floppy disks for future use.


If you are into archiving, not using them directly with your Amiga, then probably KyroFlux device is your best choice. Unfortunately you need a PC to use it. So it does not replace a trusty Amiga disk drive.

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fishy_fis 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 1-Mar-2015 13:18:54
#16 ]
Super Member
Joined: 29-Mar-2004
Posts: 1866
From: Australia

@amigadave

Quote:
I really don't understand the negative comments of some members here


Well, it is Minuous. The guy does nothing *but* bitch and moan......
Doesn't make it any easier to understand, but it's hardly surprising.

We've witnessed it for years,..... chances are he'll go on to make up some justification, but seeing as we're people, and people have the ability to think and see beyond the surface...........

To each their own I guess.

@Strim

I've personally loathed any sort of floppy disk for a decade or more, but good luck nonetheless.
Is there even a market for this though? Even amongst the small niche that is amiga, floppies seem pretty much a relic.

Last edited by fishy_fis on 01-Mar-2015 at 01:22 PM.

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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 1-Mar-2015 13:39:53
#17 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

Quote:

I've personally loathed any sort of floppy disk for a decade or more, but good luck nonetheless.
Is there even a market for this though? Even amongst the small niche that is amiga, floppies seem pretty much a relic.


Considering the shortage of components, this might be the last chance for anyone to buy a new floppy drive made specifically for Amiga (plug and play, no soldering, no interface building, a ready product in a high quality case).

I know the batch might not sell out immediately, but I'm pretty sure at some point people will want to replace their failing drives. We'll see how long that takes .

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Drewlio77 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 2-Mar-2015 4:01:40
#18 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 2-Jan-2008
Posts: 779
From: Woodstock, Ontario, Canada

I just pre-ordered one of these fine devices... I love to support any Amiga developers that stay the course even under adverse conditions :)

Any way, a spare external floppy will always come in handy.

Drewlio77

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strim 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 2-Mar-2015 8:24:57
#19 ]
Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2011
Posts: 59
From: Warsaw, Poland

Thank you!

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itix 
Re: New external floppy drive for Amiga now available for pr
Posted on 3-Mar-2015 12:22:41
#20 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 22-Dec-2004
Posts: 3398
From: Freedom world

If it had passthrough I could order two units


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