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MFM Emulator

Our MFM Emulators are back, and better than ever!

With an MFM emulator, you can emulate 1 or 2 MFM hard drives in a variety of mini- and micro-computers (with more systems added all the time!)

Plus, you can also archive your old drives for emulation and preservation purposes.

MFM Emulator Rev D SMT Edition

Our new Rev D SMT edition includes all of the features of David Gesswein’s Rev D design, along with many additional enhancements.

  • Dedicated 5V, 3.3V, & 10 sec power-fail supplies using quality TI regulators and solid capacitors

  • Low profile top-side BeagleBone and supercap fits into half-height drive bays

    • New half-height drive bracket now available (FH bracket coming soon!)

  • DIP switches for drive select, termination, & write enable/protect

  • Additional headers for external LEDs, power button, GPIOs, I2C, Berg/"floppy" power, and future expansion

  • SMT-based construction for improved reliability

  • Passthrough hole for BeagleBone serial console hookup

Bracket for Rev D SMT

Our all-new bracket fits our Rev D SMT emulators only.

  • Installs in your half-height or full-height drive bay. (Full-height faceplate coming soon!)

  • 4x standard SFF-8501 mounting holes designed for #6-32 UNC screws

  • Front access for:

    • 2x drive activity LEDs

    • Ethernet port

    • Mini-USB port

    • 4x BeagleBone status LEDs

  • Other colours available - please contact us!

When ordering with an MFM Emulator, the bracket will come pre-installed on the unit.

When ordered alone, 4x #6-32 UNC screws will be included for mounting your emulator to the bracket.

2nd Drive Riser

Each drive connection from your computer's MFM controller will have its own 20-pin cable.

If your computer has a card-edge connector for the second drive, this mini-riser board is for you. (If it has a standard IDC header, just connect that directly to the emulator!)

An extended height connector and 3D printed spacer ensure ample room for both cables, with no harsh crimping or folding required.

These risers work with all models of MFM Emulator.

Usage & Support

All details on general use of the emulator can be found on David Gesswein’s website. Our own tutorial is coming soon!

Here is the pack-in letter we ship with every unit.

All units are tested for functionality before leaving our Toronto facility. In case your board arrives damaged, or malfunctions on first use, please contact us!

Should you need to reload the BeagleBone boot image, here's the process:

First, obtain a minimum 4GB microSD card. Load the SD card with one of the suitable images using balenaEtcher. Images starting with bbb are for BeagleBone Blacks, while bbgw is for the older BeagleBone Green Wireless devices. Advanced users can also uncompress the file and use dd directly from any UNIX-like system.

Once the microSD card is prepared, remove the BeagleBone from the emulator cape and insert the microSD card into the unit, removing any other card that may be installed for now. Hold down the USER button towards the back of the card - not the POWER or RESET button - while applying power via the mini-USB cable provided with your unit.

When the 4 LEDs light, you can release the user button. After about a minute, the LEDs will move to a 'scanning' pattern, the light bouncing back and forth. After another few minutes, the LEDs will extinguish and the device will turn itself off.

Remove the microSD card, and put the MFM emulator cape back on the BeagleBone. Re- install any other microSD card you may be using for drive storage. You're done!

If you are going to use the auto-start functionality, and have a serial number between 070 and 100, please read this blog post.

Schematics & gerbers for our units are available. These files are provided under the OSHW-approved CC BY-SA 4.0, just like the original.