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NOTE: We are closed from October 2nd - 6th, 2023.
Any orders placed during this time will be shipped on Tuesday, October 10th.

MFM Emulator

Read or emulate old MFM drives for your vintage computer

Note: As of 2023-02-09, we have very limited stock of MFM Emulators. There is now a 1 week ship time on all MFM emulator orders.

Our production of David Gesswein’s MFM Emulator can emulate 1 or 2 MFM disks for a variety of minicomputers and microcomputers, including many unlisted models. They also read the content off of old drives for emulation and preservation purposes. These new units include a pre-configured BeagleBone microcontroller and a 4GB microSD card, to store your emulated drive images.

MFM Emulator

Our "Rev C Special Edition" has the following enhancements:

  • 2x green drive activity LEDs

  • Improved 2A DC-DC converter

  • Sharper silkscreen with CC-BY-SA logos

  • BeagleBone Black supplied with device

  • Free 4GB microSD card

2nd Drive Riser

If you need to emulate two drives, and your computer has a cable with a traditional 20-pin card edge connector, these mini riser boards give you a second card-edge co connect to your MFM Emulator. An extended height connector and 3D printed spacer ensure ample room for both cables, with no harsh crimping or folding required.

Specs for EE Nerds



FR-4 TG130

Approximate Dimensions

146mm x 117mm



PCB Thickness


Copper Weight


Surface Finish

ENIG-RoHS, blue solder mask

Edge connectors (gold fingers)

ENIG, 45° beveled



5x AVX SCCT20B106PRB (10 Farad, -0%/+100%, 2.7V)

Power Regulator

Improved LDO design with reverse-current protection

Usage & Support

All details on general use of the emulator can be found on David Gesswein’s website.

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

These boards feature ENIG plating . We recommend leaving ribbon cables connected to the fingers, though ENIG connectors after 100 mate/unmate cycles show almost no wear.

You’ll need to source some MFM drive cables. (These might already be in your vintage computer.) Various retailers carry these for about $10 a set. (We may carry these in the future.)

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

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

First, obtain a minimum 32GB microSD card. Load the SD card with one of the suitable images using balenaEtcher. 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 micro USB connector.

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 minute or two, the LEDs will extinguish and the BBGW 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.

KiCad schematics & gerber file for the older Special Edition units can be downloaded. And here is the Interactive BOM.

Rev C SE License is under a CC BY-SA 4.0 just like the original.