A Vintage Amiga 500 And A Simulated Floppy Drive For Exploring The Past

Amiga-usbEarlier this year I had a post about how a simulated floppy drive that reads SD cards helped me to experience long gone times on a real Commodore C64 rather than on a simulator. The C64 wasn't the only computer I had during my teenage years, it was followed by an Amiga 500 before PC clones and Microsoft Windows started to dominate home and office computing. Like with the C64, my Amiga vintage adventures are made difficult by software I once had but long lost and aging floppy drives and disks. But like for the C64 there are floppy drive hardware simulators available that plug right into the floppy cable and power supply of the original Amigas.

Instead of 3.5 inch floppy disks, the simulator is fed with USB Flash sticks that can contain an almost infinite number of floppy disk files. Switching from one floppy to another is done by pressing buttons at the front of the drive. The replacement drive I got for me even simulates the sound of the drive head motor of a real floppy drive for a more realistic feeling. The only difficulty I had was that the hardware doesn't fit into the Amgia 500 case as the USB port and the keys are at the wrong location and would be covered by the external case if assembled as intended.

While most people seem to use a longer ribbon cable and extend the power cable to use the floppy simulator outside the case or modify the case to get access to the USB port and the keys I came up with a slightly different approach which is to use a USB extension cable to drag out the USB port through the opening for the drive in the case and put the floppy simulator into the case itself. The disadvantage is that the drive can't be fixed in the case and a pen has to be used to reach the keys to simulate a change of the floppy disks. Not ideal, but to me that's much better than modifying the original case or have an "ugly" ribbon cable and a grey box outside the case.

P.S.: This is a good opportunity to link to my previous post about Amiga 30th anniversary events as the event in Neuss Germany is still outstanding and scheduled for the 10th of October 2015.