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fddEMU, an Arduino Floppy Drive Emulator

fddEMU, an Arduino Floppy Drive Emulator


Long before we obtained all of our software via downloads and online stores, and even prior to the CD-ROM drive becoming the miracle storage device of the late 20th century, floppy drives served as both a medium for data storage and software installation.

It's extremely rare to find one of these drives hooked on to a modern PC, but if you work with retro PCs, sifting through boxes of disks may at times be a necessary inconvenience.

As a bridge between new and old, fddEMU acts as a DIY floppy disk emulator. The setup allows you to work with multiple disk images stored on an SD card, using Arduino Nano to generate the lower-level signals on a PC's floppy drive controller (FDC).

fddEMU employs a modified version of the ArduinoFDC library for communication, which has something of the opposite functionality, converting a floppy drive's inputs/outputs into a USB format that can be used with modern computers.

User interface for the fddEMU is provided by an OLED screen, along with button read via a resistor ladder. It can alternately be controlled over a serial interface to select between available drives and disk images.

It’s a clever hack that will enable users to keep a large number of virtual disks at-hand, while perhaps stowing the original copies somewhere safe!

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