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Cheap Chinese Gotek Floppy Emulator

It was always going to be too good to be true. I was buying other shit on eBay and found that they also had Goteks. For around AUD$12 I couldn't resist.

For those that don't know, the Gotek is a famous device in the Amiga world for emulating the floppy drive. It's the same size as a normal drive and has the same mounting holes. On the front is (usually) a USB slot, LCD display, buttons and activity lights. The goal is to have numbered disk images on your USB key and swap through them like a jukebox.

As soon as I opened my parcel, I realised I'd bought somewhat of a reduced version. No display, no buttons...

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Ok, off-the-cuff this would mean the USB key would have to contain a single disk? Not the worst outcome (for the price I paid), but not what I was expecting. I installed the drive in the 386 I was building and it was detected correctly. It all plugged straight in and there was nothing to set. There is a row of jumpers, but I didn't have any supporting documentation and just left them.

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On boot, the green LED lit on BIOS post and I let DOS load from the HDD. I rummaged for a small USB key and found a 4gb lying around.

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All good so far... dir a:...

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Pretty deep error: Sector not found reading Drive A. This usually indicates that the disk isn't partitioned, let alone formatted. Not really unexpected. I tried FDISK, but it doesn't care for floppies. Format wouldn't handle it either.

I dragged the USB back to my laptop and found that it had a single 4gb partition with a TV series on it. Jumping in to Disk Management, I deleted the only partition on the disk. At this point I chose to leave the partition table empty as I couldn't create a 1.44mb partition under Windows 10; the smallest option was 8mb?

Slapping the USB key back in the 386 saw a much better result. Trying to list the directory gave a warmer error (General failure reading drive A) and so I tried formatting it...

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Yes sir, I would love to kill 1.44mb of data!

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Taking it back to my laptop, I now found that it had a 1.44mb partition. So this can't be done from Disk Management but the firmware on the drive can partition it via its firmware. It was a standard FAT parition, so I copied HWINFO over. I wanted to check system information on the 386 and this application worked in DOS. Taking that back to the machine saw it load off the disk and work seamlessly.

I'll try out writing disk images to the 1.44mb partition tonight...