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Up close & personal with the "Lotharek HxC Rev. F" floppy emulator

Posted by --- Ω ---, 31 August 2014 · 5,481 views

Classic Computer HxC Floppy Emulator
Up close & personal with the "Lotharek HxC Rev. F" floppy emulator
  • HxC With Face Plate
  • Close Up Data Connector
  • Close Up SD Holder Back Side
  • Close Up Power & DIP Switches
  • Close Up Display Back Side
  • Unit Bottom View
  • Unit Top View From Side
  • Unit Top View From Back
  • Unit Top View From Front
  • Unit Front View

One of the things many returning TI'ers say when coming back into the community is, "How do I get programs or disk images over to the TI?"  Well, there are lot's of ways to do it, but most are slow and require cables, programs, and yes, even a program on the TI... it's a catch 22.  With this device installed, it's easy to have stuff up and running in no time.
 
The Lotharek HxC Floppy Emulator is a superior quality device that will functionally replace the old antiquated disk drives in many older Classic Computers, yes, even our TI-99/4A's!  For a list of all the currently supported computers and devices, go:  << HERE >>
 
You'll no longer need to:
1   Immediately STOP everything and hassle with cleaning a disk drive when it acts up.
2   Purchase cleaning supplies.
3   Make labels for all those diskettes.
4   Store dozens of disks, or buy storage boxes for a vast library.
5   Devote large quantities of space for all the stuff.
6   Fight to get newly downloaded programs onto your Classic Computer.
 
And you will not need to: 
 
7   Buy a USB adapter
8   Buy cables
9   Buy connectors
10  Mess with slow communications programs
 
Also, since RS-232 cards are getting more expensive and harder to find:
 
11 You really don't even need an RS-232 Card to transfer the files to your TI with this device.
 
12  Atari Age member Iwantgames:) figured out how to get the Lotharek HxC to function as
      TWO DRIVES on the TI!  So now I guess there are no more excuses, this is something
      EVERY TI-99/4A owner needs.
 
      (His instructions are on page two in the comments)
 
Atari Age member wyerd posted a fantastic thread with step by step instructions on what it takes to install one of these device. and there are lots of photos so those with 'hardware phobia' will see how EASY this project is to install.  To see his thread, go  << HERE >>.
 
While this device may appear more expensive at first, you may find that the Lotharek HxC will actually $AVE you money in the long run.   How much will all those boxes of diskettes cost over time?  How much does the head cleaning kit cost?  How much do those old half worn out disk drives cost when upgrading or replacing?  How much do all the cables and connectors cost?  And the big one.. this unit will function like two drives.
 

 
So, if you want to eliminate that old original SSSD 90K disk drive, why waste your money buying someone else's old, used, and possibly worn-out drive off of eBay? Get a BRAND NEW unit that will do it all.
 
There are two ways to have it shipped...
The first way: Posted Image Faster about 10 days.
 
The second way: Posted Image Cheaper but slower.
 
UPDATES
 
#1   The attached file titled "TI-99 Lotharek HxC.zip" has the configuration file to operate with the TI-99/4A.  There are also two different BLANK DISK images, the one titled "DSSD40TBL" should work on ANY floppy disk controller for the TI.  The second file titled "DSSD80TBL" will ONLY work if you've had the 80 track modification done to your TI-FDC.    REMOVED SEE #3 BELOW
 
#2   The attached file ti99dir55a.zip is a new version by Mr. F.B. Kaal that has a new function!  It also has the ability to make DSSD 80 Track Disk Images for those who've performed the 80 track modification on their TI's.  Talk about a time saver!
 
#3  TI user Fritz442 posted a fantastic .ZIP file of multiples of every format you could ever want
<< IN THIS MESSAGE >>  It's got everything,  SSSD 90K, DSSD180K, DSDD360K, DSSD 80 trak 306K even DSDD 720K format.  This is a MUST download.

Attached Files






Oh, those files would be great! I have something similar to what you describe. I don't recall where I got it or what it's called, sadly, but I know that it effectively does the job of the peripheral expansion box. I hope to jump back on the TI wagon when I get to 1981 in my chronogaming blog. I don't know if this thing will allow me to treat cart images like the original carts or not (I may have to turn to emulation for this) but it would be cool to play some of the old games. Anyway, any tips you could give would be appreciated!

 

Hmm, okay, it let me drag the image into this box, but didn't let me save it... just a second.. I'll upload it to a folder or something...

 

TI99/4A with replacement for Peripheral Expansion Box

 

There it is. :) Does that look familiar? :o

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Does that look familiar? :o

 

 Oh yeah, that's an easy one.  It looks to be an early model of the CF7.  You'll need a CF card reader for your PC if you do not already have one and the program at this link:

http://home.vodafone.../ti99dir54b.zip

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Very nice! I'm seriously considering getting one of those however I'm curious. I assume it would not be much harder to house the device and use it externally. Is this correct? I tend to be ocd about the "purity" of my machines and have a hard time making changes that are not true to the time in which they were commonly used. I may still even use it internally since it doesn't seem to be an irreversible modification to the PEB.
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How hard is it to get this working on the TI99?
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I assume it would not be much harder to house the device and use it externally. 

 

Sure, no problem.  This will hook up ANYWHERE a 3.5" diskette can hook up, internally or externally.  If you are changing from a 5.25" format drive you will need to purchase a power connector adapter and possibly a 3.5" data connector to attach to your ribbon cable.  Other than that, just a DIP switch setting.

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How hard is it to get this working on the TI99?

 
It's a piece of cake!  Before I got mine I "assumed" it would be complicated, it turned out to be quite easy.

 

What I plan to do a little later in the week is to upload a few 'blank' images and a few useful images here, as well as the configuration file.  That way when people get their HxC's, they can be up and running almost instantly.

 

Another benefit of this device... if you're currently running the standard TI disk drive, you'll instantly double your storage capacity.  Later, it you want to get the 80 track upgrade chips for your TI FDC, you'll be able to use DSSD 80 Track images for a total of 360K per image!  

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Cool :) I'm probably gonna pick one up soon then
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 Oh yeah, that's an easy one.  It looks to be an early model of the CF7.  You'll need a CF card reader for your PC if you do not already have one and the program at this link:

http://home.vodafone.../ti99dir54b.zip

 

Yay! Thank you!

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Yay! Thank you!

 

No problem!  You might want to check out his site << HERE >> for the documentation.  The newest version is attached above.

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Your blogs have helped me pick out stuff I want :) from the super cart and XB 2.7 cart I got to this floppy emulator I just bought :) keep those blogs coming my TI needs all the upgrades I can get it :P
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Hey thanks!  It's nice to get a little feedback and know that it's helping.  I guess I'll have to do an entry on the F18A next!  Maybe next weekend if time permits. 

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Cool :)I kinda want the f18a but hear it isn't compatible with all games. So I may have to get a second TI :) I'll be sure to read your blog post when you get it up
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If there is a game that the F18A will not run I've never seen or heard of it.  Now there is a game in development, but it relies on the F18A's EXTENDED capabilities, but from what I hear it's not slated for release until the new firmware version (1.6) is released.

 

I'm curious, what program you are having troubles with?  You might just have a corrupted program on your Nano's CF card.

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Hmm I think I may have confused this with something else I went and looked and can't find anything that won't work with the F18a ;)
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Hmm I think I may have confused this with something else...

 

If I was to guess, I'd say the Nano-PEB.  There are a few things that do not work with it.

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Would any of you be interested in a HxC virtual diskette library?

 

Us-TI HxC users could make compilations of our favorite stuff to share with each other, like games disks, utility disks, hacked software, etc. 

 

Everything would be READY-TO-GO,  it sounds like fun to me, but I don't want to be the only one playing. ;)

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Sounds cool :) but I don't actually know how to make dsk images :-/ I just been using ones I've downloaded :P
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...I don't actually know how to make dsk images

 

Oh heck, that easy!  You've already downloaded Ti99dir55a.zip above right?

If so, make sure you are in a directory used for images then:

1) Click on FILES in the upper left hand corner then...

2) Click on "Create new DSK image"

3) Choose the format you what the image in and click CREATE

 

Then all you have to do is click on that new image and move files from other directories into it.  Just highlight the files on the other side of the screen click F5 to copy and viola your done with the image.

 

To turn them into .HFE format for the Lotharek just run the Lotharek program, it's easy and they'll be converted in no time.

 

Later on down the line, if you ever get the HDX mod, you'll be able to use DSK2PC to copy diskettes from the TI directly to the PC and they'll be in .DSK format automagically upon arrival.   :)

 

Give it a try, and then load the result here, I'd love to see your first HxC image.

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Maybe I am reading the information wrong, but from what I an interpreting is that this device will emulate both DSK1 and DSK2 at the same time if you configure it that way. 

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Maybe I am reading the information wrong, but from what I an interpreting is that this device will emulate both DSK1 and DSK2 at the same time if you configure it that way. 

 

That is my understanding, although to be honest I've never verified it or tried it that way.  I inquired about this myself once and was told that it'll work that way on any system capable of running two drives.  Now the power is always available from the same source and the dip switches can be configured for both.  

 

I've wondered that if I configured it that way, would I be able to select two different images at the same time.  The documentation alluded to that, but again, I've never personally tried it.

 

gallery_35324_1232_435979.jpgClose Up of the DIP switches

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Interesting thing happens when you type "Lotharek HxC" into Google then press the photos button. :)

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Is there config files for the Lotharek to support DS/DD @ 80 track and DS/QD at 80 track. So one could run this on a modified MYarc FDC on the Ti/Geneve or on the HFDC modded on the Geneve for 1.44 MB floppies?
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Is there config files for the Lotharek to support DS/DD @ 80 track and DS/QD at 80 track. So one could run this on a modified MYarc FDC on the Ti/Geneve or on the HFDC modded on the Geneve for 1.44 MB floppies?

 

Not presently, but you can easily make them yourself.  Just format a DS/DD or DS/QD disk on your TI (assuming you have the correct controller and disk drive), then make an image file of it.  Once the blank image file is created, you can make multiple copies of it and save them to the HxC as individual 'scratch' disks.

 

What I did originally before Fred updated Ti99Dir was to format an 80 track disk using DM2K and then with DSK2PC, save that image to the PC via the HDX.  

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Simple procedure to set up the Lotherek as 2 drives at once: Set jumpers ID0A and ID1A both to on, all other jumpers should be off then turn on P-Box The lotherek will be on drive A, set your floppy image you want on this drive Once that's done hold down center button to get to options Select change drive Select drive B Set the floppy image you want on drive B And presto you have 2 emulated drives in one
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Simple procedure to set up the Lotherek ...

 

Excellent!  You are now the resident expert on the Hxc!

 

This makes me want a new FDC!  Anyone want to design and build a DSQD 80 track unit capable of at least four drives?  I think I could "get by" with 5.76 megabytes using two HxC's.

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I have two Lotharek devices and they rock - and when I get back to my system I am definitely going to try Iwantgames tip... maybe I can have 4 2880 sector disks!

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... maybe I can have 4 2880 sector disks!

 

The question is, what are you gonna do with all that FREE SPACE?

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Blog entry updated 1/21/2016 with the addition of a video in the main text.

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I have a question and didn´t find any other suitable therad in the forums to ask that: I want to get the Lotharek device and I will configure it so that it will emulate disk drives 1 or 2. As far as I understood the disk controller can handle 3 drives and there is a connector for a data cable for the 3rd drive at the back, so I would like to use that and put a standard mechanical disk drive in the PEB beside the Lotharek to act as disk drive number 3.

 

Now my question is, where do I get a data cable to connect a disk drive to the back of the floppy disk controller? If possible I would like to get one for 3,5" drives, but if that is impossible, I can also try to find a 5,25 drive and use that one instead.

 

Will this cable here do the job, at least if I use a 5,25" drive?:

http://www.connectwo...60?5GHbIX4M;;43

There is also a version for 2 drives, but I guess this does not make much sense for my use case now as I can have only 1 additional drive anyway:

http://www.connectwo...61?5GHbIX4M;;29

 

Will those cables work? Is there somewhere a data cable for "external" 3,5" drives available?

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Hi Roli,

 

yes, these cables look fine. Very important: NO twisted floppy-cables (means: NO) - straight cables only

 

You could also try it at I.E.C (maybe belongs to connectworld), they also have nice TI-related equipment:

http://www.iec.net/Browse05/MCOlderTI.html (this link leads to TI-stuff only, please research for your cables)

Another, desperate possibility is eBay :)

 

The adapter for 3.5"-drive to 5.25"-connector is called somehow like  "ID34 to CE34"

and maybe is hard to find as well. But you could search for cables with 3.5"-connector, too.

 

FDD_IDCtoCE.jpg

 

Please check i.e. the TI-FD-Controller´s manual (P.11) for correct settings of resistors/shunt-packs(!)

The last drive on the inside-cable must be "terminated", so I connect my Lothareks to the first

connector (coming from the controller), and one vintage drive at the end/2nd connector on the cable,

with shuntpacks/resitors SET. (Regardless to which DSKx/Drive-numbers you configure them)

I read about that the drive, connected with this external cable, "must" be configured as DSK2,

but I am not sure about. So, if no problem in your config, maybe just obey that.

 

have fun :)

schmitzi

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