USB Floppy Emulator with Game Doctor (SNES) Fix
OK. So a few years ago, I decided that using floppies with my game doctor SF7 was just too much of a pain, most of them didn't even work.
So, the solution? Replace the floppy drive with a USB floppy emulator! On the one I got, it required a 256MB USB stick and had 100 virtual drives, which I'm still unsure how it does, you can plug the USB into a normal PC and it'll pick up the first floppy and show you a 1.44MB drive, you can format it to the full capacity, and the person selling them gave me a program so that you can switch through all 100 virtual drives on it, nifty!
Anyway, one real annoyance of this is the way that the game doctor reads the floppies; the disk drive is in constant use, checking if a disk has been inserted. This is fine for 512KB or 1MB games, but anything over that's been split and is on more than 1 virtual disk will fail, well at least with my drive they do. So I needed a solution that allowed me to change the virtual disk number whilst the game doctor was checking the drive and after a bit of fiddling, I managed to find it!
That's the one I have.
So if you want to do this fix, make sure you've got some experiance with soldering, and that you've got a small switch (I used a PCB switch that I salvaged off some old board) and 2 wires.l
(Sorry, I didn't take pictures of this so you'll have to just follow along).
Open the drive up and remove the top cover (4 screws on the top). Then unscrew the PCB (2 screws, one next to the USB port and the other next to the floppy interface). You should see a jumper too, installed onto the marked J1 and S1 pins, remove it.
Take the PCB out and flip it over, solder the wires to the two points of the jumper you just removed (J1 and S1). Solder the other ends of these to a switch (PCB switches with 3 legs; solder one to the middle and an end one, and the other cable to just the other end one). Now that's done: Test it to make sure it works. Then once tested working, you need to make a place on the front cover to put the switch. On mine, I had a grooved bit of plastic above the buttons (my LED is square, on the right, older model I guess) which I drilled out, and hot-glue gunned the switch into it. I also had to slice a chunk out the top cover to give room for it to fit back on. If your fix doesn't looks anywhere near as terrible as mine does, chances are you probably won't have to.
Reverse back through the instructions (place PCB in, screw both screws in, do NOT put the jumper back in, close cover, insert 4 screws and install back into game doctor).
Now the way this works is when loading a game or being used generally, the switch is left connected, but when the 'insert new disk' appears when loading a multi-disk game, flip the switch and you can now change the virtual disk number, change to the next disk and flip it back and the game docter detects it and loads the next file!
Hope it helps anyone with a similar problem! :)
Nice, didn't even know those existed... Still I think I'd rather stick to using the parallel port or buy a SNES PowerPack instead, searching through dozens of floppy images sounds kinda annoying.
While searching for more info I also came across this piece of kit which actually lists a SWC as supported hardware.
Also, should you ever want to get rid of your floppy emu, paint it black with a logo in the corner and apparently people'll pay six times what you paid. Holy eff, now that's what I call a nice profit margin!
I had looked at those for some time, and I had decided that it would be problematic.
So you have to flip the switch for each disk? You must have hundreds of folders.
It must have been a huge pain to set up. How do you keep track of what is in what folder? Do you have to flip the switch 50 times to get to the 50th folder?
It's a virtual disk system, some how there's 100 virtual drives, and you see each one as a floppy, they are not disk files.
It's got a increment by 1 and 10 button, so navigating isn't all that bad. What IS bad though is knowing what the hell everything is. A file called 'SF325MAR' means nothing to me! :/
Yeh saw some of those ones, €300? Wow, talk about profit...
I like the parallel port method too, but on my current PC, I've got no parralel port, and the USB to parallel cable I've got is rubbish, only works for printing.
I'm glad it works but damn management must be crazy.
Nice that you worked out a fix. I remember when this was first brought up I was interested as I believe that was before the release of the PowerPAK. It was an appealing idea to eliminate the need for floppy disks. But the solution falls short of the PowerPAK for sure by the use of virtual disk images being rather restrictive. But if that's what you've got and it works that's great. But for me the price of entry is too great. Over 50$ for the device plus high shipping just shows the PowerPAK to be a much better use of money.
But it might be nice to use to keep your old copiers going should you lose your floppy abilities.
I've been through two SFCs, a couple of CF cards, and a fuckload of time, and I've still never managed to get mine to boot anything properly.
If that's aimed at me, yeah it's got the right CIC chip. It will boot on one of the SFCs, some games will even start to load, then it crashes. The official response from the Powerpak bloke was "buy another SFC".
I'm totally stabbing around in the dark here, but are you using Win7? Maybe it's a exFat vs Fat16/Fat32 issue... (Win7 defaults to formatting with exFat, afaik)
Nah, XP, and yes, it's formatted correctly.