External Amiga Floppy conversion into Gotek

Back in 1992 I bought an external floppy drive for my Amiga A500 Plus.

This completely transformed the way I used the machine and was such an improvement right up until I bought a GVP Impact HD8+ hard drive – a SCSI Quantum LPS52 drive which gave a mind blowing 52 Megabytes of storage.

I’m slowly working through my collection of Amiga stuff and getting things tested and working. One of the godsends has been a Gotek floppy disk emulator. It allows you to download .adf disk images onto a USB drive and emulates a floppy drive. It is great for getting things set up and installing hardware drivers etc.

So, I thought I would convert the slightly unreliable 30 year old floppy into an external Gotek drive.

Looks like it was the 725th made in March 1992

Opening the Cumana CAX354 shows a citizen floppy mechanism and a small board to allow pass through and disable switch.

30 years old and still so shiny!

So this is simple enough, just swap out the mechanism.

I wonder if it will stretch…

Except there is a gap, and the cables are offset.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to get a short ribbon cable to go sideways, but it rarely ends well. Ribbon isn’t going to work well, it needs to be individual strands.

I celebrate diversity in ribbon cables.

I found this rather colourful rainbow floppy cable which looked like it might do the trick.

I made up a plug – soldering some .1inch headers onto some stripboard, and then one by one separated wires from the ribbon cable and soldered them into the stripboard to make a really flexible adapter. The individual wires were covered in a transparent coating to make the ribbon cable, which is why the wires look like they have been covered in something yucky.

It took a while to strip, tin and solder all 34 connectors into the right holes.

I used some 10cm duport male/female cables to wire up the power connector too. I could have made up a better connector, but I’ve given up crimping dupont connectors as it is too frustrating.

The adapter allows the sideways shift nicely.

So it all fits nicely, but fairly tightly. A quick test before putting the cover back on and all is good – works first time.

It looks quite nice too. The black bezel works for me. The original Cumana drive felt really robust, it was quite a heavy lump. The Gotek is rather plastic in comparison and feels less sturdy. It’s a lot more useful though. I’ve still got 5 Amigas to get set up and sold so this will be a lifesaver!

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