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MFM Emulator

Read or emulate old MFM drives for your vintage computer

We’ve gone into regular production of David Gesswein’s MFM Emulator! These are excellent devices, capable of emulating 1-2 MFM disks for many old machines. We’ve had great success with them in PDP-11s, of course, but they’ll also work in a variety of minicomputers and microcomputers. Our units include a pre-configured BeagleBone Green Wireless microcontroller.

MFM Emulator

Choose between:

  • Special Edition (2x drive activity LEDs)

  • Original Version

Special Edition models come with red LEDs. If you would rather have green LEDs, or no LEDs (if you want to run wires to a faceplate LED), use the “Special instructions for sellerin the Shopping Cart to let us know, for no additional charge.


Render of the MFM Emulator

Specs for EE Nerds

PCB

Material

FR-4 TG130

Approximate Dimensions

146mm x 117mm

Layers

2

PCB Thickness

1.6mm

Copper Weight

1oz

Surface Finish

ENIG-RoHS, blue solder mask

Edge connectors (gold fingers)

ENIG, 45° beveled

Components

Supercapacitors

5x AVX SCCT20B106PRB (10 Farad, -0%/+100%, 2.7V)

Power Regulator

Improved LDO design with reverse-current protection

Microcontroller

Compatibility

Fully compatible with BeagleBone Black or Green

Processor

AM335x 1GHz ARM Cortex-A8

Memory

512MB DDR3 RAM, 4GB 8-bit eMMC on-board flash storage

Connectivity

  • USB client for power & communications

  • USB host with 4-port hub

New: Try the Interactive BOM!

New: KiCad schematics & gerber file download. License is under a CC BY-SA 4.0 just like the original.


Usage & Support

All details on use of the emulator can be found on David Gesswein’s website.

These boards feature ENIG plating . We recommend leaving ribbon cables connected to the fingers, though ENIG connectors after 100 mate/unmate cycles show almost no wear.

You’ll want to add a microSD card or USB thumb drive to hold images (either for hard disk reading or emulating), as the internal eMMC flash is slow and limited in size.

You’ll also need to source some MFM drive cables, if using the boards as drive emulators. (These might already be in your vintage computer.) Various retailers carry these for about $10 a set. (We may carry these in the future.)

All units are tested for functionality before leaving our Toronto facility. In case your board arrives damaged, or malfunctions on first use, write us at support@decromancer.ooo.