Oric HFE file

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Dbug
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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Dbug »

My perspective is that most users have no idea what the difference between all these devices are, what is a clone of what, and that's amplified by all the tutorials that say "buy this" then do that so you can "reflash with this firmware", and to convert files "use this tool there".

I personally have both a HxC and a Gotek, and for example I have no clue what the "stock Gotek" firmware does, any it has to be upgraded to Flash Floppy (or HxC) if it's to be used on retro computers. I suspect the stock firmware just handle standard MSDOS floppies and get confused by other things, but I'm not sure.

I guess the reason why people ask support to the HxC people is because of this.

Not sure what the solution would be, is there some short blog post or video that explains what's what?

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

OK, so now I have succesfully changed firmware of my Cumana Reborn to the HxC firmware.

Good news:
- It works!
unnamed.jpg
- I like the rotaory button behaviour actually better: it now waits for a click to confirm and does not start right away, which I think is better.
- All images that are on my USB still work.
- I have the feeling, but that might just be wishful thinking, that loading is a tad quicker.

Bad news:
- Converting HFE images adapted on the original hardware back to Oric DSK format with the HxC software tool still does not work. It actually gives a different error message now, but still an error:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 151745.png
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 151745.png (8.28 KiB) Viewed 1237 times
So, Jeff, I did send you (assuming you are actually the same as Jean-François) my images. Appreciate if you could have a look now I have a confirmed paid HxC firmware on my drive ;-)

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

Dbug wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 2:14 pm
Not sure what the solution would be, is there some short blog post or video that explains what's what?
The solution is simple and logical : Ask the support to the guy you paid to get the hardware. ;)
Some guys are making some good business with open source / free software... They should do the support too...

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

xahmol wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 2:36 pm
OK, so now I have succesfully changed firmware of my Cumana Reborn to the HxC firmware.

Good news:
- It works!
unnamed.jpg
- I like the rotaory button behaviour actually better: it now waits for a click to confirm and does not start right away, which I think is better.
- All images that are on my USB still work.
- I have the feeling, but that might just be wishful thinking, that loading is a tad quicker.

Bad news:
- Converting HFE images adapted on the original hardware back to Oric DSK format with the HxC software tool still does not work. It actually gives a different error message now, but still an error:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 151745.png

So, Jeff, I did send you (assuming you are actually the same as Jean-François) my images. Appreciate if you could have a look now I have a confirmed paid HxC firmware on my drive ;-)
As i wrote earlier, you need to regenerate the hfe from the dsk : this can't work if the images was modified by the other firmware.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

Oh, and as additional pointer:
I can now actually read the image converted back with OricEplorer, all original files show up fine. But any file added or changed (the config and save file) are simply not shown in any of the views. The changed files simply seem not to be there.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

Jeff wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 2:42 pm
As i wrote earlier, you need to regenerate the hfe from the dsk : this can't work if the images was modified by the other firmware.
Did that. See second mail. Still same result.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

xahmol wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 2:43 pm
Jeff wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 2:42 pm
As i wrote earlier, you need to regenerate the hfe from the dsk : this can't work if the images was modified by the other firmware.
Did that. See second mail. Still same result.
Are you sure ? The conversion seems fine.
Can you read back the modifications you have done from the HFE on the Oric ? (Power-cycle the Oric to be sure you are reading the data from the disk)

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

To try to minimize user error on my side I started to test from scratch using a blank SEDORIC4 standard image:
SEDO40.DSK

Converted that with the HxC software tool to HFE:
hxc_test untouched.hfe

Adapted that on the original hardware by saving a small BASIC program:
hxctest.hfe

Converted with the HxC software tool to Oric DSK:
hxctest_hfe.dsk

See all files in this ZIP:
hxctest.zip
(221.26 KiB) Downloaded 36 times
Result on Oric, also after power down and reload:
image_50368513.JPG
Result in Oricutron after coverting back to DSK:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 161328.png
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 161328.png (9.09 KiB) Viewed 1231 times

So this image is guaranteed never been touched by other firmwares. But stil does not work after converting back.

And yes, of this and also the preious adapted images, reading back on the original hardware again and again and changing again works fine.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

Can you try with another emulator ?

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

Good call, Jeff.

Tried Euphoric, and guess what, the image does work:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 165901.png
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 165901.png (9.95 KiB) Viewed 1199 times
So I think we can now confirm that Oricutron is apparently to blame. Funny thing is that Oric Explorer also can not read adapted images.

So question:
Can there be any reason why the DOS (Euphoric) and Mac (Clock Signal) do read these images correctly, why all Windows based tooling (Oricutron and OricExplorer) does not?

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

By the way, DBug, I did find a nice page explaining the different firmwares, but alas it is in Dutch. But maybe Google translate helps.

https://gotek.nl/gotek-firmwares/

And Jeff: any possibility of natively supporting Oric DSK in your firmware removing any need to convert to and from HFE? Am sure that would be an argument that would convince many here to buy your firmware….

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

xahmol wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 4:04 pm
Good call, Jeff.

Tried Euphoric, and guess what, the image does work:
Schermafbeelding 2021-05-15 165901.png

So I think we can now confirm that Oricutron is apparently to blame. Funny thing is that Oric Explorer also can not read adapted images.

So question:
Can there be any reason why the DOS (Euphoric) and Mac (Clock Signal) do read these images correctly, why all Windows based tooling (Oricutron and OricExplorer) does not?
My guess : Oricutron and OricExplorer use hardcoded values to read back/"peek" the sectors data : sectors position on the track, gaps size, interleaving ...
This is indeed not the right way to "parse" a MFM track buffer, especially when you are dealing with the "real world". The loader should at least search the sync words and decode properly the sector header and data. Even better : emulate the FDC timing and behaviour from the dsk MFM buffer...

Anyway for sure the sectors/tracks produced by the HxC software/hxc firmware are correct from an hardware point of view.
Last edited by Jeff on Sat May 15, 2021 4:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

xahmol wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 4:23 pm
By the way, DBug, I did find a nice page explaining the different firmwares, but alas it is in Dutch. But maybe Google translate helps.

https://gotek.nl/gotek-firmwares/

And Jeff: any possibility of natively supporting Oric DSK in your firmware removing any need to convert to and from HFE? Am sure that would be an argument that would convince many here to buy your firmware….
It seems that the HxC firmware for Gotek is missing on this page ;)

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by Jeff »

xahmol wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 4:23 pm
And Jeff: any possibility of natively supporting Oric DSK in your firmware removing any need to convert to and from HFE? Am sure that would be an argument that would convince many here to buy your firmware….
Once all the "hidden" dsk format constraints/specifications are cleared, i will be able to evaluate this possibility.

Please note that many (most?) Oric dsk images are corrupted/malformed : Bad header, bad sync word, bad crc... The hardware will reject most of them.
The emulator will have to fix them at the load.

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Re: Oric HFE file

Post by xahmol »

Jeff wrote:
Sat May 15, 2021 4:32 pm
It seems that the HxC firmware for Gotek is missing on this page ;)
Well, unless there is another one again I assume that is the middle one….

https://translate.google.com/translate? ... -firmwares
HXC:

HXC originated sometime in 2006 as a private project to keep the Amiga and Atari ST Computers going in the world that seemed to be getting rid of Floppy disks and their drives at a rapid pace.
His project continued to grow over the years as support requests kept coming for support on more platforms and disk formats.

Read more
The purpose of the HXC Floppy Emulator was to completely replace floppy drives and diskettes with an electronic storage medium.
Today you will find HXC Floppy emulators in a variety of machines, Retrocomputing, the music world and in the industrial sector.

Originally HXC did NOT run on Gotek hardware, they had already developed their own hardware platform for some time, which does not support USB as a basis, but SD cards as storage media.
Sometime April 2015 a first public version of the Port of the HXC firmware to the Gotek Floppy Emulator platform was released.

In summary: HXC is an incredibly dynamic platform, in full development, and the supported formats are huge, and there is good support.
If it is a downside, it is that this firmware can only be installed online on a Gotek Floppy Disk Emulator for a fee.
So in most cases, end users will not be able to do this easily themselves, because you need a number of things to be able to reprogram that Gotek Floppydrive Emulator.
Last edited by xahmol on Sat May 15, 2021 5:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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