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Introducing Floppy Emu Model B


Today I’m excited to introduce the first significant update to the Floppy Emu disk emulator for Apple II and classic Macintosh computers: Floppy Emu Model B. The new Model B has the same disk emulation functions as the Model A and Universal Adapter, but with several new convenience features:

  • Built-in Apple II Compatibility – Model B is directly compatible with the entire Apple II line, emulating a 5 1/4 inch disk, 3 1/2 inch disk, or Smartport hard disk. While Model A required a separate Universal Adapter for the best Apple II compatibility, Model B has the equivalent functionality built-in. Classic Macintosh and Lisa disk emulation is still supported too.
  • microSD Card Support – The SD card slot is now a push-push microSD type, identical to what’s used in most mobile phones. This will make it easier to find suitable SD card media, since the older full-size SD cards are becoming rare.
  • SD Card Hot-Swap – The SD card can be removed and re-inserted while the Floppy Emu is powered on.
  • Improved Protection Circuitry – Model B features improved protection circuitry on the disk drive interface connector. This circuitry will help protect the Floppy Emu from electrical damage caused by voltage spikes and surges. It also eliminates the risk of potential damage if an Emu board running the Apple II firmware is inadvertently connected to a Mac or Lisa computer.
  • Same Great Emulation Features – All of the time-tested Macintosh, Apple II, and Lisa disk emulation features from Model A are still present. Model B reads and writes emulated 140K, 400K, 800K, or 1.4MB floppy disk images, or hard disk images up to 2GB, if supported by your Apple computer. For full details, see the instruction manual.

If you’re new to Floppy Emu, it’s an external hardware device for vintage Macintosh, Apple II, or Lisa computers. It uses a removable SD memory card to mimic an Apple floppy disk and drive, or an Apple hard drive. The Emu behaves exactly like a real disk drive, requiring no special software or drivers. Floppy Emu is perfect for booting your favorite games, moving files between modern and vintage machines, and troubleshooting a computer without a working OS. Just plug in the Emu board, and you’ll be up and running in seconds.

Floppy Emu Model B is available for sale now. While supplies last, I’m also selling the remaining inventory of Floppy Emu Model A units for a reduced price. It’s disk emulation madness!

Read 35 comments and join the conversation 

35 Comments so far

  1. Mark Looper - January 4th, 2016 9:10 pm

    Updates to a product are always a good sign of its creator’s confidence in it! I look forward to using my new Model B to help me sort out which of an assortment of old Macs I have are still working, and which need fixes. Many thanks, and happy New Year!

  2. Mick - January 11th, 2016 6:46 pm

    Oh, you couldn’t hotswap SD cards on the model A? I’ve only had my model A for a few weeks and I’ve been hotswapping, especially when I have to reformat the card to get rid of the “contiguous” errors with hard drive emulation.

  3. Steve Chamberlin - January 11th, 2016 6:55 pm

    Depending on your SD card, hot-swapping the card with the Model A may cause the Emu to spontaneously reset.

  4. Mick - January 11th, 2016 6:59 pm

    The Emu does reset when I reinsert the SD card. Or are you saying that too much hotswapping could lead to the Emu just spontaneously resetting in the middle of normal use?

  5. Joe O - January 12th, 2016 12:28 pm

    How can you tell the difference between the model A and the Model B?

  6. Joe O - January 12th, 2016 12:33 pm

    Oh, just smack me.. like I couldn’t tell by the giant difference between a mini and micro SD card…

  7. Steve Chamberlin - January 12th, 2016 2:08 pm

    For identification, Model B will have a serial number 800+, and also says “Model B” on the bottom of the board. 🙂

    Model B has an inductor that limits the inrush current to the SD card, if the card is inserted hot. Model A doesn’t have this, so there’s a big instantaneous current spike if the SD card is hot-swapped, almost like shorting out the power supply. The size of the spike depends on the internal electronics of the particular SD card used. This causes the onboard supply voltage to momentarily drop way down, triggering the microcontroller’s brownout reset. It’s probably not harmful, but to be conservative I’d avoid doing it. At the very least, it’s annoying. Model B provides a much smoother experience when hot-swapping the SD card.

  8. Mark Looper - January 12th, 2016 5:43 pm

    I received S/N 800 last week, and finally had a chance to take it for a spin today — nothing fancy, just booting up each of my compact Macs with the System 6.0.8 System Tools disk on the micro SD card I got with it. This includes the SE dual floppy and SE/30 that I still have from the Y2K picture on the page linked to my name above this comment, and they worked just fine; unfortunately, the much-hacked original Macintosh (Mac Plus back-half transplant, second floppy drive added, Brainstorm CPU board) that a friend had given me seemed to be booting but the video went dark after a couple of seconds. The other two machines, an SE FDHD and another SE/30, I had pulled out of an electronics recycling event (!) a while ago, and this was the first time I’d tried them; the SE booted fine, though its screen was a bit flickery, but the SE/30 had succumbed to some variant of SimasiMac. It sure felt good to be messing with my little old friends again! Thanks for enabling me to do this without taking them all apart to get their internal floppy drives cleaned so I could use those…

    Actually, one dum-dum question, if I may. In the instructions for the Floppy Emu, you say one may need to reset the Mac to get it to recognize a loaded disk image, since it doesn’t boot up until it receives power from the Mac and so it may get missed in the boot-up sequence. I did not have to do this with any of my machines — even for the ones with internal hard drives, the Floppy EMU initialized fast enough that it was chosen first in the boot drive sequence — but I’m not sure how one would do it if it was necessary. Some of my machines have the “programmer’s switch” installed on the side, and that worked when I tested it; is there another way to reset a Mac that lacks this? Power cycling the Mac would of course cause the Floppy Emu to reboot as well, leading to the same situation if there was a problem the first time.

  9. Steve Chamberlin - January 12th, 2016 5:50 pm

    Great! The instructions about resetting the computer are mainly for the Apple II series machines, where you can force a soft reset by pressing CONTROL-OPENAPPLE-RESET.

  10. Tom - January 15th, 2016 9:44 am

    I placed an order and paid with PayPal. I revieced a paypal payment notice but nothing from your site acknowledging my order just want to make sure you received the order. Thanks

  11. Steve Chamberlin - January 15th, 2016 10:15 am

    I did receive your order, and the package will ship today. Thanks!

  12. Tom - January 15th, 2016 12:17 pm

    Great – Thank You

  13. David Kuder - January 15th, 2016 12:37 pm

    Just got mine in last night, and I can confirm the 5.25″ mode works with the Apple IIe Card for the Macintosh LC. Haven’t gotten the 3.5″ or Smartport emulation working with it yet though. The Smartport mode shows up as a single drive in the settings dialog for the IIe card, but I haven’t gotten it working in ProDOS yet. The 3.5″ mode seemed to lock the IIe card. It looks like the IIe card only supports the UniDisk 3.5 (A2M2053) and I’m not sure which 3.5″ drive you are emulating.

  14. Steve Chamberlin - January 15th, 2016 2:37 pm

    Cool, I’ve never tried it with the Macintosh LC’s “IIe on a card”. A real IIe system with the standard disk controller supports 5.25 inch disks only, which is the only one of Floppy Emu’s Apple II emulation modes I’m confident would also work on the Mac LC card. In 3.5 inch mode for Apple II, Floppy Emu emulates an 800K Apple 3.5″ External Drive (A9M0106). From what little I know of the LC card, Smartport hard disk I/O is mapped to partitions on the Macintosh LC’s SCSI drive, and not to the Y-cable disk connector, so it wouldn’t be possible to connect an external Smartport hard drive. Let me know if you find a solution for that, it would be neat to see.

  15. David Kuder - January 16th, 2016 8:44 pm

    Right, it normally only supports the Apple II 5.25″ Platinum (A9M0107) and the UniDisk 3.5 (A2M2053) The A9M0107 is because of the lack of a -12V line in the IIe card. Otherwise it is quite happy with any DiskII drive if you can provide it with the necessary power. In theory since the UniDisk 3.5 is a smartport device, any smartport device should work. I might try an 800K image in smartport mode and see how that goes.

  16. David Kuder - January 16th, 2016 8:52 pm

    Yep, a single 800K disk works in SmartPort on IIe Card. I’ll have to try the 32MB prodos images again and see if it can see them too…

  17. John Mautz - January 17th, 2016 9:00 pm

    Do you have a new case for rev B or are they the same?

  18. Steve Chamberlin - January 17th, 2016 9:22 pm

    The current case fits either Model A or B.

  19. Kurt Werstein - January 18th, 2016 4:55 am

    Steve Chamberlin – Are you offering any special upgrade incentive to previous Model A buyers?

  20. Steve Chamberlin - January 18th, 2016 8:00 am

    For Model A owners, the $19 Universal Adapter Extension Cable will add most of the features of the Model B, including full Apple II compatibility.

  21. Tom Raidna - January 19th, 2016 6:05 pm

    Hi Steve, the FloppyEmu came today and after a bit of fiddling I have it working. For some reason it took about 15 tries to get the first step of the firmware flash to work (next, prev, reset). Once it took it’s working well with my Apple IIgs. I do have a question, so far the only way I seem to be able to get the computer to boot from the floppyemu is if I an fast on the buttons to select an image as the FloppyEmu reboots when the power is cycled. Is this the only way to do this? admittedly I am fairly new to the AppleIIgs.
    Thanks for a great product and for any help you can provide.

  22. Steve Chamberlin - January 20th, 2016 7:43 am

    Hi Tom, this is normal, but luckily there’s a solution. From section 10.3 of the manual:

    The Apple II GS will not wait for you to insert a 3.5 inch disk at startup. It will check only once for a suitable boot disk, and if none is found, it will display an error message and halt. Because it takes some seconds to select the desired disk image file from the Floppy Emu’s menus, at startup the II GS will give up and display an error message before you can select and insert a virtual disk. If this happens, reset the computer by pressing CTRL + Open Apple + RESET to force it to re-scan for a startup disk.

  23. Chris M. - January 20th, 2016 2:54 pm

    Any technical details on the new model? I noticed it no longer requires the 3.5″ drive switch the universal adapter board had.

    I’m also curious why the IIc+ doesn’t work. At a minimum the FloppyEmu should have worked connected to the internal drive’s connector without the daisy chain drive select logic (its a bare Sony drive). The DB-19 port might be a little different since its the only Apple II series with a built in 3.5″ drive (external would always be 3.5″ drive 2).

    Speaking of DB-19s, how is the supply with the brisk sales?

  24. Steve Chamberlin - January 20th, 2016 4:18 pm

    Model B connects additional I/O lines from the disk port. These are lines that are GND on a Macintosh, and so weren’t connected on the original Floppy Emu. The universal adapter connects those lines with a mechanical switch for Model A, but on the Model B they’re under software control and no switch is needed. So the equivalent of a software-controlled universal adapter is built-in to the Model B.

    I’m arranging to borrow a IIc Plus, so I can look into the issues with 3.5 inch disk emulation on that specific machine. I don’t have any explanation for it yet – hopefully it’s something simple.

    The DB-19 supply is gone, aside from a few remaining samples. All of the DB-19 stock I had has been used in the manufacturing of this batch of Model B hardware. Once those are gone, that will be the end of DB-19!

  25. Tom - January 20th, 2016 4:33 pm

    Thanks Steve – I found similar info at : and other sites as well.

  26. Dave - January 22nd, 2016 5:27 pm

    If i connect this device internally to the Macintosh Plue or the like, will the external floppy port still work as intended?

  27. Steve Chamberlin - January 22nd, 2016 6:16 pm

    Yes. In that case you’ll be substituting the Floppy Emu for the Mac’s internal floppy drive, and the external floppy port (if it has one) will be unaffected. FYI, I believe the Mac’s HD20 mode only works from the external floppy port.

  28. Miguel Rojas - February 4th, 2016 6:25 pm

    Hi Steve, I would ask if your product works for one PowerBook 1400c, a friend gave me today in the well and needs to be reformatted with OS 7.5, just this machine floppy

  29. Steve Chamberlin - February 4th, 2016 8:48 pm

    The 1400c doesn’t have a disk connector, so unfortunately there’s no place to attach the Floppy Emu, unless there’s a dock of some kind.

  30. Miguel Rojas - February 4th, 2016 8:58 pm

    Steve again, I was looking on ebay and found this connector, understand that your device connects to a 25-pin SCSI port, excuse me for insisting really want to buy this tool. Cheers..

  31. Steve Chamberlin - February 4th, 2016 9:04 pm

    Floppy Emu connects to the 19-pin external disk port (DB-19), or the 20-pin internal floppy connector on the logic board. It’s not a SCSI device and can’t be connected to a SCSI port. Check out section 7 of the manual, here:

  32. Nathan - March 12th, 2016 4:29 pm

    This looks amazing! 😀

    I have a Mac LC 580, the floppy drive no longer works. It appears to use the same kind of connector, would this work with it?

    Floppy drive is Mitsubishi MF355F-592MA

    The rear connector looks like this:

  33. Steve - March 13th, 2016 7:14 am

    The Floppy Emu board connects to your computer, not to the old disk drive. The LC 580 doesn’t have an external 19-pin disk port, but you could attach it to the Mac’s internal disk connector on the logic board, as described in the manual. Just unplug the old floppy drive, and attach Floppy Emu in its place.

  34. Nathan - March 13th, 2016 8:56 am


    I guess I didn’t explain well before, I was using the floppy as an example of the connector type, nothing more. (It’s dead anyway)

    Thank you! — I really want to try & bring the machine back when I have the money/time 😀

  35. bobtheaxolotl - August 15th, 2017 9:21 pm

    Just ordered one of these. I recently acquired an Apple IIc, complete with an old green phosphor monitor and printer, for $30, locally. It didn’t come with an AC adapter, so I didn’t know if it worked. But it did, disk drive and all, and so did the monitor. Still waiting on a printer cartridge to test it, but it looks in good shape, so it might well work.

    Pretty stoked about getting the floppy emu. I want to try various games and assorted bits of software, but the prices are high, and the disks unreliable. I will probably still end up with a fair bit of software on floppies, but I probably won’t run the software from them, aside to make copies.

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