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Floppy Emu Firmware Update: Smartport Unit 2 Mode

Celebrate Friday with a firmware update for the Floppy Emu disk emulator! This firmware adds a handy new disk emulation mode for Apple IIGS computers called Smartport Unit 2 mode. It’s what I called “chameleon mode” in an earlier post, and it’s very helpful for one specific configuration: you’re using the Floppy Emu as a Smartport hard disk, and the Emu is “unit 2” daisy-chained behind an Apple 3.5 inch floppy drive. With the new firmware, it’s now possible to boot from Smartport unit 2!

Normally an Apple IIgs in this configuration could only boot from the Apple 3.5 inch floppy drive (the 1st drive unit in slot 5), limiting the configuration’s usefuleness. Smartport Unit 2 mode causes the Floppy Emu to initially appear as a 5.25 inch drive in slot 6, which the IIgs will boot from, and load a small bootstrap program. This program will modify the Smartport unit priority table in RAM to give Unit 2 priority over Unit 1, and then reboot from slot 5. Presto, unit 2 boots.

You should only use Smartport Unit 2 mode when the Floppy Emu is daisy-chained behind an Apple 3.5 inch floppy drive. In all other cases, continue to use regular Smartport mode.

Get the firmware here: apple-II-0.2H-F25-modelBC

Note this firmware also contains some changes needed to support the forthcoming Daisy Chain Adapter. There shouldn’t be any visible differences, but be on the lookout for possible problems with daisy chaining, so you can revert to the previous firmware version if needed.

Read 5 comments and join the conversation 

5 Comments so far

  1. tim1724 May 6th, 2019 1:49 pm

    Is this firmware available for model A? Will the Daisy Chain Adapter work with Model A?

  2. Steve May 6th, 2019 3:19 pm

    The Floppy Emu Model A doesn’t have the connections required for daisy chain drive type detection. Model B or C is required in order to take advantage of Smartport Unit 2 mode or the Daisy Chainer.

  3. tim1724 May 6th, 2019 4:14 pm

    Darn. I guess I’ll be buying a C soon.

  4. Paul Powers May 9th, 2019 7:54 am

    Neat! Does it matter what ROM revision of the GS is? Said another way, what ROM revision has this been successfully used on?

    I’m also wondering if this might allow more freedom of boot on a //c (not plus).

  5. Steve May 12th, 2019 6:52 am

    Tested with IIgs ROM version 01, but the ROM version shouldn’t matter. This is only relevant to the IIgs or maybe the IIc+. The IIc can’t support 3.5 inch floppy drives anyway, so this particular daisy chain configuration isn’t an issue.

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