When I first got my Amiga 500, around 5 years ago, it came with an external 3 1/2″ floppy that, added to the internal one, provided a very flexible way to try out the more than 2000 disks that I’ve got in the same package (all legal copies of course! wink, wink).
That got me busy for a while but having to wait for floppy-speed loading times wasn’t fun back then, and it continues to be not fun nowadays. Some years later, I acquired a Gotek drive, a floppy emulator where you can connect a USB Stick full of floppy images. That was a huge step in terms of flexibility and speed. However, I was still limited to the floppy image sizes, which is usually ok unless you want to use your Amiga for more things other than playing a specific game now and then.
Yesterday I saw on the Amiga Friends Facebook group (a great Amiga oriented group where the admins aren’t dictators :)) an announcement that caught my attention – an Amiga SD Card Reader & Writer which promises a hard-drive experience for the Amiga using an SDCard as storage.
The device connects to the Amiga parallel, and after mounted using a specific program (freely available), it behaves like an SD card connected to your modern PC. The SDCard must be format using FAT32 and can be used as any disk on the Amiga, with the advantage of a massive amount of space and the flexibility of bringing files from your modern computer.
Despite being connected to the computer, the device needs an external power source, provided by any USB charger. It will work on all Amiga models, except the A1000. For this model, I’ve checked with Ozkan, and he told me the problem is that the A1000 parallel port has a different pinout. In theory, an adapter should be enough to make the device work.
After chatting with the author of the post, Ozcan Ocakli, I’ve learned that the device that he was offering is his version (PCB) of an open-source project called SDBox. Everything needed to build the device is available on Github, including schematics, software and even the 3D model for a case! Anyone can freely use the project, which is what Ozcan is doing.
He ordered the material and built a small batch of these devices, which he is offering for 35 Euros + Shipping (w/o case), a very reasonable price considering how well-built it looks like and the use potential! I couldn’t resist and ordered one.
If you are interested to buy one, you can reach Ozcan via email (ozkanocakli at gmail.com) or join the Facebook group and look for him there. If you are inclined to tinker with electronics you can also build your own following the instructions on the Github link provided below.
I will be receiving my device in a few weeks and I will write another post with my impressions.
Link: SDBox on Github (To purchase one built device, check the email in the article above)