Sega System24 with HxC Floppy Disk Emulator

Nov 27th, 2013

Wow, so long since I’ve had time or energy to-do a blog post – so long I almost forgot my login details.. :p

In order to try this out you will need the following:-

HxC emulator hardware (slim in this case)

A FAT16/32 SD card – 32MB or higher
MAME System24 rom dumps, or the original floppys with a working disk drive setup

What is the goal?

To move System24 floppy disks into a more reliable medium, without limiting the system in terms of loading and functionality.

The other issue is getting replacement floppy disk drives to actually work on the system – actually the newer games aren’t so bad, it’s the Hot Rod and Scramble Spirits Japan which are notoriously fussy on disks and drives – even copying those disks on a real system is a nightmare!

Just to clear some myths

Hot Rod/Scramble Spirits Japan

Each (0×2f00) track layout consists of these sectors

1=8192bytes
2=1024bytes
3=1024bytes
4=1024bytes
5=512bytes
6=256bytes

The later games use a layout more akin to PC, and yes a PC can easily read and write those floppy disks.

Building up the setup

Firstly you need to configure the HxC emulator suitable the System24.

Move the dips to the layout shown below

and hook it up to the System24 like you would a floppy disk drive – not the blue strip goes closest to the power cable.

Now it’s time to use the software (which can be downloaded here).

Launch the HxCFloppyEmulator software and you’ll be presented with a screen like below.

If you want to dump your disk then use the Floppy disk dump, if not then probably best to use MAME dumps.

If you want to dump your disk, it’s pretty simply a case of pressing a button and waiting for it complete (then skip past the MAME dump section).

If you want to use MAME dumps then follow this :-

Rename the DS3-5000-xxx.img to DS3-5000-xxx.s24, the extension must be .s24

Use the Load button and select the .s24 file.

In both cases – from reading the floppy or loading the .s24 file you should have the dump loaded.

Now saving it to the SD card is pretty straight forward, select the export file and browse to your FAT16/FAT32 SD card, save the file as DSKA000 and make sure the save type is HFE file (SD Card HxC Floppy Emulator file format).

Now you need to-do the config file to match.

This is pretty straight forward, Go on the menu Settings->SD HxC Floppy Emulator Settings (ALT+L) and you will be presented with a screen like this

Check the Enabled indexed mode (as this will load DSKA0000, then DSKA0001, 0002 ect if you push the disk selector button), but in reality System24 only uses one floppy at any one time.

Note:At time of writting the offical HxC software doesn’t support Hot Rod/Scramble Spirts J .s24 files, this will change soon (as I am testing the BETA software).

Hit the Save config file and save it to the SD Card.

Test it baby!

Plug in the SD card into your HxC Floppy Disk emulator and pray to the almighty Sega god.

Things you could do to enhance it.

Put a simple batch file on the SD card which you could be menu driven, so you could select a game and it could copy say scramble.hfe to DSKA0000.hfe

References:-

http://hxc2001.free.fr/floppy_drive_emulator/
http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=91

Update
Okay this is confirmed working on both the slimline and the full fat Rev F versions, but there is some additonal notes

Make sure the firmware is :-

Firmware SD HxCFloppyEmulator v1.8.2.40 (make sure you use the correct firm for the correct model type).
The interface mode needs to be on custom pin34 high – on the LCD version this is achieved by doing this
remove the sd, press select, interface cfg and choose pin 34 high
For the slimline version, there is a custom BIOS and .CFG file for the System24 – if anyone gets stuck I can supply all the things needed to get this working on the slim.

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