Lets say you don’t have a GoTek drive or Compact Flash card, how on Earth do you transfer data between your Amiga and a PC?
In the days before the GoTek there was another go-to tool for transferring data between an Amiga and PC: Amiga Explorer by Cloanto. Using this application it was possible to transfer not only data between the systems but also create Amiga Disk Format (ADF) images from Amiga floppies, apply ADF images to Amiga floppies, and even copy the Amiga Kickstart ROM.
In this article I’ll run you through how to install and use Amiga Explorer with a standard Amiga 500 (512MB of RAM) connected to a Windows 10 PC using a null-modem cable over the serial ports of each system.
Section 1: Installing Amiga Explorer on Windows
1. Download the Amiga Explorer installation file from the Cloanto website (https://www.amigaforever.com/ae/).
|NOTE: Amiga Explorer is Shareware and Cloanto provides it at no cost. If you wish to help support them it’s recommended that you purchase it, or purchase an Amiga Forever Plus or Premium Edition which include the Amiga Explorer application.|
2. Double-click on the Amiga Explorer installation file.
On the Windows desktop will be an Amiga Explorer icon.
Section 2: Serial Null-Modem Cable
A serial null-modem cable is required to connect the Amiga to the PC. If you choose to purchase a null-modem cable it’s critically important that the cable is wired for “full handshaking”.
Alternatively you can choose to make your own cable. Cloanto has done a great job at documenting the pin-out of the serial null-modem cable on their website (https://www.amigaforever.com/kb/13-105) which is required to connect the Amiga to the PC. Below are the pin-outs for the serial null-modem cable shown on the Cloanto website.
DB-9 to DB25
DB-9 to DB-9
DB-25 to DB-25
For this document, a DB-9 (female) to DB-25 (female) cable was constructed.
NOTE: Many modern PC’s don’t have serial ports anymore. USB serial port adapters will work just fine. For this document, a Prolific USB-to-Serial Comm Port adapter, similar to the one shown below, was used.
Section 3: Installing Amiga Explorer on an Amiga over a Serial Port
1. Connect the serial ports of the Amiga and PC together using the null-modem cable.
|WARNING! BE SURE YOU ARE CONNECTING THE SERIAL PORTS TOGETHER! ACCIDENTALLY CONNECTING TO A PARALLEL PORT MAY DAMAGE ONE OR BOTH COMPUTERS.|
In this example COM4 is the PC’s serial port.
3. Turn on the Amiga and boot Workbench. Workbench version 1.2 or higher is needed.
In this example the Amiga is running Workbench 1.3, so No was clicked.
On the Amiga, open the Serial Preferences application and ensure the settings are set to:
Baud Rate: 19200
Buffer Size: 4096
Read Bits: 8
Stop Bits: 1
Once the Amiga Serial Preferences are set, on your Windows PC click on the OK button of the Amiga Explorer Setup dialog.
10. Once the copy is complete, as described in the Amiga Explorer Setup dialog, press Ctrl-C on the Amiga. Nothing will appear to happen, that is normal. Once you’re pressed Ctrl-C on the Amiga then click OK on the Amiga Explorer Setup dialog of the Windows PC. The word “**BREAK” should appear in the Amiga Shell.
That’s it! The Amiga Explorer application is now located in the Amiga’s RAM DISK. Feel free to either leave it there if you’re only using it temporarily, or copy to a floppy if you need a more convenient way to start it in the future.
Section 4: Using Amiga Explorer over a Serial Port
When you launch the Amiga Explorer application on the Amiga, an AExplorer window will appear showing the connection information. This windows will appear for only a few seconds and then it will disappear.
To close the Amiga Explorer application on the Amiga, double-click on the AExplore icon again. When you close the Amiga Explorer Application on the Amiga another AExplore window will appear indicating that it’s stopped.
2. Once the Amiga Explorer application is running on the Amiga, launch the Amiga Explorer application on Windows.
The application is pretty intuitive, but here is a short list of some of the key functions you can use:
- Navigate the RAM DISK, hard disks, and any floppies inserted into the drives by double clicking their symbol. The example to the right shows me navigating the Workbench 1.3.3 floppy.
- Copy Amiga Disk Format (ADF) images to a floppy inserted in the Amiga’s drive by dragging and dropping the ADF file from your Windows PC to the Amiga floppy symbol.
- In a similar but reverse fashion, create Amiga Disk Format (ADF) images for floppies that are inserted in the Amiga’s drives by dragging the ADF file symbol to somewhere on your Windows PC.
- Format floppies that are inserted in the Amiga’s drives by right-clicking on disk symbol and selecting format from the pop-up menu. (NOTE: This function requires Workbench 2.0 or higher).
- Copy the Kickstart ROM from your Amiga to your Windows PC by dragging the Kickstart ROM symbol to somewhere on your Windows PC.
There are probably a bunch of other functions part of Amiga Explorer, but those will probably be the main ones most will use.
I hope this article is helpful.