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Posted Sun Dec 04, 2022 4:13 pm

Hey guys,

I have seen all the Amax threads and have Amax II installed on an A1000 with Parceiro II which runs fine..... except I don't have the Amax hardware and so cannot access any Mac floppy drives.

I really want a software only Mac emulator that will run on a 68000 (well actually 68010 :P) A1000 with 8MB FastRAM and a harddrive. I really don't want to have cumbersome hardware add-ons hanging out the back, or reliance on floppy disks. I have read that it is possible to convert Mac floppy disks to a hybrid format that the Amiga can read natively.... is it possible to convert Mac software, for instance the System 6 boot disk, to this format, then convert to an ADF and then use something like Diskmimic to mount the ADF and access it as a floppy disk in Amax II?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,


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Posted Sun Dec 04, 2022 11:35 pm

There are indeed software-only, non-hardware-based Mac emulators for Amiga.

One is Shapeshifter, which claims to require OS2.1 and a 68020. I've no idea if that is a hard requirement, or a recommendation.

And there are other solutions, too.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:30 am

If you want to stick with 68000 I think you are limited to AMax. In which case you'll want this:

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:36 am

Hi there intric8,

sorry, I probably was not very clear with my opening post - I am well aware of Shapeshifter, Fusion, Basalisk etc and have used many of them for years now, however as previously mentioned I am chasing a software only solution that runs on a 68000 Amiga - namely an A1000 with Parceiro.

Unfortunately, all the other software only solutions mentioned require a minimum of a 68020 and so will not run on a 68000 based A1000.

At this point it seems like the most likely candidate is Amax II (or perhaps 2.5) using Macintosh disks that have been converted to a format the Amiga can read natively and then put into ADF format and mounted by Diskmimic. Problem is I do not have access to the hardware to firstly read and convert the Mac floppy disks..... and I am not even sure this will work.

I'm hoping someone out there has attempted this at some point.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 12:41 am

Hi dalek,

thanks for that. I guess as a last resort I could go that way, but I am really chasing a software only solution. I am sure I read somewhere at some stage that Amax could read Mac floppies and then write them to Amiga floppy drives in an Amiga compatible format, then Amax could read those created floppies from the Amiga without the need of a Mac floppy drive. I am hoping to take this to the next logical step (if possible) and write the created floppies to ADF files and mount them via Diskmimic, which would then ditch the requirement to have floppy disks at all.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 9:33 am

@abraxxious thanks for clarifying.

I have one tiny shred of hope I want to throw your way. I may be receiving my friend Chris Brenner's daily driver powermac later this year or early next. It was his development machine. I am supposed to meet with his nephew this month in Portland to do the exchange.

Anyway, Chris told me before we did the A-Max/Starboard project together where he wrote the hard drive drivers that he'd reverse engineered the A-max cartridge. He never released his files, however. He mentioned simply duplicating the board and opining that he'd like to redesign it some day to go vertical rather than sticking straight out the back. He never did get around to that, though. But, the extremely hard-to-find cartridge (which is a pretty simple PCB) was reverse engineered.

If I am able to get his work, I plan on putting some of his RE projects on Github like we did for the Rejuvenator. I will need a little help next year to set that up and make sure I do it all correctly. But I think - if I can access and find his files - there is a shot that the A-max cartridge could be re-released if I can get the proper permissions to do so. (If not, it would all be back-channel silliness, I suppose - so hang in there.)

The thing Dalek posted is basically the same thing (sort of). That'd be an excellent way forward.

Here's the thing. I have the hardware setup, and having the disk option really is very handy. If you don't want an old drive, you can also look into the Floppy Emu to use digital disk images you prepare from your modern PC/Mac.

I can't answer to a software-only solution. The way mine is set up via hard drive installation, the Mac can't see the Amiga at the same time. It is a total take-over situation.

Curious: Did David D. write an A-Max driver after all? I know he was being pressured to do that from someone (I think in France?) but I wasn't sure if he'd ever decided to do it.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 1:48 pm

Hi intric8,

thank you for that - that was some great info. It is amazing that a piece of software as old as Amax is still getting new hardware support more than 30 years later!

Anywho, I know a couple of people have asked David if he would write an Amax driver for the Parceiro, which would be great, but I am not holding my breath.

Out of interest, the Starboard driver for Amax - does it use a hardfile (HDF), or does it require it's own dedicated partition?

Also, it seems like you have had a bit of experience with Amax - can a Macintosh disk be converted and stored as an Amiga ADF and then mounted and run by Amax?

Thanks again for your help.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 2:23 pm

or does it require it's own dedicated partition?
It requires its own partition. The way mine is set up is the A-Max partition is 50MB (which is plenty). Running AMax with 8MB of modern fast ram is kinda awesome, too.

Chris wrote a StarDrive.amhd driver to use the StarDrive's SCSI with A-Max. He was able to get some of the necessary documentation from Marty Flickinger (the guy from Xetec!). Marty had passed along the tech data and documentation that he got from Readysoft back in the day.

However, it is possible to pass files back and forth with the right setup. On Chris' A2000 he could transfer files between his A-Max partition and his Amiga FFS formatted storage partition when running A-Max.

Anyway, if you're creating a partition table on your SD card with HDToolBox, then you have to make sure that the first partition doesn't start right at cylinder 0. It should be set to at least cylinder 2.

LowCyl=2 in the mountlist.

If your SD card is currently set up with the first partition starting on cylinder 0, then you'll either need to use a different SD card, or back up the current SD card, and then repartition and reformat it. In my case, I started from scratch and created a whole new card and went from there.

By the way...
Chris told me back in March of 2022 that there was an A-Max crack for 2.06 that allows you to run A-Max fully w/o the cartridge on an A1000. That's actually how he was running it back then since he'd traded it in back in the day for A-Max Zorro card for his A2k.

Anyway... I could go on and on. This kind of dredges up some bittersweet memories. I've felt a little rudderless since he died and just jump from project to project. I need to really focus and move on.

By the way, what version of A-Max software are you running? All the way up to version 2.56 runs with the cartridge. I also have the Zorro II card for use with big box Amigas but haven't installed it. To be honest, once you go big box you kinda don't really need the hardware anymore (except I do - because I like to use the hardware peripherals).

As for using software on the Amiga side, this is where things get a little weird but I think (if I understand you correctly) it works a bit differently than you envision.

A-Max uses its own 800K format that works on any Amiga floppy drive. A-Max 2 also uses high density floppies if you have a high density drive in your Amiga. With a high density drive, I can convert Mac 800K disks to A-Max 800K disks by first copying to a high density disk on (for example) my old PowerBook, and then copying from the high density Mac disk to an 800K A-Max disk on my A2000. But it's a unique format.

Once you have a HDD with a proper driver, moving the software over to the hard drive is a game changer. You aren't beholden to running software off disks anymore (and some software requires a HD to run - like Microsoft Word, for example).

When you're stuck with disks-only, sometimes the disk swapping is insane. Like, read for 1-2 seconds, then be told to swap. Over and over and over. No thanks.

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 4:16 pm

Again, some great info there - thanks!

I currently have Amax II set up and running on my A1000/Parceiro and I do not have the Amax hardware, so I am assuming I have the cracked version of Amax II - will check the version when I get home tonight.

When run, it goes to the main setup/title screen where you can choose resolutions etc, and you can choose your Mac roms (I think I am running 128kb ROMs which came with this version of Amax).

So, is Amax able to run off mounted ADF's? If so, is there place/way to get hold of some Mac System disks that have been converted to Amiga ADF?

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Posted Mon Dec 05, 2022 5:57 pm

When run, it goes to the main setup/title screen where you can choose resolutions etc, and you can choose your Mac roms (I think I am running 128kb ROMs which came with this version of Amax).
I'm going to guess you have the cracked version, too, because usually when you load A-Max off of original disks there is a point and time where it seeks the ROMs and loads them. If it can't find them I don't think you can load the next screen which would be waiting for the system disks. That's my recollection anyway.
So, is Amax able to run off mounted ADF's?
No idea because I've only ever used original disks. But I don't see why not. You'd save your preferences to that A-Max ADF I guess when you boot. Should work.
If so, is there place/way to get hold of some Mac System disks that have been converted to Amiga ADF?
Again, this is kind of the tricky part to explain. The Mac System disks have to be either 1) original (and loaded via an attached drive) or 2) A-Max format. I actually have an Amiga tool that converts the Mac "IMG" format to A-Max format.

Starting to remember some of this... as I haven't' thought about it deeply in several months.

It used to be folks would use CrossMac in combination with TransADF. You would put a floppy in your Amiga and write out a disk image to it.

(Using CrossMac - v1.05 is on Aminet - and TransADF, for example:

Code: Select all

TransADF MAC0: BootDisk_608.img WRITE
And do that for all 6 system 6.0.8 disks. This all gets really complicated, but you have to write the disks under Amiga OS 2.0 because CrossMac requires it. Also, TransADF knows about the CrossMac mfm.device, and that's why it works for creating A-Max format floppies with an Amiga floppy drive.

So to reiterate, you'd need CrossMac and TransADF to write these images to floppy on your Amiga.

CrossMac is made up of two primary components: the filesystem, which interprets the raw data on a disk, and extracts files, directories, and data from it; and the mfm.device, which controls the placement and format of raw data on the magnetic media. Now, the CrossMac filesystem requires OS 2.0+, but it occurred to Chris that the same might not be true for the mfm.device. He ran a test, and was able to successfully read the raw data from an A-Max formatted disk using the mfm.device under 1.3.

Therefore, Chris realized, he would be able to write a tool that could create disk images from AMax formatted disks, and A-Max formatted disks from disk images under 1.3.

There's still no way see the files on those disks under 1.3, but the point here was to create A-Max format disks that can be used with A-Max.

And he got it working. I don't believe he ever published it, but I have his program. It is called Img2Amax.

So now we can write Mac disk system images to A-Max disks on our A1000's. No need for TransADF and a full CrossMac installation. :) In other words, all that backfill info up there ^ not necessary (except for context, because I don't think you were fully grasping the A-Max format being so weird and unique to the original process). It took me a long time to wrap my head around it, too!

Oh - and this program is not StarDrive specific. Anyone could use it.

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