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Harddisk (ATA) To Ethernet converter / emulator

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Member level 4
Feb 16, 2003
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ide to ethernet converter

Hi all..

i just had this crazy idea!
i have this m3po mp3 player.. and i would reallt like to have it play mp3's
from my server, insted of the internal harddrive..
so how about making a IDE emulator that plugs in, insted og the harddrive,
this emulator then emulates harddrive for the m3po. and gets the data from network..

is this at all posible.. is it done?
Any ideas!

/Rune Kyndal

ide emulator ethernet

More simple and real is making new network (Ethernet and TCP/IP) baset MP3 player .... :)

project ethernet hard disk

Yes ofcource.. But it is not just that..
the whole idea, og emulation an harddrive through network, could be used in many cases!!

it could even be a CF card! then i can take pics with my digicam,
directly to my server! :)..

but the networking of "old" ide based units, would be verry smart.

there are many projects conserning for instance a pic16f877
where harddrives and cdroms have been connected.
and also network cards..
so the knowledge is probally out there!


ata emulator

Connecting any IDE device to CPU is easy, but making IDE device emulation with network protocol stack and network data maping to IDE sectors, not easy ...

atmega32 hdd mp3

Hi kyndal,

If you will follow the posts wrote by dainis overall this forum you will find the most pertinent advices regarding network. The present idea it's not exception from the rule above.

However, if you're eager enough and willing to spend some time on subject (I mean more than a crazy idea) you can buy a ready made PCB as you can see in attached picture. It's true that the board has been developed with other purpose in mind but you can reverse the direction at ATA conector and attach there your cable from mp3 player, then use 64K X 16 for buffering of data which is coming from network via RTL8019 controler and make the mp3 player thinks it's a hard drive attach.
Obvious, you must rewrite all the code for ATMega 128 micro.
You can find more about here: **broken link removed**
It's a big chalenge. I don't say you will succeed 100 % due to the bus lattency and cache efficiency. Maybe you'll need to switch to 100M ethernet chip.
I don't know because I hadn't tried before. But it's better than nothing.

**broken link removed**

silvio said:
It's true that the board has been developed with other purpose in mind but you can reverse the direction at ATA conector and attach there your cable from mp3 player

Hi Silvio,

I wrote that connect IDE drive to CPU and network not problem, and
if can found many designs on internet, but "reverse direction of ATA conector" not easy, you need use special controller IC from HDD or PFGA for ATA high speed emulation ....

Hi dainis,

You are right for high speed emulation.
I've searched a little and found that most of mp3 player fitted with HDD as storage media, don't take full use of IDE and ATA features. Hence, I still believe that for this kind of application, and only for this, you can still do "reverse direction of ATA conector" in one word, emulation.
But, like you mentioned above, real high speed emulation it's not possible without using special controller IC from HDD or FPGA. Thus, the kyndal's presumption that emulation an harddrive through network, could be used in many cases it's not full sustained by the emulation I'm talking above as still possible. He still needs those circuits mentioned by you and another design approach.

I agree with you that more simple and real is making new network (ethernet and TCP/IP) based MP3 player, rather than maping IDE sectors through network.
Really madness. Less headache if the complete files are brought in the local cache and fed to mp3 core.
The only concerned is accessing the network and if the privileges are granted, to extract the required mp3 file.
Yes, this design approach is much more viable.


Hi kyndal,

Do you know how HDD is driven inside your mp3po mp3 player ?
It follows a FAT 16 or 32 file systems ? That means it can be pulled out from the box, loaded in PC and then fited again.
Or HDD storage data it's nothing else than a continuos stream of bytes spreaded around sectors and accessed in proprietary format inside your mp3o mp3 player ?
This way you have non amovible storage device that could be loaded from PC only through ordinary external bus: USB, ethernet, paralell, serial.... as provided by the manufacturer.
I'm telling you these things because I didn't find any TerraTec mp3po mp3 player working with a HDD. Only CD Rom device. And you're talking about HDD emulation not specific ATA Atapi.


I found this:
**broken link removed**
**broken link removed**

But there’s more: in addition to the CD drive already installed, a conventional IDE hard disk can be easily retrofitted!* You can copy over compressed audio files and their playlists to the hard disk. Considering that a 30 GB HDD contains more than 546 hours (or 3 weeks!) of music, TerraTec’s m3po could mean the sudden end to any need for space in your CD rack! ;-)


As expected to hear, the file format is compatible to ISO9660/Joliet and Fat 16/32 file systems.
I give up on emulation since I can't compete with Hitachi SH703x; 32Bit RISC engine. It's a strong horse and I'm small donkey riding by a fat jockey (I call this the HDD)


Yes. as mentioned, i have already fitted a harddrive in my m3po..
i have even fitted in, a removable harddrive "rack" so it only takes a few minutes to do a turnaround refil of the disk...

but i would rather have my 120gb disk in the server so the files are avaible all over!

and yes the drive is formatted with FAT..

the m3po board also have an onboard serialport connector, for factory debugging..
maby i could rewrite the code to have a streaming from serialport posibility somehow....

and acording to realtime emulation and the ATA.. Well speed is not realy that important. as we only need to play mp3's (for this mp3 project anyway).

and last!!
for this project it is principle only nessesary to emulate.. say 10 mb harddrive..
the m3po can play playlistes aswell..
so the emulating microprocessor just takes care of copying the files, one at a time, acording to the playliste somehow?
this ofcource makes it dificoult to change song realtime..
but then a 16mb CF card can be used as "buffer" og som RAM?

/Rune Kyndal

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