Quantcast Hardware DVD burner emulator exists? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
01-11-2018, 08:57 AM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I think I'm close to finding all the hardware pieces for this.. but now I'm thinking it might be foolish.

The device I am looking for or have in mind is:

About a 5.25 inch drive sized "SSD style Drive Dock" that plugs into a bay on a VHS/DVD or DVR/DVD combo unit. On the backside it has an IDE or Sata connector.

It would be indifferent to being in a PC or any other type of equipment, like a Combo player/recorder transfer device. To a PC or combo device it would just appear as a high speed burner.

In use it would present virtual optical "burn" media, and accept burn commands then store the results in an ISO file on the ejectable SSD drive like a "cartridge" which would be removable.


What started me down this "Search" path was thinking all Optical Drives seem to have a limited life time, and the media they create tends to be vulnerable to scratches, or might not be playable in the future.

There are also lots of reported instances of failed or unfinalized media being unplayable.

So.. I started looking and noticed two years ago ODD Blu-Ray reader emulation in a hand held USB 3.0 device appeared on the market, that also had an eSata interface. eSata to full size Sata and Pata adapters are everywhere.

I was also late to noticing virtual Blu-Ray burner software was already on the market as far back as Windows XP.. and that did allow "burning" to file images to "test" before burning media.

And.. now the foolish part

Does this already exist and I am totally wasting my time trying to put one together?

I'm very very late to the game and thought.. well I'll be smart this time and just ask.. am I looking for something already out there?
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  #2  
01-11-2018, 09:07 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The file storage and/or OS will prevent a drive on DVD recorder being readable in a Linux/Windows/Mac. Most are proprietary, and users have always hated it. I'd love to fill up a recorder, excise the disk, and copy to computer. But that's just not how it works. Never was, never will be.

A virtual burn does not exist, no. The closet we get is to create ISO images.

I don't think you're wasting your time. To the contrary, I find your research and trials quite interesting. But the path your going down is harder than you're thinking.

You're right about optical lifespans. Media may be durable for the long haul -- but ONLY if well stored and cared for. And then the drives may not exist in 50 years, even if discs do. The drives are not hard to construct, but willingness to make the legacy product (think VCRs) will be the main problem. DIY optical drives not that easy.

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  #3  
01-11-2018, 09:43 AM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I almost found "exactly" what I was looking for in the Zalman VE200 SE, it was a Sata to Sata, Optical Blu-ray emulator in a 2.5 external enclosure.. but it was replaced by their VE350 and they don't make the VE200 anymore. It also did not allow "burns" but the Phantom virtual emulator software for XP, Vista, Win7 kinda proved that wasn't extremely hard to do in firmware. .. all of that was going on around 2011.. and I started to feel "scooped".

eSata to SATA cables exist.. and SATA to IDE adapters still exist.. cheapo.. Hot Swap Docks for Sata are still sold by StarTech

All of the "pieces" exist.. or recently stopped existing in the case of the VE200

Its not a hard stretch to see a device just for this purpose existing.. I've emailed Zalman in Korea to see if they might consider such a device.. but really don't expect to hear back from them.

It would just be nice.. even if its only a DVD (MPEG2) burn emulator.. to get ISO files without going through media.. I don't know what Blu-ray would offer.

.. frustrating to be so close

p.s. Ugh.. i just found the raspberry PI has a SATA adapter which will connect to many things.. its not a clear, clean solution.. but it sort of says a hacker (probably not me) could build such a device. I just have a feeling there would be a real market for such a gadget.. burn to ISO files instead of media.. use the VHS/DVD or DVR/DVD device as it was meant to be used.. with little to no downside.. I guess you could even capture OEM drive identifiers.. so it could fake OEM Optical drives.. wish i were younger and had more time

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-11-2018 at 10:18 AM.
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01-14-2018, 03:49 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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This sort of thing does exist for floppy drives (commonly used for people tinkering with 80s/90s computers.), so doing something similar with an optical drive doesn't seem unthinkable if the device uses a somewhat standard SATA or PATA interface. Maybe I'm missing something here, but I don't see a big use case for it though, is it for use with DVD/Blu-Ray recorders with some sort of functionality for filtering analog video signals that isn't easily available elsewhere?
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  #5  
01-14-2018, 04:04 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Long term any device that relys on an Optical Disc system will depend on those drives continued existence. When the laser diode dies its not really practically repairable. And the device that depends on them is essentially dead too.

Small tiny microcontrollers for $10 with bluetooth and wifi, and SD card slots are common.. and now they are starting to have SATA and ATAPI ports.. if one could emulate a DVD-R disk burner the ISO images could be "burned" by the original device with no media and no Optical Drive, to files on SD or USB drives, or shared over bluetooth or wifi.. continuing the life span of these aging devices far into the future... (the idea is to keep using the original device as designed)

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-14-2018 at 04:28 PM. Reason: trying to shorten the message
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  #6  
01-14-2018, 04:23 PM
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I'd love it if I could remove the DVD-R drive from my DVD recorders, and have images burned to an SD card instead. That's save a lot of time writing to (and then from) a disc. I use DVD-RW in recorders, to grab data. Then I dump it all to HDD and start over. That's remove a time-consuming middleman.

I have an entire run an unreleased show (from a 48-hour+ Decades Binge) recorded to my Polaroid HDD. I'm dreading the task of removing it, putting it on the computer to remove commercials, then store on my network drive to watch.

It's be interesting if you could make a larger-than-disc image (as ISO has no real limit like a disc).

Recorders all suck because you can't just extract a drive, and dump it to computer. These all use proprietary file systems, for unknown reasons, that make it incredible inconvenient for those of us that are not afraid to rip apart devices. My Polaroid is already modded, and has a beefy 250gb HDD instead of the stock it came with (40gb or 80gb, I forget).

There are still many of us out there who'd be interested in what jwillis is doing.

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01-14-2018, 05:46 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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It seems that people have managed to create hardware emulators for the optical drives in several game consoles, like the http://ps-io.com/about/Playstation 1, the Sega Saturn and Dreamcast, and the Nintendo GameCube/Wii. Given that those system have specialized hardware, it seems emulating a more standard optical drive ought to be possible if one has the hacking skills or resources available. Looks like a product also exists for SCSI drives, but I would guess those would be rare to find DVD burner devices.

There are also sniffer devices for ATA and SATA, maybe that could be usable somehow.

Regarding the RPi, it seems that someone has at least managed to use it as an IDE disk emulator, so maybe more is possible.
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01-14-2018, 07:28 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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its not so much that its [not] possible, but what's the elegant or low tech way to do it

but hodgey does bring up a good point.. interest may fade in such a device, or be too little for commercialization.. so all the more it needs to be simple and easy for anyone to cook up themselves with few dependencies

i "think" a raspberry pi with a USB to SATA or USB to ATAPI dongle is probably the right hardware and fairly common, SATA requires a crossover changer to swap the TX/RX lines, not sure about ATAPI.. linux will read/write almost any file system including NTFS to an SD card (important because DVD iso images start at 4.7 GB in size).. so that leaves the software.. the linux CDemu project does ISO inject/eject drive emulation.. but they don't support "burning" yet.. in fact they had to change their project name because the Phantom software GmbH owned the trademark on Virtual CD... the sort of big problem is linux doesn't support SCSI target mode over SATA.. all of that to say.. its not a baked gadget yet.. just speculation (LIO and SCSIT do look interesting though)..

iodd out of korea has a 2.5 drive enclosure that emulates a DVD drive with ISO files, but its currently USB only and doesn't support DVD burning.. so close.. but not all the way.. they have done a lot of new feature adds with new firmware though.. including supporting .VHD .VMDK and other read/write formats

its a puzzle.. someone will figure it out.. probably someone smarter than me

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-14-2018 at 08:23 PM. Reason: simplifying reply
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  #9  
01-15-2018, 12:33 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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update:

Windows 7 can export local devices as iSCSI devices over ethernet

Linux can mount iSCSI devices over ethernet, raspberry pi is an open design and a few vendors have already added SATA ports to the design. examples: banana pi, or cubieboard1 pi

If Linux on those designs will allow putting the SATA port into SCSI target mode

And bridge the iSCSI traffic from the VHD/DVD or DVR/DVD device to the Windows 7 PC.

Then Phantom virtual DVD burner software for Windows 7 could be used to burn virtual DVD ISO images directly to a PC.

.. it still comes down to Linux supporting target mode on a SATA port however, that allows a Linux device to emulate "being" a physical hard disk or optical disk drive

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-15-2018 at 01:01 PM.
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01-15-2018, 04:42 PM
hodgey hodgey is offline
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Another possible route, both the Playstation 3 (some versions) and the Xbox 360 have optical drives connected with the sata interface (the 360 even uses a standard sata plug (though a nonstandard power plug)). Maybe it would be possible to adapt one of the ODD emulators that are available for one of those systems?
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01-15-2018, 05:05 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I don't think adapting SATA vs IDE is much of an issue since there are a lot of standalone bidirectional SATA to IDE adapters.

I just came across a $7 SD card to IDE adapter on eBay by Sintech.. it doesn't emulate a DVD burner.. but does emulate a hard drive on an IDE bus.. that is pretty darn cool. And really really close.

A guy reviews it and demonstrates it on YouTube here:

SD memory card to IDE adapter review benchmarks guide

I would be more than happy if it would "burn" straight to SD card and let me copy it off later.

I sure hope I am over thinking this and its just a matter of finding a gadget that already exists.

----

ok.. and a SD to SATA adapter for $14 here:

QNINE SD Card to SATA Adapter

and a Youtube review

SD SDHC Secure Digital MMC To SATA

the really interesting bit here is it has two chips, one that acts as a SATA target, the other a generic ST microcontroller.. which means its running embedded firmware. I don't know if it can be updated or not.. but that would be where emulation of a hard drive, or an optical burner disk would go.. if it could be brought into existence.

the SD to IDE is simpler, it has only one chip.. which probably means its doing all the emulation on that

the costs for these adapters is incredibly low.. I'm amazed

so close.. but so far

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-15-2018 at 05:28 PM.
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  #12  
01-17-2018, 04:00 PM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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I think I'm going to go silent on this issue for a while.. to study offline.

that last product link is (extremely) interesting.. its basically a SATA to SD card adapter, and has an ARM microcontroller on the board with custom firmware.. it basically emulates an entire hard drive and stores the read/writes to the SD card

all that has to happen to emulate a DVD-R/RW recorder is a few identifier strings in the firmware has to be updated

its cheap and should be fast enough to do what has been proposed, the SD card would (become) the DVD-R media

what I don't know, and need to study.. is how to extract and modify the firmware.. or get the vendor in China to take on the task

so effectively.. it kind of does exist, in a cheap and readily available format from many common vendors.. it just needs a slight firmware update

if this thread needs to be retired or closed off.. please do

if/when its ready for for people.. I'll start another thread.. this could take some time
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  #13  
01-17-2018, 04:58 PM
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If/when you have more, we'll be here. I know I'm reading.

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  #14  
01-21-2018, 12:15 AM
jwillis84 jwillis84 is offline
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Rather unexpected.

The SCSI2SD guys from Austrailia appear to be working on a device tacitly labled ATAPI2SD for possible release Q3 or Q4, this year.

They are known for several generations (version 6 is out now) of their SCSI2SD device, it has a small microUSB connector for hooking the board up to a PC and using a Windows/Linux/OSX gui program to "configure" the board to emulate a disk drive, a cd drive, a magneto optical drive ect.. and setting a SCSI ID. Its pretty amazingly complete.

The storage is then the SD card which can be used to onload or offload images as needed.

I believe if "anyone" this group has the chops, or what it takes, to actually get the job done.

They are using an FPGA approach with specialized Integrated circuits.. and I think I spotted a Cypress IC on one of their boards. (But) they are highly price sensitive to the final product.. and that appears to be what is holding up the project.

While they think it will sell well to the Retro gamer markets and beyond, they don't think it will be sustainable if they don't get the price point right. The (ATAPI) target interface "appears" to be IDE since that is the majority of their target market.. IDE to SATA adapters exist and if that is needed by some type of device like a late model HDD/DVR combo it shouldn't be a problem.

I've been reading up on a lot of similar projects.. and thinking of starting one my own.. but really.. sincerely.. this one looks like the one to watch and just be supportive of it if possible.

In the old-world SCSI terms a "magneto-optical" disk was a read-write disc drive, similar in terms of the modern-world to a CD/DVD-RW drive. It would make sense to emulate that as well.

My thoughts on specific DVD "burner" emulation are focused on the idea that a generic "ID" string each drive provides when queried could be "modified" to answer it is a different physical drive with different capabilities, as a matter of "configuration".. then it would simply be a matter to "capture" or "copy" those drive "IDs" by removing the OEM drive and plugging it into a PC and running cdinfo from imgburn or some other program.

Also.. optionally.. SD cards with minature web/ftp servers on them called WiFi/SD cards with 16 or 32 GB of storage are available.. so partnered with this.. you could [add] WiFi to your HDD/DVD equipment at the same time.

The workflow would then be.. replace the DVD drive with one of these cards and your choice of SD card.. then use your device.. VHS/DVD or HDD/DVD or DVR/DVD to burn "virtual DVD isos" of your content.

Then offload DVD iso image either by swapping cards, or copying the iso over your WiFi to your PC/Mac/Linux system for long term storage.. no physical media required, no repetitive burn-rip cycles.

[And] I guess as a bonus.. you (could) upload an iso image to the virtual DVD for playback.. if you really wanted too..

The whole point being to extend the useful lifespan and flexibility of this equipment into the future.

.. a matter of waiting now I suppose, and watching

Last edited by jwillis84; 01-21-2018 at 12:57 AM.
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