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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 9:23 am 
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I am trying to build an external USB 5.25" floppy drive to read some old disks I have around*. I already have a floppy drive and an enclosure that will fit it and provide the needed power. I even have the edge->34pin connector so I can use a regular floppy (MFM) cable. What I need now is a floppy -> USB converter. I'm trying to find a USB floppy drive that might have one that could be extracted for this purpose.

I know a lot of newer USB floppy drives have proprietary chipsets and even not-quite-standard (in terms of interface) floppy drives. I have a source on a circa-2003 IBM USB floppy that I might be able to cannibalize for parts, but I can't find any diagrams or howtos on it that might clue me in to whether or not it will be a useful drive to do this with.

Drive in question looks to be 08K9835. Has anyone here taken one apart before and knows what is in it? Or can someone find a schematic for it that might give me some idea? Nothing came up at ibm.com or lenovo.com when I searched for that FRU.

thank you




*yes, I know others have tried with varying degrees of success, but I want to try for it and see if I can make it work

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 9:47 am 
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http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showt ... p?t=151939
http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/2503
http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 10:15 am 
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RealBlackStuff wrote:
http://www.techpowerup.com/forums/showthread.php?t=151939
http://ascii.textfiles.com/archives/2503
http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html


Thank you for digging that up, it may be helpful down the road. I might even try replying to the author in the techpowerup.com discussion with something I think may be helpful to him.

FWIW, I found a TEAC combo 5.25/3.5 drive (which of course may make things more complicated) which uses only a single ribbon connector (no edge connector required) for its workings. This would get me around one fo the problems the author noted.

I have noticed that some USB drives specifically say that they access the floppy drives via MFM, which gives me some (perhaps misplaced) hope that some drives might be better parts donors than others.

Of course, that deviceside.com solution is the best of all; but if I can pull off the same functionality without spending $55 on an adapter, that would be preferable.

EDIT: I just looked at the cable mentioned in the forum you linked to; the cable was $28. At that point it might not be advantageous to buy the cable rather than just buying the $55 adapter and being done with it.

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T510 - 4313-CTO: New from Lenovo January 2011. Core i5, Discrete Graphics, 8GB RAM, 320GB HD, 9 Cell. Win7 when I must, Kubuntu when I can
R32 - 2658-A7U: P4m 1.6Ghz, 2GB/250GB, XPP / FBSD 7.2 - 7+ years old and still ticking
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 12:47 pm 
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lparsons: Those 3.5-inch USB floppy chips are intended for 3.5-inch 1440 / 720 format, I assume. By contrast, when the controllers in PC mobos could address different formats, it was configurable in BIOS. Maybe one can reprogram them?

edited to seem less authoritative; honestly, I do not know what I am saying.


Last edited by automobus on Sun Mar 17, 2013 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:09 pm 
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automobus wrote:
lparsons: one cannot simply re-wire those adapters to work with 5.25-inch diskette drives. Full stop.

Those 3.5-inch USB floppy chips are programmed exclusively for 3.5-inch 1440 / 720 format. By contrast, when the controllers in PC mobos could address different formats, it was configurable in BIOS.


Some people - particularly in the thread linked earlier - provide an argument to suggest that is not necessarily the case. One technical argument is that the hardware commands for the 3.5 floppy is an extension of the command set for 5.25 floppy, hence the former brings with it the ability to address the latter.

Of course, theory is great in theory. We have very little to go on in terms of how well it applies in the real world.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:20 pm 
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Interesting. I'm looking for a way to get a bunch of files from a huge stack of 5.25 diskettes onto my Thinkpads. I have an old Pentium MMX tower with a combo FDD, that should allow me to easily copy 5.25s to 3.5s. But it's cumbersome. The DeviceSide doohickey looks like it'll work, If i can find a 5.25 drive because I'm not sure it will like that combo drive. I'd also need power, but i have an old Plextor USB CDRW that i could use for that purpose. I hadn't bothered with it, figuring that i could get an external 5.25 FDD, but apart from some very old IBM PS/2 parallel units, that probably won't work, there aren't any.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:53 pm 
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How about a USB ZIP-drive?
There's a program around to copy floppies onto a zipdrive, each floppy in its own sub-directory.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 2:38 am 
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But I didn't think a ZIP drive could read a 5.25 diskette?

I can fire up the old tower. I've been wanting to upgrade it to W98SE (it still has w95 on it!!!) and reconfigure the 5 SCSI drives in it. and configure the NIC i bought for it, but even my old T22s are more powerful than it is, and it's mainly a novelty for me now.

Except for the fact that it's the only thing I have that can read & write 5.25 diskettes. I hadn't realized that there was no such thing as an external 5.25 (other than a few PS/2 models).

BTW, will any of those IBM PS/2 external 5.25 FDDs work with a Thinkpad with ANY windows (say W98). If they do, I can get one and use it with my T22s for file transfer.

Otherwise, it's hook the tower back up, reconnect the KVM setup and manually copy to 3.5s or get that Device Side item, find a separate 5.25 drive and an enclosure for power. I'm sure i could find an old Teac FDD and an enclosure. I might even have an old 5.25 FDD in my stack of ancient drives.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2012 5:33 am 
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The Zip-drive cannot read floppies, but I thought to use it as an intermediate storage medium, due to that easy program (which I just found again in my archives).
That's how I got rid of tons of floppies in the past.
I still have a boatload of 3.5" disks with old(er) programs on it, some dating back to W95, W3, OS/2, DOS and CP/M

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:43 am 
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Oh, OK,

I have a huge stack of blank 3.5s that i can copy to instead. If i put some effort into it i can write a batch script that will copy each 5.25 to a named directory on the HD then label and copy to a 3.5. I would only have to sit there and babysit the computer, which if i remember will take quite a while. Then when it's all done, I can copy that HDD directory to a CDR or a USB stick.

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760LD 9547 FUBARd; i1411 2611
T21 2647; T22 2647 4@ 900MHz, 1@ 1GHz SXGA+; T23 2647 2@ 1.13GHz, 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+, WiFi
T30 2366-83U 1.8GHz; 5@ 2366-LU0/66U 1.9GHz; 2367-KU6 2GHz FUBARd
T61 8897-03U, 1.8GHz, SXGA+; 8898-AGM, 2.4GHz; 6463-Y64, 2.4GHz, WSXGA+; 6463-WTL, 2.1GHz, WSXGA+


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