View Full Version : Update - PLR Electronics Floppy to USB disk drive.

May 18th, 2011, 06:04 PM
FYI if interested !

Getting ready to get back to some of my vintage computer projects and decided to go to their web site -


Wow ! Much improved with voluminous postings, downloads, forum, etc.

Lot of specific details to help you get their device working in place of 3.5” and 5.25” floppy disk drives, but mostly for industrial machinery.

I had posted on this vintage site about 1 – 2 years ago about my experiences – basically works as advertised on Win ME, Win XP and MS-DOS 6 systems, but ran into some difficulties with our Kaypros. Just did not have time then to continue, so let it drop.

So I just posted on their web site as “A Kaypro 8 Guy “ under the thread TEAC, some long detailed information about trying to use their device on Kaypros – “quad” Teacs on Kaypro II’s upgraded to Kaypro “ 8 “ ‘s.

Chris responded almost immediately asking about more detailed technical info. One of their devices may already work for the “quad” TEAC – 720 K. They are working on a device for the normal TEAC – 360 K. It all depends on the possible consumer demand, of course.

They mostly provide these devices as many of your know for machines in many industries that still use the 5.25” floppies and drives – e.g. fabric, machine shops, etc. Lot cheaper than a whole new computer system, especially for third world countries.

They must be doing very well since they upgraded their web site so much.

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So I dug out my tech manuals [e.g, Tandon, both Teacs and two Kaypro] and did an Excel spreadsheet of all the info I could find. I was amazed what was missing and no tables / charts comparing and contrasting the different floppy drives and versions !

Their site is just like this site, so you should feel very comfortable using it.

Check it out, make some posts there and posts here also to help increase our
“ knowledge base “ further concerning vintage computers.

Note that the device goes for about $275, which some have commented on as high, but it can be easily swapped out and used in many different computers with 3.5” and / or 5.25” drives.

The flash drives, 2 GB or less, are certainly very inexpensive today, since the larger ones have become so popular.

This may not be for many, but if it might be for you, just check it out.

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Some may not be aware that in these early vintage computers, you had to load in the operating system “ each time “ you turned your computer on. There were no hard drives to save the operating system on for the next time you used the computer.

With the demise of such floppy disk drives, this may be an option to keep these vintage computers running by making use of this device in place of the floppy disk drive.

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As many of you know, I have no financial, personal, etc. interests in this device or the Deviceside.

I also value my “independence” and independent evaluations - + or – or in between – too much to be committed in any way to others.

My only motivation is enjoying and fostering our vintage computing hobby. It has been just a fantastic hobby in my retirement years in so many ways !

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They also do mainboard repairs, but for the above noted machinery mostly, I presume.

Cost is high – about $500 with about 5 day turnaround.

With many schematics for vintage computers as free downloads on the bitsaver site, this may be an option for those who could afford it and are so committed to vintage computers.

Some info I saw awhile back was that Kaypro mainboards were going for hundreds of dollars, if you could locate one. But then what are you getting ? At least with a repair, you should have some sort of warranty / guarantee, etc.

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Also the WWW.MFARRIS.COM site, besides being one of the few remaining [are there even any others ?] source and repair option for floppy drives, has at the bottom of the home page “The Ref” by F. Robert Falbo, that provides a lot of specs on many floppy disk drives, along with much other information.

But you can post also with your input.



I searched the PLR site under CP/M and Kaypro, but there was nothing.

They also do main board repairs –

- But expensive around $500 to $600 – 1 – 5 day turn around

- Mainly only specialty boards for computers in machinery

- However, with schematics of many vintage computers –e.g. Kaypro on the bitsaver site, etc., they may be able to do “ something,” since such mainboards are so scarce – heard some Kaypro ones if you can find them go for hundreds of dollars and then what are you getting – at least with a repair there should be some sort of warranty / guarantee, etc.

Note, many of the chips on the Kaypro mainboards are still readily available and are very inexpensive [e.g., Jameco, etc.].

The few specialty chips have been “cloned” by some, but I do not know how legal that is.

If some of the capacitors are just blown and you do not feel comfortable replacing them yourself, this may be an option.

I will get back to Chris on this later, after we get the disk drive issues clarified.

- but cost of course looks prohibitive, unless you are very rich and a very devoted vintage computer person.

- So could just ask at least.

May 18th, 2011, 06:17 PM
Well, there are cheaper alternatives. Watch this forum for a fairly inexpensive DIY version using SD/SDHC cards also--and open source.