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Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 10:38 AM
I'm curious to discover if anyone's incorporated an internal USB floppy drive on their desktop. You can purchase Teac FD-05U drives fairly inexpensively; I'd like to see if someone has solved the mounting issue of a "slimline" 3.5" drive.

Compgeke
December 4th, 2012, 11:47 AM
This is an interesting idea, I can find those Dell D-Series floppy drives everywhere, and working with one of those it shouldn't be too hard to pull one apart for the internal drive and circuitry, mount that inside the case and then cut a hole in a floppy bay plate or something so it can be used. The reason for keeping the Dell circuitry is that it has a USB port on it, allowing them to be used as external drives as well as in a laptop. Making a cable from the on-board USB header to the drive wouldn't be too hard, even less if you pull a USB header off an old case and then use a plain cable.

I need to try this when I get home, I've been needing a floppy drive and external is a bit of a pain.

gslick
December 4th, 2012, 12:09 PM
Why bother? Just because?

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 12:21 PM
Glenn, I still use floppies quite a bit, in particular to transfer data to older non-network equipped machines. My latest system lacks both PATA (so I can't use an LS120 drive) and legacy floppy interfaces--just has USB and SATA. I despise littering my workarea with little boxes on cables.

Do you hae any suggestions?

GottaLottaStuff
December 4th, 2012, 12:36 PM
My "desktop" is actually a Dell D610 in a docking station, so when I need a floppy drive I just pop out the DVD-RW and pop in the 3.5" floppy. Modifying one of those Dell floppy drives to fit a standard case would be a pain. I've got a Teac external around her somewhere, it wouldn't be that hard to mount one in a 5.25" drive bay and make a faceplate for it. It's a bit wide for a 3.5" bay.

Maverick1978
December 4th, 2012, 12:43 PM
I can think of a lot of solutions for a USB floppy being mounted internally.... unfortunately all of them involve a dremel, a few quick brackets to the slot cover as well as for to the drive cage, and superglue. Lots of superglue. Obviously, this is not the most elegant of solutions.

I'm in the process of building a new desktop computer for myself now, and find myself wondering if Windows 8 even has floppy support (I haven't checked into it).

dpatten
December 4th, 2012, 12:52 PM
Glenn, I still use floppies quite a bit, in particular to transfer data to older non-network equipped machines. My latest system lacks both PATA (so I can't use an LS120 drive) and legacy floppy interfaces--just has USB and SATA. I despise littering my workarea with little boxes on cables.

Do you hae any suggestions?
This (http://www.sybausa.com/productInfo.php?iid=1232) might work with a (rare) laptop style LS-120 and a laptop IDE to SATA adapter. It would be a bit kludgy, but it would be off the workbench.


Another option might be one of those el-cheap-o card reader/floppy setups designed to go in a 3.5 floppy opening. Inevitably, they have a standard legacy floppy connector, but you could strip out that mechanism and replace it with the one from a standard slimline USB floppy. Bonus points if you have a USB card or port on the motherboard that accepts Type A USB connections internally.

Or for that matter, have you tried a PATA to SATA adapter on a standard LS120 drive or an add in PATA card for the LS120?

SkydivinGirl
December 4th, 2012, 01:00 PM
Chuck(G),

If you can find one, Buslink made a USB Floppy Drive (Model FDD-1) which used a standard 3.5" floppy drive. You could easily take it apart and mount everything inside the case. Here's a link to the drive on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00006BAJ2

11222

Unfortunately, they didn't seem to produce them very long. I've been lucky enough to find two in the past, one of which is still brand new in the box.

Please let us know if you find something that works well for you.

Heather

g4ugm
December 4th, 2012, 01:06 PM
Provided you have at least one slot of some kind available you should be able to fit a PATA interface. For example :-

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/190396589045

you can also get PATA to SATA adaptors.

No idea if these will work with a LS120.

Also note that many USB floppy drives are High Density only which can be a pain...

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 01:11 PM
Here's a possible solution. Get one of these:
http://images.geeksimages.com/imageshare/N/300x300/NM-003-unit.jpg
and replace the legacy floppy with a drive from an external box. Same mounting footprint.

eeguru
December 4th, 2012, 01:11 PM
Wonder what sort of interest exists for a XT-FDC-like project but using USB instead? It would not be a hobby friendly assembly, but would be a simple board with just a MCU emulating a mass storage class and a super I/O chip handling the floppy interface. Though you could probably put a PIC on the XT-FDC board design and start from there for a much larger but friendlier board design.

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 01:13 PM
you can also get PATA to SATA adaptors.

No idea if these will work with a LS120. In general, they don't.


Also note that many USB floppy drives are High Density only which can be a pain...

I checked that with my SmartDisk external USB floppy and it handles 720K (as well as DOS-V 1.23M floppies) very nicely.

dpatten
December 4th, 2012, 01:22 PM
Here's a possible solution. Get one of these:
http://images.geeksimages.com/imageshare/N/300x300/NM-003-unit.jpg
and replace the legacy floppy with a drive from an external box. Same mounting footprint.

I thought that was what I said... :-P

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 01:26 PM
Wonder what sort of interest exists for a XT-FDC-like project but using USB instead? It would not be a hobby friendly assembly, but would be a simple board with just a MCU emulating a mass storage class and a super I/O chip handling the floppy interface. Though you could probably put a PIC on the XT-FDC board design and start from there for a much larger but friendlier board design.

Given the command-level abstraction of USB mass storage, you'd have more than enough cycles to do the whole thing in a modestly-sized ARM or PIC32 MCU--and you get USB support free; probably no external logic chips if you've got 5V-tolerant inputs and a relatively modern drive. For old legacy drives that need outputs to sink more current, you'd have to include some buffering. But there's more than enough CPU there.

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 01:28 PM
I thought that was what I said... :-P

Not quite--you'd need to come up with a drive with an appropriate bezel to fit the enclosure. On the all-in-one, you've got the bezel already, as well as a card reader.

dpatten
December 4th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Would a driver have to be written?

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 01:31 PM
Would a driver have to be written?

Depends on your needs. If you just need to handle standard DOS-type 1.44M and 720K media, no--the thing would just be a generic storage-class device.

dpatten
December 4th, 2012, 01:56 PM
Depends on your needs. If you just need to handle standard DOS-type 1.44M and 720K media, no--the thing would just be a generic storage-class device.

There go my visions of USB powered 360K floppies...

Chuck(G)
December 4th, 2012, 04:10 PM
There go my visions of USB powered 360K floppies...

I don't think it's impossible--after all, 360K 5.25" floppies are just 1/2 of a 720K--same number of sectors per track. 360K drives are getting pretty thin on the ground, however.

Plasma
December 5th, 2012, 09:14 AM
I use an internal LS120 drive with an IDE to USB adapter. Even shows up as A: in Windows.

Chuck(G)
December 5th, 2012, 09:37 AM
I use an internal LS120 drive with an IDE to USB adapter. Even shows up as A: in Windows.

That's certainly another option. What brand of IDE-to-USB adapter are you using?

Compgeke
December 5th, 2012, 11:42 AM
I honestly don't think it matters, all that I've seen are based on jmicron chips, and can be purchased for like $10.

Just curious though, were there ever any black face LS120 or LS240 drives made? The only ones I've seen are beige.

Chuck(G)
December 5th, 2012, 12:01 PM
There were certainly the black "slimline" LS120s made for laptops, but I don't know about the full-height ones.

I'm curious about the USB "Superdrive" LS-120 made for the Mac community. They appear to be an IDE (could also be parallel, I suppose) with a USB port replicator attached. Anyone know for certain?

dpatten
December 5th, 2012, 12:30 PM
There were certainly the black "slimline" LS120s made for laptops, but I don't know about the full-height ones.

I'm curious about the USB "Superdrive" LS-120 made for the Mac community. They appear to be an IDE (could also be parallel, I suppose) with a USB port replicator attached. Anyone know for certain?

Are you talking about the iMac colored external drives? I believe I have one of those at home if you are...

krebizfan
December 5th, 2012, 12:34 PM
The iMac look USB Superdrive is an internal IDE drive attached to a IDE to something adapter wrapped in a colorful plastic shell which is attached to cable that has USB on one end and some strange connector that attaches to the drive. There is a youtube video of someone disassembling a 1999 model which briefly shows the internal IDE connector.

A supporting link http://forums.macnn.com/t/50902/usb-superdisk-ide-superdisk-in-sheeps-clothes

Chuck(G)
December 5th, 2012, 12:37 PM
The iMac look USB Superdrive is an internal IDE drive attached to a IDE to something adapter wrapped in a colorful plastic shell which is attached to cable that has USB on one end and some strange connector that attaches to the drive. There is a youtube video of someone disassembling a 1999 model which briefly shows the internal IDE connector.

That's the one I was talking about. That weird connector (looks like a shrunken SCSI connector) looks as if it might have some active devices in the plug end. Those units any good? You can get them for a fraction of what a regular IDE LS-120 drive sells for.

krebizfan
December 5th, 2012, 12:54 PM
That's the one I was talking about. That weird connector (looks like a shrunken SCSI connector) looks as if it might have some active devices in the plug end. Those units any good? You can get them for a fraction of what a regular IDE LS-120 drive sells for.

It worked well for the one person I know who had one for about 10 years before the read/write heads failed. The connector wasn't as sturdy as I would like so I think a good number of those being sold no longer work reliably as USB drives but the IDE internals are salvageable. I think that some of the parallel port drive models were constructed similarly so drives sold without power supplies might be another good source for cheap IDE internal drives.

MSFN in their forums has a lengthy thread involving comparison of the various sub-models of LS-120 which might be helpful.

gslick
December 5th, 2012, 01:01 PM
That's the one I was talking about. That weird connector (looks like a shrunken SCSI connector) looks as if it might have some active devices in the plug end. Those units any good? You can get them for a fraction of what a regular IDE LS-120 drive sells for.

I worked with some of those back in the Windows 2000 timeframe when they were new. The USB bridge chip is in that external plug gizmo. I forget who made the bridge chip. Maybe OnSpec. The other common bridge chip vendor at the time was In-System Design, later acquired by Cypress.

Mechanically the external plug gizmo on those translucent grey and teal LS-120 drives never seemed to be a very solid connection.

Chuck(G)
December 5th, 2012, 01:38 PM
I still have a pile of new Caleb IDE drives. I wonder if an IDE-to-USB converter will do the trick there. If so, I've got my answer.

gslick
December 5th, 2012, 02:27 PM
I still have a pile of new Caleb IDE drives. I wonder if an IDE-to-USB converter will do the trick there. If so, I've got my answer.

If those are ATAPI drives and they support the 0x23 Read Format Capacities request then I would expect that they should probably work and be recognized as a floppy drive by Windows when attached through an USB-ATA/ATAPI bridge.

Plasma
December 5th, 2012, 08:25 PM
I am just using the cheapo $3 USB to IDE adapters (http://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-2-0-to-IDE-SATA-2-5-3-5-Hard-Drive-Converter-Cable-KABLE-NEW-/271055253261) from ebay.

Chuck(G)
December 5th, 2012, 08:41 PM
Okay, I ordered a couple of them. Will try them with both LS120 and Caleb drives.

I also ordered up stuff for my USB-floppy-in-a-card-reader slot suggestion. If it doesn't work right, I can always use it in another system with regular floppy support.

yuhong
December 6th, 2012, 11:03 PM
I checked that with my SmartDisk external USB floppy and it handles 720K (as well as DOS-V 1.23M floppies) very nicely.
Off-topic, but NEC PC-98 DOS is NOT DOS/V. DOS/V refers to Japanese DOS for PC/AT compatibles with VGA cards.

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 09:17 AM
Curious, because I've seen Microsoft literature that refers to it that way. That isn't to say that Microsoft knows/knew the right terminology. But why there should be a special term for an OS with a VGA driver is puzzling.

Caluser2000
December 7th, 2012, 10:23 AM
This artical may explain it http://www.japaninc.com/cpj/magazine/issues/1995/mar95/03dosv.html

It's definately worth archiving elsewhere.

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 10:36 AM
It's easy to see where the confusion comes from. So there really was no PC98 platform DOS/V? That's a bit surprising.

Caluser2000
December 7th, 2012, 11:04 AM
Apparently not.
Here's a nice PC-98 related page http://euc.jp/articles/pc9800.en.html
Seems NEC had a PC98-NX line which killed supposedly any backward compatiblity with the PC-98 and cause for further confusion.

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 11:18 AM
NEC had an association with a San Diego-area outfit (it may have been a division of NEC, I can't remember) that served as a conduit to the US about the PC98 architecture. You could purchase machines, documents and software from them. I think I still have some of their literature in my files.

I think that WDDJ had a short series on PC98 software requirements some years back.

Shadow Lord
December 7th, 2012, 01:44 PM
Glenn, I still use floppies quite a bit, in particular to transfer data to older non-network equipped machines. My latest system lacks both PATA (so I can't use an LS120 drive) and legacy floppy interfaces--just has USB and SATA. I despise littering my workarea with little boxes on cables.

Do you hae any suggestions?

I am late to the discussion but how about PCIe PATA card (http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Siig-3-port-PCI-Express-Serial-ATA-PATA-Controller/4468209/product.html)? I am sure cheaper ones can be found and going forward it may be the only solution.

As for slimline to HH - I searched high and low for these a few years back (to use slim line ls-240 drives) w/out any luck. Not a very common item, even though it seems like a no brainer...

Shadow Lord
December 7th, 2012, 01:50 PM
Okay, I ordered a couple of them. Will try them with both LS120 and Caleb drives.

I also ordered up stuff for my USB-floppy-in-a-card-reader slot suggestion. If it doesn't work right, I can always use it in another system with regular floppy support.

Chuck,

I'd be interested in if you get the USB-IDE to work specially with LS240 drive. I ahve an LS240 drive on my "current" system through a STD. IDE port. However, it no longer works as a boot drive.

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 03:09 PM
I am late to the discussion but how about PCIe PATA card (http://www.overstock.com/Electronics/Siig-3-port-PCI-Express-Serial-ATA-PATA-Controller/4468209/product.html)? I am sure cheaper ones can be found and going forward it may be the only solution.

As for slimline to HH - I searched high and low for these a few years back (to use slim line ls-240 drives) w/out any luck. Not a very common item, even though it seems like a no brainer...

If that PCIe card is anything like the very similar PCI card that I have, there can be some real problems. I tried the VIA PCI SATA+PATA card on one of my machines and it refused to boot, complaining about SATA controller failure. As nearly as I could figure out, the BIOS got confused over the motherboard VIA SATA controller and the one on the PCI card.

I'll keep the form posted on what does work.

Compgeke
December 7th, 2012, 03:25 PM
I would only really trust one of those if it had a BIOS on it like the old Promise IDE controllers (UltraTX 133 and such) did, so it can run along side the internal IDE.

gslick
December 7th, 2012, 05:03 PM
Here's one data point. I dug out a couple of old LS-120 drives I have and tried then with a USB adapter I happened to have on hand, a KINGWIN USI-2535 IDE/SATA to USB adapter.

The model MF357G-111MA drive, March 1997, was not recognized as a floppy drive when I plugged it into my Windows 7 machine through the USI-2535 adapter and was not functional.

The model LKM-F934-1 drive, March 1999, was recognized as a floppy drive when I plugged it into my Windows 7 machine through the USI-2535 adapter and was functional. I was able to format a floppy in the USB attached LS-120 drive as a 1.44MB floppy, and I was able to DISKCOPY A: B: (A: being a standard floppy drive and B: being the USB attached LS-120 drive) and DISKCOMP A: B:

I believe back in Windows 2000 there would have been more format options other than 1.44MB. I haven't tried plugging the LKM-F934-1 drive and USB adapter into a Windows 2000 system yet to check that.

yuhong
December 7th, 2012, 05:09 PM
Curious, because I've seen Microsoft literature that refers to it that way. That isn't to say that Microsoft knows/knew the right terminology. But why there should be a special term for an OS with a VGA driver is puzzling.
IBM created DOS/V and invented the name to distinguish it from traditional PS/55 Japanese DOS that required special video cards.

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 06:49 PM
IBM created DOS/V and invented the name to distinguish it from traditional PS/55 Japanese DOS that required special video cards.

Did this have anything to do with the PC/JX?

Caluser2000
December 7th, 2012, 07:49 PM
IBM created DOS/V and invented the name to distinguish it from traditional PS/55 Japanese DOS that required special video cards.You mean JDOS(IBM DOS J4.0)? http://homepage3.nifty.com/sandy55/Video/PS55_DA.html PS/55s where Japanese market mca based machines- http://homepage3.nifty.com/sandy55/index.html#INDEX

Seems the /V was introduced with the 5510 series- http://homepage3.nifty.com/sandy55/386_5550/5510.html#5510-T

Chuck(G)
December 7th, 2012, 08:12 PM
Here's one data point. I dug out a couple of old LS-120 drives I have and tried then with a USB adapter I happened to have on hand, a KINGWIN USI-2535 IDE/SATA to USB adapter.

This fits in with something I observed some time ago--that some LS120 drives don't work on XP and others do. I've got one that works fine on 2000 and 9x but causes XP to hang. I'd assumed it was a firmware issue, but never got a solid answer. I have a later LS120 that works fine.

Chuck(G)
December 14th, 2012, 10:34 AM
I just put together my first solution--the card reader+legacy floppy, replacing the legacy floppy with a Teac FD05U USB floppy. The original setup contains a 26-pin flex to 34-pin header adapter board, which can be removed. The FD05U fits like a glove and the USB cable is soldered on to the connector pins that hook to the USB socket on the front of the unit (the adapter takes two USB ports--the first goes to the card reader, the second to the front-panel USB connector). No problems whatever, even though the unit is a Chinese plastic box with a metal cover.

Chuck(G)
December 30th, 2012, 12:00 AM
Thought I'd tie this up by reporting what happens if you use a Caleb drive with a IDE/SATA-to-USB adapter.

Nothing. The drive's not recognized. The adapter does poll the drive (drive access LED periodically flashes) but obviously doesn't get what it wants back.

foxofinfinety
December 31st, 2012, 11:03 AM
I personally just use a Toshiba PA3214U-2FDD external USB floppy drive with my desktop, although my motherboard still has an FDD connector my case is a bit to small to actually install one as I'd have to remove something else.
an added benefit I find this USB drive has is that its a slimline drive so easily fits into a laptop bag and I can take it along, it also works on USB 1.1, 2.0 and 3.0.
and it uses a generic driver, so far I've been using it with Windows 98SE, Windows XP Pro, Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit, Windows 8 Pro + MCP* 64-bit and Linux 2.4.x, 2.6.x and 3.0.x.
as its a generic USB floppy drive it works with pretty much an OS that supports USB floppy drives.


*Media Center Pack, although that shouldn't matter for compatibility.

Chuck(G)
December 31st, 2012, 11:07 AM
That's nice and I've used external floppies with my desktops, but I wanted an internal one (I despise little boxes cluttering my desktop). My ides of using a FD05U in a SD/CF card reader chassis worked perfectly.