View Full Version : Can I use Z-120 5.25" Floppy Drive in a PC?

October 24th, 2013, 12:33 PM
Hi all, hoping someone can help.

I have a Z-120 which is currently a large although very elegant "brick", due to the fact that I don't have any Z-DOS disks for it.
I have a load of 'blank' floppy disks and want to create some Z-DOS boot disks using imaging software so that I can at least do 'something' with it.

I have a BBC Master 128 which may or may not be familiar to some of you. I have a single sided 5.25" 40 Track drive and a 5.25" 40/80 Track switchable double sided drive. Both branded by OPUS here in the U.K, but I think they are Tandon drives under the hood. I have used these drives quite happily with my BBC.

I decided to hook them up to a PC (IBM NetVista - 8313KUG) in an attempt to create some Z-120 disks.
- I first ran Dave Dunfileds TESTFDC against the 3.5" drive that came with the IBM Netvista and it appeared to pass a number of tests.
- When I hooked up the 40 Track 5.25" drive and run TESTFDC, the drive just spins (no head movement) and fails every test.
- When I hooked up the 40/80 5.25" drive and run TESTFDC, the heads move but make some slightly 'frightening' noises and fail every test.

Despite the 3.5" drive passing the TESTFDC tests, I suspect that the issue here could be that the PC isn't supporting the 5.25" drives, or was there something different about 5.25" drives supplied for BBC computers?
I'm hoping to make use of a Compaq Presario 1500 to try instead of the Netvista - anyone got any idea of this will be more succesful/suitable than the Netvista?
If my 5.25" drives are the problem, could I actually hook up the Z-120 5.25" drive to a suitable PC (assuming I can find one)?

Any help or advise greatfully received.

October 24th, 2013, 07:53 PM
If the drive is detected, then it should be supported and working. Did you try cleaning the head? Best way is to unscrew the drive and clean it with a piece of cotton with alcohol or aceton.

October 24th, 2013, 08:00 PM
The Netvista should support 5.25" drives (at least the one (679021U) I have here does). Right off the bat, it sounds as if you have the drive select jumper in the wrong place. PCs use the second drive select position (DS1 if your drive is labeled DS0...DS3).