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Thread: Quantel Paintbox 8" floppy drive

  1. #1
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    Default Quantel Paintbox 8" floppy drive

    Hello everyone. At a hamfest last month, I spotted a couple of 8" floppy disk drives in a pile of junk. One of them was in an external case, while the other was mounted to what appeared to be a 19" rack panel. Since I wasn't sure what I'd do with the rack-mount drive, I grabbed the external one, mainly so I could say I had an 8" disk drive, and for possible retrofitting for use with one of my computers. It turned out that this floppy drive was meant for use with the Quantel Paintbox computer graphics system, which I doubt would've been sitting in said pile of junk, but who knows. Anyway, here's a view of the front of the drive:

    And here's a view of the rest of the drive:

    Here's a view of the back panel:

    And for good measure, a close-up of the writing and stickers on the top, showing inspection dates of 1988!


    Does anyone know anything about the sort of interface this drive might've used? I haven't opened the case to take a look at the innards, so I'm not sure if there's any circuitry between the drive itself and the connectors on the back panel, which are a pair of what appear to be IDC-style bi-pin connectors equipped with around 60 and 26 pins, respectively. Might there be a way to make this drive work with something that isn't a Quantel Paintbox? Thanks in advance!
    -Adam

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    The drive appears to be a NEC FD1165 model and the connectors look a lot like it's SMD interface so nothing that you'll probably be familiar with.

    Shame that you couldn't find the rest of the system. This looks to be from a DPB-7001 model--a hugely expensive video editing device. (think 6 digit price tag).

    But I have no doubt that the keyboard "collectors" would already have scavenged the keyboard already.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    The drive appears to be a NEC FD1165 model and the connectors look a lot like it's SMD interface so nothing that you'll probably be familiar with.

    Shame that you couldn't find the rest of the system. This looks to be from a DPB-7001 model--a hugely expensive video editing device. (think 6 digit price tag).

    But I have no doubt that the keyboard "collectors" would already have scavenged the keyboard already.
    Thanks for the reply! I've seen lots of reference to hard drives used by the Paintbox system, such as is seen in this video, but little with regards to floppy drives. Kinda strange that 8" drives were being used with it in 1988, but I'm guessing they would've been formatted to hold 1-2MB or so apiece, as needed for graphical editing. Would it be possible to adapt the SMD interface to work with anything else, or would I have to bypass it and wire something directly to the drive? What could it be made to work with, if anything?

    It was literally in with a pile of scrap metal near the dumpster. If I'd known what a Paintbox was, I would've taken a closer look at the junk, or at least would've also saved the rack-mounted floppy drive I saw. Didn't see a keyboard in with the rest of the pile, but who knows.
    -Adam

  4. #4
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    While there were SMD controllers made for the PC platform, they weren't common. My 1984 WD handbook lists one and I think an ISA version was made by Interphase. You mostly associate SMD with hard drives for minicomputers. Your VAX likely came with one, probably an Emulex QD32 (at least that's what we used). SMD was a CDC innovation.

    You're best off popping the thing open and connecting to the drive signals directly with a standard 50 conductor cable.

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