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Thread: A: drive and B: drive mismatch - just me or is that REALLY strange!

  1. #1

    Angry A: drive and B: drive mismatch - just me or is that REALLY strange!

    Hey guys,

    So i'm not hugely into old PC's and stuff but there was a 386 DX-40 on sale in my area so I thought i'd buy it and tinker around with it, I am experienced with newer high end hardware and such so thought it would be interesting to see how far the times have come. Anyway, i've run into a bit of an issue with the 5 1/4" floppy drive, when I first bought the PC it would usually be able to read those floppies pretty well (apart from a few generic 'Unable to read Abort/Retry/Fail?' but then after I decided to wipe the hard drive to reinstall a copy of DOS 6.22, the strangest thing started happening. Whenever I tried to access drive B: (the 5 1/4" drive) it would read drive A! (a 3.5" drive which is also installed) No activity light on drive B, just drive A. Even when there is no floppy in B I can still type dir B:\ and it will display the contents of the A drive. Only time it gives an error is when the A drive is empty. Power is flowing through the 5 inch drive as well, because it lights up and spins for a sec on startup. I've also opened up the 5 1/4" drive, cleaned the interior, checked the cords, everything. Checked bios as well, drive B is indeed set to 5 1/4" and drive A is also set to 3.5". I really need to recover some files off those 5 inch floppies and i'm doing my head in over trying to fix this and any tips or advice would be much appreciated.

    Cheers so much

  2. #2

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    First thing I would check is the cable. If your cable has two connectors that fit the 5.25" drive, and they're on either side of the twist in the cable, the one before the twist is the one you want for drive B. Drive A uses the connector after the twist, closest to the end of the cable.

  3. #3
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    Also, check the drive select jumpers on the B: drive. All drives, assuming a "twisted" cable should be set to the second drive select.

    If the drive was brought over from a non-PC (e.g. CP/M system), the DS jumper is likely to be wrong.

  4. #4
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    Any chance you were in the CMOS setup and somehow removed the entry for drive B I believe if the system thinks there is only one floppy drive it will access the A: drive when you ask for A: or B:. It would be worth it to check the CMOS setup to be sure it shows the correct drive types for A: and B:.

  5. #5

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    Try switching the 5" drive to the A: position on the ribbon cable (and change it in the CMOS setup, too ). If it works from there it's likely that either the controller or ribbon cable is causing the problem. Then you can get what you need from those 5" disks. If it doesn't work that way the drive, itself, is toast.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatwizard View Post
    Any chance you were in the CMOS setup and somehow removed the entry for drive B I believe if the system thinks there is only one floppy drive it will access the A: drive when you ask for A: or B:.
    While this is true the system will present you with a message such as... 'Insert diskette for drive B:' and then 'press any key to continue', or something to that effect each and every time you ask it to switch drives.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Farquhar View Post
    First thing I would check is the cable. If your cable has two connectors that fit the 5.25" drive, and they're on either side of the twist in the cable, the one before the twist is the one you want for drive B. Drive A uses the connector after the twist, closest to the end of the cable.
    You must have missed this:
    Quote Originally Posted by massimo233 View Post
    ... when I first bought the PC it would usually be able to read those floppies pretty well
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  8. #8
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    Yes, but OP did not say in the first message how the drives were connected, or if they've been rearranged since. Maybe he needed to swap the drives over to load 6.22? I assume that currently the 3.5" A: is working normally?

    The old cables I'm used to had the twist, and each side of the twist they had both connector types, edge for the 5.25" drive, female 40 pin type for the 3.5", so you could connect either type in either position. OP's cable might not?

    Geoff
    Vintage Devices: Epson HX-20/TF-20, Amstrad PCW 8256 (with extras), 386 and 486 PCs with 5.25 and 3.5 floppy drives, Pentium 75 with Roland LAPC-I midi card

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    In view of all the above, there is also a switch in some, but not all BIOS's, that let you swap A: for B: or vice-versa. May have been inadvertently toggled. Just a guess.
    Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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    At this point, we'll never know for certain.

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