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Thread: Did they make serial or parrelel port PC floppy drives?

  1. #1

    Default Did they make serial or parrelel port PC floppy drives?

    I've got 2 Compaq III's, one with a 3 inch drive and another with a 5.25 drive. I can easily transfer files to the one with the 3 inch drive but There's no way from what I can see to make a 5.25 1.2 MB boot disk for the other one. So bringing me to my question of if there's a way I can hook a external 5.25 to my 3 inch drive.

    Any help would be great, thanks.

  2. #2
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    Hello,

    When you refer to a 3" disk, please note that there IS such a thing as a 3" drive, my Amstrad PCW uses such, however are you maybe referring to the 3.5" standard PC type disk which is a quite different thing?

    As for the 5.25, I assume you are aware that most PC type machines will boot quite happily from a 360k disk in a 5.25 (1.2Mb) drive, and once the system is loaded then a 1.2Mb disk can be used. Or do you not have ANY 5.25 boot disks? I might have a MSDOS 3.3 boot disk somewhere (360k format), but not a 3.2 as originally used by the Compaq?

    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

  3. #3
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    Oh, not answered the other part of your question

    I assume you want to connect an external drive to the 3" (3.5" ?) machine so you can create a 5.25" boot disk, and/or copy data between the two machines?

    There may well have been such drives, but more likely for the parallel port. The external ZIP disk system used this port, but needed a fairly sophisticated driver
    to complete the load and assign a drive letter. If you manage to find a drive, make sure you get the software to go with it.

    Far better, and more reliable to find access to a working machine with a 5.25 drive (i.e. BOTH a 5.25 and 3.5, one with a 5.25 and a 3" much more difficult).

    Geoff
    Last edited by GeoffB17; May 27th, 2020 at 01:45 PM.
    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

  4. #4
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    There certainly are parallel port floppy drives--the Microsolutions Backpack drives are perhaps the best known--but there were others; I've got one from Rancho, for example. The only serial port drives that I've personally seen were replacements for paper tape--e.g. embroidery machines, CNC gear.

    There are/were some P2/P3/P4 chipsets that use a LPC multi-IO southbridge chip mostly on laptops. One could configure the parallel port either as a printer port or as a floppy drive, but not both. When configured as a floppy drive, it is usable without special drivers, whereas the parallel-port add-on drives require a device driver.

    That doesn't mean that the Backpack, for example, could not be used as a drive with, say, IMD, but that the code was never included. We sold a specially-configured Backpack drive with our own drivers that allowed customers to work with their 1.23 M 3.5" PLC disks. I believe I posted source code that showed how to get a BIOS interface to a Backpack drive here some years ago.

  5. #5

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    Can we say LapLink?
    Dwight

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by mandarpatil View Post
    I've got 2 Compaq III's, one with a 3 inch drive and another with a 5.25 drive. I can easily transfer files to the one with the 3 inch drive but There's no way from what I can see to make a 5.25 1.2 MB boot disk for the other one. So bringing me to my question of if there's a way I can hook a external 5.25 to my 3 inch drive.

    Any help would be great, thanks.

    Any Updates???
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  7. #7
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    Yes, Laplink would be very useful.

    For the benefit of OP, Laplink was originally produces for connecting PCs to laptops, and transferring files etc. It was originally DOS software, although later there were WinDoze versions. The package came with two cables, one for using Serial ports, the other for parallel ports, the latter was certainly faster, but if you're not copying Mbs, then the serial one would be fine, and the serial cable is easier to make yourself from info you can find on the web.

    The software that needs to be running on both machines linked lets both machines see all the files on both machines, and copy files back and forth, indiv and in bulk, between the machines. There is an option that one machine can load the software onto the other thru the link, but I've never needed to use that. The one catch in your present situation is that you need to have booted both machines, so the first step still is to get the machine with the 5.25" drive booted. AFAIR.

    If you're a 'purist', then you may want to use the 'correct' version of DOS on both machines, but I'd suggest you worry about that AFTER you've got the second machine running/accessible - ANY version of DOS will do initially.

    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

  8. #8
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    There are several similar packages; all use the same (parallel) cable. Microsoft and Norton have similar offerings.

  9. #9
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    INTERLNK/SVR is another alternative. More of a client server option over a nullmodem or LapLink parallel cable.

  10. #10
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    You can attatch an external LS120 drive to a parallel port and use 3.5 HD disks in it. I have one on my slimeline Zenith 286.
    Thomas Byers (DRI)- "You'll have a million people using the A> [MS-DOS prompt] forever. You'll have five million using [nongraphic] menu systems such as Topview, Concurrent PC-DOS, Desq, and those types. But there'll be 50 to 100 million using the iconic-based interfaces."

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