Announcement

Collapse

Forum etiquette

Our mission ...

This forum is part of our mission to promote the preservation of vintage computers through education and outreach. (In real life we also run events and have a museum.) We encourage you to join us, participate, share your knowledge, and enjoy.

This forum has been around in this format for over 15 years. These rules and guidelines help us maintain a healthy and active community, and we moderate the forum to keep things on track. Please familiarize yourself with these rules and guidelines.


Remain civil and respectful

There are several hundred people who actively participate here. People come from all different backgrounds and will have different ways of seeing things. You will not agree with everything you read here. Back-and-forth discussions are fine but do not cross the line into rude or disrespectful behavior.

Conduct yourself as you would at any other place where people come together in person to discuss their hobby. If you wouldn't say something to somebody in person, then you probably should not be writing it here.

This should be obvious but, just in case: profanity, threats, slurs against any group (sexual, racial, gender, etc.) will not be tolerated.


Stay close to the original topic being discussed
  • If you are starting a new thread choose a reasonable sub-forum to start your thread. (If you choose incorrectly don't worry, we can fix that.)
  • If you are responding to a thread, stay on topic - the original poster was trying to achieve something. You can always start a new thread instead of potentially "hijacking" an existing thread.



Contribute something meaningful

To put things in engineering terms, we value a high signal to noise ratio. Coming here should not be a waste of time.
  • This is not a chat room. If you are taking less than 30 seconds to make a post then you are probably doing something wrong. A post should be on topic, clear, and contribute something meaningful to the discussion. If people read your posts and feel that their time as been wasted, they will stop reading your posts. Worse yet, they will stop visiting and we'll lose their experience and contributions.
  • Do not bump threads.
  • Do not "necro-post" unless you are following up to a specific person on a specific thread. And even then, that person may have moved on. Just start a new thread for your related topic.
  • Use the Private Message system for posts that are targeted at a specific person.


"PM Sent!" messages (or, how to use the Private Message system)

This forum has a private message feature that we want people to use for messages that are not of general interest to other members.

In short, if you are going to reply to a thread and that reply is targeted to a specific individual and not of interest to anybody else (either now or in the future) then send a private message instead.

Here are some obvious examples of when you should not reply to a thread and use the PM system instead:
  • "PM Sent!": Do not tell the rest of us that you sent a PM ... the forum software will tell the other person that they have a PM waiting.
  • "How much is shipping to ....": This is a very specific and directed question that is not of interest to anybody else.


Why do we have this policy? Sending a "PM Sent!" type message basically wastes everybody else's time by making them having to scroll past a post in a thread that looks to be updated, when the update is not meaningful. And the person you are sending the PM to will be notified by the forum software that they have a message waiting for them. Look up at the top near the right edge where it says 'Notifications' ... if you have a PM waiting, it will tell you there.

Copyright and other legal issues

We are here to discuss vintage computing, so discussing software, books, and other intellectual property that is on-topic is fine. We don't want people using these forums to discuss or enable copyright violations or other things that are against the law; whether you agree with the law or not is irrelevant. Do not use our resources for something that is legally or morally questionable.

Our discussions here generally fall under "fair use." Telling people how to pirate a software title is an example of something that is not allowable here.


Reporting problematic posts

If you see spam, a wildly off-topic post, or something abusive or illegal please report the thread by clicking on the "Report Post" icon. (It looks like an exclamation point in a triangle and it is available under every post.) This send a notification to all of the moderators, so somebody will see it and deal with it.

If you are unsure you may consider sending a private message to a moderator instead.


New user moderation

New users are directly moderated so that we can weed spammers out early. This means that for your first 10 posts you will have some delay before they are seen. We understand this can be disruptive to the flow of conversation and we try to keep up with our new user moderation duties to avoid undue inconvenience. Please do not make duplicate posts, extra posts to bump your post count, or ask the moderators to expedite this process; 10 moderated posts will go by quickly.

New users also have a smaller personal message inbox limit and are rate limited when sending PMs to other users.


Other suggestions
  • Use Google, books, or other definitive sources. There is a lot of information out there.
  • Don't make people guess at what you are trying to say; we are not mind readers. Be clear and concise.
  • Spelling and grammar are not rated, but they do make a post easier to read.
See more
See less

USB Floppy that can read 720k disks!

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    USB Floppy that can read 720k disks!

    Another surprise from my local Microcenter: They had a new, different batch of USB floppy drives on the shelf. On the back of the box they said they support 720k disks! I know that there have been some out there that can do this, but it seems hard to nail down a good source for these.

    So I grabbed one and tested it out. Sure enough, right out of the box it could read and write standard DOS formatted 1.44mb and 720k disks! From DOS, at least on the machine I used without any additional drivers, it ignored the low-level command and only verified the disk when formatting. Windows XP format doesn't know what to do with 720k disks from the GUI, but from the command line it seemed to low-level format a blank 720k disk just fine. I verified that the disk was readable in a normal drive.

    Another surprise was when I fed it a 1.7mb (21 sector) formatted disk. It seemed to read it OK. I verified that it could correctly read a file that filled the entire disk. However... it totally crapped its pants and corrupted the file system when writing to it both in DOS and Windows!

    The box also mentions 360RPM mode operation used by the Japanese 3.5" 1.25mb format, but I didn't test that.

    This is a link to the product on the Microcenter web site: http://www.microcenter.com/product/4..._Drive_-_Black

    But the box they show on the site looks different from what was in the store. In the store it was just a brown cardboard box labeled "USB Portable Diskette Drive". The drive itself is only labeled "USB Floppy Drive" "Made in China E77FCD393L" with no branding. The device manager identifies it as a "Y-E Data USB Floppy". So there is no telling if there will be any consistency as to what is really in the product. Still, might grab another one.

    Interestingly these cost less than the Bytecc USB drives that can't read 720k.

    Didn't see any more normal 1.44mb drives. I may have grabbed the last one from here a few months ago, although their site lists them for other locations. They do have several all-in-one card readers with a floppy that use the normal FDD interface instead of USB. I't crazy how they don't have any USB multi-card reader floppies even though they have other USB devices in them.

    #2
    As far as I am aware, the 720K and NEC 1.25M capability has always been part of standard USB drives. Certainly, it's called out in the old Teac FD005U datasheed, back when USB was new.

    Note that since a drive is addressed in USB in the same manner as a SCSI device (i.e. relative block, rather than CHS), format control is done by the drive, not the host. So you get 512/18/2/80, 512/9/2/80, 512/15/2/80 and 1024/8/2/80 formats only--and the host has no way to tell the drive to do anything differently.

    Does anyone know of the existence of a 2.88M consumer-level USB floppy?

    Comment


      #3
      Any chance these would read/write a 800k floppy on a power mac ?(considering 720k floppies format as 800k on macs)

      The Teac blue&white usb drive that matches the G3 tower only handles 1.44mb floppies.

      Comment


        #4
        No, they won't do the Apple 800k disks. Supposedly there was a Macintosh specific model but even that only does 1.44mb/720k. Dug up a FAQ on these drives, and they even mention that: http://www.yedata.com/support/floppydrives_faq.html

        The Mac 800k disks/drives use GCR magnetic encoding instead of MFM encoding and vary their spindle speed.

        Unfortunately that is kind of a complicated thing to implement. But at least a USB drive, if someone chose to make one like that, would not have to worry about a motherboard FDC's lack of support for GCR or motor control.

        And on another note, what *REALLY* ever happened with 2.88mb drives anyway? My vague recollection from back in the day is that the drives and media were insanely overpriced. Was a patent holder charging huge licensing fees or something?

        Comment


          #5
          The disks were expensive, but then so were DSHDs when they first came out. I never found the DSEDs to be terribly reliable. I have a box of new/old Imation DSEDs and I pulled one at random recently and fomatted it on a Teac FD235J that I have installed on one system here. Couldn't get through the format process without errors.

          Comment


            #6
            I've got 2 2.88mb floppy drives, one in my PS/2 55SLC and the other is a mitsubishi, and about 30 2.88 DSED to go with them, The drives work flawlessly, the disks aren't too shabby either, i formatted them all in the PS/2, they were all old IBM Ultimedia disks, no errors. I just don't like waiting for the disks to write or format. That takes forever....

            USB 2.88mb? Haven't seen one, But i've seen a 2.4mb 5.25" floppy drive
            http://www.ebay.com/itm/YE-DATA-YD-8...item3cd6ec6f1b
            Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

            Comment


              #7
              And then combine that 2.4mb 5.25" floppy with this (http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html) floppy to USB adapter

              Comment


                #8
                I've only ever seen the 5.25" 2.4M drive on IBM Comms controllers. Did anyone else ever use it?

                Comment


                  #9
                  I've seen one in person, but not in action. Would it even work in a standard PC with the proper drivparm or driver.sys settings? I would think it's the same perpendicular tech the 2.88 uses, i'm in the dark on this one
                  Nothing beats the roar of a 36yr old drive coming to life after a decade in storagg

                  Comment


                    #10
                    IBM used 2.88 MB floppy drives on many of their later PS/2 models, as well as some of their laptops. However, I just discovered that although it never came equipped with it, the PS/1 supports 2.88 MB floppy drives as well!

                    My PS/1 model 2121 (one of the early models with the power supply in the monitor) came with a dead 1.44 MB floppy drive, so to try to diagnose it, I borrowed the 2.88 MB floppy drive from my PS/2 Model 56-486SLC2 and plugged it in.

                    To my surprise, not only did the pinout match up exactly (since both supply power through the drive cable), but the PS/1 instantly recognized it as a 2.88 MB drive and configured as such it in its Hardware Setup program. Now it can format, read, and write 2.88 MB disks perfectly!

                    In fact, when formatting a 1.44 MB disk, you have to use the /F:1.44 switch, otherwise it will format it as 2.88 MB... which usually does work, but just like trying to format a 360K disk as 1.2 MB, the data will usually fade away and become unreadable over time, due to the magnetic field of the higher-density format being too strong for what the disk media can handle.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by k2x4b524[ View Post
                      I've seen one in person, but not in action. Would it even work in a standard PC with the proper drivparm or driver.sys settings? I would think it's the same perpendicular tech the 2.88 uses, i'm in the dark on this one
                      I once looked for a datasheet on the drive, but never succeeded in finding one.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Thanks for the tip! I found one of these drives on ebay. It does indeed read and write to a 720k floppy, and can even format one using FORMAT A: /T:80 N:9 on a cmd line. HOWEVER I cannot get it to accept the /s parameter to create a bootable floppy. I am using a windows 7 laptop; I guess the /s bit doesn't work with that OS. I think I need to dig out my XP laptop? Or is there another way to create a bootable 720k floppy with this drive and Win7?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by SMichelsen View Post
                          Thanks for the tip! I found one of these drives on ebay. It does indeed read and write to a 720k floppy, and can even format one using FORMAT A: /T:80 N:9 on a cmd line. HOWEVER I cannot get it to accept the /s parameter to create a bootable floppy. I am using a windows 7 laptop; I guess the /s bit doesn't work with that OS. I think I need to dig out my XP laptop? Or is there another way to create a bootable 720k floppy with this drive and Win7?
                          I'm thinking that you need a source for the /s switch and it's not available in W7 - read/write only.
                          Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It's a bit of a chicken-and-egg situation on Win 7 and later. Win 7 format isn't going to write the correct boot sector startup code, so even if you copied the necessary DOS files over, it still wouldn't boot.

                            The most straightforward way is to get a 720K DOS disk image from someone that can be written to the disk with something like WinImage. There are other ways, but you've got to get the image somehow.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              The biggest problem I'm seeing with those USB floppy drives is not reading/writing DD disks, there are a lot of them that do it. But we're forced to have a tweener machine of some kind to write non-standard images, lacking a proper floppy controller these drives are only able to write specific PC formats.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X