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External 5.25 inch floppy drive for computer?

Discussion in 'PC Hardware' started by Brian, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. Brian

    Brian Guest

    Is there some way I can connect a 5.25 inch floppy drive to a computer
    so I can read my old floppy disks. I want to copy my old disks to CD.

    I've heard of people using external cases that can contain a CD writer
    or hard drive. Would I be able to put a 1.2 meg floppy drive in an
    external case and connect it to usb or firewire port?

    Regards Brian
     
    Brian, Jul 29, 2004
    #1
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  2. Brian

    Impmon Guest

    There used to be external floppy drive but it used weird 37 pin
    connector and a floppy drive board with the connector port. Those
    pretty much went out when 3.5" drives became standard.
    I don't think there are a way of getting external 5.25 drive to work
    on Firewire or USB without building custom interface. An used XT or
    286 with null modem cable might be far cheaper. Or cheaper yet, just
    plug an internal one in your current PC.
     
    Impmon, Jul 29, 2004
    #2
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  3. Brian

    Pen Guest

    The simple way is to just substitute your 5.25
    for the 3.5 temporarily. Just let it hang out
    the side of the computer. Then change the BIOS
    settings for the floppy. Most modern machines
    only allow one floppy at a time.
     
    Pen, Jul 29, 2004
    #3
  4. Brian

    Eric Gisin Guest

    Look in your BIOS if there is support for drive B, if so get a two-head cable.

    To use USB, you would need the bridge board from an external 3.5 floppy, and a
    5" enclosure. However, the bridge boards may be limited to 3.5.
     
    Eric Gisin, Jul 29, 2004
    #4
  5. Brian

    Brian Guest

    I have a feeling last time I checked the 5.25 inch 1.2 meg drive it
    had a larger, or different type connection on the back of the drive
    compared to the 3.5 inch 1.44 meg drive.

    Regards Brian
     
    Brian, Jul 30, 2004
    #5
  6. Brian

    leguerri Guest

    You're right, 5.25" drive use a "card edge" connector, so you need to use
    a cable with a card-edge connector. Most cables have both types, but another
    solution is to use an adaptor from the card-edge connector to the male
    pins.

    A question: can't PCs accept at least 2 floppies A and B in their BIOS?
    If yours only accepts one, you could certainly plug in a floppy controller
    board. These are cheap and accept 2 drives, or even 4 drives if there are
    2 floppy connectors. If there is a conflict with the build-in controller,
    there must be a jumper or dip switch on the MB to disable it.

    Louis-Luc
     
    leguerri, Jul 30, 2004
    #6
  7. Brian

    Impmon Guest

    You're right. 3.5 used IDC while 5.25" used edge connector. Both can
    use the same floppy drive port on the mainboard.
     
    Impmon, Jul 30, 2004
    #7
  8. Brian

    Phred Guest

    Many (all?) older machines were happy to regard a single physical
    drive as both A: and B:, so you could do various copying things from
    A: to B: without problems. You were simply prompted to "insert disk
    for drive d:" as appropriate. Don't modern machines allow this?

    The first PC clone I owned (quite a few years ago) was a Logi XT. I
    wanted both 5.25" and the then new 3.5" 720 KB drives fitted. The
    latter couldn't be fitted as standard and had to be fitted as
    "external" (drive D: IIRC) even though physically installed in the
    usual floppy bay. I think it was simply connected as usual, but
    configured as "external" -- but I could be wrong about that.

    Cheers, Phred.
     
    Phred, Jul 31, 2004
    #8
  9. Brian

    Greg Guest

    Many (all?) older machines were happy to regard a single physical
    I think that was actually part of the copy command in DOS
     
    Greg, Jul 31, 2004
    #9
  10. Brian

    Bob Eager Guest

    It was part of the disk driver in DOS. It worked for everytjing, not
    just the COPY command.
     
    Bob Eager, Jul 31, 2004
    #10
  11. Brian

    leguerri Guest

    Many (all?) older machines were happy to regard a single physical
    Any machine sees both A: and B: whether old or new.
    In DOS, the A: and B: are referred to the primary floppy connector on the
    primary floppy controller (the first one found during boot-up determined
    by BIOS address). Thus if there is only 1 floppy connected to that
    connector, it will be seen as both A: and B:. If there are other
    floppies on the system, they will need to be detected by the DOS DRIVER.SYS
    line in the CONFIG.SYS file with parameters, including the /d:x where x
    is the order of the drive. Thus 0 and 1 (which are A: and B:) are
    implicit. However, some more expensive controllers have a special BIOS
    that make drives (other than the A: and B:) natively detectable without
    any DOS drivers. In fact there is the MicroSolutions CompatiCard IV on
    which you select the type and position of up to 4 drives (on 2 connectors)
    using DIP switches on the card itself. That even overrides the definition
    in the PCs CMOS setup...

    So. On your XT, your A: drive was probably on the primary controller, alone
    on a cable, then you might have added that 3.5" drive with a separate
    controller board at a different address, and it was seen as an external
    drive (or secondary floppy bus) even though it was fitted internally. That's
    why the second drive was D: (and with pre 3.3 DOS, it came as C:, BEFORE
    any hard drive).

    Same with IBM PS/2s. In late 80s, they came with a 3.5" drive only. Many
    people ordered the external 5.25" 1.2M drive (in a nice casing with power
    supply and switch), but it was connected to a secondary controller via the
    DB37 connector at the back. You needed the DOS DRIVER.SYS loaded and it
    was seen as D: (or even E: or F: depending on other devices) and the 3.5"
    was both A: and B: just as if there were no other floppy.
    If you find that IBM drive, along with a controller w/DB37 external connector,
    you could surely fit this into a modern PC, assuming you have a free ISA
    slot.
     
    leguerri, Aug 2, 2004
    #11
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