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Zap!

How come there aren't any 5.25 external USB floppy drives?

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That is freaking cool! I have no need for one, but for those who do the prices is even reasonable. GOOD POST! :thumbsup:

There used to be more of them out there.

What they will do if you hook up a 5.35" drive is anyone's guess.

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That first one clearly states on the box that is supports 720k/1.44mb disk types so it likely will do the business but the price seems a bit out there. Especially the $15 to ship.

 

The second one looks like the one I have now and it while the article I read from last November stated this drive could do 720kb disks, it simply does not. Strangely this drive I just got does show up as a TEAC drive though.

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I just confirmed my Dell USB floppy drive, the model with both the USB port and the slide-in docking port for the old Inspiron and Latitude D-series, both formats and uses 720k floppies.

 

Dell model FDDM-101, mechanism is NEC FD3238T.

 

To format under Windows 7, use

 

format x: /n:9 /t:80

 

Where x: is the floppy drive letter.

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The question is how much you would be willing to pay for a pretty, all-in-one solution. $80? $100? $150? $200? As long as nobody is manufacturing a such device, I see that you've got a few less elegant, but working solutions to choose from:

  • The FC5025 mentioned twice. It has a fair price, but is read only and only does 5.25" drives. However it nowadays support non-MFM formats which is great.
  • The SuperCard Pro mentioned once. It costs twice as much as the FC5025 but can write disks as well and handles different sized drives.
  • The Kryoflux not previously mentioned here, but which seems to have dropped in price once the SuperCard hit the market. Perhaps it is the one with the biggest community support, if you need that.

Catweasel seems like a thing from the past, but then again 5.25" floppy disks also are a thing of the past.

 

Can SuperCard Pro work with native file systems? Specifically MS-DOS 5.0 and MS-DOS 6.22?

 

Smithsonian uses FC5025

 

Kryoflux is full of shit.

 

Catweasel, yes, is outdated.

 

---

 

IMHO, the best solution is a computer with USB and 5.25/3.5 drive support.

 

I got to thinking of this "problem" and found my Tualatin rig fits the bill. It has onboard 5.25 and 3.5 interfaces. It has multiple USB ports.

 

In fact I might re-case it just so I can add a 5.25 without giving up the dual optical drives! A nice little summer project!

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Can SuperCard Pro work with native file systems? Specifically MS-DOS 5.0 and MS-DOS 6.22?

I don't own the unit so I can't give you the first person assertive answer you probably are looking for, but the manufacturer has a specific PC disk format section of their forum which I would suggest is there for discussing how to archive and restore PC disk formats, which by the way tends to be the most common ones that any internal drive likely is able to handle if your computer has internal drives.

 

http://www.cbmstuff.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=11

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I don't think that would work, the 4869 external drive's interface is not a standard RS-232 serial interface at all. They have "special" interface cards or built-in ports for those. The drives were built at a time when IBM was getting pissed at itself for losing control over the PC architecture.

 

Anything fucking PS/2 is proprietary and under license. A failed attempt at regaining control.

 

Edited by Keatah

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I don't own the unit so I can't give you the first person assertive answer you probably are looking for, but the manufacturer has a specific PC disk format section of their forum which I would suggest is there for discussing how to archive and restore PC disk formats, which by the way tends to be the most common ones that any internal drive likely is able to handle if your computer has internal drives.

 

http://www.cbmstuff.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?fid=11

 

I will have to read through it and see what's all there. I get the sneaky suspicion that it's all about archiving and special container formats for that purpose. And while I'm archiving, too, I'm not doing it with the anal-ness of SPS or any shit like that. I took inventory and found that..

 

My old 486 DX2/50 (undergoing cleaning and "restoration") has:

5.25/1.2M

3.5/1.44M

Parallel port Zip drive

3 IDE HDD

Runs MS-DOS 5.0, 6.22, and Win 3.1

 

My old Tualatin rig has:

3.5/1.44M

Parallel-port and USB Zip drive

3 IDE HDD

Firewire and USB ports

Supports modern flash media

Supports 5.25/1.2M drive (I have to buy one)

Runs WinXP currently.

 

..with that hardware there I see several options to mix and match and transfer floppies to modern flash media. Could even simply load one of the hard drives and then use an IDE-USB adapter for $5.00.

 

It's nice to have the options and capability there. And I was hoping to add a 5.25 - USB interface, much like those 3.5 - USB drives that were popular in the dot-com era.

Edited by Keatah

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A note on "preservation" I really have no desire, actually negative zero desire to image and preserve floppy disk images with the level of detail SPS does.

 

I'm only interested in lifting the data off them and storing it in modern media - which can be migrated over time and used on all PCs. All without dealing with specialized drivers or formats or even hardware.

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Actually not that bad. The disk drive interface is well-documented and 37-pin connectors are surprisingly not difficult to find. I have rigged up an adapter to use one of these enclosures with the TI -- though just the hardware and have not have time to test, yet. Maybe in a few weeks; it is on my "list."

 

But in any case you are not using that with USB without some kind of additional interface.

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I'm not sure I'm interested in designing or setting up a custom interface. Looking for a simpler route that other non-technical people can apply, too.

 

Is it your intent to interface one of those IBM drives to a TI-99/4A? Did I read that right?

Edited by Keatah

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My realistic practical/doable options seem to involve the use of old hardware.

 

1- I can connect the 5.25 temporarily to the Tualatin rig (PIII), and dump to a USB JumpDrive or WD removable.. The Award BIOS was coded in a transitory time when the 5.25 and 3.5 drives were becoming legacy, but still around.

 

2- I can leave the 5.25 in the 486 and use the Parallel Port ZipDrive from the 486, and then use my USB ZipDrive to transfer directly into any modern rig. This would work in 100MB chunks.

 

3- I just got a NIC card. I might be able to use that. But I feel tedium could be an issue here - because my fat-ass is too lazy to set up the drivers (right now) in Win 3.1, if it's supported there. It's a 3Com Fast EtherLink ISA 10/100 Base-TX 3C515-TX.

 

4- I could use the serial port with a terminal, but, that sounds like it requires too much tedious fiddling with the software. File-by-file is out of the question. And zipping/compressing, again, too many steps.

 

---

 

I also got to thinking about imaging the old 486's hard disks also. They're 212MB and 504MB and 1.6GB each. I know the first two only support CHS. I was hoping my little USB-IDE cable would work, but it only understands LBA, and 48 at that. So, back to the PIII rig I think. It supports CHS and has BIOS options to set the capacity and parameters. I checked that it interpreted the numbers on the HDD label. And the capacity matched the BIOS calculations. I have yet to try it for real though, however..

 

I could also use imaging programs of the day, but, I'd rather use a certain version of Acronis TrueImage that I know is reliable. Additionally, I could just copy the DoubleSpace/DriveSpace container files.

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Can SuperCard Pro work with native file systems? Specifically MS-DOS 5.0 and MS-DOS 6.22?

 

Sorry, but I just found this thread!

 

No, I don't have any software (or firmware) where the SuperCard Pro can emulate a USB floppy drive. If someone knows how to write the Windows side filesystem handler, I would immediately add whatever support was necessary for sending sectors any whatever disk format was required. I just don't know driver level programming in Windows.

 

You can use HxC Floppy Drive Emulator software to convert .scp image files to/from dozens of different disk formats commonly used with emulators. Several emulators also support either direct hardware access and/or .scp image file format.

Edited by JimDrew

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Gotcha....still, it seems the best approach. If you can read a 5.25 disk at this date, you should be imaging it to something else. The emulsion has to be breaking down on them by now.

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Yeah, it also depends on your needs. Upon closer inspection, the topic starter Zap! even had evaluated FC5025 prior to starting this thread, as he found it didn't meet his expectations.

 

The requirement to get a floppy drive separate from the interface doesn't seem like a big sacrifice unless you consider additional costs. While I subscribe to the principle that vintage computing should be cheap and easy, in practise it tends to become expensive and difficult. Possibly $50-60 is a price range most casual users of older PC's could accept, but once it is getting into $100-150, only the die-hard enthusiasts will remain.

 

If you think it looks ugly to have a loose 5.25" floppy drive on your desk with a separate controller card and a mess of wires, you probably can design or have someone else design a prettier enclosure, but if you should buy it from a third party source it means even more money to spend.

 

If you need to be able to write to disks, obviously the FC5025 is not an option and you would instead go for a Kryoflux, Super Card Pro or something similar. However as Jim Drew wrote above, the SCP does not currently support acting like a USB Windows floppy drive, so you would need to use its custom software to create disk images and write them back. I don't know about Kryoflux but I doubt it does neither.

 

Then again I wonder who in the 21th century would really have use of a USB connected 5.25" drive to read and write individual files to, like a secondary mass storage device for your Windows 10 PC. Yes, for backing up and creating floppy disks for your truly vintage systems that rely on 5.25" disks all those solutions are great, but again your weapon of choice depends on what you expect and need to use it for.

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So, since I am not Windows device driver guy I have put up a project on Freelancer to find a Windows programmer that can create a Windows device driver/file handler where I can fill in the Windows code required for reading/writing sectors with the SuperCard Pro board. If I can find a person to do this we will be able to "mount" drive A: (or B:) on the Windows desktop and read/write floppy disks. I also want the filehandler portion of the code a separate module so it could be replaced (or added on to) to support Atari 400/800, C64, Atari ST, Amiga, etc. disks as a standard Windows drive letter.

Edited by JimDrew
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I'd like to see a device that make a 5.25 drive a USB Mass Storage Device. I'm not interested in solutions where you have to use proprietary software to transfer data.

 

5.25 PC USB Mass Storage device. There has to be some hobbyists out there that can pull this off. Charge what you need to. I'll pay.

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Well, it's coming! I am negotiating with a couple of programmers right now to add the ability to mount a floppy disk through SuperCard Pro (USB interface) as a drive letter under Windows. It will first be MS-DOS format, but the filesystem handler will be modular so you will be able to choose the filesystem (or perhaps that can be automated based on the disk type) for Amiga, Atari ST, Atari 400/800, C64, etc.

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Checking online it seems that all 5 1/4 have become Vintage and every moron on the planet is selling them for over $100.

I used to throw that garbage in the trash and would find them everywhere for like $3

Go to any computer repair shop and offer then a couple $$ and I am sure they will pull one from their parts bin in the back.

I have one working model that I use to backup my old ADAM disks being that ADAM drives have all of a sudden been made of gold and diamonds.
 

The ADAM Disk Drive...just another thing I tossed in the trash when I went into the military back in 89.
 

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