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External floppy drive

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First post, by Planet-Dune

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Hello

it is easy to find an external diskette drive but I am looking for an external floppy drive and cannot find one.. they are common for commodores and such but for a standard PC... anyone know if they exist?

Reply 2 of 56, by pewpewpew

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I've never seen one, and I can't find one, and geeze that's weird. I would have figured it was at least offered by IBM & two or three off-brands like Startech. Or at least as a conversion kit.

There was one for a Compaq 286 lug-able, and for PS/2, and it seems to end there.

Reply 3 of 56, by derSammler

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Only the original PC/XT and a very few custom clones (like those from Schneider) had an external floppy port at all. These were all not interchangeable. And it made little to no sense either, as every PC could hold at least one, normally two, internal floppy disk drives anyway.

External floppy drives became a thing in the late 1990s with USB. These are all 3.5", however.

Last edited by derSammler on 2020-02-05, 19:51. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 5 of 56, by pewpewpew

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derSammler wrote on 2020-02-05, 19:49:

And it made little to no sense either

Totally agree. But we had so much useless stuff on the market. I was allowing for the possibility of something like needing to access critical data on old office/factory 5.25 disks when you are travelling with a laptop. That sort of weird niche stuff. ... which I'm sure you've got some great examples of, actually. Consider it a thread request. :)

Reply 6 of 56, by derSammler

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Laptops with external floppy drives were very common, but all proprietary, of course.

External 5.25" floppy drives did exist for various Schneider PCs. But really the issue was that there never was a defined external floppy port. Prior to USB, the only standard interface for which external floppy drives did indeed exist was SCSI.

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Reply 7 of 56, by cyclone3d

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There were external Parallel port floppy drives.

I have a couple of the 3.5" ones made by Microsolutions. The great thing about them is that not only do they support 5.25" drives, the controller supports 2 drives so you can hook up whatever combination or floppy drives you want.
http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/transfer/35_i … _inch_drive.htm

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Reply 9 of 56, by cyclone3d

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-02-05, 20:48:

IBM 4869 and 4865 are what you seek

The IBM ones require a special ISA controller card though so not exactly standard.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 10 of 56, by maxtherabbit

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-02-05, 20:58:
maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-02-05, 20:48:

IBM 4869 and 4865 are what you seek

The IBM ones require a special ISA controller card though so not exactly standard.

nothing really "special" about it other than it had the DC-37 connector on the back plate

you can use these drives on any FDC if you make your own cable by crimping an IDC Female DC-37 connector onto a standard floppy cable

Reply 11 of 56, by cyclone3d

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So.. what is the point then? You might as well just run a long floppy and power cable outside of the case and use a standard floppy drive if that is the case.

I am guessing the OP is wanting something that can easily be used on different systems without having to either have a special ISA card or running a cable to the outside of the case or making a special slot cover setup to hook up to the internal cable.

Would be useless for a laptop as well.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 12 of 56, by Errius

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MicroSolutions is what I use as well, but the 5.25" drives are very expensive now. Expect to pay 2 or 3 times what you would for an internal one.

Windows XP End of Support is on April 8th, 2014. Click Here to learn more.

Reply 13 of 56, by cyclone3d

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Errius wrote on 2020-02-06, 01:44:

MicroSolutions is what I use as well, but the 5.25" drives are very expensive now. Expect to pay 2 or 3 times what you would for an internal one.

Right, but the controller board is the same and can even support 2 drives. So:
1. Get a 3.5" microsoultions external floppy drive
2. Transplant the internals into a 5.25" external enclosure.. or even a 2-bay enclosure.

Looks like ValueStore made an external 5.25" parallel drive - model 1.2MB Parallel Port Floppy - part # 36-07652-XX

In any case the OP asked if they existed.. not how crazy expensive they are.

I guess you could always go with a PCMCIA external floppy... but only available in 3.5" but at least they are pretty cheap still.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header
Epstein didn't kill himself

Reply 14 of 56, by maxtherabbit

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cyclone3d wrote on 2020-02-06, 00:14:

So.. what is the point then? You might as well just run a long floppy and power cable outside of the case and use a standard floppy drive if that is the case.

I am guessing the OP is wanting something that can easily be used on different systems without having to either have a special ISA card or running a cable to the outside of the case or making a special slot cover setup to hook up to the internal cable.

Would be useless for a laptop as well.

Well stock unmodified IBM PCs, XTs, and PS/2s all have the connector, so it would serve the purpose if you're an IBM guy. OP didn't mention a thing about laptops, so I don't see how that is even relevant.

Making the slot cover setup is super easy BTW - I did it on my Turbo AT system. Digikey stocks new production backplates and connectors.
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/ass … FU37H-ND/924304
https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/key … 200-5-ND/317287

Reply 15 of 56, by 1ST1

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There were a lot of external floppy drives before USB drives. Many Thinkpads of the Pentium I-III had one. Olivetti Quaderno had one. Also other notebooks of that era had optional external floppy drives.

But... SYSGEN... SYSGEN was a brand for external floppy drives even back to XT times... See https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNRqT … iw=1366&bih=705

If you need USB drive working fine with 720 kB disks, then have a look out for IBM USB drives. You find a lot of them in eBay. (They also can be Lenovo or Ye-Data made, but the IBM brand name is important!) New noname USB floppy made in China, just forget them...) (I personally would love to have a 5,25 inch USB floppy drive...)

Last edited by 1ST1 on 2020-02-09, 09:17. Edited 2 times in total.

Reply 16 of 56, by Horun

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Good read ! looks like the OP doesn't care to check back. A bit OT but found the older Macally USB 3.5" USB (made by Mitsumi) work well on all newer PC's and read 720k just fine (though would never format a 720k from a 1.44Mb if had a choice).

First computer was an IBM 3270 workstation with CGA monitor. 🤣

Reply 17 of 56, by 1ST1

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Horun wrote on 2020-02-09, 03:33:

(though would never format a 720k from a 1.44Mb if had a choice).

Dear children, don't do that with your 1.44 MB diskettes...

(But with 720k diskettes this is still ok when using a HD or even ED drive...)

Reply 18 of 56, by Planet-Dune

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Thanks for all the information. The whole reason why I'd want one of these is to get data on a machine that does have 2 floppy drives but nothing else... I'm stumped on how to get anything I download from the web to the machine which is a Commodore PC10 running Dos 3.20.

Reply 19 of 56, by Errius

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Right, so it has two 5.25" floppy drives and you want to add an external 3.5" drive. Does it have a hard disk?

If you have another DOS machine with a 3.5" drive you can connect them via parallel cable and transfer files that way.

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