VOGONS


First post, by georgeqgreg

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I'm not talking about USB here, if anyone was wondering. (Those have been coming up so much in my searches.)

Right, so I have this Toshiba Satellite Pro 430CDS, and its floppy dive is broken. Seems like it's the motor, probably not possible to repair, eh?

Anyway, in that case, I think I need a replacement drive somehow. The laptop can only boot from floppy or HDD, (and the HDD is the original, over 20 years old, so who knows how much longer it'll work for, and plus if I ever just want to replace it or reinstall the OS I'll probably need to boot from a floppy) so it's pretty important in this case.

Disassembling the enclosure down to the bare drive reveals some kind of edge connector I can't identify. It doesn't seem to be standard, as I've got drives from both some Dell (I think it was) desktop from the mid-2000s and a Dell laptop from the early 2000s and both have a slightly larger connector that connects at the top, while the Toshiba floppy drive connects at the rear.

Drive has the following markings on it:
EME279TC DC 5V 0.8A
ZA1219PO3 (or is it ZA1219P03?)
LR84776
E7812T71052
Matsushita Electronic Components Co., Ltd.
Made in Japan

If anyone knows anything about the drive's connector or how I could get a replacement it'd really help.

Reply 1 of 15, by cyclone3d

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Can you post pics?

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Reply 2 of 15, by Deksor

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Toshiba drives often uses a rubber belt. Unfortunately, these are wearing off after all these years. To fix it, you *just* need to replace it ... But finding the correct size of belt is the most difficult part 🙁

If you want to make a fresh install without a working fdd, you could still take the hdd out, format int in another computer and make it bootable and then copy all the thing you want to install on it

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 3 of 15, by georgeqgreg

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Sure.

Here's what the label on the drive looks like.

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Drive label
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The broken drive from my laptop is on the bottom, and a drive I pulled from a Dell is on the top, you can see the connector's slightly different.

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Drive rear ends
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Also here's a video of it in "action." https://files.mastodon.social/media_attachmen … b3451dc3868.mp4

Another obstacle to trying to repair the drive: I don't own any screwdriver that can undo its screws. (Besides, I have no idea how to repair a drive, though I could probably manage to guess my way through something simple.)

I've thought about doing an install on another computer, but, I don't own any other working computers with a slim IDE connector anyway. And besides, I've never done anything like that before (yeah, I'm boring) and would probably find a way to screw it up! And, there's currently no way for me to transfer files off the computer without floppies. (Yes, I know there are other ways.)

If it helps, I know even when I was given the laptop, the floppy worked inconsistently. To make it read I'd have to eject and insert the disk, I could have one continuous read, and when it's done to read the disk again I had to insert it again, which was already kind of bad. Then one day it just stopped reading at all.

Reply 4 of 15, by Deksor

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That's definitely the noise of a toshiba drive needing a replacement belt. The drive of my toshiba satellite 210CS have the exact same behaviour. And I think the one from my T1800 does this sound too (anyways it also has this problem)

Buying another toshiba floppy disk drive won't really help as it will have the same weakness and so it will fail in the same way after a while.

Once you'll find the proper screwdriver, just remove the belt, measure it's thickness and it's length and try to find a replacement one. There is no other durable way of really fixing this unfortunately

Trying to identify old hardware ? Visit The retro web - Project's thread The Retro Web project - a stason.org/TH99 alternative

Reply 5 of 15, by georgeqgreg

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No floppy drive was ever manufactured with this connector and without this flaw? There's no converter out there that can allow me to use a normal floppy drive? Pretty serious weakness indeed.

Reply 6 of 15, by senrew

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These connectors were all proprietary to the maker. I have a stack of 4 toshiba external floppies for my 480cdt, but the external floppy connector is dead. Fun part is, these particular drives are NOT the swappable ones that can go into the multi-bay in place of the CD drive so they are useless for me at the moment. The specific floppy drive model that can be swapped in is completely different and it's almost impossible to find documentation on it on the web these days. I only figured it out by dumb luck and sketchy link travels.

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Reply 7 of 15, by georgeqgreg

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Senrew, are you talking about the internal connector? The external connector that connects the floppy case to the computer is surely proprietary. (Damn.) The connector that connects the floppy to the case, or directly to the computer in the internal bay appears proprietary. (And is shared by the CD drive.) But, if you take the shell off, you find a third connector on the internal drive, the one I posted a picture of. I know with the CD drive, the bare drive has a normal IDE connector, and thanks to this I was able to upgrade the drive to a more modern model.

So anyway, I decided on a whim to do a teardown of my laptop today. I removed the restore battery as I was afraid it might leak on the mainboard, but left the CMOS battery in for now as I don't want to mess anything up. But maybe I should remove it? I also took the main battery out and... it did not look too well. I think I should stop using it and get rid of it...

And I tried the hard drive from an old laptop someone gave me. Surprisingly, despite a rattling sound it was making, the hard drive works... and has Windows XP on it. This drive is 3GB, from a computer with a Pentium II CPU! I suspect the previous owner was a masochist. Well, obviously XP can't boot on something with 16MB RAM, so I couldn't see what was on the drive. Not like you'd fit much on it...

Reply 8 of 15, by senrew

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My 480cdt is a 233mmx with 64megs of ram. It actually can run Win2000 pretty nicely despite it's lower specs.

Yeah, the internal connector on the floppy drive, once you get it down to the bare drive itself, is completely unique. That drive, that slides out of the external case, can be used only with that external case. There is another floppy drive model that can be used either as an external or slipped into the multi bay in place of the CD drive. I have yet to find one of those in working condition.

I've been avoiding wiping and reloading the laptop because I have to do the work around of plugging the hard drive into another machine and loading from there. The machine is capable of booting from CD so I may just stick 98 on there and be done with it.

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Reply 9 of 15, by georgeqgreg

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Mine is the one that can be put in place of the CD drive. Here's a picture of it partially assembled, next to my CD drive. Notice they have the same connector.

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CD drive and partially assembled floppy
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(Assuming it worked) I could just pop it in place of the CD drive and use it as if it was a laptop that had a floppy and no CD.

(I'm assuming you wouldn't want it because it's broken, but if you did maybe we could work something out? I don't care about being able to put it in the internal bay, I just want to be able to read floppies or something that acts like floppies. (External storage I can boot from.))

Reply 10 of 15, by Deksor

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My Toshiba 210CS didn't had a CD drive at first. Then I did find a dead 200CDS and so I converted my 210CS into a 210CDS

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Reply 11 of 15, by georgeqgreg

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OK, I think this is what I've learned from this thread:

The floppy drive's belt is broken. It's too difficult to get a replacement, and if I had one, it would be too difficult to put it into the drive. (Because one of the drive's screws, as it turns out, is stripped, I tried to open the drive caveman style. Not only have I probably eliminated any remaining resale value the drive may have had, but I found within the drive is some kind of shield covering the drive mechanism, and I didn't see any way to remove it either.)
Also getting a replacement drive is too difficult, and if I could find one it probably wouldn't last very long anyway, because ALL possible replacements have belts that break easily.
On the subject of suitable replacements, it turns out the drive's connector, right down to the damn internal one, are Toshiba proprietary, meaning only other drives from Toshiba laptops can possibly work. As noted above, the damn things are all ticking time bombs. (And this is in contrast to the CD drive, which is standard slim IDE!!)
It doesn't seem like the connector has any documentation available, or been reverse engineered or anything either, meaning no converter to a normal floppy drive could exist.
As such, I think I might just have to consider it a complete waste of my time to try and give this damn laptop the gift of being able to read a floppy or floppy-like disk. I still want to use the computer though, partly because it's a portable computer that can natively run DOS and Windows 95 and isn't broken, and also it has a Yamaha OPL3 chip damn it!

So, what to do about this computer?

Well, in the course of this thread, I have learned the hard drive is very easy to remove, and is standard 44-pin IDE. (Used in just about every laptop drive before SATA took over, afaik)
As suggested by Deksor above, something much easier to do would to be install the hard drive in a PC with more favourable boot options, and put format it and stuff from there. (Maybe I don't have to do a whole OS installation? That would simplify things because then I wouldn't have to worry about wrong drivers... like, maybe I could just copy DOS and a CD driver and that program (I forget what it was called) that lets you boot CDs.
And maybe I could replace the HDD with a CF card, it's bound to break one of these days...

Further on the subject of this computer, I have decided to remove the main and restore batteries for the time being. I should probably get rid of at least the restore battery, as it's pretty useless to me, not sure about the main battery. It didn't look to be in the greatest condition, but maybe it's just cosmetic. It did seem to work. I wasn't sure about the CMOS battery, I left it in for now, but it didn't look so great. And I'm not sure if these super old and kind of strange (by modern standards) batteries have any particular handling precautions when being disposed of.

Reply 12 of 15, by CkRtech

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Where are you located?

It seems to me that perhaps it is a safe assumption that the Matsushita (Panasonic) drives used the same interface and same belts in a majority of their drives for that time. In which case, something like the same belt that you would use in an Panasonic MSX or FM Towns Marty system such as this one https://console5.com/store/msx-floppy-drive-belt-3-5.html would probably work.

As for the interface, you could use this - http://www.h6.dion.ne.jp/~levin_tr/sub07.htm to get what is most likely the pinout for that drive, poke around a bit with a multimeter, and possibly fashion your own adapter cable. I had a belt driven Panasonic/Matsushita drive in my MSX2+ computer and ended up adapting the interface to a standard 34 pin floppy drive. I took an extra floppy cable, cut one end off and soldered the individual wires to the appropriate places on the MSX motherboard.

I am guessing you don't want to put that sort of time into it. So what you could do is send an e-mail to console5, mention your situation, and see what Luke says. He is a U.S. seller, but might be able to point you in the right direction.

Meanwhile, if you proceed with some sort of belt on that drive, you are going to need to drill or dremel on the screw a bit and find a way to get it out.

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Reply 13 of 15, by Mister Xiado

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I recently purchased an envelope full of various sized belts for use in a VCR for pennies on ebay, so that might be a better place to look for cheap shotgunning of a belt problem. The worst thing that would happen is that the belts are all too large or too small, and you're out a dollar or two. In my case, the issue turned out to be unrelated to the belt, but the stepper motor, requiring a DRILL to get the motor out, never mind finding a replacement of exact specifications.

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Reply 14 of 15, by Deksor

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This happened to me : the bag was full of belts too large AND too small

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Reply 15 of 15, by KCompRoom2000

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Would it be worth the effort to attempt to make an adapter cable to use a more modern slim floppy drive (0.50 mm pitch connector) in place of the older style floppy drive (1.27 mm pitch connector) that these Toshiba laptops use?

I've been doing research as well as experimentation on adapting the more accessible 0.50 mm pitch connector to the 1.27 mm pitch that these Toshiba drives used, to make restoring these dead drives easier for anyone who has encountered this problem. After probing the connectors using the information from the Toshiba Tecra 710/720CDT Service Manual, I can confirm that the pinout matches this one contrary to the notice at the bottom:
https://old.pinouts.ru/HD/26pin_microfloppy_pinout.shtml

I would imagine the pinout is the same as this one for the newer drives since the connector is still 26-pins, the only real difference is the pitch. An easy solution could be to desolder the connector on the newer floppy drive and solder a 26-wire cable in its place wired to the pins on the Toshiba connector board. That is, if my theory on the matching pinout is correct.

I'm currently experimenting with this project with one of my dead Toshiba floppy drive modules, I'll report progress on this forum, when I make any.