First post, by charliegolf

User metadata
Rank Newbie

I was wondering if anyone had used a 5.25 floppy drive (1541) from a C64 with a PC?
Getting an old PC internal 5.25 drive looks pretty expensive from a quick scan on ebay.
I noticed when shopping for old games there are a few 5.25 versions kicking around so would give me
more options if I could get a 5.25 working on my 486.
I've got a 1541 kicking around and I'm guessing it would need a new cable to connect to the parallel port, so before I try and get on or make one
wondered if anyone had tried this and got it working?


66Mhz Brain

Reply 1 of 3, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t

You could get 5.25" - but not a drive that could read any PC-style 5.25" floppies.

First off, the 1541 is a single-sided drive, whereas everything newer than the first few 5150s had double-sided drives. A 486 wouldn't even know what to do with them natively (which I can confidently state as I recently accidentally got a Teac FD-55A single-sided drive that my 486 didn't recognize, it could only do DS/DD or DS/HD). But you can get around that by hooking it up externally and accessing it via dedicated software. See here:

Secondly, the electronics of a 1541 and the formatting at a physical level is completely different to anything in a PC. So even if you could attach the 1541 via a different interface, you still couldn't read or write regular PC floppies (even single-sided ones from 1981), just old C64 ones.

TLDR: great for backing up old C64 disks, useless as a replacement for a PC drive.

Instead, look for things outside of eBay. Exactly where to look differs, but whatever local Craigslist-equivalent you have would be the place to start. Sometimes they even still get given away for free - although you might end up with an FD-55A; beggars can't be choosers 😉

Reply 2 of 3, by Nprod

User metadata
Rank Newbie

I write C64 images to floppy with a PC using an XM1541 cable and Star Commander. But that's only for making floppies that are to be read by a C64 - the 1541 can't write IBM-PC compatible disks as it uses the GCR format and IBM drives are all MFM. For PC stuff your best option is to use an IBM drive, sorry.

The 1571 can do MFM but i'm not sure what kind of software and hardware shenanigans you'd need in order to get it working with a PC. It likely wouldn't be fun to use as the BIOS normally looks only at what's hooked onto the internal floppy controller and not the parallel port.