VOGONS


First post, by AlessandroB

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I was thinking how to move data from my modern PCs to my old 486. Then I remembered the iomega zip. However, having only one 3 1/2 slot I would have lost the floppy drive. I therefore found in my memory the existence of the I-120. I searched the drive on the internet but I saw that it connects exactly like the zip-IDE, ie with the IDE interface. How can the LS-120 function as a floppy drive to read 1.44 floppies if it connects via IDE? Perhaps through some drivers loaded into memory? But if it were so a computer could not boot from the LS-120 anyway with a 1.44 boot-floppy because it would not be seen by the bios as a 1.44 floppy. How does it work?
tnks

Reply 1 of 18, by derSammler

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The BIOS needs to support LS-120; it will then just act as a normal floppy disk drive - and of course also read LS-120 disks.

If the BIOS does not support LS-120, you can not use it as a floppy replacement, as you can not boot from it, nor access it from DOS (it would work in Win9x just fine, however). So your 486 isn't really a suitable system for it. Why not connect a parallel port Zip 100 instead?

Reply 2 of 18, by AlessandroB

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because i like internal (nice to look) stuff. I not like external cable and external psu ecc... I remember seeing ls-120 written in computer bios in the past. in mine it is not present. the 250/100 zip still works from DOS with the drivers loaded in memory right?

Reply 6 of 18, by FFXIhealer

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I solved the problem of file transfers to my old Windows 95 computer by thinking outside of the box a little bit and because I had certain pieces of technology available to me.

My Windows 95 computer does not have any USB ports and I don't have any internal drives like ZIP. I have a CD-ROM drive and a floppy drive and I don't want to burn hundreds of CDs over the course of a year just to transfer one or two files. So... what to do?

I look at what I have and I have a home server running PLEX and acts as a file server, but SAMBA doesn't work well with older Windows 9x the way I have it set up. What else can I do?

Then it hit me: set up my own private web page inside my own network and add a PCI network card to that computer and configure it properly for my home network.

And it worked. I got a really old SMC 10/100 ethernet card, installed the drivers (using floppies), set up a static IP, etc. It works, but none of the web browsers can render even the smallest of modern web pages. That's ok. I made my own web page - and it's dead simple, not even 1KB in size. It links to files on the server to be downloaded. And even using the craptastic browser Netscape Navigator, it uses ancient HTML code - the most basic of basic - and just works well. Now if I need to transfer a file or program installer to the older systems, I stick it on the server and just add a link to it on the "downloads" page. I archive all my driver installer packages there in case I ever have to reinstall - only the NIC drivers are needed on a floppy to get the whole thing working.

For the OP, however, he said 486, but didn't say what O/S he was using. DOS is implied, of course, but what about Windows? Didn't Windows 3.1 have the ability to use a NIC and use a basic web browser? I've even heard of a DOS web browser, though it probably can't do big file downloads - I don't know. Also, internal ZIP drives used to be able to use a 5.25" drive bay mount. It's a 5.25" front panel with a 3.5" rectangle cut out in the middle and spacers inside to mount. Maybe you could use one of those.

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Reply 8 of 18, by FAMICOMASTER

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A compact flash / SD card would be so much easier than any of this. It's almost not even worth trying to track down working LS120 / ZIP cassette drives anymore.

Some really late 486 motherboards support LS120 and ZIP internally, but it'd be difficult to find one. You might get away with just putting a different BIOS on it, but I don't know how successful you would be with that.

Something easy would be a CD-ROM drive that is capable of reading CD-RWs. Late model CD-ROM drives typically can, DOS includes MSCDEX by default and you can get the Acer VIDE-CDD.SYS driver very easily, and so long as you can make it work on your ATA bus you should be perfectly fine.

Reply 9 of 18, by FFXIhealer

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From where I'm from in the states, CompactFlash is pretty much non-existent except the used market, which is very small and overpriced for what you get.

SD cards? That's a lot better... at least for DOS. I've read mixed reviews about running Windows 95/98 from an SD card, similar to reviews about trying to use SSDs for Windows XP and Vista. I wish I could run my old Windows XP laptop with an SSD, but I don't want to spend money on a Kingston drive (the only brand I've ever seen with a PATA SSD laptop interface) only to have it fail after a year because of dumb writes or filling up because XP doesn't have a TRIM command and I know of no proprietary software package that forces a TRIM command in place of the missing OS commands. *sigh* I guess SSDs will always remain in the realm of Windows 7/8/8.1/10 for me.

I think the disconnect between myself and other people on-line is that I prioritize saving money and using what I have over investing money on tech. Example: I'd rather set up my own web server on a server I already have running to do file transfers instead of going on-line to spend yet more money on devices to do the same job I could already do without spending the money if I only took a few hours to learn the appropriate commands to do so with what I already have.
From the other perspective, people would rather not spend those hours learning commands if they can just buy something else in order to avoid having to learn something, or avoid having to spend extra steps to get a task done. Both views are valid and I'm not knocking either one, so don't jump down my throat - I'm not insulting anyone. I'm just acknowledging that my approach is different to other peoples' and that's why my advice might seem dumb.

Also, the OP may not have a server to use. 🤣 Hell, I didn't have one my entire life until one year ago, and it's using 2008 hardware to do it (not counting the hard drives). Yay...

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Reply 10 of 18, by Jo22

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Who saves, buys twice. 😉

Not sure if that's the right English counterpart, though. 😅
"Buy cheap, buy twice" mighte be closest one.

Anyway, it just came to mind.. Several years ago, a "friend" of our family wanted me to "upgrade" his PC for Win XP.
Well, turned out that PC was a Pentium 233MHz with ~128MB RAM and a bigfoot HDD.

That guy, let's call him Joseph, was a true penny-pincher. And a ham (shamefully).
He insisted on upgrading the machine, so he could surf the web, listen to music, watch video etc.

In short, he wanted me to turn that lame duck into a multimedia machine.
Of course, he wasn't willing to invest any more money than "required".

After three or fours visits fidling with that mutant PC -I was rewarded with bags of peanuts each time-, I was tired (exhausted)
and installed some of my own old SDRAM (or was it PS/2 RAM still ?), a Sound Blaster 32 and some other stuff that I can't remember now.

At the time, I was close to giving up on Windows and switch to Linux (or Mac).
Just to be able to say "Sorry, I don't know how to help. I don't use Windows anymore." 😁

Anyway, that's just a little story here. No offense, each to his own.
But since then, I don't care about saving small amounts of money anymore.
Keeping my mental health intact is more valuable to me.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 11 of 18, by dionb

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FFXIhealer wrote:

[...]

I think the disconnect between myself and other people on-line is that I prioritize saving money and using what I have over investing money on tech. Example: I'd rather set up my own web server on a server I already have running to do file transfers instead of going on-line to spend yet more money on devices to do the same job I could already do without spending the money if I only took a few hours to learn the appropriate commands to do so with what I already have.

/OT why on earth a web server and a web browser to do file transfers? FTP is designed for that job and requires far less config than a web server + page full of links and has far less overhead than a web browser...

Reply 12 of 18, by SirNickity

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Here's my approach. Maybe it provides some inspiration? If not, just consumes a few bytes of space on the Vogons server. 😁

Every one of my retro PCs has a floppy drive. All but two (PCjr and T-1000 RLHD) have 3.5" 1.44MB drives. All but three (PS/2 M30 286) have a CD-ROM drive. The biggest problem is starting from zero: Bare metal, nothing on the hard disk (if it has one), and need to get it bootstrapped. For that, I have a boot floppy with CD drivers for all the SCSI cards I have, IDE, and MKE / Sony / Mitsumi.

I haven't put together my essential collection CDs yet, but I do have one from back in the Win9x days with installers for DOS, Win 3.1, 95, 98SE, and ME -- plus an archive of things like PKZIP, then-common sound / video / net drivers, etc. That needs some updating, but it's basically what I'm going for now.

At this point, I should have a fully working system with CD, SCSI, and network access. All of my systems up to P-III have SCSI, all of my systems >386 have network cards. Pentium and up have USB (but not really that useful until my P-III / WinME machines.)

Many of my PCs, 386 through P-II, have internal ZIP drives. Those that don't, have SCSI for an external drive. To get something onto a 386 is at most <modern PC> -> USB drive -> <P-II> -> ZIP disk -> <386>, or via network / FTP.

I'm still too fascinated with keeping all the machines era-appropriate to move to SD and CF storage, so this gets me (at most!) three degrees of sneakernet from the modern world to as far back as the PCjr.

Reply 13 of 18, by Caluser2000

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Networking using ftp or smb is a simple solution. No walking involved. You can even have a wireless set to old kit if you can't route cable.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.

Reply 15 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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I could be mistaken, but weren't the earlier versions of the LS 120 using the floppy connector? I seem to remember that they were quite slow, and that is the reason why I went with a zip drive instead. I think the IDE version came later because the zip drive was winning the floptical war.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 16 of 18, by feipoa

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derSammler wrote:

The BIOS needs to support LS-120; it will then just act as a normal floppy disk drive - and of course also read LS-120 disks.

There also exist BIOS ROM ISA cards which were specifically designed for making the LS-120 bootable and native to your system. They are exceedingly rare. I haven't used this personally, but have seen photos and documentation of it. There was some on eBay about a year ago, but I thought $35 was too much and didn't buy it. The seller had a few dozen NOS, but they are all gone now.

For transferring files between these older systems, I personally find ethernet the most convenient for my needs. LS120 is too slow on large files and with numerous small files. Also, it is getting hard to find reliable working LS120 disks, even new in box, I find that some disks work up to 70 MB, some more, some less.

Last edited by feipoa on 2019-10-15, 18:11. Edited 3 times in total.

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Reply 17 of 18, by Anonymous Coward

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Was the 34-pin version a thing, or am I just going senile early? I'm having trouble finding any indication it ever existed, but I was pretty sure it did.

"Will the highways on the internets become more few?" -Gee Dubya
V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium

Reply 18 of 18, by Caluser2000

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No a 34 pin LS 120 wasn't a thing. LS 120 is faster than a Zip 100 drive with the added benefit of being able to use normal 720k and 1.4meg floppies. Some OSs like IMSs later REAL/32 versions supported them out of the box. And for Zip 100 drives.

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I have a parallel port model attached to my slimline Zenith Z286LP Plus daisy chained to a BackBack CDrom drive via the parallel port.

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It's very handy for disk copying. I opened the LS-120 drive and its definitely IDE.

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Apparently 32-bit is dead and nobody likes P4s.