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Last post Author Topic: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?  (Read 2575 times)

mouser

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External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« on: August 11, 2016, 03:36:47 PM »
So I recently found a 5.25 floppy with some old code of mine that i'd like to (try to) read.  No idea if the floppy will be readable or not.
Problem is of course, no 5.25 floppy drive.

Does someone make a 5.25 usb external drive? seems a waste to buy one just for a single read but...  I guess another option would be try to find some old computer on ebay with a 5.25, but yuck.

Target

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2016, 04:25:00 PM »
Does someone make a 5.25 usb external drive? seems a waste to buy one just for a single read but...  I guess another option would be try to find some old computer on ebay with a 5.25, but yuck.

try a vintage computer group.  Apparently this a quite a big 'thing' so there should be someone that could help you

or perhaps one of the museums or university's?

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2016, 05:14:09 PM »
thats a good idea.

skwire

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2016, 05:55:14 PM »
I still have a working one of these: http://www.atarimuse...erals/atari1050.html

However, I assume that floppy is DOS and not Atari.  =]

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2016, 06:00:28 PM »
yeah it's dos.  if anyone else has a working pc with a working 5.25 who would be willing to try to read it, let me know.

wraith808

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2016, 08:08:06 AM »
http://www.retrotech.../s_drives_howto.html

This has a lot of good info on the subject.

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2016, 03:06:41 PM »
thanks, wraith.
i'll wait a little longer before following through in case i get lucky and someone reads this who can be mailed the floppy.

4wd

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2016, 02:33:16 AM »
Technically, the mechanism in skwire's old Atari drive is probably no different from a normal 5.25" mechanism, (most likely Double Density), the only difference being external interface circuitry.  It should just be a matter of removing the drive from the case/interface and plugging it into a a 'normal' interface.  This was the case with the floppy drives for the Amiga and Vic20 computers, standard 5.25" drive with external interface.

Though you will probably have to find a motherboard that still has a floppy interface and a cable that most likely will be the old PCB edge connector.

I used to use floppy drives from MS-DOS/Windows based machines on the Amiga, a little interface board took care of the extra signal and drive ident that the Amiga required.  Only exception to this was Amiga HD floppy drive which ran at half speed because the controller inside the Amiga couldn't handle the faster data rate of normal rotational speed.

You also need to know whether the disk is DD or HD, obviously the HD can't be read in a DD drive.

(Wow, cheapest 5.25" on ebay atm is a HD @ AU$55 + P&P)
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 02:43:05 AM by 4wd »

Curt

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2016, 03:07:36 AM »
Technically, the mechanism in skwire's old Atari drive is probably no different from a normal 5.25" mechanism, (most likely Double Density), the only difference being external interface circuitry.  It should just be a matter of removing the drive from the case/interface and plugging it into a a 'normal' interface.  This was the case with the floppy drives for the Amiga and Vic20 computers, standard 5.25" drive with external interface.

Though you will probably have to find a motherboard that still has a floppy interface and a cable that most likely will be the old PCB edge connector.
^
+ http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html > no free beer shop: http://shop.deviceside.com/prod/FC5025 > FC5025 USB 5.25" Floppy Controller $55.25 > Shipping & Handling $5.25 > Total $60.50<< Hmm... quoting 4wd some more: "Wow, cheapest 5.25 on ebay atm is a HD @ AU$55" = project already above $100 ! :o


pcb1.jpeg
Quote
Device Side Data's FC5025 USB 5.25" floppy controller plugs into any computer's USB port and enables you to attach a 5.25" floppy drive. Even if your computer has no built-in floppy controller, the FC5025 lets you read those old disks. And it's not just for IBM PC disks – it also understands formats used by Apple, Atari, Commodore and TI, among others.

Requirements:

The FC5025 connects to any computer's USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 port. Compatible software is required; see below for system requirements for the included software.

The FC5025 is USB powered. Power from USB runs only the FC5025 itself; you must supply power to the drive mechanism separately, such as from your computer's power supply.

  • The FC5025 is sold as a controller board only without a drive mechanism. It has been tested to work well with the TEAC FD-55GFR drive and should also work with most other PC-style 5.25" drives. (Note: the included software expects a 1.2M drive, even when reading 360k disks.)

etc etc etc http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html
pcb2.jpeg
« Last Edit: August 13, 2016, 05:08:21 AM by Curt »

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2016, 11:18:19 PM »
Anyone else in the US have a working dos machine with a 5.25 floppy that I could send 2 disks to for extraction?

Mark0

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2016, 12:40:59 PM »
If no DC users have a suitable drive, I remember reading about these guys: http://www.retrofloppy.com/
Probably there are many other similar companies.

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2016, 12:58:03 PM »
Great find Mark0, that looks like exactly what I need and very reasonable price.  :up:

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2016, 03:25:09 PM »
RetroFloppy folks responded to an email right away, and will try to read both of my disks and make contents available for me to download for $20.  Very fair.  I'm sending my disks to them.  :up: :up:

Mark0

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2016, 03:52:16 PM »
Perfect!  :Thmbsup:

IainB

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2016, 03:42:05 AM »
RetroFloppy folks responded to an email right away, and will try to read both of my disks and make contents available for me to download for $20.  Very fair.  I'm sending my disks to them.  :up: :up:
______________________
Make a photocopy of them first, b4 u send them - just in case.

4wd

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2016, 06:41:39 AM »
RetroFloppy folks responded to an email right away, and will try to read both of my disks and make contents available for me to download for $20.  Very fair.  I'm sending my disks to them.  :up: :up:
______________________
Make a photocopy of them first, b4 u send them - just in case.

That's silly, everyone knows the best method is to read them with an electromagnet and then reverse the polarity to write them out on to new blank media.

wraith808

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2016, 10:06:51 AM »
RetroFloppy folks responded to an email right away, and will try to read both of my disks and make contents available for me to download for $20.  Very fair.  I'm sending my disks to them.  :up: :up:
______________________
Make a photocopy of them first, b4 u send them - just in case.

That's silly, everyone knows the best method is to read them with an electromagnet and then reverse the polarity to write them out on to new blank media.


Just send them unsecured through the postal service.  Same effect, less effort.  ;D

MilesAhead

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2016, 10:22:58 AM »
RetroFloppy

Now there's a way to make a buck with obsolete hardware and software.  Good for them.  :)

xtabber

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2016, 03:01:31 PM »
As it happens, this month marks the 35th anniversary of the IBM 5150 computer, better known as the IBM PC, which made the 5 1/4 inch DOS format floppy disk ubiquitous.  The drives in that system were full-height single sided Shugarts with a maximum capacity of 360kb!!!
 
Prior to that, CP/M was the dominant operating system in microcomputers (as they were known) and each vendor typically had their own proprietary format.  Although I used 8 inch floppies myself, I had a disk conversion system with dual 5.25 floppy drives attached to a CompuPro 816 so that I could provide data in whatever format my clients needed for their own systems.  I recall that it supported over 100 different formats.  By 1986, all that was history and certainly not lamented.


MilesAhead

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2016, 04:54:45 PM »
As it happens, this month marks the 35th anniversary of the IBM 5150 computer, better known as the IBM PC, which made the 5 1/4 inch DOS format floppy disk ubiquitous.  The drives in that system were full-height single sided Shugarts with a maximum capacity of 360kb!!!
 
Prior to that, CP/M was the dominant operating system in microcomputers (as they were known) and each vendor typically had their own proprietary format.  Although I used 8 inch floppies myself, I had a disk conversion system with dual 5.25 floppy drives attached to a CompuPro 816 so that I could provide data in whatever format my clients needed for their own systems.  I recall that it supported over 100 different formats.  By 1986, all that was history and certainly not lamented.



I just took a computer repair class at Miami Dade College.  The professor was quite cool.  He always built his own systems.  I believe he said he started with the Altair 8800.  When he multi-boots systems he always has a dedicated physical drive for each OS.  He claimed that mixing flavors of Windows is easy as long as you install in the order the OSes were released.  That way each successive installer formats the new blank HD/SSD and adds the older OSes to the boot menu.  According to him you do not need to know all the ins and outs of GPT vs MBR as long as you install in the proper succession.

He was also a programmer.  From the old punch card/tape programs to assembler, VB and C++.  I got into the game very late with my Leading Edge Model D.  But as you say, it had a single sided 5 1/4" floppy with 360 KB capacity.  The HD was only 30 MB and was noisy and slow.  My brother took that one out (we went 50/50 on the PC and printer) and installed a 65 MB Seagate.  I brought the ram up from 512 KB to 640 KB.  One thing I will say, I had no break out switch.  When I was playing with TSRs and device drivers in ASM and locking the thing up, cycling the power never bothered it.  In fact somewhere on Youtube there is a video of a still working Leading Edge.  Twin floppies but no HD in that one.  He boots it in the video to show it comes up to the command line.

One thing about Dos it kind of put everyone on the same playing field.  You could write demo/proof of concept programs on your 8088 based machine as well as the guy with the 80286.

Ah the good old days.  :)

antekgla

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2016, 05:02:47 PM »
I'm intrigued now!

How was the experience with Retrofloppy?
It worked?
Could you retrieve your old code?

SRTFilter Automatic Subtitle Editor & Renamer

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2016, 09:14:04 PM »
Im embarrassed to say I haven't sent the disks in yet!  But they are going out in the mail on monday, so I hope to post an update soon.

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2016, 11:17:50 PM »
RetroFloppy did an excellent job.  They were super fast, they read the contents of the two floppies and made them available to download.  Could not have asked for better.  Highly recommended.
(thanks for the recommendation Mark0).

For those who are curious, the two floppies contained my "Adventure Development System (c) 1988" written in Borland's Turbo C for the original IBM PC.

This was a hybrid adventure game creation system that i worked on for a couple of years in high school, ending in 1988.  It was an attempt to build an all-in-one adventure creation system that would compete with infocom's text and brand new semi-graphic adventure games (these included static images and sometimes maps i think), and also add some real time rogue/dungeon exploring and combat elements.  I actually sent this out to sierra online and a couple of other companies in an attempt to get hired out of high school but then quickly gave up on it. You could run my system in any number of modes from pure plain text adventure to pure real-time dungeon crawler with cursor key movement, etc., or any combination.

I think i did spend another year adding some 3d graphic elements which were pretty darn cool, but this was right before wolfenstein 3d and the point-and-click animated adventure games came out and marked the beginning of the end for text adventures and put my 3d stuff to shame.

I was pretty proud of this and it was a huge undertaking with a 100 page manual.  But just as I was finishing it I was burning out on it and wanted to go to college and forget it.  It also came right at the end of the heyday of text adventures, so bad timing. If I had been able to finish it a few years earlier, who knows..

Screenshot of a *sample* game made with it:
Screenshot - 9_21_2016 , 11_03_28 PM.png
What you are seeing is the text adventure window on the bottom where you can type full text commands (a la infocom, zork, etc.); then in upper left is an image window showing a picture of current room; at top right is text room description (similar to i think some later infocom graphic adventure games; center is a real-time rogue-like ascii-based map that you can move around with and interact with npcs in real time, where areas are dark until you open doors and walk through hallways to reveal them; on the far right is one version of an auto-generated overview map; i think later infocom games had this too).


Photo of 107 page manual:
adsmanual.jpg




Screenshot take from running DosBox dos emulator on the extracted floppy files.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2016, 11:38:54 PM by mouser »

mouser

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #23 on: September 21, 2016, 11:28:44 PM »
Here's the draft of the 1-page "highlights" sheet i guess i planned to send out with the demo disk:
adsBrochure.jpgExternal 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?

What great features, including:
"breathtaking graphics for dazzling screen displays" including support for "cga, mca ega, and even VGA!"
"written entirely in C for easy conversion to Amgia and Atari ST computers!" and "Intelligent multi-disk interface for maximum efficiency with larger adventures" and "Sophisticated memory management routines leave no space wasted."

Different times..

Deozaan

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Re: External 5.25 floppy usb drive or another way?
« Reply #24 on: September 22, 2016, 12:09:05 AM »
Wow! That's awesome! :)