Questions

Is there any such thing as a 5.25 external USB floppy drive?

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Is there any such thing as a 5.25 external USB floppy drive?

Locrian_Lyric
I have a customer who's equipment got destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. All of his software was on 5.25 floppy disks, is there any equipment I can hook up to a 5.25 to make it work with a new (windows computer? I know that once I can get the software setup, I can run DOSbox to run the software, but how do I get around the hardware issue?
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    0 Votes
    Dave503

    1) If you have a 3.5" non-usb drive on your computer, it may be possible to add a Teac dual drive (FD 505) that is readily available on eBay at a very modest price. The caveats: many of the current BIOS do not support 5.25" drives at all, and some only support a single floppy (3.5" OR 5.25", but not both at the same time). The FD 505 uses jumpers to configure it as a single 3.5, a single 5.25, or both drives. If this doesn't work for you, you can put out about $60 for an outboard floppy controller card from http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html that will work, even under Win8 (but you'll have to get power from your computer or an external supply for the actual drive). The actual card plugs in to a USB 2.0 port and is port powered.

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    0 Votes
    mjd420nova

    I have an old IBM AT running a home automation/energy monitor system. It has the 5.25. dual DS/DD and a 5.25 1.2 MB floppy. This was the top media density until IBM started the PS2 line and the 3.5 diskette 1.44 MB media. and was accompanied with the new 80386/387 chipsets. Dos was up to 4.01 until the inclusion of the coprocessor on the same substrate as the processor and needed DOS 5.0.

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    silverfinger

    I am not sure why you would go through all this trouble for software. There is nothing currently out there to replace what they were using? What are they trying to replace? If the disks had data I could understand.

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    n2add

    1. I purchased a 5.25-inch floppy on eBay and installed it in an old computer and proceeded to copy my 5.25-inch disks. About 20% of the disks could not be read properly. I also did the same thing with my 3.5-inch disks. Everything I could copy is now on a CD.

    2. I tried one of those dual drives but I could never get it to work properly. I tried various combinations of the jumpers but no luck.

    3. Some computers that do have a floppy connector on the motherboard will only recognize 3.5-inch drives.

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    0 Votes
    powerserver13

    I HAVE ONE TOO, YOU CAN HAVE, CAME OUT OF AN OLD "SYMPHONY" COMPUTER 80836/?? THE WHOLE COMPUTER WORKS GREAT, JUST NEED ANOTHER COM1 PLUG FOR A KEYBOARD.????

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    0 Votes
    inkwell

    I have an old Tandy 5 1/4 parallel port drive.
    I took the drive out of the case, and cabled it to my Athlon 2400 XP-S3 box.
    I backed up 40 5 1/4 floppy disks to one folder and fit them all with room to spare on a 4 gb usb drive. If you haven't had any resolution and want to send them to me in Canada, I'll do it for you, I just get a kick over how old tech seems to come to the rescue. I'd need the return postage & that's all.

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    0 Votes

    makes it a bit difficult, but I'll make a suggestion. You might be able to find a PCI to ISA
    converter card for the new motherboard, if so you could then insert an old ISA controller
    card for a 5.25 inch floppy drive and access the floppies this way. Alternatively, and this
    may be more feasible, find an older PC, could probably find a freebie somewhere, that
    either has, or you could install one in, a 5.25 in floppy drive. I keep a couple of these
    upstairs in my tech-graveyard, hehe, just for these types of emergencies. I've also got
    a few ISA NIC cards that I could use to network the old beasts if needed.
    Other than that, you might be able to find some sort of connector online, maybe
    search Amazon or eBay?? However, I'm not sure on this since the technologies are
    so far removed from each other. You might also look into the feasibility of copying the
    data on those 5.25 in floppies to another media format.
    Does the replacement equipment have an IDE controller? If it does, you could be able
    to buy an IDE cable for a 5.25 in floppy drive and use the drive in a spare drive bay.
    That's all the ideas I have at the moment...good luck!

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    1 Votes
    TheChas

    The last 5.25" external drive I saw connected up to a parallel port.

    I would need to dig, but I think I still have an IBM PS/2 external 5.25" drive in the box.

    I also have an old 386 system that should boot up that does have a 5.25" drive in it.

    ebay is the only place I found any drives for sale. All the controllers I saw were ISA bus though.

    Best bet would be to check with computer recycling and resale companies in your area.

    Chas

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    0 Votes

    My old IBM PS2 is a Model5500, 386 based, but the diskette drive is 3.5 in
    not 5.25. The issue with the IBM PS2 gear is it is all "MCA", MicroChannel
    Architecture, and not really compatible with "AT" based machines.
    Somewhere in my graveyard is a couple of 386 chips, another SX CPU and 387 FPU!

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    0 Votes
    TheChas

    Wizard57,
    What I have in the box is an EXTERNAL 5.25" Floppy drive for a PS/2.
    Not a PS/2 system.

    I think it is a parallel port connection, but I would need to dig out the box and verify.

    I bought it as surplus over 10 years ago.

    Chas

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    2 Votes
    r_widell

    re. the suggestion by wizard57m-cnet:
    IDE cables have 40 pin connectors whereas IIRC floppies have 34 pins. They are not equivalent.

    While I concur with TheChas that external 5.25" drives (that I remember) all connected via the parallel port, that probably won't help with a new machine that doesn't have such a port. Moreover, it would require a special driver which will likely only run under MS-DOS.

    I seem to recall some PCI add-in cards (sold by SIIG IIRC) which had IDE and floppy ports. You may be able to find one on eBay. You won't have a true "external" floppy drive, but you can temporarily leave the case open and run the cables out the side.

    I also have serious concerns as to whether Win8 even knows how to talk to a floppy drive (I haven't tried it). You may need to run some Linux LiveCD to get the hardware to work.

    ron

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    Which is why I said IDE for floppy and not hard drive. The other problem
    which I too overlooked is the power supply cable. Depending on the
    model, the PSU in the new equipment might not even have a power
    connector for any floppy drive. So there is another obstacle. Might
    be able to find an adapter, haven't checked myself, which is why I keep
    a couple of functioning older systems on hand. Then if needed I can
    use a NIC card and connect it to the network.

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    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Ron Win 8 can read a 3.5 Floppy as my Test Rig has one in it that I loaded 8 to and it shows up in My Computer or whatever 8 calls that now. I have copied files to the drive though it was more to see what would happen than anything else and 8 could read the floppy that it made. I'm not sure about reading disc's made on older platforms but I can see no reason why it wouldn't. Though running the program that is on these disc's is another story and I very much doubt that it would even come close to working.

    As a 5.25 Floppy uses the same connection I would hazard a guess that 8 would be able to read the floppy but depending on what is actually on the floppy that in itself may not be enough as the program that is attempting to be accessed may not run on 8.

    This is why it is very important to verify that whatever you have as a Backup Option actually works as it should and is restorable to new hardware in the event of a total loss of the existing hardware.

    Col

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    0 Votes
    info

    @Wizard57: That was the point. The IDE controller isn't what connects to the floppy drive, it's a separate controller (that was often on the same card) and a separate type of cable.

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    1 Votes
    Deadly Ernest

    better off using an old machine with a 5.25 floppy and CD burner to copy all the programs onto CDs to fix this now and for the future.

    The USB Floppy I saw was:

    Imation USB floppy drive, model 01946

    do a google, you may find one for sale.

    I got some old gear that works and have 5.25 floppies, but I've not tried using the floppies for several years.

  • +
    0 Votes
    Dave503

    1) If you have a 3.5" non-usb drive on your computer, it may be possible to add a Teac dual drive (FD 505) that is readily available on eBay at a very modest price. The caveats: many of the current BIOS do not support 5.25" drives at all, and some only support a single floppy (3.5" OR 5.25", but not both at the same time). The FD 505 uses jumpers to configure it as a single 3.5, a single 5.25, or both drives. If this doesn't work for you, you can put out about $60 for an outboard floppy controller card from http://www.deviceside.com/fc5025.html that will work, even under Win8 (but you'll have to get power from your computer or an external supply for the actual drive). The actual card plugs in to a USB 2.0 port and is port powered.

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    0 Votes
    mjd420nova

    I have an old IBM AT running a home automation/energy monitor system. It has the 5.25. dual DS/DD and a 5.25 1.2 MB floppy. This was the top media density until IBM started the PS2 line and the 3.5 diskette 1.44 MB media. and was accompanied with the new 80386/387 chipsets. Dos was up to 4.01 until the inclusion of the coprocessor on the same substrate as the processor and needed DOS 5.0.

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    0 Votes
    silverfinger

    I am not sure why you would go through all this trouble for software. There is nothing currently out there to replace what they were using? What are they trying to replace? If the disks had data I could understand.

    +
    0 Votes
    n2add

    1. I purchased a 5.25-inch floppy on eBay and installed it in an old computer and proceeded to copy my 5.25-inch disks. About 20% of the disks could not be read properly. I also did the same thing with my 3.5-inch disks. Everything I could copy is now on a CD.

    2. I tried one of those dual drives but I could never get it to work properly. I tried various combinations of the jumpers but no luck.

    3. Some computers that do have a floppy connector on the motherboard will only recognize 3.5-inch drives.

    +
    0 Votes
    powerserver13

    I HAVE ONE TOO, YOU CAN HAVE, CAME OUT OF AN OLD "SYMPHONY" COMPUTER 80836/?? THE WHOLE COMPUTER WORKS GREAT, JUST NEED ANOTHER COM1 PLUG FOR A KEYBOARD.????

    +
    0 Votes
    inkwell

    I have an old Tandy 5 1/4 parallel port drive.
    I took the drive out of the case, and cabled it to my Athlon 2400 XP-S3 box.
    I backed up 40 5 1/4 floppy disks to one folder and fit them all with room to spare on a 4 gb usb drive. If you haven't had any resolution and want to send them to me in Canada, I'll do it for you, I just get a kick over how old tech seems to come to the rescue. I'd need the return postage & that's all.

    +
    0 Votes

    makes it a bit difficult, but I'll make a suggestion. You might be able to find a PCI to ISA
    converter card for the new motherboard, if so you could then insert an old ISA controller
    card for a 5.25 inch floppy drive and access the floppies this way. Alternatively, and this
    may be more feasible, find an older PC, could probably find a freebie somewhere, that
    either has, or you could install one in, a 5.25 in floppy drive. I keep a couple of these
    upstairs in my tech-graveyard, hehe, just for these types of emergencies. I've also got
    a few ISA NIC cards that I could use to network the old beasts if needed.
    Other than that, you might be able to find some sort of connector online, maybe
    search Amazon or eBay?? However, I'm not sure on this since the technologies are
    so far removed from each other. You might also look into the feasibility of copying the
    data on those 5.25 in floppies to another media format.
    Does the replacement equipment have an IDE controller? If it does, you could be able
    to buy an IDE cable for a 5.25 in floppy drive and use the drive in a spare drive bay.
    That's all the ideas I have at the moment...good luck!

    +
    1 Votes
    TheChas

    The last 5.25" external drive I saw connected up to a parallel port.

    I would need to dig, but I think I still have an IBM PS/2 external 5.25" drive in the box.

    I also have an old 386 system that should boot up that does have a 5.25" drive in it.

    ebay is the only place I found any drives for sale. All the controllers I saw were ISA bus though.

    Best bet would be to check with computer recycling and resale companies in your area.

    Chas

    +
    0 Votes

    My old IBM PS2 is a Model5500, 386 based, but the diskette drive is 3.5 in
    not 5.25. The issue with the IBM PS2 gear is it is all "MCA", MicroChannel
    Architecture, and not really compatible with "AT" based machines.
    Somewhere in my graveyard is a couple of 386 chips, another SX CPU and 387 FPU!

    +
    0 Votes
    TheChas

    Wizard57,
    What I have in the box is an EXTERNAL 5.25" Floppy drive for a PS/2.
    Not a PS/2 system.

    I think it is a parallel port connection, but I would need to dig out the box and verify.

    I bought it as surplus over 10 years ago.

    Chas

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    2 Votes
    r_widell

    re. the suggestion by wizard57m-cnet:
    IDE cables have 40 pin connectors whereas IIRC floppies have 34 pins. They are not equivalent.

    While I concur with TheChas that external 5.25" drives (that I remember) all connected via the parallel port, that probably won't help with a new machine that doesn't have such a port. Moreover, it would require a special driver which will likely only run under MS-DOS.

    I seem to recall some PCI add-in cards (sold by SIIG IIRC) which had IDE and floppy ports. You may be able to find one on eBay. You won't have a true "external" floppy drive, but you can temporarily leave the case open and run the cables out the side.

    I also have serious concerns as to whether Win8 even knows how to talk to a floppy drive (I haven't tried it). You may need to run some Linux LiveCD to get the hardware to work.

    ron

    +
    0 Votes

    Which is why I said IDE for floppy and not hard drive. The other problem
    which I too overlooked is the power supply cable. Depending on the
    model, the PSU in the new equipment might not even have a power
    connector for any floppy drive. So there is another obstacle. Might
    be able to find an adapter, haven't checked myself, which is why I keep
    a couple of functioning older systems on hand. Then if needed I can
    use a NIC card and connect it to the network.

    +
    0 Votes
    OH Smeg

    Ron Win 8 can read a 3.5 Floppy as my Test Rig has one in it that I loaded 8 to and it shows up in My Computer or whatever 8 calls that now. I have copied files to the drive though it was more to see what would happen than anything else and 8 could read the floppy that it made. I'm not sure about reading disc's made on older platforms but I can see no reason why it wouldn't. Though running the program that is on these disc's is another story and I very much doubt that it would even come close to working.

    As a 5.25 Floppy uses the same connection I would hazard a guess that 8 would be able to read the floppy but depending on what is actually on the floppy that in itself may not be enough as the program that is attempting to be accessed may not run on 8.

    This is why it is very important to verify that whatever you have as a Backup Option actually works as it should and is restorable to new hardware in the event of a total loss of the existing hardware.

    Col

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    0 Votes
    info

    @Wizard57: That was the point. The IDE controller isn't what connects to the floppy drive, it's a separate controller (that was often on the same card) and a separate type of cable.

    +
    1 Votes
    Deadly Ernest

    better off using an old machine with a 5.25 floppy and CD burner to copy all the programs onto CDs to fix this now and for the future.

    The USB Floppy I saw was:

    Imation USB floppy drive, model 01946

    do a google, you may find one for sale.

    I got some old gear that works and have 5.25 floppies, but I've not tried using the floppies for several years.