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5.25" Floppy drives! Are the still available as external units?

Posted on 2005-03-04
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Last Modified: 2008-01-16
I have numerous floppies with data on that I need to be able to access again. These days it is almost impossible to find any 5.25" floppy drives. Is it possible to jerry-rig a 5.25" floppy drive as an external drive such as in a Belkin 5.25" case such as I did with my 250gb backup drive or is it still possible to buy ready made external 5.25" drives somewhere? I have searched the net from top top bottom! As I live in Sydney the power source (which is probably the least of my worries) must be 220-240 volt AC. Any suggestions PLEASE?

Regards

Sam
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Question by:sjsh
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17 Comments
 
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by:
_ earned 400 total points
ID: 13464708
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by:_
ID: 13464711
Forgot:
Looks like a few external ones, but mostly internal.
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by:smiffy13
smiffy13 earned 400 total points
ID: 13464939
5.25" floppy drives are exactly the same size as a CD player. I replaced a 5.25" drive with a CD drive in an old PC I had (about 10 years ago). So if you can't get an external 5.25" in Sydney, then you can fit an internal drive into any 5.25" external case.
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by:Vantim
Vantim earned 400 total points
ID: 13465455
You cannot jerry rig an external drive enclosure as they use different cables.  5.25 floppy drives use  a  standard floppy drive cable not an IDE hdd cable.  But, smiffy13 is correct they do fit in a standard 5.25" drive bay (the same as your cd players).  

Here's a drive for sale:
http://shop.store.yahoo.com/repc/514floppydrive.html
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by:DabRain
DabRain earned 400 total points
ID: 13466822
Why not just get a bigger case and move everything into that along with the 5.25 floppy drive? You will need one of the older floppy drive cables with 5 fittings on it though.
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by:Watzman
Watzman earned 400 total points
ID: 13467172

5.25" Floppy drives are still available, you may have to buy them used, but they are plentiful and cheap (often $1 to $5 each).  However, I suspect that floppy interafaces will soon disappear from PCs.  The problem isn't power, it's the 34-pin interface and sofware support.  [If you think you have a problem, I do antique computer repair and still actively use EIGHT-INCH floppy disks and drives).

I'd love to see a USB universal floppy interface board (with suitable softare) that would interface to 3.5" floppy drives (both 720k and 1.44MB), 5.25" drives (both 360k and 1.2MB) and even eight-inch drives (50 pin cable, but actually the same signals as either a 5.25 or 3.5" drive).  Conceptually, it's not too difficult, but no one is making one that I know of.  I've been taking apart USB 3.5" floppy drives in the hopes of finding one that is a USB interface board with a standard 3.5" drive, but so far all of them have an "integrated" USB controller on the floppy electronics board, with no distinct 34-pin interface that could be run to a 5.25" drive.

Power isn't a problem, all of the floppy drives run from +5 and +12 volts DC (except 8-inch drives).  However, I'd strongly suggest that you get your data transferred now, because in 5 years (and perhaps in only 1 to 2 years), motherboards won't have the interface ports, drive availablity not withstanding.  Already, some Asus boards, while having floppy ports, only support a single floppy drive.

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by:techno_guy
ID: 13530431
Why not buy a USB powered external floppy drive.  I reccomend purchasing it from newegg.  Here is the cheapest external I found on newegg.  http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProductDesc.asp?description=21-152-004&depa=0
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by:Watzman
ID: 13530443
Re: " Why not buy a USB powered external floppy drive."

Did you miss the point that he's looking for a 5.25" floppy drive?  If you know of a USB 5.25" drive, please let me know.  I've only seen 3.5" USB drives.
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by:DabRain
ID: 13531658
Why not buy an external 3.5 USB drive then replace the 3.5 with a 5.25, could tidy things up by putting them into a 5.25 case but who cares, if it works.
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by:Watzman
ID: 13531820
Becuase USB 3.5" drives are not a USB to floppy controller and a standard floppy drive.  I've investigated this route, and I've take apart about a dozen different drives.  So far, ALL of them have been "integrated" drives designed as USB devices from the outset.  There is no standard 34-pin floppy interface within any drives that I have seen so far.

[It's possible that such a USB floppy drive exists somewhere, but I can't keep taking drives apart until I find one!  And a check of manufacturing literature suggests that what I'm seeing is, in general, an accurate representation of the way that things are being done.]
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by:_
ID: 13733377
Split coral47, smiffy13, Vantim, and Watzman (for still messing with 8 inch drives)   : )
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by:Vantim
ID: 13734572
:) Good enough for me
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by:DabRain
ID: 13741764
:) Good enough for me too

it would also be nice for sjsh to inform us as to what he has done and achieved with our suggestions
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by:_
ID: 14127719
Thank you much.    : )
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