[OT] FC5025 USB 5.25" Floppy Controller



#2

I know this is WAAY off-topic but I ran across this piece of hardware/software and I find it interesting in that it allows me to access 5 1/4" floppies from a Mac or PC. It's called the FC5025 USB 5.25" floppy controller and it's available from Device Side Data (http://www.deviceside.com/). It works by taking a Teac FD-55GFR floppy drive (very available on eBay) and hooking it up to a Mac or PC via USB. It's been tested with 32-bit versions of WinXP SP3, OSX 10.4.11 and Linux x86 2.6.24. The Disk Image and Browse application allows you to browse the contents of MS-DOS and ProDOS disks directly from the floppy and copy individual files. It also does disk imaging of floppy disks. From what I've read, this interface supports MS-DOS, Apple II DOS 3.2, 3.3 and ProDOS disks, Atari and Commodore formats. It's a read-only device so its primary function is to read old 5 1/4" floppies and bring their files into modern PCs.

I purchased the interface based upon a review I read in the latest issue of Juiced.GS and I just got it today so I hope to test it this weekend. I'm mentioning it here because I am assuming that I'm not the only one looking for a solution to copying old 5 1/4" disks but not having a functioning computer that still reads them. I have several of the old HP disks that was used to share files and I don't even know if they are any good. Plus, I have old MS-DOS disks and a few Apple II floppies.

I will post more when I get some time to try out the FC5025 to see just how it works. I do have a Teac drive and an old Sony DVD burner case that I pulled the drive out of, so I can to see if I can set up an external 5.25 floppy drive with a USB connection.

It should be fun,
Gerry


#3

This is the one of two solutions I've seen that does this (other: http://www.softpres.org/glossary:kryoflux). Both are limited to read-only. Since I only need to read (and write) Apple II floppies I opted to go with ADTPro. It's free, but you need a real Apple II and a serial cable.

Perhaps we should bring our gear to HHC 2010 and do floppy to image conversions for the masses.

#4

I'll make standing offer: I DO HAVE a PC with a functioning 5.25 drive and will be happy to take a look at any such disks sent to me.

Now, if I could only find a better way to get the files off of an old Apple Power PC (7600/132) hard drive. The HD has an Apple SCSI interface. Trying to get a few files at a time from it via 3.5 floppy is mind-numbingly slow, not to mention the messed up file names (translating to DSO 8.3 name style).


#5

Can I assume you have the Apple PPC? If so, try using a serial cable. Does it have Ethernet? If so, use that.

BTW, there are free Apple PPC emulators out there. If you can find a way to image the drive you can then boot in an emulator. From there file xfer should be easy.

#6

The easiest way would be the mentioned machine. Grab an AAUI to 10BaseT (RJ45 jack) adapter and fire up Ethernet.
Already mentioned: the serial port.
Other solution: Adaptec SCSI card (Mac version)

#7

Dave:

'I'll make standing offer: I DO HAVE a PC with a functioning 5.25 drive and will be happy to take a look at any such disks sent to me.'

Thanks for the offer Dave, but in my case, the P4 machine I have only supports 3.5" drives and the new Intel i7 machine I just built (using an Asus P6X58D MB) doesn't support floppy drives. What I especially like about the FC5025 is that it supports several floppy formats and since I still belong to an Apple II user group (for 25 years) and we meet monthly. Being able to read old Apple II floppies is important to me. And, no, I don't have any Apple II hardware anymore. My wife was ready to kill me with all the computers I had so the old Apple IIGS (fully loaded) had to be sold. Also, a fellow member owns an HP-15C and we chat about HP calculators regularly.

I do have an IBM 486 machine that still works, it runs Win95, but IBM uses an custom I/F (power in the connector) for the 3.5" drive so I can't daisy-chain in a standard 5 1/4" drive. I do have several 3.5"/5.25" floppy combo drives that work, just not a functioning machine to control them.

Gerry


#8

Quick follow up. I installed my 5 1/4" drive in an old external Syquest 88MB drive case along with the I/F card that has built-in a 5v and 12v power supply to run the drive. It appears to read MS-DOS disks well as it read some Microsoft distribution disks properly. But some of my older disks it showed read errors including my 5 1/4" HP-48 goodies disk.

The Windows software that's included works okay but is pretty crude. For instance, I could read the HORN subdirectory on the goodies disk but the file listing ran right off the bottom of the screen and the command buttons to copy individual files are at the bottom of the window. When I maximized the window, I could get to the necessary buttons but then I could only access the bottom end of the file listing.

I was able to image the entire floppy and the resulting file is an .IMG filetype. Now I need to figure out what software can read and use the data file.

Just in case anyone was curious.

Gerry

#9

The SCSI interface should be a standard Fast SCSI II 50 pins, like in the PowerMac 8600. Almost any PC SCSI controller should be able to talk to such a disk. If you use Linux (a LiveCD for instance) you mount the disk using the built-in hfs/hfs+ filesystem you can read the files. A cheap SCSI controller for PCI can for few $$ in that or other auction sites be bought.


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