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Around the end of the time of Amiga popularity, obtaining a replacement Amiga floppy drive was a nuisance, while PC drives were ubiquitous and cheap. One could install a PC drive in Amiga after applying a small, trivial hardware modification - a friend got one made as we waited, some 10 minutes of work or so.

What is the modification? How to adapt a PC FDD for use with Amiga?

  • Have you even tried googling it? The first result lead me to this webpage: eab.abime.net/showthread.php?t=30944 – mcleod_ideafix Apr 20 '16 at 10:02
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    @mcleod_ideafix Part of the point of Stack Exchange is making it the repository of answers to questions like these, so if the answer is missing here but present on the Internet at large, it's still appropriate to answer it here. – Jim MacKenzie Mar 18 '18 at 14:32
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The differences between PC floppy drives and Amiga floppy drives are as follows:

  • PC floppy drives normally answer to drive select 1 (DS1), internal Amiga drives answer to DS0
  • pin 34 on the connector is used for disk change on the PC, disk ready on the Amiga
  • pin 2 on the connector is used for high-density detection on the PC, disk change on the Amiga

So modifying a PC drive so it works inside an Amiga involves :

  • switching the drive to DS0 (on some drives this is a jumper, but on most drives you'll need to desolder the DS1 pads and bridge the DS0 pads)
  • re-routing pins 2 and 34
  • grounding the HD detection signal

You'll need a PC drive which exposes the disk ready signal somewhere on its PCB.

There are many examples of this on Amiga forums; here's one, here's another. Ian Stedman has an add-on board which can be used instead of modifying the drives; it synthesises the disk ready signal using a couple of other signals.

  • For the first one you could probably use a cable with a twist, couldn't you? – Muzer Dec 12 '18 at 17:12
  • Indeed you probably could — the twist in PC floppy cables means the end connector connects DS1 on the drive to DS0 on the controller. – Stephen Kitt Dec 13 '18 at 8:26
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A PC 1.44 drive, can be converted for use in an Amiga, in fact ANY Amiga can use it, but it will be limited to 880k (720k PC). The reasoning, is because PC 1.44 drive motor spins the disk at a different rate. Amiga HD (1.76MB) spins at 150RPM, where a PC drive rotates at 300RPM.

  • Welcome to the site. This answer answers the question - one thing you might add is how you can connect the Amiga to the floppy drive. You might want to read the tour if you haven't already. – wizzwizz4 Jun 20 '17 at 6:47
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Here (archive.org copy) is a site with specific instructions for converting PC drives from several manufacturers to Amiga replacement drives.

Note that getting the disk ready signal to work is necessary for most games that didn't use AmigaDOS for floppy I/O but that accessed the floppy controller directly. These games typically waited for the disk ready signal before continuing with floppy I/O and will thus stall if the signal isn't working. Booting the Workbench on the other hand and running applications or games that use AmigaDOS for I/O will work fine even without working disk ready signal. Ironically, AmigaDOS (1.x at least, I haven't tested other versions) is ignoring Commodore's own recommendation to check this signal.

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    Good answer. Maybe clarify what this sentence means: "These games were typically so polite to wait for the disk ready signal and will stall if it isn't working." Did you mean "too polite"? It's unlikely this answer will still be that useful once that link disappears, but I don't think there is much we can do about that. – user12 Dec 12 '18 at 15:18
  • Good points, @jdv. Added an archive.org link with a copy and clarified why some games won't work without disk ready signal. – v-joe Dec 15 '18 at 19:35

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