I am in possession of a working 1986 Compaq Portable II. However, I couldn't find a 5.25" floppy with the proper version of DOS on it to actually make the computer, ya know, work.

I've since bought a Gotek USB floppy emulator, taken out the old 5.25" floppy drive, and replaced it.

Those who don't know what that is can view the following link:


I've also obtained a IDE power to Molex 4-pin power cable, and connected the hard drive to the emulator. So far so good. That's power taken care of.

However, when I went to connect the ribbon to the two drives, I was disheartened to see that the amount of pins between the two drives were different. One pin was filled on the hard drive's end making (if I remember correctly) 39 pins for the hard drive and somewhere around 34 pins for the emulator.

My question is this: does an adapter or cable exist for a 3.5 inch floppy to 5.25 hard drive connection, or am I going to have to attempt to solder a cable that can actually make this connection work? I can't find such a cable anywhere online.


  • 6
    Why are you trying to connect the floppy drive to a hard drive? Could you include photos of the connectors you’re working with? Feb 23, 2021 at 16:49
  • @StephenKitt sure. I'll edit and reupload when I'm able
    – R3TURN-0
    Feb 23, 2021 at 17:07
  • You mention a hard drive in the second half of the question. Do you mean to refer to the 5.25 floppy drive?
    – RETRAC
    Feb 23, 2021 at 17:59
  • @RETRAC the floppy drive was connected to a hard drive, I'd imagine for storage of some sort while it's in use, or maybe long term storage, but this is the first computer of the sort that I've dealt with so I don't know. I know for sure there's definitely a hard drive in there and they were definitely connected
    – R3TURN-0
    Feb 23, 2021 at 18:05
  • 3
    That’s somewhat surprising. The Portable II uses an I/O card in one of its ISA slots, with one connector for the hard drive, and another for the floppy drive; there should be two separate cables... Feb 23, 2021 at 18:20

1 Answer 1


As can be seen in this video, the hard drive and floppy drive should have separate cables connecting them to the multi-I/O card.

To connect your floppy emulator, you need a 34-wire cable with the appropriate connectors on either end. Connect one end to the emulator, the other to the controller card, and you should be good to go. Some (less old) cables for single drives only have two connectors altogether; this would be ideal here. If you have one with a twist, connect the emulator after the twist. You may also find cables with two types of connectors (edge connector as used in the Portable II, and pin-based as used for the controller end); ignore the connectors you don’t need.

There should be no soldering involved, and the emulator shouldn’t be connected to the hard drive.

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