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Looking on eBay for floppy drives, I came across these incredibly cheap Chinese 3.5" USB drives (there are lots of them on offer).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/USB-1-1-2-0-Portable-External-3-5-1-44MB-Floppy-Diskette-Drive-FDD-for-PC-Laptop/332496421454?hash=item4d6a54c24e:g:xRQAAOSwUM5aFPKV

The USB interface is obviously useless for a retro computer. I doubt it, but: Does anyone know if there is anything usable in these (ideally, a decent 3.5" drive with a 34-pin connector)? Or can these be made into something usable?

  • I guess you'd get a lot more usage out of installing a Gotek drive in your retro computer. – Brian H Jan 13 '18 at 18:33
  • @BrianH I'm actually looking for cheap floppy drives, not a Gotek. – tofro Jan 13 '18 at 18:46
  • Ever seem the Flop-o-tron? youtube.com/results?search_query=floppotron Maybe not the best use, but would almost certainly be possible no matter what kind of electronics are inside. – supercat Jan 18 '18 at 17:17
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No, they don't expose an interface useful for retro applications. Many of them will likely use an integrated USB controller + RAM like in this USB floppy teardown so they appear as mass storage.

  • Thanks for the pics - Wasn't able to find inside pictures. Looks like there is nothing interesting to find there. A shame! – tofro Jan 13 '18 at 19:41
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Usually there should be a rather standard drive within, but you never know until you open one - and whatever you learn will only be valid for that batch. THe next one, similar looking may have different internals.

  • 2
    I would be surprised if the internal drive had a 34-pin connector! – traal Jan 13 '18 at 17:34
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Many (not all) of them have a 24-pin flat flex cable instead of the 34-pin cable you'd need. If you have an adapter, they work fine.

I have three USB floppy drives of different brands and they all have the same flat flex cable going to a daughter board that converts it to USB. I happen to have an adapter I tore out of something that converts the flat flex to 34-pin and verified that all of them work in my old IBM just fine with it.

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