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Help with my floppy drive.

johnnydicamillo

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May 15, 2011
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Hello
I am trying to plug my 5 1/4in floppy from my ibm 5160 xt in my dell so I can transfer some software over. However when ever I try to access it, it displays an error, probably because there are no drivers. dos anyone know where I can these drivers?
 

johnnydicamillo

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I/O error on my dell when ever I try to put files on it. I am trying to use my floppy controller and floppy drive in my dell, but when I try to
 

per

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Nr 1: What Dell (late 80's or 90's desktop? more recent desktop? laptop? Model number? Motherboard Chipset?)
Nr 2: Does the system have a built-in floppy controller?
Nr 3: Have you checked the BIOS settings?
Nr 4: What OS are you using?
 

johnnydicamillo

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I have checked the bios settings it is a Dell Dimensions XPS T500, running windows XP, and no i does not have a built in floppy controller but it has 16 bit isa slots, so I pluged in the controller from the IBM 5160 into the dell and it knows there is a floppy drive connected to it when I try to access the drive, it says it can't access it or something like that.
 

RetroHacker_

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That machine most definitely has a built in floppy controller. Plug the drive into the onboard controller, and change the setting in the BIOS to tell the system it's a 360k 5 1/4" floppy drive.

-Ian
 

barythrin

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Is anything else going on with it? Do you see the drive access light come on? I'm also not sure about having it enabled in the bios if you're using a 3rd party card (which at this point is a big unknown if the Dell is working with it) but that might conflict for the resources. If the Dell has a native floppy connector definitely try that but I do recall some vendors pretending that floppy drives were obsolete and not putting them on their motherboards, just not sure about that model. In any event you shouldn't need a driver usually that's something BIOS level or low enough that most operating systems have native drivers to access that.

If you're never getting any access light on the floppy when trying to access the drive though then obviously no communication is getting there and we'd start looking at options relating to that.
 

RetroHacker_

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This machine has the floppy drive bezel as part of the front of the case, so I doubt the floppy drive will have gone missing. Follow the floppy cable down to the motherboard. It's a 34 pin connector. The cable might have a card edge style plug on it already for the 5 1/4" drive, but if it doesn't, you'll have to swap it for one that does. You can have two floppy drives on the cable, A and B. The A drive is the one near the twist in the cable.

-Ian
 

RetroHacker_

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Is anything else going on with it? Do you see the drive access light come on? I'm also not sure about having it enabled in the bios if you're using a 3rd party card (which at this point is a big unknown if the Dell is working with it) but that might conflict for the resources. If the Dell has a native floppy connector definitely try that but I do recall some vendors pretending that floppy drives were obsolete and not putting them on their motherboards, just not sure about that model. In any event you shouldn't need a driver usually that's something BIOS level or low enough that most operating systems have native drivers to access that.

I doubt he's going to be able to use that ISA floppy controller, since the onboard one will conflict. And I know the machine has an onboard disk controller. For one, the 3 1/2" drive bezel is molded into the front of the case, and two, I had one of these machines several years ago. It's a PIII 500. I even had a 5 1/4" floppy drive installed in it.

-Ian
 

barythrin

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medscalePicture%20101.jpg
If this looks like your motherboard the floppy connector is the top right connector.
 

RetroHacker_

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where can I get a cable with a card edge style pug

Anywhere fine computing accessories are sold.

Heh.

Seriously, these used to be unblieveably common. Beyond common. Every computer had one, up until the end of the PII era. Any pile of junk PC's should have them, and any used computer shop should have a bucket of them.

If you've got any local computer stores, check there. Or, if you know anyone that ever worked on computers. Not only did every computer have them, but they came free when you bought new motherboards, etc.

-Ian
 

bartman2589

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It's possible that the drive is not configured properly, or that you have it plugged into the wrong connector on the cable, much like IDE hard drives with 80 conductor cables used in newer systems old floppy cables have a 'master' or 'A:' connector and a 'slave' or 'B:' connector, typically the connector closest to the end of the cable is the 'A:' connector and the one near the middle of the cable is the 'B:' connector, however the drive very likely has a jumper block or set of DIP switches that may have to be configured in a certain way to specify which set of signals the drive should accept depending on it's positioning on the cable. Bear in mind also that these signals are 'flipped' for each position on the cable by means of a 'twist' in a few of the individual wires in the cable in order to send the signals to the 'A:' drive.

One thing you can try is to try connecting your drive to alternate connectors on the cable, it's possible that your drive is already jumpered to think it's a 'B:' drive in which case if you attach it to the 'B:' drive position on the cable it will act as the 'A:' drive in the system possibly fixing your problem in a manner.

Additionally are you absolutely certain that your drive is a 360K drive and not a 1.2M drive? The two will look almost identical (unless your drive is a full height 5-1/4 drive of course), but if the BIOS doesn't support the 1.2M drive you might get errors like the ones you are receiving possibly. Additionally you need to watch out for the fact that one of the 2 cables used with MFM/RLL hard drives is nearly identical to a standard floppy cable aside from the fact that the twist in the cable involves a different number of wires.

And of course your I/O error might be a result of the settings of the jumpers/DIP switches on the drive, especially if you tried changing any of them to get things working and possibly didn't get them set back to the correct positions.

Hope this helps,
bartman2589

PS - I thought I should clarify one thing, it is possible to make a floppy drive cable that does not have the little twist in it as long as it is being used with drives that have the capability of being jumpered to specify whether they are a 'B:' drive or an 'A:' drive, not all drives have this capability and in the interests of simplifying manufacturing many companies that make drives stopped providing this capability as making a modified cable that would simply swap the signals was more cost effective than integrating the circuitry to actually accomplish the same task when a jumper or switch was changed. This is most notable on more recent 3-1/2" drives, many of them do not have any jumpers at all and instead are configured to a 'default' specification to work with cables that have the twist in them.
 
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