[SOLVED] please help me revive this floppy disk drive, compatible mobo suggestion needed

Tac 25

Upstanding
Jul 25, 2021
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Hi, a little bit of story time. This is a Sempron pre-built pc that we bought at the mall sometime around 2003. It was used from 2003-2013. Had several motherboard and PSU changes. At a certain point.. the floppy drive became obsolete, simply because we did not need it anymore, the drive was disconnected from the mobo as early as 2004 or 2005. The last mobo of the pc died around 2013.. and after that I bought a new pc.

now fast forward to 2022, I suddenly got hold of several diskettes that I'm curious to know the contents.

went to the storage room, and dug up this old pc.

on taking it to the technician, told me that the drive could still reactivate, but I need to find a mobo that supports it.

__

note, my main goal is simply to be able to reuse the floppy drive, using this pc case. I have no spare case to transfer the floppy drive into.

Pics of the case and the drive.

put inside spoilers to save space

the case


the floppy drive


how the on / off switch connects to the motherboard.


___

Question


any suggestion on what motherboard could I buy that the floppy drive can plug into?

as for other things, I plan to put Windows XP into this pc if it can be revived, so I could play old games that would only work on XP. It will not be used for browsing the internet, as I know XP is unsafe to use for browsing.

thanks for reading.
 
Last edited:

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
Mr. Litschel has a point - a new external floppy drive using a USB2 connection is not very expensive, but you are dependent on having a good driver supplied with it for smooth operation. IF you want to pursue using the old drive unit, it will need two connections. ONE is a wide flat ribbon cable for the data connection to a mobo floppy drive header. This looks a lot like an old HDD IDE cable and port, but it is smaller. So the MOBO must have a standard 3½" floppy drive header. Then the drive unit also needs power, and that requires that your PSU has a specific connector to power a 3½" floppy drive. It is a female with FOUR holes that looks a little like a fan connector, and most commonly it is on the end of the set of wires that ALSO has some 4-pin Molex and SATA power connectors.

If you have both of those resources this may work. You need a floppy drive driver, but that should be included in your OS's files and should install automatically when you connect the drive. BEFORE you do this, though, open the drive if you can and GENTLY remove all visible dust and crud. Then carefully swab over major spots with a Q-tip dampened in rubbing alcohol. Maybe CAREFULLY try to swab off the heads for BOTH side of the disk. Let it dry out. ALSO get a 3½" floppy drive CLEANER kit - can be hard to find these days! Once it is hooked up and BEFORE inserting any floppy diskette, use that to CLEAN the drive and heads, then let it dry out. Old dirt on heads can scratch a floppy diskette and ruin parts of it to destroy data at those spots.

I note in user comments that there can be problems (seems inconsistent) with the new USB2 floppy drives under Win 10. Some of these appear to be difficulty for Win 10 to automatically find and access the drive, but there are some tricks to force it. OP, you say your plan is to use it only under Win XP or 7, so you may NOT have a problem. I know I have used internal 3½" floppy drives under XP for many years with no trouble other than keeping it clean between infrequent uses.
 
Reactions: Tac 25

Paperdoc

Polypheme
Ambassador
Mr. Litschel has a point - a new external floppy drive using a USB2 connection is not very expensive, but you are dependent on having a good driver supplied with it for smooth operation. IF you want to pursue using the old drive unit, it will need two connections. ONE is a wide flat ribbon cable for the data connection to a mobo floppy drive header. This looks a lot like an old HDD IDE cable and port, but it is smaller. So the MOBO must have a standard 3½" floppy drive header. Then the drive unit also needs power, and that requires that your PSU has a specific connector to power a 3½" floppy drive. It is a female with FOUR holes that looks a little like a fan connector, and most commonly it is on the end of the set of wires that ALSO has some 4-pin Molex and SATA power connectors.

If you have both of those resources this may work. You need a floppy drive driver, but that should be included in your OS's files and should install automatically when you connect the drive. BEFORE you do this, though, open the drive if you can and GENTLY remove all visible dust and crud. Then carefully swab over major spots with a Q-tip dampened in rubbing alcohol. Maybe CAREFULLY try to swab off the heads for BOTH side of the disk. Let it dry out. ALSO get a 3½" floppy drive CLEANER kit - can be hard to find these days! Once it is hooked up and BEFORE inserting any floppy diskette, use that to CLEAN the drive and heads, then let it dry out. Old dirt on heads can scratch a floppy diskette and ruin parts of it to destroy data at those spots.

I note in user comments that there can be problems (seems inconsistent) with the new USB2 floppy drives under Win 10. Some of these appear to be difficulty for Win 10 to automatically find and access the drive, but there are some tricks to force it. OP, you say your plan is to use it only under Win XP or 7, so you may NOT have a problem. I know I have used internal 3½" floppy drives under XP for many years with no trouble other than keeping it clean between infrequent uses.
 
Reactions: Tac 25

Tac 25

Upstanding
Jul 25, 2021
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sorry for late reply. Things have been busy the past days.

__

@MrLitschel

never knew those existed. Looks good. Will try getting one of those.

for some reason though, Amazon blocked my email on the very first day.. which is strange because it's the same yahoo mail I use for Aliexpress and Lazada. Well, then.. I'll try to hunt for that item on Aliexpress instead.

____

@Paperdoc

thanks for that detailed explanation. I do still have all the old connectors of the floppy drive.

but what you said about dirt in the old drive could damage the floppies is worrying. Don't know how to open the drive to clean it.. so I would be going for the safer option of obtaining a usb floppy as MrLitschel suggested.

Also do have plans to proceed with building a windows XP or windows 7 pc. Because there are some old games I cannot play anymore, because both pc (on sig) are windows 10.

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@USAFRet

yeah, there's a chance they might not even work.

but this is more of side hobby that I'm doing for fun, and possibly see some good memories of old dos games again.
 

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