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  • 3.5 to usb conversion?

    My Prototrak mill has a 3.5 disk drive that is becoming a pain in as to use. All my pc a re usb now.
    I have an inexpensive 3.5 reader that I plug in and transfer files with, but that's inconvenient.
    I've seen online a company that claims I can just pull out the 3.5 drive from my mill and insert their's
    and Bob's my uncle, usb!

    Anyone ever do a conversion like this on their machine?

    If so, how did it work out?

    Thanks- Sid

  • #2
    That sounds sketchy to me. The floppy drive is hooked to IRQ 6. It would take some Ninja software to bit-bang USB transactions to emulate a legacy floppy drive in DOS.

    In (modern) Windows, no sweat.
    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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    • #3
      There are many and they work. The system sees the device as a single floppy; the hardware converts that to USB with limited storage per "drive selection". i.e. your USB drive will look like MANY floppies, usually selected by a small switch on the drive, and of course your file cannot be larger then the orginal floppy.

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      • #4
        Here is a link to one company I found:
        http://www.plrelectronics.com/floppy_to_usb.php

        It goes for $275.00. Seems like a lot of cash for this, but if I was sure it would work, it would save a lot of time for me.
        Any other sites I could look into?

        Sid

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        • #5
          Originally posted by lakeside53 View Post
          There are many and they work.
          In DOS?
          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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          • #6
            Originally posted by sid pileski View Post
            Here is a link to one company I found:
            http://www.plrelectronics.com/floppy_to_usb.php
            I misunderstood your question -- that's a Flash Drive to legacy floppy converter. It plugs into the floppy ribbon cable. Considering the x86 gymnastics it's doing (OHCI host to floppy protocol conversion), I'd say $275 is a bargain!
            "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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            • #7
              Originally posted by lazlo View Post
              In DOS?
              It doesn't care! Just a black box that looks back at the floppy cable, and forward to the usb port.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by lazlo View Post
                I misunderstood your question -- that's a Flash Drive to legacy floppy converter. It plugs into the floppy ribbon cable. Considering the x86 gymnastics it's doing (OHCI host to floppy protocol conversion), I'd say $275 is a bargain!
                LOL.. If you'd like a truck load at $275 each, do I have deal for you

                http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw...erter&_sacat=0

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by lakeside53 View Post
                  It doesn't care! Just a black box that looks back at the floppy cable, and forward to the usb port.
                  It's a lot more complicated than that! USB is a slave (dumb/non bus-mastering) device. The CPU has to manually push packets on the USB host interface. So there's a microcontroller in that box that's intercepting the IRQ6's, and managing the USB host controller.

                  If it was Firewire (or SCSI) which is an intelligent bus mastering device, you could bridge it to a floppy without an internal host, but USB was intentionally made stupid
                  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                  • #10
                    well- it looks like the price is all over! I think I'll call Southwestern (Prototrak builder) and see if they have any experience with any particular brand.
                    I'm pretty computer illiterate, and hate to buy something that I'll have to spend hours on a tech line from some place.

                    Sid

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                    • #11
                      Laz: I didn't say what was inside the the "Back box"

                      Interestingly, these first appeared a couple of years ago for industrial sewing machines....
                      Last edited by lakeside53; 02-14-2013, 11:59 PM.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by sid pileski View Post
                        well- it looks like the price is all over! I think I'll call Southwestern (Prototrak builder) and see if they have any experience with any particular brand.
                        I'm pretty computer illiterate, and hate to buy something that I'll have to spend hours on a tech line from some place.

                        Sid
                        I doubt there's much diference between any of them. Your system will see it as a floppy.

                        On my Acurite Millpwr controller, I can ship it to the East Coast and get it upgraded for about $1000 ... or deal with the floppy file size restriction and install one myself for $50-60... one day...

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                        • #13
                          I have a Trak DPM with an AGE3 controller I looked into this also but have not tried it yet. I talked to SWI and they said they had heard of a guy doing it but they had no experience with the conversion. There are some cheap ones on Ebay. Make sure you get one with the right size floppy drive there are several different sizes. The way it is supposed to work is to make the USB device look like a bunch of floppy discs so it is not searching through the whole storage device. Let me know if you try it and it works.

                          Mike

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                          • #14
                            I think I'd be more concerned about the condition and remaining life of/in the 3 1/2" "floppy" disks themselves.

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                            • #15
                              Sid.
                              Yes done it and it works, and in DOS.

                              I have a mill here with the old DOS AHHA system on it, very dated but it's bomb proof, software has not let me down in 17 years but like you the transfer of files was a pain.
                              A floppy that worked one day would not work the next.

                              Asked on here and got conflicting reports so bit the bullet and bought a drive.
                              There are two types, one is just a single unit that mimics a floppy and the other has a display on the front that reads to 20 and mimics 20 floppies [ I think ? ], I went with the former as the AHHA system has to have the most basic setup , no TSR's [ whatever they are ] or anything.

                              Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files are two lines long each, that's how basic.

                              Got all sorts of prices but finished up buying one from China for £17. Do a search on ebay for USB floppy emulator.

                              You need to then get a USB stick and format it to 1.44 meg, there are links to get the software to do this.

                              Just plugged straight in, no setting up needed

                              Only problem I found is that unless it has a stick in it at boot up it won't boot as it can't see the drive. Cured that by getting two sticks, both formatted to 1.44 and fastened then to the machine with a plastic key chain. this way one stick can be away from the machine if I'm programming in the house but there is always a stick handy.

                              Never looked back.
                              .

                              Sir John , Earl of Bligeport & Sudspumpwater. MBE [ Motor Bike Engineer ] Nottingham England.



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