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Problems reading from a 3.5" floppy disc

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Greensands22/09/2020 10:12:14
134 forum posts
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Frances IoM - The reason for running an old 486PC under W95 (not W98 as stated in an earlier post) is because the DOS based CAM software I am running, Compucut v3.2 was designed for and is only happy running on the slower machines via the parallel printer port interface. I do have my doubts about the current 3.5" drive but as previously stated although some 3.5 floppies fail, others can be read without problems which is odd. I do have a replacement standby drive which can be fitted if required but you can see my problem. Computcut was updated from time to time but I don't think it was ever developed to run on systems beyond W2000. Although old, I do find it a very useful tool for running a stepper motor controlled 3-axis milling machine as well as being very adaptable for running QBasic program derived files for relatively simple 2.5D type CAM operations e.g. slot cutting, surfacing operations, co-ordinate drilling on a pcd etc. As I said, an old system certainly but still a very useful tool in the home workshop

Emgee22/09/2020 10:32:53
1695 forum posts
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I know exactly where Greensands is coming from, I still use 3.5" floppy discs for a Denford Orac cnc lathe, the program and working files are all in DOS and I do have copies on the computer hard drive running with WinXP, further copies are on a memory stick that I use if writing a program for the lathe in the house.
The computer used in the workshop is disabled from connecting to the net for obvious reasons.

I do not have to use floppy discs but IMO why change something that's working.

Emgee

Frances IoM22/09/2020 10:41:22
827 forum posts
26 photos
In issues #95 + 96 of the Magpi there are articles describing how DOS and Win95 + 98 can be emulated on a RaspberryPi4 (easy if you have the original CD's or CD copies of the floppies - the RPi4 is remarkable value for abt 45 pounds and according to the article will run old Dos programs - might be worth investigating whilst you still have access to readable copies of the software.
The RPi code is free - see magpi.cc

Edited By Frances IoM on 22/09/2020 10:41:53

noel shelley22/09/2020 22:11:23
116 forum posts

my 1985 amstrad pcw is still going strong, printer, 3" discs and all. Was it good or am I lucky ? Noel

Bandersnatch23/09/2020 01:50:34
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1719 forum posts
60 photos
Posted by Colin Whittaker on 22/09/2020 01:57:21:

1) Instead of transferring files with a floppy disc why not use a usb memory stick instead?


With machines/OS this old that begs some questions:

- do the machines actually have any USB ports (USB-1? USB-2?) (or an add-on card for them)?

- are the versions of Windows capable of driving those ports (or are drivers available)?

- Are the Windows/hardware/driver combinations capable of driving modern USB (2) devices?

Simon036223/09/2020 17:21:01
187 forum posts
63 photos
Posted by Emgee on 22/09/2020 10:32:53:

I know exactly where Greensands is coming from, I still use 3.5" floppy discs for a Denford Orac cnc lathe, the program and working files are all in DOS and I do have copies on the computer hard drive running with WinXP, further copies are on a memory stick that I use if writing a program for the lathe in the house.
The computer used in the workshop is disabled from connecting to the net for obvious reasons.

I do not have to use floppy discs but IMO why change something that's working.

Emgee

I spent several years developing and replacing disk drive emulators to replace the mainframe/mini 14" and 8" hard drives which ran process control systems - steel works, food processing, satellite tracking, oil refineries...the processes worked perfectly, the computers worked perfectly, the drives just wore out and were not replaceable.

Searching for "arduino floppy drive emulator" produces a number of options using some modern form of media combined with Arduinos or others to emulate the drive signals and to stream the data in the required MFM format. If you want to spend some money, I worked for the original founders of this company that still advertise replacement drives for floppies as well as a range of elderly and obscure drives. Solid State Disks Ltd

Oven Man23/09/2020 19:09:01
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70 forum posts
8 photos

I seem to remember, very many years ago, buying an adaptor that fitted into a 3.5" drive and it allowed you read from one of the early style memory cards. Cost a fortune at the time.

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