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LS-120 SuperDisk drive under Win98 and DOS

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#101
naaloh

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So the drives themselves always have PATA interface, while LPT1, USB, PCMCIA, etc. are the possible interfaces of their enclosures. Was it not possible to produce LS120/240 drives with FDD interface, so that they could be installed in place of a regular floppy drive? Surely, the read/write speed of LS120/240 drives would not exceed the bandwidth of the FDD interface, so it must be some other limitation, any idea what it was?


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#102
dencorso

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It seems all superfloppies were always made with a true IDE/ATA or, later, ATAPI interface. This also holds for iomega's Zip100s. I think they never were produced with floppy interface.

#103
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Was it not possible to produce LS120/240 drives with FDD interface, so that they could be installed in place of a regular floppy drive? Surely, the read/write speed of LS120/240 drives would not exceed the bandwidth of the FDD interface, so it must be some other limitation, any idea what it was?

Hi naaloh,
This is a very good question: "Why was the IDE interface, and not the floppy drive interface, used for superfloppies/LS-120 drives?" Any insights?

I think they never were produced with floppy interface.

It is indeed strange that the LS-120 drives, as supposed successors of the floppy disk drives, did not connect to the 34-pin floppy drive cable from the motherboard, but to the 40-pin IDE cable.

None of my 34-pin floppy drive cables fit onto the 40-pin IDE connector at the back of the LS-120 drive, because of the protrusion ("cable key") in the center and a protrusion at the side of the floppy drive cable. So the 40-pin IDE connectors were made in such a way that an IDE drive could not be connected with a 34-pin floppy drive cable to the floppy drive controller.

But wait: In a shrink-wrapped box of an LS-120 drive by Digital Research Technologies, containing an IDE LS-120 drive by Mitsubishi Electric, Model MF357G-2111UAL, manufactured Feb.1998, there was a strange little plug adapter in the box, with no explanation. This adapter has on one side a female 34-pin connector [to the LS-120 drive?], and on the other side an old male 34-pin connector, as for 5.25" floppy drives. By means of the plug adapter the LS-120 drive, with its 40-pin IDE connector, can be connected to an old-style floppy drive cable (5.25" Drive B connector type), for those who like risky experiments.

The 34-pin plug adapter does not have a "cable key" protrusion, so I don't know where to connect it on the 40-pin IDE connector of the LS-120 drive. I was afraid of damaging both the LS-120 drive and the motherboard when connecting the LS-120 drive via this plug adapter to the floppy drive controller on the motherboard.

This plug adapter may reflect attempts to connect an LS-120 drive to the floppy drive controller. I am attaching 3 pictures of this wondrous plug adapter from the Digital Research box. The back of the plug adapter shows a custom connection. Any suggestions?

Attached Files


Edited by Multibooter, 18 August 2012 - 02:16 PM.


#104
CharlotteTheHarlot

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Interesting thread Multibooter (like all the similar threads), you do good research and testing and should be writing hardware manuals. The "documentation" that ships these days could use such thorough treatment.

Totally unrelated to the general discussion and it's probably nothing, but there looks to be sloppy soldering in that left picture. If problems ever arose I would zero in on that connector and reflow the cold solder joints.

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#105
rloew

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Was it not possible to produce LS120/240 drives with FDD interface, so that they could be installed in place of a regular floppy drive? Surely, the read/write speed of LS120/240 drives would not exceed the bandwidth of the FDD interface, so it must be some other limitation, any idea what it was?

Hi naaloh,
This is a very good question: "Why was the IDE interface, and not the floppy drive interface, used for superfloppies/LS-120 drives?" Any insights?

I think they never were produced with floppy interface.

It is indeed strange that the LS-120 drives, as supposed successors of the floppy disk drives, did not connect to the 34-pin floppy drive cable from the motherboard, but to the 40-pin IDE cable.

None of my 34-pin floppy drive cables fit onto the 40-pin IDE connector at the back of the LS-120 drive, because of the protrusion ("cable key") in the center and a protrusion at the side of the floppy drive cable. So the 40-pin IDE connectors were made in such a way that an IDE drive could not be connected with a 34-pin floppy drive cable to the floppy drive controller.

But wait: In a shrink-wrapped box of an LS-120 drive by Digital Research Technologies, containing an IDE LS-120 drive by Mitsubishi Electric, Model MF357G-2111UAL, manufactured Feb.1998, there was a strange little plug adapter in the box, with no explanation. This adapter has on one side a female 34-pin connector [to the LS-120 drive?], and on the other side an old male 34-pin connector, as for 5.25" floppy drives. By means of the plug adapter the LS-120 drive, with its 40-pin IDE connector, can be connected to an old-style floppy drive cable (5.25" Drive B connector type), for those who like risky experiments.

The 34-pin plug adapter does not have a "cable key" protrusion, so I don't know where to connect it on the 40-pin IDE connector of the LS-120 drive. I was afraid of damaging both the LS-120 drive and the motherboard when connecting the LS-120 drive via this plug adapter to the floppy drive controller on the motherboard.

This plug adapter may reflect attempts to connect an LS-120 drive to the floppy drive controller. I am attaching 3 pictures of this wondrous plug adapter from the Digital Research box. The back of the plug adapter shows a custom connection. Any suggestions?

Don't even think about it.
The Floppy Interface is totally different from the IDE Interface. Connecting the 34-pin Connector in any position into the 40-pin Connector will not work. Without checking the pinouts, I am not sure if you will get a cloud of smoke or not.

I don't know enough about how the LS-120 encodes data on the disk to say if it is possible to make a LS-120 Drive using the Floppy Drive Interface. The Floppy Controller in PCs is not very flexible.
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#106
Multibooter

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Don't even think about it. The Floppy Interface is totally different from the IDE Interface. Connecting the 34-pin Connector in any position into the 40-pin Connector will not work. Without checking the pinouts, I am not sure if you will get a cloud of smoke or not.

Hi rloew,
This plug adapter has been sitting in a box for over a year, and I haven't dared to try it out, yet. My gut feeling says there is a 50% chance that I would get a burnt out motherboard, a damaged LS-120 drive and a burnt out plug adapter. The irreplaceable component would be the burnt out plug adapter, I haven't seen such a plug adapter before. There must have been a reason why this plug adapter was included in the box with the LS-120 drive. Any ideas about how to connect the plug adapter, at my risk, is appreciated.

I don't know enough about how the LS-120 encodes data on the disk to say if it is possible to make a LS-120 Drive using the Floppy Drive Interface. The Floppy Controller in PCs is not very flexible.

I would speculate that this plug adapter could perhaps make this specific LS-120 drive model function like a normal 720KB/1.2MB/1.44MB floppy drive, without the ability of reading/writing/formatting 120MB diskettes. I would further speculate that this plug adapter works only with the LS-120 drives by Mitsubishi, and not with the drives by Matsus***a/Panasonic.

Edited by Multibooter, 18 August 2012 - 11:26 PM.


#107
rloew

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Don't even think about it. The Floppy Interface is totally different from the IDE Interface. Connecting the 34-pin Connector in any position into the 40-pin Connector will not work. Without checking the pinouts, I am not sure if you will get a cloud of smoke or not.

Hi rloew,
This plug adapter has been sitting in a box for over a year, and I haven't dared to try it out, yet. My gut feeling says there is a 50% chance that I would get a burnt out motherboard, a damaged LS-120 drive and a burnt out plug adapter. The irreplaceable component would be the burnt out plug adapter, I haven't seen such a plug adapter before. There must have been a reason why this plug adapter was included in the box with the LS-120 drive. Any ideas about how to connect the plug adapter, at my risk, is appreciated.

I don't know enough about how the LS-120 encodes data on the disk to say if it is possible to make a LS-120 Drive using the Floppy Drive Interface. The Floppy Controller in PCs is not very flexible.

I would speculate that this plug adapter could perhaps make this specific LS-120 drive model function like a normal 720KB/1.2MB/1.44MB floppy drive, without the ability of reading/writing/formatting 120MB diskettes. I would further speculate that this plug adapter works only with the LS-120 drives by Mitsubishi, and not with the drives by Matsus***a/Panasonic.

I have seen adapters like that before. As far as I can tell, it allows you to use a 3.5" Floppy Drive on an older Computer that only has connectors for 5.25" Floppy Drives.
I'm not sure why it would be included with an LS-120 Drive unless as you say it supports a normal Floppy mode as well. In that case it would have a 34 pin connecter somewhere. Using the 40-pin Connector is still a no-no.

Edited by rloew, 19 August 2012 - 12:04 AM.

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#108
Multibooter

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I have seen adapters like that before. As far as I can tell, it allows you to use a 3.5" Floppy Drive on an older Computer that only has connectors for 5.25" Floppy Drives.
I'm not sure why it would be included with an LS-120 Drive unless as you say it supports a normal Floppy mode as well. In that case it would have a 34 pin connecter somewhere. Using the 40-pin Connector is still a no-no.

The Mitsubishi LS-120 drive, which came with the plug adapter, does not have a 2nd 34-pin connector, only a 40-pin IDE connector.

I checked some old 5.25" floppy drives. The connectors on these 5.25" floppy drives have on the back side metal strips for all 17 uneven pins 1 to 33. The plug adapter, in contrast, has on the back side only metal strips for pins 1 and 33, there are no metal strips for uneven pins 3 to 31 (see middle picture in posting #103 above). I am not sure whether this difference is relevant since all uneven pins 1 to 33 for standard floppy disk drive connectors are Ground. In any case, with this plug adapter, of the ground pins only pin 1 has a connection to the 40-pin IDE connector, and pin 33 connects to pin 1.

Did the plug adapters you have seen have 17 metal strips on each side, or was their back side like the plug adapter here, with only 2 metal strips?

Edited by Multibooter, 19 August 2012 - 01:24 AM.


#109
rloew

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I have seen adapters like that before. As far as I can tell, it allows you to use a 3.5" Floppy Drive on an older Computer that only has connectors for 5.25" Floppy Drives.
I'm not sure why it would be included with an LS-120 Drive unless as you say it supports a normal Floppy mode as well. In that case it would have a 34 pin connecter somewhere. Using the 40-pin Connector is still a no-no.

The Mitsubishi LS-120 drive, which came with the plug adapter, does not have a 2nd 34-pin connector, only a 40-pin IDE connector.

I checked some old 5.25" floppy drives. The connectors on these 5.25" floppy drives have on the back side metal strips for all 17 uneven pins 1 to 33. The plug adapter, in contrast, has on the back side only metal strips for pins 1 and 33, there are no metal strips for uneven pins 3 to 31 (see middle picture in posting #103 above). I am not sure whether this difference is relevant since all uneven pins 1 to 33 for standard floppy disk drive connectors are Ground. In any case, with this plug adapter, of the ground pins only pin 1 has a connection to the 40-pin IDE connector, and pin 33 connects to pin 1.

Did the plug adapters you have seen have 17 metal strips on each side, or was their back side like the plug adapter here, with only 2 metal strips?

I don't recall what was on the backside of the adapters. I haven't seen them in years.

Edited by rloew, 19 August 2012 - 01:34 PM.

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#110
dencorso

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I have seen adapters like that before. As far as I can tell, it allows you to use a 3.5" Floppy Drive on an older Computer that only has connectors for 5.25" Floppy Drives.
I'm not sure why it would be included with an LS-120 Drive unless as you say it supports a normal Floppy mode as well. In that case it would have a 34 pin connecter somewhere. Using the 40-pin Connector is still a no-no.

Ditto! I do have a pair of such 3.5" <= 5.25" adapters lying around somewhere. I'll post a pic of them as soon as I find out where they actually are hiding.

#111
jaclaz

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Ditto! I do have a pair of such 3.5" <= 5.25" adapters lying around somewhere. I'll post a pic of them as soon as I find out where they actually are hiding.

You seemingly are a rich man :w00t: , see the price of these (which should be the "equivalent"):
http://www.rrdatatel...in/rrdata/L1167

More of the same "kind" (seeemingly called "card edge 34" or "CE34":
http://www.rrdatatel.../rrdata/CE34M-M
http://www.rrdatatel...in/rrdata/CE34F
This should be the type you have:
http://www.rrdatatel...in/rrdata/L1065

If you have some unused cables (female) they could also be of use ;):
http://www.sciencepr...oppy-connector/

jaclaz

#112
Multibooter

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http://www.scienceprog.com/sd-mmc-card-fits-in-floppy-connector/

Hi jaclaz,
This link "SD MMC card fits in floppy connector" is an interesting find, to connect SD or MMC cards to an old 5.25" floppy cable (to the floppy drive controller? or to a different controller?), after doing "some rewiring of cable".

The questions are:
1) does the bottom side of the plug adapter shown in posting #103 represent some re-wiring?
2) could a re-wiring of the pins convert this Mitsubishi LS-120 drive functionally into a regular floppy drive?

BTW, the excellent "Installation And User's Guide" of the Digital Research Technologies drive (=Mitsubushi drive) states on p.1:
"The LS-120 is designed to read, write and format 720-kilobyte, 1.2-megabyte, 1.44-megabyte, and 120-megabyte disks". I do not recall having seen the 1.2MB capacity mentioned in the documentation of LS-120 drives by Matsus***a/Panasonic. Maybe this 1.2MB capacity, usually associated with 5.25" floppy disks drives, is relevant for finding out the purpose of the included plug adapter, whose top side looks like the connector of a 5.25" floppy drive.

Edited by Multibooter, 20 August 2012 - 06:36 PM.


#113
dencorso

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@jaclaz: sure, you guessed exactly right! :yes:
Obs: As you all can see, I've used a paper clamp to hold it upright for the 3rd scan...

Attached Files



#114
rloew

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http://www.scienceprog.com/sd-mmc-card-fits-in-floppy-connector/

Hi jaclaz,
This link "SD MMC card fits in floppy connector" is an interesting find, to connect SD or MMC cards to an old 5.25" floppy cable (to the floppy drive controller? or to a different controller?), after doing "some rewiring of cable".

As stated in the text, the cable connects the SD/MMC Card to a Microcontroller. They are using the Floppy Drive connector as a cheap alternative to a SD/MMC socket. After rewiring, it is no longer a Floppy Drive cable. It can no longer be used with a Floppy Drive Controller.

The questions are:
1) does the bottom side of the plug adapter shown in posting #103 represent some re-wiring?
2) could a re-wiring of the pins convert this Mitsubishi LS-120 drive functionally into a regular floppy drive?

1. No
2. Still No.
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#115
krebizfan

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The version of the LS-120 sold by Dell supported Japanese Mode 3 on a 3.5" floppy (or 1.2MB capacity). See http://support.dell....9t/en/specs.htm for proof. I expect that some other variations of the LS-120 also supported 1.2MB mode but might not mention it in manuals targeted outside Japan. No 5.25" drive needed.

I suspect the data cable adapter may have been included by mistake instead of a molex to 3.5" power adapter cable.

#116
Multibooter

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Thanks rloew. Perhaps this plug adapter in the shrink-wrapped box was included by mistake, by people packing the boxes at Digital Research. Digital Research was also selling regular 1.44MB floppy drives http://web.archive.o...m/products.html . Or Digital Research had purchased power adapter plus plug adapter together, as pictured in Jaclaz's link http://www.rrdatatel...in/rrdata/L1065 and hadn't bothered to take out the plug adapter. The Digital Research box also came with a Molex to small connector power adapter, as shown in the picture there.

BTW, I have tried to put an SDHC card into the connector of an old 5.25" floppy drive cable, as pictured in http://www.sciencepr...oppy-connector/ but the SDHC card was too thick and didn't fit. I haven't tried it yet with an SD card.

Edited by Multibooter, 21 August 2012 - 01:06 AM.


#117
Multibooter

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The version of the LS-120 sold by Dell supported Japanese Mode 3 on a 3.5" floppy (or 1.2MB capacity). See http://support.dell....9t/en/specs.htm for proof. I expect that some other variations of the LS-120 also supported 1.2MB mode but might not mention it in manuals targeted outside Japan. No 5.25" drive needed.

Hi krebizfan,
Welcome to the Win98 forum and thanks for the link. Eventually I intend to do some more testing of 1.2MB floppy disks in various LS-120 drives. Some initial comments, about 1.2MB 3.5" floppies in LS-120 drives under WinXP, are in postings #68-69 http://www.msfn.org/...post__p__971302

#118
jaclaz

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Multibooter
with all due respect :) , you are failing to understand some "basics", a connection is made with two connectors, one female and one male.
For the connection to work (i.e. for the two devices at each end of the connector to talk to each other THREE conditions must be met:
  • mechanical compatibility of the connectors
  • electrical compatibility of the cabling
  • protocol compatibility of the devices
If any of the three are not met, the assembly won't surely work and additionally, if #2 is not met, it is likely that one or the other or BOTH of the devices will be damaged.

A typical example is the RJ11/RJ45 connectors, you are used to see them respecitvely as telephone connectors and ethernet connectors, but a number of ISDN lines will use a RJ45 with a different cabling) and, as another example, most Cisco devices use a RJ45 socket to connect the "console cable" (which is actually a RS-232 serial).
http://pinouts.ru/Ne...eT_pinout.shtml
http://pinouts.ru/Ne...ri_pinout.shtml
http://www.cisco.com...080094ce6.shtml

It is not like the first RJ45 socket you see you plug in it a RJ45 cable and connect the other end to any other RJ45 socket equipped device you have around. :whistle: :ph34r:

jaclaz




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