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8 inch floppy drives interchangeable?

Hello everyone,

I'm in the process of buying a legendary piece of (musical) hardware,
which uses minicomputer age 8 inch floppy drives The system reportedly
works, the only issue is its floppy drive, which needs to be fixed or
replaced.

Does anyone know if 8 inch floppy drives are interchangeable the same
way as newer 3.5 inch ones are? Can I just get any other 8 inch floppy
drive off eBay for $40-$50, plug it in and see things work? Or would
it have to be the exact same rare model.

Thank you in advance for all the help

Keoki
0
Keoki
6/29/2008 5:27:21 PM
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Keoki <ofc.two@gmail.com> spake the secret code
<e522ada6-9751-4229-9837-9e09d8f0bf20@h1g2000prh.googlegroups.com> thusly:

>Does anyone know if 8 inch floppy drives are interchangeable the same
>way as newer 3.5 inch ones are? Can I just get any other 8 inch floppy
>drive off eBay for $40-$50, plug it in and see things work? Or would
>it have to be the exact same rare model.

I'm not an expert but my understanding is that some drives are
interchangeable, but not all drives are interchangeable.  You'll have
to find a drive that is compatible with the one you have.  How easy
that is to do is impossible to say without knowing the drive.
-- 
"The Direct3D Graphics Pipeline" -- DirectX 9 draft available for download
      <http://www.xmission.com/~legalize/book/download/index.html>

        Legalize Adulthood! <http://blogs.xmission.com/legalize/>
0
legalize
6/29/2008 6:43:31 PM
On Jun 29, 6:27 pm, Keoki <ofc....@gmail.com> wrote:
> Hello everyone,
>
> I'm in the process of buying a legendary piece of (musical) hardware,
> which uses minicomputer age 8 inch floppy drives The system reportedly
> works, the only issue is its floppy drive, which needs to be fixed or
> replaced.
>
> Does anyone know if 8 inch floppy drives are interchangeable the same
> way as newer 3.5 inch ones are? Can I just get any other 8 inch floppy
> drive off eBay for $40-$50, plug it in and see things work? Or would
> it have to be the exact same rare model.
>
> Thank you in advance for all the help
>
> Keoki

What Richard said - it's potentially a lot more complex than today's
3.5" floppies.

8inch floppies were available in various densities (eg single and
double), and sidedness (single or double), and interoperability of
drives and media was not guaranteed. There's also the small matter of
soft sectoring (sector timing is derived from timing info recorded on
the media when it was formatted) vs hard sectoring (sector timing is
derived from holes punched in the media in the factory).

Assuming you aren't the only person in the world with one of these
legendary but as yet unnamed boxes, are the other owners willing to
share experiences eg wrt drives and media ? If not, are you confident
that your machine will arrive with an appropriate but broken drive
(rather than an inappropriate one added in eg a botched repair
attempt)? If you have the real thing, there should be enough info to
start looking for compatible replacements.

Is http://www.torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopic.php?p=413&sid=c47c7ac2326449bd89fb425e8feb6948
relevant?

Regards
John
0
johnwallace4
6/30/2008 8:53:41 AM
> Ishttp://www.torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopic.php?p=413&sid=c47c7ac232...
> relevant?

Hello John,
You were close... the page is about a Fairlight, while the machine I'm
concerned with is a Synclavier.
0
Keoki
7/1/2008 10:13:49 PM
In article
<12978d8a-5ec2-42a0-ac25-ce11cdd0ad31@w5g2000prd.googlegroups.com>,
Keoki <ofc.two@gmail.com> writes: 

> > Ishttp://www.torlus.com/floppy/forum/viewtopic.php?p=413&sid=c47c7ac232...
> > relevant?
> 
> Hello John,
> You were close... the page is about a Fairlight, while the machine I'm
> concerned with is a Synclavier.

Aaahh yes, the Synclavier.  I have a brochure and demonstration record
(vinyl).  My impression is that while the technology is probably dated 
by now, i.e. one could probably implement the whole thing on a PC now, 
musically it is still state-of-the-art.  Correct?

What did one cost new?  $100,000?

0
helbig
7/5/2008 5:31:48 PM
On Jul 5, 7:31=A0am, hel...@astro.multiCLOTHESvax.de (Phillip Helbig---
remove CLOTHES to reply) wrote:

> Aaahh yes, the Synclavier. =A0I have a brochure and demonstration record
> (vinyl). =A0My impression is that while the technology is probably dated
> by now, i.e. one could probably implement the whole thing on a PC now,
> musically it is still state-of-the-art. =A0Correct?

Hello Phillip,

I don't know, I'm hoping to find out by fixing up a unit :-) There is
a discussion going on another thread whether the Timbre Frame
Resynthesis the Synclavier offers (a type of wavetable synthesis) is
related to the Korg Wavestation's wave sequencing. So far we did not
find any poster who had enough experience with both to offer an
educated answer.

It's like the trivia I read in the papers the other day. Turns out,
the closest living relative to the mighty, terrifying dinosaurs is the
home chicken. Now here is a relation neither of the two would be in a
hurry to advertise! In the same vein, for all we know, the
Synclavier's Timbre Frame Resynthesis function could be the closest
relative (the grandpa?) of the Korg Wavestation's wave sequencing. I
don't know if it is or not. But if it is, I can see why neither the
Synclavier, nor the Korg coders would be in a hurry to advertise
it. :-)
0
Keoki
7/5/2008 8:15:10 PM
>> Aaahh yes, the Synclavier

googling around found
    http://www.500sound.com/workshop/synclavier_restore.html

Unless you already have floppy disks for it
or intend to use pre-recorded floppy disks,
it may be in your interest to use a newer device.
I think that web site notes their retrofit to newer drives.

Most of the 8" drives I've handled (full or half height,
single or double sided) use a rather standard 50 pin interface
that's ALMOST identical to today's floppy interface.
Tracing out the disk select lines seems to be a sure way
to clarify the interface (it's possible some were sasi or scsi).

-- Jeffrey Jonas
jeffj@panix(dot)com
The original Dr. JCL and Mr .hide
0
jeffj
7/8/2008 5:17:44 AM
Jeff Jonas wrote:
(snip)

> Unless you already have floppy disks for it
> or intend to use pre-recorded floppy disks,
> it may be in your interest to use a newer device.
> I think that web site notes their retrofit to newer drives.

> Most of the 8" drives I've handled (full or half height,
> single or double sided) use a rather standard 50 pin interface
> that's ALMOST identical to today's floppy interface.

The 50 pin interface is pretty usual for 8 inch drives.
The power supplies are less standard.  Many use 115VAC for
the drive motor, and 24VDC for the stepper motor.  Later
drives used the 24VDC for the drive motor, also.

> Tracing out the disk select lines seems to be a sure way
> to clarify the interface (it's possible some were sasi or scsi).

It is fairly easy to interface to 5.25in HD drives, which are
pretty much a scaled down version of the 8 inch drive.
(80 tracks instead of 77, but the data rate and rotation
rate are the same.)   For 3.5in HD the rotation rate was
reduced from 360RPM to 300RPM.  Most can probably survive
that, with a large gap at the end of each track.  Some may
time out as the index pulse arrives later than expected.

If you actually want to use the device, I would recommend
going to 5.25in HD or 3.5in HD, the latter disks are still
readily available.  If you have existing 8in floppies, copy
the data over when you do get an 8in drive.

8in double side drives should be backward compatible
with single side systems.

-- glen

0
glen
7/19/2008 5:00:11 PM
On Jul 19, 7:00=A0am, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

> If you actually want to use the device, I would recommend
> going to 5.25in

Sounds good, but does anyone know which third party 5.25 floppy drive
is compatible, format and connector-wise with the "original" N.E.D.
Synclavier floppy drive?
0
Keoki
9/4/2008 7:27:28 PM
Keoki wrote:
> On Jul 19, 7:00 am, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:

>>If you actually want to use the device, I would recommend
>>going to 5.25in

> Sounds good, but does anyone know which third party 5.25 floppy drive
> is compatible, format and connector-wise with the "original" N.E.D.
> Synclavier floppy drive?

It isn't hard to make a cable that will connect the appropriate
pins on the usual 50 pin cable for an 8 inch floppy to the pins
on a 34 pin cable for the 5.25 inch floppy.

There is probably someone in this group that would make such
a cable and sell it to you for a reasonable price.  If not,
try comp.os.cpm.

If it isn't the popular 50 pin cable pinout then you
are probably stuck.

-- glen

0
glen
9/5/2008 4:33:31 PM
On Sep 5, 6:33=A0am, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
> Keoki wrote:
> > On Jul 19, 7:00 am, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
> >>If you actually want to use the device, I would recommend
> >>going to 5.25in
> > Sounds good, but does anyone know which third party 5.25 floppy drive
> > is compatible, format and connector-wise with the "original" N.E.D.
> > Synclavier floppy drive?
>
> It isn't hard to make a cable that will connect the appropriate
> pins on the usual 50 pin cable for an 8 inch floppy to the pins
> on a 34 pin cable for the 5.25 inch floppy.

Format-wise, are all double density (DD) 5.25 floppy drives the same,
or are there possible incompatibilities when reading a Synclavier
double density OS floppy on a third party 5.25 DD floppy drive ?
0
Keoki
9/9/2008 12:14:50 AM
On 2008-09-09, Keoki <ofc.two@gmail.com> wrote:
> Format-wise, are all double density (DD) 5.25 floppy drives the same,
> or are there possible incompatibilities when reading a Synclavier
> double density OS floppy on a third party 5.25 DD floppy drive ?

No, but since we're talking about 8" here, you'd be looking for an HD
5.25" drive rather than a DD drive.

Since I'm reading this on comp.sys.dec, I probably ought to point out
that there's a big difference between the way DEC did HD (RX31) and the
way IBM did it. A DEC drive will change speeds; at high density, it runs
at 360 RPM and it runs at 300 RPM at low density. An IBM-compatible drive 
doesn't change speeds; it always runs at 360 RPM. This is why PCs have
to have three data rates: 500KHz (HD disk in HD drive), 300KHz (DD disk
in HD drive), and 250KHz (DD disk in DD drive).

3.5" drives always run at 300 RPM, which is why a high-density 3.5"
floppy has 1.44MB instead of the 1.2MB of the 5.25" drives.
-- 
roger ivie
rivie@ridgenet.net
0
Roger
9/9/2008 2:56:57 AM
In article <6b8214b1-ad7f-4196-b4bd-8cf29df549ef@r15g2000prd.googlegroups.com>,
	Keoki <ofc.two@gmail.com> writes:
> On Sep 5, 6:33´┐Żam, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
>> Keoki wrote:
>> > On Jul 19, 7:00 am, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu> wrote:
>> >>If you actually want to use the device, I would recommend
>> >>going to 5.25in
>> > Sounds good, but does anyone know which third party 5.25 floppy drive
>> > is compatible, format and connector-wise with the "original" N.E.D.
>> > Synclavier floppy drive?
>>
>> It isn't hard to make a cable that will connect the appropriate
>> pins on the usual 50 pin cable for an 8 inch floppy to the pins
>> on a 34 pin cable for the 5.25 inch floppy.
> Format-wise, are all double density (DD) 5.25 floppy drives the same,
> or are there possible incompatibilities when reading a Synclavier
> double density OS floppy on a third party 5.25 DD floppy drive ?

I have seen numerous formats that were unreadable even at the sector level
on common 8" systems.  Immediate examples that come to mind as Tektronix
Terminals (which could do CPM format but also had their oen format), Univac
UTS-100 and some of the older Word Processors, like Xerox.  I am sure there
were many other incompatable formats as well.  I have been called upon on
a number of occaisions to read (or try to read) old 8" disks as I still
have a number of different systems with working 8" floppies.  It can be
an adventure!!  :-)

bill

-- 
Bill Gunshannon          |  de-moc-ra-cy (di mok' ra see) n.  Three wolves
billg999@cs.scranton.edu |  and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
University of Scranton   |
Scranton, Pennsylvania   |         #include <std.disclaimer.h>   
0
billg999
9/9/2008 12:36:55 PM
On Sep 8, 4:56 pm, Roger Ivie <ri...@ridgenet.net> wrote:
> On 2008-09-09, Keoki <ofc....@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Format-wise, are all double density (DD) 5.25 floppydrivesthe same,
> > or are there possible incompatibilities when reading a Synclavier
> > double density OS floppy on a third party 5.25 DD floppy drive ?
>
> No, but since we're talking about8" here, you'd be looking for an HD
> 5.25" drive rather than a DD drive.

The seller of the Synclavier system emailed he has a 5.25 DD operating
system floppy as well, so I *was* talking about reading a genuine 5.25
DD Synclavier floppy on a third party 5.25 drive. (A slight change of
topic, I guess :-)

He might have identified a 5.25 HD floppy wrongly as a 5.25 DD, but a
good third party 5.25 HD floppy drive will probably handle both HD and
DD formats, I presume. (I might be wrong.) The main gist of my last
question was if anyone knows whether it's possible to read a 5.25 DD
Synclavier floppy in a generic 5.25 drive, or do Synclavier floppies
use some peculiar sector size, allocation table, or whatever else that
prevents this.

Although Synclavier did built a lot of custom sound generating
hardware, I doubt they went into the costly floppy drive building
business too just for the sake of it; they probably used some third
party FD mechanism and relabeled it. Anyone knows?
0
Keoki
9/13/2008 6:27:33 PM
Keoki wrote:

> On Sep 8, 4:56 pm, Roger Ivie <ri...@ridgenet.net> wrote:

>>On 2008-09-09, Keoki <ofc....@gmail.com> wrote:

>>>Format-wise, are all double density (DD) 5.25 floppydrivesthe same,
>>>or are there possible incompatibilities when reading a Synclavier
>>>double density OS floppy on a third party 5.25 DD floppy drive ?

Format wise, all you need to know for the drive is DD or HD.
(SD will work in DD drive.)  The drive converts the disk data
to a digital signal independent of the format.  The controller
will have to understand the sector length and format, and there
are a few choices for those.  Most systems use one of the
original IBM standards.  Apple until they started using HD
disks had all their own formats.  DEC used the IBM format
for single density, but their own special format for double
density.

>>No, but since we're talking about8" here, you'd be looking for an HD
>>5.25" drive rather than a DD drive.

> The seller of the Synclavier system emailed he has a 5.25 DD operating
> system floppy as well, so I *was* talking about reading a genuine 5.25
> DD Synclavier floppy on a third party 5.25 drive. (A slight change of
> topic, I guess :-)

The usual PC floppy controller will read a variety of sector
lengths, but not all software (OS) know how to do that.
That is, for making a bitwise (actually blockwise) copy
of a disk.  Unix/Linux can usually do it.

> He might have identified a 5.25 HD floppy wrongly as a 5.25 DD, but a
> good third party 5.25 HD floppy drive will probably handle both HD and
> DD formats, I presume. (I might be wrong.) The main gist of my last
> question was if anyone knows whether it's possible to read a 5.25 DD
> Synclavier floppy in a generic 5.25 drive, or do Synclavier floppies
> use some peculiar sector size, allocation table, or whatever else that
> prevents this.

I don't know this one at all.

> Although Synclavier did built a lot of custom sound generating
> hardware, I doubt they went into the costly floppy drive building
> business too just for the sake of it; they probably used some third
> party FD mechanism and relabeled it. Anyone knows?

-- glen

0
glen
9/17/2008 12:39:27 AM
Keoki wrote:

> The seller of the Synclavier system emailed he has a 5.25 DD operating
> system floppy as well, so I *was* talking about reading a genuine 5.25
> DD Synclavier floppy on a third party 5.25 drive. (A slight change of
> topic, I guess :-)

http://www.mixfoundation.org/hof/04techof.html

seems to indicate 5.25in drive.  That would have been
before HD, maybe even before DD.

-- glen

0
glen
9/17/2008 3:04:21 AM
A hindsight note to those who might end up in a similar situation:
don't mess with a Synclavier. (Unless you don't care for it.)

I bought a well preserved 5.25 replacement FD mechanism that came from
an other Synclavier. Once we peeked into our Synclav floppy drive, we
discovered that even to swap this *genuine* mechanism isn't a plug and
play affair. A Synclavier tech will still have to redo some of the
electrical wiring for the slightly different replacement mechanism to
work with the enclosure and its red load button.

I was warned already that inside a Synclavier every single card,
memory chip and other doohickey is a world to itself, and often
incompatible with the same card or chip or doohickey in another
Synclavier of same year and model. Got that. But that even frigging FD
mechanisms differ from each other and require rewiring of the FD
enclosure... now who would have expected this. Apparently this is the
case.

So a word to the wise, if you think you can easily replace *any* part
in a Synclavier yourself, you are about to get more experience :-)
(And/or a big bill, like the one I'm about to get hit with)

Thank you all for your suggestions, though
Keoki

 On Sep 16, 5:04=A0pm, glen herrmannsfeldt <g...@ugcs.caltech.edu>
wrote:
> Keoki wrote:
> > The seller of the Synclavier system emailed he has a 5.25 DD operating
> > system floppy as well, so I *was* talking about reading a genuine 5.25
> > DD Synclavier floppy on a third party 5.25 drive. (A slight change of
> > topic, I guess :-)
>
> http://www.mixfoundation.org/hof/04techof.html
>
> seems to indicate 5.25in drive. =A0That would have been
> before HD, maybe even before DD.
>
> -- glen

0
Keoki
10/30/2008 2:52:55 AM
Keoki wrote:
> A hindsight note to those who might end up in a similar situation:
> don't mess with a Synclavier. (Unless you don't care for it.)

> I bought a well preserved 5.25 replacement FD mechanism that came from
> an other Synclavier. Once we peeked into our Synclav floppy drive, we
> discovered that even to swap this *genuine* mechanism isn't a plug and
> play affair. A Synclavier tech will still have to redo some of the
> electrical wiring for the slightly different replacement mechanism to
> work with the enclosure and its red load button.
(snip)

> So a word to the wise, if you think you can easily replace *any* part
> in a Synclavier yourself, you are about to get more experience :-)
> (And/or a big bill, like the one I'm about to get hit with)

I would only recommend someone with some electronics experience
work on most electronic systems.
(snip)

>>Keoki wrote:

>>>The seller of the Synclavier system emailed he has a 5.25 DD operating
>>>system floppy as well, so I *was* talking about reading a genuine 5.25
>>>DD Synclavier floppy on a third party 5.25 drive. (A slight change of
>>>topic, I guess :-)

I don't know about that one.  I was suggesting a possible replacement
for the 8in drive that would use the same format on an HD 5.25in drive.
That may or may not be related to the official one.  Even better
(easier to find) 3.5in HD.

-- glen

0
glen
11/2/2008 10:00:22 PM
If anyone wants an unused 8" floppy drive, I put the one I originally
bought for this project on eBay :-)

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=120336304528
0
Keoki
11/23/2008 4:21:50 AM
Reply: