Correct floppy drive replacement

November 1, 2012 at 16:56:36
Specs: Windows XP, 512mb
I have a Tandy 2500 SX/20 with Windows 3.11. Up until about a week ago the 1.44 floppy drive worked fine. Then when I tried to access information from, or tried to save to a floppy disk, I got the message, "There is a problem with the disk in drive a:." A few times the message was that the disk was not formatted and I was asked if I wanted to format it, which didn't work.

I also have an IBM with W98 and a Compaq with XP Pro. These both have floppy drives too. Until the Tandy began acting up, I could save/access info from one PC to another on the floppy disks. Now, some of the disks that will not work in the Tandy, will work in the others, so I presume it is the Tandy floppy drive that is bad.

I have a few PC parts around, including a 1.44 Panasonic floppy drive. If I counted correctly, it has 34 pins, and a 4 pin power connector. I presume that's the power connector.

I have read if a non-Tandy drive is installed in the 2500 SX/20, it may fry the main board. I don't think new Tandy parts are available. Does anyone know if any 34 pin drive may be installed in any PC with a 34 pin cable? Will the Panasonic drive ruin my Tandy PC if installed? Does the Tandy need a drive that uses a particular OS, BIOS, etc.? Why would a non-Tandy drive ruin the main board?

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November 1, 2012 at 17:53:38
"I have read if a non-Tandy drive is installed in the 2500 SX/20, it may fry the main board."

That may or may not be true. Sadly, Tandy was one of the (many) manufacturers to keep things proprietary, even when they had "clone" PC's. Obviously this kept owners of their machines tied to going back to them when they needed replacement parts (as you appear to need). There's several Tandy forums that could likely answer your question better:

and this old post (concerning a 2500RSX) with a Google search:

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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November 1, 2012 at 21:12:57
Have you pulled the drive from the Tandy? Maybe you can get a pin-out description based on the drive's model number. My guess is if it has a 34-pin connector then it'll be the same as all other 34-pin drives.

If you pull it out you may find it only needs a good cleaning.

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November 2, 2012 at 05:18:57
Hi JWR, I would follow Dave's advice on cleaning.

Remove the drive and take off its top cover.

Blow out any muck with a hairdryer set to cold and maximum blast. Use a long thin soft brush to assist.

* CAREFULLY * clean the heads with isopropyl alcohol (liquid that comes with cd/dvd cleaner kits) using a bent Cotton Bud/Q-tip.

Please advise back on progress.

As a matter of interest, where are you located? I am in Hammersmith, West London.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

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Related Solutions

November 2, 2012 at 13:45:14
The heads on floppy drives got dirty from magnetic disk residue. Using a long stem Qtip, try cleaning the heads with rubbing alcohol without any oils in it.

Your disk could also be bad. Try others. I doubt the drive is bad. You may need to re-seat the data cable.

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November 2, 2012 at 21:10:32
I'm in central Maine, USA. I was wondering if there was a way to clean the drive. I'll give it a try and see what happens. Thanks for the help.

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November 8, 2012 at 13:37:45
How do I get to the floppy drive? I removed the main cover, but there's a metal cover on the inside. About 1/3 of the way from the left are two big screws that loosen to allow the left side of the cover to open. The right section lifts to the right, with the hard drive, cd (read only) drive, and floppy drive all fastened in. Of course the floppy drive is the one way in back of the others. Do I need to remove the CD drive and Hard drive to get to the floppy drive?

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November 8, 2012 at 20:39:49
I'm not sure how to get it out but if you absolutely can't get to it you might get one of these head cleaning disks:

It's not as good as removing the drive and cleaning it but it's better than nothing.

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November 9, 2012 at 10:45:39
If you get some cotton swabs on the long wooden sticks like you see in the doctors office you can reach the heads without removing the drive.

Something just occurred to me, you may have disks that are not compatible with your drive.

Standard 3.5" floppies came in two versions. Double Density DD (720Kb) and High density HD (1.44Mb).

Which type can your Tandy use. Some drives could read both and some not. Additionally, Tandy may have used a propitiatory format.

Finally, floppy drives were very sketchy anyway. When software came primarily on 3.5" floppies I experienced may issues when writing disks on one machine and reading them elsewhere. The head alignment seemed to be an issue.

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