Power an IDE floppy drive to run from a battery?

March 16, 2015 at 22:55:22
Specs: Windows 3.0, very little
Oddball question here - is there a way to run/power an IDE floppy drive (3 1/2" one) from a battery of some sort? I ask because...

I am working on an old IBM Model 30 - XT. I am in the process of building a XT to IDE adapter card that will let me run a compact flash card as the hard drive (because the old hard drive died and I don't have high hopes of a replacement working for long)... Yes, it does exist - it's a new technology... Anyway..

Also have a problem with the floppy drive (posted here too)... it's the drive. I was wanting to replace the floppy drive (8 bit, ISA) with a modern one, it should work, problem is there's nowhere to plug it in for power!

The XT power supply has only the one connection for the motherboard (well ok, two connections lol)... Which leaves nothing for anything else. That is if the power supply could handle it, which I think it may not.

So... again, my question, and please consider it carefully - is there a way to wire an internal, IDE floppy drive to run from a battery? I mean, for a long time too - not just a few days.


See More: Power an IDE floppy drive to run from a battery?

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 04:17:59
Sorry, I can't answer your question, but as I am curious let me know the final target of your efforts...

If you wish to indefinitely keep alive your XT machine, well done, but if the XT controls any external device by its (DOS?) software, a modern computer may be more easily adapted to that purpose.

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 05:59:31
Wouldn't it be easier to take the power from the existing floppy cable?

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 12:13:20
Just a quick FYI - to give a bit of history since asked. This is an IBM Model 30 XT for a client (ya I am one of those rare female professional computer geeks). He wanted the machine he grew up on playing games. He wants to finish those games now that he's all grown up. Who am I to come between a man and his dream. lol. He doesn't care what I have to do to get it to run as long as its - the original machine, not emulated, and he can play his heart out using windows 3.0 and DOS 5.0. yup, it's a tall order.

Well - I have a solution to the dead hard drive like i mentioned above (and I won't go into in this thread unless asked). But the floppy drive still remains a problem. Which is why I am exploring alternative solutions - I want this baby to run once it leaves me for a long time.

Hopefully, someone may have some insight. I also did stumble upon a piece of hardware that may be the solution - from the makers of the xt ide compact flash card... http://www.malinov.com/Home/sergeys...

But even with this I STILL have the problem of finding a way to get power to a new-ish floppy drive. There are NO additional power connectors on the psu nor motherboard.

Ideas anyone at all?

Report •

Related Solutions

March 17, 2015 at 12:16:08
ijack - sorry don't follow.

take power from the existing floppy cable?

i thought a modern floppy needed a power source? No? It derives everything including power from the ribbon cable? I didn't think so - but it's been a while since I have emerged myself in the world of disks and floppy drives.

Hmmm - if that's the case, then something else may be wrong. I may need the card I referenced above for the ancient motherboard to recognize it...

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 14:11:49
The floppy drives in the model 30 were very special beasts. The cable combines both data and power. (If you look at the cable then you'll find that it has more wires than a conventional floppy cable - those extra wires carry the power.) The model 30 supported two floppy drives, so there should be plenty of power there for the drive motors and whatever electronics you come up with. After all, the original managed to make two floppy drives work.

It's entirely likely, if you are good enough at electronics, that you could use the existing interface to control a normal floppy drive. A bit of Googling will be needed to find the details of this cable. You might even be able to determine it with a multimeter.

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 14:47:58
Hmmm - well the IBM Model 30 XT I have only has one slot for a floppy drive (ribbon cable) on the motherboard.

The power supply has NO extra connectors.

Yes, the ribbon cable on the XT provides power for the floppy - but I guess you missed the point of my query. The floppy drive IS BROKEN NOT FUNCTIONING. So...

I have looked for a replacement to discover, much like with the hard drives of this era - most of the drives are going belly up. So....

I am looking for alternative solutions - like putting a modern-ish floppy drive (IDE) into the system. So....

I am trying to figure out the best way that will work. The main problem I see is there is not where for a NEW type (IDE) floppy drive to get power.

So... I have no idea where you think all this power exist in the system. There isn't any. It's a very plain, vanilla, basic system.

In this system there is only room for 1 floppy drive. Not two. Maybe another version had two. Maybe you're thinking of the IBM Model 5150 which has two 5 1/4 floppies. I dunno. But this one sure as heck doesn't.

Overall ijack, although I appreciate the thoughts - not terribly helpful. You didn't read (or comprehend) what I typed before. Most of what you said, if you read what I wrote before you wouldn't have said. lol And to suggest me simply googling it isn't helpful either. I DID THAT already. If it were that simply it would be done. If you have better luck with googling it, please provide a link. I waded through hundreds of pages and none gave any answer.

Again, appreciate the thought - but not useful.

That's why I came to tech forum so other people may have ideas or gone through something similar.

message edited by Pandora33

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 14:53:17
Yeah those old model 30 floppy drive data cables were proprietary and included the power lines too. There was no separate power connector for them. That's why you're going to have a hard time connecting anything but the same type drive.

I mentioned in your previous thread that the 8086/8088 architecture only accepts low density floppy drives. If you want to install a 1.44 you'd need to add the floppy adapter card. I looked on ebay just now but didn't see any. I might still have some but have no idea where I put them. But you'd have to add some type of floppy card if you wanted to use a non-ibm drive, even a low density one, and to use high a density drive you'd need the special type I mentioned.

As far as powering a non-ibm drive a battery is just not practical. You may be able to set up some external power supply. Or, I don't remember if those power supplies had cables to the motherboard but if they do you can just locate the 5 and 12 volt and ground wires and splice in a regular floppy power connector.

You (or the person you're doing this for) are really making this difficult by limiting you to the model 30 computer.

Edit I just noticed you called it an 'IDE floppy drive'. The floppy interface isn't IDE. As far as I know it's only referred to as the floppy interface.

message edited by DAVEINCAPS

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 15:09:24
DAVEINCAPS! Where have you been? lol Ya, you're a wellspring of good info... yup - i thought I had posted this link: http://www.malinov.com/Home/sergeys... - this is the floppy controller card I was going to buy and assemble... thoughts?

it should resolve my issue and let me use a regular IDE floppy drive. Problem still exists - where the F to get the power to run it from. Which is why I was wondering about rigging a battery and just taping it to the case somewhere.

Ya - I know.. my client is, but this is what he wants. I have spoken to him about this many times. I mean, I do have in my possession a very old Dell which DOES and WILL run Windows 3.0 and DOS 5.0. I have installed it. I tested a few games on it and they do run. It even looks similiar to the IBM Model 30 - it's that same whitish/beige color, it's a standup type instead of a lie down type (which the IBM Model 30 is). But he could just as easy lie it on it's side. He could use the original keyboard/mouse/monitor which I have fetched for him - they do work on it just fine. He will have about 95% of the looks, feels, and sound as the IBM Model 30 the only thing different is the computer itself won't be one...

But he wouldn't hear it.

To be honest I don't know what else to do. I spent the bulk of this year trying to get modern parts to work in the IBM Model 30 case only to discover so many problems with that idea. It just wouldn't work. You're limited with what parts will physically fit for starters. Then finding an original Intel (the Celeron won't run windows 3.0) that is SLOW enough for Windows 3.0 and DOS 5.0 is very, very, very difficult to find. And again this limits what motherboard you can use because of the chipset. I'll stop there. But ya, it was just horrendous.

So, I gave up on that and went back to working with the original parts.

Land is now in sight I am driving this ship home. lol

Again, need to figure out a way to power a modern floppy (I won't call it IDE anymore lol). I can read a schematic, I can solder. Just need instructions. :0

So if anyone has some feasible ideas, I am all ears :0

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 15:16:00
For people who are wondering - the XT power supply looks like this: https://images.search.yahoo.com/images/view;_ylt=AwrTcXUepwhViiIAHX2JzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTI0cDd1M3M4BHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1nBG9pZANmYWUwODI1MGQ4M2NjMDZmMGQ3MDA1ZDgwZmM3Y2NkYwRncG9zAzQ1NwRpdANiaW5n?.origin=&back=https%3A%2F%2Fimages.search.yahoo.com%2Fyhs%2Fsearch%3Fp%3Dxt%2Bpower%2Bsupply%2Bconnector%26fr2%3Dpiv-web%26hsimp%3Dyhs-004%26hspart%3Dmozilla%26nost%3D1%26tab%3Dorganic%26ri%3D457&w=420&h=297&imgurl=www.cablesdirect.co.uk%2Fwrite%2Fimages%2Fproducts%2FRB-525.jpg&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fangelamcmillan.com%2Fcgi%2Fp8-p9-connectors&size=38.5KB&name=...+links+information+and+connectorall+atlpx+%3Cb%3Econnector%3C%2Fb%3E+apr+since+most&p=xt+power+supply+connector&oid=fae08250d83cc06f0d7005d80fc7ccdc&fr2=piv-web&fr=&tt=...+links+information+and+connectorall+atlpx+%3Cb%3Econnector%3C%2Fb%3E+apr+since+most&b=421&ni=21&no=457&ts=&tab=organic&sigr=11elhd2sr&sigb=149g479n4&sigi=11nat12e3&sigt=12cqi9num&sign=12cqi9num&.crumb=821lOh4IunV&fr2=piv-web&hsimp=yhs-004&hspart=mozilla

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 15:38:22
Where do you think the floppies in the model 30 got their power from? The cable that connects to them carries power. It doesn't matter that the floppy drive in your computer isn't working - the power supply is still there in that cable (unless that's what's broken). If you have enough electronics knowledge to do what you are planning it should be simple to determine which wires in that cable - or which pins on the motherboard socket that it connects to - carry the required 0V, 5V, and 12V supplies. Or you could just create an adapter to provide the necessary connectors for a normal drive. A battery is not going to do it; and remember that you need both 5V and 12V.

The PSU suplies the power to the m/b. The m/b connector supplies it to the floppies. This is unlike almost any other drive, which take their power lines directly from the PSU. So the power is there - it's just a question of harnessing it.

The model 30 either had two floppy drives or one floppy drive and one hard drive, which also got it's power in the same fashion. (Without a hard drive a single drive would make the computer near useless - even the original 5150 came with two drives.)

I agree with DAVE that you are making life really difficult for yourself by trying to revive a very non-standard machine. You'd do a lot better with a 5160 or a 5170 as they used fairly standard components. If you are determined that it has to be this machine you are going to have to do a bit more research and be pretty inventive.

Edit: I haven't the time to do hours of research on Google, but a couple of minutes turned up this thread which gives details of which wires carry which voltages: http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcf...

Edit2: If you want to go along the route of using an ISA floppy controller, rather than building one, as per the link in one of your previous posts, just buy one off eBay - e.g. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Vintage-8... Or you could even just buy another model 30: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/IBM-PERSO...

message edited by ijack

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 16:00:42
I totally hear you ijack - and everyone else for that matter. But, the client is the boss. If he says he wants this, then I have two choices. I can make it happen or not.

It's not like it's costing me anything other than my sanity, time, and some parts - but in the end when it's working he will reimburse me for all that. As best he can that is lol.

Again, I have given him modern options - but it's simply not what he wants.

On the plus side, when I do get this beast breathing again I'll know how to do it for someone else. Which may be a nitch market... I dunno. We'll see.

I didn't pick this machine fyi, this is the machine HE WANTED. Period. Type A personality client. We discussed a bunch of stuff but in the end he wants what he wants.

Good suggestion on the adapter bit - any ideas where to look for info on that? I haven't done that before, I am sure it's not hard, but the 1st time is always the hardest. Diagrams? Anything? I just don't know how to go about it - I've never split a cable or built my own adapter. I've always bought them pre-done. Again, any info you provide will be super helpful and appreciated.

Ya, I actually do have a diagram of which wires are which - I just need to know how to go about this. Thanks again.

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 16:51:36
I have an XT with a HD floppy adapter (handles both "modern" 1.44MB 3½" and 1.2MB 5¼" floppies) so they did exist at one time. However, what you're defining as "Model 30" isn't in the same "class" as the original XT (even though it was based on an 8086/8088 CPU). It was one of the first IBM PS/2 machines (and uniquely did not employ a Microchannel bus architecture) to replace the XT.


The unique design of the floppy drive (as you have discovered) would make it difficult to replace at best, however "rebuilding" this type of drive was often successful (I saved one from a Model 80).



This may also be of some help if you're really desperate:


One last "unsolicited comment". If you're client is this adamant about using a Model 30 and putting you through this much grief, then you should be more than adequately compensated for it.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 17:08:23
T-R-A yes I agree completely! and I am sure when I am done and he has it working and playing the game he will pony up the $$$. I have a figure in mind, that to him, although it's not nothing - is more than doable. He's one of those big shots on wallstreet or hedge funds or something. So he does have seriously deep pockets. But I will address all that once done, I doubt he would be as generous before, but after, yes, he would be.

He has in the past hired me for smaller jobs which I did for him no problem and he compensated me very generously. So I am not worried about him welshing on this.

Also, he has searched for years to find a tech who would even TRY to make this happen. and I was the first and only (scary, right?)... so I know he wants to keep me happy. Screwing me over will not be in his best interest.

Especially since he's already asked me, whenever I get this finished if I get it working - would I build a second one? lol Which I said I probably would if he wanted (for a price of course)... But we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

THANK YOU for the great links - some reading for tonight and tomorrow for sure!

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 19:02:55
Is the main concern that your client wants to keep the old IBM case? It seems to me you should somehow be able to adapt something a little more modern to it. How about a socket 7 motherboard, 100MHz Pentium, 16MB 72-pin SIMM memory, ISA graphics card, 1GB IDE HDD, 1.44MB floppy, AT power supply, DOS 6.22 & Win3.11? I have a ton of old crap like that in my basement.

EDIT: I'm in the process of spring cleaning & a lot of my old PC stuff will be going to the recycler. I found an IBM/DOS 5.0 box, sealed & unopened. It looks just like this one:


message edited by riider

Report •

March 17, 2015 at 22:38:18
I'm not sure if the card in ijack's link will work. For a high density drive the card needs to have a DIP switch or jumpers to set the drive type or I think some have a cmos type setup where you can configure everything from their setup screen.

Way back when I was using my PB8810 turbo XT it soon became difficult to find software on 360K disks. I eventually talked to someone at Packard Bell support and they said something to the affect that the data flow from high density drives was too fast for 8088 motherboards. You had to have a special card to slow things down. I bought one from somewhere and an old IBM XT from a newspaper ad and built my first computer. Later on I bought a dozen or so of those cards at auction and put together several more.

Apparently 3.5" drives only need a 5 volt and ground connection. I noticed the card you linked to has a 5 volt output on pin 3 for the IBM drives when JP1 is jumpered. I suppose you could connect a 1.44 IBM drive to the card that way. On a normal floppy drive all the odd pin numbers are ground hence the warning there about it causing a short in any other application. However you may be able to desolder pin 3, and solder the wires from a molex floppy power connector to the pin 3 solder joint and any other odd numbered pin on the back of the card and power a non-ibm drive that way. (Did I explain that in a way that makes sense?) With pin 3 removed it wouldn't cause a short but you'd still have the 5 volt output coming from the wire soldered on the back.

The picture you posted of the power supply doesn't show on that page but I assume the power supply has no external wires?

Edit Or since JP1 enables 5 volts on pin 3 maybe one of the JP1 pins already is at 5 volts. You could check with a voltmeter. If so you could rig a 5 volt connection from there. You'd still need a ground connection from the card.

message edited by DAVEINCAPS

Report •

March 18, 2015 at 00:03:35
1. I thought we were talking about low-density floppy drives, not 1.4M ones. I'd say it was better to keep the specifications as original as possible. It shouldn't be too difficult to find a working 720K drive.

2. The power connector has a 12V line. I can't swear that it is used, but why is it there if not?

3. I the client has loads of money, just buy a working model 30 from eBay. You should check whether it must be an 8086 one or whether the (apparently identical) AT model would do.

Report •

March 18, 2015 at 02:03:11
Yeah the previous thread had more discussion on the type of drive being considered.

I know the 3.5 power connectors from the PSU all have the 5 and 12 volt wires but I remembered some of the snap on adapters that adapt the larger 5.25 drive connectors to the smaller 3.5 drive only had 2 wires--one voltage and one ground. I checked a few sites on those drive's power requirements and found they only needed 5 volts. I assume the connectors usually come with 5 and 12 volts wires because they may be used for other devices but I've only seen some 12 volt case fans connected that way in old gateway towers.

I've got at least one model 30 286 in the garage and yeah they look exactly alike.

Report •

March 21, 2015 at 10:31:19
Hi Pandora, maybe a silly question, but have your tried cleaning (if possible) the original floppy drive?
If not, remove its cover and blow out any muck with a hairdryer set to cold and maximum blast, Use a soft thin brush to assist.
Gently clean the head(s) with a bent cotton bud/q-tip dipped in IPA (liquid that come with a CD/DVD Cleaning Kit).
There is probably at least one worm drive or gear that is greased. Make sure the grease has not become too sticky on these.

Good luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb

Report •

Ask Question