Too many floppy drives

So with all these Amigas, it’s been a bit hit and miss having working floppy drives. My A500 from my teenage years seemed to have a completely dead internal drive, the 2nd A500 I bought cheap had a very marginal internal drive, the A600 had a very dead internal drive, and the new A1200 looked like it had a dead internal drive .. but after some cleaning was OK.

So, even though I have a gotek, my young son really likes floppy disks for some reason … so I’ve picked up some ‘spare’ PC floppy drives since they are cheap … and modded them for use on the Amiga. A short amount of googling will find lots of info on modding various models of floppy drives. Usually its a case of swapping around pins 2 and 34 and changing the disk select line.

So far I’ve modded two Mitsumi 359M3’s, two Sony MPF 920’s and a Panasonic JU-257A738P. I assumed these mods were all pretty much equal. I thought by making sure Sanity Arte worked all was well. I was wrong.

Recently, I was looking for AGA demos for the A1200, and came across ‘Origin’ by Complex. I had put one of the Sony MPF 920 drives in the A1200 as I like these. They are quite quiet, and I worked out by sawing the eject button sort of in half, I could use it in the A1200 without butchering the case. But ‘Origin’ does not work with the Sony drive. It loads the first disk … then starts to¬† load the 2nd disk and dies. Originally I thought my aging A1200 was broken, but I swapped in the original Panasonic drive … and ‘Origin’ loaded fine. I tried my other Panasonic drive (JU-257) and ‘Origin’ works on that too. After some googling, the key thing is that modded PC drives vary in their ability to provide a decent READY signal. There is an interesting comp.sys.amiga.hardware thread about it. The READY is essential for these trackloader demos to work. I always thought Sanity Arte was a good way to test these trackloaders … but I think there are other demos that are more aggressive with the trackloader timings.

Anyway, I have been trying to get this Panasonic JU-257 into the A1200, as its a lot quieter than the original Panasonic drive. As with most PC floppies you can often put them inside an Amiga, but often the eject button does not line up or fit the hole that the Amigas have … and sometimes the height of where the floppy goes in and out does not match the hole in the side of the Amiga. The JU-257 is one of the few PC drives where the eject button does line up relatively OK with the eject hole in the side of the A1200. It’s not perfect though, as the button does not stick out as far as it should. But the bigger problem is that the floppy entry/exit plane is a little too high for the opening in the A1200. I hate butchering old computers, but I’ve finely filed the entry hole of the A1200 and I can get disks in and out OK. It’s not too bad.