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The floppy disk drive

I imagined going for the easiest task first would be prudent: What to do with the floppy disk drive? While the drive itself probably functioned just fine, there's not that much use for a floppy drive with a Mac-specific interface and only 800K of capacity. I decided I would be best off modifying it into a modern variant of the floppy disk drive: a cardreader.

One of the things users of the early Macs will fondly remember is the sound the floppy drive makes when it ejects a disk: these drives have an electric motor inside which can automatically eject the disk and these make a fairly typical sound. I'd like to keep that sound and functionality intact, so I figured: why not build the card-reading part into a floppy disk?


Gutting a broken floppy is something I have done many a time when I was young, but I have to say I never was this careful about not breaking anything.


I threw out the magnetic plastic on which the data used to reside and the cotton-y stuff it spinned in. In goes the new data carrier: a SD-card inside its slot. The SD-card has all its contacts connected to a piece of PCB which will sit in the window the head of the drive used to come through to read the data off the disk.


The disk itself isn't thick enough to actually cover the complete SD-card and its slot, so it'll have to stick out a bit on the underside of the disk.


And this is everything assembled again. The metal protection thingy still works, but it shows the PCB instead of the magnetic disk.


So, how are we going to connect with the PCB? Enter these lil' critters. They're called 'pogo pins' and are normally used to make a temporary connection when a PCB has to be tested after assembly. The top part has a spring behind it so it can be pushed into the gold-colored part.


I assembled a couple of the pins into this. The idea is that this will replace the head of the disk drive: instead of the head making contact with the magnetic disk inside the floppy, these pins will make electrical contact with the piece of PCB inside the modified floppy...


Like this. (For orientation: you're looking at the back of the modified disk drive; the top metal part in the middle is the disks metal window protector thingy.) Disk gets inserted, disk get lowered on the pogo pins, contact!


Now, how's the Dockstar going to get access to the inserted SD-card? Using a cardreader, ofcourse. I've bought this li'l micro-SD-card-reader online for almost no money.


This is the teensy PCB that does all the heavy (electrical) lifting. SD in, USB out. Can't get much simpler than that.


And here's everything connected and built into the original FDD-bracket.

Anyway, with all the modifications, does the all-important eject mechanism still work? Sure it does, and it still gives the authentic mac-ejects-disk-sound too!

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