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Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

Older ThinkPads.. from the 600, the 7xx, the iSeries, 300, 500, the Transnote and, of course, the 701
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portsample
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Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#1 Post by portsample » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:50 pm

Does anyone here know if it is possible to read 5-1/4 inch floppy discs using a 770 with an external 5-1/4 inch drive?

I ask this because I've got a 770 which I am considering selling, that I would keep if only I had a tangible purpose for it. Periodically people at work bring me 5-1/4 inch floppies to pull data from. I've got an ancient Compaq tower that I use for this. Would love to do the deed with a Thinkpad. Thoughts?
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#2 Post by fultontech » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:41 am

There were external 360kb/1.2mb Floppy disk drives for mainframes that you needed to use a microchannel controller with. As far as I know the full length MCA card could be installed in the Dock 1. That limits the ThinkPad's to the first and second generation. (i.e. 700/720/750).
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portsample
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#3 Post by portsample » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:04 am

Roger on that. What I'd suspected. Was looking for an excuse to keep a nice 770 that I'm getting ready to sell.
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#4 Post by Bondi » Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:41 pm

There are external 5.25" FDDs that connect to LPT port. Usually they are not cheap, but good deals sometimes pop up on ebay.
I cannot think of any reasons why you cannot use it on a thinkpad.
EDIT: found this on ebay for example https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cumulus-123501 ... SwbcBdn1Ve
There may be other offers as well.
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#5 Post by RealBlackStuff » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:19 am

You'd really want a 5.25" drive that can also read the 1.2MB floppies.
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#6 Post by fultontech » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:24 am

Even if someone had the drivers to run that, it would all be real mode. So I think it would be limited to Win98SE or ME in DOS MODE at the most
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portsample
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Re: Is it possible to read 5.25" floppy discs with a 770?

#7 Post by portsample » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:01 am

Interesting. I had suspected that a 5.25 inch external drive w/a parallel port connector might work, although was wondering if the BIOS would read 5.25 inch discs. I had Googled around and found no reference to external 5.25 inch drives being accessed from 770 laptops, and IBM only made (?) 3.5" external parallel drives at that time. A while back I installed 5.25 inch drives in several early 2000 desktops, only to find that the newer BIOS would not allow these to be accessed. Thanks for the responses.

Update: Looks like this was talked through more than 10 years ago with some solutions presented.
https://thinkpads.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=488
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