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Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

Older ThinkPads from the 300, 500, 600, 700 Series, iSeries, Transnote etc.
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Bondi
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Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#1 Post by Bondi » Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:41 am

Hello everyone!
I've been thinking over the idea of connecting a 5.25 floppy drive to laptops, Thinkpads in particular. There are not so many options, which are external LPT or SCSI drives. But these are rare, expensive and I'm not sure they even exist.
So when I found out that there are slim 5.25 drives, like Canon MD-5501, TEAC FD-155GF of Epson SD-700 (which has slim body and a normal face plate) I thought that it would be possibe to install it into DOCK I instead of the slim SCSI CD drive. As for the physical dimentions, I'm almost sure it will fit. But the problem is to connect it to the system.
There is a 26 pin FDD controller on the MB of the dock, but it's a weird Hirose connector (HIF6B-026PA-1.27DS(71) to be precise), I have no pinout, and not sure the built in controller supports random drives. Also there is no way to set up a 5.25 drive in BIOS.
So my idea is to install an additional FDD controller that has own BIOS. As I read online there are controllers that support 4 FDDs and have onboard BIOS.
My question is what do you actually think about this? Is this a workable idea? Any suggestions on controller model?
Or maybe there are better ideas?
Any feedback is higly appreciated.
Thinkpads: 330C, 360CE, 560, 755CD, 760LD, 760EL, A21p, A31p, X60s, X230

fultontech
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#2 Post by fultontech » Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:55 am

There actually was an IBM 5.25 drive option that connected to the original dock using the external mainframe drive. It required the full length microchannel controller card in the slot. I ran across part numbers in someone's copy of the IBM PC Support data. The problem today would be finding a working, late 1980's 1.2MB upgrade drive that installed in the caddy. Most on eBay are the original 360KB drive.
IBM P75
IBM ThinkPad 700, 720C, 750Cs, 360C, 360P, 360CE, 360PE, 730TE, PC110, 365CSD, 365ED, 701Cs, 820, 600X, 770X, 240, T30
IBM RS/6000 43P 150
Lenovo ThinkPad X41T, X61T, X200T, X201T, X220T, X230T, X280
Lenovo ThinkCenter M92p Tiny, M900 Tiny

Bondi
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#3 Post by Bondi » Mon Dec 14, 2020 1:39 pm

fultontech wrote:
Mon Dec 14, 2020 11:55 am
There actually was an IBM 5.25 drive option that connected to the original dock using the external mainframe drive. It required the full length microchannel controller card in the slot. I ran across part numbers in someone's copy of the IBM PC Support data. The problem today would be finding a working, late 1980's 1.2MB upgrade drive that installed in the caddy. Most on eBay are the original 360KB drive.
Oh, that's right. Unfortunately it does not seem to be a possible solution.
Here are the p/ns from the manual:
Image
Thinkpads: 330C, 360CE, 560, 755CD, 760LD, 760EL, A21p, A31p, X60s, X230

cadillacmike68
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#4 Post by cadillacmike68 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 10:13 pm

IBM sure messed things up with micro-channel.
600, 600X
760LD FUBARd
T21 2647 T22 2647 1@ 1GHz SXGA+ 4 more; T23 2647 1@ 1.2GHz SXGA+ 3 more
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Bondi
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#5 Post by Bondi » Tue Dec 15, 2020 2:54 am

Luckily Dock I has standard ISA slot, and takes a full size ISA card.
Thinkpads: 330C, 360CE, 560, 755CD, 760LD, 760EL, A21p, A31p, X60s, X230

GMGolds
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#6 Post by GMGolds » Tue Dec 15, 2020 12:39 pm

The dock for the 700 and 720 was Microchannel. (3550-xxx)
The rest were ISA. (3545-xxx, 3546-xxx, 3547-xxx)

Bondi
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Re: Adding a 5.25 FDD to Thinkpad DOCK I

#7 Post by Bondi » Fri Dec 18, 2020 5:17 am

So I went ahead and bought a low profile Epson SD-700 drive. The body itself is exactly 1 inch thick, so it will fit into the DOCK. The face plate has to be modified. Will do this if everything works.
As for the controller - will try those newly made 8 bit ISA FDC controllers for XT machines with own BIOS. I'm looking forward to try how it will interact with TP.
Image
Thinkpads: 330C, 360CE, 560, 755CD, 760LD, 760EL, A21p, A31p, X60s, X230

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