USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

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USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Silverfish » Fri Feb 04, 2011 12:39 pm

So, I ran into a little snag tonight.

I discovered that my smartdisk external usb floppy drive (model FDUSB-TM2) will not read or write 720k floppies. Major bummer. Does anyone have a suggestion for drives that are confirmed to read/write these old disks?
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby meatballfulton » Fri Feb 04, 2011 7:27 pm

Mac or Windows? I haven't seen any that work with 720K on Macs.
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby nathanscribe » Fri Feb 04, 2011 10:30 pm

What OS are you using, and how are you attempting to read/write files?
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Silverfish » Sat Feb 05, 2011 10:24 am

I'm using both Mac and PC (iMac in the studio, PC laptop out and about). Now I see that Macs don't really do 720k. I tried the drive and the disks on both machines, and still nothing, even on the PC. I'm pretty sure it's the drive.

I did try to format the diskette, via command line. I've done it before with other machines and it worked. This time, not so much. lol.

I think meatballfulton might have a different solution for me though. ;)

Thanks for your help!
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Nannerfan » Mon Feb 28, 2011 3:34 am

So .. what is the answer to this? I was planning on getting one for my Roland S-50 and assumed any USB floppy drive would do it. I guess I'm wrong.
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Silverfish » Mon Feb 28, 2011 9:48 pm

The solution was a new USB floppy drive.

The older Roland S series samplers use the 720k DS/DD floppy disks. As far as I know, Macs won't do anything with 720k disks, so you're stuck needing a PC. Many of the newer USB floppy drives won't read or write to 720k DS/DD disks either, so you have to make sure the one you get is compatible. Meatballfulton was kind enough to give me his LaCie drive. Here's the model number if you want to track one down-

LaCie Pocket USB FDD 706018 Myfloppy3

Also, one last thing. Newer versions of Windows don't like to format to 720k. You have to use the command prompt.

"FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9"
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Mar 01, 2011 12:53 am

I'd have thought FORMAT A: /720 would work. I use that with the /U switch for my Roland W-30, and S-DISK to transfer files to/from disk. No probs so far.

Mac floppies were written using varispeed drives from what I gather, which (from what i gather) means you won't be reading them any time soon on anything other than an old Mac. Not without some hacking anyway. But that's not something I know about, I read it on another forum recently and am no expert on those machines.
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Nannerfan » Tue Mar 01, 2011 5:15 am

I can't even get S-Disk to load/run on Windows 7.. I hope I'm doing something wrong.
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby nathanscribe » Tue Mar 01, 2011 3:40 pm

I should add I'm using a couple of old machines for this stuff - a Panasonic CP25 Toughbook running '95, and an old AMD 450MHz board with DOS 5.0 and Win 3.1... I can't remember if I tried S-DISK with XP, but I'm sure there's a reason I ended up using these old machines. Luckily something like that would be dirt cheap to put together if you needed to. I find them useful to have around for these occasions.
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby CZ Rider » Sun Mar 06, 2011 7:41 am

Just picked up a couple of these drives on Ebay. They read and write 720K disks for my Atari STe under WinXP. Also have a program I use to read those disks with odd formats called Gemulator Explorer that helps.
Ebay auction for 720k USB floppy
I also noticed quite a few SD memory stick/USB stick replacements for old floppy drives. Seems like the way to go in the future.
Ebay floppy emulator
And this one for the Atari ST
Ebay Atari floppy replacement
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby Nannerfan » Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:16 pm

Silverfish wrote:LaCie Pocket USB FDD 706018 Myfloppy3

Also, one last thing. Newer versions of Windows don't like to format to 720k. You have to use the command prompt.

"FORMAT A: /T:80 /N:9"


Just picked up the Lacie because of this post.

Unfortunately I have Windows 7 Pro 64bit. Am I going to have issues? I was planning on using the free software Floppy Image?
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Re: USB floppy drive that reads/writes 720k disks

Postby D-Collector » Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:33 pm

First of all, SDISK for windows works just fine in XP. Use it all the time. No problems formatting 720 in XP either.

CZ Rider wrote:I also noticed quite a few SD memory stick/USB stick replacements for old floppy drives. Seems like the way to go in the future.
Ebay floppy emulator


This looks interesting but there is not much information on it. Has anyone tried it?
I wonder if it would work as replacement for the Roland (Chinon) shugart drives, like in the S-series.

I see the Vietnam-based seller only does floppy drive emulators (his ebay name is "floppy_drive_emulator") has 100% positive and loads of good feedback on the drives. hmm..

* Consistently receives highest buyers' ratings
* Ships items quickly
* Has earned a track record of excellent service
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