Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

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robbo007's picture
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Hello all,
I've acquired a Apple IIgs which has no expansion cards or anything. I wanted to know what options do I have to to be able to use floppy drives. I've read a little a see there are many different sizes for 5 1/4" and 3.5".

Whats the best choice in controller? One that would let me connect all types of floppy drives?

Ive also seen on eBay connectors which allow you to use IBM 3.5" drives. Is this worth it? Would I be able to read Apple disks?

I have a Mac Pro on my network. Not sure if its better to try and find a SCSI card and hard disk or even maybe a network card? Just to make things easier to copy data from my Mac Pro to my IIgs.

Any help most appreciated.

Thanks,
Rob

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

Hello,
if you view several photos of IIGS´s in Internet there will be quite a lot of them with a 3,5 " drive settled beside... that´s the so called Unidrive and it might be connected with its plug directly to the Diskport at the backside of the Computer.... the DoubleSided DoubleDensity Disks store 800 kB.... it´s the default Drive for the IIGS and if one is connected it is activeted by hitting the "Option"key on powerup and in the Options =>Slot=> at slot 6 the "Diskport" must be actived by switching from "your Card" to "Diskport" - that also means that no Expansion Card is active on slot 6 .... the Card might stay there but it can´t be used...
There are several dozends of interfaces out there to connect drives to the IIGS.... most common the DISK II Interface from old AppleII or IIe which permits to connect Apple II DISK II Diskdrives (140kb ). About 70% of the Diskimages in the web are related to this format... so if you want to use ADT for transfer it will be a good choice to have a Set of Controller & Drive availiable for that purpose...
Of course also a few so called "Standard Drives" with 5.25 " and 34 pin connector might be used, but due to the non standard writing of the apple these drives need a modification to fit with the Apple and the most Common Standard 5.25 Drive will be the TEAC 55F the uses 5.25 DSDD Floppies that contain 640 kB.
But as mentioned above the most common to startup with - will be the Unidisk. You might use that drives ( up to 4 of them ) and they may be "daisy-chained"... look for instructions in the Internet... apple also sold 5.25 Drives with a thick cable and 19DB Plug on backside that could be "daisy-chained" too and they were compatible to the DISK II ( i.e. thay also used 5.25 Floppies and stored 140 kB on them )... but they are harder to find than the DISKII and the DISKII Controller.
It would go to far to explain all possibilites of floppies here, but there is plenty stuff on the internet and the apple web ring to achieve the information to all the other possibilities that I´d like to claim to be "uncommon" - allthough that might cause same replies that might deny that use of phrase because several other alternatives could claim to be "common" too... but the alternatives require a advanced technical know how..... one very important thing to be last not least: In case of use of the DISK II and any DISK II - controller it is upmost important to setup cabeling correct... the 20 pin flatcable contains lines that are transporting powervoltages from the powerswitch-source to the drive and if pluged wrong way - you might kill the drives connected as well as the powerswitchdevice and / or the mainboard of the IIGS ! So read instructions collected from the internet related to this topic first ! - befor killing the computer !

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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

robbo007 wrote:

I've acquired a Apple IIgs which has no expansion cards or anything. I wanted to know what options do I have to to be able to use floppy drives.

Your IIgs has a built-in controller. All you need is one of each drive - a 3-1/2" (A9M0106) and a 5-1/4"(A9M0104, A9M0107) - to be able to read all of the software ever written for the Apple II line. You can see pictures of each here:
http://www.vintagemacworld.com/drives.html

robbo007 wrote:

Whats the best choice in controller? One that would let me connect all types of floppy drives?

You already have one built-in.

robbo007 wrote:

Ive also seen on eBay connectors which allow you to use IBM 3.5" drives. Is this worth it? Would I be able to read Apple disks?

No, that's for a little different kind of situation.

robbo007 wrote:

I have a Mac Pro on my network. Not sure if its better to try and find a SCSI card and hard disk or even maybe a network card? Just to make things easier to copy data from my Mac Pro to my IIgs.

A serial cable and ADTPro (http://adtpro.sourceforge.net) is a simple way to move disk images to your IIgs. Networking is possible with the Uthernet card (http://a2retrosystems.com/) but there's no stock of them at the moment.

robbo007's picture
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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

Thanks for the reply. Its clearer now. I've seen quiet a few Disk II cards listed on Ebay for a decent price. I'll Have to pickup one and a 3.5" drive too. That way I can at least start using it Smile

Many thanks,
Rob

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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

A Disk II and controller will work but having 5.25" drives that use the IIgs floppy port is a little nicer.
If you use a Disk II and controller, then if there's no disk in the drive or a non-bootable one, the drive will just keep running. Also you have to drop into basic and use keyboard commands to boot off a 3.5" drive.
If your 5.25" drive also uses the floppy port, then the IIgs will try the 5.25" drive for a couple seconds then automatically try the 3.5" drive.

Wayne

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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

Robbo,

David and Wayne are right. Stay away from the Disk II Controller Card and the Disk II for use on a IIgs. You will be much happier in the long run.

Steven Smile

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robbo007's picture
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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

Thanks for all your help. I've sourced a couple of drives of ebay. An A9M0106 and a A9M0107. I gather these can be daisy-chain as there is only one port on the Apple IIgs? Anything special I need to know to not damage the drives? Or is it a straight connect and daisy-chain?

Thanks,
Rob

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speedyG's picture
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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

nothing special except one point:
IIGS => 3,5 drives => 5,25 drives !
in Daisychein 3,5 drives must be in front of 5,25 drives !
read here:
http://apple2.info/wiki/index.php?title=Floppy_Drives#Daisy_Chain_explained

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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

You daisy chain them together. The 5-1/4" goes last in the chain. Remember that one bit, and there's no way you can do it wrong.

robbo007's picture
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Re: Apple IIgs floppy disk questions

Thanks guys. All clear now.
Cheers,
Rob

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