SELTRON DD40 External 5.25" Floppy Disk Drive - Anyone familiar?

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SELTRON DD40 External 5.25" Floppy Disk Drive - Anyone familiar?

I recently acquired a SELTRON DD40 External 5.25" Floppy Disk Drive, supposedly for Apple II series machines, however there seems to be a dearth of information around this item when I search for it.

I was wondering if anybody is familiar with these drives and has any information about them?

TIA

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There were dozens of

There were dozens of different brands of compatible floppy drives back in the day.  Chances are it is a fairly formula one.  A picture (or three) is woth a thousand words.  Does it have a 20 pin IDC connector or a DB19?  1/2 height or full height?  Have you opened it up to see what brand of mechanism it uses? There were several popular ones that many of the clone brands used.

 

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OK, so some googling produced

OK, so some googling produced this:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/224451035001

 

That drive looks almost exactly like the ones that VTech (sold under the "Laser" name in the US) out of Hong Kong sold back in the day.  The mechanism is a 1/2 height, looks like a Mitsumi or similar asian made one.  Connector on the one in the auction is a IDC20.

 

So basically they are a 99% compatible drive to a Disk ][.  One difference is they are normally 40 track capable (vs 36 like most Disk ][ which used a Shugart SA390 mechanism).

 

 

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:There
softwarejanitor wrote:

There were dozens of different brands of compatible floppy drives back in the day.  Chances are it is a fairly formula one.  A picture (or three) is woth a thousand words.  Does it have a 20 pin IDC connector or a DB19?  1/2 height or full height?  Have you opened it up to see what brand of mechanism it uses? There were several popular ones that many of the clone brands

I should have it Monday, so I'll get more detail then, but it looks half height and has what appears to be a 20 pin IDC connector. I can't make out the power supply connector, and since it doesn't have a PSU I took a bit of a risk on it, though it only cost £30. Pictures are stolen from ebay, so not great.

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Normally these drives don't

Normally these drives don't need a separate power supply because they are powered over the IDC20 cable.  I have no idea what that DIN5 connector is.  At first I was thinking Commodore Serial Bus, but that's a 6 pin connector.  I'm really curious as to what it is connected to.

 

It would be really awesome if you wouldn't mind opening up the case and taking some pictures inside.

 

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(c) 1983 VTL

The ebay link softwarejanitor found seems quite similar to the images Ronin47 provided.  softwarejanitor's photo clearly shows a (c) 1983 VTL sticker. VTL (Video Technology Limited) later became Vtech, the maker of the Laser line of Apple // compatible computers.  I agree the drive is a generic half height 40 track capable drive, hence the DD40 and not DD35 product name.  I sold some like thisaround 1987  from Laser, not SELTRON, which came with an IDC20- DB19 adapter in the box so it could be used with a Disk ][ controller or Apple 5.25 controller or //c or Laser 128.

 

Regarding the power connector, VTL was pretty bad about  using a single case for 5 or six products and just swapping the internals, so it might not be used or even connected to anything.  A picture of the internals would be interesting. I bet it has a Mitsumi drive installed.

 

 

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8BitHeaven wrote:The ebay
8BitHeaven wrote:

The ebay link softwarejanitor found seems quite similar to the images Ronin47 provided.  softwarejanitor's photo clearly shows a (c) 1983 VTL sticker. VTL (Video Technology Limited) later became Vtech, the maker of the Laser line of Apple // compatible computers.  I agree the drive is a generic half height 40 track capable drive, hence the DD40 and not DD35 product name.  I sold

 

I also sold VTech stuff back in the 1980s including a few external 5.25" drives that as you say look just like this one except for having a "Laser" label on them.  And yes, they did includ a IDC20-DB19 adapter.  I think I still have at least one or two of those adapters around somewhere.  I think the ones I sold instead of the DIN-5 connector just had a block off plate like the one around where the ribbon cable comes out the back of the SELTRON drive.  But your guess it may not be even connected could be correct.

 

And the ones I sold back in the day, I believe were usually Mitsumi drives.

 

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softwarejanitor wrote
softwarejanitor wrote:

Normally these drives don't need a separate power supply because they are powered over the IDC20 cable.  I have no idea what that DIN5 connector is.  At first I was thinking Commodore Serial Bus, but that's a 6 pin connector.  I'm really curious as to what it is connected to.

 

It would be really awesome if you wouldn't mind opening up the case and taking some pi

It arrived today, so will try and get some pictures of inside and out tomorrow and post up here.

 

Family round today so can't do it today. 

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Awesome, it will be cool to

Awesome, it will be cool to see the pics.

 

 

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As promised, here are some

As promised, here are some photos of the Seltron taken today. The drive itself seems to be in overall great physical condition, bar some yellowing. The case is very solidly built and was made in 1983 by VTL. Serial number is 110060. As usual for something from this era, shielding is completely over the top!!

The DIN plug is 5 pin and seems to be factory fit. 5v & 12V can be found at the socket when connected to my Apple ][e. I suspect if you had it connected to a machine that didn't provide power via the floppy controller (Is there such a thing in the world of Apple?), it would act as a power in connector.

Mechanism is manufactured by Sankyo. The belt seems to be in good condition, not slimy or melting, but dry and nicely tensioned.

If I connect it to port 1 of the FDD controller, it tries to boot, though I don't have a suitable boot disk. I did try to copy a disk from my Floppyemu to a blank unformatted 5 1/4" disk, but it kept showing write fails. A disk speed test also came out very odd, but these problems could be simple to solve since there is very little on the PCB, just 6 ICs 2 of which are 74LS series. Also, I'm still trying to work out what I'm doing having owned the machine for about a month and the FDD since yesterday :)

 

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Thanks for photos

Very interesting.  Thanks for posting the photos.

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8BitHeaven wrote:Very
8BitHeaven wrote:

Very interesting.  Thanks for posting the photos.

No problem :)

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So after the weird testing

So after the weird testing results around RPM, I decided to video the drive during testing, and it looks like I'm getting 75RPM rather then the expected 300RPM.

Back to look at the belt more closely, and while it isn't sticky or melting, it feels dry and stiff, so I don't think it's gripping the drive shaft and drive hub at all well.

New belt is on order now and I'll lubricate the hub and clamp spindles  and de-grease the drive parts while I wait for that to arrive. The motor seems to spin ok with the belt removed, so fingers crossed the motor is ok.

The head seems to seek ok and the write protect switch  tests fine, so I am hoping the problem is just lack of RPM!

What's interesting is that I had buy a drive belt for a record turntable due to the size.

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Possibly this drive was

Possibly this drive was intended for use with computers like the Laser 3000 which were pretty rare in the US.  Those were a semi-Apple II compatible, and it is possible that the drive controllers and computer power supplies in some of those machines were marginal enough that an external power supply was a necessity for reliable operation.  The floppy drive is one of the biggest power consumers in a typical Apple II system.

 

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Look at the floppy drive

Look at the floppy drive pictured in this Laser 3000 ad...

 

https://igotoffer.com/apple/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/laser_3000.jpg

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:Look at
softwarejanitor wrote:

Look at the floppy drive pictured in this Laser 3000 ad...

 

https://igotoffer.com/apple/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/laser_3000.jpg

 

Yeah, that looks suspiciously like mine. You may be right about the PSU too, or maybe the Laser 3000 didn't even have power for the FDD so a separate one was necessary.

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Interestingly I found this

Interestingly I found this Dual Drive version with another Laser machine, the design elements are clearly the same and the drive mechanism looks identical.

 

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Laser 3000 similarities
Ronin47 wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Look at the floppy drive pictured in this Laser 3000 ad...

 

https://igotoffer.com/apple/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/laser_3000.jpg

 

Yeah, that looks suspiciously like mine. You may be right about the PSU too, or maybe the Laser 3000 didn't even have power for the FDD so a separate one was necessar

 

Everytime I think this thread is done, it renews my curiosity.  I'll pull my Laser 3000 and floppy out of the closet this weekend and let you know what i find.

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8BitHeaven wrote:Ronin47
8BitHeaven wrote:
Ronin47 wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Look at the floppy drive pictured in this Laser 3000 ad...

 

https://igotoffer.com/apple/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/laser_3000.jpg

 

Yeah, that looks suspiciously like mine. You may be right about the PSU too, or maybe the Laser 3000 didn't even have power

Cool, be really interested to know what you have and how it all hangs together :)  

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8BitHeaven wrote:Ronin47
8BitHeaven wrote:
Ronin47 wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Look at the floppy drive pictured in this Laser 3000 ad...

 

https://igotoffer.com/apple/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/laser_3000.jpg

 

Yeah, that looks suspiciously like mine. You may be right about the PSU too, or maybe the Laser 3000 didn't even have power

Lucky B*****.  I always wanted a Laser 3000.  Extremely rare over here in the US.  Also the later version sold by other companies like the APlus 3000 which was a more //e clone also extremely rare.

 

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VTL ultimately became VTech

VTL ultimately became VTech from what I've read, they've been around a very long time.

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That's true, VTL stands for

That's true, VTL stands for Video Tech Limited I think.  They are still around I think, although they haven't made computers in a long time.  My house phones are actually from vtech.  But I've had those for at least 12 years so not really current.

 

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:That's
softwarejanitor wrote:

That's true, VTL stands for Video Tech Limited I think.  They are still around I think, although they haven't made computers in a long time.  My house phones are actually from vtech.  But I've had those for at least 12 years so not really current.

Yeah, they make a lot of educational 'toys' these days, all technology based, though I don't know just how good they are.

Trying to get this drive up and running, just waiting for the replacement drive belt to replace the slipping one, fingers crossed I can get it spinning at 300RPM again :)

Mechanically in good order bar the belt, but lubing bit's and bobs while I wait on the belt. Also got a real Apple Disk ][ the other day, so hopefully that'll run too.

 

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VTech got up to all sorts of things

They also made "unique" systems like the Creativision (Of which I own an example) which is like someone took a ColecoVision, ripped out the Z80 and stuck a 6502 in it's place.

(It has among the worst controllers I've ever used)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTech_CreatiVision

 

Chesh

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CheshireNoir wrote:They also
CheshireNoir wrote:

They also made "unique" systems like the Creativision (Of which I own an example) which is like someone took a ColecoVision, ripped out the Z80 and stuck a 6502 in it's place.

(It has among the worst controllers I've ever used)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTech_CreatiVision

 

Chesh

Wow that really does look like an Intellivision!! It always amazes me how many different things of this type are out there. I'm a retro collector, but have never heard of this before.

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Struggling to get a suitable

Struggling to get a suitable drive belt for the Seltron, the length/diameter is fine, but getting one with the correct width is all kinds of fun :(

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CheshireNoir wrote:They also
CheshireNoir wrote:

They also made "unique" systems like the Creativision (Of which I own an example) which is like someone took a ColecoVision, ripped out the Z80 and stuck a 6502 in it's place.

(It has among the worst controllers I've ever used)

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VTech_CreatiVision

 

Chesh

 

That is super cool.  Never saw one of those here in the US.  The other Laser and VTech products like the Laser 200, Laser 300 were very rare here.  I've also never actually seen a Laser 2001, which was apparently the computer version of the CreatiVision.

 

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