Apple Disk II drive and compatibles

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Apple Disk II drive and compatibles

Hi,

Is there a way to connect the Apple Disk II (and compatible) floppy drives without having to open the lid of Apple II every time, like Unidisk or Duodisk?

Thanks

G

 

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You could build a piggy tail

You could build a piggy tail commector which would go from the DIsk ][ Controller Card outside the case and provide a male IDC-20 connector.  You't probably want some way of locking the cable in place so it wouldn't inadvertently get unplugged.  Plugging in a Disk ][ drive wrong is how most of the 74LS125 chips on the Disk ][ Analog Card get blown...  So be careful.

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:You
softwarejanitor wrote:

You could build a piggy tail commector which would go from the DIsk ][ Controller Card outside the case and provide a male IDC-20 connector.  You't probably want some way of locking the cable in place so it wouldn't inadvertently get unplugged.  Plugging in a Disk ][ drive wrong is how most of the 74LS125 chips on the Disk ][ Analog Card get blown...  So be careful.

 <

My floppy drive controller (Apple Disk II) already comes with DB25 male terminated flat cables on the rear side of the Apple IIe chassis. I would like to find DB25 female termination cables from a floppy drive.

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I think what you may be

I think what you may be looking for is this:

https://shop.bigmessowires.com/products/yellowstone-db19f-adapter

And the adapter is DB-19, not DB-25.

If it's a DB-25 on the back of your IIe, it's probably connected to a Super Serial Card.

 

Or purchase a pair of Apple 5.25 drives that have the connector you're looking for.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/195405843251

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This doesn't sound like

This doesn't sound like anything stock. The original Apple Disk II controllers came with dual 20 pin male headers for two flat IDC cables to connect to, one for each Disk II drive.

 

 

Later in the A2 product lifespan, they introduced the 5.25 controller card which had a single db19 female connector that allowed connecting to a duo disk or daisy chaining two Apple 5.25 drives.

 

 

I've never seen anything for Apple II drives that used a db25 connector (except on the duo disk itself, which gets converted to db19 male on the other end of the cable). 

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nick3092 wrote:This doesn't
nick3092 wrote:

This doesn't sound like anything stock. The original Apple Disk II controllers came with dual 20 pin male headers for two flat IDC cables to connect to, one for each Disk II drive.

 

 

Later in the A2 product lifespan, they introduced the 5.25 controller card which had a single db19 female connector that allowed connecting to a duo disk or daisy chaining tw

Could you tell me how to post a photo on this forum? So I show you my controller with cables.

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In the toolbar above the box

In the toolbar above the box you write your posts in, click the Media Browser button. It will step you through posting the picture. 

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nick3092 wrote:In the toolbar
nick3092 wrote:

In the toolbar above the box you write your posts in, click the Media Browser button. It will step you through posting the picture. 

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Well, I personally have never

Well, I personally have never seen those before on an A2. Maybe someone else has.

 

 

A quick Google search found an eBay seller that has a listing for the female versions of those cables. I'd very carefully check the pin outs though before powering them up. But this guy tends to sell a lot of old Apple stuff, so maybe everything is fine with them. But I personally wouldn't risk hooking it up without verifying them. Also not sure if he ships internationally, as I'm assuming you are over in Europe. 

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/383447938259

 

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nick3092 wrote:Well, I
nick3092 wrote:

Well, I personally have never seen those before on an A2. Maybe someone else has.

 

 

A quick Google search found an eBay seller that has a listing for the female versions of those cables. I'd very carefully check the pin outs though before powering them up. But this guy tends to sell a lot of old Apple stuff, so maybe everything is fine with them. But I personally w

 

Yes, I am in Italy. Perhaps it is better to build them myself by buying the individual pieces. But I should be able to find the pinout scheme.

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Those connectors will not fit

Those connectors will not fit onto any Apple II disk drives tht I have ever seen.

Perhaps they were meant for something else?

 

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baldrick wrote:Those
baldrick wrote:

Those connectors will not fit onto any Apple II disk drives tht I have ever seen.

Perhaps they were menat for something else?

 

 

I found them inside my Apple IIe when I bought it last year. I don't remember, however, if they were connected to the controller or if I connected them, the fact is that to use the Apple II disk drive I had to open the cover and connect it in the "traditional" way.

 

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baldrick wrote:Those
baldrick wrote:

Those connectors will not fit onto any Apple II disk drives tht I have ever seen.

Perhaps they were meant for something else?

 

I suspect those were not intended for use with floppy disk drives at all.  I would guess they are either for Parallel Printer cards (some use DB-25 for certain printers like IDS) or more likely they are for serial cards.

Trying to plug those into a Disk ][, UniDisk 5.25, Apple 5.25 Drive, DuoDisk or most clones will likely end up frying chips either on the floppy drive analog card or the controller card.  I would recommend NOT trying it.

 

It is possible to make IDC-20 -> DB19 cables which would allow two UniDisk drives to be connected to a Disk ][ Controller card.  I've even seen an adapter that connected to both IDC-20's on the controller card and provided one DB19 to allow daisy chaining.  It just hooked to like one pin on the 2nd IDC connector to get the drive select signal if memory serves me.

 

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  I would just like to find a

 

 

I would just like to find a way to connect my Apple Disk ][ drives externally without having to open the computer lid every time as I don't have much space.

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baldrick wrote:Those
baldrick wrote:

Those connectors will not fit onto any Apple II disk drives tht I have ever seen.

Perhaps they were meant for something else?

 

They would if you had a matching corresponding DB25F to IDC 20 cable, like I linked to. Of course there are caveats. The main caveat being they need to be matched pin to pin, which we can't say about the ones I found.

 

 

Assuming the pin outs match from IDC end to IDC end, it could work with a standard Disk II. A connector in the middle of the ribbon cable (which is what OP is trying to do) would have no bearing as long as the pins on each end are matched.

 

 

It's entirely possible some 3rd party made/sold these back in the day for the same purpose the OP wants to use them for (external Disk II connections), and maybe they found it was cheaper or easier to use DB25 instead of DB19 with a 20 pin cable. Or maybe some person made these themself for the same purpose as the OP, and the mating drive cables were lost somewhere along the way. Or maybe the OP just happened to find adapters meant for serial or parallel and never meant to make a Disk II easily connectable. 

 

 

Now, unless you are really careful and know what you are doing, you could damage something on the drive or the disk II card. Which is for the OP to decide if they are capable of making a mating DB25F cable with the correct pin outs to an IDC 20 to connect to the Disk II. 

 

The other option for the OP would be to acquire a 5.25 interface card and two of the 5.25 drives that use DB19. Then you are guaranteed everything is pinned right and can easily disconnect the drives as needed. But will potentially be more expensive. I'd estimate at least $100 USD for two drives and the controller card. Being in Italy, it could be a lot more than that for OP. 

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nick3092 wrote:baldrick wrote
nick3092 wrote:
baldrick wrote:

Those connectors will not fit onto any Apple II disk drives tht I have ever seen.

Perhaps they were meant for something else?

 

They would if you had a matching corresponding DB25F to IDC 20 cable, like I linked to. Of course there are caveats. The main caveat being they need to be matched pin to

 

Are there the pinouts of the controller and the drive disk II if I wanted to make cables with connectors by myself?

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Some time ago on ebay I saw

Some time ago on ebay I saw an extender for sale. If it's no longer available you could pick up the parts and make one

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Wayne wrote:Some time ago on
Wayne wrote:

Some time ago on ebay I saw an extender for sale. If it's no longer available you could pick up the parts and make one

 

 

I do not understand what you mean ..

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In this case the extender

In this case the extender would be a cable with a male 20 pin idc connector on one end and a female on the other. One end would plug into your disk II card and the other end would hang out the back of your computer so you could plug in a Disk II drive

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Apple Disk II drive and compatibles

Why would you need to open the lid of your Apple II more than once after you connect the disk drives to the controller card? Do you have multiple drives that you switch between?  I'm surprised no one else here has asked this simple question. Normally after you plug the Disk II into the internal controller card you shouldn't have to open the lid of the computer again unless you're installing something else into the computer.

 

magnus

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GianDO wrote:  I would just
GianDO wrote:

 

 

I would just like to find a way to connect my Apple Disk ][ drives externally without having to open the computer lid every time as I don't have much space.

You could accomplish that with an Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch from Big Mess O Wires.

It's a small board that plugs into the cables between the controller and the disk drives.

It includes one cable, so you can use it as an external connection/disconnection.  I use mine to switch the Drive 1 cable between a conventional disk drive vs an emulated drive, but it's also convenient for disconnecting external drives without opening the computer: just unplug the switch from the cable attached to the computer.

 

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S.Elliott wrote:GianDO wrote:
S.Elliott wrote:
GianDO wrote:

 

 

I would just like to find a way to connect my Apple Disk ][ drives externally without having to open the computer lid every time as I don't have much space.

You could accomplish that with an Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch from 

 

That's a pretty good and easy solution.  And the A/B switch works awesome with FloppyEmu too.  Plug FloppyEmu as "A" and a real floppy drive as "B" (or vice-versa) and flip as needed to handle your .dsk/.po/.woz,etc or real floppies.

 

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magnusfalkirk wrote:Why would
magnusfalkirk wrote:

Why would you need to open the lid of your Apple II more than once after you connect the disk drives to the controller card? Do you have multiple drives that you switch between?  I'm surprised no one else here has asked this simple question. Normally after you plug the Disk II into the internal controller card you shouldn't have to open the lid of the computer

 

I often have drives to test and opening and closing the computer is a hassle especially if you don't have much space.

 

s.elliot wrote:

You could accomplish that with an Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch from Big Mess O Wires. It's a small board that plugs into the cables between the controller and the disk drives. It includes one cable, so you can use it as an external connection/disconnection. I use mine to switch the Drive 1 cable between a conventional disk drive vs an emulated drive, but it's also convenient for disconnecting external drives without opening the computer: just unplug the switch from the cable attached to the computer.

 

softwarejanitor wrote:

That's a pretty good and easy solution. And the A/B switch works awesome with FloppyEmu too. Plug FloppyEmu as "A" and a real floppy drive as "B" (or vice-versa) and flip as needed to handle your .dsk/.po/.woz,etc or real floppies.

 

The idea of the A / B Switch seems like a good idea to me, I will consider it. Where can I buy it?

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BMOW (Big Mess O Wires):Apple

BMOW (Big Mess O Wires):

Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch

$16.00

 

https://www.bigmessowires.com/shop/product/apple-disk-drive-ab-switch/

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softwarejanitor wrote:BMOW
softwarejanitor wrote:

BMOW (Big Mess O Wires):

Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch

$16.00

 

https://www.bigmessowires.com/shop/product/apple-disk-drive-ab-switch/

 

 

Thank you. A few minutes ago I also found this site, but unfortunately it is not in the EU.

 

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Yeah, most Apple related

Yeah, most Apple related vendors are not.  The US, SE Asia (China, Hong Kong or Korea) or Australia are where most things come from.

 

In the EU you're probably going to have to have it shipped.

 

 

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softwarejanitor wrote:Yeah,
softwarejanitor wrote:

Yeah, most Apple related vendors are not.  The US, SE Asia (China, Hong Kong or Korea) or Australia are where most things come from.

 

In the EU you're probably going to have to have it shipped.

 

 

Between shipping costs and customs clearance costs I would spend too much, more than the cost of the A / B Switch. I think the cheapest solution is to buy the cables and connectors and build an IDC-DSUB-IDC extension myself.

 

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GianDO wrote:softwarejanitor
GianDO wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Yeah, most Apple related vendors are not.  The US, SE Asia (China, Hong Kong or Korea) or Australia are where most things come from.

 

In the EU you're probably going to have to have it shipped.

 

 

Between shipping costs and customs clearance costs I would spend too much, more

 

Well, that wouldn't give you the A/B functionality...  And it is more risky.  If you blow a disk drive analog card or your floppy controller it may cost you more than buying a known good solution in the first place.  Retrocomputing isn't a cheap hobby. Cutting corners can often be a big mistake.  But it's up to you.  What you're talking about isn't difficult to make.  It's just a fair amount of work and the risk I mentioned.  And how much cheaper is it really if you have to pay shipping and customs on the parts?  I'm assuming you probably don't have a local vendor you can drive to that sells ribbon cable, IDC and DB connectors like I do here in Texas.

 

 

 

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It's pretty trivial to build

It's pretty trivial to build standard 20-pin ribbon cables from parts available from Farnell in Europe, and the shipping cost is low.

The parts costs are low, too and you can get away with not buying a crimping tool for a 20 pin connector - I've used pliers with success on connectors that small.

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softwarejanitor wrote:GianDO
softwarejanitor wrote:
GianDO wrote:
softwarejanitor wrote:

Well, that wouldn't give you the A/B functionality... And it is more risky. If you blow a disk drive analog card or your floppy controller it may cost you more than buying a known good solution in the first place. Retrocomputing isn't a cheap hobby. Cutting corners can often be a big mistake. But it's up to you. What you're talking about isn't difficult to make. It's just a fair amount of work and the risk I mentioned. And how much cheaper is it really if you have to pay shipping and customs on the parts? I'm assuming you probably don't have a local vendor you can drive to that sells ribbon cable, IDC and DB connectors like I do here in Texas.

 

 

Between shipping costs and customs cl

 

There are shops that can supply cables and connectors in Europe, for example Farnell. Something can also be bought on eBay and Amazon. To avoid any risk, you need to pay close attention to pinouts when making cables with connectors.
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baldrick wrote:It's pretty
baldrick wrote:

It's pretty trivial to build standard 20-pin ribbon cables from parts available from Farnell in Europe, and the shipping cost is low.

The parts costs are low, too and you can get away with not buying a crimping tool for a 20 pin connector - I've used pliers with success on connectors that small.

 

 

For IDC crimping tool is no problem. I can find it. I just want to understand if the same tool could be used to crimp the DSUB connectors.

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Dsub crimping tool

For IDC crimping tool is no problem. I can find it. I just want to understand if the same tool could be used to crimp the DSUB connectors.

Crimp type D-sub connectors are a problem. To get really reliable crimps on these pins you need expensive "4-indent" tools. The cheapest I know of is the PA1440 from Paladin Tools, but it is not fully adjustable and does not have locators to ensure the crimp is positioned correctly. A fully adjustable crimp tool with locators, like the Daniels Mfg Corp AF8/AFM8, runs over $400. On the bright side, they are plentiful in the used market, although that may be more true in the US than Europe.

It may be simpler to just get solder cup type D-sub connectors even though they cost slightly more per connector.

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robespierre wrote:For IDC
robespierre wrote:

For IDC crimping tool is no problem. I can find it. I just want to understand if the same tool could be used to crimp the DSUB connectors.

Crimp type D-sub connectors are a problem. To get really reliable crimps on these pins you need expensive "4-indent" tools. The cheapest I know of is the PA1440 from Paladin Tools, but it is not fully adjustable and does not haW

 

 

When I was talking about crimp DSUB connectors I didn't mean this

 

but I mean this, ie DSUB with IDC terminals

 

 

 

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Could be

I had not seen the second type before. Simply put, I don't know, although reason suggests that anything that can apply parallel pressure should be able to set the wires in the forks of that style IDC. I don't know from experience if the common IDC crimper is wide enough to do that, although this vendor claims it does DB25:

https://www.firgelliauto.com/products/8-64-pin-idc-ids-flat-ribbon-cable-crimper

The image looks like the same style tool as seen everywhere else.

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robespierre wrote:I had not
robespierre wrote:

I had not seen the second type before. Simply put, I don't know, although reason suggests that anything that can apply parallel pressure should be able to set the wires in the forks of that style IDC. I don't know from experience if the common IDC crimper is wide enough to do that, although this vendor claims it does DB25:

https://www.firgelliauto.com/products/8-64-pin-idc-ids-flat-r

 

I guess the only way to find out is to try. I'll see what I can do in the next few days..

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Follow-up

I'm considering doing something similar, but I'm wondering how your experiment went?

Did it work? Did it blow anything up? Did you figure out the pin mappings from the controller to the the DB25? Electrically, would it be okay if someone plugged it into a serial device?

Also, I'm curious why you are converting to DB25 when you'll have to convert it back to IDC-20 to use it with a disk drive. Wouldn't just using an IDC extension be easier? For example, here's one I saw online:

 

 

I am tempted to try that myself, but the IDC plug on some drives is not keyed and I've blown out the 74LS1035 chip too many times when swapping drives.

It might make more sense to replace the cable on my Disk II drives with the Unidisk style DB-19 trapezoid that can't be plugged in upside down. Apple released a note to dealers on how to make the modification (TIL 1809).

It looks like, if I want to get fancy, I could even implement the drive enable pass thru (pin 9 replaces pin 17 at a DB-19 female connector on the drive) so two Disk IIs can be daisy chained from one external port.

 

 

 

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D-SUB19 connectors aren't so

D-SUB19 connectors aren't so readily available, otherwise that would be one of the better solutions.

I think having external 20-pin connectors is not a terrible idea, although it could be a little bit hazardous as you'd have +/-12V on exposed pins that might get bumped-into by other connectors hanging out back there.

It could be pretty keen if someone made a PCB with 20-pin headers that would clamp into the rear of the Apple II and sit flush.

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A source for DB19 connectors
bradleyb wrote:

I think having external 20-pin connectors is not a terrible idea, although it could be a little bit hazardous as you'd have +/-12V on exposed pins that might get bumped-into by other connectors hanging out back there.

 

Good point about the ±12V pins! It's just too hazardous to have a live male IDC connector outside of the case.

 

bradleyb wrote:

D-SUB19 connectors aren't so readily available, otherwise that would be one of the better solutions.

They're not super easy to find, but it looks like $12 will get you two female connectors at a2heaven.com.

As for mounting, I believe Apple already thought of that. On my 2e, there are holes in the back labelled 1 to 4 which perfectly fit a DB19 connector and have spaces to screw it in place.  I am not sure what Apple intended to use for nuts on the inside, but nylon seems like a good idea so that if it works loose and falls into the case, it won't short anything out.

 

 

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And a source for DB19 male...

By the way, you can buy DB-19 male connectors from IEC for $3.24 each and DB-19 hoods for $1.97, plus shipping of $10 to $15.

 

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I use a 20 pin female to male ribbon cable

I use a 20 pin female to male ribbon cable. 

The female end is attached to the drive controller card and

the male end of the cable goes out the back of the computer.

Makes it easy to switch between the Disk ii and FloppyEMU.

I glued a guide on the Disk ii cable to ensure its attached

correctly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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