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Floppy disk sales have, well, flopped but there are still masses of PCs and old embedded PC-based systems out there with floppy disk slots and drives. Now this near-dead space can be made usable again, with a 32GB FLOPPYFlash drive from Solid State Disks Ltd.
It’s a drop-in replacement for a floppy disk drive and takes CompactFlash solid state cards instead of floppy disk media. The firmware is field-upgradable via an included USB port.
The device has a 3.5-inch footprint and uses a standard 34 pin floppy disk drive connection, needing a 5V power supply. It also supports 26 pin / 34 pin slim and Shugart floppy connections.
Data transfer rates can be set between 125 Kbits and 500 Kbit/s depending on whether the matching encoding method is FM, MFM or MMFM. The emulated track configuration is programmable.
TCP/IP networking via standard RJ45 Ethernet connection is also supported, allowing FLOPPYFlash to be connected to any existing local area network for remote configuration, control, diagnostics, backup and restore.
FLOPPYFlash drive and CompactFlash media
FLOPPYFlash is also available as a network drive upgrade with IP address set up at the factory. It ships with Solid State Disks’ FLASH2GUI graphical user interface used for control and configuration of the drive as well as backup and restore operations.
FLOPPYFlash network drive GUI
SSD tells us: "The use of solid state technology also delivers greatly increased reliability (MTBF) and media life, improved environmental efficiency with lower power consumption, noise and heat generation, and a reduction in unplanned downtime."
If you still have a PC with a floppy disk drive installed then (1) congratulations, and (2) we’d be surprised if you care much about improved environmental efficiency with lower power consumption, noise and heat generation, although a reduction in downtime and improved media reliability probably do matter a lot.
Setting irony aside, this use of flash drive media in a floppy disk drive bay looks a great little idea. ®
* There have long been rumours that certain launch codes are stored on a floppy….
Flash storage buyer’s guide