Why doesn't my floppy drive work?

Question

Any time I try to access a floppy drive I gt the message of A:\ is not accessible the device is not ready. I tried different disks, didn't work, I bought a new floppy drive, didn't work, bought a new cable, didn't work. I've checked the settings in the BIOS and everything is as it should be. What else can I do?

Answer

This question was answered on December 10, 2002. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

First, look at the LED on the front of the drive If it's always on, reverse the ribbon cable at the back of the drive.

Be double certain both ends of the cable have "pin 1" aligned with their proper mating ends Use a flashlight, as the markings may be quite small Look for a number "1", or just a square pad at the PC board connector pins On the cable, look for a small arrow at one end of each ribbon connector, or a red cable wire Usually, pin one on the drive itself is toward the center of the unit If the cable you are using has a key which mates with a socket notch, you are in luck

If that doesn't work, I would suspect a bad disk drive interface at the other end of the cable This is a motherboard problem and not easily fixed

It could be a broken or loose pin at the motherboard drive socket, but you'll need a degree of skill and a magnifying glass to repair such a thing For most people, it's easier just to replace the motherboard, as such a failure usually points to an abused or unreliable board.

Be extra certain the drive is getting power It is plugged in, isn't it? Floppy drives are connected to both 5 and 12 volts DC You'll have to measure them by probing the cable ever-so-gently with a meter Be careful not to short the probe to the metal floppy drive case.

On the outside, you might purchase a drive expansion card, but I can't say it would really be worth it.

Aside from that, there isn't much you can do Some people these days days are forgoing floppy disks altogether Maybe this is your chance to be cutting-edge.

RG

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Author

Posted by Robert of Mesa Community College on December 10, 2002