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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 6th Nov 2020, 3:00 pm   #1
woodchips
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Default Disc drive value/rarity

I have penetrated another level in the archaeological dig in the shed, this time it is disc drives.

I know that any 3.1/2" 1/3 height drive is 1.44MB and valueless, but what about the 1/6 height as used in laptops, but here in test equipment.

Any 1/2 height or full height 3.1/2" drive will be 360k or 720k and therefore of some use to 80's computers?

What about 3.1/2" SCSI hard drives?

What about IDE or MFM hard drives? Found two NEC 47MB MFM. What about AT bus disc controllers? Found several, 8 bit and 16 bit, MFM and IDE? I need to keep a couple of spares for my 486, but not more.

What about optical drives? I am sure that no CD-ROM drive of any speed is of any value, but what if SCSI? Also, what about CD-RW drives, SCSI or IDE, are these of any value?

I did have a parallel to SCSI interface, if I ever find it, does it have value? Similarly the SCSI plug in drive caddies for 3.1/2" drives?

I realise that any 5.1/4" floppy has value, whether 360k or 1.2MB. Sure I have some but not yet turned up, might be an earlier archaeological layer.

Have a DRI 8" S/S floppy, bought new late 70's, hardly used because I was given 2 D/S drives so used them. I also have a 8" cats eyes disc, no idea if it is ok, never used it.

All this used to work, but been many years since tested so who knows if it still does.

Don't want money for any of this. Hopefully someone can use it other than immediately listing on ebay. But some are quite heavy so might have to charge postage. I can't use parcel2go now, they won't take my card, so might have to be Royal Mail.

If any interest then will do a hat. Might be wise to post threads, provided the mods allow, so everyone else can see what is being asked for.

None is particularly heavy so distance won't come into it, other than being in the UK.
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Old 6th Nov 2020, 3:14 pm   #2
TonyDuell
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

'MFM' (I assume you mean ST412 interface, often incorrectly called ST506, that's another rant...) hard drives are useful if working for machines that can't use anything else. Since the ST412 interface is very low-level you could record just about any format on the disk, some machines, for example, put filesystem information in the sector headers which is impossible with things like IDE drives.

Catseye disks are always worth saving too.
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Old 8th Nov 2020, 11:25 am   #3
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

I'm always on the lookout for floppy drives. Especially 8" to use with my fix and cp/m homebrew machines. Even the standard 3.5" floppy drives are worth saving they can usually be persuaded to work on older micros.
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Old 8th Nov 2020, 12:06 pm   #4
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Probably worth nothing until one is needed urgently. We had a bit of kit that used a floppy drive under Win3.1, I made a PIC pretend* to be a USB drive and surprise, surprise the programme ran under Win10 and saw the "disk", the hardest bit was getting an old 3 1/2" disks data onto the Win10 machine to pop it into the PIC.

*sounds very complicated, all I did was modify the USB demo code that Microchip supply.
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Old 9th Nov 2020, 10:31 pm   #5
Kyle__B
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Common or garden variety IDE hard disc drives probably not worth very much, it's common to use adapters and CF or SD cards as substitutes for smaller sizes, SATA for larger.

IDE CDROMs probably five to fifteen quid depending on features like DVD or being a burner of some sort, or if they're particularly ancient for 486 people. IDE CDROMs can't be fully substituted because of their analogue audio outputs.

SCSI stuff is fairly expensive to replace with modern gear and adapters - so carries the most value. Also fairly prestigious as a high-end-for-the-time option.

1.44MB drives are modifiable for 80s computers like Atari ST, Amiga etc.
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Old 17th Nov 2020, 8:56 pm   #6
phildil
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

I've recently sold a few old disk drives for a few quid simply because I don't like throwing stuff away. Keen techie types into retrocomputing will look for working drives. Not much money in it though as you might expect.

Internal 3.5 inch floppy drives seem to fetch about 5; more for external models. Working 5.25 inch floppy drives are scarcer and 8 inch quite rare now so they might be worth trying - check the sold items to get an idea of prices.

IDE Hard drives go for about 5 upwards - I've shifted quite a few of them.

CD and DVD drives are pretty much worthless except the external models which might fetch a couple of quid. They do however contain useful components (steppers, rails) which can be repurposed into small robotic or scanner projects.

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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 5:40 pm   #7
woodchips
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Thanks for the comments.

Looks like the 8" drive and CE disc is off to Canada.

It seems that the rest of them aren't worth the bother of packing and posting, particularly since I can't guarantee any or them work.

Disc drives get 800 per tonne of you have a very large pile or them!
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Old 23rd Nov 2020, 7:12 pm   #8
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Most devices that use reasonably standard Shugart interface floppies (3.5", 5.25", 8") can use something like an HxC emulator - either hardware or using the firmware on a Gotek or similar. Even my oddball Sord gear can work - I have had an M68 (5.25" HD using an IBM 2D256 8" logical format) booting nicely on either SORD DOS or CP/M-68K from an HxC, although I have had no luck with an M23 mk III (5.25" 100tpi SSQD).

The 5.25" drives are still valuable for getting that original image from more oddball formats though - I had to image an M68 disk on a PC to get the base image for it to work. Same would go for 8".

In the IDE space, 8 bit controllers and drives are worth hanging on to for XT-class machines, although there are more and more options available. Not sure of the value of 16 bit IDE, although my PII refuses to boot properly off a CF-IDE adapter or any IDE drive larger than 32 GB (even when jumpered) so would be handy to keep some smaller drives.

MFM - not really sure. I've got a spare I pulled out of a 5170 PC/AT (one of my mid-90s regrets, gutting that machine and putting in a 486 motherboard then getting rid of it; at least I kept the cards, including a PGC; wish I'd kept it intact with the odd monitor though) and my 5150 has an aftermarket one in it, but again there are flash memory options available. If it's from a non-PC system then it would start being more valuable; for example even non-working Apple II hard drives are worth a bit.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 10:18 am   #9
woodchips
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Thanks, I will keep some bits but don't ever expect to use them.

Not sure I have seen an 8 bit IDE, they were MFM, ST506 interface. Did come across a tape drive with an MFM interface, wonder if those tapes are readable! Likewise the Trakker drive.

I suppose it depends if you need to get data off, or it is a hobby. I have tried fiddling with the various adapters to try and read old laptop discs, see drive C: but none of the others. Used to just buy another laptop when the hinge cracked but they are no more. Never worked out why a busted hinge stopped the whole thing working. And there are more than one type of disc interface, and all my discs don't fit in the pile of laptops.
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:12 am   #10
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodchips View Post
Never worked out why a busted hinge stopped the whole thing working.
Is the connection to the screen via the hinge?
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 12:36 pm   #11
dominicbeesley
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

I'm still interested in a couple each of 5 1/4 or 3 1/2 floppies if you have any. Happy to pay the postage and a donation.

I'm hoping to join in the Stardot forum's preservation effort, starting with a large number of discs I acquired about 15 years ago. I'll no doubt need a few drives just for that as its a slow process of do a few discs then clean the drive a spare or spares can be working while the other is being cleaned?
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Old 24th Nov 2020, 11:42 pm   #12
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

I'm sure you have looked on eBay etc for the prices of MFM hard disks. There are normally a few available, sold as untested spares or repairs, and they typically sell for around 15. Very occasionally there will be a tested working one sold by someone who knows how to park the heads and pack properly, offered with a DOA warranty, which will sell for over 100.

They are fragile and unreliable. Even when they were current technology they were susceptible to head crashes etc, so there probably aren't many good ones surviving now. The chances of an untested one that's been rattling around in a box for years working is slim.

It would do no harm to pop those on eBay as spares or repairs. Better than binning them but don't expect to get rich! Someone with a dud hard disk in an IBM PC-AT or other computer that used then will be happy to take a chance on them.

There seems to be no real demand for early SCSI hard disks currently, maybe because they were mostly server disks at the time and there aren't many collectable computers that used them.

Small IDE and SATA disks are also at the point where you would struggle to give them away at the moment. They are also much more likely to be working so are unlikely to be sought after any time soon.
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Old 25th Nov 2020, 1:16 am   #13
jamesperrett
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Default Re: Disc drive value/rarity

Quote:
Originally Posted by phildil View Post
CD and DVD drives are pretty much worthless except the external models which might fetch a couple of quid. They do however contain useful components (steppers, rails) which can be repurposed into small robotic or scanner projects.
I've only just seen this but it might be worth saying that there are certain Plextor models that are still in demand if they are working - notably the Premium, Premium2, PX712 and PX716. These have the ability to test for low level errors which is a feature normally found only on expensive test gear.
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Old 25th Nov 2020, 11:19 am   #14
dominicbeesley
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Originally Posted by Paul Stenning View Post
There seems to be no real demand for early SCSI hard disks currently, maybe because they were mostly server disks at the time and there aren't many collectable computers that used them.
Really? That surprises me, I had to pay quite a lot to get hold of a full height 40 meg drive a couple of years ago...I just looked on ebay and there are very few early SCSI/SASI that I could see and they were 300+...or maybe I'm searching for the wrong thing?
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