A Simple Floppy Music Controller

While playing music with floppy drives has been done many times over, making any device with a stepper motor play music still appeals to the hacker in all of us. [Tyler] designed an Arduino shield and a library which lets you get up and running in no time. [Tyler]’s shield includes pin headers to connect 4 floppy drives, which plug directly into the shield. The drives don’t need any modification before being used.

While you could simply wire a few floppy drives up to an Arduino with some jumpers, this breakout shield makes connecting your drives trivial. In addition to designing the shield, [Tyler] released an Arduino library to make things even easier. The library lets you simply set the frequency you want each drive to play, which saves a bit of legwork.

The floppy-controlling Arduino library is available on GitHub and a video of the controller is included after the break.

12 thoughts on “A Simple Floppy Music Controller

  1. “First, the floppy cable needs to NOT have a twist in it between the shield and the drive. Basically, floppy cables usually have three connectors: motherboard, floppy B, and floppy A. There’s a twist in the cable for floppy A, but the shield is designed with floppy pin 12 (DRIVE B SELECT) grounded, so you need to NOT have that twist. That usually means using a three-connector cable, and connecting the drive to the middle port.”

    1. Hi, I’m the guy who made the thing.

      The short answer is that I didn’t understand the drive protocol as well when I designed the board. Right now it simply grounds the drive select pin so I can pulse the step and direction pins.

      The longer answer is that to control two drives on a single cable, you’d need to control both enable lines plus step and direction, so you’d need 4*4 = 16 pins. While there are enough pins, it would make things more complicated, both in hardware and software.

      Certainly doable, though. Folks are welcome to fork my board design to do this.

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