Anatomy of a Floppy Disk Drive


We know that floppy disks are being replaced by USB memories and memory cards, but after disassembling a hard disk drive and an optical disk drive, we couldn’t help ourselves from publishing a tutorial showing how a floppy disk drive looks like from inside.

1.44 MB Floppy Disk DriveFigure 1: 1.44 MB floppy disk drive.

On PC floppy disk drives had five generations: 360 KB (5 ¼”), 1.2 MB (5 ¼”), 720 KB (3 ½”), 1.44 MB (3 ½”) and 2.88 MB (3 ½”). In this tutorial we will disassemble the most used model, which is the one available even today: the 1.44 MB 3 ½” model.

Floppy disk drives became so cheap that it is not worthwhile fixing one when it becomes defective: just throw it away and buy a new one. So, even though it is possible to fix a floppy disk drive, it simple makes no sense.

In Figure 2, you can see the back view of a floppy disk drive: it has only two connectors, one for power and the other for its communication with the computer, which uses a 34-wire flat-cable.

1.44 MB Floppy Disk DriveFigure 2: 1.44 MB floppy disk drive, back view.

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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