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[ The PC Guide | Procedure Guide | Physical Installation Procedures ]

Floppy Disk Drive Physical Installation Procedure

This procedure provides instructions for physically installing a floppy disk drive into a system case. This is really not a very difficult process, and doesn't really take that long to do. This procedure covers 3.5" and 5.25" floppy drives and deals only with the physical installation.

Procedure Overview:

  • Difficulty Level: 2 (Low).
  • Risk Factor: 1 (Very low).
  • Hardware Required: Screwdriver and screws; you may need additional screws if using a mounting kit.
  • Software Required: None.
  • Time to Perform: Usually about 5-10 minutes. Can take slightly longer if there are fit problems or adapters are needed.
  • Preparation / Warnings:
    • If you have not already done so, please read the section on general installation and assembly tips.
    • Make sure that the floppy cable will reach the drive in its intended location. Refer to the system layout planning procedure if necessary. You can buy a longer floppy cable if you need one; there aren't the same distance concerns here as with hard disk interface cables.
    • Make sure that a power cable from the power supply will reach the drive. 3.5" drives use the smaller mini-plug usually provided on modern supplies. Adapters are available for a couple of bucks for use in older systems.
    • Make sure that you don't mount the drive upside-down. For a 3.5" drive, the button goes underneath the disk slot. For a 5.25" drive, the level pulls down to close on an inserted disk.
    • The system case should be open before you begin. For instructions on opening the case, refer to this procedure.
    • Some cheap cases are made from very flimsy sheet metal and may require you to flex them somewhat to get the drive to slide in properly.

Procedure Steps:

  1. Find Pin 1 On Drive: Take a close look at the drive and determine which end of the interface connector is pin 1. There should be some sort of a marking near pin 1 to indicate it, which may be a small number "1", a dot, an arrow, a square around the pin where it connects to the circuit board, or some other indication. You'll need to know where pin 1 is when you connect the drive up, which may be quite a while later on. It's much harder to determine which end is pin 1 after the drive is installed.
  2. Install Mounting Kit, If Necessary: If you are installing a 3.5" drive into a 5.25" drive bay, you will need to use a mounting or adapter kit. To use this kit, place the 3.5" drive into the middle of the adapter, and then use four screws to mount the drive to the inside of the adapter. Some adapters mount using screwholes on the bottom of the drive and some using screwholes on the side.  Make sure you orient the drive correctly. Then test the mounted drive by sliding it into the drive bay. Ensure that it fits properly. Once this is done, you continue this procedure and just treat this drive+kit assembly mechanically as if it were a 5.25" drive.
  3. Mount Drive Into Case: There are at least four different ways of mounting a floppy drive into the system case that I have encountered, and there are probably more. Determine which of the following matches your case and follow the appropriate instructions:
    • Direct Mount: The simplest and most common mounting method is the direct mount, where the drive slides into the bay and mounts directly to the drive bay walls. Slide the drive into the bay, and align the drive's faceplate with the front of the case (you may need to put the front of the case back on to do this). When the drive is lined up correctly, secure the drive to the bay using four screws.
    • Drive Rails: Some cases, especially older ones, use two thin rails that are mounted to the drive, and then used to slide the drive into the drive bay. If your cases uses these, select two matching rails, one for either side of the drive. Place the drive into the bay without the rails first, to allow you to visualize where the rails need to mount onto the drive so that once inserted, the drive will line up correctly with the front of the case. Attach the rails to either side of the drive, using two screws per rail. Then slide the drive into the bay. Verify that the front of the drive lines up correctly. Some drive rail cases have spring-loaded clips on the front that snap into place when the drive is inserted all the way (mostly newer cases). Others require you to screw the drive into the bay anyway, using holes in the front of the drive bay. Either way, make sure the drive is not free to move around when you are done.
    • Mounting Plate: Some cases mount 3.5" drives using a thin mounting plate that attaches to the bottom of the drive. If your case has one of these, detach it from the case. Then screw the drive into the plate, and reinsert the plate into the case. Some plates detach from the case using a single screw. The drive should like up properly once reinserted; this is part of the reason for this design, as it eliminates the alignment step in most cases.
    • Mounting Box: Some cases, especially desktops, use a removable metal box into which the drive is mounted. The procedure here is similar to that for direct mount, above, except that you have to remove the box first and insert the drive into it, then remount the box. Be sure to check the alignment before you tighten the screws.
  4. Double-Check Installation: Make sure the drive has been fitted properly into the case and that there is no interference with other components. Ensure that it is not loose in the case.

Next: Hard Disk Drive Physical Installation Procedure

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