A solid state replacement for obsolete floppy disk drives

1st September 2016
Nat Bowers

Solid State Disks has launched a floppy drive emulator providing a direct, drop-in, solid state replacement for obsolete, electro-mechanical floppy disk drives in legacy computer-based systems and equipment. FLOPPYFlash uses removable standard industrial CompactFlash solid state card technology to replace the floppy disk media.

Offering a fast and efficient field replacement, FLOPPYFlash’s configurable firmware, which is field upgradeable via an integral USB port, facilitates a perfect match to any host computer system or equipment, eliminating the need for any host hardware or software changes. TCP/IP networking via standard RJ45 Ethernet connection is also supported, allowing FLOPPYFlash to be connected to any existing local area network for remote configuration, control, diagnostics, backup and restore.

With a small 3.5" footprint and using a standard 34-pin floppy disk drive connection, FLOPPYFlash can be used to replace obsolete 3.5" and any larger 5.25" and 8" floppy disk drives using a suitable adaptor. It also supports 26-/34-pin slim & Shugart floppy connections.

FLOPPYFlash only requires a 5V power supply and will also fit into a standard floppy disk drive slot using the same fixings. Data transfer rates can be set between 125 and 500kb/s depending on whether the matching encoding method is FM, MFM or MMFM. Similarly, the emulated track configuration is programmable. The use of solid state technology also delivers greatly increased MTBF and media life, improved environmental efficiency with lower power consumption, noise and heat generation and a reduction in unplanned downtime.

FLOPPYFlash is also available as a network drive upgrade with IP address set up at the factory. This ships complete with Solid State Disks’ FLASH2GUI graphical user interface used for control and configuration of the drive as well as backup and restore operations. FLASH2GUI features multiple login levels to prevent unauthorised use and backup and restore based on the disk image, as well as write protection and erase of the drive contents, along with the ability to set the disk capacity from 1Mb to 64GB, set the drive emulation and the drive’s IP address and name remotely. The image editor controls the backup and restore functionality and includes the ability to view the drive image contents, extract files, folders or the entire disk contents, add and remove files and folders from the disk, add new software install files and create a new formatted drive.

James Hilken, Sales Director, Solid State Disks, commented: “There are plenty of critical legacy systems in a variety of industries that are potentially nearing end-of-life simply because their floppy disk drives are becoming too difficult to repair or replace as they age and fail. FLOPPYFlash provides a solution to this, giving OEMs and service providers across a broad range of industries a quick, easy and cost-efficient solution for keeping their legacy computer-based systems and equipment up-to-date with a drop-in, solid state replacement for obsolete floppy disk drives.”

FLOPPYFlash is suited for use in legacy computer-based systems and equipment in a range of industries and applications including telecomms, semiconductor manufacturing, industrial process control, engineering and manufacturing, power generation, oil & gas, military & aerospace, flight simulation and post-production.

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