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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussions including the Apple Watch.

External Floppy Drive Slow


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keysmike

 
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Does anyone know why R/W to/from an external floppy drive should be excruciatingly slow on a Mac? More importantly, is there any way of speeding it up?

I use the USB drive to transfer MIDI files from my elderly Yamaha keyboard, which has a built-in floppy drive. So I can't easily get around the problem using memory sticks. (And a new keyboard would cost an arm and a leg!). The time it takes to transfer files as small as 25kb is making me lose the will to live!

Incidentally, my OS is Mountain Lion.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keysmike View Post
Does anyone know why R/W to/from an external floppy drive should be excruciatingly slow on a Mac? More importantly, is there any way of speeding it up?

Incidentally, my OS is Mountain Lion.
Have you used this floppy drive on other computers where it wasn't slow?

The reason why floppy drives are slow...is because they are SUPER ancient computer technology.

Also...if you've used this floppy drive on other computers & it wasn't slow (non-Mac computers)...are you 100% sure this device is compatible with Macintosh computers? If so...maybe some sort of driver needs to be installed for it to work better.

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RadDave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by keysmike View Post
Does anyone know why R/W to/from an external floppy drive should be excruciatingly slow on a Mac? More importantly, is there any way of speeding it up?

I use the USB drive to transfer MIDI files from my elderly Yamaha keyboard, which has a built-in floppy drive. So I can't easily get around the problem using memory sticks. (And a new keyboard would cost an arm and a leg!). The time it takes to transfer files as small as 25kb is making me lose the will to live!

Incidentally, my OS is Mountain Lion.
Hello and welcome to the forum!

Now, I cannot really help you BUT a reference to 'external floppy drive' brought back a LOT of memories; when I started in academic medicine in the late 70s and was writing articles, my secretary stored the documents on 8" floppies; when I bought my first home computer in 1980, an Apple II+, I had two 5 1/4" floppy drives, and then finally the 3 1/2" drive emerged w/ a phenomenal 1.44 MB storage - BOY, the latter in a nice plastic container was NEAT! The attached pic shows the visual progression of these floppy devices.

Then solid state USB storage made the floppy extinct - now just an archaic device of historic interest - my only suggestion is to upgrade your hardware, sorry - Dave
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File Type: jpg Floppy_Disk_Drives_8_5_3.jpg (83.5 KB, 50 views)
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chscag

 
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Does anyone know why R/W to/from an external floppy drive should be excruciatingly slow on a Mac? More importantly, is there any way of speeding it up?
You didn't mention which USB floppy drive you're using.... but I have a Sony MPF88E 2X which I was using to copy old floppy info onto DVDs where it will last a lot longer. Anyway, reading and writing is slow especially when getting used to USB 2 or 3 speeds which are many times faster.

Like Nick said, it's old technology. Live with it or buy another Keyboard. New Yamaha keyboards (depending on what model you buy) are not all that expensive anymore since all of them are now being made in China.
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Apart from getting a new keyboard, there are two [low cost] options you might want to consider:
  • A new 3.5" Floppy Drive - these are about $10-$15 delivered from AliExpress or similar sources. Some specifically mention Mac compatibility, so at least there's "not as described" recourse, if it doesn't work properly.
  • A Floppy Drive Emulator for your keyboard, although, I must say, these look rather ugly, particularly, if there's no way to fit it in, instead of the existing drive.

There's no guarantee, of course, that either of these will be any faster though ...

Dvid
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keysmike

 
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Thanks all.
Yes, I guess you have confirmed what I already suspected. The drive in question is a Sanyo (made in PRC)
and of the same type that already resides in my Yamaha keyboard. I appreciate your replies. Thanks again.

(I'll be saving up for a new keyboard!)

Mike
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Mike Jasper

 
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I'm having the same problem with my zip drive.
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RadDave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Jasper View Post
I'm having the same problem with my zip drive.
Hi Mike and welcome to the forum! Unfortunately, you're unlikely to receive much help w/ the virtual lack of information in your terse opening post, sorry!

Please provide: 1) Computer(s) being used - brands, models, years; 2) What operating systems are installed on your computer(s); 3) Brand, model, year of the Zip drive (this is ancient technology, so I'm assuming a dozen or more years old); and 4) More specifically, what is your problem and what do you need to do?

Also, have you been able to backup the information on the zip drive to some other device, e.g. an external HD, flash drive, your computer(s)? I used zip drives 20 years ago and the several I had (Iomega) soon gave me the 'click of death' - I abandoned the technology as soon as possible.

So, help us to help you by providing some answers to the questions above - Dave

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Last edited by RadDave; 03-21-2015 at 04:17 PM. Reason: typo
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chscag

 
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Quote:
Also, have you been able to backup the information on the zip drive to some other device, e.g. an external HD, flash drive, your computer(s)? I used zip drives 20 years ago and the several I had (Iomega) soon gave be the 'click of death' - I abandoned the technology as soon as possible.
You brought back old memories Dave! I know I replaced at least 1 iOmega Zip drive due to the "click of death". Fortunately it was replaced free of charge. It wasn't too long ago that I cleaned out my "junk" closet and got rid of a bunch of Zip disks and a SCSI Zip drive I had laying around.
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Floppy and Zip drtives are slow. Imagine going from handwriting to a typewriter. The hand was sure slow, same with these ancient history devices. The last Zip drive I had came with an AGP G4, new in 1999. Evreything has got faster since last century. And floppies are older as the first Bondi Blue iMac did away with them in 1998!

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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Evreything has got faster since last century.
LOL, not me Harry! Seems like each year that goes by, I get slower.
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RadDave

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chscag View Post
You brought back old memories Dave! I know I replaced at least 1 iOmega Zip drive due to the "click of death". Fortunately it was replaced free of charge. It wasn't too long ago that I cleaned out my "junk" closet and got rid of a bunch of Zip disks and a SCSI Zip drive I had laying around.
Oh yes, the dreaded 'click of death' - just reading the Wiki article on the Zip Drive to refresh my memory - introduced by Iomega in 1994 and proceeded through capacity stages from 100MB -> 250MB -> 750MB - production stopped about a dozen years later, but I 'bailed out' and did not get beyond the 250MB capacity - the introduction of the early USB flash drives was a salvation in my memory - but for 'ole times' sake, a pic below of some zip drives! Dave
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File Type: jpg iomega-zip-100mb-usb-powered-external-drive_1.jpg (107.4 KB, 19 views)

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@keysmike There used to be a plastic adapter available that resembled a floppy disk. It didn't have any media on it just a place to insert a memory stick. The entire gizmo then slid into the floppy drive bay. Once files were copied to the memory stick the entire thing could be ejected. The memory stick could be fed to a memory card reader.

Never mind. Just checked Amazon and the price is well into double digits. Probably not worth it but if you're interested here it is Amazon.com: Sony Floppy Disc Interface for Memory Stick (MSAC-FD2MA): Electronics

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keysmike

 
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Hi All. Many thanks for the helpful replies. I think the problem I have can be boiled down to how long it takes to open (and list the contents of) a 3.5" floppy disc in the Mac's Finder. Let's say I insert a disc in the drive, containing a dozen or so Midi files. The drive will show up on my desktop quite promptly, but then when I double-click it so as to list its contents, it can take sometimes (but not always!) a minute or more to do so. During this time, the drive itself sounds as though it is working hard.

Th drive in question is a fairly standard USB 3.5" floppy drive (type YD-8U10), and the computer is a Mac Book Pro running Mountain Lion. As I have not tried using a different (but similar model of) external drive, I guess it is possible that the problem relates to this particular unit, although I doubt that is the case. Anyway, I have decided to live with the problem for now. It is annoying, but I can always go and have a coffee while I wait! Thanks again everyone.
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No Charlie I have it on excellent authority you are still operating at the same speed, it is things getting faster lol. Here we are almost 1/4 of 2015 gone already and two weeks ago it was New Year!!

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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