FC5025 USB 5.25″ Floppy Controller – Device Side Data

FC5025 USB 5.25“ Floppy Controller 1 FC5025 USB 5.25“ Floppy Controller 2

Device Side Data’s FC5025 USB 5.25″ floppy controller plugs into any computer’s USB port and enables you to attach a 5.25″ floppy drive. Even if your computer has no built-in floppy controller, the FC5025 lets you read those old disks. And it’s not just for IBM PC disks – it also understands formats used by Apple, Atari, Commodore and TI, among others.

The FC5025 connects to any computer’s USB 2.0 or USB 1.1 port. Compatible software is required; see below for system requirements for the included software.

The FC5025 is USB powered. Power from USB runs only the FC5025 itself; you must supply power to the drive mechanism separately, such as from your computer’s power supply.

The FC5025 is sold as a controller board only without a drive mechanism. It has been tested to work well with the TEAC FD-55GFR drive and should also work with most other PC-style 5.25″ drives. (Note: the included software expects a 1.2M drive, even when reading 360k disks.)

  • The FC5025 is read-only. It cannot write to floppies.
  • The FC5025 may be unable to read disks that are damaged or copy-protected.
  • The FC5025 is intended for 5.25″ disks only, not 3.5″ or 8″ disks.
  • Most PC-style drives can’t read the second side of “flippy” disks (more information on flippy disks here).

The FC5025 includes a graphical Disk Image and Browse tool for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. This program allows you to make an image copy of an inserted floppy, suitable for use under emulators or for archival use. On some but not all types of disks, the Disk Image and Browse tool can also display a file listing and copy individual files from the disk. Screenshots of the Disk Image and Browse tool are available.

Command line image and browse tools are also included for Linux and Mac OS X.

The included software runs on the following platforms:

  • Linux (tested on 2.6.24 x86)
  • Mac OS X (tested on PPC 10.4.11 Tiger, Intel 10.6.4 Snow Leopard, Intel 10.7.2 Lion, Intel 10.8.2 Mountain Lion and Intel 10.12.6 Sierra)
  • Windows (tested on 98SE, XP SP3, Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit, and Windows 8 32-bit and 64-bit)

Untested platforms are not guaranteed to work.

As of March 2013, the included software supports the following types of disk:

  • Apple DOS 3.2 (13-sector)
  • Apple DOS 3.3 (16-sector)
  • Apple ProDOS
  • Atari 810
  • Calcomp Vistagraphics 4500
  • Commodore 1541
  • Kaypro 2 CP/M 2.2
  • Kaypro 4 CP/M 2.2
  • MS-DOS
  • Motorola VersaDOS
  • North Star MDS-A-D
  • PMC MicroMate
  • Tandy Color Computer Disk BASIC
  • TI-99/4A

Filesystem browse capability exists for ProDOS, MS-DOS, Kaypro, PMC MicroMate, Disk BASIC and VersaDOS disks.

Support for Kaypro, Calcomp, PMC and Tandy disks was added after the initial product introduction. Existing customers can download a driver update to read these disks.

In the future, additional platforms and disk formats may become supported through software updates or third-party software.

Disk images produced by the FC5025 are compatible with the following software:

For Apple DOS 3.3 and ProDOS disk images:

  • AppleWin Apple IIe emulator (free/open-source, for Windows)
  • CiderPress disk image manager (free/open-source, for Windows)
  • KEGS Apple IIgs emulator (free/open-source, for Linux/Mac/Windows)
  • Sweet16 Apple IIgs emulator (freeware, for Mac OS X)
  • Virtual ][ Apple II/II+/IIe emulator (commercial, free evaluation, for Mac OS X)
  • …and many others!
  • The software included with the FC5025 also has a built-in browse mode for copying individual files from ProDOS disks.

For Commodore 1541 disk images:

  • VICE Commodore 64 emulator (free/open-source, for Linux/Mac/Windows/others)

For MS-DOS disk images:

  • DOSBox MS-DOS emulator (free/open-source, for Linux/Mac/Windows/others)

    Use a command like “imgmount a disk.img -t floppy” from the DOSBox prompt.
  • Mac OS X Finder – double-click the .img file to access the contents
  • mtools disk utilities (free/open-source, for Linux/others)

    Use commands like “mdir -i disk.img ::”.
  • WinImage disk image manager (commercial, 30-day free evaluation, for Windows)
  • 7-Zip file archiver (free/open-source, for Windows/others) – works only with 1.2M disks, not 360k

    www.7-zip.org is the official 7-Zip site, avoid other lookalike sites
  • The software included with the FC5025 also has a built-in browse mode for copying individual files from MS-DOS disks.

For TI-99/4A disk images:

  • V9T9 TI-99/4A emulator (shareware, for MS-DOS)
  • Win994a TI-99/4A simulator (freeware, for Windows)

    Give your disk image filenames an extension of .TIDisk to use them in Win994a.

Device Side Data is not affiliated with the software vendors in this list.

Form factor Printed circuit board
Dimensions 3.9″x1.3″ (approx. 99mmx33mm)
Mounts in HDD bay
Host interface USB 2.0 full-speed 12Mbps, USB 1.1 compatible
Drive interface 34 pin
Drive compatibility TEAC FD-55GFR or equivalent
Number of drives supported One per FC5025
Power requirements FC5025: <100mA
Drive mechanism must be powered separately
No power sequencing requirements
Connectors USB type B, 34-pin dual-row header
Disk transfer rates GCR: 167kbps-333kbps (Apple), 167kbps-370kbps (Commodore)
FM: 56kbps-250kbps
MFM: 250kbps, 300kbps, 500kbps
Write support None – read-only controller
Command set Vendor specific (see developer documentation)
Data transfer method FC5025 locates desired sector, performs clock recovery and sends all clock and data bits to host
Host discards clock bits and verifies checksum
Hardware requirements USB 1.1 or 2.0 compliant host
5.25″ floppy drive (not included – customer provided)

Specifications are subject to change without notice.

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