Amiga Floppy Drive Compatibility List

     Since a disk drive is by nature a moving part, it is inevitable that it will fail someday. The vast majority of Amiga computers out there are least a decade old (some are nearly 20 years old), and so many users have had the misfortune of their disk drives dying on them. Replacing them is difficult because while Amiga disk drives are for the most part electrically compatible with those used in the Wintels of today, there are slight but vital differences in terms of both signals and pinout.

    The problem stems mainly from the fact that Commodore used low-density drives throughout the Amiga line up until the Amiga 4000 and 3000T. (After that they made things even worse by switching to custom-made high-density drives that spun at half the speed of a normal high-density floppy drive.) In contrast, low-density drives were quickly phased out of use in the IBM world sometime around the mid-1980s and can be found on only the oldest of machines. The aim of this guide is to provide information on which disk drives will work or can be made to work in an Amiga.

    If properly configured, some drives listed will work right away, and some will work with modifications. Most others cannot be configured at all. Drives that can't be reconfigured can be made to sort of work with a cable hack, but the "diskchange" signal will probably not work right (at least, it never worked for me). As a result, the Amiga will not be able to tell whether or not the drive has a disk inside. It is not possible to swap disks in games or start up an Amiga 1000 past the "insert Workbench" screen with this trick. Drives that have been modified or reconfigured sometimes suffer from a missing or different "ready" signal- this can cause problems with certain pieces of software that access the disk drive directly.

    If you don't feel like modifying an existing floppy drive or can't find one that can be reconfigured, there are a few alternatives. Individual Computers offers an adapter board called the Kylwalda, which can be used to make almost any modern Wintel disk drive fully Amiga compatible. Eyetech also used to sell something called the EZ-DF0, which does something similar.

    The following chart should help in figuring out which model of floppy drive might work best with your Amiga. Some work, some need modifications in order to completely work, and the rest will only partially work with the cable hack.

3.5 Drives:

Manufacturer Model Works unmodified? Can be modified? Notes
Alps Electric DF354H090F Unknown Unknown
Chinon FZ-354 Yes N/A
Chinon FZ-354A Yes N/A
Chinon FZ-357 Yes N/A
Chinon FZ-357A Yes N/A Will work as high-density drive in an Amiga.
Chinon FB-354 Yes N/A Has 6-pin jumper block on back. Short pins 3 and 5.
Epson SMD-380 No No
Epson SMD-300 Unknown Maybe
Epson SMD-340 No No Has large jumper array on the back-First row labeled G,A,A,T,T,0,(BLANK),1, second row labeled H,(BLANK),L,(BLANK),S,2(BLANK),3. Docs are here.
Mitsumi D359T7 Unknown Unknown
NEC FD1231H Unknown Unknown
NEC FD1035 Yes N/A Low-density drive.
NEC FD1036 A Yes N/A Low-density drive.
Panasonic JU-257T234P Unknown Maybe Has 5 setting switches- RY/DC, NC/OUT/IN, 0/3/2/1, SE/AT/PS2, MO/MS.
Panasonic JU-257A023F Partially Maybe Has 6 setting switches- 0/3/2/1, M0/M1, RY/DC, AT/PS2, NC/EX(or OUT/EX), A/B.
Panasonic JU-257A606P Unknown Yes-see this file on Aminet
Panasonic JU-257A605P Partially Yes-see this CAPS Knowledge Base article
Panasonic JU-257A606PC Unknown Maybe
Panasonic JU-257A607P Unknown Maybe
Panasonic JU-257A137P Unknown Maybe
Panasonic JU-253-033P Yes N/A To make it work, set MS/MD to MD, 0/1/2/3 to 0, RY/DC to RY.
Panasonic JU-253-243P Unknown Unknown
Sony MPF920-F No No Has one setting jumper.
Sony MPF420-1 Yes N/A Has jumper grid for settings. To make it work, short pins 5 and 10, 11 and 6, 8 and 7, and 13 and 12. Also see: illustrated configuration.
Sony MPF110-05 Yes N/A Low-density drive.
Sony MPF17W-1 Unknown Unknown
Samsung SFD-321B/KEPN Unknown Unknown Has holes in the bottom of the housing through which solder pads with settings marked next to them can be seen.
Tamagawa TS3118N8 Yes N/A Low-density drive.
TEAC FD-235HFA429 Unknown Unknown Settings can be changed with solder pads according to the manuals.
TEAC FD-235F Yes N/A Low-density drive. Has 6 setting jumpers-MS, IR, RY, DC, D1, D0. To make it work, put jumpers on RY, DC & D0.
TEAC FD-235HF3823 Yes N/A Has a grid of setting jumpers, with 4,3,2,1 from left to right and ABCDEFG from bottom to top. To make it work, put jumpers from 1A to 1B, 3A to 3B, 4C to 3C, 4E to 3E and 4G to 3G. Also short the "Frame Ground" jumper, which sits to the upper left of the main jumper grid. Also see: illustrated configuration.
TEAC FD-235HF3435 Yes N/A Has a grid of setting jumpers, with 4,3,2,1 from left to right and ABCDEFG from bottom to top. To make it work, put jumpers from 1A to 1B, 3A to 3B, 4A to 4B, 3C to 4C, 3E to 4E, and 3G to 4G. Also short the "Frame Ground" jumper, which sits to the upper left of the main jumper grid. Also see: illustrated configuration.
TEAC FD-235HF4240 N/A N/A Has a grid of setting jumpers, with 2,1 from left to right and ABCDE from bottom to top.

    NOTE: All drives listed will only work with Amigas as 880K or 720K drives unless specifically noted.

    Advice for unknown drives: if there's config switches or jumpers (sometimes you have to open the cover to get to them), experiment with every combination and see if that makes the drive work any better. If there aren't any, it's probably only going to work with the cable hack(which is not a practical solution) or an adapter board(which is costly).

    If you have any corrections, additions or comments to add, feel free to e-mail me. Information on the kit called "The Real HD-Drive A357" and how it worked would be greatly appreciated, as would tips on how to modify the most common floppy drives in use today (such as the TEAC FD-235HFAXXX) for Amiga use.