Floppy Drive Salvage




I am writing this because I wanted to start fiddling with stepper motors and I knew I had one in my unused floppy drive. I have read recently read an article on mouse parts salvage

I think this is great, with E-waste on the up, Old hardware is being overlooked. I don't think anything should be wasted and any way to get cheap parts for a project is fantastic.
Just opening up something like this gives you little ideas, if just a couple of those turn into full fledged Instructable projects I'll be happy and content.

I will go through the disassembly and what parts I have found.
There isn't too much too disassembly of a floppy drive once you figure out the outer casing.

In short:

I want parts for new projects
I have a floppy drive I don't use
I like taking things apart

:o) nuff said

Step 1: Tools

You should only need small jewellers flat head and a Philips head screw driver to dismantle the metalwork and a soldering iron for removing the parts from the circuit boards.

Step 2: Dismantle

The front panel has a small clip on the left and right, push one in with the screwdriver and pull that side forward and the panel should come off, other drives the clips are less visible. You have to push a screwdriver through a hole.

After searching long and hard for the screw, I realised it is instead the top casing was just clipped in place - using the small flat headed screw driver push the four tabs away from the top half, then a flat head screwdriver should work the same for the bottom half, you will be left the middle frame and workings.

On some models the bottom panel has some screws fixing the bottom but after that it unclipped the same.

If the flap is on the metal frame, You can then remove the front flap by slightly bending one of the mounts on either side and careful not to loose the spring as it comes out.

You should find a large spring on top that needs to be removed before the bay can be accessed. Then push the tray in and the top should come off

To remove the next piece of metal ( I think it's the floppy disk cradle) Either pushing or pulling at the four points where the cradle raises and lowers while it is at it's rear position should release it.

After this step all the circuits are exposed and the rest of the screws and spring holding it together become apparent.

Though I photographed all the way through this I removed the springs and in my haste did not note the order in which I did. Rest assured the two floppy drives I have dissembled have been very similar and very straight forward after getting inside.

I found some of the screws hard to remove, the combination of some soft metal and a very tight fit.

Step 3: What I Found

The outer casing could be used just as basically for a project box or to mount into the 3 1/2' bay There are two great bits I like inside, firstly the the worm drive on the stepper motor is all set up to do something, I don't know what yet! The eject mechanism is good to, I will be using it soon in a project just with a switch mounted behind
It also has a nice raising cradle action that is very nice I want to do something with this too.

LED this was just a standard led but some have the two colour LED's (colour emitted depends on which direction the current is flowing

Some standard capacitors & resistors

Lots of surface mount capacitors and resistors I haven't ever salvaged these before so if anyone has any input on this please feel free.

Cable connectors

Small ribbon cables

Magnetic reader/writer

Assorted Springs & screws

2 Stepper motors
This was one of the main reasons for opening it as I said previously.

The main stepper motor in the centre I am unsure about as its incorporated into the board . I will probably savage the wire from the motor or maybe the electro magnet units with a Dremel
The outer part of the motor which has magnet lining the edge works as a great tray for all your screw when dismantling
Again this is something that has lots of potential if anyone wants to mention how else this could be used or how to wire the other stepper motor.

Two push to make switches
two switches packaged into one unit ( this does vary from model to mode but they are usually in there) - Three legs coming off one common contact in the centre and each of the outer ones connects to the centre legs depending on which button you press could be very good mounted for tactile switches also very sensitive for sensors (hare triggers)

An infra red transmitter and receiver in a one piece package

Well this is what I found, I got the bits I needed for my next couple of project and then some for the price of a floppy drive I no longer used. Even if I bought this that is some worthwhile components for the price. The things you find inside are very similar but there are differences especially effecting the disassembly. But I don't think there would be too much variation that would cause difficulty. If anyone finds anything especially different in theirs or has any other ideas for projects or parts in the floppy I would love to hear them.

I take no responsibility for dismantling your floppy drive. Do so at your own risk and for your own pleasure!



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    15 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hey! one idea for the stepper motor is to use it in a 3d Printer make (such as


    This is a great 3d printer made mostly from salvaged parts of floppy drives and cd drives.

    Have a look at it, really worthwhile.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    *The little one is a stepper, the large disk like one looks to be a brushless, I think anyway


    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Actually, You're both semi-right. The brushless motor is usually wired like a stepper motor, except the control circuit is usually a self-contained clock/driver chip. (sending the pulses to each coil like a stepper, but not needing separate control & driver Darlingtons) they're usually tached by a hall-effect sensor (4-wire device, looks like a mini transistor.).. Yes, the smaller one is usually a 2-coil stepper. (depending on the On/Off pattern, making the stepper move CW or CCW. 10 11 01 10 11 01..... I think both off ( 00 ) would cause a back-lash.)

    One other thing I've recycled from old dead 3.5" drives, if the power connector has the pins going 90-degrees to the board, I've removed the connector, bent the pins all straight, removed the excess plastic from the board side, and used the connector as a fast connect for plugging a modified ATX supply into a breadboard, bringing +5, +12, & GND to projects.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    The drive pictured has TWO <-- That's right! Two different motors. One is the large brushless spindle driving motor that everyone seems to be focusing on because it is BIGGER. We all know that bigger is better right? SHUH, right. Anyhow. The smaller second motor is the important one being focused on by the original author of this article. If you take a close look, you will see that the tiny motor on the BACK of the floppy drive that drives the read head has four wires connecting it to the circuitry. And on the actual motor upon closer inspection, most of the time has SIX connectors which only four are being used. So read into the tech here. It can be wired either unipolor for speed or Bi-Polar series for higher torque (not that the torque will do any real work though. You are most likely talking about 10-20 oz. This is an extremely versatile motor being under utilized. It is a low voltage ( 5V), low current (30mA) and high accuracy (400 Steps per revolution or .9 degrees per step) with low torque. You could easily use an open source low power L293, ULN2003A, ULN2803 Darlington array or UCN-5804B  based unipolar driver to make plotters, CNC PCB mills, 3D scanners, soldier paste applicators/SMT component placers etc. from these little nuggets. A little creative thinking can go a long way to making valuable CNC worker bees from these mostly overlooked and undervalued precision gemstones. [http://www.epanorama.net/circuits/diskstepper.html]


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Hey you know you can actually Control the Stepper Motor without dismantling the drive? in fact I have successfully removed only the stepper (the little one with the worm drive) and controlled it by it self, as well as hooked up A larger more powerful Stepper motor and controlled that with it Via my LPT port.

    1 reply

    9 years ago on Introduction

    Good work! I wonder if any one of you get the details of the brushless motor in the floppy drive, I want to control it with a microcontroler and motor drive module, but I don't know how to connect the wires. My email is bigcountrycn@gmail.com, thank you!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    it would be a great way to stash things in there, or make it hermetical and keep your lunch warm!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I do not think the motor is a stepper. It is a brushless motor. Outer ring is magnetic, I think alternating north and south poles. Older drives had steppers to move the read-write head, mostly back in the days of 5 1/4 inch dirves

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Just thought I would mention that that is a brushless motor and could be rewired for a small wind generator. If you look at the wind generators in instructables you will find out how to redo that motor to make it a generator.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Tip: rotate your sideways pictures. You can do it right inside Windows, no add-ons necessary.

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I could tell what it was, but it's nice to have pictures the right way up.