Floppy USB + Hidden Secret Drive




Introduction: Floppy USB + Hidden Secret Drive

Following on another project where I salvaged parts for new projects from a obselete floppy drive. I wanted to make some more USB ports but didn't want to fiddle about around the back of the pc for the new ports but I did like how they were hidden out of the way. So I am going to use the
Floppy disk drive to mount them into the front bay

But in addition I am going to add a secret USB drive for all the secret things.

Step 1: Tools

Glue Gun
Screw Driver
Soldering iron
Desolderer OR desoldering braid
Heat shrink
Insulation tape

Some of the tools I used might not be essential and tools can be substituted.

Step 2: Parts List

Now I have all the parts from my other project of dismantling a floppy drive and savaging I wanted to start using the parts. For this project you will need.

3 1/2" Floppy drive -
I took this one out of my pc since it hadn't even been attached for two years (you can pick these up at car boot sales Yard sales or even have one delivered to your door from ebay for next to nothing if you're in a hurry. For this project you will be mainly using the outer casing and some of the internal metal work and the front plate. Plenty left over for more projects (nothing wasted)

USB hub This is an old one I had lying around, but it's just as easily picked up off the Internet, I saw one off at a pound shop.

USB flash drive - I just used an old 256MB one just to see if this project would work

Single pole push to make latching switch

Normally off magnetic reed switch

I had these switches to hand in my bits box but you could use any latching switches with a little imagination. I wanted the button at the front to work as it used to when it was a floppy drive) This is a big part of my project. Before going any further you need to find a position for the button on the eject mechanism so it can be mounted and work for your individual switch or the rest of the project will come to a very abrupt end.

I did find alternative with just a few components you could turn a small push button switch (normally off) into a latching switch.
http://www.edn.com/article/CA472837.html ( I haven't tried this circuit out, I need some more resistors!)
The small size and abundant supply of push button switches (there are actually some in the floppy drive if you haven't used them) make it far easier to incorporate this into the floppy drive. If I do a mark II with proper fixing and a few other upgrades I have in mind I definitely will use it.

I used the old floppy cable so I was salvaging as much as possible, all the bits joined together makes it nice and neat but this cable doesn't like solder. Just use some small gauge copper wire if you have some handy. Most of the lengths I used were no more than 10 cm (about 4 inches)
I didn't measure, I placed all the parts into position and cut the wires that way (with a bit of slack)
Your wires for the hidden drive switch may be long, it needs to be able to reach a comfortable distance away from where your hard drives are mounted.

Step 3: The Wiring

This is the basic layout of the circuit.

Time to dismantle your floppy drive, USB drive and Hub if you haven't already.

Step 4: Soldering

Desolder LED off the USB hub's board making sure to take note of the orientation of the LED.
Solder it to two wires and heat shrink around the joins

Re attached the the wires to where you have just removed the LED on the board

Now the the bit I found fiddly. To make a stealth drive we need to attach it to one of the ports. I chose the one on the far right. I still want the appearance of a working port so I don't want to desolder it nor do I want to block it from the front for the same reason.

My solution is to cut the 5V power inside the socket.

First of all you have to locate the correct pin, you don't want to cut the wrong one anywhere in this project.

Cut 5v lead inside the unused (fake) port with a Dremel being careful of the surrounding parts.
Now that port can not get power.

On the bottom of the board you need to solder wires onto the four contacts and one onto the shield where the 'fake' port is located. You are effectively attaching you hidden drive to the point before the 5 volts has been cut. Four of those wires will be going directly to the USB drive and one to the reed switch for you hidden drives (5v line).

Note: This was an old flash drive so decided to solder it directly to the wires and save myself a connector. If you want the drive to be removable in the future for replacement or upgrade I strongly advise you add a USB connector to this circuit as it will be very awkward to change the drive at a later date otherwise.
The price of small USB flash drives at rock bottom and lots of people even giving them away I didn't feel it necessary but this is something to consider.

Take your chosen, latching switch and attach a wire to each terminal
Tin the terminals and solder the wires (some switches have screw terminals).

Desolder the +5v coming into the hub from outside the pc, I used a multi meter attached to the pin I knew was 5v on the socket then touched the soldered ends of the wire on the board until I the beep.

Solder one wire from the switch onto the hub and the other to the desolder 5v wire from the board.

Now the testing. Before mounting all this inside I will build and test it separately. Some of your problems may include LED in the wrong way, loose connection, missing. Some of the wires were weak (which was one of my problems) so I as soon as it has been fully tested it secure the joins with a little glue with the trusty glue gun. Place some insulation tape to the bottom of the hub and the flash drive boards to stop any short circuits.

Step 5: Assembly

Time to start assembling.

Starting with the middle part of the floppy drive and the bottom half of the tray (the part the eject button attaches to.

Place the latching switch in make sure it sits in place and works with eject button.
When you are happy with the positions it's time to glue them in, be careful not to gum up any of the moving parts.
Leave it all to harden, hot glue guns don't take to long but it's better to be sure before putting pressure on it.

Test the latching switch if everything has gone OK you're almost there.

There are many screw points left from taking out the inner working to attach a mounting plate for the hub and the latching switcch but I have decided to use the glue gun for the simple fact I want to see if it all works first and it gives you a chance for trial and error but cutting a mounting plate or bracket is definitely the better option for longevity.

Put the face plate and the flap on.
Now you can put the hub inside and insert some drives to see where it needs to be fixed.
Centre it and make it far enough back so the flap doesn't open when you push a drive or cable into it. If you have larger USB plugs that you want to use and are obstructed by the size of the entrance now is the time to resize it. You can either file it or use the craft knife.

This isn't a big problem with my plan to have one of them not accessible anyway - if you do not want the haste of cutting or shaving the front panel, you can mount it further forward and loose the flap. There are many ways you can mount the USB hub inside, You could have it visible, or slightly set back so the font flap still functions. You can set it fully back so hooking up an old USB flash drive means you have some stealthy storage but this isn't practicle for removable drives.

Have a look at where the LED comes to the front panel. I needed to cut a small notch out for the LED to sit. This will vary from floppy drive model to model. Some will need fixing to the panel some to the case.

Take the front panel back off, fixing the LED comes in a little later.

** This is where it did go a bit wrong for me. My latching switch became temperamental. So close to the end and I had to wait for a new one I ordered off eBay, the new switch fitted in exactly the same place as the last one all I had to do was bend the terminals on the new one.

Make sure your switch and USB leads are coming out of the back and the flash drive is in it's final position

Put the floppies push button and the flap back on.

Put the spring back on to the front flap.
While bending the spring back put the top cover of the drive back on - this is fiddly the spring is usually fixed on to the top of the tray but were not putting that back in to make room for the hub.
Fit the bottom of the drive back on

Glue the Led into place.

Push the front plate back on.

Step 6: Installation

All you need to do now is fit it into your pc.

Put you floppy drive in like the original, screw it into place

The reed switch is better fixed with glue far away from the had drives
(Make sure you know where it is from the outside!)

I used a USB extension cable taken out through an empty card slot at the rear to attach the hub to the pc.

Some motherboards have pins on the motherboard for extra USB ports check your motherboard user manual. If you do wish to use the pins on the board you will need to remove the USB plug from the USB Floppy or make a cable which comes off the motherboard with a USB socket on the end for your drive.

Step 7: Finished!

In windows you unmount a flash drive when you are finished using it. I have never done this and haven't ever come across any problems, just making sure the drive isn't in use transfering data.
Just keep in mind proper practice should be used for the safety of your data

I had a reed switch which I mounted further down my case if the magnet isn't at the right point then your secret dive will be inactive.

** be careful magnets and some forms of data storage in your PC don't mix mainly the hard drive and ironically also floppy disks if you still have any lying around make no mistake you will loose your data if that magnet gets too close.

I take no responsibility for making this USB Floppy. Do so at your own risk and for your own pleasure!

I hope you enjoyed this and it gives at least one person another idea or at least some entertainment. I hope this is the first of many.

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    13 Discussions


    11 years ago on Introduction

    4 usb connectors 13$ floppy disk drive 20-50$ usb drives that you can't reach priceless


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    If you like to spend money on something that was meant to be an inexpensive project., this cost me a pound to make, I've seen more expensive cup holders designs.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    who pays for floppy drives? I have 8 of them in a stack that I got for free!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I love this idea, i have a laptop that i can remove the floppy drive (yeah, floppy, 2003) to replace with something else. I would be honored if you added this to my "Featured" group. I also rarely come across an instructable i favorite, but this is one i just have to favorite.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for the kind words, a laptop would be fiddly but i bet you could squeeze it all in and give yourself some much needed extra usb ports. Yes - I void warranties! ;o)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    I love voiding warranties! I do it all the time when I hack/mod anything! I don't care if it says "VOID" on it and I don't get a warranty anymore. Hacking is much more fun!


    11 years ago on Step 2

    lol @ the hub, they had them at basildon poundland, i was gunna get one, do they work ok??


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    so far, if it has the clear casing just have a look at the soldering if you can