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Those disk drive cardboard transit protectors


Alex Eisenhut:
Floppy drives, at least 5.25", almost always came with a disk-shaped piece of cardboard inside the drive, labelled "transit protector".

I always thought this makes sense because if you have a double-sided drive with two r/w heads facing each other, the heads can crack like that old toy Clackers if there's a sharp enough shock.

OK, fine, so why would you need that for a single-sided drive?

And why did I never see one for a 3.5" drive? Even though they do exist.

David Hess:

--- Quote from: Alex Eisenhut on January 06, 2023, 06:26:50 pm ---And why did I never see one for a 3.5" drive? Even though they do exist.
--- End quote ---

3.5 inch drives have to unload the heads when no disk is inserted, so they are protected.  5.25 inch drives relied on a manual release mechanism which could have been left in either position when shipping.

The only one for 3.5" I ve seen so far was for the Commodore 1581 drive, it was a yellow plastic in the shape of a floppy, not that make any difference, there is no way for the heads of the 3.5" to come in contact like some 5.25"s -main older models like the 1541 from C= again, back in time we used custom "transit cards" or converted 5.25" floppies instead the 'official' ones.

You're right that the main reason for the transit protectors is to prevent the two heads in a double-sided drive from slapping against each other. On a single sided drive the head is opposite a fabric or foam pad (which could still damage the head if it is decayed from age and flakes off and sticks to the head). There is a problem with using cardboard on 3.5" drives though: because the drive is designed to "pull down" on the hard plastic microfloppy when it is inserted, a cardboard insert would get stuck and possibly torn. I have seen plastic transit protectors on some 3.5" drives in laptop computers (Toshiba I think), which serve the same purpose, but are compatible with the microfloppy loading arrangement.


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