How to Make a Quite Motor from a Floppy Drive

I needed a motor to turn a small version of Jerry Andrus' Tri-zonal Space Warper.  This version is just a bit larger than a 33 RPM record and I wanted it to spin while lying flat on a table.  After trying out a few different motors, I ended up using an old floppy disk drive.  Many of these drives are being tossed into the trash where they contribute to the problem of disposal.  I had an old one from a very old PC that I had dismantled.

I found that to run the motor, I needed to do three things:

  1. Insert a floppy disk.  I cracked a floppy disk case partly open so that I could remove the disk.  This left the plastic shell, which was sufficient to turn on the drive.  I removed the disk because it made a slight scraping noise, and I wanted to have a very quiet display.
  2. On the connector that would attach to a ribbon cable, short (jumper) pins 15 and 16 together.  I soldered a short wire between these pins.
  3. Only the ground (black) and +5 volt (red) power wires need to be connected.  I found a 5 volt DC power supply for this purpose and attached a power connector to it.

Here's what the final setup looks like (click for a larger image):


To find the correct pins, note -- the odd pins are on the keyed side the cable connector.  Pin 1 goes to a wire that has a red stripe.  From the point of view of the above photos, these are the pinouts:

33 31 29 27 25 23 21 19 17 15 13 11 9 7 5 3 1
34 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2

For a more elaborate setup that allows a floppy drive to be controlled via the parallel port of a PC running DOS, see: