USB Floppy Emulator Buying Guide

A USB floppy emulator is a unique piece of hardware that allows you to replace an existing floppy drive with a USB equivalent. This device allows you to connect to older hardware while utilizing the size and speed of a USB drive. Be sure to check out the various new and pre-owned floppy-to-USB emulators on eBay.

How much can be stored on a USB floppy emulator?

USB drives can hold massive amounts of data. The problem is that older hardware designed to work with floppy disks isn't made to read this much data. Most feature storage amounts that are common to floppy disks include sizes such as 760KB, 1.2MB, and 1.44MB. Floppy emulators get around this size issue by chunking the USB data into blocks that you set manually on a computer. You also get to decide which files are in each block.

To determine the emulator's capacity, read the eBay listing, and see how large each block can be and how many blocks are available. You can switch between each block by pushing a button on the emulator itself. Due to this blocking method, the emulator is a perfect copy of a traditional floppy disk drive and should work with any hardware that uses a floppy drive.

What connection types are available for floppy emulators?

Floppy drives have several different interfaces for connecting to hardware. The most common is a pin connection. This is a panel on the back of the emulator that you can push directly into the floppy port on the hardware. The most common pin interfaces are 24-pin, 26-pin, and 34-pin connectors. Some may also use a PS2 cable, which is usually for temporary emulators whereas the pin connector is meant to permanently replace an older floppy drive. You should also consider the physical size of the emulator as some drives are larger or smaller than others. For example, a slim USB floppy emulator typically fits small areas.

What USB sticks can be used with floppy emulators?

Unless the eBay item description says otherwise, there is typically no restriction about what type of USB stick you can use with USB floppy emulators. Regardless of the USB stick's capacity, it should be able to connect with the emulator. You just need to properly format the stick before using it. Most floppy emulators come with software so that you can chunk the data together. As long as you properly format the drive, any type of new or pre-owned USB stick should be usable with an emulator.

What special features are available with floppy emulators?

Here are some of the special features that you can choose from with USB-to-floppy emulators:

  • Buttons: Most emulators will come with buttons to switch disks. Some have other options, but buttons on the front are considered standard.
  • Included flash drive: Some emulators will come with a flash drive included with the emulator. Others may even have the flash drive already formatted.
  • Variable floppy size: Some emulators only allow you to use one floppy disk size, such as 1.44MB, and others allow you to choose when formatting the flash drive.