Turning old floppy drives into music

Remember that irritating etching noise that aging floppies emitted when they would boot up? Maker Chris Fry has harnessed the sonic power of these old drives and turned them into some musical masterpieces.

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We have featured Chris Fry’s ATmega328-based work previously on Bits & Pieces, as his life-like recreation of the Flux Capacitor from “Back to the Future” was a huge hit. Now, instead of remaking a classic movie prop, Fry has programmed a series of floppy drives to play the theme songs to some of his favorite Hollywood hits.

Fry blew the dust off of eight floppy drives that he collected and began researching on Instructables how to repurpose them into a programmable musical machine. With the power of an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and a hefty ATX power supply, the Maker had his drives linked up and ready to jam.

“Some floppy drives are louder than others, so it might pay to try a couple out first before buying loads of them.” Fry noted. He went on to recommended that all of the drives have similar sound quality as “it would be no good if one drive is really loud and the others are quieter as the loud one would drown out the sound of the others.”

Once his contraption was wired up, he proceeded to install the Moppy software program, which allows the drives to play MIDI sound files. From there, he was ready to put on a full on nostalgia filled concert!

Here are some of our favorite tracks that the creative Maker programmed his ATmega328-powered floppy drive boom box to play…

To see more of Chris Fry’s designs, you can head over to his original blog post here.

5 thoughts on “Turning old floppy drives into music

  1. Pingback: Crank up the tunes with this stepper motor music box | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  2. Pingback: Turn up the tunes with these Maker music designs | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  3. Pingback: Designing a flux capacitor from Back to the Future | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  4. Pingback: Rewind: 27 Maker musical masterpieces from 2014 | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  5. Pingback: My Little Pony Floppy Disk Music - Brony Hub

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