I'm sure that you have all seen a floppy disk sometime in your life. There are the older, now-obsolete 5.25-inch floppy disks and the newer 3.5-inch floppy disks. Some of you might remember the older ones- they were flexible, bendable, black, and fairly big. The newer ones are fairly small and are contained in different colored plastic cases.
Floppy disks, like hard disks, are external storage devices used to store data and information. (It is highly suggested that you read the section on hard disks before you read this section on floppies.) However, with only the capacity to hold about 1.44 megabytes (one million bytes) of data, they cannot store nearly as much information as hard disks, which can hold as many as a couple of gigabytes of data! Despite the size difference, floppy disks are still very similar to hard disks and have many of the same components! Floppy disks are commonly used because of their cheap cost. Unfortunately, as they cannot hold much information, multiple disks might be necessary to store one file. This is why storage devices called CD-ROMs, portable devices capable of storing a lot of data, are becoming more and more popular.
Major parts of a floppy disk:
Like the hard disk, floppy disks also have read/write heads. These heads are used both to read information stored on the disk and to write information into the disk. There are two read/write heads on a floppy disk- one on either side of the disk. This means that a floppy disk is double sided and is capable of storing information on both sides!
The stepper motor is the head actuator of the floppy disk. It is used to move the read/write heads to the right track on the disk. Like a hard disk, a floppy disk is also divided into concentric circles called tracks. These tracks are farther divided into pie-shaped wedges called sectors. The stepper motor positions the read/write head over the correct track.
The spindle motor is a special motor that serves the purpose of spinning the disk. The disk spins at about 300 revolutions per minute.
The logic board is located underneath the floppy disk drive. It controls the activities of all the various internal components of a floppy disk. In addition, the logic board also serves as an interface between the parts of a floppy disk and the floppy drive controller. This allows for the computer to interact with a floppy disk and to use the information and data the disk contains.
Because all floppy disks have the same
interface, they can be used with all personal computers! This is particularly
useful if you want to transfer information or data between computers!
1995-2001, ThinkQuest Inc.all rights reserved