The Bandai Pippin Atmark Floppy Unit PA-82002 is an expansion dock for the Pippin consoles that made it past the prototype stage. It was released on the Japanese market together with the Pippin Atmark in 1996. It is still incredible rare and it took me while to get a hold of one of these units. The functionality is the same that the replica floppy adapter provides and the main reason why I bought it is really the casing. The floppy adapter setup was too unpractical and fragile and I was looking for something sturdier that could stay attached to the console at all times.
This article is mainly about photos and taking it apart. There will be a small section with explanations at the end.
On the top we see two hooks, a latch and the X-PCI connector. There isn’t much to see on the bottom except 9 TorxTR size 10 screws that hold the case together.
On the front there is the floppy disk drive and a hole to manually eject the disk with a paper clip. There’s nothing on the sides and on the back is just the aforementioned latch.
Let’s have a look inside: There is a metal case and a lot of unused space.
Inside the case, there is finally the floppy disk drive (Mitsubishi MF355F-2592MA). A 20-pin ribbon cable connects it to the X-PCI adapter board. Also, some dirt and little spots of rust, but nothing too serious.
This must be the cleanest floppy disk drive that I have seen in a long time:
Usage, comparison and outlook
As mentioned before, the functionality is the same that the replica floppy adapter provides. For further reading, here are some articles that inspired me to connect a floppy disk drive in the first place:
A floppy drive for the Bandai Pippin and Floppy Emu and the Apple Pippin (English) as well as Test : le lecteur de disquettes de la Pippin and Recréer un lecteur de disquettes pour l’Apple Pippin (French).
The 120-pin X-PCI connector carries signals for PCI, SCSI, FDD and Ethernet and the expansion dock has plenty of space to hold more components. The most complete documentation on the X-PCI bus that I could find is on this archived website. Let’s hope that somebody takes the time to come up with more adapter boards in the future.
Something that needs to be taken into account though is the size of these adapters. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the original and the replica floppy adapter. The replica would need some rework to fit inside the metal case: