“Switching” to The BMOW Internal/External Drive Switcher for Apple IIc

I bought a Floppy Emu disk emulator from Big Mess o’ Wires a while back and it’s an amazing piece of hardware. It’s a bit messy to use with the Apple IIc though, because the IIc already has a built-in floppy drive as Drive 1. I had dealt with this using the BMOW Apple Disk Drive A/B Switch, a simple hardware switch that alternated between two disk drive connectors so only one was active at a time. I had the proverbial mess of wires behind the computer, but at least I could boot Oregon Trail off an SD card.

Apple IIc with two long ribbon cables routed out the drive port to a switcher, which is then attached to a Floppy Emu on a very long ribbon cable.

I was recently made aware of BMOW’s Internal/External Drive Switcher for Apple IIc, which must be fairly new. It replaces the tangle of ribbon cables from the old switch with a simple two-wire connection. Better yet, the original drive remains active and this new switch simply changes which is addressed as Drive 1.

Internal/External Drive Switcher for Apple IIc package (a plastic baggie) on top of the IIc's internal floppy drive.

Installation was straightforward if you’re used to poking around inside the IIc, and it was such a relief to get rid of those ribbon cables. The product is professionally made and fits inside the case perfectly. The external component plugs into the external drive port, with only a two-wire cable routed through the space on the side of the port for the drive switching. I think the biggest praise I can give this device is it just works and it cost less than $20.

External component of the Internal/External Drive Switcher for Apple IIc, plugged into the drive port.

I’m a Commodore guy, so I’m used to having cables running all over the place behind my classic systems. But there’s something to be said about a clean vintage computing setup, and this device was a big step toward tidying up my Apple II gear.