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 I think my floppy drive is dying. View next topic
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Joined: 01 Oct 2006
Posts: 27
Location: USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:40 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

This was a disappointing morning. I got my IBM PC/XT out of storage and decided to refurbish it and set it up to play old games on. When I got it all cleaned up and ready to go I fired it up. Whoops, bad disk. No problem, it happens. Tried another and it also wouldn't boot. Tried a third and this one booted fine, unfortunately it was a CP/M-86 disk and isn't much use to me since my programs are all for DOS. Finally got an MS-DOS 6.22 disk I made years ago to boot. However when I tried running my games I found all of them reported bad sectors, track 0 bad or just wouldn't read at all. Tried formatting some new old stock disks I have and every one I tried says track 0 bad. These were all unused.

I'm not sure if it's the disks going bad or the drive. The computer has the two original 360K full height floppy drives it came with. The second one is dead and hasn't worked for years so it isn't even hooked up. If the first one is now dying it looks like I'm going to have a very large, heavy paperweight on my desk. This one has the 1986 motherboard and supports 720k 3.5" floppy drives but I really wanted to keep it original looking. Besides I don't have one of those drives at the moment. To make the day even better I discovered the half-height TEAC 360k drive I had in my 486 for formatting and transferring disks to my XT also seems to be dead. It won't read any disks at all.

Edit: I just discovered something with the TEAC drive. There's a black bar that raises and lowers the drive head, and I noticed it didn't seem to be going down all the way. I pushed the bar down with my finger and tried formatting and it worked perfectly. This allows the head to contact the disk though, is that bad or should it be that way? Here is a picture and the bar I'm talking about: Photo

It appears to be connected to a solenoid that should kick in and let it drop down but it doesn't seem to be working. I'm going to look and see if there is a way to adjust it so that it lets the head go down farther.

Edit 2: I bent the little piece of metal that pushes down on the bar just a bit and it now seems to work fine. I'm still not sure if it's a problem or not that it's touching the disk, but if I remember right that is normal. Seems the solenoid is just not working but hopefully this will be all it needs.

I also cleaned the heads on the drive in my XT and put some light grease on the moving parts. It's reading disks fine now, seems the big problem was that the disks had just sat so long they started losing their data. A new format seems to have fixed them. Now since no one really seems to care anyway I'll end this really long boring post. Razz

Yay! Very Happy
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 261
Location: WisConSin

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 1:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ah, I see you have discovered the trick I was about the post.

I have made many non-working 3.5 & 5 1/4" disk drives work by flicking the head and bending them downward.

Thing is your disks may not have been bad, when your floppy is altered a bit sometimes stuff doesn't quite work exactly the same but as long as you keep backups on another media its all good.

My best investment was a laplink cable I use that all the time to move info between my big computer and my XT, works great. Then you just need to make sure your HD keeps working.

Good Luck
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Joined: 20 Feb 2009
Posts: 217
Location: Nor here nor there.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2009 2:29 am Reply with quoteBack to top

those old drives last a HELLA long time. I found a control data full height. New In Box sittin at a used pc part store. bought it for $35. I was actually afraid to turn it on to get it working. But the thing sounds better than my brand new 3.5".....
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