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* Floppy Drive fixes and cleanings.

 
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johpower
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Location: Colorado North 40

PostPosted: Sun Dec 28, 2003 4:52 am     Post subject: * Floppy Drive fixes and cleanings. Reply with quote

Many of us have problems with floppy disks that don't work well transfering data between PC's. Rarely it's an incapatability between OS's. But few of us are trading Mac and PC floppies. Much more common is the floppy drives may not share the same alignment. For the first part below I'm assuming that both floppy drives are good and one PC is DOS and the other WinXX.

Try a full "format a: /u" of the floppy in the DOS machine. Drop in a junk file or two that are big enough to fill at least 80%. See if it reads in the Win PC. If not, it's probable one floppy drive has problems, assuming a good floppy (see scandisk). If it DOES read, del the files and copy the game you downloaded and see if you get a read in the DOS PC. If not, definate alignment mismatch. If it DOES read, it's not so bad and you just have to remember to format the disks on the DOS PC.

Now consider a dirty drive or two. Floppy drives can be cleaned. First, look in the door with a flashlight and examine for dust bunnies with a magnifier/reading glasses. You may be able to blow/suck them out with a vac. If no luck, remove the drive(s) and get 2 small flat blade screwdrivers. On the sides are usually tabs holding the metal cover to the body of the drive. Insert the s-drivers much as you might to remove a bicycle tire to unhook first one tab, then the others while leaving the first unhooked. (Note: Some covers are much easier than others to remove without damage so this may not be worth it ... so just swap in another drive.) Try to get both tabs on one side unhooked as this will usually free the cover more quickly. Once open you can see the damage/dust and remove it. A Q-tip and tweezers are handy. Look for gunk and old grease on the moving parts. Clean and relube sparingly if possible. A CLEAN Q-tip with a drop of tape head cleaner can remove build-up on the two heads if they appear dirty. Do only if needed, as the ham-handed can damage them. When all is complete, push in a junk floppy and see if it snaps in and out cleanly. Repair any damage you may have done to the cover on removal. Snap cover back on carefully. Attach cables and try a format/write/read as noted above.

Wishing you happy trails. Happy
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Interon
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2004 12:13 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's an easier method:

Buy a floppy disk cleaning kit (not too expensive).

(A dud floppy disk with a paper core with a bottle of isopropyl alcohol)

If my floppy drive was shagged up that much I'd probably get a new one anyway.

Also, the floppy drive ribbon cable may be damaged. If johpower's or my solution don't work, try replacing the floppy drive ribbon cable (You can probably get one for about $5.00 at a computer store, brand names may cost more).
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johpower
Way too much free time
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Joined: 06 Jan 2003
Posts: 428
Location: Colorado North 40

PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2004 8:56 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

BUT you would notice that these cleaner disks ONLY wipe off the heads. Nothin' else. If you have a fairly clean drive to start with, fine, they work. But if it's been a couple years and/or you have a dusty or hairly location, cleaner disks can't help as much as you'll wish.

So you toss a perfectly good drive with a few dust bunnies? Why add to the landfill if you don't need to? What if you find all your old floppies don't read well on the new drive? That happens alot as drives age and the alignment goes OR the new drive wasn't aligned well. Finally, when was the last time you could buy a 5-ana-quarter drive new?
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