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Old 26 November 2017, 12:43   #1
Dastardly
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Dead A600 floppy drive?

I've just received an A600 (only owned an A500 before) and when switching on, everything appears fine. There is an unusual buzzer sound that lasts for about a second then stops (this could be an A600 thing I'm unfamiliar with?). The kickstart screen is present and the drive ticks normally. When I insert a floppy, and I've tried several, the A600 seems to try to read the disk, but after 3 not very healthy sounding drive attempts (again, this could be normal for an A600) the kickstart screen returns and it has failed.

Anyone come across this before? Is the drive dead or a simple fix?

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Last edited by Dastardly; 26 November 2017 at 13:05.
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Old 26 November 2017, 19:16   #2
demolition
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Could be bad floppy disk, bad drive, bad cable, or bad floppy controller (CIA chip).
A common culprit is dirty heads coming from moldy floppy disks. As soon as you insert a disk with dirt (e.g. mold) on the surface, it will deposit on the heads and any attempt to read a disk afterwards will fail. Cleaning the heads with isopropylalcohol and retrying with a known good floppy disk is the way to go. If you check the disk surface, it should be shiny, so if it has a matte uneven look or even worse, white areas, then it is probably bad.

Some floppy drives have capacitors that can leak and also cause it to stop reading and writing properly. In this case, the faulty capacitor(s) will need to be replaced and the exposed area cleaned. The common (for A600) Chinon FZ-354 does not have this issue though.
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Old 26 November 2017, 19:32   #3
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I'm sure there isn't a problem with any of the disks I'm trying as they're all clean and shiny looking, but it could be that the previous owner used dirty disks that have left deposits on the heads. It could also be one of the other causes you mentioned.

My aim is to get a compact flash kit on this soon anyway so the drive isn't essential. I just wondered if it was something someone had seen before and an easy fix. I'll try to get hold a drive cleaning kit and use some isopropyl.

Thanks.
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Old 26 November 2017, 19:37   #4
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The best way to clean a drive in my opinion is to take the top off the drive and use an isopropyl alcohol soaked cotton bud to carefully manually wipe off the head. A drive cleaning kit does not clean as well, although it does save you from having to take the top off.
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Old 26 November 2017, 20:37   #5
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I’ve just been doing exactly that. After manually cleaning the heads with isopropyl and cotton buds and reassembling, the drive was completely dead. So I went back in and unplugged the drive and gave the connections a blow and it’s alive again. The head cleaning doesn’t seem to have solved the problem. It’s still not loading any disks.

One thing I did notice is how contorted and folded the drive ribbon is. I’m wondering if that could be causing a problem.

It’s a Chinon btw.
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