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Old 03 July 2011, 22:12   #1
Supamax
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A600 and external 5.25" disk drive: strange issue

Hi,

I have a problem using my self-made 5.25" external disk drive with my A600HD.
The drive is an old 80-tracks DD TEAC FD-55F-22-U, connected via a standard Amiga disk drive cable+PCB adapter.
I bought them (the drive and the adapter) many years ago: the drive from a seller of used/old electronic parts, and the adapter from Hardital: it's the same PCB included in many external 3.5" drives.
Since the Teac is DD (and not HD like IBM 1.2MB drives), it's seen by Amigas as a 3.5" DD drive, and I successfully used it to archive a lot of programs/games on 5.25" floppies (less expensive, back in the day) instead of 3.5" floppies.

Now: if I use it with my old A500 I have no problems at all. But if I use it with my (bought 2 years ago) A600HD, the drive is malfunctioning: it's not able to read correctly my floppies (but they are OK when tested with the drive connected to the A500).

I tried swapping the power supplies, but got the same results, so it's not a general power problem.

Could it be that the A600's drive port cannot power the drive with enough current? (It would be strange, since I made tests using both A600 & A500 power supplies...) Is it perhaps designed differently from the A500 port?

Is there a solution?
I prefer connecting the drive to my A600, because I'm finishing dumping my many 5.25" floppies and the A600 is the best for file transfers with its PCMCIA/CF interface.

EDIT
Otherwise I'm forced (as I'm doing now) to make a lot of 5.25"---->3.5" copies, and then dump the 3.5" on the A600.

Last edited by Supamax; 03 July 2011 at 22:29.
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Old 03 July 2011, 22:32   #2
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Hi Supamax,

Try the 5¼-inch drive with the A600 booted from a Workbench floppy in the internal drive. Does it read your disks properly then?
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Old 03 July 2011, 22:39   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
Hi Supamax,

Try the 5¼-inch drive with the A600 booted from a Workbench floppy in the internal drive. Does it read your disks properly then?
Do you mean it could be a Workbench 2.x issue? (I indeed boot the A600 from the internal CF, with WB 2.x).

I thought about it, but forgot to try... Ok, I'll test it now

By the way:
if I boot with WB 1.3, will I be able to get access to the internal CF?
Mmmm, I suppose not

Last edited by TCD; 04 July 2011 at 01:15.
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Old 03 July 2011, 22:45   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Do you mean it could be a Workbench 2.x issue? (I indeed boot the A600 from the internal CF, with WB 2.x).
That isn't what was concerning me.

Knowing that you have used your A600HD for work on A-Max emulation, I was actually wondering if CrossMac or Emplant Disk Copier drivers could possibly be interfering with the external floppy drive.

I've had problems with my A1200's internal floppy drive and AmigaDOS floppies with those drivers loaded.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
if I boot with WB 1.3, will I be able to get access to the internal CF?
I don't think WB1.3 will prevent that, but I'm not sure. Let me know what you find.

Last edited by prowler; 03 July 2011 at 22:52.
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Old 03 July 2011, 22:54   #5
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Ok, I tried it right now (booting WB from DF0).
Same results: the 5.25" tracks are not correctly read. Most of them have errors (checked some disks with X-Copy Pro), a few are read correctly. But this is random.

I think this proves that my problem is not CF-configuration related.. but a real hardware issue

I could try powering the 5.25" drive with a separate power supply with a free molex plug, but I haven't one at hand .

Some ideas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
I've had problems with my A1200's internal floppy drive and AmigaDOS floppies with those drivers loaded.
I had similar problems too, with my A600: I couldn't use TransADF any more .

But I reinstalled WB on my CF and all went fine again .
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Old 03 July 2011, 23:03   #6
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This has got to be a power supply issue, because all Amiga external floppy drive interfaces are identical, AFAIK.

The only suggestion I have is that you use a PSU from an old computer to power the drive while using the A600's power supply for the interface board only.

If you haven't got such a PSU, then try to borrow one. They're very useful at times like this.
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Old 03 July 2011, 23:23   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
This has got to be a power supply issue, because all Amiga external floppy drive interfaces are identical, AFAIK.
Hmmm, I think not...
I tested my A500+5.25" drive with the A600 power supply, and all works well. So it can't be a A600 power supply issue...

And... do you know a strange thing?
One year ago the 5.25" drive worked "almost" well with the A600 (I could read a good amount of floppies, even if some of them requiring multiple reads in order to dump them correctly), but today the situation seemed to deteriorate as the minutes passed. At first, today (when I switched it on after 1 year) I could copy some tracks correctly, but then the errors appeared, and now all the tracks have errors on all disks.

But - I repeat it - are not the 5.25" disks. They are fine (I'm copying them on 3.5" floppies right now).

I suppose there are some A600 components, related to or near the floppy drive port, that are breaking?

EDIT: if some A600 components are really deteriorating, I hope this will not interfere with the use of external 3.5" floppies (which are less power-hungry). For safety I will not continue testing the 5.25" drive with the A600... I wouldn't want to definitely ruin it.
Let me know what do you think.

Last edited by Supamax; 03 July 2011 at 23:32.
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Old 03 July 2011, 23:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
This has got to be a power supply issue, because all Amiga external floppy drive interfaces are identical, AFAIK.
Hmmm, I think not...
I tested my A500+5.25" drive with the A600 power supply, and all works well. So it can't be a A600 power supply issue...
I didn't mean the A600 PSU, but the power provided to the 5¼-inch external floppy drive from the A600's external floppy port.

My suggestion that you use a PSU from an old computer to power the drive while using the A600's power supply for the interface board only would eliminate that possibility, if it's what's causing the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
And... do you know a strange thing?
One year ago the 5.25" drive worked "almost" well with the A600 (I could read a good amount of floppies, even if some of them requiring multiple reads in order to dump them correctly), but today the situation seemed to deteriorate as the minutes passed. At first, today (when I switched it on after 1 year) I could copy some tracks correctly, but then the errors appeared, and now all the tracks have errors on all disks.

But - I repeat it - are not the 5.25" disks. They are fine (I'm copying them on 3.5" floppies right now).

I suppose there are some A600 components, related to or near the floppy drive port, that are breaking?
If solder joints or components serving the external floppy port are breaking down, then the situation has deteriorated in the last year and also it might be heat related. You need to have a look at the motherboard in that area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
EDIT: if some A600 components are really deteriorating, I hope this will not interfere with the use of external 3.5" floppies (which are less power-hungry). For safety I will not continue testing the 5.25" drive with the A600... I wouldn't want to definitely ruin it.

Let me know what do you think.
I rather think instead that you should get hold of a PSU from an old computer to use with the 5¼-inch drive and have a look at the A600's motherboard in the area adjacent to the external floppy drive port. It might just be caused by a bad solder joint.

Last edited by prowler; 03 July 2011 at 23:42.
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Old 03 July 2011, 23:46   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
I didn't mean the A600 PSU, but the power provided to the 5¼-inch external floppy drive from the A600's external floppy port.
Oh, sorry!

Quote:
My suggestion that you use a PSU from an old computer to power the drive while using the A600's power supply for the interface board only would eliminate that possibility, if it's what's causing the problem.
Yes, as I wrote I agree with you: it is a possible solution to get around the problem.

Quote:
If solder joints or components serving the external floppy port are breaking down, then the situation has deteriorated in the last year and also it might be heat related. You need to have a look at the motherboard in that area.
I'll do that .

If I remember well, the A500 could support 3 external drives (DF1, DF2 and DF3), meaning that it could power them via the floppy port.
Could it be that perhaps the A600 has reduced possibilities, for economic/marketing/production costs reasons?
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Old 03 July 2011, 23:54   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
If I remember well, the A500 could support 3 external drives (DF1, DF2 and DF3), meaning that it could power them via the floppy port.
Could it be that perhaps the A600 has reduced possibilities, for economic/marketing/production costs reasons?
I thought I'd read that the external port could support only two 3½-inch floppy drives powerwise.

I would say that a single 5¼-inch drive would take as much current as two 3½-inch drives, so a problem with your A600's power feed to the external floppy port is indicated.

I'm still of the opinion that all Amiga external floppy ports were designed to be the same.
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Old 04 July 2011, 00:13   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
I thought I'd read that the external port could support only two 3½-inch floppy drives powerwise.
You're surely more informed than me, so I'll take it for granted .

Quote:
I would say that a single 5¼-inch drive would take as much current as two 3½-inch drives, so a problem with your A600's power feed to the external floppy port is indicated.

I'm still of the opinion that all Amiga external floppy ports were designed to be the same.
You're probably right and my A600 has a power issue related to the floppy port.
Regarding the 5.25" current requirements, I bet they are higher than two 3.5". Its head motor is huge!
However it's one of the few 80-tracks DD drives available.

I wonder if someone else here in EAB tried his A600 with an external 5.25" floppy drive? Am I the only mad one?

I know that Commodore was selling an external 5.25" drive, but I don't know which model was mounted inside its case. Furthermore, it was a 40-tracks model (360KB if it was used for MS-DOS disk formatting/reading/writing).
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Old 04 July 2011, 00:38   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Regarding the 5.25" current requirements, I bet they are higher than two 3.5". Its head motor is huge!
However it's one of the few 80-tracks DD drives available.
What disks are you using with it? I know that an IBM 1.2MB 5¼-inch drive can format 80 tracks on DSDD floppy diskettes (96 TPI), doubling their capacity to 720kB, so I assume they're what you're using with your TEAC drive.
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Old 04 July 2011, 00:55   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
What disks are you using with it? I know that an IBM 1.2MB 5¼-inch drive can format 80 tracks on DSDD floppy diskettes (96 TPI), doubling their capacity to 720kB, so I assume they're what you're using with your TEAC drive.
Yes, I have around 20 DS-DD 96 tpi disks, branded 3M.

But the majority of my 5.25" disks (many hundreds) are "mere" DS-DD 48 tpi disks. They were manufactured so well that they could retain the data for years without errors (I can still read 98% of them after how much... 20 years? Probably more now ). And we're talking about 880KB on a disk designed to hold only half of it! (360KB if used on a IBM PC-compatible!)

Only some of them - Nashua SS-DD, designed to hold 160KB on IBM PC-compatibles - have the magnetic layer deteriorated. When I read these floppies (luckily I used a few of them with the Amiga. They were used with my C64) the magnetic particles detach from the disk surface and make a mess of the drive heads .
When this happened I had to clean (brushing) them with a piece of paper and some alcohol, otherwise they ruined any floppy I would try to read after that.
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Old 04 July 2011, 05:22   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
Regarding the 5.25" current requirements, I bet they are higher than two 3.5". Its head motor is huge!
Surely the maximum current draw is printed somewhere on the drive?

I am sure this is not the problem anyway as Commodore made an external 5.25 drive which worked very well. I'd test the drive on another computer to verify it still works.
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Old 04 July 2011, 05:48   #15
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He has tried it with his A500 with no problems so the drive is probably fine.

I can think of a couple of things, possibly the current to the A600 external is limited more than on a A500 - it may have a larger resistor on the power line...

The electrolytic caps are failing - a very common problem around this year, they leak, traces oxidize, the green paint loosens and there's white debris and it's a mess really. I swapped ALL "e-caps" in my A600 when it suddenly started up very slow and I noticed leakage in several places. No big harm to the circuitboard but the caps didn't work as they were supposed to anymore.

Could be the Kickstart maybe, there's a hacked KS1.3 that lets you use the internal IDE controller as well. You'll have to google for it, haven't actually tried it myself.


A possible workaround is to read it on the A500 and use a nullmodem-cable to send the data over to the PC or A600 if you prefer that.
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Old 05 July 2011, 05:59   #16
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Surely the maximum current draw is printed somewhere on the drive?
I searched for that info before, but couldn't see it on the drive. I'll look better... I should have the drive's specs on a .pdf file somewhere...

Quote:
Originally Posted by e5frog View Post
I can think of a couple of things, possibly the current to the A600 external is limited more than on a A500 - it may have a larger resistor on the power line...
Yes, it could be something like that... or maybe the electrolytic caps are slowly dying, as you wrote. Or both reasons...

Quote:
Could be the Kickstart maybe, there's a hacked KS1.3 that lets you use the internal IDE controller as well. You'll have to google for it, haven't actually tried it myself.
Hmmm. I didn't try booting with Relokick (it has WB 1.3) but at least I can confirm it's not a Workbench issue, because I booted the A600 with WB 1.3, then run X-Copy and used the Checkdisk option. Result: the same. Disks in the 5.25" drive are not read correctly.

NOTE:
when I bought the A600 I took out its original floppy drive, because it was very dirty and some parts were bent. So, for many months, I intensively used another bulky (it's a double height old model. I had to keep the A600 case ever open) drive I have, which I thought/found very reliable in dumping/imaging difficult floppies.
During these last days I wondered if it probably drains more current than the original drive, and it probably IS draining MUCH more current... So I now swapped it again with the A600's original DF0 drive. As a result, I noticed that the 5.25" drive, when attached, can read the tracks better (less random read errors with X-Copy, even though there are still a LOT of them).
So I suppose it's definitely a problem related to the total current drain from the internal+external drives...
the A600 (I mean its components, caps/resistors etc.) could initially bear the extra load, but now it's giving up.

The good news is that I'm almost finished imaging those 5.25" floppies. I'm using the A500 to copy the last of them to 3.5" and then I'm using the A600 to image them to the Compact Flash card. It's boring, but I don't have the time/will to try other solutions (serial/parallel cable etc.)

Last edited by Supamax; 05 July 2011 at 06:32.
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Old 05 July 2011, 23:39   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supamax View Post
NOTE:
when I bought the A600 I took out its original floppy drive, because it was very dirty and some parts were bent. So, for many months, I intensively used another bulky (it's a double height old model. I had to keep the A600 case ever open) drive I have, which I thought/found very reliable in dumping/imaging difficult floppies.
During these last days I wondered if it probably drains more current than the original drive, and it probably IS draining MUCH more current... So I now swapped it again with the A600's original DF0 drive. As a result, I noticed that the 5.25" drive, when attached, can read the tracks better (less random read errors with X-Copy, even though there are still a LOT of them).
So I suppose it's definitely a problem related to the total current drain from the internal+external drives...
the A600 (I mean its components, caps/resistors etc.) could initially bear the extra load, but now it's giving up.
Hi Supamax,

Check the solder joints where the PSU input socket is mounted on your A600's motherboard.

After repeatedly connecting and disconnecting the PSU lead where it plugs into this socket, these joints can become weakened and fractured by the waggling necessary to get the plug in and out. Inevitably, this will give rise to current limiting and eventual failure of the power rails on the motherboard, causing the symptoms you describe.

Last edited by prowler; 06 July 2011 at 00:30.
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Old 06 July 2011, 00:22   #18
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Ok prowler,
I'll take out the motherboard and check the solder joints.
I'm not a rude person (I'm very careful with my hardware), but I bought the A600 on eBay and don't know how it was treated .

If I'll notice something "suspect" I'll post here one or two photos...
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Old 26 March 2014, 04:51   #19
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Hi,
just want you to know that I solved the issue (and forgot to write here, sorry ).

The A600's PSU was fine.
The problem was that the A600 mainboard is not (but the A500 mainboard is) outputting enough current to correctly power the external 5.25" TEAC drive.
When I finally tried powering the 5.25" drive with a separate PSU, all problems and errors vanished .

In other words:
- A500 w/his stock PSU + 5.25" drive: OK
- A600 w/his stock PSU + 5.25" drive: NOT OK
- A600 w/A500 PSU + 5.25" drive: NOT OK
- A600 w/any PSU + 5.25" drive powered separately: OK!

Last edited by Supamax; 26 March 2014 at 04:58.
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Old 29 March 2014, 17:59   #20
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Interesting stuff because I have these two Amiga 5.25 units:

Cumana CAX1000

Cumana CAX1000S

One has an internal power supply and the other has not!

What I really need to know is! Can I make these things read C64 disks and then image them? I have methods of doing this already with 1541's and 1541-II's but it would be great if I could somehow manage this on the Amiga with these two Cumana amiga drives.

If not then its no problem.
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