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Old 19 April 2017, 20:42   #1
Marty_McFly
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Question Looking for a repair center skilled in Commodore computers

Usually, searching on Google, I find some Ads promoting "specialized technical services" or "specific repair centers" for Commodore and other old computers. But unfortunately, every time I sent to them some old hardware I categorically collected disappointments or more troubles, due to the professional incompetence of some of them or superficiality on attempt to repair some parts too hard to repair for others of them...

At this point, I would like to know If there are really specialized repair centers in Europe that are really (but really) skilled with Commodore hardware and Amiga 500 peripherals.
In consideration of some bad experiences in my country, I woud be available to ship my hardware also abroad...
At the moment my main problem is related to an external floppy drive no more working. I would be interested to recover that specific drive for "nostalgic" reasons, I hope that you understand...
Thank you for any help.
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Old 19 April 2017, 23:11   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty_McFly View Post
In consideration of some bad experiences in my country, I would be available to ship my hardware also abroad...

At the moment my main problem is related to an external floppy drive no more working. I would be interested to recover that specific drive for "nostalgic" reasons, I hope that you understand...
Thank you for any help.
Are you able to determine whether either your Amiga 500 or that specific external floppy drive is working satisfactorily by replacing one or the other?
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Old 19 April 2017, 23:31   #3
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Some external floppies were belt driven - easy to check.
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Old 20 April 2017, 13:24   #4
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Originally Posted by prowler View Post
Are you able to determine whether either your Amiga 500 or that specific external floppy drive is working satisfactorily by replacing one or the other?
It's just a floppy disk drive problem. Exactly a header problem or a problem with the headers' controller (I suppose there is one in every fl.drive).
This drive for which I am asking assistance comes from a repair attempt in a "specialized" self-declared center in Italy for old computers... But it was rather a center specilized in nightmares for lovers of old computers...
I sent to them no. 2 floppy drives to repair:
The floppy drive (A) -> originally was totally dead, switching on it the unit did not load any floppy disk, it produced only a low noise of rotating plate.
The floppy drive (B) -> was originally working, but had only problems reading some floppies or writing some of them. I also noted that any attempt to write further damaged the floppies.

After receiving the drives they said me "Mr xxxx we opened the drives, we cleaned the headers, removed the dust... but we do not have an Amiga 500 to test them so we can assure that are repaired...."

After months waiting that they received an Amiga to test my drives, they were able to focus the problem (that's what they said...) and I paid them too.
When my peripherals came back, this was the situation:
Floppy drive (A) -> working but from the repair it shows in the WB screen also the presence of a df2 and df3 units as bad disks, when there is no df2 or df3 connected!
Floppy drive (B) -> it was the working one but returned as totally not working and damaged. When I try to insert a floppy nothing happens except that I hear only a loading attempt along with a headers' scary noise and I prefer to remove quickly any floppy from it (it seems that crunch them!)

As you can imagine I would be interested at least to repair the Floppy B and let it returns to its original working state.

Last edited by Marty_McFly; 20 April 2017 at 13:31.
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Old 20 April 2017, 15:47   #5
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Head alignment is a bitch to repair, I would give it up since it's not worth it, easier/cheaper/better to get a new floppy drive.

But if you are stubborn about it and willing to ship, you could send it to Amigakit.
http://amigakit.leamancomputing.com/...oducts_id=1254

If the floppy is making a high pitched "whine " when you insert a disk, it is the disk that is moldy and not the floppy drive's fault. You have to make sure that the disks you want to read aren't moldy and/or completely fucked.
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Old 21 April 2017, 10:47   #6
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It's not worth aligning at all without an analogue alignment disk. :-)

If you have a scope, then you can get something out of a professionally duplicated disk and manually stepping the drive, but it will still be only approximate.
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Old 21 April 2017, 12:50   #7
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Have aligned lots of heads, they are not always easy. Plus you have to make sure the heads are perfectly clean first.
I agree with akira though, if its making noises, then the disks are dirty and are making it worse.

Last edited by DH; 22 April 2017 at 14:05. Reason: Removed irrelevant Quote from deleted post
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Old 22 April 2017, 23:22   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty_McFly View Post
I sent to them no. 2 floppy drives to repair:
The floppy drive (A) -> originally was totally dead, switching on it the unit did not load any floppy disk, it produced only a low noise of rotating plate.
The floppy drive (B) -> was originally working, but had only problems reading some floppies or writing some of them. I also noted that any attempt to write further damaged the floppies.

After receiving the drives they said me "Mr xxxx we opened the drives, we cleaned the headers, removed the dust... but we do not have an Amiga 500 to test them so we can assure that are repaired...."

After months waiting that they received an Amiga to test my drives, they were able to focus the problem (that's what they said...) and I paid them too.
When my peripherals came back, this was the situation:
Floppy drive (A) -> working but from the repair it shows in the WB screen also the presence of a df2 and df3 units as bad disks, when there is no df2 or df3 connected!
Floppy drive (B) -> it was the working one but returned as totally not working and damaged. When I try to insert a floppy nothing happens except that I hear only a loading attempt along with a headers' scary noise and I prefer to remove quickly any floppy from it (it seems that crunch them!)

As you can imagine I would be interested at least to repair the Floppy B and let it returns to its original working state.
If I were in your position, I would forget about sending the drives to anyone else for repair and remove the floppy drive units from both external floppy drives myself and swap them over. By my reckoning, this has a fair chance of producing a fully working external drive (B) and totally useless external drive (A).
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Old 23 April 2017, 15:06   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
If I were in your position, I would forget about sending the drives to anyone else for repair and remove the floppy drive units from both external floppy drives myself and swap them over. By my reckoning, this has a fair chance of producing a fully working external drive (B) and totally useless external drive (A).
At this point, as solutions:
- I have to throw them away;
- or I have to buy new used drives to totally replace them or replace just their units.
In my case I would prefer the latter, I only hope that the new used units could fit in my old external floppy cases.

Anyway, I was looking at this:

http://amigastore.eu/en/327-internal...for-amiga.html

It is described as to be suitable for 3.5" bay and it is brand new...
Someone has collected experiences with it?

Last edited by Marty_McFly; 23 April 2017 at 15:12.
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Old 23 April 2017, 17:18   #10
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That is a converted PC floppy drive, it should fit but you may find it is a little thinner than a old Amiga drive. It will depend on which external drive housing you have, some of them was the same size as PC floppy drives in which case you would be good to go. If your housing is larger than standard you would have to fill the difference with some plywood or cardboard.
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Old 24 April 2017, 00:04   #11
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That is a converted PC floppy drive, it should fit but you may find it is a little thinner than a old Amiga drive. It will depend on which external drive housing you have, some of them was the same size as PC floppy drives in which case you would be good to go. If your housing is larger than standard you would have to fill the difference with some plywood or cardboard.
mmm sounds a good alternative. About its capacity of reading and writing amiga floppies, in your opinion is it on the same level of an Amiga original floppy drive or has some lack/difference in comparison to the latter?
Thank you
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Old 24 April 2017, 00:07   #12
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Once converted they operate exactly ​the same as an original drive. I've been using a pc floppy drive for over a decade with no issues.
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Old 24 April 2017, 00:23   #13
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Once converted they operate exactly ​the same as an original drive. I've been using a pc floppy drive for over a decade with no issues.
Ok perfect. Just a curiosity.. In your opinion in presence of old floppies with bad sectors (due mainly to demagnetization) are there some floppy drives brands that are more "sensible" than others in reading process, thus to be automatically able to "resolve" some bad sectors' errors?
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Old 24 April 2017, 10:47   #14
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Ok perfect. Just a curiosity.. In your opinion in presence of old floppies with bad sectors (due mainly to demagnetization) are there some floppy drives brands that are more "sensible" than others in reading process, thus to be automatically able to "resolve" some bad sectors' errors?
I couldn't really comment on that to be honest. The drive I've had all these years has been an Alps one, but I'd assume any of the big brands should provide very similar performance.
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Old 24 April 2017, 20:59   #15
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ok. So about the dead floppy drive, I decided that I will replace it with the new drive from amigastore.

About the remained working drive (A), as described, from the moment it came back to me has a bit strange way of working. When I run eg. WBench it indicates me also the presence of a df2 and df3 units as bad disks, but this although there is no df2 or df3 connected!!!
I think that when these "fake specialists of old computers" reassembled the drive, probably made some bad soldering... In fact, it seems more an error in soldering some pin or contact that now gives a false positive regarding units that are no connected...
How to resolve it? For the rest, the floppy drive results to be perfectly working.
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Old 25 April 2017, 00:36   #16
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Yep, possibly some funky logic problem or a bad cable/PCB. A problem with the SEL lines will cause that sort of issue - phantom drives showing up - as the first drive also responds when the computer queries drives 2 and 3. The circuits are simple enough, if you really need it repaired you could send it to anyone who repairs Amigas and they should be able to help. But the simpler solution might be to just swap boards and mechanisms between drives to see what's broken, and replace the part with one from another unit.
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Old 25 April 2017, 01:16   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty_McFly View Post
About the remained working drive (A), as described, from the moment it came back to me has a bit strange way of working. When I run eg. WBench it indicates me also the presence of a df2 and df3 units as bad disks, but this although there is no df2 or df3 connected!!!
I think that when these "fake specialists of old computers" reassembled the drive, probably made some bad soldering... In fact, it seems more an error in soldering some pin or contact that now gives a false positive regarding units that are no connected...
How to resolve it? For the rest, the floppy drive results to be perfectly working.
Please try this; you have nothing to lose:

Quote:
Originally Posted by prowler View Post
If I were in your position, I would forget about sending the drives to anyone else for repair and remove the floppy drive units from both external floppy drives myself and swap them over. By my reckoning, this has a fair chance of producing a fully working external drive (B) and totally useless external drive (A).
I suggested this because it sounds to me like there is nothing wrong with the drive mechanism in working external floppy drive (A) and the external drive interface electronics in non-working external floppy drive (B).
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Old 29 April 2017, 00:28   #18
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Today I opened the floppy drive (B), the one working in origin but returned "dead".... and I discovered that the internal unit has been replaced!!!
What pieces of sh**
Please have a look at the current following images:

https://ibb.co/hw3eQk

https://ibb.co/iXo2d5

https://ibb.co/fwqhd5

The unit is not the original one!
The original unit was the below (luckily I made some photo before the repair):

https://ibb.co/df7ZrQ

https://ibb.co/b1NdJ5

As you can see currently is mounted a Chinon drive... but a Chinon drive can be installed/mounted also as external Amiga drive?
What do you think? Why to replace an internal defective unit with a dead one?
Was there some diabolical intention or desperate experiment behind it?
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Old 29 April 2017, 22:03   #19
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Originally Posted by Marty_McFly View Post
Today I opened the floppy drive (B), the one working in origin but returned "dead".... and I discovered that the internal unit has been replaced!!!
What pieces of sh**
Please have a look at the current following images:

https://ibb.co/hw3eQk

https://ibb.co/iXo2d5

https://ibb.co/fwqhd5

The unit is not the original one!
The original unit was the below (luckily I made some photo before the repair):

https://ibb.co/df7ZrQ

https://ibb.co/b1NdJ5
Clearly, your "specialized self-declared center in Italy" is guilty of sharp practice in this instance. However, I'm not convinced that the original floppy drive mechanism was working properly either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marty_McFly View Post
As you can see currently is mounted a Chinon drive... but a Chinon drive can be installed/mounted also as external Amiga drive?
A Chinon drive is perfectly capable of being used as an Amiga floppy drive, provided any necessary modifications have been carried out, if appropriate.

I still don't understand why you are reluctant to remove the floppy drive mechanism from external floppy drive (A) and try it in the external floppy drive (B) enclosure. Are the connections not compatible?
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