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Old 01 April 2005, 12:21   #1
Soulshaker
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Is my Amiga 1200 hard drive dead?

I recently re-acquired my old Amiga 1200 and set it back up again. Apparently, I've forgotten everything about Amiga boot-ups and Workbench and whatnot because my HD-equipped 1200 just went straight to the Insert Floppy screen instead of booting off the hard drive. I sat there, utterly dumbfounded. At some point over the course of the next few reboots, I somehow jostled the power cable and the Amiga reset itself. Suddenly, I noticed the hard drive light come on but the screen stayed blank. The light slowly flashed but nothing was loading.

I figured out how to soft reset the computer and made several attempts to hard reset then soft reset the computer to give the hard drive a chance to boot but every time, the Amiga would go right to the Insert Floppy screen after about 10 seconds. I observed no HD light go on at all and heard a faint series of clicking noises, which I'm assuming was the hard drive.

Please tell me my HD hasn't gone bad - the computer ran fine when I used it briefly about two years ago. I haven't really used it other than that time over the past 10-11 years. Do I just need to reformat it?

Thanks for reading. If anyone has any insight into this issue, your help is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01 April 2005, 12:41   #2
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The mechanism is probably a bit sticky from not being used.

You might need to try switching on and off a few times and doing some warm boots.
I bought a second hand A1200 recently which had similar problems - the disk did not spin up initially - but after a few reboots (both cold and warm) the disk spun up and is working ok now.

Of course if you just have a stock standard 40MB drive you might want to consider upgrading to a second hand laptop drive of higher capacity which would be much more usable.
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Old 01 April 2005, 12:45   #3
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Thanks for the reply, Galaxy. I'm actually trying that now and here's what happened - the drive light is on, I hear the clicking, but it's stuck at a blank screen again. Do I need to keep trying this? How long did it take you before yours worked? I've already tried the resets probably 10-15 times over the past hour with no success.

Also, should the HD show up in the 'bootable devices' list in the BIOS menu? All I see are DF0: and the card slot.

On the subject of the hard disk upgrade, I actually have an 80mb in there, to the best of my knowledge, and that's okay for now, at least until I back up all the stuff I had on there from years ago.
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Old 01 April 2005, 12:54   #4
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maybe open it and re-insert all the plugs?
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Old 01 April 2005, 13:22   #5
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I've got an A1200 with an 80MB HDD and every so often I get it down and try it out. I don't get a clicking noise but it does take a while for the miggy to realise it's got a hard-drive installed. I've found that switching it off and twiddling with the IDE connector cable seems to help sometimes (my connector cable is very short and is very squashed in which I think causes it to come slightly detached from the motherboard)

Hope this helps - I've actually found the 2.5" drives to be very resilient (even survived a knob of a mate treading on it once) so it should be okay after a while...
 
Old 01 April 2005, 14:54   #6
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I've had a couple of Amigas that demonstrated the symptoms that you are describing - turn on the machine and you hear a tick tick tick from the HD - like the HD is attempting to spin up, but failing.

Normally it would do this for a few seconds (maybe up to 10 or 20 seconds if it was ages since the last use) before finally spinning up, but I think my A600's hd got to the point where all it did was tick (sort of like yours) and never spun up. I think I replaced the disk with an 800MB drive from and old laptop at this point.

As for the boot menu - I don't know. I think it only shows those devices detected. Given that you are getting the insert disk screen I would say that it is not appearing because the HD was not ready before the OS wanted it.
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Old 01 April 2005, 15:52   #7
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Klicking noises from a HDD is a sure sign for imminent death. The worst thing you can do is to switch power off and on repeatedly.

If you don't need the data on the drive, you should immediately trash it.

If you want to save the data you should not again stress the drive in the way you described above.

Open the case, remove the drive and carefully place it in your cupboard as if it was your most valuable treasure.

Then buy a new drive, find your floppy disks and install the new drive.

Get a cable for connecting both drives to the IDE port. Connect both drives and make the old drive spin up with whatever means is necessary (e.g. gently hit it with your fist on the long flat side). Once it spins, do not touch the power button until all data is saved. You might have to reset the Computer if the HDD freezes.

Copy all files from the old drive to the new one. Then trash the old drive.
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Old 01 April 2005, 18:42   #8
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Agreed with Thomas. Power up is the most stressful time for any hardware - once you get that thing spinning properly again, I wouldn't turn off the power at all until you've got all your data backed up.
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Old 01 April 2005, 20:41   #9
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Thanks for the suggestions, everyone.

I've stopped doing hard resets because of the power issue mentioned and now when I do several soft resets in a row, I get the hard drive light on and the computer sits there. It sounds like the hard drive is doing something. Should I just let it sit for a while?

I guess I'm just trying anything (safely) to get it to work again before I look for a new drive.
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Old 01 April 2005, 21:19   #10
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I've bit the bullet and opened the A1200 case and I'm going to check all the cable connections as per icewizard's suggestion before I buy a new HD. If I can get this to work that will be quite an accomplishment for me since I hate opening up computers and fiddling with them. I mean, I basically can identify all the stuff inside the 1200 easily enough but I've just never been the kind that felt comfortable tinkering with internal hardware components on any personal computer.
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Old 01 April 2005, 21:26   #11
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Be careful not to break the little plastic clips at the back of the case! Though if you've opened it already......
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Old 01 April 2005, 21:29   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TikTok
Be careful not to break the little plastic clips at the back of the case! Though if you've opened it already......
NOW you tell me!

J/K. Do you mean the four tiny two-pronged clips back there? If so, they're fine.
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Old 02 April 2005, 00:26   #13
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UPDATE: I swapped out the old 80 meg HD (some Conner or Connor brand drive) and put in my old IBM Deskstar 20 gig drive that used to inhabit my Compaq Presario laptop. The Deskstar seemed to have crashed in the Compaq and I had to replace the drive in that laptop, but I decided to try it in the Amiga just to test it out.

Here's what happened...I could hear the drive spin up when I turned the computer on. The HD light on the case is now fully ON and stays that way for a few minutes even though the Amiga eventually goes to the Insert Floppy screen (with absolutely no HD clicking), whereas with the old drive, the HD light would occasionally go on briefly with the clicking. Does this mean the drive is being recognized properly (so it's not the IDE cable...?) and I just need to properly prep the drive (format, install Workbench, etc.)?

Thanks...

Last edited by Soulshaker; 02 April 2005 at 00:38.
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Old 02 April 2005, 00:42   #14
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Does the drive show up in the ESC menu?
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Old 02 April 2005, 00:49   #15
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No, I can't see the new drive in ESC menu either.

Hmmm...maybe it COULD be the IDE cable causing the problem...?
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Old 02 April 2005, 00:53   #16
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Either that or the IDE interface is knackered.
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Old 02 April 2005, 01:07   #17
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My power supply just crapped out. Maybe that was the issue. It was dying and couldn't supply enough juice to power the drive.

Man, this is depressing. I guess I'll try to track down an A500 PSU since the A1200 and its peripherals were always extremely rare here in the States. And of course, the A500 PSU has a higher wattage than the A1200's from what I understand.

Last edited by Soulshaker; 02 April 2005 at 08:31.
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Old 02 April 2005, 21:09   #18
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Yeah get an A500 or 3rd party beefy PSU, the A1200 ones are pants.
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Old 02 April 2005, 22:31   #19
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I just put a bid in for an Amiga 500 system with PSU, not to mention I also bid on an old breadbox-style C64 system (my first died) and a C128 (I always wanted one of those when I was a kid...).

I sure hope the problem *is* the power supply, though. I really love that 1200.
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Old 02 April 2005, 22:59   #20
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Sometimes, old hard drives can be made to work for a while by removing them from the computer, placing them in a plastic bag and then placing them into a freezer for a while. Re-attach quickly and pull the data off it as fast as you can (assuming it spins up that is), and then bin it.

I've seen this tip mentioned on here before, and I know there is a whole load of text dedicated to doing things this way. Thin k the thread was called "click of death" or something......

You COULD use an old PC power supply, but you need to know what you're doing if you decide to go that route.
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