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Old 06 September 2018, 21:37   #1
VresiBerba
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*URGENT* Can disks ruin drives?

Bought a lot that included hundreds of old floppies but when I started to test them with the 500 that was in the lot, it started out fine but after a while the drive refused to read the floppies, even 100% good floppies that works in another drive I had.

I switched to that drive and same thing happened; it worked for a while then the disks started to get read & write errors and later the drive died completely. This was repeated a third time with another drive that was in the lot.

I now have three drives that seemingly are broken; two that refuses to boot, just three chugs and then nothing and one that boots but get validation error and then read & write error and while the two drives that were in the lot were somewhat untested and could have been on life support, the drive I had, albeit a modified PC-drive, worked flawlessly up until then.

I need to rectify this so it's a bit urgent; have these old floppies ruined the drives? Dare I test them in yet another drive? Is it possible to ruin drives at all with old floppies, the surface looks okay and I tried to clean the heads on one of them with IPA without result. Could it be a coincidence, that all three drives died at the same time due to something else?! I don't know

Last edited by VresiBerba; 06 September 2018 at 21:53.
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Old 06 September 2018, 21:40   #2
graffias79
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Perhaps there is mold or debris present on one or more of the disks in question? Have you tried very gently cleaning the heads on your drive?
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Old 06 September 2018, 21:44   #3
VresiBerba
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Perhaps there is mold or debris present on one or more of the disks in question? Have you tried very gently cleaning the heads on your drive?
Nothing I can see, the surface of the floppies looks just like any floppy disk I have ever looked at. I tried to clean the heads on one of the drives to no avail. There are no debris present anywhere. The thing is, that even 100% good and tested floppies I have and use regularly now can't be read in those drives, either, but read just fine in drives that have not at one time or other read any of these new floppies. I don't dare test one of the new floppies in yet another drive in fear that they will ruin a fourth.

I mean, the only logical conclusion here is that either these new disks have somehow ruined three working drives whereas at least one was tested and working before and can somehow irreversibly destroy drives, or three drives died without explanation within 10 minutes. But none of these conclusions make any sense, unless the former is actually something that can happen.

Last edited by VresiBerba; 06 September 2018 at 21:54.
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Old 06 September 2018, 21:55   #4
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I have a previously unused but now broken ALPS PC floppy drive I was using with a Kryoflux that I'm sure I broke by inserting a few too many dubious disks.

I cleaned the heads with IPA, re-greased the worm screw and used a air duster but it's still dead.

I suspect I put in too many disk that didn't turn easily (some were squeaking in the drive) and maybe the motor is too damaged now? It's possible the heads are out of alignment or even damaged though I guess.

I know I haven't helped, all I'm saying is that I'm pretty sure bad disks can damage drives. I now always inspect the platter of any disks first and try to spin it by hand before putting them in a drive.
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Old 06 September 2018, 22:18   #5
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Yep I tried a few rotten disks in one drive and yes it destroyed the heads
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Old 07 September 2018, 01:11   #6
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Indeed, I had a few drives stop reading anything after inserting too many disks of unknown origin. Luckily enough IPA was enough to get them working again.

Since I've recently acquired a boatload of Amiga floppies which I'll need to test somehow, I've decided to mod a few PC drives (which are kinda expendable) and use those to test the disks, while keeping the original drives safe
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Old 07 September 2018, 03:30   #7
VresiBerba
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Quote:
Originally Posted by supaduper View Post
Yep I tried a few rotten disks in one drive and yes it destroyed the heads
How And how do I see if the disks are "rotten"?


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Originally Posted by jbenam View Post
Indeed, I had a few drives stop reading anything after inserting too many disks of unknown origin. Luckily enough IPA was enough to get them working again.
How many is "too many"?


Quote:
Since I've recently acquired a boatload of Amiga floppies which I'll need to test somehow, I've decided to mod a few PC drives (which are kinda expendable) and use those to test the disks, while keeping the original drives safe
But... what are the testing procedure for doing something like that, just wait until the drive stops reading and then toss the latest disk inserted?
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Old 07 September 2018, 06:33   #8
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How And how do I see if the disks are "rotten"?
Simple just slide the cover over and inpect the disk under the light you soon see if it is rotten
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Old 07 September 2018, 08:18   #9
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Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
How many is "too many"?

But... what are the testing procedure for doing something like that, just wait until the drive stops reading and then toss the latest disk inserted?
It's highly dependent on how ruined is the disk. I've had very ruined disks from which I *really* wanted to take data off which made the drive not read anything after just a few tries. Some IPA later, the drive was back.

Nah, I wouldn't really keep killing drives just to know if a floppy is bad As supaduper says, the lamp bulb trick works kinda well though, I have to admit, is not foolproof. I still managed to get my floppy drive to stop reading even if the floppy seemed okay at the lamp bulb test.
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Old 07 September 2018, 08:23   #10
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Did you try to clean the drive header with a cotton bulb and some isopropyl alcohol? and try again with a known to be good disk?
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Old 07 September 2018, 11:48   #11
VresiBerba
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Quote:
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Did you try to clean the drive header with a cotton bulb and some isopropyl alcohol?
Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
I tried to clean the heads on one of them with IPA without result
Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
I tried to clean the heads on one of the drives to no avail





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Originally Posted by Sim085 View Post
and try again with a known to be good disk?
Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
even 100% good floppies that works in another drive I had
Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
The thing is, that even 100% good and tested floppies I have and use regularly now can't be read in those drives

I... really, truly appreciate that people take time to try and help and answer, but please, at least read the OP before answering.
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Old 07 September 2018, 11:50   #12
VresiBerba
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Simple just slide the cover over and inpect the disk under the light you soon see if it is rotten
Like I said, they look fine, I can't see anything on the surface of the disks, they look just like every other floppies I have ever seen. What does this "rot" even look like?
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Old 07 September 2018, 11:57   #13
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It's highly dependent on how ruined is the disk. I've had very ruined disks from which I *really* wanted to take data off which made the drive not read anything after just a few tries. Some IPA later, the drive was back.
Thats's the thing; for me, that does nothing. I'll try and clean another drive to see if that does anything, but I'm quickly running out of ideas. I have dabbled with Amigas for pretty much exactly 33 years and I've seen drives come and go, but not once have I managed to irreparably ruin three within 10 minutes, regardless of how the disks look. I've had disks with sand in them that didn't damage the drive, I've spilt cola in some that prevented it from even rotate, the drive choked but resumed operations right after and I've had 'El Condor Pasa' play for hours without killing the drive.


This is ridiculous.
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Old 07 September 2018, 12:17   #14
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Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
Like I said, they look fine, I can't see anything on the surface of the disks, they look just like every other floppies I have ever seen. What does this "rot" even look like?
It normally looks like dark spots on the surface of the disk, but remember these might have transfered this oxidization to the drive heads so when you put a clean disk in it ruins that too !

try cleaning the heads with isoprop as suggested it may help
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Old 07 September 2018, 13:13   #15
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I also almost ruined a drive a while back when I put in a floppy disk that caused a pretty bad grinding noise. Cleaning with IPA didn't help.

After a while, I found out that the heads were out of alignment. I guess - though I am not 100% sure - that the disk somehow stuck so firmly on the heads that the force of the motor was enough to move the heads a little to the side, which is enough to cause a mis-alignment.

Fortunately, I managed to align the heads and the drive is working properly ever since. But the bad news is that I couldn't see any mould or anything similar on the floppy disk Therefore, at least in my experience, it is very much a gamble whether a floppy disk can cause trouble or not.
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Old 07 September 2018, 13:28   #16
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How about faulty cable ...
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Old 08 September 2018, 20:23   #17
jbenam
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
I... really, truly appreciate that people take time to try and help and answer, but please, at least read the OP before answering.
As for me, I was just answering your thread title by recalling my own experiences. If it was called "help how do I repair my drive" I probably wouldn't have replied with that post
Quote:
Originally Posted by VresiBerba View Post
Thats's the thing; for me, that does nothing. I'll try and clean another drive to see if that does anything, but I'm quickly running out of ideas. I have dabbled with Amigas for pretty much exactly 33 years and I've seen drives come and go, but not once have I managed to irreparably ruin three within 10 minutes, regardless of how the disks look. I've had disks with sand in them that didn't damage the drive, I've spilt cola in some that prevented it from even rotate, the drive choked but resumed operations right after and I've had 'El Condor Pasa' play for hours without killing the drive.


This is ridiculous.
Well yeah, this looks pretty weird, but I'm sure I've at least killed one PC drive with some weird disk. And yeah, I always try with IPA before chucking them out, so it's not like it always helps in 100 of the cases.

Looks like one of the disks might have disaligned the heads in all three drives, as amugasith suggests.
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Old 21 September 2018, 00:20   #18
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In case it helps I just gave a borked drive another go.

It turned out the spring that pushes the head(s) against the platter was no longer doing its job properly. I could use my finger to put a very small amount of pressure on the part the spring was joined to and it'd start reading disks again.

At the back there were various notches, I assume to adjust for the strength of the spring. Mine was already on the 'highest' notch however.

Hence I just cut a length of cotton bud stick and jammed it under the spring



Not sure if I should be proud or not but this drive is working again, for now at least
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Old 21 September 2018, 01:13   #19
desiv
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Personally, I think it's unlikely that a dirty/moldy disk can ruin a drive.
Ruin other disks, placed in after, yeah. But it takes a bit to damage a head and some cleaning won't fix it.
That said, could a physically damaged disk scrape/damage a head? Yeah, I could see that.
I would physically and visually inspect the suspect floppy.
If it looks fine and is mechanically apparently working (and I REALLY wanted data off of it), I'd try cleaning the disk (Gently) with warm (NOT HOT) soapy water. Drying it (NOT USING HEAT).
(Ideally, you might want to remove the disk from the floppy case to clean it. It's tricky to not damage the paper in the floppy case and/or get it dry. But you have to "pop" open the case for that, and then glue it sealed when done. I have done that before with success.)
When you are sure it is clean and dry and the disk mechanically still looks fine, I'd try it in another drive.
But that is just me and I am sure lots of people will tell you how wrong I am. ;-)

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Old 21 September 2018, 19:58   #20
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It turned out the spring that pushes the head(s) against the platter was no longer doing its job properly.

This happened to me too on a cumana floppy drive. This was not recognising disks. Cleaning up still did not solve issue. When inspecting I noticed this spring did not look to be in place. I moved this spring (straighten up) and the cumana floppy drive starting reading/writing without any issue. This was the only thing I did between drive not recognizing disks and drive working flawlessly.
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