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Old 05 September 2011, 07:16   #1
bmags66
 
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Pittsburgh PA Says "Hi Yinz!" + A500 & Audiomaster HELP!

And for those confused at my title, if you're from Pittsburgh, "yinz" means "you", "you all", "everyone", etc. I'll try not to use other Pittsburghese to spare the confusion! Now down to my problem- I dug out all my A500 gear from my garage the other week (bought it in '86, last used in '92) and, in particular, found that I have an original Audiomaster (not copy) and file disk that don't work ('read/write error'). I believe the file disk has recordings from my nephew/niece from when they were tots almost 20 years ago. I'd really like to see what's been recorded on the disk but am not sure where to turn at this point. My WB1.3 disk won't load either. Other original and game copies do load but I don't have any rhyme/reason as to why or why not (some 'not a dos' errors too). I also have some utility programs but don't remember just by the name of them if any of them are disk repair software programs or not. And I'd be afraid of trying them for fear of them wiping the data (not that I can access it now anyways...). It also doesn't help that I'm pretty clueless when it comes to diagnosing what may be wrong with the disks or A500 itself. I bought the computer solely for gaming and know nothing about programing, schematics, chips, etc. Sorry in advance for any dumbing down explanations that you may have to do for me, but for anyone that can get the Audiomaster files to load or somehow be able to pull the audio, you can pick your favorite item for free of the games (you may have everything anyways, but who knows?!) or hardware (backup A500 or external hard drive?) from my stash, or if you're a Pittsburgh Penguins/NHL fan, I have a load of memorabilia and would be more than happy to return the favor!
 
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Old 05 September 2011, 22:47   #2
prowler
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Hi bmags66, and welcome to EAB!

It sounds like you've got some serious bit-rot on those floppy disks and, if conditions in your garage have become quite damp at times while your Amiga gear has been stored there, almost certainly mould growth as well.

When you try to read the disks that don't work, does the floppy drive make a squealing noise? If it does, then this is caused by mould growth on the recording surface of the disk, which will not only make their recovery more difficult but can also damage the floppy drive eventually

If the floppy drive makes only the usual noises during disk activity, then you can count yourself very lucky in the circumstances, because the disks may well be recoverable with with enough retries.

I would offer to salvage the disks for you, but the shipping charge to the UK will make that an expensive option. Maybe one of our US members can help you.
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Old 06 September 2011, 00:23   #3
bmags66
 
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You know your stuff prowler, and unfortunately I have heard the 'squeal' you're talking about... I would have never guessed that one. The disk appears just like it did 20 years ago when I last cracked them open. And I even had them in a plastic disk case but I guess it wasn't enough to protect them. Thanks very much for the fast follow-up and I'll hope a US member has some ideas. Thanks again,
 
Old 06 September 2011, 01:34   #4
prowler
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If you end up having to attempt recovery of these disks yourself, you will need to crack open the enclosure of each disk and remove the vinyl disk and stainless steel hub. Both recording surfaces of the disk should be cleaned by rubbing with a lint-free cloth wetted with isopropyl alcohol (IPA or propanol) to remove the mould growth and then left to dry thoroughly.

As you have noted, the mould is not easily visible; it appears as thousands of microscopically small spots, but its presence is revealed by the squealing noise which results whenever the disk spins up in the drive.

The bond between the disk and hub is made with an annulus of double-sided sticky tape, so it is important to keep the solvent away from this vulnerable region.

IPA is also suitable for removing deposits from the floppy drive heads caused by them coming into contact with the mould. This is better done with a cotton-tipped bud soaked in the solvent rather than by using a proprietary floppy drive cleaning disk and left to dry thoroughly afterwards.

To obviate the risk of contaminating the cleaned disk by replacing it in the original enclosure, it is best to mount it in a fresh enclosure donated from a much newer floppy disk, before attempting to read it. If the donor disk was a high density type, remember to cover the HD sensing hole with sticky tape to mimic a double density enclosure.

I hope this helps.
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Old 06 September 2011, 02:17   #5
bmags66
 
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Greatly appreciate the help, thanks again for all of the sage words
 
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