Author Topic: 3" internal drive problems  (Read 2743 times)

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Offline CPC_Fan

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3" internal drive problems
« on: 14:55, 17 June 14 »
Hi all

I am currently experiencing problems with the internal drive of my 6128 and I would like your opinions/advice/help with it please. Basically I brought the machine a couple of months ago, after coming across this forum and rekindling my interest in the CPC. The person who I brought it from stated in their advert that the drive belt had been changed and the head cleaned. However in the last couple of weeks, the drive has started to only read some discs and now it reads none at all. This includes freshly formatted discs that it was reading perfectly ok. I have taken the drive out and had a look at it. The belt looks in an ok condition and hasn't slipped off. The head looks pretty clean as well.

So is it a case of having to send the drive away to someone like dataserve retro and getting it looked at, or is there something else that I could try first? Would order a new belt and replace it myself, but I am not keen or confident enough to try it and also when I took the drive out last night, it appears that there is some wires soldered to the circuit board, stopping me from removing it completely.

I do intended to buy a SD HxC floppy emulator at some point, but that is not going to be for a long while yet. I also want to get a 3.5" second drive for it as well, but that will also have to wait until finances allow.

Offline Bryce

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #1 on: 15:10, 17 June 14 »
Hi CPC_Fan,
                 there's a good chance that your drive is spinning the disk at the wrong speed, so...
Download and run this test program: DskTest v0.1.47b (release?)
It will tell you how fast the disk is spinning, you'll need a disk in the drive for the test. It should be spinning at 300RPM, but anything between 290 and 310 should be fine. If it is outside these tolerances, then you will need to adjust the speed. This is done by turning a variable resistor in the drive. You can see how to find the variable resistor here: Amstrad FDD part - CPCWiki
Turn the resistor and retest until the drive is spinning correctly and it should read all disks again, but you may need to reformat the disks that were formatted at the wrong speed.

Bryce.

Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #2 on: 20:18, 17 June 14 »
Thanks for the tip and information Bryce. I presume that I would have to download the test programme to my PC? If that is the case, I would have a problem, as I have no way of then getting it onto my 6128.  My PC neither has a 3.5" floppy drive or floppy drive controller and connector. Also as I said earlier, I don't have a second 3.5" floppy drive or a SD HxC floppy emulator connected to my 6128.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #3 on: 20:46, 17 June 14 »
Thanks for the tip and information Bryce. I presume that I would have to download the test programme to my PC? If that is the case, I would have a problem, as I have no way of then getting it onto my 6128.  My PC neither has a 3.5" floppy drive or floppy drive controller and connector. Also as I said earlier, I don't have a second 3.5" floppy drive or a SD HxC floppy emulator connected to my 6128.

Hi cpcfan,

where are you based? I could make a real 3inch floppy of this and post it to you. Or perhaps a tape copy makes more sense if there is a chance that your CPC will not then read the disc.

Let me know

Craig
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Offline gerald

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #4 on: 21:08, 17 June 14 »
... the drive has started to only read some discs and now it reads none at all ...
I would not exclude a dirty head caused by a bad floppy.

Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #5 on: 22:32, 17 June 14 »
Hi cpcfan,

where are you based? I could make a real 3inch floppy of this and post it to you. Or perhaps a tape copy makes more sense if there is a chance that your CPC will not then read the disc.

Let me know

Craig


Hi Craig


I am based in Kent, in the UK. If you could make me a real 3inch floppy of the program, I would appreciate it. You should have my address somewhere, as you have sent me a couple of discs recently. A tape copy would be ok, but I don't have an external tape player for my 6128.


Mark

Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #6 on: 22:38, 17 June 14 »
I would not exclude a dirty head caused by a bad floppy.


I haven't excluded a dirty head Gerald. It did look fairly clean though when I took the drive out of the 6128 last night. Not sure where I could get a 3inch head cleaner from in the UK though?


Mark

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #7 on: 23:33, 17 June 14 »

Hi Craig


I am based in Kent, in the UK. If you could make me a real 3inch floppy of the program, I would appreciate it. You should have my address somewhere, as you have sent me a couple of discs recently. A tape copy would be ok, but I don't have an external tape player for my 6128.


Mark

My only concern would be that the 3 inch disc will not be readable on your machine.

I'll write a disc tonight however and see if a tape version is possible too.
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Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #8 on: 23:51, 17 June 14 »
That would be my concern as well Craig. I don't know what else to suggest or do though, as I currently have no other way to get programes onto my 6128. I do appreciate your offer though to do this for me. I do happen to have a 464 as well, but I don't know how I could get it to communicate with the 6128?

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #9 on: 00:27, 18 June 14 »
DSKTEST seems to work a treat, my main plus records 298.7 and the UK CPC 6128 weighs in at 282.93


Both work fine and discs can read and write correctly


However on a side note, if the machine cannot read discs is distributing a tool to monitor it on disc the wisest?


Is it viable to convert the tool to cassette? or would a ROM version make more sense?


Craig
« Last Edit: 01:12, 19 June 14 by CraigsBar »
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Offline endangermice

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #10 on: 02:19, 18 June 14 »
I suspect it needs a disc in the drive to work, if all it does is read the number of times the light beam passes the index hole then I guess any old disc would work and perhaps you can load the program from tape or a second drive. However maybe the location of the program itself or the location of an identifier at a certain track is how the program works in which case you'd need a copy of the original disc.

You can also adjust the resistor blind. I had to do this back in the day when my drive stopped loading some commercial games (Chase HQ). I fiddled with the resistor until it worked. At least it might allow you to run the test program.
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Offline gerald

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #11 on: 11:49, 18 June 14 »
Is it viable to convert the tool to cassette? what purpose does the or would a ROM version make more sense?
I think a tape version is mandatory. But then you need a proper kit for using it (cable, tape drive ...)
For the ROM version, if your drive is not working, you need to have it already in ROM. But could think about a toolbox ROM that includes it with RAM test etc.
Fixing a drive is far easier if you have a second working one, 3 or 3 1/2.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #12 on: 03:19, 19 June 14 »
OK, Thanks to Discology and my 6128plus I now have a tape version of this tool that loads on all my CPC's here


2000baud and loads in a shade under 90 seconds.


The next challenge however is getting this digitised on the Mac so that it still works. Recording the output form Discology directly with Audacity on the MacBook Pro does not work unfortunately, I guess the volumes are not right :(


But captured directly to tape is fine. This will be a job for tomorrow night however as it's 01:20 now and I have to work tomorrow.


Assuming I can get a WAV (and CDT) created tomorrow these will be uploaded here and I'll post a copy to CPC_Fan along with a 3" disc version.


Craig
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Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #13 on: 00:00, 20 June 14 »
Thanks for all your help and advice so far everyone.
A special thanks also to CraigsBar for all the time and effort you have put into both trying to create a tape version of the programme and sending me a disc copy when he can. It is very much appreciated.

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #14 on: 01:38, 20 June 14 »
OK Update.


I have a Cassette tape that loads on all CPC's


I have a WAV taken from that tape that loads on both CPC6128s, JavaCPC Desktop and WinAPE but not the 6128plus


I cannot get a functional CDT from the WAV at all.


The WAV is 7.7mb so too large to attach here. I am a bit stumped as to getting the size reduced. I guess I need to find a shorter tape, I currently have the 90 second file on a C90.


Once I crack this problem I'll post you a floppy and the cassette CPC_Fan, however if anyone else wants to take up the WAV2CDT challenge on this file then I can send the 7.7mb WAV ;)


Craig
« Last Edit: 01:42, 20 June 14 by CraigsBar »
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Offline Munchausen

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #15 on: 10:26, 20 June 14 »
Maybe the easiest solution would be for @CPC_Fan to post the drive to somebody to someone who can check and adjust it? CPC_Fan, where are you based?


I'm not volunteering I'm afraid as I've got a little'un on the way and am trying to finish a PhD... time is like water slipping through my fingers right now, and I've still got a stack of CTMs waiting to be tested and given away...

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #16 on: 10:37, 20 June 14 »
Maybe the easiest solution would be for @CPC_Fan to post the drive to somebody to someone who can check and adjust it? CPC_Fan, where are you based?


I'm not volunteering I'm afraid as I've got a little'un on the way and am trying to finish a PhD... time is like water slipping through my fingers right now, and I've still got a stack of CTMs waiting to be tested and given away...

Do'h that's the obvious answer. Why did I not think of that! I can certainly take a look at it. But if the fault is more than the drive belt or spin speed, then I am doubtful I could fix it.

Cpc_fan, I am happy to take a look at it if you wanna post it over?

Craig
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #17 on: 21:29, 21 June 14 »
Hey, wait, there's a ROM version of DSKTEST?

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #18 on: 22:49, 21 June 14 »
Hey, wait, there's a ROM version of DSKTEST?

Not that I know of. But there should be. I have converted the dsk to tape ant that works fine.
« Last Edit: 00:38, 22 June 14 by CraigsBar »
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Offline Gryzor

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #19 on: 00:30, 22 June 14 »
If anyone's listening who can do it...

Same goes for all diagnostic utilities!

Offline CPC_Fan

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Re: 3" internal drive problems
« Reply #20 on: 19:23, 22 June 14 »
Do'h that's the obvious answer. Why did I not think of that! I can certainly take a look at it. But if the fault is more than the drive belt or spin speed, then I am doubtful I could fix it.

Cpc_fan, I am happy to take a look at it if you wanna post it over?

Craig

Hi Craig. That is a most kind and generous offer. Not sure how much it would cost me to post the drive over to Ireland from the UK though? There is a place in the UK that I can send it to called data serve retro. It would cost me £15 plus return postage. I have no idea if there is much difference between sending the drive to you, or using data serve retro?

Ultimately I would like to get an X-Mem, external 3.5" disc drive and a SD HxC floppy emulator for my 6128. Unfortunately my funds are very limited, so I will probably have to buy them one at a time, over a period of time.

Mark