Hardcore Floppy Drive restoration

Started by Bryce, 22:32, 25 January 17

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Bryce

Soooo... Look what arrived in the post today:

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Nothing like a challenge :) and the most difficult part is already over: Answering the "YOU BOUGHT WHAT!??" enquiry from SWMBO.
Over the next days I intend trying to get at least one working drive from this pile of shite, with lots of ugly photos and possibly some tips on restoring something this far gone.

First a bit about the drives. These are EME-232, the 3in double sided drives used in the PCW. They are fire damaged, but the main damage seems to have been done by the water/foam that was used to put them out.
So let's take a closer look at them:

No. 1 This one has the least rust. However, the metal frame is broken and the metal disk guide is bent out of shape. The drive motor can be turned, but the head motor is completely seized. The plastic arms for the heads are broken. The front cover is missing and it generally looks like it got some serious physical abuse.
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No. 2 This has serious rust, all the springs are either missing or broken. Again, the drive motor can be turned, but the head motor is seized. The front cover is broken on one side and there are signs of heat damage to the plastic parts. The upper head is damaged. The white stuff you see on these PCBs seems to be some sort of extinguisher foam, it's not oxidation.
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No. 3 This has a little less rust, but a lot more heat damage. The front cover is completely warped and burnt on one side and the LED melted firmly into the plastic. Some of the wires show heat damage too. However, the solder didn't melt, so the temperature must have been somewhere between 130 and 180°C. The heads look relatively good. I can turn both motors (a lot of force needed for the head motor).
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No 4 This has less rust on the frame but the motors are destroyed. The front cover is the best of the lot. The springs have disintegrated.
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The electronics on them all is probably saveable. I think it goes without saying that a new drivebelt will be required. It looks like some of them have belts, but these are just remenants stuck to the wheel. The rust is annoying but not impossible, just a lot of work. The biggest challenge will be the motors as I will have to completely disassemble them and restore the insides and the heads of course, because these are rarely repairable. But on a positive note, none of them lost their write-pin... for the simple reason that I needed a hammer to remove them from the rusted holes in the frames :D

My first plan is to strip them all down completely and choose the best of each part. Then I'll start restoring these parts and hopefully put one drive together from them. It may look bleak at the moment, but I think one working drive is possible.

We'll see.... Stay tuned.

Bryce.

||C|-|E||

Good luck with all that!  :laugh: It will be an interesting read, that is for sure! :D

greatwolf1283

I remember seeing those on eBay and thinking surely no one would buy drives that looked so knackered.  Still, will be very interesting seeing what you manage to rescue from them.

Gryzor

This will be the reading of the month (at least). I'm still hoping for that live feed :)

JonB

The question is, how much did you pay for them?


And I agree with Gryzor, it'll be fascinating to see how you get on.

Bryce

The minimum => 10 pounds for the four of them, plus another tenner for postage. But I didn't buy them because I need an EME-232, rather for the challenge, Wiki entertainment and possibly some tip and tricks / tutorial on how to restore something in this state.

In a later post I'll list the recommended equipment for tackling the job, then I'll start going through each component with some before/after pics.

@greatwolf1283: I think the seller was propably shocked that they managed to sell them too :)

Bryce.

remax

Do you think you will be able to use the salvaged drive in your laptop CPC project  :)  ?
























































































Just joking  :P

Bryce

My Laptop project (on hold since over a year) will (eventually) have a HxC in it. If I get one or more of these working I'll offer them to PCW owners as I don't own a PCW myself.

Bryce.

VincentGR

Some will say that this is a masochism achievement unlocked.


I prefer the term:



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6MkESn1v1w

Bryce

#9
Hi again,
    This post was meant to be about the tools/materials needed to tackle the job in hand, but I got home from work early, had time to do some restoration, got carried away and now I already have some results to show. But first some words about tools and methods and materials.

So, what do you need to do a restoration like this:
- Alcohol (My preference is a Scottish single malt, so I've chosen a 25 year old Strathisla this time) :)
- Acid (I've used Sodium Persulfate in this case)
- An olympic swimming pool worth of Isopropanol
- Several grades of sandpaper
- A Dremel/Proxxon type hand drill
- Wire brushes
- An old toothbrush
- An ultrasonic bath
- A good divorce lawyer if "her indoors" doesn't like you spending so much time with rusty retro hardware.

First off: Sandpaper is good for big flat surfaces, but for metal with lots of detail, depressions and projections it's useless. Also, sandpaper needs pressure to be effective, so pressed/folded metal such as the frame that holds the disk will bend out of shape if you try to clean it with sandpaper. This is why you need wire brushes. Here's the type I use:

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The round brush (20mm diameter) is good for big surfaces. The pointed brush (5mm diameter) gets into all the difficult corners.
Isopropanol is your friend when it comes to cleaning PCBs. It removes almost everything and doesn't need to be rinsed off, it just evaporates.

So here's the bits I've done so far. Unfortunately, due to my over enthusiasm, I forgot to take pictures of some of the single parts before cleaning.

The frame: This is the frame from No.4. I gave it a scrub with the round brush, then did the corners with the pointed brush. Then it got a 2 minute dip in the acid and a final polish with the pointed brush. Most of the frame is uncritical, but some areas have exact details and other areas need to be smooth, so don't over do it with the sanding. Here's what it looks like now:

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Next up I tackled the frame that holds the disk (from No. 4). Some scrubbing with the metal brushs was enough to fix this up. Luckily the rust was all just surface rust, so the frame is still pretty solid and nothing is bent or broken. Then I decided to get adventurous and tackled one of the drive motors (from No.1). After cleaning the outside I opened it up and to my suprise there was very little water ingress, so after cleaning it a little inside, I powered it up and it actually turns! Result. Then (after some single malt) I took on the PCB (from No.1). When the white gunk is removed, it doesn't look too bad, however there are several dry joints and the pins on the 26way connector are in a bad way, so this will need to be corrected later. Here's how they look now.

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I've just finished some other random bits. These are all parts that definitely shouldn't be cleaned using anything abrassive as they need to be extremely smooth to work properly. The black plastic is the part that ejects the disk. The shaft in the middle is out of the head motor and the shaft on the left is the rail that the head moves on. All these have just been cleaned with isopropanol and the toothbrush.

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Unfortunately the drive motor doesn't look good inside. It's hard to see in this picture, but the metal stators are badly rusted. I doubt I can get them out, so I'm going to have to clean them through that hole (anybody know a good gynocologist that could give me some tips?)  ::)

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That's it for today, more tomorrow if I have time...

Bryce.


robcfg

Hahaha! I love your method!

Me sips some honey wine [emoji1]

This is going to be a remarkable thread!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Gryzor

Oooh this makes me all giddy with anticipation :D

Neil79

Quote from: greatwolf1283 on 22:57, 25 January 17
I remember seeing those on eBay and thinking surely no one would buy drives that looked so knackered.  Still, will be very interesting seeing what you manage to rescue from them.


Yes I found them and gave Bryce the mention hahahaha can't wait to see what happens :D
The latest in Indie & Retro News!!! IndieRetroNews - Indie Retro News on twitter

Bryce

Quote from: Neil79 on 15:40, 27 January 17

Yes I found them and gave Bryce the mention hahahaha can't wait to see what happens :D

And thanks for the tip. However, if you ever happen to meet my missus, your safest bet would be to run away as fast as you can :D

Bryce.

Neil79

Quote from: Bryce on 15:51, 27 January 17
And thanks for the tip. However, if you ever happen to meet my missus, your safest bet would be to run away as fast as you can :D

Bryce.


:-\


It's all for a good cause  :-X  The CPCWiki charity  :laugh:
The latest in Indie & Retro News!!! IndieRetroNews - Indie Retro News on twitter

Bryce

Just a quick update: This morning I finished cleaning the mechanical parts and reassembled the drive. Up to now there are only two parts that I had to replace. The belt which is kind of obvious, and the spring that closes the flap on the front (borrowed a new one from an old PC drive). I've managed to even clean and reuse all the original screws :)
Here's what it looks like now.

I'll be refitting the electronics later, then comes the real test: Function and calibration. However, I really need to clean up the desk and get some 5VCPC boards made, so that will have to wait.

Bryce.

Bryce

Ok, couldn't resist it. As the great Oscar Wilde once said: "I can resist absolutely anything... except temptation".

So here's the drive fully assembled and ready for testing. The last two pictures aren't exactly a before/after, just a side by side with one of the drives that hasn't been restored yet for comparison. Testing will be done after I've made some 5VCPCs.

Bryce.


||C|-|E||

Utterly impressed with the restoration and with your speed! Let´s see now if it works!  :laugh:

Bryce

So last night I connected it up and gave it a go. It works fine and I can read and write disks. Unfortunately I can't align it though, because I don't own any original PCW9512 disks :(

Bryce.

Dubliner

I have some PCW games but they are not original. Would they help you in any way?

||C|-|E||

Quite the achievement in any case!

GeoffB17

If it's any help, I have a 'spare' 9512 CP/M boot disk I could send you.   I cannot use it myself as such, I was just thinking that one day, if I needed to, I would reformat it as a std SS disk, but that's unlikely.


I've had all the files copied off, so what's on the disk isn't important.


Just my small contibution?


Geoff

Bryce

That would be cool. I assume it's SD and not DD? I'll send you my address and let me know what I owe you.

@Dubliner: Thanks for the offer too, but an original will be much more accurate.

Bryce.

Dubliner


GeoffB17

Er, no.


8xxx series machines boot from SD (173k) floppy.   9xxx series boot from DSDD floppy.


The disk I was offering is therefore the DSDD boot disk, with all - ALL - the CP/M stuff on that for the 8xxx series would be spread over 3 sides of the SD disks.


Secondly, I have your address from our previous corresp, when you fixed my floppy drive.   Unless you've moved?


What charge?


Geoff

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