Topics

Tekmate floppy setup problem.

Szabolcs Szigeti
 

Hi,

Now here is an interesting problem. I have two 2402A Tekmates, for my 2440
and 1430a. I was using one of them with an USB floppy emulator, which works
just fine. I have actually never used the floppy drives (both have HDDs),
but I finally did find my stack of 3 1/2 floppies, so I wanted to try and
use the floppy on the other one, as it is way more col thank the cheep USB
emulator :-), and it did not work. It accesses it, but then gets an
abort-retry-fail. Ok, no problem, probably the drive is bad. Swapped to an
other one, the one that actually came out of the other Tekmate, when I
installed the USB drive. That didn't work either. Hmmm. Get a 3rd drive, no
luck. Now let's try the floppies in the other Tekmate. They don't work
either!

I really don't believe that I have 3 failed drives, and the controllers are
OK, because the emulator works. Scoping the drive line don't show anything
out of order, I see the data coming, drive rotates, head moves, etc. So the
only thing I can think is that there has to be some BIOS or whatever
setting about the size/type that was lost when the NVRAM battery failed. I
have hacked in external batteries, so that is ok. Obviously, the drive is
set up as a 1.4M drive in the setup.

Am I missing something? Is there any other setting that needs to be there?
I really don't believe that all 3 drives are bad, but unfortunately I don't
have any other means to test. I have already swapped cables, drives, even
controller chips.
Not a big problem, but it is bugging me now.

Thanks,

Szabolcs

Dave Casey
 

Are you using 1.44MB disks in 720kB drives?

Dave Casey

On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 10:35 AM, Szabolcs Szigeti <szigiszabolcs@...>
wrote:

Hi,

Now here is an interesting problem. I have two 2402A Tekmates, for my 2440
and 1430a. I was using one of them with an USB floppy emulator, which works
just fine. I have actually never used the floppy drives (both have HDDs),
but I finally did find my stack of 3 1/2 floppies, so I wanted to try and
use the floppy on the other one, as it is way more col thank the cheep USB
emulator :-), and it did not work. It accesses it, but then gets an
abort-retry-fail. Ok, no problem, probably the drive is bad. Swapped to an
other one, the one that actually came out of the other Tekmate, when I
installed the USB drive. That didn't work either. Hmmm. Get a 3rd drive, no
luck. Now let's try the floppies in the other Tekmate. They don't work
either!

I really don't believe that I have 3 failed drives, and the controllers are
OK, because the emulator works. Scoping the drive line don't show anything
out of order, I see the data coming, drive rotates, head moves, etc. So the
only thing I can think is that there has to be some BIOS or whatever
setting about the size/type that was lost when the NVRAM battery failed. I
have hacked in external batteries, so that is ok. Obviously, the drive is
set up as a 1.4M drive in the setup.

Am I missing something? Is there any other setting that needs to be there?
I really don't believe that all 3 drives are bad, but unfortunately I don't
have any other means to test. I have already swapped cables, drives, even
controller chips.
Not a big problem, but it is bugging me now.

Thanks,

Szabolcs



Szabolcs Szigeti
 

Hi,

No, I don't think so. All 3 drives i tested are TEAC FD-235HF, which should
be the factory installed ones in the TekMate, and they are 1.44 as far as I
can tell. The TekMate specification also mentioned 1.44 drives. I'm using
HD floppies. But I can try setting it to 720k and use a SD disk just to
make sure.

Szabolcs


2018-03-04 20:18 GMT+01:00 Dave Casey <polara413@...>:

Are you using 1.44MB disks in 720kB drives?

Dave Casey

On Sun, Mar 4, 2018 at 10:35 AM, Szabolcs Szigeti <szigiszabolcs@...
wrote:

Hi,

Now here is an interesting problem. I have two 2402A Tekmates, for my
2440
and 1430a. I was using one of them with an USB floppy emulator, which
works
just fine. I have actually never used the floppy drives (both have HDDs),
but I finally did find my stack of 3 1/2 floppies, so I wanted to try and
use the floppy on the other one, as it is way more col thank the cheep
USB
emulator :-), and it did not work. It accesses it, but then gets an
abort-retry-fail. Ok, no problem, probably the drive is bad. Swapped to
an
other one, the one that actually came out of the other Tekmate, when I
installed the USB drive. That didn't work either. Hmmm. Get a 3rd drive,
no
luck. Now let's try the floppies in the other Tekmate. They don't work
either!

I really don't believe that I have 3 failed drives, and the controllers
are
OK, because the emulator works. Scoping the drive line don't show
anything
out of order, I see the data coming, drive rotates, head moves, etc. So
the
only thing I can think is that there has to be some BIOS or whatever
setting about the size/type that was lost when the NVRAM battery failed.
I
have hacked in external batteries, so that is ok. Obviously, the drive is
set up as a 1.4M drive in the setup.

Am I missing something? Is there any other setting that needs to be
there?
I really don't believe that all 3 drives are bad, but unfortunately I
don't
have any other means to test. I have already swapped cables, drives, even
controller chips.
Not a big problem, but it is bugging me now.

Thanks,

Szabolcs





battyhugh
 

It might surprise you, but your floppys are corrupt. I would suggest getting a tube of disk cleaner (10%alcohol and a drop of detergent) - and using a nice clean tissue - I recommend toilet paper - open the shutter and clean the disk carefully on both sides. I have to do this to recover old disks with files.

Good luck

Hugh @Hugh

Szabolcs Szigeti
 

Hi,

Thanks, but I doubt it. I have tried a number of disks, even one from an
original packaging. I'm able to use them in a notebook. The imteresting
thing is that if I try to format them in in the Tekmate, then format stops
with unusable track 0, but it formats that track. or at least does
something with that, because then I have to reformat the disk to use it
again. This is why i suspect that there is some discrepancy in what
bios/dos thinks about the drives and what they are really. But, I do not
see anything else other than the bios setup to change the floppy type.
I can still not beleive that I have 3 equally faulty floppy drives, but
I'll try and get hol of a fourth one or try them in a PC. I'll also try
cleaning them, to make sure that that is not the problem.

Szabolcs

2018-03-05 4:04 GMT+01:00 battyhugh <@Hugh>:

It might surprise you, but your floppys are corrupt. I would suggest
getting a tube of disk cleaner (10%alcohol and a drop of detergent) - and
using a nice clean tissue - I recommend toilet paper - open the shutter and
clean the disk carefully on both sides. I have to do this to recover old
disks with files.

Good luck

Hugh @Hugh



Fabio Trevisan
 

Hi Szabolcs...
It may be a long shot but, have you considered that the very first disk, or
one of the first that you tried, could have been contaminated by fungae,
mold, etc... And that it could have made the drives head dirty?
Have you tried to clean the heads using a cleaning floppy disk and IPA, or
using a cotton swab?
In the begginig of the years 2000 when floppy disks were already on their
way out, but lots of people still had large sets of years past backups, it
was very common for my customers to trash a lot of floppies, thinking they
were bad, just to find out that there was only one bad disk, which
eventually clogged the heads of the reader, rendering all other disks
unreadable.
Fungae love the kind of lubricant that used to be used back then, to
protect the disks from abrasion.
Brgrds,
Fabio

On Mar 5, 2018 11:34 AM, "Szabolcs Szigeti" <szigiszabolcs@...> wrote:

Hi,

Thanks, but I doubt it. I have tried a number of disks, even one from an
original packaging. I'm able to use them in a notebook. The imteresting
thing is that if I try to format them in in the Tekmate, then format stops
with unusable track 0, but it formats that track. or at least does
something with that, because then I have to reformat the disk to use it
again. This is why i suspect that there is some discrepancy in what
bios/dos thinks about the drives and what they are really. But, I do not
see anything else other than the bios setup to change the floppy type.
I can still not beleive that I have 3 equally faulty floppy drives, but
I'll try and get hol of a fourth one or try them in a PC. I'll also try
cleaning them, to make sure that that is not the problem.

Szabolcs


2018-03-05 4:04 GMT+01:00 battyhugh <@Hugh>:

It might surprise you, but your floppys are corrupt. I would suggest
getting a tube of disk cleaner (10%alcohol and a drop of detergent) - and
using a nice clean tissue - I recommend toilet paper - open the shutter
and
clean the disk carefully on both sides. I have to do this to recover old
disks with files.

Good luck

Hugh @Hugh



John Ferguson
 

Maybe someone has already suggested this, but i can clearly remember that back in the late '80s when these things showed up that some 1.44 drives were very fussy about which disks they would write to.  i assume you've found the little write-protection slide on your disks and it is in the 'write' position and you've tried 720 disks 'just in case'

I'm running a 1992 Sun SPARCstation 10 which has a 1.44 drive. I think I'll check to see if it can still read the disks I have.

john

On 03/05/2018 09:33 AM, Szabolcs Szigeti wrote:
Hi,

Thanks, but I doubt it. I have tried a number of disks, even one from an
original packaging. I'm able to use them in a notebook. The imteresting
thing is that if I try to format them in in the Tekmate, then format stops
with unusable track 0, but it formats that track. or at least does
something with that, because then I have to reformat the disk to use it
again. This is why i suspect that there is some discrepancy in what
bios/dos thinks about the drives and what they are really. But, I do not
see anything else other than the bios setup to change the floppy type.
I can still not beleive that I have 3 equally faulty floppy drives, but
I'll try and get hol of a fourth one or try them in a PC. I'll also try
cleaning them, to make sure that that is not the problem.

Szabolcs

2018-03-05 4:04 GMT+01:00 battyhugh <@Hugh>:

It might surprise you, but your floppys are corrupt. I would suggest
getting a tube of disk cleaner (10%alcohol and a drop of detergent) - and
using a nice clean tissue - I recommend toilet paper - open the shutter and
clean the disk carefully on both sides. I have to do this to recover old
disks with files.

Good luck

Hugh @Hugh



 

Hi John,

To achieve greater density on a floppy manufacturers had to make the tracks much narrower. To make the tracks narrower required more precise read/write heads, more precise and more repeatable positioning mechanisms in the floppy drives, and much higher magnetic fields when writing on the floppy.

Age can affect the ability of a floppy drive to accurately position its head to the correct location to be in the middle of a given track. But a bigger problem occurred when using floppies which were designed for lower density recording on these high density floppy drives. The magnetic film was not formulated to handle the much greater magnetic fields used by those read/write heads.

Many end users were oblivious to the importance of using media matched to their floppy drive and in some cases intentionally used less expensive low density floppies in high density floppy drives. In the latter case the operating system would often successfully write onto the floppy but only by trying up to 10 times before quitting. If it was able to write under these circumstances the user was given the impression that he/she "got away with it" only to discover some time later, and much too late, that the floppy couldn't be read reliably.

Dennis Tillman W7PF

-----Original Message-----
From: TekScopes@groups.io [mailto:TekScopes@groups.io] On Behalf Of John Ferguson via Groups.Io
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2018 5:37 AM
To: TekScopes@groups.io
Subject: Re: [TekScopes] Tekmate floppy setup problem.

Maybe someone has already suggested this, but i can clearly remember that back in the late '80s when these things showed up that some 1.44 drives were very fussy about which disks they would write to. i assume you've found the little write-protection slide on your disks and it is in the 'write' position and you've tried 720 disks 'just in case'

I'm running a 1992 Sun SPARCstation 10 which has a 1.44 drive. I think I'll check to see if it can still read the disks I have.

john


On 03/05/2018 09:33 AM, Szabolcs Szigeti wrote:
Hi,

Thanks, but I doubt it. I have tried a number of disks, even one from
an original packaging. I'm able to use them in a notebook. The
imteresting thing is that if I try to format them in in the Tekmate,
then format stops with unusable track 0, but it formats that track. or
at least does something with that, because then I have to reformat the
disk to use it again. This is why i suspect that there is some
discrepancy in what bios/dos thinks about the drives and what they are
really. But, I do not see anything else other than the bios setup to change the floppy type.
I can still not beleive that I have 3 equally faulty floppy drives,
but I'll try and get hol of a fourth one or try them in a PC. I'll
also try cleaning them, to make sure that that is not the problem.

Szabolcs

2018-03-05 4:04 GMT+01:00 battyhugh <@Hugh>:

It might surprise you, but your floppys are corrupt. I would suggest
getting a tube of disk cleaner (10%alcohol and a drop of detergent) -
and using a nice clean tissue - I recommend toilet paper - open the
shutter and clean the disk carefully on both sides. I have to do this
to recover old disks with files.

Good luck

Hugh @Hugh









--
Dennis Tillman W7PF
TekScopes Moderator