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Fixing a Micropolis (ST-506) drive

tingo

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
1,471
Location
Oslo, Norway
Perhaps this might be useful to others: the drive I did this on is a Micropolis 1325.
From a discussion on the cc-tech mailing list, I got a description on how to fix the "sticky bumper" problem on a Micropolis ST-506 drive. These drives have rubber "bumpers" as end-stops for the drive head. And after many years this rubber becomes sticky, resulting in the head not having enough power to "unstick" itself from the bumper when powered up.

The solution is (for me at least) quite scary: open up the drive, move the head and put a piece of paper between the rubber "bumper" and the head part. Then all will be well (if the drive doesn't have other problems).

So I did. First I had set up everything I needed: a psu to test the drive with, some post-it paper, screwdriver, scissors, a small flashlight.
The top cover has ten screws, and six of them is partly or totally obscured by the label. I simply peeled away the label above the screws.
After unscrewing, I used a small flat-blade screwdriver to loosen the cover; the gasket made it stick to the housing. Then I lifted the top cover carefully off (on the inside, the airflow duct is connected to it), and started to look for the bumpers.
Since I haven't seen the inside of one of these drives before, it took a while before I realized that the "bumpers" where inside the head assembly; there is only two small slits where you can see them when you move the head. There is also a locking mechanism that prevents the head from moving freely if the drive isn't powered on.

When I moved the head assembly with my fingers, there was very little resistance; I started thinking that maybe there was something else wrong with this drive.

But I cut a small strip of post-it paper (maybe 2 or 3 mm wide), moved the head a bit and put it into the hole between the head and the bumper that the head rested on when turned off. Simply releasing the head made the paper stick to the bumper.

Testing; I powered up the drive (yes, with the cover off) and now the head moved out when the drive had finished spinning up. Before the paper, the head hadn't moved at all. Aha!
It was the "sticky bumper" problem after all. I re-assembled the drive, powered it on, and let it be on for about four minutes. Success!
 

dracos

Experienced Member
Joined
May 4, 2011
Messages
202
Location
Northern VA - USA
Hmm, I have a 1335 on the shelf that the seller said was good, then failed the pre-ship test. Hope that's all it is.
Thanks for sharing.
 

T4600C

Experienced Member
Joined
May 10, 2015
Messages
67
Location
Netherlands
I did the paper trick, the heads are no longer stuck.

But they still don't want to move and initialize.

The platters spin up, the heads unlock with a CLICK but they don't move. After some time it spins down again.

If I manually push the heads forward when it has spun up, the actuator forces them back, the heads lock and the platter spins down.
 

tingo

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2009
Messages
1,471
Location
Oslo, Norway
@T4600C: if the heads unlock (with a click) but don't move - how do you know that they have unlocked?
Is the drive a Micropolis 1325? Other drives might work differently.
If the drive is the same model, there might be something else wrong with it. Perhaps the actuator circuit isn't working. YMMV.
 

T4600C

Experienced Member
Joined
May 10, 2015
Messages
67
Location
Netherlands
@tingo
Because I see the part that lock the heads unlock. I can also move them around while the drive is spinning up.
I have also opened a Micropolis 1355 and they are exactly the same inside.
The actuator does push the heads back when I push them forward after the drive has spun up to speed. Then it shut down. So that at least works.
 
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