• Please review our updated Terms and Rules here

floppy disc drive worn heads

harry

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
301
Location
United Kingdom
Is there any one who has had problems with the floppy disc drives scratching the tracks and destroying the much valued disc? My trs 80 model 16b has one 8" drive, and one hard drive fitted as standard, on trying to access the 8"floppy drive, by inserting the disc, the noise was not good, and after seeing what it had done to the disc, I decided to investigate. I dismantled the computer, removed the 8" drive, and dismantled that as well, I was a little nervous taking the reading head off the top moving block, but it was not too much trouble,
on examining both the reading heads it seems the coating has worn away exposing the metal strip across one of the heads, Is there any way of recoating
these heads, or has anyone had this sort of repair done? it would be nice to have the machine working with this drive functioning as it should.
 

NobodyIsHere

Veteran Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2006
Messages
2,394
Harry, I presume you have already cleaned the heads with isopropyl alcohol swabs?

Sometimes the media flakes off old floppy disks and wedges between the disk and the head which does the damage as you describe. It is possible the head itself is damaged but those are made of extremely strong materials like harden steels and ceramic so it would take a *LOT* of use to damage one.

I would clean the head as best possible and then using a SCRATCH disk, attempt to format one and verify it is working. If the SCRATCH disk is undamaged then I would believe the damaged disk is actually the culprit not the drive.

Best of luck. These things are never fun but happen occasionally.

Thanks!

Andrew Lynch
 

harry

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
301
Location
United Kingdom
worn drive heads?

worn drive heads?

Hi Andrew, I cleaned the heads as thoroughly as I could before attempting to
strip the floppy drive, and tried a blank disc just to see the result, but the disc
still ended up being badly marked, I am not sure whether the steel strips on the head should be exposed, or in fact they have a wear coating to cover them?
do you think polishing the heads somehow would work?
 

Druid6900

Veteran Member
Joined
May 7, 2006
Messages
3,809
Location
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
The heads should have a thin coat of epoxy resin over the R/W head gaps and the only way I could see it getting damaged is if the drive was latched with nothing inside (I have the same unit and I just checked, and you can latch it with no disk inserted) and it was bounced around enough to make the heads act as castanets.

If the head coating IS missing over that area or some metal has embedded itself in it, you could try filling the spot with some epoxy and then polishing it smooth with a VERY fine abrasive (like jeweller's rouge) to level it.

I've never had to try it, but, in theory, it should work.
 

Terry Yager

Veteran Member
Joined
May 1, 2003
Messages
8,763
Location
Saginaw, MI, USA 48601
I've seen it happen many times in double-sided 8" drives, and for just the reason Druid points out...shipping without the protective inserts in the drive (or an old floppy disk). When being jostled around, the two heads, being made of glass, bash each other to death. If the damage is not too severe, polishing might help, but it sounds like yours is beyond repair, since the metal is exposed. Note that I've never seen a 5.25" drive suffer this damage, but It' still possible, which is why anytime a drive is shipped, something should be done to protect the heads. Single-sided drives are usually not damaged in this way, because they have nothing to slam into except a felt pad, but you should still protect them anyways.

--T
 

Yzzerdd

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 20, 2006
Messages
1,292
Location
Boston, MA
I may not own an 8" drive, but I agree with Terry on this one. Sounds like your drive(or computer) was transported without protection and the heads bashed themselves to death. And to further repeat what was sead, try polishing.
Not to kick a man while hes down,but when talking about magnetic media(hard drives, floppy disks, etc) spell disk with a K. When talking about optical media, such as CDs and DVDs, spell disc with a C. My WFW 3.11 for dummies book says the spelling difference is there just to confuse you, but I think it is the difference in how media is written, magnetic V optical.

/$.02

--Ryan
 

atari2600a

Veteran Member
Joined
May 26, 2006
Messages
1,267
Location
Schwarzeneggerville, CA
I always thought the C was there so Compact Disc could be copyrighted, like Blu-Ray...

Can you by any chance take a picture of the heads?
 
Last edited:

Big Blues

Experienced Member
Joined
Apr 14, 2007
Messages
73
Back in my day, we'd call em diskettes. Then we got lazy and started calling them disks.
 

harry

Experienced Member
Joined
Oct 19, 2007
Messages
301
Location
United Kingdom
worn drive heads?

worn drive heads?

Looks like I need to spend a little more time on researching what material was used to cover the read heads when they were made, I appreciate the response
and taken in what you say , maybe I'll just keep searching for another ds drive.
any help in locating one of these beasts would be great! I'll put this one back on the shelf for now,
 

Dwight Elvey

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2003
Messages
4,781
Location
Santa Cruz
The heads should have a thin coat of epoxy resin over the R/W head gaps and the only way I could see it getting damaged is if the drive was latched with nothing inside (I have the same unit and I just checked, and you can latch it with no disk inserted) and it was bounced around enough to make the heads act as castanets.

If the head coating IS missing over that area or some metal has embedded itself in it, you could try filling the spot with some epoxy and then polishing it smooth with a VERY fine abrasive (like jeweller's rouge) to level it.

I've never had to try it, but, in theory, it should work.

Hi
The actual gap has no covering, it is just suppose to be smooth.
In order to write and read, the gap material much make contact
with the disk surface.
The heads must be polished smooth. Any roughness and they
are damaged.
Most disk head material is made of a megnetic ceramic material.
It is very hard but can be damaged. If this material is chipped,
there is nothing that can be done to fix it.
If it is two sided drive and they've smashed together, it
is likely that the ceramic has been smashed or broken.
What looks like a protective surface is really just a fine
polish, not anything added.
It sounds like the heads have been damaged.
Inlike hard disk heads that may have a sharp edge
on the trailing surface, floppy heads should be completely
smooth to ones finger. Any catching will damage the floppy.
Dwight
 
Top